Internet, Information Technology & e-Discovery Blog

Internet, Information Technology & e-Discovery Blog

Social changes brought about by the Internet & Technology

PBS Audio: Privacy does not exist, and no one cares!!

Posted in Internet Privacy

Please tune and listen to my friend Lauren Silverman’s interview on KERA/Think of Professor Randolph Lewis about privacy, or lack thereof since “many types of surveillance are pitched as ways to make us safer, almost no one has examined the unintended consequences of living under constant scrutiny and how it changes the way we think and feel about the world.”  Lauren’s January 5, 2017 interview entitled “Our Every Move Is Tracked — And Why We’re OK With That” about University of Texas at Austin Professor Lewis’ book entitled “Under Surveillance: Being Watched in Modern America.”  KERA promotes the audio this introduction:

With our cell phones, computer histories and security cameras, someone out there knows where we are and what we’re doing nearly every minute of the day.

Lack of privacy is hardly a surprise in January 2018, and it will only get worse!

You don’t want to hear this – Chip makers confess that every computer in the world is at cyber risk!

Posted in Cyber, eCommerce, IT Industry

Every single computer (including cells, tablets, PCs, & servers) has a Central Processing Unit (CPU) made by Intel, AMD, & ARM and security experts found “two problems, called Meltdown and Spectre, could allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of computers, including mobile devices, personal computers and servers running in so-called cloud computer networks.”  The New York Times report on January 3, 2018 entitled “Researchers Discover Two Major Flaws in the World’s Computers” included these comments:

There is no easy fix for Spectre, which could require redesigning the processors, according to researchers. As for Meltdown, the software patch needed to fix the issue could slow down computers by as much as 30 percent — an ugly situation for people used to fast downloads from their favorite online services.

Meltdown is a particular problem for the cloud computing services run by the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft. By Wednesday evening, Google and Microsoft said they had updated their systems to deal with the flaw.

To take advantage of Meltdown, hackers could rent space on a cloud service, just like any other business customer. Once they were on the service, the flaw would allow them to grab information like passwords from other customers.

Really bad news, but unfortunately very OLD NEWS!

Blockchain (think Bitcoin technology) is one of the “17 Things” you should have learned about in 2017!

Posted in eCommerce

Darkreading  described Blockchain (which allows Bitcoin to operate) as the “distributed ledger technology essentially allows for the creation of a list of records, each record cryptographically linked and secured, thereby enabling greater data integrity for all manner of applications.” The December 29, 2017 article entitled “17 Things We Should Have Learned in 2017, but Probably Didn’t” specifically identified Blockchain in describing “#13. Bitcoin is awesome, once you take away the part about currency”:

Gee, Bitcoin sure is great for paying ransomare operators and for debating just how much volatility a financial system can bear. But the best thing about it is the platform upon which it’s built: Blockchain.

Blockchain was also included in “#14. Encryption is great … except when it isn’t”

People love Blockchain partly because of all the crypto packed inside like chocolate chips in a cookie.

Here are all 17 Things:

  1. You need to know what data you have, and where it is.
  2. How we respond to incidents is just as important as how we prevent them.
  3. Social Security Numbers should not be used for anything but Social Security.
  4. Radio frequency communications need to be secured.
  5. ICS/SCADA needs special security treatment
  6. You need to deploy patches faster…no, really.
  7. The NSA might not be the best place to put your secret stuff.
  8. Cybersecurity failures are beginning to have significant market impacts … sort of.
  9. Integrity of data (and the democratic process) can be disrupted by more than “hacking.”
  10. You really should refresh your DDoS defense and preparation plan.
  11. You can’t escape the effects of political and civil unrest.
  12. Infosec workforce diversity is something you should actually care about.
  13. Bitcoin is awesome, once you take away the part about currency.
  14. Encryption is great … except when it isn’t.
  15. Firmware is your problem too.
  16. No malware does not mean no problem.
  17. Getting stabbed in the side is a bigger problem than getting stabbed in the back.

Get ready for more Blockchain in 2018!!!

Adult supervision no longer needed at Google (Alphabet)…so Eric Schmidt is stepping aside!

Posted in eCommerce, Internet Access

In 2001 Google brought Eric Schmidt aboard for adult supervision, and during his tenure among other earth shattering things Schmidt coined the word “Cloud” (fka time-sharing, and later Application Service Provider – ASP).  The Washington Post December 21, 2017 article entitled “Eric Schmidt is stepping down from his role at Google’s parent company, Alphabet” included this background about Schmidt’s tenure at Google:

Schmidt joined Google at a time of rapid growth.

Its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, had just a few years earlier launched a disruptive search engine and were viewed as fresh-faced newcomers to the tech sector.

The two openly acknowledged to the San Francisco Chronicle at the time that they lacked guidance from an experienced businessman.

“He’s going to be a bit of [a] chaperone, providing adult supervision,” Brin told the Chronicle.

Schmidt said Thursday that he felt confident stepping aside after having successfully overseen Google’s evolution into Alphabet.

This is the end of an era, and time will tell what a significant impact that Schmidt has had on the Internet while at Google!

Astroturf Update: State sues hotel for punishing guests for bad reviews!

Posted in eCommerce

The state of Indiana sued a hotel which “maintained a written policy stating if a consumer made any negative statement, including an online comment or review, regarding their stay at Abbey Inn & Suites, the Defendants would charge the consumer an additional $350.00 and pursue legal action against the consumer.”  The case of the State of Indiana v. Abbey Management Inc. was filed for injunctive relief, civil penalties, and costs which was reported in the Washington Post on December 20, 2017 in article entitled “A hotel punished guests for bad reviews with a $350 charge. It’s now being sued by the state” and included these postings from a former customer:

Smelt like sewer,

The air conditioning didn’t work, either.

