Monthly Archives: March 2019

This Is the Best Way to Keep Your Smartphone Clean

By Ari Notis  February 2, 2018

Bad news: You’ve been carrying around a petri dish in your pocket.

You may not know this, but your smartphone isn’t just your window to the world around you. No, it’s also a veritable breeding ground for bacteria. According to a study in Germs, your phone has more than 17,000 different “gene copies”—or germs—on it, and research out of the University of Arizona posits that that is ten times dirtier than a toilet seat. Among the most common bacteria? Staphylococcus, or the stuff that gives you staph infections. Wonderful.

Luckily, you can clean it—and there’s a right and wrong way to do that. For starters, don’t ever spray anything directly onto your phone, unless you want to risk ruining the electronics inside. Instead, take a microfiber cloth and dampen it with either hand sanitizer or a mix of rubbing alcohol and water. (You could also pick up some dedicated electronics wipes for a few bucks on Amazon.) Then, gently wipe down your phone all over. Considering you likely take out your phone 47 times per day, according to a study from consulting firm Deloitte, you should go through this process daily. If you need a reminder, just set an alarm—which you can do on your phone.

But simple wiping alone won’t do the trick. To get things to a truly pristine level, you’ll need to make use of a toothbrush. Here’s how.

Per the folks at CNET, you’ll want to grab a dry, unused toothbrush. Then, you’ll want to rub gently at all the “ports” on your phone—the headphone jack, the charging port, that sort of thing. Take care to rub extremely gently; otherwise, the bristles may end up breaking the ports. A few seconds for each port should do the trick. This process will get all the tricky-to-remove debris from areas that a cloth isn’t able to reach.

Finally—because safe is better than sorry—always be sure your device is off before you clean it.

Or, if you have a will as strong as iron, you could simply quit using your smartphone altogether.

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RSA Conference 2019, San Francisco – Overview and Conference Exhibitor quotes


One of the many RSA Conference Exhibitor Floors and IBM Security Keynote Session
Photo Credit – Bill Owen

 

By Bill Owen – TechNewsBlog.net

This will be Part One of a two-part series of quotes from key contacts from a number of the Exhibitors at the RSA Conference that was held on March 4th– 8th in San Francisco. Part Two will be posted next week.

 

Overview of Conference

There were approximately 42,500 attendees, over 700 Exhibitors and 740 speakers and many sessions and seminars to attend. I attended a number of sessions and they were very informative with key information to take away for many attendees, depending on your focus.

Along with the well-known cybersecurity companies, there were a host of up-and-coming companies making their mark in the space. The emergence of new companies comes from the development of new and exciting technologies and the shear demand/need for their existence. The Dept. of Homeland Security (both the Cybersecurity Communications and Science & Technology Divisions), Deloitte, FBI, Dell Technologies, Intel Corporation, IBM Security, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, NSA, Oracle, Symantec, McAfee, Unisys, VMware and many, many others were represented. A link to the Exhibitor list follows.

Resources

RSA Conference 2019, San Francisco key links:

Breakdown review of each day of the RSA Conference via the RSAC Editorial Team:

Commentary

As a review prior to the quotes, I have to say that this conference was a great experience, not only due to the high level of expertise of the people there, but the overall energy of the entire conference. There was an incredible amount of interaction between Exhibitors and Attendees. I personally found that the vast majority of company representatives, all the way through and including C-Suite executives, were engaging and very upbeat about what their company has to offer now and into the future. It was a level of excitement that I have not seen at a conference or trade show in some time. The fact that many were very open to supply quotes and provide their take was a testimony to the general environment there. It is an important time for the cybersecurity industry as a whole. As you will see from the following quotes, threats are a constant, but so is the focus and diligence of expert companies and personnel in combating them. I would like to thank all of the contributors for their input on the following quotes:

Exhibitor Quotes                                                        

The following is Part One of a two part series on quotes from key personnel at companies that I visited this year, regarding their take on the state of cybersecurity currently, and what their companies are focused on regarding mitigation of threats within their specialty area.

 

Gurucul

“You can steal an identity, but you can’t steal behavior. The key to predicting threats, especially unknown threats, is to monitor user and entity behavior – to recognize when that behavior starts being anomalous. Rules don’t catch changes in behavior patterns. Gurucul’s Behavior Based Security Analytics and Intelligence powered by machine learning on big data detects and stops malicious behavior before cyber criminals or rogue insiders can do harm.”

