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Altra Torin IQ smart shoes review: Putting a coach and convenience...

Running well isn’t easy, and neither is making a good running coach.

Ananas Anam secures a new financing round to accelerate sales, marketing...

LONDON, United Kingdom — Ananas Anam, the creator and maker of Piñatex™, a patent-protected natural and sustainable alternative to leather, today announced it has completed a new round of financing which will enable the group to ramp up its supply chain and address the demand of global brands such as Hugo Boss, adidas, John Lewis, KangaROOS Shoes etc.The financing round builds on an exceptional year for Ananas Anam which saw a rapid growth of its... Source: RealWire

IDG Contributor Network: Developing for the digitally transformed

Let’s make one thing clear. Whether you sell shoes, dishwashers or car insurance, technology is embedded in the fabric of your day to day, and most certainly in the interactions with your customers.I’m not here to tell you how important a digital transformation is for your business, because at this point, that ship has sailed. Having an app or user friendly website is no longer a competitive differentiator, it’s an enterprise standard.
In a digitally transformed world, the start line has shifted forward and consumer expectations for digital fitness are on an entirely new level that’s unreachable by simply hiring more developers or launching an in-store app.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

The Mass Effect writing contest winner: Seashell research on the seashore

Hundreds of entries came down to this one winner (along with two runners up).

Adidas wants to sell 100,000 3-D printed sneakers

A personalized shoe that can “adjust the strength, durability, and the shape.”

Obama’s science advisors: Much forensic work has no scientific foundation

EnlargeFBI reader comments 29 Share this story Last year, the US Department of Justice released a report that involved some painful self-examination.

The DOJ looked at its own performance when it came to the analysis of hair samples—these were once used to identify potential suspects, but the FBI discontinued that practice in 1996.
In looking over past cases, however, the feds discovered that agents had systematically overstated the method's accuracy in court, including at least 35 death penalty cases. Now, in response to this and other reports on problems with forensic analysis, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has issued an analysis that extends to half a dozen forensic techniques, including fingerprinting.

The report finds that all of the techniques have problems when it comes to operating on a firm scientific footing, so PCAST makes strong recommendations for how to get forensic science to take its name seriously. The history that got us here is more than a bit ironic.

DNA testing, which we now consider nearly foolproof, started appearing in court in the 1980s, before the people doing it had a strong grip on how to use it effectively.

The ensuing chaos eventually led to it being ruled inadmissible in a case in New York.

This prompted reforms and analysis that eventually put the field on firm scientific footing.
Its use to reanalyze older cases, however, revealed problems in many convictions based on other forensic techniques. Rather than prompting equivalent scientific revolutions among the practitioners of those other techniques, however, these practices continued to be used unchanged.

This situation ultimately prompted a 2009 report on forensics from the National Academies of Sciences that was critical of a number of evidentiary approaches. Problems continued to be uncovered, ultimately resulting in President Obama asking PCAST to determine what could be done to improve matters. The results of that request are what have now been released.

The report looks at seven different forensic approaches, finding potential or serious problems with all of them.
In no case does it find the techniques live up to the sort of language that has been used to describe them in court: “100 percent certain” or having an error rate that's “zero,” “essentially zero,” or “negligible.” Hair analysis: Here, the new report simply evaluates the science behind the DOJ's report.

Even though this document candidly admitted problems, PCAST felt it didn't go far enough in recognizing the technique's flaws.
In the future, it suggests, these sorts of evaluations are best left to a scientific agency, rather than a legal one. DNA analysis: The basic technique was found to be scientifically sound, but the role of operator error is often downplayed during testimony.

As the PCAST authors put it, "Although the probability that two samples from different sources have the same DNA profile is tiny, the chance of human error is much higher." Investigators are now starting to try to identify suspects using samples where the DNA of several individuals has become mixed.

Early work has established it can be effective for a mixture from up to three people, but its effectiveness in practice hasn't been tested. Fingerprints: This is a subjective process and one where studies have shown that investigators can be subject to confirmation bias if they think they have a match and can be swayed by other evidence from the case.

