NuData Security Reduces the Risk of Account Takeover Frauds by Detecting Criminals Earlier

Vancouver firm NuData Security is challenging how the online security industry deals with web fraud.

“The earlier you can detect fraud or criminal activity the sooner you can put a stop to it,” Jules Campeau, CMO of NuData Security, explained to Techvibes, “whereas a lot of our competition are looking at it after the fact—analyzing it in a forensic manner we are able to give accurate intelligence before it happens.”

A website is not a house: you can’t lock the doors, bar the windows and sound the alarms every time someone browses. You want those who visit to feel welcome, after all that is the whole purpose of a website. But how do you prevent those unsavory characters from entering your home page and soiling your cushions, tracking dirt onto your carpet and taking all your belongings?

In 2009, NuData Security became the solution for a struggling and publicly disliked CAPTCHA market. They created a behavioural analytics engine to understand and profile users before any critical events on the site occur enabling them to show a countermeasure that matched the threat profile of the user.

The behaviour technology developed and now NuDetect, NuData Security’s premiere web-fraud protection software, is protecting the world’s top e-commerce sites and gaining recognition from Gartner Inc., the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, in the Magic Quadrant for Web Fraud Detection.

“NuDetect profiles the user and provides a score based upon not who the user is, but what the intent of the user is,” said Campeau. “It can look at every single interaction event. That can be as simple as a mouse click, a stroke across your smart phone or as complex as filling out a form or entering a password.”

“We look at all events on the website as it leads up to a critical decision point, where you might be authenticating or making a financial transaction,” he continued. “We then compile a profile score on that user and then compare that to what is considered good and bad behaviour on your particular website and in the NuData Cloud to determine if the user is a potential threat.”

NuDetect customizes their scoring algorithm for each unique client, whether they are an e-commerce or a government site. What might seem like loyal customer behaviour on one may be incriminating on another. If NuDetect spots a suspicious user trying to purchase a product or alter information on the website, it would send a risk score to the client. From there, the client assesses the situation and determines the best action going forward, whether it is flagging the transaction for later review or blocking it completely.

“What our clients won’t tolerate,” said Campeau, “is if we’re blocking good customers from transactions. That is called a ‘false positive’ or a ‘customer insult.’ Our clients take that issue  as seriously as they do blocking the actual fraud transactions.”

The technology for NuDetect, behaviour analytics and online security are all continuously innovating. There is a lot to anticipate for the future, but NuData Security is developing features that will help companies determine if someone is pretending to be you. By recognizing biometrics, how you swipe your phone or the speed of your typing, the technology can decide whether there is abnormal behaviour on your device or on your account.

“Recently, the game maker Ubisoft had a data leak,” said Matthew Reeves, Marketing Associate of NuData, “they reported that someone internally had their password stolen. What we hope is that in the future even if the password and username is correct, you could tell they are using the site differently. Like a secondary check.”

“It’s not to say we are going to block you,” Campeau added, “but we might not instantly give you access to sensitive information. We might give you access to your email or the Internet, but we are going to check out some things before we do that. What we are is an enabler for companies to take action on those behaviours.”

NuDetect protects the world’s most successful e-commerce sites, odds are NuData Security is currently protecting websites you frequently use. That is why they are now standing face to face with some of the world’s online security industry leaders, competing with such names as RSA, American Express and etc. A great achievement for a Gastown company that only three years ago rebranded themselves, adapted to the a new technology and changed the game of online security.

Canadian Digital Agency Rival Schools Has Fun Being Creative for Clients


Don’t let the name Rival Schools fool you: their studio in Vancouver is not a classroom with chalkboards and desks, but rather an environment that fosters creativity—action figures, cartoon posters and a ping pong table all work together as inspirational ornaments.

The fun-loving digital agency formed in 2007 and has done work for big name companies such as McDonald’s, Kellogg’s and Nike. Rival Schools began as a service agency, doing projects primarily for clients, both as a mean for survival and a method to gain an education in a constantly changing field. What they know now is that although they want to continue attracting talent and building their portfolio with paying clients, they also want to leverage their skills and create personal projects.