Jane Grafton, Vice President of Marketing – Gurucul
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Keyfactor

“Crypto agility is absolutely critical to the enterprise in 2019. From rising concerns around data privacy, to the compliance challenges associated with legislation like GDPR, to the rise of connected devices – InfoSec teams have a lot to be accountable for. Companies clearly embrace encryption technology, but there’s an increasing need to handle encryption keys in a scalable and agile way. In fact, Keyfactor research shows that 71% of companies don’t even know how many keys or digital certs they have, which can result in massive outages, misuse and security holes. The need to manage keys in a seamless and automated way is evident in our findings. Threat vectors, such as advances in quantum computing, move the need for crypto agility to a priority for any organization.”

Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer – Keyfactor
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Sumo Logic

“There were over 700 exhibitors at RSA 2019, up from about 650 in 2018. With so many organizations moving to the cloud, it is surprising how many of these vendors are still taking a premise-based approach. Even many of the “cloud” solutions are just hosted versions of their appliances. Many of the visitors to our booth expressed frustration that these legacy solutions are blind to cloud applications and do not scale to meet their growing data requirements. Sumo Logic’s ability to provide visibility across local and cloud-based assets has made it invaluable as not only a development and operational tool, but also as an efficient investigation and alerting tool for security teams.”

—Roger Shepard, Head of Global Security Partner Sales- Sumo Logic

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OneLogin

“The growth and application of artificial intelligence and machine learning were major trending topics throughout the conference, which coincided perfectly with our recent study on Dynamic Marketplaces. With more organizations making their move to the cloud, the modern workplace grows increasingly complex. This means the role of the CIO will continue to evolve; 97% of CIOs we interviewed said the most successful professionals in their role will have made the transition from delivering technology to driving business value across their organizations. We shared these insights — and what this means for the future of work — from our booth, bringing OneLogin’s industry-leading access management solutions to the forefront.”

—Miles Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer- OneLogin
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Carbon Black

“Cybersecurity continues to be a work in progress. Organizations need to invest in the people, processes and technology to truly remain secure long term. Attackers will continue to change tactics and techniques to thwart and bypass traditional defensive tools deployed across the globe. Organizations need to become more proactive by ensuring they have the right technology to see the behaviors behind these ever shifting attacks and move to disrupt them.”

—Rick McElroy, Head of Security Strategy – Carbon Black
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McAfee

“Cybersecurity is a challenge for organizations of all sizes today. The threat landscape continues to grow in scope and sophistication while security operations centers (SOC) struggle to keep up with staffing requirements to manage alerts. In order to overcome these obstacles, organizations need to augment their SOCs with forward looking security tools that embrace human machine teaming through the combination of data, threat behavior and human analysis. By combining data with the right analysts, organizations can begin to get the upper hand on attackers.”

—Grant Bourzikas, CISO and VP, Data Science Applied Research, McAfee
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Bitdefender

“Ransomware has become one of the most important threats to business in the past 5 years, and over 70 percent of CIOs fear their businesses are vulnerable to it. Crypto-ransomware operators are now moving away from the consumer space and into business-critical systems. Hospitals, managed service providers, education and telecommunications providers are now the top target for ransomware. GandCrab, which is the most prevalent ransomware family in the wild to date, asks for payment of up to $7000,000 per compromised server. Layered technologies to defend against ransomware, fast patching cycles and network isolation are key to business continuity in the new threat landscape.”

—Bogdan “Bob” BOTEZATU, Director of Threat Research & Reporting – Bitdefender
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Utimaco

Key Management and Identity Management are a dramatic concern for CISOs. Key Management and securing the Root-of-Trust is their biggest headache as Phishing and Identity-related attacks are the biggest attack vector in enterprises today. Time and time again people fall victim to these attacks without adequate security mechanisms in place, relying on security Band-Aids for issues that dedicated hardware-based security can solve. You don’t leave your car keys in your car, which is why you shouldn’t leave your secrets and private keys next to your encrypted data, but rather store them in tamper-evident and intrusion-resistant Hardware Security Module (HSM). Providing the highest level of physical security for your most valuable data assets is at the heart of what we do at Utimaco.

—Malte Pollmann, Chief Strategy Officer– Utimaco
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Arctic Wolf Networks

“Mid-market enterprises continue to struggle to locate and retain talent needed for security operations. CIOs and CISOs recognize that having a security operations center (SOC) is a best practice, but the eight to 12 analysts that Gartner estimates you need for 24×7 coverage is beyond the means of most enterprises. You are seeing a move towards services that combine people, process and technology in a concierge way to achieve better security outcomes using fewer resources.  For managed detection and response, Arctic Wolf recently added vulnerability assessment to our portfolio so we can now identify vulnerabilities in addition to our SOC-as-a-service for detecting and responding to threats.”