There are currently no good estimates of error rate, though, and proficiency testing tends to be lacking. PCAST was optimistic about the prospects for computerizing the analysis and converting it from a subjective to objective method. Firearm markings: Different guns are thought to leave distinctive marks on cartridges fired in them. PCAST finds that we only have a single study rigorous enough to define this technique's error rate, which may be as high as one-in-46.

That's a far cry from practitioners' claims that the technique "has near-perfect accuracy." More studies are needed to define an accuracy rate that can be used in testimony, and again, computerized image analysis may convert this from a subjective to an objective technique. Footwear analysis: The PCAST authors didn't question whether a footprint could lead investigators to the type and size of shoe that left the impression.
Instead, they looked for studies that showed distinctive marks from well-worn shoes could be transferred to prints.

There are none.

That, obviously, needs to be corrected. Bitemark analysis: This approach fares the worst in all of the ones examined.
It's a subjective analysis and is one where the examiners can't even agree: "Available scientific evidence strongly suggests that examiners not only cannot identify the source of bitemark with reasonable accuracy, they cannot even consistently agree on whether an injury is a human bitemark." PCAST's conclusions are worth quoting in full: We note that some practitioners have expressed concern that the exclusion of bitemarks in court could hamper efforts to convict defendants in some cases.
If so, the correct solution, from a scientific perspective, would not be to admit expert testimony based on invalid and unreliable methods but rather to attempt to develop scientifically valid methods.

But, PCAST considers the prospects of developing bitemark analysis into a scientifically valid method to be low. We advise against devoting significant resources to such efforts. Overall, the PCAST report finds that most of the forensic techniques it looked at needed to be put on a more firm scientific foundation.

For subjective ones, this would involve testing trained practitioners to determine their error rate; for objective ones, we'd need studies that showed the underlying principles behind the technique actually apply to it.

This work, PCAST suggests, is best carried out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Separately, it calls on the FBI Laboratory to improve the design of black box (blinded) studies of proficiency, as well as ongoing proficiency testing of practitioners.

The FBI Lab should also pioneer the development of objective identification methods. In the meantime, PCAST recommends things we can do now while waiting for that to happen.

The group calls on the attorney general to instruct its court experts on how to make sure the current state of the science is reflected in their testimony.

Federal judges, meanwhile, should be made aware of what the success of these techniques really is and should be ready to block testimony that doesn't accurately reflect it. Unfortunately, these recommendations focus on federal agencies. While it will take some time to see any of them implemented at that level, it will take even longer for the recommendations to filter down to state and local courts.

Cisco confirms NSA-linked zeroday targeted its firewalls for years

NISTreader comments 24 Share this story Cisco Systems has confirmed that recently-leaked malware tied to the National Security Agency exploited a high-severity vulnerability that had gone undetected for years in every supported version of the compa...

Kids’ shoes seller Start-rite suspends sales following breach

Re-used your creds elsewhere? Might wanna change those Children’s shoes retailer Start-rite Shoes has suspended sales following the discovery of an attack by hackers last weekend. UK-based Start-rite reckons hackers may have obtained customer names, postal address, telephone number and email address of its clients. Payment details are not stored on the site and therefore should be safe.
Start-rite has nonetheless decided to suspend ops in order to run a full security audit, as an advisory note by the retailer explains: At the weekend, an unauthorised person managed to breach the security of our website and we reacted immediately implementing a security fix.

As an extra precaution we have temporarily taken startriteshoes.com offline whilst we implement a full security audit. Our system doesn't allow us to currently take orders or payment over the phone, so clients should be wary of approaches on that from because they are likely to come from criminals.

A heightened risk of phishing in general in the biggest practical outcome of the breach. Although reassuring customers that “password information is also secure”, Start-rite is still advising customers to change their login credentials once the site is back up and running.

