Daily Tech Digest - April 02, 2019

Adopting cloud is not simply a case of lifting and shifting workloads to a designated cloud provider; it also encompasses working out the migration costs of moving infrastructure to the cloud. Also, the applications earmarked for migration also need to be developed for use in the cloud, and companies trying to retrofit their existing ones to fit such an environment will have a huge uphill battle. For that reason, administrators working in greenfield sites have a major advantage over those dealing with brownfield infrastructure. And planning is the absolute make or break requirement for a successful cloud deployment. It is important to be realistic about application requirements. It may be simple to say “scale as required”, but that usually comes with a cost that needs to be worked out ahead of time – not just the actual instance cost, but also the technological development and technical debt it will incur. Scaling cannot just be thrown out ad hoc – testing, testing and more testing is key. Also, not everyone needs auto-scaling, so be honest about the organisation’s requirements. Features cost money, and waste money when they are not used.

The Impact and Ethics of Conversational Artificial Intelligence

Both a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University and a recent Amazon patent for "Voice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users" indicate that far more information can gleaned from your voice than you thought possible. Perhaps you could already guess that voice analysis can reveal things like your gender or emotions. Do you realize that your height, weight, physical health, mental state, and physical location could also be confidently determined? The Carnegie Mellon study suggested they could even make a fairly accurate 3-D representation of your face, just from your voice. However, while Carnegie Mellon suggests that this could be used for law enforcement such as for identifying hoax callers, Amazon is planning to use it to tailor purchase suggestions — for instance, offering to sell you cough drops if it recognizes that you have a cold. Using this type of analysis would allow our digital assistants to be much more in tune with us. Amazon announced in 2018 that Alexa was going to start acting on “hunches” so that it would every so often make an unprompted suggestion.

Hackers reveal how to trick a Tesla into steering towards oncoming traffic

The problem lay within the single neural network which Tesla uses to detect lanes, among other functions. Images from a camera are processed, input into the network, and output is then saved and added to a virtual map of the vehicle's surroundings. While a controller manages the car's auto-steering decisions, the researchers created an attack scenario in which the feed images were compromised by way of three stickers on the road, which led to the car's trajectory changing. By applying small, inconspicuous stickers to the road, the system failed to notice that the fake lane was directed towards another lane -- a scenario the team says could have serious real-world consequences. The vulnerability and security weaknesses found by Tencent were reported to Tesla and have now been resolved. The findings were shared with attendees of Black Hat USA 2018. "With some physical environment decorations, we can interfere or to some extent control the vehicle without connecting to the vehicle physically or remotely," the team says.

Meta Networks builds user security into its Network-as-a-Service

Ever since its launch about a year ago, Meta Networks has staked security as its primary value-add. What’s different about the Meta NaaS is the philosophy that the network is built around users, not around specific sites or offices. Meta Networks does this by building a software-defined perimeter (SDP) for each user, giving workers micro-segmented access to only the applications and network resources they need. The vendor was a little ahead of its time with SDP, but the market is starting to catch up. Companies are beginning to show interest in SDP as a VPN replacement or VPN alternative. Meta NaaS has a zero-trust architecture where each user is bound by an SDP. Each user has a unique, fixed identity no matter from where they connect to this network. The SDP security framework allows one-to-one network connections that are dynamically created on demand between the user and the specific resources they need to access. Everything else on the NaaS is invisible to the user.

Why so many organizations sideline Internet of Things strategies

Any discussion about the IoT starts with a simple but often overlooked fact: Objects and assets possess no inherent intelligence. It’s all about the “smarts” humans build into them. Consequently, a dozen — or a million — smart devices operating within separate but disconnected systems won’t have the same impact and value as a collection of devices and systems that work together synergistically. In order to slide the dial from tactical to strategic, an enterprise must focus on identifying value points, determining how data can help unlock that value, and connecting the right devices and systems in the right way. When an enterprise pinpoints value — for customers, employees, partners and others — it suddenly holds a map and a compass that points to specific devices, tools, technologies and solutions. However, an IoT platform must also be flexible and agile enough to support changes in devices, software and the overall business environment. Fast pivots and modular deployments — what many describe as agile environments — are now paramount.