“Diversity and flexibility is challenging and fun,” says Roy Husada, Rival Schools’ cofounder and creative director. “Just doing straight client work can burn you out.”

Bramble Berry Tales, an interactive storybook app is Rival Schools’ newest project conceived from their playground-like studio. The first book in the series titled “The Story of Kalkalilh” written by Marilyn Thomas teaches lessons and sparks imagination as the reader follows Lily and Thomas as they explore the colourful and musical land of Kalkalilh.

“It’s based off of indigenous people,” said Husada. “It comes from the Squamish tribe’s folklore that have been passed down from generations to generations. It has never been officially documented in any mainstream way. But as you know indigenous languages and culture are in a decline.”

The second book entitled “The Great Sasquatch” will be released in October and the third book “The Little People” will be available for download in December 2013. Rival Schools is taking the opportunity to help capture and reinvigorate stories that are essentially the roots of Canada.

Rival Schools value their method of selecting projects. They take pride in working from idea to result, whether it is their own special undertaking like Bramble Berry Tales or a project for a large corporation. The most important factor for Rival Schools is communication.

“A lot of shops say they can do everything,” explains Husada, “that is how we like to label ourselves. We can do everything, but our biggest strength is our ability to combine our craft of user experience and user interface with content. We take concepts from the beginning to the end.”

Innovative curiosity is what keeps Rival Schools going. Entertainment, consumer goods, software and technology are the products, but the real goal is establishing a relationship and working as a team with companies that have the same mindset.

“Clients that aren’t good fit are those who tell us what to build, but not why they want us to build it,” said Husada. “What are they trying to achieve? The analogy is like going to the doctor and telling the doctor what you want. You don’t tell them what you want. You don’t tell them you need a cast—you tell them what is wrong first and they will tell you what you actually need.”

Husada added, “We always tell our clients that we can adapt to a style based on their goals. We don’t have a style. We are not always clean and neat or funky and edgy. It really depends, but what we do is that we look at the end user and we use all our ability to understand the process and empathy to figure what it is that appeals to them and be delightful.”

Mattermark May Change the Way Venture Capitalists Invest in Startups

Mattermark, launched in June, tracks the progress of promising young startups through independent research. It recognizes that although revenues are important, there are many other factors to consider when addressing a young company’s potential.

It seems everywhere we look these days startups are appearing—and disappearing. A study by Allmand Law earlier this year showed that 90% of all tech startups fail. There are many reasons why a company is unsuccessful in gaining traction, attracting an audience and growing their business. Gradual growth or sudden decline, Mattermark will filter out the companies for investors’ benefit.

“We track web-traffic, inbound links, Twitter followers, Facebook likes and all those other means and pull them all together,” explains Danielle Morrill, cofounder and CEO of Mattermark. “Investors spend a lot of time looking up how many Twitter followers a company has or how many people are employed. And even with all that work they don’t have time carrying data to see changes over time. They don’t really have context. Are a thousand Twitter followers a lot? Or did they have a thousand Twitter followers a year ago and haven’t grown that at all?”

It’s a buyers market and venture capitals don’t mind being a bit pickier with their high-risk funding. Mattermark’s broad database is quickly becoming a useful resource for investors seeking promising investments.

“The stats we measure we can get from all businesses out there,” said Morrill. “And most successful companies do grow these stats.”

Mattermark supplies companies’ ranks, customer reports and alerts and detailed profiles of over 160,000 companies all around the world. Investors focus on many different aspects of a company that sparks their interest, some seek general information while others delve into specifics. But when it comes down to it, growth is the most important factor and Mattermark rewards those that successfully achieve progression week after week.

