Daily Tech Digest - May 13, 2017

The Cybersecurity Legacy of James Comey

Cryptography expert and cybersecurity author Bruce Schneier suggests Comey, as leader of the FBI, should have spent more time building the bureau's cyber forensics skills rather than advocating for an encryption bypass. Cyber forensics skills, Schneier contends, have been lacking at the FBI for a generation. "They had 20 years of not having to learn real forensics, and that's the average career length of an FBI officer," he says. "Comey has no legacy here. He didn't do anything good or bad." But the Council on Foreign Relation's Knake says Comey has left his mark on the FBI beyond the encryption battles. In some respects, Comey's leadership help foster improved cooperation with the private sector on cybersecurity.


Major ransomware attack hits hospitals in England, shutting down IT systems

Hospitals across England have been affected, including those run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust, Barts Health in London, Essex Partnership university NHS trusts, the university hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust, Southport and Ormskirk hospital NHS trust and Blackpool teaching hospital NHS foundation trust, as well as GP surgeries in Manchester and Liverpool. "We are experiencing a major IT disruption and there are delays at all of our hospitals. We have activated our major incident plan to make sure we can maintain the safety and welfare of patients," Barts said in a statement. Barts, East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust and Colchester General Hospital are postponing all non-urgent appointments for today, with Barts also diverting ambulances to neighbouring hospitals.


Blockchain exchange bids to disrupt artworks trading

Blockchain technology promotes transparency and therefore makes it more difficult for dishonest actors to play their games. We don’t expect changes to happen overnight, but we believe that the art finance industry needs to be more open and fair, and blockchain technology is a step in the right direction. ... This didn’t resonate much with our audience, and very quickly we realised that we had to focus on the core value proposition and not so much in how the technology works. Talking about the issues we address creates much more engagement than explaining how we address them. ... One of our goals is to democratise access to fine art. We believe that by significantly lowering the barrier of entry to art investment combined with transparency, openness and a seamless user experience we will see a much wider audience participate in the art market.


Q&A with Paul Daniels and Luis Atencio on RxJS in Action

RxJS is ideal for software that needs to handle inputs that come in from multiple angles such as lots of user input, API calls, websockets, etc., all coming in at once and factoring into your business logic. When faced with such a heterogeneous data set, RxJS is powerful in that it can easily consume and consolidate these event streams under a single programming model. If you don't have such a need. In other words, if the level of user interaction is minimal, or your data is driven from a few database calls, then RxJS may be overkill. ... Building banking software is no different than any other application. With Observables like functional programming you want to think about what the input to your program is and what the output is.


Hybrid IT Has Arrived: John Lombard, CEO, Dimension Data APAC

In the world of hybrid IT, companies are acquiring capabilities from a variety of different sources. Some may be provided by the in-house IT department, and some might be software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications such as Salesforce. It’s likely that much of it will be infrastructure-as-a-service, delivered from cloud providers. Now the burning question is: ‘How do I bring these services together securely, and deliver a single cohesive experience to my customers and employees?’ This will in turn affect the way employees communicate and collaborate with each other as we see the emergence of countless different tools and offerings by vendors to address these demands. In fact, holographics, augmented reality, and virtual reality will also begin to move from B2C into B2B as well – driving a fundamental transformation of the workspace.


Playing the Networks Game Successfully with SD-WAN and NFV

With ongoing shifts and developments in technology capabilities, software is no longer constrained by the structure that delivers it and networks should not have these constraints either. In a world where users can get started on a cloud platform in minutes, we need technology that connects us securely to that cloud within seconds, making SDN key to building networks of the future. SDN is an enabler of innovation, allowing enterprises to develop new kinds of applications, services and business models, thereby creating new streams of revenue for the company. Dynamic network services support businesses viably because they can be used on a per-consumption basis and can be deployed as a trial service first. This means enterprises can now manage technology investments in a more cost-effective way, taking the necessary time they need to get used to the idea and run projects, as opposed to making upfront heavy investment in technology.


Artificial Intelligence: Cybersecurity Friend or Foe?

We as an industry also will see the growth of cross-platform autonomous malware designed to operate on and between a variety of mobile devices. ... This new variant of autonomous malware includes a learning component that gathers offensive intelligence about where it has been deployed, including the platform on which it has been loaded, then selects, assembles and executes an attack against its target using the appropriate payload. Transformer malware is being used to target cross-platform applications with the goal of infecting and spreading across multiple platforms, thereby expanding the threat surface and making detection and resolution more difficult. Once a vulnerable target has been identified, these tools can also cause code failure and then exploit that vulnerability to inject code, collect data and persist undetected.


Trump Finally Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order

The executive order calls on the secretaries of commerce and homeland security, working with other agencies, to assess the scope of efforts to train the American cybersecurity workforce, including cybersecurity-related education curricula, training and apprenticeship programs, from primary through higher education. ... "One key to this [executive order] is a robust federal cyber R&D program through the academic community to educate and cultivate a pipeline of next-generation computer scientists and front-line defenders, as well as the tools and technologies to support them," says Signal Group Executive Vice President Greg Garcia, a former DHS assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications.


Six Ways CIOs Can Drive Digital Transformation

Digital transformation can’t be accomplished in a silo. Currently, the bulk of the work is carried out by IT teams—without the involvement of cross-function teams within the company. The focus on IT is partially because they were cited by 53 percent of Forbes and Hitachi’s survey respondents as the most prepared for digital transformation. Only a third of the survey respondents viewed other company functions as ready. Instead of focusing solely on IT for digital transformation, companies should empower IT teams to collaborate with other departments on ways to digitize their systems. By partnering with other departments, IT teams can make an efficiency and revenue impact across the organization. If digital transformation continues to live in a silo, its effectiveness will remain limited.


The Future Of Data Monetization

Banks and credit card companies hold a wealth of data around their customers’ financial habits that are invaluable to retailers in particular. They have access to real transaction data – what consumers actually do, as opposed to just what they say they do. Their information can help to build a complete consumer profile, revealing where and when customers are spending money, where they go on vacation, when they are moving house, insurance information, and so forth. Retailers can leverage this in a variety of ways, from predicting sales volumes so they can adjust supply accordingly, leading to lower inventory costs and a more efficient supply chain, through to target relevant promotions according to location and trends. Another industry holding data particularly useful to retailers is telecoms.



Quote for the day:


"The way to success is strategically along the way of least expectation and tactically along the line of least resistance." -- W. Sherman