Daily Tech Digest - March 01, 2017

The ugly truth behind Android's upgrade problem

The underlying problem with Android upgrades isn't anything technical. It's the fact that the companies making and selling Android phones have no real motivation to care about high-quality post-sales support and to make timely, ongoing upgrades a priority. It's a harsh reality to consider, I realize. But stick with me for a minute, and you'll see what I mean. Most phone manufacturers make their money by selling phones -- right? And so not surprisingly, selling phones remains their primary focus. Providing timely updates takes a fair amount of effort and doesn't directly put dollars into the company coffers.  Google, on the other hand, makes its money by encouraging you to spend time using the internet and thus its various web-based services.

Laid-Off IT Workers Worry US Is Losing Tech Jobs To Outsourcing

The laid-off workers say this isn't the case. Before they left their positions, some trained their incoming replacements from HCL, which they suspect are on H-1B visas and will work at the school. “Once you send out the manufacturing jobs, once you send out the service jobs, once you send out the research jobs, what’s left? There’s nothing left,” said Tan, who’s 55 and now looking for a new job.  ... “In two years, I could be at another company, and I could be facing the same thing,” he said. Thirteen of the workers are thinking about suing the school, claiming the way their jobs were eliminated amounted to discrimination. But filing a lawsuit will mean receiving no severance pay. The workers will likely file the lawsuit in 30 to 60 days, a lawyer for them said.

5G Digital Services Platform

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (“Jio”) is collaborating with Cisco to further expand Jio’s existing multi-terabit capacity, first All-IP converged network. With this network, Jio offers a combination of high-speed data, mobile video, VoLTE, digital commerce, media, cloud, and payment services. It is the first network of its kind globally with the fastest growth to 100 million broadband and VoLTE customers, reaching the milestone within six months of launch. With the Cisco All-IP network, Jio will help deliver the vision of Digital India and transform the delivery of citizen services from transportation, utilities and financial inclusion to entertainment, agriculture, education, and healthcare in the country. Cisco forecasts that mobile data traffic will grow 7-fold from 2016 to 2021. Technology has become the biggest driver of economic development in India.

Optimization among the key benefits of converged infrastructure

Converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) are seen by many as far superior to the heterogeneous structure of most data centers. In the traditional process, infrastructure requires configuration work whenever something is added or changed, and the management duties never seem to let up. But when a product's subsystems are tested and optimized beforehand, complexity is all but eliminated. Despite some clear benefits of converged infrastructure, adoption is a significant change for an IT organization, and one that deserves careful consideration. Not only is CI a different way of running a data center, it's a costly investment.

Blockchain won’t kill currencies: RBI deputy governor R. Gandhi

According to the deputy governor, virtual currencies pose financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security-related risks. “They are prone to losses arising out of hacking, loss of passwords, compromise of access credentials, malware attacks etc.,” Gandhi said. Moreover, virtual currencies also do not have any feasible customer grievance, customer problem or charge-back mechanism, he added. While speaking about currencies, the central banker pointed out that to be effective, a currency needs to uphold concepts of confidence and anonymity at all times. However, after the initial rounds of usage, these concepts cannot be sustained in virtual currencies.

Cyber Security and Social Engineering: A Big Low Tech Problem

The consequences of computer network penetration through social engineering have been dire for victims, as the recent hack of the Clinton presidential campaign organization illustrates. There, the campaign chair received what appeared to be a genuine email from Google’s “Gmail Team” informing him that a Ukrainian computer had just used his password to try to sign in to his Gmail account. The email went on to say that Google had stopped the attempt, advised the chair to change his password immediately, and provided a “Change Password” link. Believing the email to be authentic, the chair clicked on the link and changed his password. But as the world now knows, the change went to hackers who downloaded the 30,000-plus emails in the account and sent them to WikiLeaks for publication.

In Cybersecurity, Language Is a Source of Misunderstandings

There is a fairly recent concept that warrants particular attention to ensure government, industry, and academia are speaking the same language, ... Active defense is a term that captures a spectrum of proactive cybersecurity measures that fall between traditional passive defense and offense, according to the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. There is a plethora of detail on this concept in a recent GWU report, but at its essence, active defense identifies a list of 11 techniques that private entities can employ to interdict cyber exploitations and attacks in a "gray zone." This zone falls between passive defense, which typically features basic internal security controls, and offensive cyber, which features more proactive activities security organizations can undertake, such as "hacking back."

Cognitive computing targets problem of physician burnout

“We’re excited about the vision and promise of cognitive computing,” says William Morris, MD, the Cleveland Clinic’s associate chief information officer. “We feel like it has a strong potential to address the problem of physician burnout and the challenge of being mired in data and not actually having synthesized knowledge.” IBM’s Watson Health, the first commercially available cognitive computing capability delivered through the cloud to provide actionable insights from large amounts of unstructured data, has been “working very hard on mastering the complexity of the medical lexicon and actually getting it from a bench-top research project into a clinical workflow,” according to Morris. ... At the same time, Morris emphasizes that the “physician will always be the physician” and Watson “is there to augment the clinical thought process, not to replace it.”

Game theory says publicly shaming cyberattackers could backfire

“If there’s no effective way to strike back, it’d be embarrassing to blame the perpetrator,” says Steven Bellovin, a computer scientist at Columbia University in New York. In some cases, it may even benefit an attacker if you name them, because this could bolster their reputation as a cybersecurity threat. “There’s a saying in chess: A threat is always stronger than an actual attack,” says Bellovin. “Once you actually launch the attack, the enemy sees what’s coming and can figure out how to respond. If they know you have capabilities but don’t know what you’re going to do, they have to defend everything.” Edwards and his colleagues use the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak as an example of how the blame game can play out. Following investigations by intelligence agencies, the US government eventually responded to mounting public pressure and blamed Russia for the hacking.

The ineffectiveness of siloed cyber security thinking

While almost three quarters (73%) of respondents admit they aren’t using threat data very effectively to pinpoint cyber threats. Here lies the importance of threat intelligence. Organisations are too often just collating data. The context and value of it is what’s most important. It must be simple to understand, relevant and actionable, and ultimately help to illuminate risk blind spots and empower organisations to make informed decisions. This can best be achieved with a mix of human-powered intelligence and automation. Alongside this is the importance of sharing this information across the business – ensuring that all employees are abreast of any risks coming in and preventing any intellectual property going out (i.e. not using work credentials for non-work sites, or even physical security concerns).

Quote for the day:

"Programmers are tools for converting caffeine into code." -- Unknown

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