Daily Tech Digest - February 11, 2019

RPA: Driving mainstream innovation

Like any IT deployment, internal auditing must come first, and this is true for RPA installation. Mapping existing operations and analyzing processes are essential and should be recorded at a granular level. Some organizations make the error at this stage of not asking staff at the coal face, preferring to refer to managers who are often a step or more removed from operational practicalities. The final considerations comprise of how the new, virtualized workforce is to be managed: is this to be an IT function, or will there be a delegation of monitoring and control to individual work groups or departments? Analogous to those concerns, support structures also need to be put in place to handle daily issues such as software updates (an IT concern) or change requests (operational management). Finally, the governance of the whole structure needs careful definition, setting out the rules of change management, documentation, data security, and the predicted maintenance requirements.

The SWOT Guide To Blockchain Part 2

With blockchain technology’s decentralisation, individuals can be coordinated on a large scale to undertake activities without a middleman. This technology offers governance and interaction without a third party to oversee it. Some social networks have already been developed that operate in a decentralised manner using blockchain. Some examples include Akasha, Steem.io and Synereo. The rules of operating are configured in the blockchain, fees are paid and fees can be earned by contributors via this type of platform. Looking at sharing economy examples specifically, platforms for car pooling have already been built that are decentralised – and thus differ significantly from Uber. Examples are ArcadeCity and Lazooz. Again, the rules that govern them are built into the blockchain infrastructure, and these manage interactions between those that need a ride, and the car drivers. Drivers are rewarded via the blockchain technology, and gain tokens that offer them a share in the platform. Thus, drivers are motivated to help the platform build in its success, because in doing so, they have more to gain personally as well. 

The AI research agenda for the next 20 years is being made now

“If you want to do common sense knowledge, if you want to do true natural language semantics, you need a good knowledge base; a good, large knowledge graph in a sense, but the knowledge graph, for example, that Google is developing is in house and not accessible to academic research. So we need a very large, shared resource that will be developed across the country, then shared via some institute or center that would manage that,” Selman said about the idea of a national AI platform. What surprised me watching the town hall was the number of times fundamental knowledge about people came up, things like understanding human intelligence. Also surprising was the number of times words like “trust” was used. If you’re interested in taking a closer look at initial findings and workshop results, you can watch the town hall video or read through this CCC blog. Stick with VentureBeat to hear the final recommendations and the challenges and opportunities researchers see for AI in the years ahead.

Cryptocurrency-stealing Clipper malware caught in Google Play Store

This is not the first time Clipper malware variants have been spotted, though it is the first time they have been found in the Google Play Store. Clipper payloads have been available on Dark Web marketplaces since at least August 2018, appearing periodically in what ESET characterizes as "several shady app stores" for Android. Variants of clipper first appeared in 2017 on Windows. Avoiding Android malware is relatively straightforward for informed consumers. Using only the official Google Play Store to download apps is a great first defense in most cases. Using other app stores requires explicitly disabling a security setting in Android. This can leave your device vulnerable. That said, in cases like this where cybercriminals have permeated the Google Play Store, it is important to check the publisher's website to ensure the app is genuine. In the case of MetaMask, as there is no Android (or iOS) version, that should be taken as a sign that the app is not genuine.

What is low-code development? A Lego-like approach to building software

building blocks of computer hardware
Low code differs from no-code development, in which so-called citizen developers, often business analysts with little to no programming experience but who are knowledgeable about business processes and workflows, use similar drag-and-drop tools to arrange applications. With low code, developers may still need to do some coding to integrate access to older applications, for reporting, and for special user interface requirements, Forrester Research analyst John Rhymer wrote in an October 2017 research report. (For a deeper look at low code, read technologist Steven Koh's explanation, here, and Jason Bloomberg's article distinguishing low code from its no-code cousin, here.) The total market for low-code development platforms, offered by vendors such as Salesforce.com, Appian, Mendix and others, will hit $21.2 billion by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent, according to a vendor report Forrester published in November 2017.