—Brian NeSmith, President & CEO– Arctic Wolf Networks
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Fidelis Cybersecurity 

“The current state of cybersecurity is weakened by too many bolt on tools addressing one-off issues – the result is a cumbersome stack of technologies that don’t talk to each other, causing operational fatigue, lack of data visibility and correlation and ultimately real threats being missed.

Fidelis helps organizations mitigate known and unknown threats with Network, Endpoint, and Deception solutions that are tightly integrated into a unified platform, as well as with external vendor solutions. Services are also available on top of point products, including Managed Detection and Response, customized/tailored threat intelligence, and data science. The result is deep visibility across the entire cyber terrain to facilitate fast and efficient threat hunting and detection and response capabilities.”

—Tim Roddy, Vice President, Product Management and Product Marketing – Fidelis Cybersecurity

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Note: Here is a link to an article authored by Brian NeSmith, President & CEO of Arctic Wolf Networks (quote above) back on Dec. 28, 2018 for Forbes: Cybersecurity Predictions For 2019 that I noted in a previous blog on Feb. 1, 2019: Cybersecurity, What Is It And What Does It Mean To Me?  His article offers clarity on areas of cybersecurity and the implications that need to be considered.

How Bird plans to blanket the world with electric scooters without going bankrupt


Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
By

 

Operating an electric scooter-sharing service is expensive and hard. The scooters break down, or they get vandalized or impounded by local law enforcement. Scaling that business globally, like Bird and Lime are trying to do, is even harder. Every scooter company today is operating at a loss, but Bird in particular has an interesting plan to spread the gospel of the scooter without going completely bankrupt.

It involves selling e-scooters to local entrepreneurs, providing them with advice and technical support to get started, letting them incur all the costs associated with maintenance and operations, and then taking a small percentage of each scooter trip. It’s called “Bird Platform,” which the company originally unveiled last November.

But what the Santa Monica-based startup didn’t say at the time was that Bird Platform would be targeted at aspiring scooter entrepreneurs who live in countries outside the US and Europe, where Bird operates its own branded scooter-sharing service. In this way Bird can inspire the creation of new scooter companies that won’t directly compete with its own service, as well as orchestrate the spread of e-scooters in cities around the world, without losing more money than it already is.

“It came out of a brainstorm around how do we take the mission to the world,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden told The Verge. “And so, we’re excited about that. We’re also excited because it… allows us to grow faster.”

San Francisco Battles New Electric Scooter Rentals
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bird is planning to rollout Bird Platform in three initial markets: New Zealand, Canada, and Latin America. Local entrepreneurs can buy Bird’s e-scooters at cost, as well as access the company’s tools, products, and technology needed to manage a fleet of shared e-scooters. Bird will even fly in its own operations experts to help launch the business. And in exchange, the company will take 20 percent of each trip fare. Bird typically charges $1 to unlock a scooter, and then 15 cents per minute of riding. The average trip generates around $3.75 in revenue for the company — though assumedly Bird Platform users would set their own prices.

The scooters, which are manufactured by Bird’s partners in China, will come preinstalled with all the firmware and GPS technology, called the “Bird Brain,” that allows them to be deployed as part of a shared fleet. “It’s capital intensive,” VanderZanden said. “What we’ve really tried to do is keep the upfront costs as low as possible.”

It’s an interesting move by Bird, especially considering how wildly unsustainable the scooter-sharing business is turning out to be. Recently, Quartz’s Alison Griswold crunched the numbers from Louisville, Kentucky, and found that the median scooter took 70 trips over 85 miles, and had a lifespan of 23 days. Lifespan is a big deal for scooter companies: the longer the scooters can stay in operation, the more money they can make for the company. And right now, these scooters aren’t living long enough to earn a profit.

VanderZanden has been staving off the winter doldrums (colder weather, fewer scooter trips) by mulling over the unit economics conundrum. Most of the solution rests in the company’s ability to roll out its new, longer-lasting, more rugged scooter, the Bird Zero. He wouldn’t say what percentage of Bird’s fleet is now comprised of the more rugged scooter. But he did say that in order for Bird to eventually break even, the scooters will need to increase their lifespan to six months.

“We’ve been hard at work on future hardware as well, with even bigger batteries and more ruggedized [scooters], which will circle back on at some point in the future,” he said. “We’re looking at every technology you could imagine. If it makes sense from an economic standpoint, and ideally improves the rider experience, then it’s a no-brainer.”

