TikTok Launches Creator Portal

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 22, 2021 by itnerd

Creators are the heart and soul of TikTok. They make the app a welcoming place where millions of people come for entertainment, learning, and fun. TikTok offers anyone a chance to reach a global audience, and is taking that a step further today with the launch of the TikTok Creator Portal.

While becoming a creator is as simple as tapping a few buttons, thriving as a creator takes time, dedication, and some education. The TikTok Creator Portal is filled with educational resources for creators to learn the basics of getting started on TikTok, connecting with their audience, and cultivating best practices to bring their videos to the next level.

Launching today, the Creator Portal is broken down into the following six learning categories:

  • Getting started on TikTok 
  • TikTok creation essentials 
  • TikTok foundations for success 
  • TikTok content strategy 
  • Community guidelines and safety 
  • Getting paid to create 

These categories cover some of the most frequently asked questions and give key insights into what it takes to have fun and grow as a content creator on TikTok. The TikTok Creator Portal offers in depth guides and videos designed to further support Canada’s growing creator community, and help them get the most out of their time on TikTok.

Please note: The TikTok Creator Fund is currently available to creators in the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain.

Intel Pwned By Hackers…. Forced To Release Financials Early As A Result

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 22, 2021 by itnerd

Intel said it was the victim of a hacker who stole financially sensitive information from its corporate website on Thursday, prompting the company to release its earnings statement ahead of schedule:

The US computer chipmaker believed an attacker had obtained advanced details about a strong earnings report it was due to publish after the stock market closed, said George Davis, chief financial officer. It published its formal earnings announcement upon discovering the problem, six minutes before the market closed. Intel’s shares rose more than 6 per cent on Thursday, including almost 2 per cent in the final 15 minutes of trading. “An infographic was hacked off of our PR newsroom site,” Mr Davis said. “We put [our earnings] out as soon as we were aware.” He did not provide more details, but said that the leak was the result of an illicit action that had not involved any unintentional disclosure by the company itself. An Intel spokesperson added: “We were notified that our infographic was circulating outside the company. I do not believe it was published. We are continuing to investigate this matter.”

At least Intel was looking for trouble and were able to take quick action upon finding it. But the fact that they got hacked is still problematic. Clearly there will be a deep dive to figure out how to make sure that this never happens again.

Judge Says No To Injunction Forcing Amazon To Bring Parler Back To Life

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 22, 2021 by itnerd

You might remember that Parler sued Amazon Web Services for Thanos snapping them off the Internet because according to Amazon, they had violated their terms of service by not moderating their content. Especially content related to the Capitol attacks that left five dead. Well, that lawsuit isn’t going so well. A US federal district judge has turned down Parler’s request for a preliminary injunction to force Amazon Web Services to host the right wing social network. The ruling [Warning: PDF] is pretty clear:

The Court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in,

Well, that’s pretty definitive.

Parler is free to appeal the ruling. Though if you read the ruling the judge figured that Parler would not succeed unless their lawyers for the site find new legal arguments. Good luck with that.

Google Hasn’t Updated Its iOS Apps In Ages…. Is It Because Google Has Something To Hide?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 22, 2021 by itnerd

As of December 8 Apple has been requiring developers to provide privacy label information to their apps. The Purpose is to outline the data that each app collects from users when it is installed. Many app developers have included the labels, but there’s one notable outlier. And that’s outlier is Google:

Google has not updated its major apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, and YouTube since December 7 or before, and most Google apps have to date have not been updated with the Privacy Label feature. The Google Translate, Google Authenticator, Motion Stills, Google Play Movies, and Google Classroom apps do include privacy labels even though they have not been updated recently, but Google’s search app, Google Maps, Chrome, Waze, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Photos, Google Home, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Assistant, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, Google Slides, Google One, Google Earth, YouTube Music, Hangouts, Google Tasks, Google Meet, Google Pay, PhotoScan, Google Voice, Google News, Gboard, Google Podcasts, and more do not display the information. 

