Daily Tech Digest - January 22, 2024

Cybersecurity Trends and Predictions 2024 From Industry Insiders

In this new world, private clouds and private infrastructure are a safer place to be. It's critical for security posture, especially for a brand that's been around a long time and its core functionalities haven't changed — it's critical to any modern environment despite the new threats. The basics haven't changed; they've just increased. Organizations need to be critical about their ITOps strategy to ensure configuration management and drift control, which is key to maintaining the security posture for an organization. Organizations will depend more on agents to manage configurations and prevent drift with the right set of technologies while tracking any and every change made to the golden images for configuration in their estate and keep their infrastructure inline as part of the security posture while also being secure in compliance standards. ... That fact won't stop startups from claiming that they have used GenAI to create a security silver bullet. While AI, particularly deep learning, will always have a place in solving security challenges, organizations will be better served by avoiding the AI panic and ensuring any security solutions help them optimize the security basics

Russia-based group hacked emails of Microsoft’s senior leadership

This is not the first time Midnight Blizzard or Nobelium has targeted the company. Last year, Microsoft had accused it of using social engineering to carry out a cyberattack on Microsoft Teams. Though the attack was initiated in late November 2023, it was detected only on January 12, 2024. “The incidence shows, like in earlier such cases, that even the most sophisticated cyber security systems are far from being adequate. ... Microsoft stressed that the attack was not because of a vulnerability in its products or services. “To date, there is no evidence that the threat actor had any access to customer environments, production systems, source code, or AI systems. We will notify customers if any action is required,” the company blog post read. However, analysts believe that possibly not enough was done to secure the email accounts of senior leadership. “The breach also hints at the possibility that best practices, such as zero-trust security, are not necessarily being applied to email accounts of senior leadership, who have been the primary targets in this case,” said Kumar. He added that a “weak link the security chain” might have led to the compromise of the employee emails.

The Ethical Frontier: Navigating the Moral Landscape of Big Data and AI

Corporations are now looking beyond the bottom line to uphold ethical practices as they leverage big data and AI. The first step in this direction is ensuring transparency. Companies need to be clear about how they are collecting data, what they’re using it for, and how AI algorithms make decisions. This transparency is crucial in building trust with consumers and stakeholders. Another pivotal aspect is the prevention of biases in AI. Machine learning algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate and amplify existing biases if they are fed with skewed datasets. Corporations must actively engage in ‘debiasing’ techniques and diversity initiatives to ensure fairness and inclusivity in AI-driven decisions. Privacy, too, cannot be an afterthought. With regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) setting a precedent, businesses are more accountable for protecting individual’s data. Implementing robust privacy measures and giving users control over their data is both an ethical obligation and a business imperative. Various ethical frameworks have been proposed to guide businesses in this new terrain. 

DevSecOps risks: How can Indian tech mitigate software hijacking

It’s not surprising that these hijacking methods have gained prominence in India in recent years, as up to 96% of applications contain at least one open-source component. As Indian developers collaborate on software production, there is one word they should become familiar with when it comes to securing the software development pipeline: Curation. At a high level, the word Curation is defined as the act of thoughtfully selecting and organising items, a process typically associated with articles, images, music, and so on. In this case, however, the items being curated are open-source software components, acting as an automated lock to safeguard the gateway of the software pipeline. It entails filtering, tracking, and managing software packages based on preset policies to ensure the use of reliable components across the development lifecycle. Curating software components streamline development by guaranteeing the safety, reliability, and current status of packages. The idea is to protect against both known and unknown risks through a comprehensive approach that strengthens the organisation’s software supply chain by establishing a trusted source of packages. Approved packages could then be cataloged for re-use, or to point.

CISOs are not just the keepers of our data – they must be its custodians

Effective navigation of this intricate regulatory landscape extends beyond mere compliance: it necessitates strategic, ongoing commitment. While data owners may define policies, custodians are responsible for implementing and ensuring adherence to these policies. The landscape of data custodianship in the digital age is one defined by constant evolution, where CISOs emerge as the linchpins of responsible information management. As organizations navigate the complexities of the regulatory and compliance landscape, understanding and embracing the essentials of data custodianship becomes paramount to fostering a culture of trust, accountability, and ethical data practices. The proactive role of CISOs, positioned as natural custodians, is central to fortifying organizations against evolving cyber threats and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations. By systematically integrating stringent measures aligned with prevailing industry standards, these CISOs exemplify the commitment required to uphold privacy and security imperatives. In the face of an ever-evolving regulatory panorama, such organizations demonstrate the resilience necessary to navigate complexities and ensure ethical data practices.