“It helps to understand how hard it is to grow consistently,” Morrill told Techvibes. “We draw attention to companies who are figuring out how to do that, because they are pretty rare. But we think there are a lot of exciting companies that for whatever reason don’t get covered in the press. Rather they don’t have any venture backing, so they don’t have any real reason to make an announcement or to get followed by the press in the first place. Or maybe they don’t know how to tell their story, but we believe that the most important story is that they are growing.”

Mattermark supply daily updates in real-time and are constantly sourcing new companies. The previous week, 1400 companies were added to their list.

“We made a huge effort to clean all the existing data sources and fill in all the gaps,” said Morrill. “For our users we have a lot of features being developed all the time making it faster and easier from them to research companies. They will be able to create custom alerts and reports. And they will also be able to manage their investment pipelines through our applications.”

Private markets are now serving as big investment opportunities and Mattermark wants to be a part in it too. The high risk, high reward private company ventures can be made a lot easier and accessible with Mattermark’s expansive research and database. Although they are only focused on startups at the moment, it is just the beginning.

“In the future it is going to be more and more competitive to invest in the best startups. So we need to help them get a competitive advantage by helping investors move faster and faster.”

Canada Still Discover the Most New Music via Traditional Radio

Music comes at us from all directions now. Songza, Grooveshark, and Youtube are just some common online alternatives to discovering new tunes. But according to Nielsen’s Music 360 Canada report, 61% of Canadians still find new music in the old fashion way—radio.

There was a period when the industry thought terrestrial radio signals would just fade out into the ether, to be replaced by some higher form of technological entertainment. Although those new advancements now exist, the radio is still a reliable source for new music, at least that is what the report shows.

Most music enthusiast tends to veer away from the radio after years of recognizing its repetitive format and endless advertising. With iPod adapters and auxiliary cords available in any car, anyone can now customize their soundtrack for their commute instead of being at the mercy of a radio station. Yet, it goes to show that music is not the forefront of people’s problems, most just want their songs force-fed to them and that is why there is still the radio.

Music video destinations such as VEVO are another new solution to music listening, with 27% of music discovered through these newer channels.

Only 9% and 8% of Canadians use satellite radio and digital music service Rdio to discover new music respectively. Those who listen to those services will discover 25% and 21% more music than the old school methods of movie soundtracks and television.

Fresh music is everywhere. Even though most Canadians still rely on the convenient radio to access new music, there is a rewarding sensation for stepping out of the comfort zone. There is no better time than now to venture online or through a blog and magazine and find a band, an album or a song that will strike a chord with you.

Canadians are Seriously Addicted to Their Smartphones, Google Study Confirms

Like a trusty companion, we have our smartphones close to our sides. We carry it along with us all day, rely on it for communication and information and help us pass the time during coffee breaks and bus rides—but can all that be considered an addiction?

In an online survey conducted by Google earlier this year, out of 1,000 Canadians an estimated 56% have a smartphone, a 33% increase from 2012.

There is no denying the popularity of smartphones, but some believe that we might be too reliant on the technology. About 80% of all smartphone owners admit that they won’t leave their house without it, and two-thirds of those said they use their phone every day during the past week.

“Mobile has become a core part of how people live their lives today,” Google Canada’s head of mobile advertising, Eric Morris told Globe and Mail. “The study shows people are using mobile to change all aspects of their life, whether it’s their job, travel, shopping, the way they communicate with others and specifically trying to understand the world around them.”

So the question might not be about why people are using smartphone so obsessively, but why aren’t they using it more? How long will it take before our mobile devices replace all the alternatives? Can that happen? Approximately 35% of smartphone users confessed that they have replace watching television by watching their phones.

“People watch videos on the biggest screen they have available to them,” said Morris. “Sometimes that’s your 50-inch TV at home, sometimes that’s your tablet while you’re on the couch or in bed and sometimes that’s the smartphone while you’re on the couch or travelling or even in the office. I think one of the interesting things from this survey is there is a lot of mobile consumption that’s being done in the home…on home WiFi.”

Smartphones offer everything from social media to online banking, like our keys and our wallet it has become another essential component of who we are. Whether it is a harmful addiction or just an annoying habit, that is still to be determined, but one thing is for sure, as the mobile industry expands there are bound to be more of it.

An average smartphone user will have 30 apps and use approximately 12 in the past month. About 78% use their smartphone for social media and 52% say they are logged on daily.

In or out-cohol

Illustration by Ed Appleby

Illustration by Ed Appleby

Should public drinking be legalized?

Formerly published in The Other Press. June 4 2013

By Elliot Chan, Staff Writer

In British Columbia and all of Canada, except Quebec, public drinking is not only frowned upon, but illegal. If the sobering law catches you with “open liquor,” you can be charged with a $230 fine—that’s your monthly supply of booze down the drain. Vancouver is recognized around the world for its laid-back attitude, so why are we so uptight when it comes to drinking in public? Is the person walking down the street with an open bottle of Double Diamond any more dangerous than the guy walking down the street with a can of Dr. Pepper? How is binge drinking at home or in a bar any different from binge drinking at a park or at a beach?

If the argument against public drinking is that we’re living in a developed country and that respectable, classy people don’t consume alcohol in the open, consider this: the United Kingdom is as classy as it gets, and they allow drinking in the open. New Zealand, instead of banning “open liquor,” simply created alcohol-free zones, most often situated in business districts. And then we have the Japanese who, despite having public drinking and public intoxication, maintain consistent global dominance. If those societies can function with public drinking, why can’t ours?

What would a day in our life look like with people drinking alcohol in the streets and the parks? Those against public drinking might say that overconsumption in a public setting would cause rowdiness and violence, and without bouncers and bartenders to keep the drinkers in place, tragedy is more likely to occur. Meanwhile, the proponent of public drinking might say that it would normalize our attitude towards alcohol, creating a healthier drinking culture. After all, just because something is legal doesn’t mean people would abuse it. Naps are legal, but you still get out of bed at some point.

There are very few beautiful days in this city, and when we do get some sunlight peeking through the clouds, it would be a pleasure to enjoy a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or even a cocktail in the open without feeling like a criminal.

Liquor laws in BC are fickle; adhering to them is not only difficult for consumers, but also for proprietors. Local theatres such as the Rio on Broadway have been disputing with the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch since 2011, trying to incorporate live theatre, cinema, and liquor consumption. Sadly, LCLB only allows alcohol in live performances, not in movie theatres. “That’s what the province has told us. They’ve made it very clear,” owner and general manager Corinne Lea says. “With this application process we must now be a live venue exclusively.” Since then, Rio has transitioned back to a cinema and live theatre venue, omitting the liquor license.

This year, BC allowed catering companies to obtain liquor licenses to meet their clients’ needs. Before that, people hosting events with liquor required a special occasion license, to complete the Serve it Right course, to purchase and transport the liquor, and to accept all responsibility and liability for the liquor service.

Vancouver is a beautiful city, but the stress it puts on itself makes it an ugly place to live sometimes. While some might call it a First World problem, I disagree. A law that makes criminals out of decent people simply aiming to enjoy a gorgeous day with a harmless beverage is a social problem.

Vigneault to go


Formerly published in The Other Press. June 4 2013

By Elliot Chan, Staff Writer

The argument is not whether or not Alain Vigneault’s seven years with the Vancouver Canucks was a failure. After all, he is the winning-est coach in franchise history and the recipient of the 2007 Jack Adam Award. He coached two Presidents’ Trophy teams and got the Canucks all the way to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. He has done everything possible, except win the cup and that is why it’s his time to go.

With Vigneault’s leadership, the Canucks have become a tough team to cheer for. An undisciplined team that whines over every call and flail like soccer players at every check. “We deserve it,” felt like the mentality of the Canucks these past few seasons, instead of most other teams’, which is, “we’ll earn it.” They expected everything to be handed to them and that made them consistently lose in the playoffs despite having such an elite team. The Canucks might be straight-A students in the classroom, but out on the playground they are incompetent.