On January 5, Google told TechCrunch that the data would be added to its iOS apps “this week or the next week,” but both this week and the next week have come and gone with no update. It has now been well over a month since Google last updated its apps.

You have to wonder what Google has to hide? Is it perhaps that their data harvesting activities are so invasive that if people knew what Google was actually doing, they’d dump Google apps en masse? This is why I don’t have Google apps on my iPhone 12 Pro. I simply don’t trust Google, and to be frank, neither should you. Especially given that there are alternatives to pretty much anything that Google offers.

Colliers International Group Pwned By Hackers

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 22, 2021 by itnerd

It’s January 2021 and the pwange by hackers continues.

Toronto-based commercial real estate services and investment management firm, Colliers International Group, has acknowledged it was the victim of a cyberattack but isn’t disclosing whether the incident was ransomware, following a listing on the dark web by the Netfilim ransomware gang.

“In November 2020, Colliers’ information technology team discovered a cyberattack to the company’s IT infrastructure in North America,” company communications director Pamela Smith said in an email. “Thanks to the immediate and decisive actions taken by Colliers’ IT team, the impacts on business continuity were limited. Colliers conducted a comprehensive investigation with the support of leading cybersecurity experts in an effort to determine what data may have been impacted during the recent event. Colliers continues to monitor the situation closely and will continue to notify affected individuals or organizations. The Colliers IT network is secure, safe and fully operational at this time.”

The spokesperson was mum when asked to confirm if the attack was ransomware, that files had been copied, whether the information affected was corporate or personal, and, if personal, did it involve current and former employees.

Well, that does not inspire confidence in the slightest. When someone refuses to answer questions about a hack, it’s usually never good.

David Masson, Director of Enterprise Security for Darktrace had this to say:

While exact details on the attackers’ modus operandi is yet to emerge – this latest attack comes as no surprise.

We have entered a new era of cyber-threat where attackers act in more targeted ways than ever before. As sophisticated threat actors work to disrupt not just financial stability, but company reputation, the potential damages of a cyber breach have never been more devastating.

All industries have sensitive data to protect, and rather than simply stealing it, attackers are now looking to weaponize that data in ways that benefit them. Ransomware gangs have upped their tactics from simply locking up private info in exchange for payment to now releasing it, causing embarrassment and reputational damage, and using it as blackmail.

Beyond stealing or exposing data, businesses need to be on high alert for what we call ‘trust attacks’ – we are seeing an increase in attacks where hackers go after data not only to extort ransom payments, but to actually change the data and undermine its integrity – or use disinformation to smear a brand. For the real estate industry, there is a very real danger that data stores can be deliberately tampered with undermining transactions and redirecting funds into their own accounts. Next generation attacks like these are increasingly outpacing security teams and require sophisticated defenses and AI to respond instantaneously when they strike.

Guest Post: Ransomware Accounts For 81% Of All Financially Motivated Cyberattacks In 2020 Says Atlas VPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 21, 2021 by itnerd

Ransomware is a type of malicious malware used by cybercriminals to encrypt sensitive information that can be regained if a ransom is paid. Last year’s data reveals that this type of attack is one of the cybercriminals’ favorite methods.

The Atlas VPN team found that ransomware made up a whopping 81% of all financially motivated cyberattacks in 2020. The remaining 19% include point-of-sale intrusions, e-commerce attacks, business email compromise, and cryptocurrency mining.

As ransomware technology has developed over the last thirty years since its creation in 1989, its threat levels have grown too. In 2020, ransomware attacks caused greater financial damage per breach than average malicious attacks.

An average malicious attack cost victims $4.27 million per assault. In the meantime, ransomware attacks cost 4% more — $4.44 million per breach.

The top 5 biggest ransomware attack payouts of 2020

The year 2020 saw a fair share of ransomware attacks that affected companies and organizations worldwide. 