Athens At The Center Of European Cyber Security Strategy

The agreement stipulates that the premises of the Agency shall be located in the metropolitan area of Athens, with a branch office in Heraklion, Crete and that the role of professional cybersecurity staff working for the Agency will be upgraded. According to the Agency web site, the professional cybersecurity team mounts to 65 experts, but the new agreement will attract more and possibly help the repatriation of Greek scientists. To quote Mr. Pappas, ‘The new seat agreement opens new high-level job opportunities in the critical field of cybersecurity contributing to brain-drain control and the enticement of new top scientists from all over Europe. ... The European Union needs to be ready to adapt to and reap the benefits of these technologies and reduce the cyber-attack surface. In this regard and in the context of the recent political agreement on the new draft Cybersecurity Act, which proposes to grant ENISA a permanent mandate with more human and financial resources, ENISA is expected to increase its support to the E.U. Member States, in order to improve capabilities and expertise, notably in the areas of cyber crisis coordination and the prevention of cyber incidents.

IoT for retailers: opportunities and challenges

retail experience
Many retailers have successfully exposed inventory information by store to create an "availability to promise" capability so that when mobile users "buy" something, that specific item in inventory is immediately set aside for them. The next major step, Archer said, is consolidating selling platforms so store employees, customers, field technicians, and customer service personnel all see the same catalog of product information, pricing, and promotions, so they can facilitate new orders or update existing ones. The rise of apps and digital wallets promises to let retailers know who is in their store at any given time. This will help them move beyond pilot implementations and one-off testing to actually track the ROI of their IoT investments. Also, Archer points out, once retailers know a customer is approaching the store, instead of just sending ad notifications, they can have the buyer’s purchase ready for pickup, so the don’t have to get out of the car or disentangle their child from their car seat.

Who is in Charge of Quality in Software Development

This is where perspectives most vary. As Gregory said, “Different people choose different things. They have different wants, different needs. If we’re trying to let the customer choose, make the customers happy.” But don’t forget to keep in mind, she continued, “We are also making a big assumption that the consumers have enough information that they can make a qualified decision.” She spoke of an app she once used that she found super unfriendly. It turned out the users loved it because it followed exactly how they worked. She didn’t work in that field. It’s all about meeting the specific users’ specific use cases. ... Finally the most immeasurable quality — transcendence. Gregory said that’s because it’s hardest to measure emotion, making transcendent quality a blend of artistry, engagement, and customer loyalty. How do we measure the quality of software? Overall, if you accept Garvin’s quality scale, it’s difficult to measure most parts of software quality.

Where automotive cybersecurity is headed in 2019

Where automotive cybersecurity is headed in 2019
According to cybersecurity firms, connected vehicle risks have grown significantly in the past few years, enough to prompt the FBI to issue a warning, and the UK last December to issue new cybersecurity standards for self driving vehicles. OEMs — the companies that put their nameplates on the vehicles — have begun to realize that it is they that consumers, and regulators, will be looking towards for security answers. OEMs no longer rely only on their component suppliers to solve their security concerns, they are looking towards experts in the cybersecurity field for assistance. Security companies working with OEMs are taking a variety of approaches, from monitoring the network to examining ECU for anomalous activity. OEMs who haven’t made this a priority yet will certainly do so in the coming year; they don’t really have a choice. The FTC, the NHTSA, and likely a passel of other government organizations, are examining connected vehicle systems for cybersecurity and privacy issues.

What is phishing? How this cyber attack works and how to prevent it

phishing threat
Phishing is a cyber attack that uses disguised email as a weapon. The goal is to trick the email recipient into believing that the message is something they want or need — a request from their bank, for instance, or a note from someone in their company — and to click a link or download an attachment. What really distinguishes phishing is the form the message takes: the attackers masquerade as a trusted entity of some kind, often a real or plausibly real person, or a company the victim might do business with. It's one of the oldest types of cyberattacks, dating back to the 1990s, and it's still one of the most widespread and pernicious, with phishing messages and techniques becoming increasingly sophisticated. "Phish" is pronounced just like it's spelled, which is to say like the word "fish" — the analogy is of an angler throwing a baited hook out there (the phishing email) and hoping you bite. The term arose in the mid-1990s among hackers aiming to trick AOL users into giving up their login information.

Quote for the day:

"The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones." -- Brandon Sanderson

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