Daily Tech Digest - February 22, 2017

Wilders' Security Officer Held for Suspected Data Leak

The revelations came three weeks before the Netherlands holds a parliamentary election. Wilders' party is riding high in the polls, although mainstream parties have said they will not form a coalition with him if he wins the popular vote because of his hard-line anti-Islam stance. His manifesto includes closing Dutch borders to all migrants from Muslim nations, banning the Quran and shutting all mosques in the Netherlands. In an indication the government is taking the alleged leaks seriously, the Dutch prime minister and the minister for security and justice on Wednesday visited the heavily-guarded wing of Parliament that houses Wilders' party offices. Rutte declined to say if he had met Wilders or to discuss the nature of his visit. Wilders later tweeted that the security breach "is a serious case that fortunately is also being taken seriously by the Cabinet."


How a College Kid Made His Honda Civic Self-Driving for $700

A Neo is built from a OnePlus 3 smartphone equipped with Comma’s now-free Openpilot software, a circuit board that connects the device to the car’s electronics, and a 3-D-printed case. Jorgenson got the case printed by an online service and soldered the board together himself. He first put his life in the device’s hands in late January after an evening college class. “It was dark on the interstate, and I tested it by myself because I figured if anything went wrong I didn’t want anybody else in the car,” says Jorgenson. “It worked phenomenally.” Subsequent tests revealed that the Neo would inexplicably pull to the right sometimes, but a software update released by Comma quickly fixed that. Now fully working, the system is similar in capabilities to the initial version of Tesla’s AutoPilot


Is user generated content fuelling data fatigue?

Perhaps the real value in user generated content comes from how brands themselves are harnessing it. It offers a mine of information to inform the business but, with ever-growing volumes, it also carries a huge risk – have brands simply become data rich, insight poor? If companies can’t grapple with high volumes, they could lose out on important trends or actually arrive at misleading or inaccurate assumptions. As brands engage across social, mobile, in-store and elsewhere, they are having to connect insights across channels in new and more innovative ways. Those that can break the customer journey down into granular segments can gain greater intelligence about customer behaviours as well the business.


Financial cyberthreats in 2016

For the first time in 2016, the detection of phishing pages which mimicked legitimate banking services took first place in the overall chart – as criminals sought to trick their victims into believing they were looking at genuine banking content or entering their details into real banking systems. ... It’s clear that financial cybercriminals are increasingly on the look-out for new ways to exploit users and extract money from them. Owners of Android-based devices should be extremely cautious when surfing the web – especially if they have financial applications installed. But caution is advised for everyone. As predators become more persistent and as their methods grow more convincing, corporate users and home users alike – whatever type of device they use – need to be aware of the dangers and understand how to protect themselves from this ever-evolving cyberthreat landscape.


Software development genetics, part 1: DevOps, lean, agile

Formal adoption of agile methodologies include new-age terms such as the Scrum methodology. Facilitated by the scrum master and involving software "ninjas," the practices are gaining increasing numbers of adherents. These terms infer an enlightened hybrid philosophy that is gathering followers and driving innovation and increased quality. These methodologies are also changing the environment in which software is developed. As more businesses are virtualizing and lifting applications to the cloud, so too the functions of software development are moving from a shop floor mentality of physically present resources to that of geographically distributed talent. As Ashley Speagle points out in CIO, “Collaboration-centric strategies are now at the heart of modern IT departments, breaking down formerly rigidly defined siloes and creating responsive, communicative teams.”


Could smartphones replace datacenters? These Finnish researchers think so

In other words, while your phone sits idle on your office desk, it could be helping to compute weather forecasts, earthquake warnings, or solve encryption challenges. But first the mobile cloud computing platform needs to be built. Currently the researchers are testing their approach using nine Samsung Galaxy S4 phones and a LG Smart TV for predefined tasks. The preliminary results show that this configuration is more than enough to equal the computing power of a single server. "We have nine smartphones computing in parallel and one server computing the same thing, and we can achieve the same speed," Lagerspetz says. "[But] if you want to beat a cluster of machines at Amazon, you might need 10 times the number of phones, so 90 phones. If you're working in a big organization and you have a lot of employees, you just put our app on their phones and you're ready."


How The DOT Discovered Its Network Was Compromised By Shadow IT

The shadow IT revelations and the associated security concerns led McKinney to launch a project to rearchitect the DOT's network, an effort that, while still ongoing, has been introducing more centralized controls and clearer segmentation to cordon off the systems of various administrations within the department. The experience also compelled his office to change the internal processes for introducing new equipment to the network, including a policy directive putting the various DoT administrations on notice that the days of ad hoc, unsecured and unmanaged network expansion were over. "We also at that point put out policy memos and told the entire department that there will be no adding equipment to the network without going through a formal change-management process," he says. "We had one, but people had been ignoring it."


Redfin CTO says machine learning needs human help

Any company that expects its employees to stand behind the product of an automated system needs to let them manually edit the results, Frey said. What’s not clear is which set of insights -- the machine's or the agent's -- actually led to better outcomes. In the case of Listings Matchmaker, Frey said users didn’t seem to click on one set of recommendations over another, but she didn’t know if the company had data about which recommendations resulted in a purchase. The more important difference is that agents used the feature more once they were able to recommend particular homes, she said. Frey’s comments were echoed by Alphabet Executive Chairman and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt during an on-stage interview at the RSA security conference in San Francisco last week. He said humans must remain in the loop of machine learning systems.


The Overlooked Corporate Data Breach

Executives haven’t ignored the issue. According to researchers, 30 percent of CEOs surveyed said cybersecurity is their top risk over the next three years, more so than risk from regulation or disruptive technology. CEOs have cybersecurity in their line of sight for sure. But the report describes attacks that lead to the compromise of corporate data as “beneath the covers” attacks that rarely land in the news or become the topic of public debate. Further, 72 percent of CEOs surveyed for the report admitted that they are not prepared for a cyberattack. According to analysts, part of the issue is that, when a corporate cybersecurity event occurs, the event under investigation often involves market-sensitive, proprietary information that cannot be released to the public. That fact also limits the ability for corporates to discuss the cyberevent with their peers.


The Future of Java in the Enterprise - InfoQ’s Opinion

We continue to see Java SE as in good health, and it remains one of the most widely adopted languages for enterprise computing. Java 9 is expected to ship this summer, and includes both Jigsaw and the JShell REPL. Work on Java 10 is already underway. Given this, we believe that Java remains a great choice for building large-scale enterprise applications, particularly where they are expected to remain in production for some time. In terms of alternative JVM languages we continue to see interest in both Scala and Clojure, but reader interest in Scala suggests the language may have reached an adoption peak; we can trace a small drop in Scala interest amongst readers around the time Java 8 shipped with support for lambda functions. Our instinct on this is that it hasn’t yet “crossed the chasm” in Moore’s parlance, and therefore still sits in the early adopter stage.



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“A real entrepreneur is somebody who has no safety net underneath them.” -- Henry Kravis