This isn’t terribly reassuring, especially when set alongside Start-rite's advice to change passwords on third-party sites should customers have re-used the same login credentials elsewhere. A simple statement that passwords were hashed and salted used industry best practices would have been more reassuring. All this aside, Start-rite is apologising to its customers for its temporary suspension of services, though the likely duration is currently unclear.
It promised to run a sale offering 20 per cent off full-priced items and a 70 per cent discount on select goods once it returns online. Start-rite screenshot The front page of Start-rite’s site states that the site is down for maintenance work, which is taking longer than expected.
Information on the breach comes from a customer notification email seen by El Reg. Norwich-based Start-rite – which describes itself as a world leader in children’s fitted footwear – is yet to confirm a breach via its official Twitter feed either. El Reg invited it to clarify the situation but is yet to receive a reply. Boot-note Thanks to Reg reader Leo for the head's up on the breach. Sponsored: Global DDoS threat landscape report

Why online tracking is getting creepier

Online marketers are increasingly trying to track users offline as well.

Vibram can no longer claim its goofy FiveFinger shoes offer health...

A settled class action suit requires company to pay $3.75 million to customers.

Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto discovered in California?

Newsweek wasn't able to confirm it, but has compiled evidence suggesting Nakamoto is living in the US and is now 64 years old. March 6, 2014 9:10 AM PST Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto might have been discovered, despite his best efforts to mai...

NSA Bullrun, 9/11 and Why Enterprises Should Walk Before They Run

In recent years, nearly every time I've seen the National Security Agency at a security event (they're usually out in a recruiting capacity), they bring an Enigma machine.

The Enigma is a code generating machine built by the German military that was cracked by the U.S military, and it played an important role in helping the Allies win World War II. That's what the NSA does—it cracks codes—and that has always been its mission. Last week, reports emerged that the NSA is in fact still pursuing its mission of cracking codes; this time, however, it's not German code machines, but rather the core cryptographic tools that secure the Internet. While there has been a lot of reaction to the disclosure, in my opinion it's important for enterprises to remember and understand a few key facts. Edward Snowden Never Had Access to Bullrun Though Mr. Snowden (the man who has been disclosing information about the NSA's programs) clearly has information on what the NSA is (or was) doing, he didn't have full access.

The full operational details and complete capabilities of the program, code-named "Bullrun," that the NSA has for cracking/influencing Internet cryptography are still shrouded in lots of secrecy. Over the weekend, Nicole Perloth, one of the New York Times reporters who helped write the Snowden Bullrun story, tweeted that her publication didn't publish full details because it didn't have them. Perloth tweeted, "... Snowden was not cleared for Bullrun." The NSA Isn't Interested in You The goal of the NSA is national security to help prevent another 9/11-type attack. With the anniversary of that terrible day coming up this week, it's critical to remember that fact.

If a known terrorist organization sends an encrypted message that could have operational details about an act of violence, shouldn't we all want the "good guys" to know about it, so they can stop it? The 9/11 Commission said that there was a failure in the U.S. intelligence community because they failed "to connect the dots" about the attack. Being able to defeat crypto is a necessary tool.

Now don't get me wrong, in a free and democratic society we need privacy and individual freedom.

The government should not be allowed to invade individual privacy. But it is a balancing act here.

If the NSA stays true to its intended national security purpose, the only people's privacy they should be invading is of those who would do us harm. Your SSL Is Probably Misconfigured The other truth that enterprises need to consider is how they are using cryptography today. One of the big items in the Snowden Bullrun disclosure is the allegation that Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) has been breached by the government. SSL is used by all of us everyday to secure our Web transactions and is a foundational element of Internet security. The truth is that the NSA doesn't really need any crazy tools to actually hack SSL, since in the majority of cases today, SSL is not properly deployed anyway. According to the latest stats from SSL Pulse, just under 25 percent of SSL sites are actually secure. That's right—most enterprises and Websites are not properly using SSL security to begin with. So my suggestion is a simple one. Yes, as people who want to live in a free society and not a police state, we should always be wary of "Big Brother" snooping on us. But we should also tie our own shoes too and learn to walk before we run. Properly configuring SSL is only one (small) piece of the Internet cryptography puzzle, but it's an important one.

The reality that I see everyday is that hackers target the low-hanging fruit and system misconfigurations more so than the exotic zero-day flaws. So fix what you can and configure your own SSL and crypto properly, and then you'll be more secure, regardless of what NSA Bullrun might be able to do. Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist. ${QSComments.incrementNestedCommentsCounter()} {{if QSComments.checkCommentsDepth()}} {{if _childComments}}