February 22, 2016

IT's New Nightmare: Will Ransomware Hold Your Data Hostage?

The new ransomware threat on healthcare is worrisome because hospitals are not designed to fight cyber risks, says Rahul Kashyap, chief security architect at Bromium, which monitors treat data and analyzes threats. “IT security in hospitals is not architected to ward off these threats—hospital attacks will rise.” At Hollywood Presbyterian, the ransomware attack started on February 5, crippling access to electronic health records and interrupting the flow of clinical information. The facility resolved the situation by paying the equivalent of $17,000 in ransom to obtain a decryption key and put its information systems back online, said Allen Stefanek, its CEO. Access to data in the electronic record was restored on Monday, February 15, he said.


Mark Zuckerberg Outlines The Future of Facebook

"VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want," said Zuckerberg. "Pretty soon, we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just right there in person." Virtual reality relies on 360-degree videos that capture a scene from all angles. It requires a camera with two or more lenses and software that stitches the video or still images together. That's what Samsung's Gear 360 does. Earlier in the day, LG Electronics announced a similar 360-degree camera. For viewers, similar software is required to make sense of the video and play it either on a conventional screen, where viewers can move the video to look around, or on a virtual reality headset, where they move their heads to look around.


Cisco next-generation firewall marks improvements

Cisco next-generation firewall is being retooled, with a unified management console, the 4100 series of appliances for "high-performance applications" and a newly minted Security Segmentation Service -- a consulting and advisory arrangement that guides organizations on security protocols. "Attackers are getting bolder and coordinating their efforts. The Cisco next-generation firewall acts as a unifying platform, integrating Cisco and third-party security solutions for increased correlation and context," David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager for Cisco's security business group, said in a statement. "The result is better protection, and faster detection and response to advanced threats."


Artificial intelligence needs your data, all of it

Smartphone photos can be tagged with time and location. By harvesting thousands of photos a day from major cities, the AirTick app can train A.I.-software to learn how to estimate the amount of smog from the photos. Over time, the A.I. plus the smartphone photo information should enable the system to maintain real-time, neighborhood-by-neighborhood estimates of air quality. That could allow timely alerts for people to go inside when the air quality gets really bad and also provide evidence for citizens to demand cleaner air, say, in factory towns where the air may be especially unhealthful. Another research project out of the University of California at Berkeley last week published a free app called MyShake that can detect earthquakes.


Hacker explains how he put "backdoor" in hundreds of Linux Mint downloads

The hacker responsible, who goes by the name "Peace," told me in an encrypted chat on Sunday that a "few hundred" Linux Mint installs were under their control -- a significant portion of the thousand-plus downloads during the day. But that's only half of the story. Peace also claimed to have stolen an entire copy of the site's forum twice -- one from January 28, and most recently February 18, two days before the hack was confirmed. The hacker shared a portion of the forum dump, which we verified contains some personally identifiable information, such as email addresses, birthdates, profile pictures, as well as scrambled passwords. Those passwords might not stay that way for much longer. The hacker said that some passwords have already been cracked, with more on the way.


Inside the New Microsoft, Where Lie Detection Is a Killer App

Though Microsoft has been working on machine learning for at least 20 years, divisions like Office and Windows once harnessed its predictive qualities only sparingly. "The reaction of many people there was 'We know how to do things, why are you questioning my views with your data,'" says Pedro Domingos, a University of Washington computer science professor who wrote a book on machine learning called The Master Algorithm. Microsoft truly embraced the technology when it started Bing in an attempt to catch up with Google. Satya Nadella ran engineering and technical strategy for the search division before becoming chief executive officer two years ago and has been sprinkling machine learning like fairy dust on everything his company touches.


Deleting Data Vs. Destroying Data: The Difference Can Be Damning

Attempting to repent for its ‘sins’ – so to speak – and make good with distraught customers – Ashley Madison rolled out a new “discreet photo” security tool that lets users hide their identity on their profile page by choosing from two different masks, a black bar that covers their eyes or four different degrees of blurring. While this new feature is somewhat interesting, it’s not really what I would deem to be the best corrective action to take after they failed so miserably to remove customer data. Rather than address the big issue - the failure to remove user data completely and permanently - they’re just putting a very ineffective and flimsy Band-aid over the injury. Rather than let users put a mask over their profile photos, I’d caution the dating site to take stock of the cause of the breach and focus on changing things seriously so that cause doesn’t and can’t ever happen again.


What’s Next in Computing?

It’s tempting to dismiss deep learning as another Silicon Valley buzzword. The excitement, however, is supported by impressive theoretical and real-world results. For example, the error rates for the winners of the ImageNet challenge — a popular machine vision contest — were in the 20–30% range prior to the use of deep learning. Using deep learning, the accuracy of the winning algorithms has steadily improved, and in 2015 surpassed human performance. Many of the papers, data sets, and software tools related to deep learning have been open sourced. This has had a democratizing effect, allowing individuals and small organizations to build powerful applications.


What Happens To Older Programmers and Developers?

The key is that you have to stay up with technology. If you think that you’re going to develop one skill set, if you think you’re going to come out of college and never learn on your own and never learn anything new and not stay up to date well then yeah, you’re going to become a dinosaur. By the time you’re 35 those young programmers, Mark Zuckerbergs, young programmers who are superior, they are going to be superior because they’re eager, the want it. They’re learning new things. They have the latest technology, but there’s no reason why—in fact, by the time you’re 35 or 40 you should be able to become a better developer, right? You should be better than all those young 20 year olds because you should have experience with a lot of different programming languages and technologies as well as the knowledge of the new ones.


Why De-Escalation Management is Crucial to IT Infrastructure Health

The most obvious distinction that needs to be made is whether you are more of a reports or an alerts kind of person. Reports and alerts both help account for the health of a system. Yet reports are primarily used to document the overall state of a system. Say for instance you are a web hosting provider and you want to demonstrate the quality of your service to your clients, a report will serve this purpose just fine. Assuming that everything is as it should be. But then again, it is obvious that a report will not come out right automatically. Too many issues will certainly affect your overall service quality and bring it down to a level where it definitely should not be. So what you need to do is get active as soon as you get the first indication that something goes wrong.




Quote for the day:

"Failures only triumph if we don't have the courage to try again." -- Gordon Tredgold