Unlocking Accountability: How Real-Time App Monitoring Empowers Engineering Teams

In the realm of software development—particularly with the advent of real-time application monitoring—employee retention, especially of developers, is paramount. Their deep understanding of the nuances of our applications and their ability to respond swiftly to the insights provided by real-time monitoring are invaluable. Maintaining a team of satisfied, engaged developers is crucial in this context. It’s not just about reducing turnover; it’s about fostering a culture where the engineers feel invested in the continuous improvement and success of our products. When developers are genuinely satisfied with their work and their environment, it reflects in the quality of their output. They become proactive in identifying and addressing issues, often before they escalate, thanks to the real-time data at their fingertips. The shift toward more dynamic monitoring practices has underscored the need for a supportive, collaborative environment. A culture where developers are encouraged to share insights and take initiative leads to a more responsive and adaptable team. This environment not only supports the technical aspects of our work but also enhances the overall morale and commitment of our developers.

Data Modernization: Turning an Ugly Duckling into a Swan

Regulatory and compliance requirements in healthcare, finance, transportation, and communications all require a cross-section of data for reporting that comes from many different systems. To tap into all that data and combine it in a single data repository for reporting purposes requires system integration. Such system integration requires that data be modernized across all systems into standard forms that can be passed from system to system and consolidated. To achieve this degree of integration and interoperability, data modernization tasks must be built into compliance and regulatory projects. It is up to the CIO and other IT leaders to explain to management and users why this data modernization work is needed. ... Customer relationship management (CRM) systems must integrate data from disparate systems owned by many different departments within the enterprise. System integration and data modernization are needed because the end goal of CRM is to deliver to any authorized employee anywhere a uniform, 360-degree view of each customer. 

Cloud-Computing in the Post-Serverless Era: Current Trends and Beyond

A primitive and a construct in programming have distinct meanings and roles. A primitive is a basic data type inherently part of a programming language. It embodies a basic value, such as an integer, float, boolean, or character, and does not comprise other types. Mirroring this concept, the cloud - just like a giant programming runtime - is evolving from infrastructure primitives like network load balancers, virtual machines, file storage, and databases to more refined and configurable cloud constructs. Like programming constructs, these cloud constructs orchestrate distributed application interactions and manage complex data flows. However, these constructs are not isolated cloud services; there isn’t a standalone "filtering as a service" or "event emitter as service." There are no "Constructs as a Service," but they are increasingly essential features of core cloud primitives such as gateways, data stores, message brokers, and function runtimes. This evolution reduces application code complexity and, in many cases, eliminates the need for custom functions. 

Three Best Practices for Optimizing the Benefits of Your Modern Data Stack

Today, businesses are embracing a democratized approach to data. The universal semantic layer enables everyone to become a data product creator, meaning that enterprises are distributing the ability to create data products to the business. As a result, the role of IT is transforming from that of controlling all the data to that of creating and managing platforms that allow business units to create their own data products and ask their own questions about that data. IT is no longer a bottleneck but has become a data enabler for all business units. The trend toward democratization has a profound impact on the way we work with data.  ... Another trend is the inclusivity of data and analytics roles. The modern data stack doesn't discriminate between data engineers, analytics engineers, or BI developers. It accommodates both code and no-code enthusiasts, making data accessible to everyone, regardless of technical background. This also means that anyone can access the data in their BI tool of choice, whether that be Power BI, Tableau, or Excel. The semantic layer is the key to truly enabling that business-friendly representation that works for every user, no matter their skill level or BI platform preference.

Without clear guidance, SEC’s new rule on incident reporting may be detrimental

The challenge with these new guidelines arises from the SEC’s directive that mandates registrants disclose any cybersecurity incident deemed materially significant, detailing, “… the nature, scope, and timing of the incident, as well as the material impact or reasonably likely material impact of the incident on the registrant, including its financial condition and results of operations.” This requirement leaves considerable interpretive leeway, and concrete definitions are likely to emerge only through legal precedent. Naturally, companies are hesitant to become test cases for these definitions. This ambiguity may prompt businesses to over-communicate with the SEC, ensuring exhaustive compliance with the immediate disclosure requirements. However, this approach risks diluting the significance of “material” information. Investors relying on a company’s 8-K filings for insights into the impact of a cyber incident might consequently overlook critical details amid the information overload. To counter this, the SEC needs to engage in proactive dialogues to clarify disclosure requirements, particularly regarding the frequency and extent of details needed. 

Quote for the day:

"Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall." -- Oliver Goldsmith

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