Archive for April 28, 2017

Bunz Podcast Network Announced

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 28, 2017 by itnerd
Fresh new voices are coming out of the passionate & intelligent Bunz community, and now they’re getting microphones via the creation of the Bunz Podcast Network.
Their flagship podcast, ISO is already 44 episodes deep .  Recent guests have included Viceland host/recording artist Cadence Weapon, Spacing co-founder and author Shawn Micallef and comedians Nirvanna The Band The Show.
Four new shows are being added to the mix:
  • The Crystal Ballroom – a show where bands get their tarot cards read, and discuss their past, present and future as artists. Upcoming guests include Tokyo Police Club and The Darcys.
  • 2084  a show about sustainability, hosted by documentary filmmaker (“Sustainable Joes”) Stephen Szucs, who lived off the grid for a year in Toronto, while producing only a single bag of garbage.
  • You Gotta Love It – a show in which two hosts (and guests) debate the merit of pop culture’s best and worst triumphs. Recent guests include animators from Rogue One.
  • And coming soon… Girly Mags – a show where a comedians wax nostalgic about their childhoods by reading 90s teen magazines and taking the quizzes.
The network’s producer, Kohji Nagata has written a blog for us about the new shows, found here:

The content that they produce ranges from lighthearted and quirky, to exchanging ideas around serious issues like emergency responders & sustainability. All hosts are Bunz members, and the shows’ themes reflect some of the pillars of the Bunz ethos, particularly around the idea of taking something old and making it new again (Girly Mags), acting to improve the world around us (2084), finding common ground (You Gotta Love It), and making meaningful connections (Crystal Ballroom).



Hockeystick & The Lazaridis Institute Launch A National Scale-up Data Platform

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 28, 2017 by itnerd
The Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises at Wilfrid Laurier University has announced the launch of a national scale-up data platform to capture and track growth metrics for Canadian companies. Powered by Hockeystick, this platform will be available for every innovation organization—incubator, accelerator, scale-up and startup—across Canada. Free memberships are available as of today.
The platform will capture comprehensive, standardized data, facilitating application, selection and reporting processes for a wide variety of programs, and will provide a direct feedback loop to its users over a secure network. Users will have the option to share private data in order to gain visibility with potential sources of support and investment with no added cost in time or effort.
The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, announced today that the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), through a non-repayable contribution, will provide funding of up to $2.5 million to the Lazaridis Institute for the national data scale-up platform.
Key Details:
  • Top Canadian funders and over 12,000 companies already use Hockeystick’s software.
  • The Hockeystick platform ensures data security and privacy and provides each organization with full control over how their data is being shared.
  • This initiative expands the breadth of private company data available through Hockeystick, enabling greater insight into Canadian company performance.
  • The Lazaridis Institute is using this platform for its Scale-Up Program applicant management, data collection and reporting.
  • Bytown Consulting has been engaged by the Lazaridis Institute to create the logic and analysis framework for their Scale-Up Program which guides what data are collected, which metrics are important, how the collected data are analysed into meaningful results, and how those results are tracked and reported over time.
  • L-SPARK, NEXT Canada, Volta, Propel ICT, Highline Beta and OneEleven have already signed on to use the national scale-up data platform.
Innovation organizations and Canadian companies can apply for their Hockeystick account today.

RCA joins Roku TV Licensing Program

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 28, 2017 by itnerd

Roku, Inc. and the RCA brand, in conjunction with Display-Vu Corp. an affiliate of Curtis International Ltd., has announced that RCA,the iconic brand and long-time symbol of American ingenuity, is the latest brand to join the Roku TV licensing program. The RCA brand TVs will leverage the Roku TV platform to build and deliver smart TVs that run the Roku OS in the U.S. and Canada. The RCA Roku TVs will be available in the coming months, providing consumers with an easy-to-use smart TV including access to 5000 channels and 450,000 movies and TV episodes.


Building Strong and Simple Smart TVs

The Roku TV licensing programs offers partners an easy, efficient and cost-effective way to build smart TVs that consumers love to use. It allows TV companies to focus on building great TVs while Roku provides the operating system and takes responsibility for future software updates as well as onboarding new content.

The TVs feature an intuitive interface that puts streaming channels next to your other entertainment options such as antennas, cable boxes, gaming consoles or other devices making navigation simple. Innovative features save time and money, like fast and easy search across 300+ streaming channels to find movies and shows available for free with unbiased results ranked by price.

Roku TVs ship with a remote control. The free Roku mobile app turns iOS® or Android™ smartphones into remotes for voice search, private listening, access to a keyboard, the ability to share photos or music to the TV and much more.

