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Incentives-Driven Disaster: Wells Fargo's Ethical Implosion
September 21, 2016
Anyone who works with sales people knows that their ultimate incentive is their commission check. Since the first time that "sales" was identified as a profession, we've been paying the people who sell based primarily on their results. This has worked well -- but things are starting to change. The drive for results at the expense of all other considerations is running smack dab into new realities.
DoT Refreshes Rule Book to Include Self-Driving Cars
September 20, 2016
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has introduced new federal guidelines for the emerging highly automated vehicle industry -- including self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles -- creating a framework that will help drive one of the most important new sectors in the national economy. Foxx was joined by Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Congress to Bureaucrats: Trust No One
September 20, 2016
Congress earlier this month lowered the hammer on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in a report on the massive data breach that resulted in the theft of 4.2 million former and current government employees' personnel files, as well as 21.5 million individuals' security clearance information, including fingerprints associated with 5.6 million of them.
Samsung Troubles Deepen Following Formal CPSC Action
September 19, 2016
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung last week announced a formal voluntary recall of about 1 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones, after the high-end flagship device was found to have overheated or caught fire in at least 92 incidents. Samsung was notified of 26 cases of people being burned by the defective 5.7-inch smartphones and 55 cases of property damage, according to the CPSC.
Why Russian Hackers Are Doing the US a Favor
September 19, 2016
Colin Powell's hacked email once again showcases that what people in office tell us and what they actually think are two very different things. Politicians work for us -- we are supposedly their employers. Yet we seem to know far less about what they do and think than what we need to know in order to vote intelligently. Powell's comments are actually far more damaging to Clinton than Trump.
Cyberattacks on Athletes May Be Russian Distraction Tactic
September 16, 2016
Confidential information about international athletes surfaced on the Internet Wednesday -- the second such exposure this week. Russian hackers allegedly stole the information from the World Anti-Doping Agency. It includes confidential data on medical drug exemptions given to 25 athletes from eight countries. Information about four athletes appeared online earlier in the week.
Google Pursues Both Fiber and Wireless Broadband Ambitions
September 16, 2016
Google Fiber is reaching its tentacles into North Carolina's Research Triangle, a move that seems to contradict the gloom-and-doom rumors of layoffs and low consumer interest. The Triangle is Google Fiber's eighth incursion. It's already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.
Nation States May Be Plotting Internet Takedown, Warns Cybersec Pro
September 14, 2016
Unknown attackers have been testing the defenses of companies that run critical parts of the Internet, possibly to figure out how to take them down, cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier warned. Large nation states -- perhaps China or Russia -- are the likely culprits, he suggested. "Nation state actors are going to probe to find weaknesses in all of our technologies," said Tripwire's Travis Smith.
Samsung Catches a Small Break in Midst of Note7 Battery Pummeling
September 13, 2016
Samsung stock recovered slightly on Tuesday from the nosedive it took Monday, after regulators urged consumers to turn in more than 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones. Shares closed 4.2 percent higher on Tuesday, erasing some of Monday's $14 billion loss in market value. The FAA's alert came in response to a small number of reports of the phone's lithium ion batteries catching fire.
Feds Seek Vendor Help for Payroll Processing Upgrade
September 12, 2016
Technology vendors that support the different missions of U.S. government agencies may have a major opportunity to provide innovative IT assistance for a task that is common to all: preparing the payroll for 2.3 million federal workers. The GSA and the OPM have been sifting through responses from IT vendors on a joint RFI on significantly upgrading federal payroll processing.
Amazon Drops Wells Fargo Student Loan Program Like Hot Potato
September 9, 2016
Amazon and Wells Fargo Education Financial Services this week suddenly ended a partnership to offer low-cost loans to college students, less than six weeks after announcing the program. Wells Fargo, the largest lender of private student loans among all U.S. commercial banks, had offered a 0.50 percent discount to Amazon Prime Student customers under the partnership.
Obama Warns Against Cyber Cold War
September 6, 2016
President Obama on Monday urged de-escalation of a potential arms race involving cyberweapons. The president's remarks followed his meeting with world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. The U.S. has more offensive and defensive capability than any other country on Earth, Obama noted. The president urged adoption of new cybersecurity norms.
Feds Warn States to Batten Down Hatches Following Election System Attacks
September 2, 2016
The FBI has launched investigations into malicious cyberattacks on the electronic election infrastructures in Illinois and Arizona, and federal officials last month warned states to take steps to protect their systems as the presidential campaign heats up, according to reports. The attacks, dating back to June, led to the illegal download of information on more than 200,000 Illinois voters.
CFPB Report: Consumers Have Bones to Pick With Banks
September 1, 2016
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday released its August complaint snapshot, which indicates that consumers across the country have been filing a large number of complaints about access to banking services. Further, many consumers complained that when they tried to open new accounts, they were ambushed with negative reports previously not provided to them.
Massive Data Breach Puts French Sub Maker in Crosshairs
September 1, 2016
Officials in France and India are investigating a massive data breach involving thousands of documents belonging to defense industry contractor DCNS, which was scheduled to deliver six Scorpene-class submarines to the Indian navy later this year. Hackers stole more than 22,000 pages of documents that included detailed technical information on the vessels, some of which was published online.
Europe Duns Apple for $14.5B in Illegal Tax Breaks
August 31, 2016
The European Union on Tuesday nailed Apple with a $14.5 billion bill for back taxes. "The European Commission has today has adopted a decision that Apple's tax benefits in Ireland are illegal," said EC Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager. Tax breaks Ireland granted to Apple for more than two decades artificially reduced Apple's tax burden, in breach of European Union rules, she explained.
Federal Agencies Told to Share Their Software
August 31, 2016
U.S. government agencies have been directed to share with each other software code that has been developed on a customized basis. Much of the code involves commercial vendor offerings. In addition to interagency sharing, government units are required to share portions of their customized code with the general public, a move characterized as promoting an open source approach.
Innocents Exposed as WikiLeaks Gushes Information
August 27, 2016
WikiLeaks reportedly has leaked sensitive personal information belonging to hundreds of innocent individuals worldwide, including some residing in several highly repressive countries. The organization has revealed private credit card data, medical information, personal addresses and other data of various individuals, including the identification as gay of a Saudi Arabian who had been arrested.
Apple Speeds iOS Patch to Bring Down Pegasus
August 26, 2016
Apple on Thursday issued a patch that addresses three recently discovered critical iOS zero-day vulnerabilities, and advised users to update their systems immediately. State-sponsored actors exploited the flaws to target United Arab Emirates human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, and a Mexican journalist who reported on government corruption. Researchers have dubbed the flaws "Trident."
US Government's Social Media Vetting Idea Draws Fire
August 26, 2016
A coalition headed by the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Internet Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union this week filed objections to a Department of Homeland Security proposal to collect social media information from visitors entering the United States. The proposal, published in June, calls for the addition of a request to the I-94W form required for aliens seeking entry.
Defense Department Drifts Toward Commercial Cloud
August 26, 2016
The U.S. Department of Defense plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars on a project that is designed to further the incorporation of commercial cloud capabilities into DoD's information technology operations. Vendors have been asked to submit bids for the project, known as "Mil-Cloud 2.0." The procurement is one element of a comprehensive DoD strategy for expanding cloud operations.
In a Political Season
August 24, 2016
Many, if not most, people I know don't want to talk about it -- the election, that is. Lots of them have views but they don't want to share them, based on a dislike of contentiousness. Who likes conflict? There is an article floating around the Internet that I lost track of that says nobody's mind ever changes in a heated debate about something so vital, so why engage?
Twitter Steps Up Counterterrorism Efforts
August 24, 2016
Twitter last week announced it had suspended 235,000 accounts since February for promoting terrorism, bringing to 360,000 the total number of suspensions since mid-2015. Daily suspensions have increased more than 80 percent since last year, spiking immediately after terrorist attacks. Twitter's response time for suspending reported accounts has decreased dramatically.
From the Olympic Non-Robbery to Ford Getting Out of Cars, to Evil NSA: A Strange Week
August 22, 2016
There were three stories that caught my eye last week that I think deserve some additional discussion. One is the alleged robbery of U.S. Olympians followed by questions of whether it really happened because their phones weren't stolen. There may be a legitimate reason for that, and it's one that suggests a lot of folks will be getting huge cellphone bills next month.
Edward Snowden Sheds Light on Shadow Brokers
August 18, 2016
Edward Snowden has injected himself into an escalating cyberstruggle that could affect the U.S. presidential election. The reported hack of The Equation Group might have been a warning shot from Russia, Snowden claimed. The group, which is widely believed to be a front operation for the NSA, apparently was hacked over the weekend by a previously unknown outfit called the "Shadow Brokers."
Super-Sophisticated Spyware Spotted After 5-Year Run
August 16, 2016
Symantec and Kaspersky Lab last week separately announced the discovery of a highly sophisticated APT that had eluded security researchers for at least five years. A previously unknown group called "Strider" has been using Remsec, an advanced tool that seems to be designed primarily for spying. Its code contains a reference to Sauron, the main villain in The Lord of the Rings.
Feds Make Big Strides in Big Data Management
August 15, 2016
U.S. government agencies gradually have been getting a handle on utilizing the potential of big data and data analytics. At the same time, the Obama administration has recognized that significantly more investment will be required for federal big data research in order to guide agencies toward maximizing the value of processing huge chunks of data and improving their data analysis capabilities.
The Big Tech Election Stories No One Else Is Covering
August 15, 2016
Most analysts earn their daily bread by focusing on a particular subject area and following that direction. However, I rebelled against that established pattern. I tend to look between the lines more than many of my peers do. That means when major news media outlets focus on a story, I'm more likely to see what they missed. What interests me isn't what's been covered but what hasn't been covered.
Russian Regulators Scoop Apple Into Price-Fixing Probe
August 12, 2016
A Russian regulatory authority earlier this week named Apple, along with more than a dozen Russian retailers, as a target for an investigation into price-fixing activities. The Federal Antimonopoly Service, or FAS, has seen signs of price-setting coordination among iPhone resellers in Russia, according to a notice published on the agency's website.
Russia Plays the Cybervictim Card
August 11, 2016
Russia's FSB recently reported that it found a cyberspying virus in the computer networks of more than 20 state authorities and defense contractors. The claim that malware has infected various government and defense companies came in the midst of a flurry of accusations that Russia has engaged in cyberattacks against U.S. targets in an effort to impact the presidential election.
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