He is always diplomatic and polite, but he never had any fire. In his press conference after game four of the 2013 Stanley Cup quarterfinals against San Jose, Vigneault looked absolutely defeated as he answered questions. Meanwhile, his players were in the locker room complaining about a bad penalty against Daniel Sedin in overtime. It was a pathetic image, far worse than getting swept in the first round.

The Canucks have never been a team with killer instincts. A long history of losing to bad teams and playing well against good teams made Vancouver an incoherent group. Leadership has always been a problem with the Canucks from the days of the soft-spoken Markus Naslund to “unable to do much because he’s a goalie,” Roberto Luongo, and then to the other soft-spoken Swede Henrik Sedin. The team needs a passionate leader that doesn’t only lead by example, but also by exclaiming it. Vigneault was not the type of man that gets his team fired up, he couldn’t rock the boat and he never won a championship.

Vigneault might have squandered the best years of the Vancouver Canucks, and any coach after will be working with the remains of a first-class team, but there are a few Head Coach-calibre candidates out in the market that may be suitable for our deteriorating Canucks squad. Former Rangers bench boss, John Tortorella has a quality that might just force the team to the next level. His fiery attitude is exactly what this undisciplined team needs, and he would do wonders when it comes to short-term goals, such as winning the Stanley Cup.

Another candidate would be Lindy Ruff, who for many years has been waiting to join a competitive hockey team. Renounced as one of Canada’s top coaches year after year, it would be interesting to see what he could bring to a team that has metaphorically been colouring within the lines for so many years.

Vigneault was not GM Mike Gillis’ organic choice. He was the hand-me-down of former GM Dave Nonis, and although they had a successful six-year partnership, Gillis will now search for a coach that can lead with an iron fist and not just a courteous smile.

Here are the Five Innovative Startups That Will Present at Democamp Vancouver 15

On July 25, Vancouver will hostDemocamp 15, an event that offers five startups the opportunity to showcase their work to a crowd and gain feedbacks and ideas, as well as network with the rest of the local technology community.

The event clearly states that there will be no PowerPoint presentations or droning lectures. Rather there would be a five-minute demo presentation followed by five minutes of audience Q&A. Democamp was introduced as a show and tell platform, which highlights shipped products already in existence, contrary to pitching new products for accelerators.

It has been over a year since that last Democamp and event organizer Ian MacKinnon decided to try something different in order to solidify interest. By using a crowdfunding platform called “Picatic,” Democamp was able to raise the necessary funding as well as sell 50 tickets weeks in advance. And to reward those enthusiastic funders and attendees, the first 50 people to purchase tickets were offered a chance to go online and vote for the demoers they most wanted to see.

Those selected were PerchHarp PlatformpoweredbyDRA/Mall RatØidle and Socualizer.

Perch is an app that turns iOS devices into an always-on video portal. The app is specifically designed to connect two spaces together, which will create a burden-free method of communication unlike other system. The experience of speaking with someone through the Perch portal is second only to having him or her in the room with you.

The developers of PhoneGap created Harp Platform to help web content publishers easily present and develop their works by being integrated with Dropbox.

PoweredbyDRA/Mall Rat was developed to make building, managing and deploying “tailored smart maps” to web and mobile devices easier. They define “tailored smart maps” as a stylized, vector-based map that includes indoor navigation. Their first product, Mall Rat was specifically designed for the mobile shopping mall experience.

Øidle is a quick and easy service that assists those seeking a perfect venue. It turns the time consuming job of finding vacant event space into a simple search, so that event organizers don’t have to settle.

Socualizer is a social media visualizer developed by Google Chrome. It allows event marketers to engage audiences through Twitter and Instagram, by tracking hashtags and mentions.

You can get a chance to see all five chosen startups present their product at Democamp 15 for a general admission price of $10.

