November 16, 2015

Encryption is not the enemy: A 21st century response to terror

Any time a back door or a pre-built vulnerability is left in a system (let's say, like our phone operating systems), it weakens everyone's safety. Sure, it might give some governments a temporary advantage, but it's far more likely that hackers and terrorists themselves will use these vulnerabilities to further cause damage to citizens or, at the very least, steal their personal and financial data. And lest any policy-makers reading this think, "Well, it'll be safe because we'll safeguard the keys," let me point out the elephant in the room: the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was systematically penetrated and deflowered to such a complete and damaging degree that the actual fingerprints of U.S. government officials with high-level security clearances were exfiltrated with the alacrity of water entering a submarine with a screen door.

Inside Mark Zukerberg's Bold Plan for the Future of Facebook

"There are different ways to do innovation," he says, drawing a stark contrast without ever mentioning Page, Google, or Alphabet. "You can plant a lot of seeds, not be committed to any particular one of them, but just see what grows. And this really isn’t how we’ve approached this. We go mission-first, then focus on the pieces we need and go deep on them, and be committed to them." Facebook’s mission is "to give everyone in the world the power to share and make the world more open and connected," as Zuckerberg says, explaining that he is now spending a third of his time overseeing these future initiatives. "These things can’t fail. We need to get them to work in order to achieve the mission."

Apple says the iPad Pro is built for business

Business and creative functions such as graphics design and photo and video editing aren’t exactly foreign to Apple’s tablet, but new accessories, apps and the additional data the iPad Pro’s larger screen accommodates, enable you to accomplish more of the work you’re likely to be conducting on computers today. The iPad Pro is a bridge into a new way of operating, says an Apple spokesman. The company tells its goal is to give you tools that cause you to rethink how a touch-enabled environment might apply to you and the way you work. The device won’t meet the needs of all businesses and their respective employees’ preferences, of course, but the company says advancements in the iPad Pro will give workers a new opportunity to reflect on what they use for work and whether the new iPad is a fit for their work life.

8 Biggest Cloud Mistakes Companies Make

According to a recent report by Harvard Business Review and Verizon, 84% of the IT and business executives polled said their use of cloud had increased in the past year, with 39% reporting it increased significantly. Another 40% said the cloud had increased their revenue, and 36% said it had increased their profit margin. These figures are sure to rise as more businesses discover the benefits of moving to the cloud, including lower capital and operating costs for data centers and improved application performance and resiliency. In addition, cloud usage is expanding to the nuts and bolts of IT operations, instead of an experimental thing. While initial cloud implementations focused on areas such as application development and sales force automation, more organizations now are exploring cloud for core business systems like supply-chain management and industry-specific services, such as financial applications or transportation management.

Analytics for Innovation: Why You Need to Read the External Signals

The market is moving faster than ever: consumer preferences are more dynamic, the rate of global innovation and technological development is incessant, and our current information methods can’t keep up with it. New players are threatening the status quo: Apple makes watches, Apparel companies are building wearable sensors, technology companies are building automobiles. Colliding worlds mean that traditional approaches to establishing market leadership and maintaining competitive advantage just aren’t working. ... Keurig got to the right product requirements eventually that hit on the major points – but now they are waiting on this in delay mode. Intelligence from external signals, up front, could have helped them avoid catastrophe in the first place, and more quickly bring them to the next opportunity that would address what consumers wanted.

Fact or Fiction? Reversing your PIN can call the police in an emergency

This urban legend is over a decade old and consistently makes it’s rounds on the Internet. Surprisingly, a lot of social media users care so much about this topic that they continually share this old tale with their friends, urging them to READ IT RIGHT AWAY! As it goes with all urban legends, there is a grain of truth in this myth. The idea of ’emergency code’ for ATMs had been hatched some time ago and is obviously where the myth originated. ... While it might save the victim’s money on the card, the method cannot take into account the behavior of the criminal. For example what if the enraged criminal hurts or kills the victim? Does this make the cost too high a price to pay? After all, the police might also not be on time to prevent the crime, so what’s the point then?

Create a data security culture to keep data safe

Sadly, there have been so many projects and deadlines that the organisation has given up keeping track of how every last piece of radioactive material is handled. Surely to track it all would be impossible anyway? In either case, most of the “legacy” is kept in a huge man-made lake outside. Nobody really knows what is in there. Those who do flag the hazards and suggest protections are routinely ignored or worse.  Enter your “comprehensive enterprise programme”. You’ve bought checklists with hundreds of predefined handling policies from outside experts. You’ve created a small team of dedicated personnel to audit and track every action for every employee on-site.

The Role of Specifications in Agile

That shared understanding and empathy for the target customer unlocks hidden bandwidth for product owners. They can focus on higher-level requirements and leave implementation details to the development team, who is fully equipped to do so – again, because of that shared understanding. ... User stories are the form that specifications take. Each user story is created in advance and placed in a backlog, but only the small set of the very next stories are flesh out in detail. Then, the level of detail is very high. Designs are included at this stage, and so are detailed descriptions of fine grained behavior like validation, individual errors messages, etc. Though the PM owns the user story, the team itself generates the detail through a processes called grooming.

Cyberspies inject victim profiling and tracking scripts in strategic websites

"We believe that the computer profiling data gathered by the WITCHCOVEN script, combined with the evercookie that persistently identifies a unique user, can -- when combined with basic browser data available from HTTP logs -- be used by cyber threat actors to identify users of interest, and narrowly target those individuals with exploits specifically tailored to vulnerabilities in their computer system," the FireEye researchers said in their report. The company has not detected any follow-up exploitation attempts against its customers so far, but this could be because the attackers use a highly targeted approach to victim selection. The subsequent exploits could be embedded in malicious documents attached to email spear phishing messages and not necessarily be served through a browser.

How to Build A Culture Primed to Perform

Here’s the kicker though: not all “whys” are created equal, and too often, cultures are designed to motivate using the destructive “whys.” Our answer is not only elegantly simple, but also empirically powerful. Using our total motivation framework, we’ve measured the motives of over 20,000 people at more than 50 major institutions. We’ve observed an incredibly strong relationship between their culture and performance metrics like sales and customer experience. In one study, employees with high levels of total motivation (or ToMo for short) generated 38% more in revenues than their low ToMo counterparts. Culture is an entirely quantifiable and engineerable asset—and the most important one. ToMo gives leaders the tools to unlock the highest levels of performance in their people and company.

Quote for the day:

"Bring the best of your authentic self to every opportunity." -- Brian Jantsch

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