Daily Tech Digest - January 16, 2017

Windows 10 Build 15007 boosts Edge browser

For PCs, the 15007 build's revised Edge application makes it easier to bring data like favorites, browsing history, and saved passwords from another browser when switching to Edge, said Dona Sparker, software engineer in Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group. The revised Edge can also share tabs with compatible Windows apps. XAML scrollbar improvements for Universal Windows Platform, for both the PC and mobile versions of the OS, ensure the scrollbar's availability when needed while taking up less space. The panning indicator now appears when the user mouses over a scrolling region, and the full scrollbar appears when a user wants to directly interact with it. This improvement will be visible in apps using the Windows 10 Creators SDK.

Expect trouble as Shadow Brokers retire, give away hacking tools

“The economics of the dark markets is mainly based on un-exclusive, common, and low priced tools for lower end cyber criminals that look for low hanging fruit. The more sophisticated hackers prefer to roll their own toolset and thrive on their own research to make exclusive and untraceable exploits. They are patient, as to the point they can stay for years in hiding, timing their actions well before making their ‘coup de grace',” he said. “But it is not improbable that the freebie left by Shadow Brokers will be picked up and used by the lower end of opportunistic cyber criminals in campaigns to extort victims for easy money,” he added. More than half of the windows tools are already known and detected by most anti-malware tools, so it is only a matter of time before security analysts close the gap and provide protection against all the threats in the toolset.

Tech's assault on (obliteration of?) consumer privacy

Some of the societal benefits and consumer privacy risks of these new technologies are similar to ones we already know about, Ramirez said. Geolocation data, for example, can help ease horrendous traffic jams on morning commutes, but it should not be collected or used without a person's consent. Risks from unauthorized geolocation information include stalking; exposure of political, health and religious affiliations; and burglary. But there are new challenges, Ramirez said, among them the number of actors "collecting, compiling, interpreting and using data in a world that operates on big data, IoT and AI." The expanding list ranges from consumer-facing companies, device manufacturers and publisher websites to behind-the-scenes software vendors that connect IoT products to the internet to advertisers and analytics providers. "This vast array of entities makes it difficult to provide consumers with informed choices," she said.

Op-Ed: Blockchain - Innocent Until Proven Guilty

This system of multi-member consensus clearing ensures that each member, on an automated basis, applies the same diagnostic approach to the verification of information against the same record, irrespective of the internal processes of each member. Accordingly, each member of the chain is always cognisant of the acquiesced process adopted in determining whether a block should be added to a chain. This system affords transparency to transactions processed through a Blockchain, bearing in mind that due to the flexibility of Blockchain, the system can be restricted depending on the particular needs and purpose of the Blockchain network. The built-in transparency feature of the Blockchain network arguably negates the need for the regulator to administer and enforce further transparency requirements. The regulator should rather focus on the members of the Blockchain network and not the technology itself.

Ericsson CTO on 5G Standards, the WiFi Angle, and Connected Cars

There is going to be a more distinct separation between the services and the cloud. You asked about car makers and the 5G Automotive Association. We launched that association based upon the idea of a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). An automotive maker would rather think: OK, why go to one service provider? Why not create our own platform and then buy the network piece from all of them? They might want to buy service from three or four networks. Why not have the best coverage and pay per bit? We are going to see more model development over the next few years. If we look at 5G now, I see three phases of the business: First, there is basic connectivity. That is coming now. We are building base stations. Second, we will see transformation of core networks triggered by this access. I believe in 2019 and 2020 we will see a big focus on making a high-performance core. Now we have a radio with almost no latency.

AI Technology Takes Center Stage At Retail Convention

At the National Retail Federation event in New York technology vendors are be showcasing some of the most cutting edge technologies for retailers, including chatbots, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and more. Are retailers ready? It depends. There's really a range of experiences across companies. Analytics can offer retailers value across many aspects of their businesses, from supply chain optimization to workforce management to understanding consumer behavior. Yet many retailers are still struggling to get their siloed data integrated. It's one thing to offer a retail app to your customers if you've been a brick-and-mortar retailer. It is a more daunting challenge to integrate customer data from mobile apps, the web, physical stores, catalogs, social media, and any other channels to create a comprehensive picture of consumer behavior that can inform your own business decisions.

Here’s What’s Next for CenturyLink’s Data Center Business

There are some big differences between the two big data center deals that came at the tail end of 2016, however. The assets Equinix cherry-picked in its deal with Verizon will be integrated into an already massive global portfolio, while CenturyLink’s colocation business will become the foundation of a whole new company’s business. The name of the company has not been announced. What we do know is that it is a joint venture between Medina’s tech-focused private equity firm Medina Capital and the 30-year-old European buyout investor BC Partners. Its plan is to use the technologies of four of Medina’s previously acquired cybersecurity companies to provide a range of infrastructure products with emphasis on security, all running on top of the data center platform acquired from CenturyLink.

Coding school graduates: Are they worth hiring?

Coding bootcamps are an attractive educational option for certain populations, according to Kevin Kinser, department head of education policy studies at Penn State University. "They are one of the examples of new ways of thinking about providing access to education that is focused on providing marketable job skills," Kinser said. However, bootcamps are not accredited institutes of higher education. Therefore, a problem—such as a student not believing that the program lived up to its promises—would likely lead to a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, unlike at an institute of higher education, which has multiple layers of oversight. "You have to be assured based on your own understanding of the industry that what you're getting is going to have a return on investment," Kinser said. Longevity is an important factor to consider: If a coding school is not reputable, it's likely that they will not be around for long, Kinser said.

When Real-Time Threat Detection Is Essential

While organizations always want to find threats as quickly as possible, that ideal is far from being met. On average, dwell times last months and give cyber criminals all the time they need to peruse a network and extract valuable information that can impact a company, its customers and its employees. There are times when an organization will be especially vulnerable if they don’t have real-time detection capabilities, and in preparation for these events it’s a good idea to reevaluate tools and strategies. Mike Paquette, director of products, security market at Elastic, identifies some of the most common events that can leave an organization vulnerable, and offers advice to successfully navigating them.

IBM’s Watson Joins the War on Cybercrime

Network defenders are facing a constantly increasing number of alerts and anomalies every day. They have a huge workload screening and prioritizing these threats. Watson is trained to automate the typical duties of security analysts. Relying on machine learning and natural language processing, Watson for Cyber Security decides if a certain anomaly is a malicious threat or not. The system will use its vast amount of data to decide whether a specific security offense is related to a known malware or cybercrime campaign. Moreover, it will determine the potential vulnerabilities as well as the scope of the threat. Watson will also serve up a background about a user’s previous activities. For example, in the case of repeatedly failed log-in attempts, the system can make guesses about whether the event is simply related to an absentminded user or if it's a break-in attempt.

Quote for the day:

"Analyze your mistakes. You've already paid the tuition, you might as well get the lesson." -- Tim Fargo

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