Vancouver’s Mobile Community Discusses Future of Marketing at DigiBC’s MoMoVan

There was once a time when we would roll out of bed and flick on the television and digest the morning news with a fresh cup of coffee.

Now many people admit that they start the day off by reaching for their mobile devices and routinely checking each of their apps and sites for current events, social and business correspondences and progression in their Clash of Clans economy. Mobile devices have changed every little thing we do, but it is still a relatively new technology and businesses are only starting to understand how to harness its full potential.

On Monday July 8, 2013, DigiBC presented MoMoVan, a digital marketing event that addressed businesses’ shift to become mobile first. Whether it is promoting a new product or supplying news, companies recognized that mobile is the media format of the future. But which platform should a company choose is still to be determined, mobile sites versus apps? That was a major question the panel at MoMoVan tried to tackle.

“It depends on what you are trying to accomplish,” said Johann Starke, president of FCV, an interactive and digital marketing agency. “Apps work great, but if you are building an app for a political party with a campaign where the content has to change, it depends on how it is structured. What if there is a problem? What if you need to update it? You are totally at their [App Store approval] mercy. I think the things that have time constraints, you are better off doing a mobile site and use apps for things that are product based.”

“Apps are a bit of a gamble,” Starke added. “You got to be careful that you time it right. I’ve heard horror stories about stuff taking 90 days from the time you send it in for approval and if they reject anything you’ll have to fix it. So it is tricky.”

Apps are a big commitment for companies, but for users they tend to be nothing more than a short-term fling, a impulse download followed by neglect and then deletion. There are only a handful of apps that have sustainable relevance and remain a permanent fixture on my iPhone.

Apps are a premium experience and it comes with a price. A quality app with a poorly planned purpose will result in lost of time and money. “The reality is,” said Sandy Fleischer, Managing Partner at Pound & Grain, “apps are going to break. It depends on the complexity, but ultimately apps are software, while websites can sometimes be brochure-ware. In general, the maintenance requirement for an internal app is going to be more so than on a website.”

Despite all that, new apps are being produced. Apple announced that in June that there are now over 900,000 apps in the App Store. That is a 28% increase from one year ago.

In terms of user data, people spend a lot more time on apps than browsing mobile site. But some believe the market is now saturated and it is about time we see a decline in app productions. We don’t need another weather forecast, currency converter or food review app. We have reached a point where only the best apps should survive.

After all, what is the point of spending money and time creating something that will only be lost in the desolate sea of icons?

FinanceIt Launches New iPad App Enabling Businesses to Offer Consumer Finance

FinanceIt celebrated the fourth of July not with fireworks, but by launching their new iPad app, which will be available to the public in early August. For those who are tired of fussing over finance, the app is worth the wait even though access at first will be limited due to its first-come, first-served registration basis.

By using the iPad camera to scan a photo ID for an instant loan approval, FinanceIt’s mobile app will allow businesses to reduce the consumer funding process to less than five minutes and is completely paperless.

Businesses in retail, healthcare and home improvement will be the first to utilize the new app. Some other businesses that the app will be initially available for are furniture and electronic stores, dental practices, home renovation contractors and other retail businesses.

FinanceIt launched in 2011 and since then they have enabled over 2,300 retail, home improvement, health and vehicle businesses to process over $380 million in loans.

“We provide small and medium sized businesses with the tools they need to compete with big box retailers,” said FinanceIt COO, Casper Wong. “By taking advantage of marketing programs like ‘0% financing’ or ‘don’t pay for 12 months’ these businesses can gain a significant competitive advantage at no additional cost.”

FinanceIt’s mobile app is expected to cause some disruption in the retail credit card industry with 80% loan approval rates and no cost to merchants. The app provides instant point of sale financing for loans under $5,000 with a simple scan of a driver’s license.

FinanceIt is planning to release the second version of the app in Fall 2013; the new features will include the vehicle program and maximum loan amount of up to $60,000—features that are currently available on the web platform.