One of the most significant ransomware attacks in 2020 was the Garmin breach. Garmin, an American multinational technology company, is believed to have paid $10 million to its hackers. Garmin was targeted by WastedLocker, ransomware credited to a Russia-based cybercriminal group called Evil Corp.

The next biggest ransom payout to cybercriminals in 2020 belongs to a business travel management company CWT Global. Cybercriminals behind the attack used Ragnar Locker and collected a payment of $4.5 million.

Travelex, a British foreign exchange firm, rounds out the top three companies in this list. The Sodinokibi gang, also known as REvil, is said to be responsible for the attack. Travelex paid the criminal group $2.3 million.

Other organizations that paid a significant ransom to cybercriminals last year include the University of California San Francisco ($1.14 million), as well as Communications and Power Industries ($0.5 million).

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on ransomware attack trends:

It is hard to predict whether this year’s ransomware attack levels will surpass the ones of 2020. However, as global companies continue to fall into the traps of ransomware attacks, it is safe to say they are not going anywhere.

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/ransomware-accounts-for-81-of-all-financially-motivated-cyberattacks-in-2020

Epik Hosting Sends Out Messaging Related To Parler…. Which Is Very Interesting

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 21, 2021 by itnerd

This morning I got a very unusual email from Epik Hosting. Unusual because I have never reached out to or dealt with them on any level in the past. I’ve only written about them. You might recall that Epik have a reputation for being the host of choice for right wing and new-nazi types in the United States. And they were said to be currently trying to help right wing social media site Parler get back on line after being Thanos snapped off the Internet by Amazon Web Services, as well as Apple, and Google for allowing the violence at the Capitol to be planned on their site. In any case, the email directed me towards a press release that was online. And in that press release, the key item is this:

Read a certain way, it sounds like Epik isn’t actively involved in this effort to bring Parler back from the dead.

The next part of the statement reads like they are trying to distance themselves from their reputation.

Which is interesting as to the best of my knowledge their reputation is as follows:

But maybe the cynic in me is making an appearance.

The rest of this statement reads like a call for free speech and civil discourse. Here’s an example:

So, if I take this whole statement I read it as follows:

  • Epik isn’t exactly helping Parler to get back online, but they support Parler
  • Epik supports free speech and Parler is part of that.

Again, maybe I am getting cynical in my old age, but I look at this statement and I really feel that there’s a fair amount of spin and support of Parler here. Which is interesting because Epik is allegedly not helping them. Perhaps I am reading this wrong. But given the track record that Epik apparently has, looking at this statement with some degree of suspicion seems to be warranted. At least in my view.

TELUS Launches Newest Health For Good Mobile Clinic To Support Toronto’s Most Marginalized Citizens

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 21, 2021 by itnerd

Today, TELUS announced the expansion of the company’s innovative Health for Goodprogram with Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (CHC) and University Health Network’s (UHN) Social Medicine Program. The Parkdale Queen West Mobile Health Clinic powered by TELUS Health, a specially-equipped clinic on wheels, will provide essential primary health and harm reduction services directly to underserved persons in neighbourhoods in the mid-west region of Toronto. In addition, the clinic will enable mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts at homeless sheltering sites, congregate housing for marginalized populations and in areas with high positivity rates.

Estimates show that there are more than 8,700 Torontonians experiencing homelessness each day. In addition, marginalized populations struggling with poverty are often challenged to access primary health care, counselling and mental health support, as well as harm reduction and illness prevention services. Through this collaborative partnership,TELUS, Parkdale Queen West CHC and UHN’s Social Medicine Program’s main goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of these individuals and communities who are at-risk and/or face barriers to accessing high quality health care services and supports.

