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The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
VA Gives Thumbs Up to Commercial IT Software
June 30, 2017
A Veterans Affairs decision to pursue a new direction in processing health records has created a highly visible endorsement of the use of COTS information technology by federal agencies. President Trump cited the VA's action as an example of the administration's commitment to vastly improve federal IT management. The sheer size of the VA makes the decision to use an outside contractor noteworthy.
Will Record Fine Cramp Google's Style in Europe?
June 29, 2017
The European Commission has walloped Google unit with a record $2.7 billion for giving its own shopping comparison site preference above smaller competitors, and thus abusing its dominant position as a search engine. Google must end the conduct within 90 days or face penalties of 5 percent of its average daily global revenue, the EC said. Google expressed disagreement with the EC's findings.
Petya Ransomware Sinks Global Businesses Into Chaos
June 28, 2017
A new ransomware exploit dubbed "Petya" struck major companies and infrastructure sites this week, following last month's WannaCry ransomware attack, which struck more than 300,000 computers worldwide. Petya is believed to be linked to the same set of hacking tools as WannaCry. Petya already has impacted a Ukrainian international airport and shut down radiation monitoring systems at Chernobyl.
Cyberattackers Kick Down a Few Parliament Email Doors
June 27, 2017
The United Kingdom's Parliament on Monday reported a cyberattack on its email system over the weekend, when hackers attempted to access user accounts without authorization. Due to the "robust measures" in place to protect the legislative body's accounts and networks, fewer than 1 percent of the 9,000 accounts on the network were compromised, officials said. Accounts that were compromised reportedly had weak passwords.
DHS to Congress: The Russians Are Coming Back
June 22, 2017
The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday conducted a hearing focusing on the impact of Russian hacking on the 2016 elections. Members heard testimony from former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was in charge of the department when the actual hacking took place during the final months of the Obama administration. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the cyberattack, Johnson said.
OTA Report: Consumer Services Sites More Trustworthy Than .Gov Sites
June 22, 2017
The Online Trust Alliance on Tuesday released its 2017 Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll. Among its findings: Consumer services sites have the best combined security and privacy practices. FDIC 100 banks and U.S. government sites are the least trustworthy, according to the audit. The number of websites that qualified for the honor roll is at a nine-year high.
Trump Wants Tech Leaders to Help Save $1 Trillion
June 20, 2017
President Donald Trump aims to save taxpayers $1 trillion over the next 10 years with a little help from America's high-tech industry. "Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens," the president said Monday at a roundtable session of the American Technology Council.
Deep Root Analytics Downplays Giant Voter Data 'Oops'
June 20, 2017
A data contractor working on behalf of the Republican National Committee earlier this month allowed the personal data of 198 million voters to be exposed online, marking the largest ever leak of voter data in history. Deep Root Analytics exposed 1.1 terabytes of sensitive information -- including names, home addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and voter registration information.
Broader Scope of Russian Election Cyberattacks Revealed
June 15, 2017
Federal and state officials have confirmed that cyberattacks against state voting systems during the 2016 election were more widespread than previously disclosed to the public, but they said the heightened activity did not impact final vote tallies. The confirmations follow a report that attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election were much greater than previously disclosed.
Hearing Crickets at Apple's WWDC and a Pin Drop in the Senate
June 12, 2017
The two mammoth events last week were the Apple WWDC keynote and ex-FBI chief James Comey's appearance at a Senate committee hearing. Now I'm sure a lot of folks didn't have the time to watch both events -- and particularly for the Comey event, I'm sure the coverage has the right and the left believing very different realities. Apple is becoming more and more like a typical tech firm.
Amazon Courts Low-Income Customers With Deep Prime Discount
June 7, 2017
Amazon on Tuesday introduced a Prime membership priced at $5.99 monthly for people on government assistance who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer card. A Prime membership ordinarily costs $10.99 per month, or $99 per year. Prime membership offers unlimited fast, free two-day shipping on more than 50 million eligible items and a variety of other benefits.
Tech Titans Pledge Continued Paris Accord Support
June 3, 2017
Reacting to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, several high-tech industry leaders have pledged renewed environmental efforts. "Disappointed with today's decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all," tweeted CEO Sundar Pichai. "We will double our efforts to fight climate change," tweeted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Kaspersky to US: Check Our Source Code
May 27, 2017
Cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky reportedly has volunteered to turn over his company's software source code to allay fears about possible ties with the Russian government. Kaspersky made the offer public at CeBIT Australia last week. Some U.S. officials have expressed concerns that Kaspersky Lab might have a close working relationship with the Russian government.
How Deep Learning Could Fix Trump and Healthcare
May 22, 2017
Nvidia earlier this month launched a massive new push for intelligent machines, including what is likely the most expensive volume workstation in the world designed for this purpose. IBM, which has a tight relationship with Nvidia, launched a quantum computing processor that has a good chance of massively increasing the speed and intelligence of thinking systems.
Report: Cybersecurity Dangerously Lax at Mar-a-Lago
May 19, 2017
Internet security at Mar-a-Lago -- the private club President Trump owns and has dubbed the "Southern White House" -- is weak, based on a recent investigation. Trump has used the resort to meet with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. In February, he took a call about a North Korean ballistic missile launch in Mar-a-Lago's dining room, with members and waiters present.
