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Cybersecurity 2020: The Danger of Ransomware
January 10, 2020
Ransomware tops the list of cybersecurity threats for 2020. While there have been efforts to convince individuals, corporations and municipalities not to pay ransoms, the simple fact is that whenever one is paid, the attack becomes a success that encourages cyberthieves to try again. Ransomware attacks increased 18 percent in 2019, up from an average 12 percent increase over the past five years.
Tech Strides, Tech Worries and Tech Visions: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 1
January 8, 2020
If you're turned off by the mere thought of talking heads vying to speak the loudest or the longest in a TV "discussion" of some pressing issue of the day, read on for a refreshing dose of sanity. ECT News Network recruited five smart people with plenty to say about the state of technology, and we gave them plenty of time to say it. The result is a far-ranging intercourse.
Is Privacy Possible in 2020?
December 27, 2019
The California Consumer Protection Act goes into effect in 2020, and other state and federal laws are on the horizon -- but is it possible that these state laws will really provide us privacy? How many readers take the time to read the privacy policy, or click agreement, when they download a new version of an app on their smartphone or tablet? Probably none. What are the consequences?
Is Your Health Data at Risk?
December 20, 2019
We've recently seen much breathless news coverage of the Nightingale Project, Google's half-secret partnership with Ascension, the second-largest healthcare system in the U.S. The details of the project -- which involves sharing the healthcare data of tens of millions of unsuspecting patients -- have raised significant concerns. The concerns have centered around issues that by now are familiar.
New 'DNA of Things' Method Stores Digital Memory in Common Objects
December 10, 2019
Researchers at a Swedish university have unveiled a method for mixing genetically encoded digital data into common manufacturing materials. The project, carried out in collaboration with an Israeli scientist, involved embedding artificial DNA in a small plastic 3D-printed plastic bunny, which would allow self-replication, according to a report published in Nature Biotechnology.
EU Digital Czar to Probe Facebook's and Google's Data Wrangling
December 3, 2019
The European Union has launched a probe into how Google and Facebook gather, process, use and monetize data for advertising purposes. The European Commission has begun distributing questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google's and Facebook's data practices. Facebook and Google join Amazon as targets of the EU's "digital czar," Margrethe Vestager.
HPC and AI Are Changing the World
November 30, 2019
During the recent SC19 supercomputing conference, the top semiconductor and systems vendors discussed and demoed the highest-performance computing solutions in the world. While it's easy to imagine these platforms solving some of the most challenging problems, and simulating everything from the human genome to climate change, there are thousands of other applications that can benefit as well.
How the Quantum Tech Race Puts the World's Data at Risk
November 27, 2019
The technology one-upmanship between the United States and China is fast becoming the new space race. There's been a lot of talk in the press about the competition to reach 5G, but little traction outside of the tech community about something more momentous: the dangers of computing in a post-quantum world. The recent news from Google about its quantum capabilities is exciting.
GitHub Aims to Make Open Source Code Apocalypse-Proof in Arctic Vault
November 19, 2019
GitHub wants to make sure its entire warehouse of open source code survives an apocalypse by burying it deep within an Arctic vault as one of several preservation strategies. Microsoft-owned GitHub is creating the Arctic Code Vault as a data repository for the existing Arctic World Archive. The AWA is a very-long-term archival facility about 0.16 miles deep in the permafrost of an Arctic mountain.
Salesforce and Microsoft in Another Deal
November 14, 2019
With Dreamforce approaching, it's no surprise that Salesforce is making a flurry of announcements. What is surprising are two big ones involving partnering with other vendors, mostly on infrastructure -- announcements that I believe make the idea of an information utility more real with each passing day. I see evidence of an information utility forming.
Google to Offer 'Smart' Checking Accounts
November 14, 2019
Google plans to launch checking accounts next year. "We're exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the United States to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools," a spokesperson said. "Our lead partners today are Citibank and the Stanford Federal Credit Union."
The Information Utility, Continued
November 13, 2019
I've been sharing my theory on the formation of an information utility for some time now. Various big vendors have announced alliances with that kind of aim. For instance, Oracle and Microsoft announced an effort to make their cloud databases interoperate, and Microsoft and others have announced common data model projects. Now Salesforce, AWS and Genesys have teamed up with The Linux Foundation.
'Nightingale Project' to Turn Over Millions of Medical Records to Google
November 13, 2019
A venture between Google and Ascension, one of the largest healthcare providers in the United States, will give the tech giant access to the sensitive medical information of as many as 50 million patients in 21 states. Its venture with Google, called "The Nightingale Project," would enable it to improve the experience of patients, consumers, providers and associates, Ascension said.
The Rise of Technology in Scaled Event Marketing Programs
November 11, 2019
The amount of data we create each day is astronomical. The digital universe likely will reach 44 zettabytes in 2020 -- 40 times more bytes than there are stars existing in the observable universe. To say that's a lot of data is a colossal understatement -- but is this truly surprising? After all, we can take phone calls from watches and stream music from refrigerators.
Calling All Retailers - Ready or Not, CCPA Is on Its Way
November 9, 2019
We're just a few short months away from the California Consumer Privacy Act going into effect. The regulation brings privacy rights to residents in California and gives them control of their personal information and how companies can use it. Any business that sells to a California resident needs to be CCPA-compliant. Nearly every brick-and-mortar store nowadays has an e-commerce site.
