October 25, 2016

Tech Bytes - Daily Digest: October 25, 2016

Massive DDos attack spotlights internet choke point, 60% of smaller companies that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within 6 months, Taking value-chain perspective on innovation, The toil of technology: MNC leaders struggle more than most, Hackers changing tactics techniques & procedures and more.

Calling disruptive fintech entrepreneurs

“With the value of financial technology investments climbing dramatically over the past decade, fintech has clearly become mainstream," said Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “Now in its seventh year, the FinTech Innovation Lab has become embedded in the entrepreneurial and financial services ecosystem in New York City, helping drive job growth and building on its rich concentration of tech talent, financial expertise and close proximity to some of the world’s largest financial institutions. "The connections made through our programme enable tech entrepreneurs to closely engage with these top financial institutions and accelerate growth.” The success of the FinTech Innovation Lab in New York has led to the founding of three other FinTech Innovation Labs around the world in London, AsiaPacific and Dublin.


Massive DDoS attack spotlights internet choke point

The big question hovering over the incident is why go after a DNS provider that supports sites popular with millennials, according to Sirota."People aren't just trying to make millennials life a little bit hard. There must be some alternative." DDoS attacks can serve as cover for other malicious actions. It is also possible that the attack was an experiment used to test a new mode of attack. "Is the intention to just try out a new way of hijacking unattended devices, like TV monitors and turn them into zombies that drive traffic? Is the intention to use the attack as a distraction so that these companies like Shopify aren't necessarily paying attention to other parts of their infrastructure? It's hard to say," Sirota said.


Ex-NSA Contractor Hoarded Two Decades' Worth Of Secrets

U.S. authorities are still reviewing the seized information, but they allege that Martin illegally held documents he had no need to see. "The case against the Defendant thus far is overwhelming," the filing said. In addition, Martin may have done little to securely store what he allegedly stole. "Many of the marked documents were lying openly in his home office or stored in the backseat and trunk of his vehicle," the filing said. Investigators didn't mention finding any direct evidence of Martin leaking the stolen materials to hackers or a foreign government. But the court filing said he easily could have transferred the information over the internet and concealed his online communications. Attorneys for Martin have rejected the allegations that he betrayed the U.S.


60% of small companies that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months.

The U.S’ National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of small companies are unable to sustain their businesses over six months after a cyber attack. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average price for small businesses to clean up after their businesses have been hacked stands at $690,000; and, for middle market companies, it’s over $1 million. Recent events have proven that nobody is safe from the threat of cybercrime – not large corporations, small businesses, startups, government agencies or even presidential candidates. Small and mid-sized businesses are hit by 62 percent of all cyber-attacks, about 4,000 per day, according to IBM. Cybercriminals target small businesses because they are an easy, soft target to penetrate.


Social Data: Revolutionising Identity Verification

Unnecessarily long and complicated ID checks, such as Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) like “what is your mortgage value?”, or “how much did you spend on your last phone bill” often results in incorrect answers because who can remember their mortgage details, and who pays that much attention to know their exact last phone bill? These inefficient methods often mean customers, particularly in banking and telecoms, end up having to go into branch and spend a significant amount of their little ‘free time’ finding proof of address and their passport, heading into town, queueing, and finally verifying their identity. Even consumers who order online shopping to store (be it clothes, food, electronics) have to remember to bring ID when they collect it, feeling disappointed when they forget and there is no alternative but to come back another time, driving licence in hand.


Taking a Value-Chain Perspective on Innovation

After all, any technology that requires substantially new routines, new task knowledge, or new complementary resources also will require any organization that interacts with it to change its processes, human capital, or other resources, and know-how. ERP software, for instance, was notoriously difficult to implement, requiring significant “business process reengineering” and non-trivial interruption or duplication of key internal processes. When we look at how digital technologies affect business-to-business interactions, we can see a similar potential to enable or disrupt key processes. This time, however, the processes cut across organizational boundaries. My research therefore focused on how links in the value chain — particularly, customers — might impact the behavior of leading companies at the onset of technological change.


The Toil of Technology MNC Leaders Struggle More Than Most

Technology is only as effective as the confidence of the leaders using it—on this, MNCs fall short based on a wide range of indicators, shown in the graphic on the previous page. Only 60 percent of MNC leaders are highly confident leveraging technology to improve their workforce. Technology as a mechanism for providing leaders with information to aid their decision making to channel and derive value ..., with 66 percent of leaders highly confident using data to guide decisions. Technology methods used specifically for leadership development are, at best, unproven, and, at worst, squandered. Only 1 in 20 of all MNC leaders selected mobile-accessible development as one of their top-three most effective learning methods, while social networking and self-study online learning were scarcely more effective at 11 percent and 12 percent, respectively


Hackers changing tactics, techniques and procedures

“Our Q3 2016 report confirms that hackers are relentless and constantly employing new means to penetrate networks to steal confidential data,” said Rob Kraus, Director, Security Research and Strategy, NTT Security. “Organizations’ first line of defense is to determine where and how these attacks are taking place so they can deploy the most efficient and appropriate network security solutions to minimize their exposure and liabilities.” The report cites an increase in the type and sophistication of attacks during Q3 ’16 across a broad range of industries with finance being the most affected, followed by retail and manufacturing. Further, traditional hacking is being supplemented by other, more sinister attacks such as “direct cash back” models including ransomware and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks.


How to prepare yourself for the next DDoS attack

Admit it: Do you even bother keeping phone numbers anymore? Many modern relationships -- especially business relationships -- exist solely online: email, Facebook, WhatsApp and so on. But imagine last week's attack had been worse, rendering some or all of those tools useless. Now what? Time to go old-school: Make sure you keep an address-book entry for the important people in your life (personal and business alike), and make sure that entry includes multiple modes of contact -- including work, mobile and/or home phone numbers. Of course I'm referring to the address book on your phone, but there's nothing wrong with keeping a print version as well. It's just one more item to keep under the you-never-know umbrella. Speaking of phones, a DDoS attack might render yours inoperable -- if it relies on voice-over-IP technology.


Unum's Lynda Fleury Navigates Changing Security Environment

“Companies want to facilitate anytime anywhere access to anything from anyone through mobile technology. And with the adoption of cloud, we are extending pieces and parts of our network to areas outside of our control,” she explains. “We have shifted from the enforcers, to becoming the trusted advisors, educating business partners and IT advisers on what the technology landscape is.” Fleury, who began her career in IT security in the banking industry, came to Unum as an IT auditor in the mid-1980s. Since then, she has been credited with growing Unum’s security organization from the ground up, increasing the size profile of the team over time. Today, Unum’s IT security organization has more than 40 professionals in it.



Quote for the day:


"In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield." -- Warren Buffett