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Business/Customer Sweet Spots: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 2
January 16, 2020
If you're a small business owner or a key member of an enterprise executive team, you want your firm to succeed. If you're a customer, you want to be treated well. Those goals are not diametrically opposed, but very often it seems that companies and customers are at cross-purposes. ECT News Network recently gathered together five technology experts who did some hard thinking on the subject.
Apple, DoJ Grapple Over Cracking Terrorist's iPhones
January 15, 2020
Apple and the U.S. Justice Department are at it again. This time it's over cracking a brace of iPhones owned by the Saudi Air Force cadet who killed three sailors in a shooting spree last month at the naval air station in Pensacola, Florida. At a news conference on the findings of an investigation into the incident, U.S. Attorney General William Barr called out Apple for refusing to help the FBI.
Clock Runs Out for Windows 7 Holdouts: Upgrade or Replace?
January 14, 2020
After 10 years of fully supporting Windows 7, Microsoft ended its official support for the out-of-date Windows operating system on Tuesday. The popular classic Windows 7 OS still runs on some 200 million PCs around the globe, according to industry estimates. Users include small business owners, some larger companies, and hordes of consumers holding onto aging personal computers.
The Most Important Autonomous Car Announcement at CES
January 13, 2020
Getting around Las Vegas during CES is a nightmare. One evening I wanted to go to the In-N-Out Burger place, and even though it was only a mile or two from my hotel, the traffic was so bad that I doubted I'd make there and back before midnight -- and it was only 6 p.m. I used to try to walk CES, but the miles of fast walking on concrete ripped the soles off both my feet one year.
Cybersecurity 2020: The Danger of Ransomware
January 10, 2020
Ransomware tops the list of cybersecurity threats for 2020. While there have been efforts to convince individuals, corporations and municipalities not to pay ransoms, the simple fact is that whenever one is paid, the attack becomes a success that encourages cyberthieves to try again. Ransomware attacks increased 18 percent in 2019, up from an average 12 percent increase over the past five years.
Tech Strides, Tech Worries and Tech Visions: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 1
January 8, 2020
If you're turned off by the mere thought of talking heads vying to speak the loudest or the longest in a TV "discussion" of some pressing issue of the day, read on for a refreshing dose of sanity. ECT News Network recruited five smart people with plenty to say about the state of technology, and we gave them plenty of time to say it. The result is a far-ranging intercourse.
Is Your Health Data at Risk?
December 20, 2019
We've recently seen much breathless news coverage of the Nightingale Project, Google's half-secret partnership with Ascension, the second-largest healthcare system in the U.S. The details of the project -- which involves sharing the healthcare data of tens of millions of unsuspecting patients -- have raised significant concerns. The concerns have centered around issues that by now are familiar.
Tech Firms Join Forces to Create Smart Home Connectivity Standard
December 19, 2019
Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance are teaming up on a new Internet Protocol-based standard for smart home device connectivity. Connected Home over IP will be an open source project. A working group will define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification. The goal is to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps and cloud services.
Google's Chrome 79 Puts Heavy Emphasis on Security
December 12, 2019
Google has released an update to its Chrome browser with a slew of new features that are heavy on security. The new version has 51 security fixes. It offers improved password protection over earlier versions, real-time phishing protection, and predictive phishing tools. Google recognizes the issues and has taken steps to fix them, noted James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4.
Facebook Won't Let US, UK, Australia Get Toe in Backdoor
December 11, 2019
Facebook has rejected a request from the U.S., the UK and Australia for a "backdoor" in its encrypted messenger apps to help law enforcement agencies combat crime and terrorism. "Cybersecurity experts have repeatedly proven that when you weaken any part of an encrypted system, you weaken it for everyone, everywhere," wrote WhatsApp head Will Cathcart and Facebook Messenger head Stan Chudnovsky.
Your Smart TV Could Give Hackers a Window on Your World
December 6, 2019
Cybercriminals have discovered ways to compromise smart TVs, the FBI recently warned. Smart TV owners should do their due diligence to secure the devices, the bureau urged. Smart TVs are just as accessible to unauthorized parties as computers or other Internet-connected devices. Because many TVs now feature microphones and cameras, predators could commit serious privacy intrusions.
How the Quantum Tech Race Puts the World's Data at Risk
November 27, 2019
The technology one-upmanship between the United States and China is fast becoming the new space race. There's been a lot of talk in the press about the competition to reach 5G, but little traction outside of the tech community about something more momentous: the dangers of computing in a post-quantum world. The recent news from Google about its quantum capabilities is exciting.
How Safe Are Home Security Systems?
November 21, 2019
I have loved the story of Ring doorbells ever since seeing the CEO Jamie Siminoff on TV's Shark Tank several years ago. I also loved the SimpliSafe story with CEO Chad Laurans. Companies like these, including competitors Blink and Nest -- all started by creative entrepreneurs -- are changing the security industry. However, there are several problems users need to be aware of.
Windows 7 End of Life
November 19, 2019
Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 on Jan. 14, 2020. Windows 7 will continue to run on Jan. 14 as it did on Jan. 13. So why is it so important to upgrade to Windows 10? The answer: cybercrime. End of support means that Windows 7 no longer will receive the OS patches or security updates that keep your IT systems safe. Uusing an unpatched out-of-date system is like leaving the door wide open.
The Thorny Problem of 5G Security
November 15, 2019
A few years ago, putting the words "mobile telecoms security" in the title of an article would be a license to write whatever you wanted below, because no one was likely to read any of the words after the title. Sprinkling the magic ingredient 5G has changed this, and "5G security" is a hot topic now. What has changed? There is a geopolitical aspect to 5G security, but it is not the full story.
