Test and Grade App Security ...

... with a new service. Whether it’s with your own custom code or a packaged application, software security is one of the biggest unknowns. Did programmers mistakenly code in a buffer overflow vulnerability or unintentionally install a rootkit? Did the architect leave out encryption at a key point in a transaction? Who knows? Well, you can, if you subscribe to a new software-security grading service unveiled this week by Vera­code Inc. in Burlington, Mass. CEO Matt Moynahan says Veracode’s new SecurityReview service will run software through a battery of tests looking for flaws and then give it a three-letter grade, much like Moody’s evaluations for investors. He says the A-through-F report cards will look at three distinct security issues — vulnerabilities in the code, the absence or presence of security features, and whether an application contains malware. For example, he says, it’s possible to get an AAF rating if software aces the vulnerability and security feature tests but contains a back door. CIOs can submit their internal applications for testing, or they can tell vendors they won’t buy their products unless they have them tested. Moynahan says turnaround times for test results will be between 24 and 72 hours. Pricing starts at $5,000 per application.

Matt Moynahan

Matt Moynahan Kids get tech boost ...

... from teaching service. Barclay Burns likens using software to using symbol systems such as languages and mathematics. And the best way for students to gain fluency with such systems is to be able to create with them, he says. That’s why he co-founded Learning Internet Inc. in Portland, Ore., where he’s chairman, and launched Learning.com. There you’ll find the EasyTech curriculum, which provides files for use with subjects like science to help teach K-8 students to use software such as spreadsheets and word processors. For math class, for example, they might learn how to make a pie chart in order to better understand fractions. CEO William Kelly adds that the EasyTech technology-literacy service also teaches students techniques for judging content validity on the Web. “The 21st century is no longer a print-based world for kids,” he says. Students need to know how to determine the value of online information by doing things such as evaluating the organizations that link to a site or using the WHOIS tool to find out who owns it. As an example he points to www.martinlutherking.org, which targets students but is run by white supremacists. EasyTech’s success has prompted Learning.com to launch its first core-curriculum service, Aha!Math, for the coming academic year. Pricing for school districts starts at $9 per student per year.

Schools can get PCs ...

... for as little as $70. That’s the bold claim by Stephen A. Dukker, chairman and CEO of NComputing Inc. in Redwood City, Calif. He says that if you install a pair of his X Series PCI cards into a $500 PC, you can get seven users on the machine at once — three per PCI card, and one working directly on the PC. NComputing’s L Series can link up to 30 students via Ethernet to a high-end PC. NComputing’s technology currently runs Windows, so a school district’s licensing deal with Microsoft Corp., as well as the cost of monitors, keyboards and mice, would have to be added to the price per student. Still, Dukker claims, NComputing is making affordable PC use possible for virtually every student in every school district. Later this year, NComputing will deliver a version that runs Linux and Ubuntu software, making the cost even lower.

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