Daily Tech Digest - April 17, 2017

Has Retail Security Technology Gone Too Far?

The most common and highly visible form of retail security technology that shoppers will encounter is radio-frequency identification (RFID). As explained by OCS Retail Support, RFID tags and scanners work by having individual items give off unique frequencies embedded with information, and having scanners (often in the doorway) pick up this information. If an item leaves the store without being paid for, an alarm will sound, alerting shop staff to the shoplifter (or accidental shoplifter). Amazon Go have already announced that they will be using a variant of this technology to facilitate their checkout-less payments, with purchases being registered when customers leave the store. Other retailers may follow suit. Though perhaps a little intrusive by nature, this form of technology has not caused indignation amongst privacy campaigners.


Honesty is not the best privacy policy

For starters, it's probably a good idea to create fake Facebook and Twitter accounts now so they can have a history by the time you need them. Best practices around this deception haven't been fully developed by security experts, but it probably begins with using your real picture for the fake accounts and a picture of something other than your face for the real ones. When border agents demand the passwords to your social accounts, you can give them access to the fake accounts. Increasingly, people with business or other secrets may buy a second phone to carry while traveling, and leave the real one behind — or at least in checked luggage. And finally, there's the pollution solution, as demonstrated by MIT's Steven Smith. You probably won't have to roll your own. I expect to see an emerging industry of traffic-spoofing browser plug-ins and something similar for messaging apps.


How will future cars stay up-to-date? Make them open like a PC

“There’s going to be pressure to keep the software up-to-date, and not to use hardware beyond an expiration date,” Perens said. He himself has gone through at least six mobile phones over the course of owning his 2007 Toyota Prius, and wonders how future cars will keep up with rapid technological changes. “We haven’t seen much discussion about it, so we thought this might kick things off,” Determann said. Their open car idea may sound like a threat to the auto industry. But every car vendor has a vision for their future business, Determann said. And for some, it may include a degree of openness. He can imagine partnerships between automakers and software vendors to support the tech features in next-generation cars. In that way, “we might see more open and closed cars competing on the road,” he said.


Debating IoT security at MIT Connected Things

The first is to think about security systematically in those situations (typically industrial and other commercial uses) where devices are managed and the manufacturer presumably has a formal responsibility for ongoing updates and patches and maintains some sort of control. Brandon Freeman of Leidos said that there are two questions that he always asks suppliers, “What’s your lifecycle update process? When have you pen [penetration] tested the device?” The second is to acknowledge that low-cost, whether consumer or industrial, endpoint devices are going to be problematic to secure. I made this point recently and it was echoed by a number of speakers throughout the day; it’s just not viable economically to expect updates of essentially disposable devices. ... As United Technologies’ Isaac Chute put it, “Should we be doing some things differently? It comes down to having a different trust model. Things are too complex for the average person.”


Why So Many Businesses Mess Up Employee Development

Good leaders know how to listen, but strong listening skills are rare. Focus some managerial training on active listening, which is crucial to communication. Active listening is a technique that requires the listener to fully concentrate on the content being shared and to develop a strong understanding of it. This helps the listener gain insight into the employee’s perspective and provide effective input. Training management on this skill is pretty simple. The basic tips to emphasize may sound like common sense, but they need to translate into a practice they use daily. They should pay attention, acknowledge the message and look at the speaker directly. Body language such as nodding, smiling and maintaining an upright posture show they are listening and are engaged in the discussion. After the employee voices their perspective, managers should follow up by paraphrasing to reflect back their points and ask for clarification when needed.


How Accountants Can Help Clients Avoid Data Breaches

Because there are a lot of similarities in different types of data breach scenarios, Verizon has opened up the cyber case files in our second annual Data Breach Digest (DBD) so that industries can strengthen their network security processes. The DBD details 16 real-world data breach scenarios based on their prevalence and/or lethality in the field. It is important for organizations to understand how to identify signs of a data breach and important sources of evidence so they can investigate, contain and recover from a breach as fast as possible. Given today’s highly charged cybercrime environment, CPAs can play a vital role in helping their clients become aware of commonly used tactics to better protect financial assets. It’s important to understand that timing is critical when it comes to incident response. The reality is, cybercriminals can break in and steal data in a matter of minutes.


Low-Code Platforms: The Ultimate In Consumerization Of Enterprise Tech

Not only are low-code platforms easy to use, they also follow rapid application development methodologies, which helps in building a prototype quickly. Citizen developers can create a minimum viable product, ready to be used, 4-7 times faster than that created using traditional coding. Citizen developers are typically business managers who are closer to the problem and are best suited to develop a solution. So instead of creating and maintaining multiple apps for each and every department, an IT department can just train people from each department to use low-code platforms, and enable them to fulfil their own app demands. In fact, Gartner predicts that IT will evolve into bimodal IT, where the department primarily focuses on strategy with stability and efficiency in mind, while shifting the development portion to the business units that need it.


Microchip implants help employees access data

The practice, in which employees at Epicenter, a Swedish innovation house, become chip-enabled, has been widely reported on—but the headlines have been somewhat misleading. A party, like the one held in 2014, is held there about once a quarter. The employees are not quite "cyborgs," and they are not asked to implant chips against their will. The company does not pay the cost, and there is no HR policy that encourages it. Epicenter has a member base of about 2000 people from over 300 companies, and only about six of the employees at Epicenter have had chips implanted. The technology, it must be noted, is not new. These kinds of chips have been used to track pets, or deliveries. But having them implanted in humans raises concerns about privacy risks.


How self-driving cars can change your cloud strategy

Every enterprise of any size is now or soon will become a cloud-based company. The issue then is not whether to use the cloud but how to extract the best value from it. Alongside that cloud subscription comes a wave of bits from the exponential growth of devices: from cars to wall widgets returning environmental data, all that information needs to be stored and analysed if it is to add value. For manufacturers and resellers of technology such as IoT devices, this looks like an extension of existing business models, as such companies already offer services on the back of hardware and software sales. However, this may not be a familiar business model to companies not involved in the tech industry. Yet, because of today's reliance by all enterprises on technology, exploiting the data for which the company has already paid makes a lot of sense.


Cars and the IoT: The lane lines are blurring

Of course you can argue that the IoT in some form has existed for decades, but we're talking about what the progression of Moore's Law has wrought in the modern day. Moore's Law is salient because in the majority of organizations that have an IoT business practice, division, subsidiary, product or service line, etc., the origins often came from something to do with semiconductors. This is understandable since the modern era of IoT, literally from the time the term first began floating around, started with devices, a.k.a., things. That were connected to the internet. For a long while, it's been about getting things out there and connected.  In concert with the IoT showing up in non-mobile form, in environments and instances ranging from home thermostats to enormous factories, there's been a gradual introduction of connected, microprocessor-based devices that are mobile.



Quote for the day:


"Technology has become as ubiquitous as the air we breathe, so we are no longer conscious of its presence." -- Godfrey Reggio