Why women still make up only 24% of cybersecurity pros

Despite more women entering and succeeding in the cybersecurity field, pay inequalities persist, the report found. While 29% of men in the field report annual salaries between $50,000-$90,000, only 17% of women do the same. Some 20% of men in cyber earn between $100,000-$499,999, compared to 15% of women. Both male and female cybersecurity professionals share many of the same concerns about their roles, including lack of commitment from upper management, the reputation of their organization, the risk of seeing their job outsourced, a lack of work-life balance, the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) reducing the need for their role, and a lack of standardized cybersecurity terminology to effectively communicate within their organization. "It's an encouraging sign that more women are succeeding in cybersecurity and moving up through the ranks," Jennifer Minella, vice president of engineering and security at Carolina Advanced Digital, Inc. and chairperson of the (ISC)² board of directors, said in the release.

Zuckerberg calls for new internet regulation

Zuckerberg said effective privacy and data protection required a globally harmonised framework. “People around the world have called for comprehensive privacy regulation in line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and I agree. I believe it would be good for the internet if more countries adopted regulation such as GDPR as a common framework.” New privacy regulation around the world, he said, should build on the protections GDPR provides, it should protect individuals’ rights to choose how their information is used – while enabling companies to use information for safety purposes and to provide services – it should not require data to be stored locally, and it should establish a way to hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when they make mistakes. “I also believe a common global framework – rather than regulation that varies significantly by country and state – will ensure that the internet does not get fractured, entrepreneurs can build products that serve everyone, and everyone gets the same protections,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Kubernetes Secrets Management

A Kubernetes Secret is mainly designed to carry sensitive information that the web service needs to run. This includes information such as username and password, tokens for connecting with other pods, and certificate keys. Putting sensitive information in a Secret object allows for better security and tighter control over those details. Secrets are also easy to integrate with existing services. You just have to tell the pods to use the custom Secrets you have created alongside the native Secrets created by Kubernetes. This means you can use Secrets to make deploying a web service across multiple clusters easier. It is also worth noting that Secrets can are base64 encoded for ‘encryption’ purposes. You can convert strings or values into base64 and revert them back before use. The encoding/decoding process is already built into Kubernetes, eliminating the need for third-party tools when adding this extra layer of security. Storing sensitive environment variables becomes more seamless. It’s important not to commit base64-encoded Secrets, as they can be easily decoded by anyone.

When Wi-Fi is mission-critical, a mixed-channel architecture is the best option

When Wi-Fi is mission-critical, a mixed-channel architecture is the best option
For many carpeted offices, multi-channel Wi-Fi is likely to be solid, but there are some environments where external circumstances will impact performance. A good example of this is a multi-tenant building in which there are multiple Wi-Fi networks transmitting on the same channel and interfering with one another. Another example is a hospital where there are many campus workers moving between APs. The client will also try to connect to the best AP, causing the client to continually disconnect and reconnect resulting in dropped sessions. Then there are environments such as schools, airports, and conference facilities where there is a high number of transient devices and multi-channel can struggle to keep up. ... There has been recent innovation from the manufacturers of single-channel systems that mix channel architectures, creating a “best of both worlds” deployment that offers the throughput of multi-channel with the reliability of single-channel. For example, Allied Telesis offers Hybrid APs that can operate in multi-channel and single-channel mode simultaneously.

Building High-Quality Products With Distributed Teams

Another aspect of making a high-quality product is the testing process. She mentioned having a mature testing process with the test plan and automatic, integration, load, and stress testing, which allows identifying the issues as soon as possible, not at the very last moment. Her advice on developing high-quality products is to make quality your priority and make decisions based on this priority. It means having a mature quality process and having the best software testing engineers in your team, she argued, and working with risks; not ignoring, but mitigating. Gorbachik suggested making daily decisions from your high-quality product perspective. For example, you have a choice: deliver the product earlier without automated tests coverage, or deliver the product later, but cover it with automated tests. If your main target is a high-quality product, then option 2 (deliver the product later, but cover it with automated tests) is your choice, she argued.

Quote for the day:

"Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall." -- Stephen Covey

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