Backed by a $10 million commitment from TELUS, Health for Good is already active from coast-to-coast with clinics operating in Victoria, Vancouver, Surrey, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Mississauga-Peel Region, Waterloo Region, Montreal, Halifax, and now Toronto. These state-of-the-art mobile health clinics operate in communities where frontline care is urgently needed and act as a vital link between the community and local health authority. Through a combination of drop-in primary care and individually targeted follow up visits, the mobile outreach team builds rapport and enables a continuity of care for people who have been underserved by the traditional clinical care model. In 2020, several mobile health clinics supported COVID-19 response efforts, operating as assessment and testing centres and offering support to people leaving isolation and recovering from COVID-19. Since the program’s inception in 2014, TELUS Health Mobile Clinics have supported over 50,000 patient visits.

This mobile health clinic, and others across the country, are equipped with TELUS Health electronic medical record (EMR) technology. The TELUS Health EMR will enable clinic staff to collect and store health data, examine results over time, and provide better continuity of care to patients who previously had undocumented medical histories. The clinic is also equipped with TELUS LTE Wi-Fi and TELUS Mobility services.

The medical clinic is divided into two main areas: one for patient reception and mental health care and a second private, but more spacious area with an examination table and a physician/nursing workstation.  This design  helps improve patient privacy and allows the team to treat patients with the dignity and respect they deserve.

For more information about TELUS Health for Good, visit telus.com/healthforgood.

Raptic Launches Samsung Galaxy S21 Cases

Posted in Commentary on January 20, 2021 by itnerd

Raptic has launched their newest lineup of Raptic Shield cases for Samsung Galaxy S21 Series.

Raptic’s line of cases is tested to meet and exceed military drop test standards (MILSTD-810G) of up to 10 feet onto concrete and feature a raised front lip (1.2 mm) to help avoid the screen from being damaged or scratched. Raptic offers free shipping for all Galaxy S21 cases within the US and lifetime warranty.

The Raptic Shield ($29.99) for Samsung Galaxy S21Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra features: 

  • Enhanced machined aluminum exterior frame, coupled with a soft rubber bumper, for ultimate protection 
  • Antimicrobial solution infused in the frame & back to keep your phone hygienically clean
  • Honeycomb interior lining adds shock absorption for drops 
  • Anodized aluminum frame, available in Red, Black, or Iridescent, and user-friendly one-piece construction complements the premium quality of the Galaxy S21 while making the case even easier to put on/take off 
  • Compatible with all Qi Certified Wireless chargers

BSO Broadens Cloud Connect Offering With Oracle Cloud FastConnect

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 20, 2021 by itnerd

BSO, the leading global telecoms operator powering the digital age, today announced it will offer on-demand connectivity to Oracle Cloud as an official Oracle Cloud FastConnect partner.

The partnership between BSO and Oracle Cloud provides global enterprises with a dedicated, private and highly secure connection from their sites to their critical data and applications within Oracle’s Cloud, BSO will offer Oracle Cloud FastConnect services up to 10Gbps from any of its 240+ POPs.  

Built over BSO’s global and resilient core private Ethernet network, BSO Cloud Connect provides customers with seamless, on-demand connectivity from their data centers and networks, office or colocation environment to Cloud Services providers such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. 

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect enables enterprise cloud connectivity to Oracle Cloud from trusted enterprise data centers. Connecting directly to the Oracle Cloud through Oracle FastConnect enables a fast, private connection to the industry’s broadest and most integrated cloud platform, with a complete range of services across Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

Features and benefits of connecting directly to Oracle FastConnect: 

  • A more consistent network experience with costs optimisation for data transfer compared to internet-based connections thanks to a dedicated fiber optic connection
  • Increased levels of security and predictability for latency-sensitive traffic allowing greater end-to-end control 
  • Variety of connection speed options: 100Mbps to 10Gbps over 1GE or 10GE ports 
  • More redundancy and disaster recovery of customers’ network infrastructure 
  • Connectivity uptime and performance are backed by an SLA

This collaboration between BSO and Oracle Cloud FastConnect will help customers drive business-process efficiency, improve customer engagement, and accelerate their digital transformation efforts.