Between the lines
By John Klossner
“antiquated” software was
blamed for long Beach,
Calif.’s failure to collect
in parking fines over
SOURCE: LONG BEACH CI T Y AUDI TOR
Absent at Most
New App Store Caters to Robot Fans
if you want to waltz with your Roomba or remotely control your flying AR Drone, there’s an online store that sells apps that let you do those things, and
more. In fact, there are more than 300 apps
available at the new site, Robot AppStore.com.
The e-marketplace — the brainchild of
longtime robotics enthusiast, programmer
and innovator Elad Inbar — is unabashedly
modeled after other online app stores. With
over 20 million domestic robots in use, Inbar
said, there’s a natural market for robot-related
apps, just as there are markets for games and
Analyzing the way the app market has
evolved, he pointed out that it was difficult
to make money creating games for mobile
phones 10 years ago, because developers had
to rewrite each app for every phone. But using
today’s tools, it’s possible to build apps that
run on multiple devices.
Inbar said he expects the same type of
progress in the robot apps world: A new class
of tools not yet available will help developers
build ever-more-complex and interesting apps
for consumer-grade robots.
Despite rising concerns that cyber
attacks are growing more and more
sophisticated, hackers used rela
tively simple methods for 97% of
data breaches in 2011, according to
a report compiled by Verizon.
The findings suggest that orga
nizations are overlooking basic
precautions even as they buy new
security systems. Verizon also found
that in 80% of attacks, hackers hit
socalled victims of opportunity —
poorly defended sites that happen to
catch their eye — rather than target
ing specific companies.
Based on investigations into over
850 data breaches, the report was
compiled with help from the U.S. Se
cret Service and with input from law
enforcement agencies in the U.K.,
the Netherlands, Ireland and Austra
lia, according to Verizon.
For the first time, attacks by
socalled “hacktivist” groups such
as Anonymous breached more re
cords — over 100 million — than did
hackers looking specifically to steal
financial or personal data.
Often, the breached companies
lacked firewalls, had ports open
to the Internet or used default or
easytoguess passwords, said Marc
Spitler, a Verizon security analyst.
All told, he said, “it is about going
back to basic security principles.”