Here’s How to Protect Your Data Privacy When You Sell or Recycle Smartphones and Computers (Video)


Video

 

Alyssa Newcomb

By Alyssa Newcomb, Business and Technology Contributor to Fortune   March 19, 2019

 

When it comes to data privacy, there’s more to security than changing passwords and encryption. You’re at risk if you do good by recycling computers and smartphones too. Research from security company Rapid7 shows that tech sold in secondhand shops are filled with the previous owners’ personal data, according to new research from security company Rapid7.

Over the course of six months, Josh Frantz, a researcher at Rapid7, purchased old electronics from businesses that sell refurbished computers, or accept donations, and promise to wipe the devices before they are sold. He spent $650. His haul included 41 computers, 27 pieces of removable media, which included flash drives and memory cards, 11 hard disks, and six cell phones.

What he found was the equivalent of people serving up their data on a digital silver platter. Frantz retrieved more than 366,000 files, which included documents and images. Perhaps most troubling was the load of personal information he was able to access. He found 41 social security numbers, 19 credit card numbers, six driver’s license numbers and two passport numbers.

“Whenever I brought a computer back, I booted it up to see whether it was bootable and whether it required a password to log in. I wrote a script in PowerShell that would run through and index all the images, documents, saved emails, and conversation histories through instant messengers. It would then zip it up nice and organized on the desktop, and I would pull it off with a USB drive,” he wrote in a blog post.

While many businesses promise to wipe donated old electronics, Frantz said the best way to prevent your data from leaking to potential thieves is to clean any device as best as you can before handing it over to a recycling program or a re-seller.

Performing a factory reset sometimes isn’t enough to keep experienced hackers from finding old data. Frantz shared a guide to how to wipe an Android device, which involves first using an app to encrypt your data before performing a factory reset. An iPhone or iPad can be reset by going to settings > general > reset > erase all content and settings.

And if you are planning to recycle your old computer, Frantz recommends a few different methods for destroying it, including a drill, hammer, or setting it on fire, as long as there aren’t any toxic byproducts.

“If you’re worried about your data ending up in the wrong person’s hands, destroy the data,” he said. “If you wish to do a good deed and donate your technology so others can benefit, make sure it’s at least wiped to an acceptable standard. Even if you get it in writing that your data will be erased, there’s no good way to know whether that’s actually true unless you perform the wipe yourself.”

6 Future Transportation Technologies That Will Change Transportation (and the Trucking Industry) Forever

By Adam Robinson Marketing Manager at Cerasis | Technology, Transportation

Modern transportation is currently experiencing major changes thanks to transformative transportation technologies. Although we’ve become accustomed to long international flights, jam-packed public transportation and diesel trucks that only get 20 mpg, the future of transportation promises to change all of that and much more — and it’s closer than many people realize. Let’s take a look at 6 transportation technologies sure to impact the trucking and transportation industries forever.

1. Self-Driving Automobiles

Self-driving automobiles are already here. They’re still undergoing the earliest stages of development and testing, but they’re already present on our nation’s roadways. Unfortunately, Uber recently suspended their tests after one of their vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in March 2018. While this represents a significant setback in the progress of fully autonomous vehicles, developers remain optimistic about the future of this transportation technology.

2. Smart Cars

Many consumers already own smart vehicles. The exact definition of a smart car varies between manufacturers, dealers and individuals, but it generally describes a compact, fuel-efficient vehicle that utilizes new and innovative technology to make life easier for the driver and passengers.

In some cases, manufacturers are transitioning to electric or hybrid cars. This new generation of smart vehicles still has some challenges to overcome — such as the distance they’re able to travel between charges, the number of passengers they can hold and even the amount of trunk space — but they’re already common our nation’s streets and highways.

3. Next-Gen GPS Devices

GPS units are nothing new — they’ve been around for decades. The biggest difference when comparing modern GPS devices to earlier models is the amount of functionality seen in the newer hardware.

In the past, GPS devices were very limited. They could calculate total mileage and provide an estimated time of arrival to a final location — but that was about it.

Today’s GPS units are much more versatile. Not only do they fulfill the basic functionality of planning a trip, but they can make adjustments for extreme weather, traffic conditions or even your preferred route.

4. Transportation Technologies will Impact Public Transportation for Individuals

Typically reserved for big cities and crowded residential areas, public transportation often comes with negative connotations. Not only are these vehicles often overstuffed with passengers, but in some areas, they’re hotbeds of crime and suspicious activity.

Future public transportation hopes to change all of that thanks to forthcoming and developing transportation technologies. Some areas, such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and the neighborhoods surrounding Heathrow Airport in London, already use personal transportation pods to mitigate many of these issues.

There’s only room for one passenger per pod, which immediately reduces the risk of crime or personal injury, and their intuitiveness makes them an excellent example of how easy it is to integrate new transportation technologies into everyday life.