Safari's Safe Browsing Option Raises Privacy Concerns
October 15, 2019
An option in Apple's Safari browser that's supposed to protect Web surfers from malicious sites has raised privacy concerns in some quarters. The option, called "safe browsing," is turned on by default. Depending on where an Apple device is registered, the browser could be sending IP information to Tencent, a conglomerate with close ties to China's government.
Autonomous Linux and the IT Utility
October 12, 2019
Oracle came late to cloud computing, joining the fray only after competitors like Microsoft and Salesforce had established dominant positions, and newcomer Amazon Web Services leaped from a standing start to a position of dominance. Amazon is so strong in the cloud that it is on the cusp of extinguishing the last challenges to its win of the 10-year $10 billion Pentagon JEDI procurement.
Get Serious About Cybersecurity: Take Ownership of Your Personal Data
October 4, 2019
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and one of the prongs in the three-part theme is for all computer users to "Own IT." This means staying safe on social media, updating privacy settings, and keeping tabs on apps. Simply put, users need to take better ownership of their data and their online presence as part of daily safe cyber practices.
The CCPA May Affect You, So Get Ready
October 3, 2019
Although not every United States business will be affected, the new California Consumer Protection Act almost certainly will have implications for many businesses outside of California. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, qualifying businesses will be subject to data privacy and security standards currently required only by the 28 member states in the European Union.
DevOps, Platform Strategy and Transformation
October 1, 2019
The software development lifecycle reminds me of the proverb of the three blind people confronting an elephant. One grabs the trunk and says it's a snake, another touches a tusk and says it's a spear, while the third feels its side and calls it a wall. The moral of the proverb is that perception has a lot to do with perspective. For a long time, the perspective on software was that it was a cost.
Google's 'Right to Be Forgotten' Approach Wins Nod From EU Court
September 25, 2019
Google need not comply with the right to be forgotten outside of the European Union, according to a European Court of Justice ruling. A global de-referencing would meet the EU's data protection objectives, the court said, but it found that numerous third states do not recognize the right to de-referencing or have a different approach to that right.
OpenWorld Takeaway
September 24, 2019
I was speaking to an Oracle executive about some of the company's announcements at OpenWorld, and my impression that the company has changed so much that it is difficult to recognize it from the entity it was just a few years ago. On the macro side it's easy to see that Oracle has transitioned from a products company to a subscription company. It uses its own apps in a proof-of-concept mode.
Art Project Uncovers Bias in AI Training Models
September 24, 2019
A website created to gather faces for an art project has created a controversy over the use of AI to classify human beings. The faces collected at the ImageNet Roulette site are being incorporated into a work of art in Milan. ImageNet Roulette "acts as a window into some of the racist, misogynistic, cruel, and simply absurd categorizations embedded within ImageNet," the creators wrote.
Oracle's OpenWorld Happening
September 18, 2019
Q1 in any business is the toughest for generating revenue and Oracle is no exception. In its Q1 earnings call it admitted missing by about $70 million on a $9.2 billion nut: small but consequential. No need to run for the smelling salts though, Oracle has been here before and it's got this. It should be noted that in Q4 any self-respecting salesperson works tirelessly to drain the pipeline.
Harnessing Data Lakes for E-Commerce Business Growth
September 16, 2019
There were 5,524 store closures in the U.S. alone last year. There is no doubt that the retail industry increasingly is moving to e-commerce. For mid-sized retail companies, this trend can be a major opportunity to gain market share in their local areas and continue to grow in an industry dominated by Amazon and other giants. However, this growth requires a strong digital transformation strategy.
Platform Power
August 21, 2019
For decades a database application was what we called an "app" that collected and regurgitated data in preset formats on paper reports and screens. That's becoming passť, but it once was a major advance because it gave a worker the necessary information to take decisive action. Today that's rarely enough. Downward cost pressures have been replacing some of the rote human effort with algorithms.
Cerebras Debuts Big Chip to Speed Up AI Processes
August 20, 2019
Startup chip developer Cerebras has announced a breakthrough in high-speed processor design that will hasten the development of artificial intelligence technologies. Cerebras unveiled the largest computer processing chip ever built. The new chip, dubbed "Wafer-Scale Engine" -- pronounced "wise" -- is the heartbeat of the company's deep learning machine built to power AI systems.
28M Records Exposed in Biometric Security Data Breach
August 15, 2019
Researchers associated with vpnMentor, which provides virtual private network reviews, discovered a data breach involving nearly 28 million records in a BioStar 2 biometric security database belonging to Suprema. "BioStar 2's database was left open, unprotected and unencrypted," vpnMentor said. "After we reached out to them, they were able to close the leak."
UCSF Researchers Synthesize Speech From Brain Waves
August 1, 2019
Researchers led by speech neuroscientist Edward Chang at the University of California San Francisco have achieved success at decoding speech attempts in real time by reading the activity in the speech centers of test subjects' brains. Three persons capable of normal speech, who were being treated for epilepsy at the UCSF Medical Center, participated in the study.
Capital One Discloses Massive Data Breach, Hacker Arrested
July 31, 2019
Capital One Financial Corporation has announced a data breach affecting some 100 million people in the U.S. and another 6 million in Canada. The FBI arrested the alleged perpetrator of the breach in Seattle. Capital One on July 19 discovered someone had accessed its data stored online and obtained personal information of credit card customers and people who had applied for credit card products.
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