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Report: Dumb Password Use on the Decline
January 21, 2015
Millions of Net surfers use obvious passwords to log on to websites, but their numbers appear to be declining. SplashData on Tuesday published its annual list of the top 25 most common -- thus worst -- passwords leaked online. In the top spot was "123456," followed by "password" and "12345." Both "123456" and "password" claimed the top spots in 2013, too.
Businesses Waste Big Bucks Fighting Phantom Cyberattacks
January 21, 2015
Businesses spend an average of $1.27 million a year chasing cyberthreats that turn out to be dead ends. That is one of the findings in a report released last week on the cost of containing malware. In a typical week, an organization can receive nearly 17,000 malware alerts, although only 19 percent of them are considered reliable, the researchers found.
Google Buys In on Musk's Space Internet Plans
January 21, 2015
SpaceX, the space transport services company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, has raised $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity Investments. Together, they will together own almost 10 percent of SpaceX. Musk last November confirmed that SpaceX was developing advanced micro-satellites operating in large formations and would make an announcement in two to three months.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 2
January 20, 2015
The second half of the Top 20 Bloggers list is the half that holds the most surprises and fresh faces. This year, it also has the most variety -- from non-English speakers to blogs targeted at small businesses -- as well as plenty of marketing-oriented content. There also are some re-entries to the list who have rediscovered their blogs and come roaring back.
What SMB CRM Shoppers Want
January 19, 2015
CRM is expected to grow at a steady pace, and CRM customers are sending some specific signals about the functionality they need. Thirty-seven percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses that participated in its annual survey want an integrated suite of multiple CRM applications, Software Advice reported last month. That's up from 7 percent in 2013.
Warning Sony of Coming Storm Wasn't NSA's Department
January 19, 2015
The United States National Security Agency reportedly knew in advance that North Korea was about to hack into Sony's systems. The NSA apparently penetrated North Korea's network through several vectors, including Chinese networks used to connect with the rest of the world and hacker connections in Malaysia. The NSA was able to burrow in using the networks of South Korea and other allies.
What If IBM's Rommetty and Apple's Cook Were to Swing for the Fences?
January 19, 2015
I was at IBM's z13 mainframe launch last week, and it brought back a lot of memories, because I was at IBM when the era of the mainframe collapsed. I also happened to be covering Apple when the era of the Mac collapsed, following the launch of Windows 95, and I have watched both companies recover -- largely by rediscovering what made them great in the first place.
Gadget Ogling: A New Galaxy, Awesome Audio, and One Ring That Doesn't Rule
January 17, 2015
Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that takes freshly announced gadgets out for a hypothetical test run, rendering judgement long before they hit the shelves. In the offing this week: Samsung's latest mid-range smartphone, a gesture-based ring, shiny headphones and much more. Samsung has another mid-range smartphone in the Galaxy A7.
Texas May Be Ground Zero for Musk's Hyperloop Dreams
January 16, 2015
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced plans to build a test track, most likely in Texas, for his envisioned Hyperloop high-speed transportation system. The goal is to allow experimentation with Hyperloop pods, the equivalent of train carriages. The project will be "entirely funded by Musk's companies and other interested private companies," said Frost & Sullivan's said Vishwas Shankar.
Verizon's Cookies Never Crumble
January 16, 2015
Verizon advertising partner Turn is using the carrier's Unique Identifier Header, or UIDH, to maintain tracking cookies on smartphones even after privacy-minded users have deleted them, Jonathan Mayer, a computer scientist and lawyer at Stanford University, reported this week. Turn shares the cookies with dozens of major websites and advertising networks.
3 Reasons Apple Won't Pull the Rug Out From Under GoPro
January 16, 2015
Despite having the most popular camera on the planet in the form of the iPhone, the odds of Apple pulling the rug out from under GoPro by building its own action sports camera system -- even with using its forthcoming Apple Watch as a controller -- are so low they stand in stark contrast to the hysterical selloff of GoPro stock this week. What happened?
Google Pulls Down Shades on Glass' Future
January 16, 2015
Google on Thursday announced that it will shut down its Glass Explorer Program in order to refocus -- but that new versions of Glass will be forthcoming at some unspecified time. The Google Glass team will be moving out of Google X to become an independent entity reporting to Tony Fadell, cofounder and CEO of smart thermometer maker Nest, which Google acquired a year ago.