5. High-Speed Rail Networks

High-speed rail networks are generating tremendous interest all around the globe. The Shinkansen bullet train was officially unveiled in Japan in 1964, and countries have been hoping to introduce their networks ever since.

Although there’s been little progress, some nations are still pursuing these plans. Officials in the United States are currently considering no less than ten high-speed rail networks in the country alone.

The Hyperloop — originally conceived by Elon Musk — is an underground rail that shows speeds up to 240 mph in early tests. Developers hope to achieve three times that speed with the finished version.

6. Gyroscopic Vehicles

Although flying cars might be too complicated for mainstream use any time soon, hovering vehicles — which are propelled with the assistance of monorails and balanced through the innovative use of next-gen gyroscopes — could solve public transportation issues across the globe. While these vehicles look like they’re something out of a sci-fi comic book or television show, they could become a reality sooner than expected.

Sometimes referred to as gyrocars, their size makes them more akin to modern busses or trains. Early conceptualizations show a vehicle that can move along on city streets and even raise its body via built-in stilts to navigate through traffic congestion without stopping.

The Road to Innovation

While the future is anything but clear, it’s the beginning of new breakthroughs and innovations of all kinds. Although travelers in the U.S. might never see a high-speed rail network that is capable of matching the speeds of Japan’s bullet train or ride in a single-passenger pod around their nearest airport, these developments — as well as some early conceptualizations and prototypes — are proof of fun and exciting times ahead.

 

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Why Shippers & 3PLs who Focus on Customer Service Reduce Freight Costs >> Freight Project Podcast

Only One-Third of Android Antivirus Apps Work Properly

By Tom Fogden, Writer for Tech.Co
March 20, 2019  8:36am (London)

 

According to a report from Austrian antivirus and security experts AV-Comparatives, only one-third of Android antivirus apps actually give you effective antivirus protection.

AV-Comparatives’ Android Test 2019 report shows how only 80 of the 250 most popular Android antivirus apps can detect over 30% of threats, with no false positive results. A false positive is when antivirus software incorrectly labels something as a threat when it is, in fact, safe.

The report demonstrates that, despite the company’s efforts, Google still doesn’t have adequate quality control over the Play Store. What’s more, it shows just how dangerous downloading the wrong app can be for careless users.

Which Apps Can I Trust?

There are only 23 apps from the 250 tested by AV-Comparatives that managed to pass the company’s strict testing regimen with a perfect score. These 23 apps were able to correctly identify and deal with the more than 2,000 threats sent to them, with no false positives.

AV-Comparatives considers “apps that block less than 30% of common Android threats to be ineffective/unsafe,” and found 170 of these, 138 of which are still available on the Play Store.

Those that passed this fairly low bar, detecting above 30% of threats, brings the total number of useful apps up from 23 to 80 — and includes Google’s own antivirus software.

Fortunately, the 23 apps that managed to identify 100% of threats includes a lot of big names in the world of antivirus — so you might be able to bundle these apps with any services you have on your home PCs.

Here are the apps rated as 100% safe by AV-Comparatives:

AhnLab Antiy Avast AVG AVIRA Bitdefender Bullguard Chili Security
Emsisoft ESET ESTSoft F-Secure G Data Kaspersky Lab McAfee PSafe
Sophos STOPzilla Symantec Tencent Total Defence Trend Micro Trustwave

Why isn’t the Play Store Completely Safe?

The Google Play Store is the biggest app store in the world, and is growing significantly quicker than the Apple App Store — back in 2017, almost twice as many apps were added to the Play Store compared to the App Store, according to AppFigures.

This is largely thanks to Android’s open source design, basically meaning that anyone with enough know-how (which is easy to gain from online research) can create and publish their own apps. This can make the Play Store a bit of a wild west at times.

That’s not to say that Google isn’t keeping an eye on the Play Store, it is, and it regularly removes shady apps. However, the issue here isn’t that these antivirus apps are malicious, they’re just a bit useless — and Google can’t remove an app just because it isn’t very good.

What’s more, many of the poorer antivirus apps use the same core threat detection engine with only minor tweaks, meaning that it is very easy to reproduce them. This makes them very easy to reproduce, and leads to the large amount of bad antivirus apps.

If you want to stay safe using your Android phone, make sure you download one of AV-Comparatives top-rated antivirus apps. Then combine it with a VPN like PureVPN to give you even stronger security.

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Did you know?

Consumers reportedly lost $905 million to fraud in 2017, with more millennials reporting losing money to scams than senior citizens (marketwatch.com).
Be safe online.

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