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Thursday, June 12, 2014

News roundup: This week's tech topics

Artificial intelligence, another code bug, and enterprise tech trends: Here are four snippets from this week's tech news.

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These four stories have captured the attention of the tech community this week:

A win for artificial intelligence?
The Turing Test, conceived by World War II codebreaker Alan Turing in 1950, is one of the leading assessments to understand the advancement of artificial intelligence. Basically, the test involves a series of "conversations" between a computer program and an adult, with a judge deciding whether the interlocutor is man or machine. If the computer fools 30 percent of judges into thinking it's a flesh-and-blood person, the machine wins the game. 

This week, a computer program designed by Russian and Ukrainian computer scientists supposedly passed the test by convincing one-third of judges that it was a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, The Guardian reported. Despite some criticisms that the age and nationality of the persona made it easier to overcome linguistic challenges and a lack of sophistication, the feat is said to mark a milestone for artificial intelligence, with some commentators noting the possible implications for cybercriminal activity.

Discussion continues over another vulnerability in OpenSSL 
Importantly, the latest OpenSSL vulnerability is no Heartbleed Bug, as InfoWorld emphasized. But the discovery of another problem in the code of the popular encryption protocol has renewed concerns over security and open source development methods. The newly discovered vulnerability, which had been present in the code for over a decade, makes it possible for hackers to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks. However, to exploit this issue requires very specific conditions, with the hacker positioned between two computer systems using programs that make use of the affected version of OpenSSL. Some experts have called out potential problems for VPN users, but the issue is not expected to have the sweeping consequences of the Heartbleed discovery.

Will CYOD replace BYOD? 
MobileEnterpriseEdge described a rising trend that might offer an attractive alternative to bring-your-own-device policies for some organizations. CYOD, or choose-your-own-device, involves employers offering their workers a list of corporate-provided gadgets they can select for work purposes. The idea behind this arrangement is to reduce some of the challenges of implementing BYOD options, since it gives IT departments more direct control over the devices used within the company's network and for the organization's data resources. 

Nonetheless, BYOD probably isn't going anywhere fast. The source also noted that Gartner predicted 50 percent of employers will have BYOD policies by 2017. In either case, developing a strong mobile security policy and supporting employees with the right resources will help companies overcome the hurdles of a more portable workplace.

Apple usage increasing in the enterprise
According to a new study by Dimensional Research, commissioned by JAMF Software, enterprises are adopting Apple technology at a "frantic" pace, eWEEK reported. Surveying 300 IT professionals, the report found:

  • 90 percent support Apple devices
  • 91 percent support iPhones
  • 89 percent support iPads
  • 60 percent support Macs

User preference was the main reason driving this trend. However, companies also revealed they were struggling to support and manage these devices, with IT teams needing to adjust their strategies. At the same time, Apple recently announced new features for enterprise users coming with the OS release this fall, the source added.