Daily Tech Digest - August 30, 2017

Citi Speaks: State-Backed Cryptocurrency Key to Blockchain Adoption

State-backed cryptocurrencies are key to the adoption of blockchain technology, according to an executive at investment banking group Citi. In an exclusive interview with CoinDesk, the bank's recently appointed head of core cash management for Asia-Pacific, Morgan McKenney, positioned its new CitiConnect blockchain project within a larger context – one in which the ultimate success of distributed ledger technology depends on the advent of fiat currencies issued on a blockchain. According to McKenney, every payment method has an environment in which it's best suited, and to fully unlock the project's potential – and any number of blockchain environments – cryptocurrency is the most suitable payment method.


3 steps to create a corporate vision for digital transformation

Enterprises often transform around the notion of "What should our company look like?", Witcher said. Instead, they need to build a vision around tangible value they can create within customers' experiences along the journey. Leading companies are not building business strategies that have a digital component—rather, they are digitizing every aspect of their business strategy, Witcher said. "When the corporate vision is not clear, that impacts the speed of adoption of both senior management and middle management," said Gianni Giacomelli, senior vice president and business leader for digital solutions at Genpact. "People will not act just because technology is ready. There's a big component of corporate urgency that needs to be created from the corporate vision. It's really important."


The NIS Directive: the implications for UK technology businesses

For digital service providers, the UK government has confirmed that the NIS Directive applies, in a light touch manner, to: online marketplaces, online search engines, and cloud computing services. The government has proposed detailed definitions of each type of digital service provider: An online marketplace is defined as “a platform that acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers, facilitating the sale of goods and services.” Online marketplaces are only in scope if sales are made on the platform itself, price comparison sites and online retailers are excluded. ... There should be confidence that the security principles are met regardless of whether an organisation or a third party delivers the service,” says the consultation, emphasising the importance of “ensuring that appropriate measures are employed where third-party services are used”.


How safe are your passwords? Real life rules for businesses to live by

While I find forced password changes annoying, waiting until you know there is a password compromise to change passwords is ignorant. For example, you will not be aware when people use their organizational credentials for Pokemon Go accounts, as many do. If that site is compromised and an employee has reused company passwords on it, your organization is now vulnerable. Even if the employee doesn’t use your organization’s email address, your organization is still vulnerable in a targeted attack if the password was reused across accounts. If you do not force periodic password changes, your organization is vulnerable as long as the employee has a valid account at the organization. The solution to exponentially reduce the risk to these attacks is to implement multifactor authentication.


What Can Manchester United Teach Us About Fintech?

Rather than learning to predict things in a kind of hardcoded, supervised manner, deep learning techniques operate more like a human brain, filtering through data and learning the important signals. For example, a person driving down a road that hits a pothole will probably slow down; they don't have to hit 100 of them. In order to try and encode the social science component of why a person might click on a certain advert, or trade a certain stock, deep learning algorithms use layers of nodes, some of which filter lots of data into summaries and then learn to make assumptions from these. "Actually summarising data is an easier problem than making predictions," said Chakravorty. "It's about trying to learn how people trade ... "


4 Lessons Businesses Can Learn From This Smart Lock Malfunction

Problems stemmed from an over-the-air firmware update that affected the locks’ functionality and prevented the devices from connecting to the company’s servers. Many companies, including Apple, often announce the availability of new updates and let users decide when and if to download them for their gadgets. It’s even possible to schedule updates, so they don’t occur when people are trying to use the technology. According to feedback from people affected by this smart lock debacle, they got the firmware update with no warning, similar to the way iTunes users suddenly found new U2 albums in their libraries without indicating they wanted the songs. In that case, Apple broke with tradition and delivered the media automatically, much to the dismay of some recipients who complained that the album ate up their internet data and that they didn’t like the band’s music.


How Hackers Hide Their Malware: Advanced Obfuscation

Criminals know about sandboxes, and some of the latest evasion tricks specifically target sandboxes. They include trying to fingerprint sandbox systems, delayed or timed execution, and even detection of human interactions. If the malware can detect a sandbox using these techniques, it doesn't run to avoid analysis. Furthermore, underground malware sellers have already created protectors that can detect some sandboxes. However, some advanced detection solutions take this into account, too. Rather than just using off-the-shelf virtualization environments, some solutions might use full system code emulation and create sandbox environments where they can see every instruction a malicious program sends to the physical CPU or memory


Enterprises Are Leading The Internet of Things Innovation

According to Kranz, the adoption of IoT has been broad. A few years ago, VCs were conservative in terms of investments in IoT. Today, Cisco has 14,000 IoT customers across multiple industries. An example is smart and connected cities and their use of IoT. The VC community is starting to invest more in IoT. “According to my own observations and research houses such as Ovum or McKinsey, IoT has been mostly adopted in manufacturing, logistics, transportation but also in retail, healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, and even sports and entertainment,” said Kranz. Kranz spoke about the tech industry and the cycle of reinvention measured in 307 years. Traditional business models, with vertically integrated business models, are ripe for disruption based on the rate of innovation.


Artificial intelligence cyber attacks are coming – but what does that mean?

AI-enabled attackers will also be much faster to react when they encounter resistance, or when cybersecurity experts fix weaknesses that had previously allowed entry by unauthorized users. The AI may be able to exploit another vulnerability, or start scanning for new ways into the system – without waiting for human instructions. This could mean that human responders and defenders find themselves unable to keep up with the speed of incoming attacks. It may result in a programming and technological arms race, with defenders developing AI assistants to identify and protect against attacks – or perhaps even AI’s with retaliatory attack capabilities. Operating autonomously could lead AI systems to attack a system it shouldn’t, or cause unexpected damage.


Interest in cyberinsurance grows as cybercrime targets small businesses

Cybersecurity insurance is not yet a household name. It’s not required by law, nor is it as commonplace as other types of insurance like fire, flood and general liability coverage. But, experts said, it may rival those others in importance in today’s virtual landscape, where everything from employee and customer information to financial records are stored online. Small and medium-size businesses are hit by nearly two-thirds of all cyberattacks — about 4,000 a day, according to IBM. “A lot of these hackers are smart; they’re not going after the big guys. They’re not going after Target and Sony,” said Keith Moore, CEO of CoverHound, a San Francisco insurance broker that started selling cybersecurity coverage last year.



Quote for the day:


"The competent programmer is fully aware of the limited size of his own skull." -- Edsger W. Dijkstra