Calling All Retailers - Ready or Not, CCPA Is on Its Way
November 9, 2019
We're just a few short months away from the California Consumer Privacy Act going into effect. The regulation brings privacy rights to residents in California and gives them control of their personal information and how companies can use it. Any business that sells to a California resident needs to be CCPA-compliant. Nearly every brick-and-mortar store nowadays has an e-commerce site.
Researchers Use Lasers to Hack Smart Speakers
November 6, 2019
University researchers have discovered a way to issue unauthorized commands to digital assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, Facebook Portal and Siri via laser beams. The microphones in devices like smart speakers, mobile phones and tablets convert sound into electrical signals, but what the researchers found was that the mics react to light aimed directly at them, too.
Smart Speaker Apps Caught Snooping Around Homes
October 22, 2019
Flaws in Amazon and Google smart speakers can expose users to eavesdropping and voice phishing. Researchers at Security Research Labs discovered that developers could create malicious apps for the Amazon and Google platforms to turn the smart speakers into smart spies. Using the standard development interfaces for the platforms, the researchers found a way to request and collect personal data.
Adopt a Maintenance Mindset: Protect IT
October 18, 2019
As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the National Cyber Security Alliance is advising all computer users to "Protect IT" by taking precautions such as updating to the latest security software, Web browser and OS. The nonprofit public-private partnership, which works with DHS and private sector sponsors, advised computer users on ways to protect their personal data.
Security First: The Double-Edged Sword of Collaboration
October 14, 2019
Online tech support scams have been on the rise for the past decade, as hackers found new ways to trick consumers into providing remote access to their computers in order to steal information. This tried-and-true scam currently relies on sophisticated social engineering, fueled by detailed user information that creates enough credibility to dupe even the most savvy and skeptical users.
Setting Up Roadblocks to Social Engineering
October 11, 2019
Since the dawn of the Internet age, criminals have looked for ways to profit on unsuspecting people while they browse the Web. Viruses, malware and other schemes were invented to infect and infiltrate systems, both at the enterprise and consumer levels. One of the most successful forms of cybercrime is social engineering, also known as the con man of the Internet.
Stop Cyberattacks in Their Tracks: Secure IT
October 10, 2019
Stopping cyberattacks requires diligent behavior. One of the themes of this year's National Cyber Security Awareness Month, or NCSAM, is that all computer users should take steps to Secure IT. That means shaking up the passphrase protocol by using not just strong passwords but strong and unique passphrases. Everyone should double login protection through multifactor authentication.
Get Serious About Cybersecurity: Take Ownership of Your Personal Data
October 4, 2019
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and one of the prongs in the three-part theme is for all computer users to "Own IT." This means staying safe on social media, updating privacy settings, and keeping tabs on apps. Simply put, users need to take better ownership of their data and their online presence as part of daily safe cyber practices.
eGobbler Malvertising Attack Infects More Than a Billion Ads
October 2, 2019
Two eGobbler malvertising exploits impacted 1.16 billion programmatic ads between Aug. 1 and Sept. 23, according to Confiant, which has been tracking the threat. The first targeted versions of Chrome prior to Chrome 75 on iOS. The flaw was fixed in the Chrome 75 rollout June 4. he second exploit impacted WebKit-based browsers. Confiant reported it to the Chrome and Apple security teams Aug. 7.
Congress Eyes Google's Chrome Encryption Plans
October 1, 2019
Google's plans to test an encrypted Internet DNS protocol reportedly have spurred some members of Congress to consider opening an antitrust investigation. They are concerned that the new technology could give Google an edge over competitors by making it harder for them to access consumer data. Google is experimenting with new ways to enhance online privacy.
Spotlight on Cybersecurity Awareness: Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT
September 27, 2019
Cybersecurity should be a concern for all businesses -- large and small. Cybersecurity also should be a concern for consumers, government agencies, and basically anyone who relies on the Internet in our increasingly connected world. Among efforts to focus attention on the threatscape is designating October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Amazon Trying Out Hand-Scanning Payment System: Report
September 5, 2019
Amazon is testing scanners that can identify a human hand to use as a payment method for in-store purchases. The company plans to introduce "Orville" to some Whole Foods stores by the beginning of 2020, and later expand it to all locations in the United States. Employees at Amazon's New York offices are said to be using the technology to buy items from specially equipped vending machines.
Verizon Steps Up Fight Against Rampant Robocalls
August 29, 2019
Verizon, the No. 1 mobile carrier in the United States, this week introduced a free version of its robocall-blocking app, which will be standard on all new Android devices. The company further announced that it will auto-enroll eligible Android users to its Call Filter service and block what are seen as "high-risk" calls. This includes calls from numbers that have been reported as fraudulent.
Report: Chinese Hackers Eye US Cancer Research
August 27, 2019
Hackers affiliated with the Chinese government have been making a concerted effort to steal medical research, particularly cancer research, from U.S. institutions. The step-up in medical research theft by Chinese APT hacker groups appears to be linked to China's growing concern over cancer mortality rates and increasing healthcare costs. Cancer in the leading cause of death in China.
Yubico Offers Dual Lightning, USB-C Dongle to Secure Devices
August 21, 2019
Owners of iPhones looking for an extra measure of protection when using applications and logging into websites can get it with a new dongle from Yubico. Its new YubiKey 5Ci, which retails for $70, supports both USB-C and Apple's Lightning connectors on a single device. The dual connectors can give security-conscious consumers and enterprise users strong hardware-backed authentication.
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