Data Watchdog Cautions Google and UK Health Partner
May 19, 2017
A British data watchdog has raised questions about whether it was appropriate for a healthcare trust to share data on 1.6 million patients with DeepMind Health, an AI company owned by Google. The trust shared the data in connection with the test phase of Streams, an app designed to diagnose acute kidney injuries. However, the sharing reportedly was performed without an appropriate legal basis.
Massive Ransomware Attack Reaps Meager Profits
May 17, 2017
The WannaCry ransom attack that quickly circled the globe last week is not yet fully contained. So far, it has impacted more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries. However, one of the remarkable things about it is that only a trifling $100,000 in ransom, give or take, apparently has been paid. That represents a surprisingly low response from an attack generally considered the biggest ever.
Federal First Responder Project Presents Juicy Telecom Opportunity
May 16, 2017
Competition in telecom price and service packages has been getting a lot of attention lately. However, network providers also have been pursuing other opportunities that consumers might miss if they're exposed only to traditional advertising. AT&T's cooperation with the U.S. government in developing a national emergency responder network is a case in point.
Microsoft Bashes NSA Following Massive Ransomware Attacks
May 15, 2017
Microsoft this weekend unleashed its wrath on the National Security Agency, alleging it was responsible for the ransomware attack that began last week and has spread to thousands of corporate, government and individual computer systems around the world. Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith launched a blistering attack on the NSA and governments worldwide.
What Internet-Connected War Might Look Like
May 10, 2017
A technician hurriedly slings his backpack over his shoulders, straps on his M9 pistol, and bolts out of the transport with his squad of commandos in a hail of gunfire. As soon as his team reaches the compound, he whips out a laptop and starts deploying a rootkit to the target server, bullets whizzing overhead all the while. Army Cyber Institute's recruits are training to do just that.
John Oliver's Viewers Flood FCC Site With Net Neutrality Concerns
May 9, 2017
Comedian John Oliver, incensed over proposed changes to unravel Net neutrality protections for consumers, unleashed a torrent of criticism against the FCC and urged viewers to register their protest online. The response led to a digital meltdown on the agency's site Sunday night. Oliver targeted a proposal that would loosen Net neutrality regulations.
Congress Probes United Airlines' Customer Mishandling
May 3, 2017
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday apologized to the United States Congress for his company causing a passenger to be dragged off a UA flight last month. United failed its customers and failed as a company in that incident, and this has to be a turning point for the airline, Munoz told the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee at a hearing into airline industry practices.
Executive Order Triggers H-1B Jitters in Silicon Valley
April 19, 2017
President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a long-anticipated executive order that addresses a campaign promise to begin shifting the country toward the "Buy American, Hire American" strategy that appealed to much of the industrial working class population in the Rust Belt states. The order calls on the U.S. government to shift purchasing toward domestically produced goods.
Federal Agencies Turn to Software-Defined Data Storage
April 17, 2017
Federal agencies seeking to deal with huge amounts of information have begun embracing the software-defined data center, a technology tool that has come into vogue for managing and storing data. The SDDC is an offshoot of IT virtualization that uses a software-defined architecture. Agencies have been striving to save money and improve data storage and management in response to government mandates.
Spam Czar Nabbed in Spain May Have Link to Election Tampering
April 12, 2017
An alleged spam kingpin with possible ties to election meddling in the U.S. was arrested in Spain last week under a U.S. international warrant. Pyotr Levashov had been vacationing in Barcelona with his family. Levashov was arrested for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, the Russian news outlet RT reported, but the DoJ said the arrest was not connected to national security.
Labor Official Skewers Google Over Gender Pay Discrimination
April 11, 2017
The Department of Labor has found "systemic compensation disparities" between Google's female employees and their male counterparts, regional director Janette Wipper said at a hearing in San Francisco. The hearing was in connection with the department's lawsuit over Google's failure to hand over detailed compensation data about employees at its Mountain View, California, headquarters.
Hackers Blast Emergency Sirens in Dallas
April 11, 2017
Screaming sirens serenaded Dallas residents in the early morning hours Saturday after a cyberattack set off the city's emergency warning system. All of the city's 156 sirens reportedly were set off more than a dozen times. Officials have not yet identified the perpetrator of the attack, but it likely was someone outside the Dallas area, said Office of Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz.
Why Are Health Records So Valuable to Cybercriminals?
March 29, 2017
Protecting the data in electronic health records did not start with the advent of HIPAA, as many people think. Protecting health records has been a critical requirement in the healthcare space since the computers became a fixture in hospitals. However, HIPAA added public reports of fines issued for covered entities' failure to properly protect data contained within EHRs.
UK Home Secretary: Apps Shouldn't Serve as Terrorist Hiding Places
March 27, 2017
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Sunday called for greater government access to encrypted content on mobile apps. Apps with end-to-end encryption, like Facebook's WhatsApp, should not be allowed to conceal terrorists' communications from law enforcement, Rudd said in a television interview. "There should be no place for terrorists to hide," she said.
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Which form of smartphone security do you rely on most?
Face ID or Fingerprint
Strong Password
App Locks
Storage Encryption
VPN with Public WiFi
I don't use any smartphone security tech.