Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Amazing!  Someone got it right! 
I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised to read how this non-profit had a great response to a ransomware attack.
Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold is still reeling from a cyberattack that shut its computers down for more than a week.
The local food bank’s CEO, Betty-Lou Souter, said Community Care’s systems are back up and running, but the ransomware attack has reinforced the need for cyber-vigilance.
“It is easy to open the door, but once it’s open it can be very hard to close,” Souter said.
She said Community Care’s servers were attacked by the NW4 ransomware virus at 11:26 p.m. on June 28.
No one is sure how the virus got into the server, but when Community Care’s staff arrived for work on June 29, they couldn’t use their computers.
Souter said every computer screen displayed a message that said all the computer’s files were encrypted.  To get access to them, Community Care would have to buy an encryption key for the price of $3,000 in Bitcoin, a unit of currency frequently used by cybercriminals.
“We didn’t pay that, obviously,” Souter said.  “I immediately called our technical support guy, and he told us not to touch anything.”
But it wasn’t just their immediate response that impressed me.  It was their preparation:
She said Community Care backs up its computer files on a regular basis.  The technician wiped the computers and restored them using those backed up files.
Souter said Community Care’s client information files were unaffected because they are not stored on the physical server, but on a cloud.
Nevertheless, it took nearly a week for Community Care to have full access to its computers.  The only data lost was information that hadn’t been captured in the most recent backup.
I wonder what their budget is for infosecurity and whether they would be willing to share their plan with others of comparable size and means.

A can of worms?  
PSD2 and Open Banking Bring Problems and Opportunities for Global Banks
Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) is a new EU banking/finance regulation coming into force in January 2018.  It is designed to shake up the finance sector -- perhaps even designed to weaken the overall strength of the banks following the 2008 crash,
   The banks are considered to be too powerful and monolithic with sole and complete ownership of their customers financial data.  The European bureaucrats want to introduce some competition.  Their chosen route is to force the banks to provide APIs that will allow third-party apps to access customer data and provide new services not currently offered by the banks.  The bureaucrats then believe third-parties will re-invigorate the payments and finance markets for end users. 
There are enormous difficulties for the banks -- for while they are required to give third-party access to customer data, they will remain liable for the security of that data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Consider if this is done via a social media organization.  That organization will build an app that provides access to, and uses, its customers' financial data.  The banks can authenticate the social media organization; but the social media app authenticates the user.  It is possible, then, that access to customer financial data will be controlled only by social media logon; and that will almost certainly be less secure than the multi-factor and behavioral security measures that many banks currently use.

Is President Trump hoist on an e-petard?  And what is an e-petard?  My definition would be: Anything you craft yourself that you hope won’t come back to bite you. 
Critics Blocked from President’s Twitter Account File Suit
by on
Knight First Amendment Institute: “Joined by seven individuals from across the country, the Knight First Amendment Institute filed suit in the Southern District of New York today contending that President Trump and his communications team are violating the First Amendment by blocking individuals from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account because they criticized the president or his policies.  
The Knight Institute sent a letter to the White House last month suggesting that it would file suit if the president and his aides did not unblock individuals who had been blocked because of their views.  The White House did not respond to that letter.  “President Trump’s Twitter account has become an important source of news and information about the government, and an important forum for speech by, to, or about the president,” said Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director.  The First Amendment applies to this digital forum in the same way it applies to town halls and open school board meetings.  The White House acts unlawfully when it excludes people from this forum simply because they’ve disagreed with the president.”  The president and his aides have aggressively promoted the @realDonaldTrump account as a key channel for communication between the president and the public.  The White House uses the account to make formal announcements, defend the president’s official decisions and actions, report on meetings with foreign leaders, and promote the administration’s positions on health care, immigration, foreign affairs, and other matters.  The president’s advisors have stated that tweets from @realDonaldTrump are “official statements.”  Today’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven people from across the country who have been blocked from the account by the president or his aides.  The blocking prevents or impedes these people from reading the president’s tweets, responding directly, or participating in the discussions that take place in the comment threads generated by the president’s tweets.  The complaint argues that the @realDonaldTrump account is a “public forum” under the First Amendment, meaning that the government cannot exclude people from it simply because of their views.  It also contends that the White House is violating the seven individual plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to petition their government for redress of grievances…” 

This could enable anyone to create fake news that is very difficult to detect.
With these techniques, it’s difficult to discern between videos of real people and computerized impostors that can be programmed to say anything.

Can Pepsi be far behind? 
Coca-Cola reveals AI-powered vending machine app
As a powerhouse in the beverage industry, Coca-Cola has made AI a central part of their technology landscape.  Now, they have a new addition.
At MB 2017, Greg Chambers, the global director of digital innovation at Coca-Cola, took the stage to reveal some AI news.

Some of my students are ready for this.
Free Webinar: How to Build a Customer Experience-Led Business
To find out how to improve customer experience on your branded channels, you’ll want to attend our webinar, How to Build a Customer Experience-Led Business, presented by Comcast Business and Entrepreneur.

This may be too simple for my niece, but I’ll forward it anyway.  
   Fender Play is a video subscription service [30 day free trial.  Bob] designed to make learning the guitar online a more painless, digestible process.  Using bite-sized, multi-angle video lessons, Fender Play puts the focus on learning popular songs, rather than bogging students down with arcane music theory up front.  

This actually happened to me.  

For my “starving students.” 
Krispy Kreme Is Giving Out a Dozen Doughnuts For 80 Cents. Here’s How to Get Them
As Krispy Kreme prepares to celebrates its 80th anniversary, the doughnut chain will be selling a dozen doughnuts for 80 cents this week.
Considering that a single doughnut normally sells at Krispy Kreme for 99 cents, the offer makes for a pretty good bargain.  The deal runs only on Friday, July 14, and lasts all day,
   Customers won't need to present a coupon or certificate to get the deal.  All they need to do is show up to a participating Krispy Kreme in the United States or Canada.  Some locations may not have the deal — to find out if a local Krispy Kreme will be offering the sale, customers can use the company's store locator.

No comments: