Today in APIs: Canada Will Hold Massive Hackathon in September

Canada to hold its biggest Hackathon this September. Hackers use Bitly API keys to hack news sites and misdirect users. Plus: Inside Shutterstock's hackathon, and Azavea becomes a Google civic information partner.

Canada to Hold its Largest Hackathon Ever

Hack the North, at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo Ontario September 19-21 features 36 hours of hacking.

hack Canada

Successful applicants will have travel expenses paid. As Sarah Bennett wrote in Techvibes,

The event is not only an opportunity to show off skills or learn new ones, but it’s a chance to network with engineers and recruiters from companies like Microsoft and Apple. Vucicevich said copies of participants’ applications, which resemble resumes, will be given to companies attending the event. More than 1,500 people have already applied for the 1,000 spots, and with more applications coming in everyday, it seems everyone wants to be part of Hack the North.

To apply, go directly to Hack the North.

Breaking the News: How Hackers Use Bitly API Keys from News Sites to Divert Users

You can make life more convenient for developers by making your Bitly API keys publicly available...right? That calculation by notable news organizations like MSNBC and Fox News opens the door to hackers, according to an article in Fastcompany. Using those keys, hackers create custom URL shorteners that look legitimate but steer users to fraudulent sites. This spam spread through email, Yahoo Groups and Google Groups, according to Websense Security Labs. As Alice Troung reports in Fastcompany,

To prevent such abuse, Websense recommends companies conceal their Bitly API keys and use two-factor Authentication for added security. "All requests to the Bitly API should be done on the website's back end, on the server-side. This means that the API Key will never be seen by public users on the front end and your API key remains safe," said the company.

MSNBC has been alerted to the issue. But the widespread practice of keeping keys in plain view may be much harder to change.

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Be sure to read the next Hacking article: The Human Rights Foundation Will Host 'Hack North Korea'