Daily Tech Digest - May 20, 2017

Ransomware Rocks Endpoint Security Concerns

"The larger companies are strapped with so many layers of protection that it will take more time to figure out where AI fits in the stack, but mid-market to smaller enterprises with 150,000 to 200,000 nodes and below can adopt cutting-edge technology more quickly," McClure says. IDC's Westervelt notes that although many endpoint startups have launched out of the gate with signature-free detection technology that was based more on users' behavior, many are now adding signature-based detection engines to their products. "The vast majority of threats are known threats, so why put extra pressure on your sandbox" to test potentially malicious software based on its behavior, Westervelt says. And in the meantime, traditional signature-based anti-virus vendors have added signature-free security software to their offerings. As a result, Westervelt says, there is less and less differentiation between new and shiny startups and the old guard.

Google Researchers Are Teaching Their AI to Build Its Own, More Powerful AI

"The way it works is we take a set of candidate neural nets, think of these as little baby neural nets, and we actually use a neural net to iterate through them until we arrive at the best neural net," explains Pichai. That process is called reinforcement learning, where computers can link trial and error with some kind of reward, just like teaching a dog new tricks. It takes a massive amount of computational power to do, but Google's hardware is now getting to the stage where one neural net can analyse another. Neural nets usually take an expert team of scientists and engineers a significant amount of time to put together, but thanks to AutoML, almost anyone will be able to build AI systems to tackle whatever tasks they like. "We hope AutoML will take an ability that a few PhDs have today and will make it possible in three to five years for hundreds of thousands of developers to design new neural nets for their particular needs," Pichai writes in a blog post.

Indian IT's planned layoffs give a glimpse of the bloodbath ahead

It may not be the most original declaration but sometimes detective work of this kind does have its advantages in exposing the rot that actually lurks beneath the sheets. Lakshmikanth's reading of the McKinsey report mirrors what many in the industry have been raising alarms this year about. India CEO of French IT Services CapGemini said earlier this year, "I am not very pessimistic, but it is a challenging task and I tend to believe that 60-65 percent [of Indian IT workers] are just not trainable," he said. "Probably, India will witness the largest unemployment in the middle level to senior level," he added. A more fundamental problem is the lack of real skills amongst most of India's engineering graduates. According to employment solutions company Aspiring Minds, a well-known institution that regularly tracks the worth of college graduates, a staggering 80 percent of engineers in India don't possess skills that can make them employable.

Currency is Under Attack. Diversifying Your Funds is Smarter Than Ever

You just never know what is going to happen next, so diversifying your currency can help manage your risk and increase your chances of survival should something go wrong. Plastic can be very secure for the consumer since there are protections against fraud, but it is costly for merchants in transaction fees and fraudulent charges. The downside is that all your money is in a bank where you can't get to it in a crisis and if the FDIC collapses you may have no recourse to get that money back. Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, doesn't rely on central banking, so there's a lot less chance they will open you up to identity theft. The problem is that if it is stolen, you can never get it back. Also because of its untraceable nature, it is often used in crimes.

Uber Freight Is the First Step to Automating Away Truckers

Much like the taxi service before it, Uber’s promise here is to remove friction from the current system. In a blog post announcing the new service, the firm bleats about how drivers will be able to pick up jobs with a simple search and some button presses, rather than spending “several hours and multiple phone calls” trying to achieve the same end in the past. ... But there is a larger narrative at play here. Uber’s move into shipping came after it acquired the autonomous truck company Otto last summer. And that sector is maturing quickly: while the trucks make use of similar technology to that being used by the autonomous cars being developed by Uber and Waymo for robotic taxi fleets, they also only have to contended with highways. That's far easier than inner-city driving.

Global banking technology overview

If banks don’t rise to the challenge, there are many FinTechs waiting to nibble away at their business. For instance, Caxton is a company that uses hybrid blockchain and core banking-type technology for foreign exchange (FX) end uses. Its CTO, Russell Stather, is convinced that smart contracts and DLT will disrupt the commercial banking environment serving corporate treasurers. “Smart contracts allow you to move an asset with multiparty involvement in a single transaction, which makes it cheaper, quicker and traceable end-to-end,” he says. The key benefit for a payment or trade finance end use is that not everyone in the chain is taking a transaction fee anymore, as blockchains – unlike correspondent banking ones – are fast, irrefutable and traceable. Settlement mechanisms and structures for investment banks could also easily be disrupted – or improved – by DLT.

Protect your enterprise data using Windows Information Protection (WIP)

Unfortunately, data loss prevention systems have their own problems. For example, the more detailed the rule set, the more false positives are created, leading employees to believe that the rules slow down their work and need to be bypassed in order to remain productive, potentially leading to data being incorrectly blocked or improperly released. Another major problem is that data loss prevention systems must be widely implemented to be effective. For example, if your company uses a data loss prevention system for email, but not for file shares or document storage, you might find that your data leaks through the unprotected channels. But perhaps the biggest problem with data loss preventions systems is that it provides a jarring experience that interrupts the employees’ natural workflow by stopping some operations while allowing others

What will the ‘mega security breach’ of the future look like?

The mega breach of the future could take on a variety of different shapes and guises. Douglas Crawford, Cyber Security Expert at BestVPN.com imagines what it might be like if a criminal got hold of a lot of banking passwords. “The economic chaos caused could, in addition to bankrupting potentially millions of individuals, destroy banks and banking systems, create global economic depression, and even bring down governments,” he says. The interesting thing about this situation is it could arise from a variety of different motivations. Yet Chad Schamberger, Director of Engineering at VirtualArmour believes that mega breach of the future “will be driven to affect a decision, a political election, a financial outcome, or the intent to cause mass chaos across a population. Not necessarily to gather sellable assets but intended to expose the attack surface that has developed by introducing more and more poorly develop connected devices (IoT).”

Supercomputing as a Service comes to the cloud with new Cray partnership

The first solution to come from the partnership will focus on the life sciences industry, and will feature the Cray Urikia-GX system, a complete, pre-integrated hardware-software solution. It also includes the Cray Graph Engine, which includes pattern-matching that takes advantage of the scalable parallelization and performance of the platform, according to the release. "The Cray Urika-GX system is the first agile analytics platform that fuses supercomputing abilities with open enterprise standards to provide an unprecedented combination of versatility and speed for high-frequency insights, tailor-made for life sciences research and discovery," the press release stated. Cray and Markley plan to quickly expand their offerings to include Cray's full line of infrastructure solutions.

The Enterprise Architecture Problem

In IT (Information Technology) most of it is commodity. Buying these commodities may, at most, get you what everyone else already has. Forget analyzing performance improvement here, there is little of it, so emphasize cost reduction, enterprise wide purchase agreements, and minimizing security vulnerability or TCO by restricting brands to those tested and approved. The real key lies in producing some enterprise IT that produces marked improvement in your business processes. If those are the same business processes everyone else uses, benchmarked against best practices elsewhere, you can buy it as a COTS (Off the Shelf) product and tweak it a bit. However the best of all is the automation of processes that only you have, completely custom. You will have these special processes either because you do business differently (differentiation) or because only you are in this business.

Quote for the day:

"Mistakes should be examined, learned from, and discarded; not dwelled upon and stored." -- Tim Fargo