Thursday, March 25, 2010

What Browser is Safe? Maybe Chrome

Similar to stealing this newly featured pony segway (via Gizmodo) from someone, is the ease to which Hackers were able to bypass security on Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7, Firefox 3 on Windows 7, Safari 4 on Mac OS X 10.6, and iPhone OS 3.

Yesterday at the annual CanSecWest digital security conference and the renowned Pwn2Own contest, these well-known companies had to watch contestants demolish their security. provides the details,

"The well-known name of Charlie Miller returned this year and took down Safari, a feat he has achieved three years running. Vincenzo Lozzo (of Zynamics) and Ralf-Philipp Weinman (post-doctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg) managed to bypass the iPhone OS security, and Peter Vreugdenhil hacked Internet Explorer 8. Firefox was taken down by Nils."
Each contestant that succeeded gets $10,000 and the laptop that they hacked into. For more details on prizes, check out DVLabs website.

The funny thing is that no one attempted to hack into Google Chrome. This is starting to make me think that I should download Chrome for my MAC. I wonder if Firefox 3 on a Mac OS X could be hacked into. Anyone know?

Otherwise, I think that what these companies are doing is very intelligent. This will provide them the ability to make their browsers stronger against security glitches and problems. If I were them, I would hire the people that hack into their applications. Obviously, these people could prove to be a great asset in making their applications stronger.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Yelp I Trust, Do you?

I decided my comeback should be on something that I am passionate about. Can you guess what it is? YELP!

I have been a yelper for some time so I may be biased on the recent article that was displayed in the Washington Post, "Review site Yelp under fire in business' lawsuits." I know some businesses do risky things to make some cash but I would like to believe that Yelp wouldn't do that.

First of all, if you don't know what yelp is then...STOP LIVING UNDER CHEWBACCA! Yelp is a social networking site that let's consumers rate and review businesses. For example, you are looking for a good Thai restaurant near where you live but you don't have any friends that eat Thai food (or you don't have any friends). Who can you ask? There's Google for starters, but it only suggests places nearby. It doesn't tell you whether they are good, what dish is best, what kind of atmosphere the place is or how to woo the hot server on Tuesday nights. These are things you need to know!

Yelp provides this information. If you are still confused then you can check out my yelp reviews here.

Getting to the point, Yelp "
is being sued by several small businesses that claim they've been pressured to advertise on the site in exchange for getting negative reviews squashed." What it seems to me is that companies are complaining about free speech. If this was someones personal blog and they had positive and negative reviews and some went missing then the companies wouldn't sue them! If your business sucks and you can't give good customer service then stop complaining. Maybe you should improve your business and then people wouldn't write anything negative. If I were the business then I would take it upon myself to read the reviews as constructive criticism. Make an account and offer the people that write negative reviews an incentive to come back after you fix the problem they are complaining about.

I think Jerry Stoppelman, Yelp co-founder and CEO said it best,

"the businesses suing the company don't understand how Yelp works. Some reviews might come and go because it relies on an automated program to weigh reviews and filter out ones that might be untrustworthy, such as a negative review a spa owner might write about a competitor. Yelp does nothing to manipulate reviews, aside from allowing advertisers to choose one review they would like to feature at the top of the page about their business...the automated filter has helped Yelp stay relevant to consumers, even though it frustrates some businesses."
Although, I'm starting to wonder if by chance this could have been a scam. If it was, then Yelp would have denied the accusations. Maybe Yelp is guilty but for now, I'm going to believe they are not. If it wasn't for yelp, I would not have found the gym that I love so dearly. I should write a review about my gym. To bad I can't write a review about the person talking real loud about their intimate relationship with their boyfriend in Starbucks.

What do you think about this Yelp dilemma? Do you trust them or not? Do you dare to Yelp? I dare you!