Walmart will use IBM Blockchain to track spinach and lettuce!

The New York Times reported that Walmart announced “After a two-year pilot project, …that it would be using a blockchain, the type of database technology behind Bitcoin, to keep track of every bag of spinach and head of lettuce.” The September 24, 2018 article entitled “From Farm to Blockchain: Walmart Tracks Its Lettuce” included these comments:

When dozens of people across the country got sick from eating contaminated romaine lettuce this spring, Walmart did what many grocers would do: It cleared every shred off its shelves, just to be safe.

By this time next year, more than 100 farms that supply Walmart with leafy green vegetables will be required to input detailed information about their food into a blockchain database developed by I.B.M. for Walmart and several other retailers exploring similar moves.

For Walmart, the initiative fits squarely into two key strategies: bolstering its digital savvy and emphasizing the quality of its fresh food to customers. The blockchain could also save Walmart money. When another food-borne illness hits — like the E. coli outbreak affecting romaine — the retailer would only have to discard the food that was actually at risk.

I.B.M. is trying to position itself as a leader in the emerging technology of blockchains. It is competing with established companies like Microsoft and upstarts like Ethereum, which have been developing projects in areas as varied as financial trading and music rights.

Stay tuned for more pragmatic non cryptocurrency uses of Blockchain.

Banks wary of Blockchain-based payment systems

Computerworld.com reported that while “blockchain-based payment networks could help eliminate central authorities and their accompanying fees for cross-border transfers, banks and other enterprises see risks.” The September 25, 2018 article entitled “Banks remain wary of blockchain-based electronic payment networks”included these comments from Fabio Chesini (Gartner research director for transaction banking):

Using a new infrastructure rail based on blockchain by using them for messaging [does] not have a clear business case for banks when [they’re] considering replacing existing traditional correspondent banking services. Also, [it’s] worth highlighting the novelty of these platforms and their lack of maturity for being used in mission-critical businesses such as cross-border payments,

Stay tuned to see how this changes in the near future.

IoT Hackers plead guilty and get no jail time!

Darkreading.com reported that after substantial cooperation with the FBI that the three “…men charged with creating and managing the Mirai botnet have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act and have been sentenced to a five-year period of probation and 2,500 hours of community service.” The September 19,2018 report entitled “Mirai Hackers’ Sentence Includes No Jail Time” included a link to the Department of Justice News Release “Hackers’ Cooperation with FBI Leads to Substantial Assistance in Other Complex Cybercrime Investigations” which included these comments from U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder:

Cybercrime is a worldwide epidemic that reaches many …

The perpetrators count on being technologically one step ahead of law enforcement officials. 

The plea agreement with the young offenders in this case was a unique opportunity for law enforcement officers, and will give FBI investigators the knowledge and tools they need to stay ahead of cyber criminals around the world.

The News Release identified the three young men as: “Paras Jha, 22, of Fanwood, N.J.; Josiah White, 21, of Washington, Pa.; and Dalton Norman, 22, of Metairie, La.”

Unfortunately I think we will continue to see young people commit other cybercrimes.

Silent Cyber Growing (lack of cyber insurance coverage)!

My friend Judy Greenwald reported for BusinessInsurance.com that “Silent cyber, cyber losses that affect insurance policies not specifically designed to cover cyber risk” was significant and that a “survey of close to 700 participants from more than 100 insurance companies found that in 2017, fewer than half of respondents estimated the silent cyber risk to be greater than one cyber-related loss for every 100 non-cyber related losses.” The September 17, 2018 report entitled “Threat of silent cyber grows significantly: Willis Re” was based on a “survey 2018 Silent Cyber Risk Outlook, issued by Willis Towers Watson’s reinsurance unit” and included these comments:

In 2018, 60% to 70% of respondents estimated the silent cyber risk factor was greater than one in every 100 noncyber-related losses in all lines of business apart from workers compensation.

Actually this report is hardly a surprise!

Cyberattacks in Germany cost $50 billion!

Reuters reported about “Bitkom surveyed 503 top managers and security chiefs from across Germany’s manufacturing sector” and reported that “Two thirds of Germany’s manufacturers have been hit by cyber-crime attacks, costing industry in Europe’s largest economy some 43 billion euros ($50 billion),…”. The September 13, 2018 article entitled “Cyber attacks cost German industry almost $50 billion: study”included these details:

German security officials have long been sounding the alarm about the risk of well-resourced foreign spy agencies using cyber attacks to steal the advanced manufacturing techniques that have made Germany one of the world’s leading exporters.

The survey identified risks across the spectrum, with a third of companies surveyed reporting mobile phones had been stolen and a quarter saying they had lost sensitive digital data.

There was evidence cyber criminals were also using other techniques to hobble their German competitors, the survey found, with 19 percent of those polled saying their IT and production systems had been sabotaged digitally, and 11 percent reporting tapping of their communications.

What do you think about this alarming news?