Cameron Takes Hard Line on Encrypted Communications
January 15, 2015
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is standing for re-election, has vowed to ban personal encrypted communications apps such as Snapchat and WhatsApp if he is voted in. He also will allow UK government security agencies to monitor communications, with warrants signed by the Home Secretary. "The first duty of any government is to keep our country and our people safe," Cameron declared.
Compensation Is the Window on Business
January 15, 2015
The continuing rollout of platform technology is bringing many applications together to support better business processes. Not long ago, it was nearly impossible for back-office people to know what the front office was doing. It was hard for marketing and sales to know how they were affecting each other. It's now easier for different areas of the business to understand operations as a whole.
Wireless Data Plans Are on a Roll(over)
January 15, 2015
Great news: Rollover is back and can save you money. Just in case you haven't heard about it, three wireless carriers have kicked off this new competitive battle with rolling data plans. The good news is rollover data works and saves customers money. During the last month or so, three wireless carriers -- AT&T, T-Mobile and C Spire -- have introduced programs in this space.
Feds Struggle to Keep Up With Digital Access Demand
January 14, 2015
The explosion in the use of mobile devices in the U.S. is posing a major challenge for the federal government to provide public access to agencies via wireless channels. In an effort to keep pace with technology, the U.S. government launched the Digital Government Strategy in May 2012 with the goal of providing citizen access to federal services and information anywhere, anytime, on any device.
Sony Sortie's Smoking Gun Still Missing
January 14, 2015
Recent research from security firm Cloudmark has raised doubt about the purported connection between North Korea and last November's intrusion on Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer networks. The FBI last week continued to press its case that North Korea was behind the cyberattack, pointing to an exposed block of IP addresses allocated to North Korea.
CFPB Shifts Some Power to Mortgage Shoppers
January 13, 2015
The CFPB on Tuesday introduced Owning a Home, a set of online tools designed to make it easier for consumers to comparison shop for the best deal in mortgage financing. With one tool, users can plug in a credit score and ZIP code to get a sense of the current interest rates being offered within a particular area. There is also a guide that walks consumers through various loan options.
The Convoluted Trail Linking North Korea to Sony
January 13, 2015
FBI Director James Comey has "very high confidence" that North Korea was behind last November's cyberattack on Sony, he said last week at Fordham University. New evidence of the link includes documentation of the hackers' failure to cover their tracks with proxy servers on several occasions, Comey said. Several times they got "sloppy" and exposed their home IP addresses.
SCOTUS Seeks DoJ Input on Google-Oracle Java Dispute
January 13, 2015
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday invited the Obama administration to weigh in on whether it should hear arguments in the ongoing dispute between Google and Oracle over Java copyrights. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. "is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States," reads the SCOTUS memo.
The Fallout From the NSA's Backdoors Mandate
January 13, 2015
The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is widely believed to have mandated high-tech vendors build backdoors into their hardware and software. Reactions from foreign governments to the news are harming American businesses and, some contend, may result in the breakup of the Internet. For example, Russia is moving to paper and typewriters in some cases to move certain types of information.
Volkswagen, Ford Win Vehicle of the Year Laurels
January 12, 2015
Volkswagen's Golf has been declared the 2015 North American Car of the Year, and Ford Motor's F-150 is the 2015 North American Truck/Utility of the Year. For the 22nd year running, a panel of jurors from newspapers, television and radio stations, magazines and websites voted to determine which vehicles were truly best of the year, and the honors were bestowed Monday at the auto show in Detroit.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 1
January 12, 2015
The field of CRM bloggers is like the start of a marathon: There may be thousands of entrants, but there are only a few elite runners. Spotting them in the rest of the pack is not always easy -- especially as their enthusiasm for blogging waxes and wanes, or as they move into other formats, like becoming regular columnists in publications. However, there are a few things that identify the elite.
The Secret Stories of CES
January 12, 2015
By this time, you likely are getting a bit sick out of folks talking about wild new products that won't be on the market for weeks or months while you are paying your Christmas bills. So rather than tell you about a slew of new products, I'll focus on the back stories that didn't seem to get much coverage at CES -- what now is the largest technology show in the U.S.

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