We started checking the sheets and the bed, I found hairs, dirt.

A month later the customer reported:

…she got a letter from a man named Andrew Szakaly. The state’s lawsuit says he described himself as the hotel’s attorney, when he was in fact its owner and operator. The letter claimed that Arthur’s review was false and had caused “irreparable injury” to the Abbey, and it said that Szakaly would sue for libel unless Arthur took it down.

This lawsuit may change the power of online Terms of Service, or at least at hotels who don’t like customer reviews!

Blockchain news -Legal risks are one of the 5 myths of bitcoin (which is powered by Blockchain)!

Posted in eCommerce

The Washington Post reported that the “Securities and Exchange Commission recently began cracking down on initial coin offerings, a new type of blockchain-based fundraising mechanism, under its existing authority to regulate securities.”  The December 15, 2017 story entitled “Five myths about bitcoin” which included these comments about the law:

All mainstream bitcoin exchanges at least attempt to comply with “know your customer” laws to prevent money laundering.

The IRS regards bitcoin as taxable property.

Here are all 5  Myths:

Myth No. 1 – There is a finite supply of bitcoin.

Myth No. 2 – Bitcoin’s users are anonymous.

Myth No. 3 – Bitcoin is beyond the reach of the law.

Myth No. 4 – Bitcoin wastes energy.

Myth No. 5 – Bitcoin will replace credit cards and/or cash.

Keep an eye on the legal risks on Blockchain which are critical.

Insurance industry embraces Blockchain, but when? Tomorrow or in 10 years?

Posted in eCommerce

BusinessInsurance.com reported the comments of Paul Meeusen, head of distributed ledger technology at Swiss Re Ltd. in Zurich that using Blockchain to manage Insurance “seemed very intuitive that this technology was very suitable to some of the key issues we deal with in our industry.” The December 12, 2017 article entitled “Insurance well suited to blockchain, speakers say” was on a New York City Bar Association panel discussion including these comments from Nick Williams (Clifford Chance LLP, Senior Partner):

I think insurance is the perfect industry for blockchain,

Accuracy in pricing will increase as (distributed ledger technology) platforms increase the transparency of risk.

The big question is WHEN?

Of course, testing is 1 of the 5 easy steps to beat Ransomware!

Posted in Cyber

Unitrends issued a white paper which stated that “the truth is that all industries are vulnerable to ransomware. Email, databases and business applications run on similar infrastructure and operating systems across all industries.”  The white paper was entitled “Beat Ransomware in 5 Easy Steps, Be Prepared to Fight or Be Prepared to Pay” included these comments about Step 3 to Test, Test and Test Again:

Even the FBI agrees that the only truly effective way to combat ransomware is to regularly back up data and verify the integrity of those backups.

Testing provides many advantages in the fight against ransomware. Testing ensures:

  • backups are not infected with the ransomware and can be used for data recovery
  • recovery will be successful for both physical & virtual machines
  • RPO and RTO compliance reports can be generated for HIPAA and other certifications

Here are all 5 Steps:

Step 1 – Protect yourself

Step 2 – Secure your Infrastructure

Step 3 – Test, Test and Test Again

Step 4 – Proactive Detection

Step 5 – Fast Recovery

All businesses need to be ready for ransomware!

Note to Ransomware Criminals – North Carolina Counties will not pay ransom…so go elsewhere!

Posted in Cyber, eCommerce

The New York Times reported that Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (which includes the city of Charlotte) refused to “pay a $23,000 ransom to a group of hackers who seized control of several government computer systems” and the County was operating without “the internet, civil servants were doing their jobs using “paper processes.””  The December 6, 2017 report entitled “North Carolina County Refuses to Pay $23,000 Ransom to Hackers” included these comments:

Officials said they believed the hackers had not obtained the personal information of any employees or private citizens.

The targeted systems included those of the tax assessor’s office and the Parks and Recreation and Social Services Departments, the county said in a statement.

Dena R. Diorio (the Mecklenburg County manager) issued this statement:

I am confident that our backup data is secure and we have the resources to fix this situation ourselves,…

It will take time, but with patience and hard work, all of our systems will be back up and running as soon as possible.

Let’s seek if the backup contained malware before Mecklenburg County is out of the woods!

Are you kidding me? Only 15% of US companies have insurance for their data!

Posted in Cyber, eCommerce

One might conclude it makes a lot of sense to insure business data after considering Tableau’s report that included Ponemon’s estimate that the “average total cost of a data breach was estimated at $3.62 million.”  The December 2017 report entitled “2018 Top 10 Business Intelligence Trends” included the #5 Rise of the Chief Data Officer (CDO)

The fact that CDO’s and/or CAO’s are being appointed and assigned accountability for business impact and improved outcomes, also demonstrates the strategic value of data and analytics in modern organizations.

Also the report included these comments from Peter Cregger (CDO at FNI):

My job is to bring tools and technologies and empower the team.

You have to decide where the pain point is.

What is the real risk to your business?

Here are all 10 trends:

  1. Don’t Fear AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  2. Liberal Arts Impact
  3. Promise of NLP (Natural Language Processing)
  4. Multi-Cloud Debate
  5. Rise of the CDO
  6. Crowd Sourced Governance
  7. Data Insurance
  8. Data Engineer Role
  9. Location IoT (Internet of Things)
  10. Academics Investment

No surprises in this list!