Roku TV partners have seen incredible success growing their brands and market share, making Roku TV 1 out of every 8 smart TV purchases in the U.S. The first TVs will ship this summer.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses Self-Censoring Because of Surveillance & Data Collection

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 28, 2017 by itnerd

The existence of surveillance state breeds fear and conformity, and doesn’t allow free expression, found an Oxford study, conducted last year. Four years have now passed since Edward Snowden’s revelations about global mass surveillance, which is led by American NSA, in coordination with intelligence agencies from the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – or the “Five Eyes” alliance.

This month, the Council of Europe has announced that 28 out of 47 member states do not sufficiently protect journalists against violence and threats, resulting in self-censorship amongst journalists from the 47 Council of Europe member states and Belarus. More than half the journalists surveyed said they had been subjected to intimidation by government, while four out of ten reported being threatened with physical violence. One in four said they had been belittled and humiliated by their management, and more than one in five said they had been arrested, investigated, prosecuted or threatened with prosecution.

As a result, more than 30 percent of the journalists said they had toned down sensitive stories, and 15 percent confirmed they completely abandoned these stories. One in five journalists said they shaped their reporting to suit their company’s political or business interests.

From self-censorship of people on social media to journalists abandoning their stories – this is everyday reality of living in surveillance states from North America and EU to Australia and New Zealand.

“Online surveillance by government and data collection by ISPs in many countries result in self-censorship online that brings about the biggest threat to online freedom and free speech,” says Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN (Virtual Private Network). “Therefore, we see a steady rise of people using VPNs around the globe. When governments pass strict surveillance laws, such as the Investigatory Powers Bill in the UK, or give ISPs the right to collect and sell user data without permission, as in the U.S., we see sharp spikes in user inquiries. People are starting to realize that they need to take action to protect their online privacy, and a VPN is the best tool for that.”

A VPN encrypts user’s data and reroutes it through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any sensitive information by hiding an IP address. The only information visible to an ISP is that a user is connected to a VPN server and nothing else. All other information is encrypted by the VPN’s security protocol.

Bloggers and journalists in authoritarian countries and all Internet users around the world can stay private in all of their online activities simply by turning an ON button on their VPN software.

NordVPN hides and secure users’ data with features like double encryption and a strict no logs policy. From the moment a user turns on NordVPN, their Internet data becomes encrypted. It becomes invisible to governments, ISPs, third party snoopers and even NordVPN.


Alarming Increase in Targeted Attacks Aimed at Politically Motivated Sabotage and Subversion: Symantec

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 28, 2017 by itnerd

Cyber criminals revealed new levels of ambition in 2016 – a year marked by extraordinary attacks, including multi-million dollar virtual bank heists and overt attempts to disrupt the U.S. electoral process by state-sponsored groups, according to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), Volume 22, released yesterday.

Symantec’s ISTR provides a comprehensive view of the threat landscape, including insights into global threat activity, cyber criminal trends and motivations for attackers. Key highlights include:

Subversion and Sabotage Attacks Emerge at the Forefront

Cyber criminals are executing politically devastating attacks in a move to undermine a new class of targets. Cyber attacks against the U.S. Democratic Party and the subsequent leak of stolen information reflect a trend toward criminals employing highly-publicized, overt campaigns designed to destabilize and disrupt targeted organizations and countries. While cyber attacks involving sabotage have traditionally been quite rare, the perceived success of several campaigns – including the U.S. election and Shamoon – point to a growing trend to criminals attempting to influence politics and sow discord in other countries.

Nation States Chase the Big Scores

A new breed of attackers revealed major financial ambitions, which may be an exercise to help fund other covert and subversive activities. Today, the largest heists are carried out virtually, with billions of dollars stolen by cyber criminals. While some of these attacks are the work of organized criminal gangs, for the first time nation states appear to be involved as well. Symantec uncovered evidence linking North Korea to attacks on banks in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ecuador and Poland. 

Attackers Weaponize Commonly Used Software; Email Becomes the Weapon of Choice

In 2016, Symantec saw cyber criminals use PowerShell, a common scripting language installed on PCs, and Microsoft Office files as weapons. While system administrators may use these common IT tools for daily management tasks, cyber criminals increasingly used this combination for their campaigns as it leaves a lighter footprint and offers the ability to hide in plain sight. Due to the widespread use of PowerShell by attackers, 95 percent of PowerShell files seen by Symantec in the wild were malicious.

The use of email as an infection point also rose, becoming a weapon of choice for cyber criminals and a dangerous threat to users. Symantec found one in 131 emails contained a malicious link or attachment – the highest rate in five years. Further, Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, which rely on little more than carefully composed spear-phishing emails – scammed more than three billion dollars from businesses over the last three years, targeting over 400 businesses every day.

Caving in to Digital Extortion: Americans Most Likely to Pay Ransom Demands

Ransomware continued to escalate as a global problem and a lucrative business for criminals. Symantec identified over 100 new malware families released into the wild, more than triple the amount seen previously, and a 36 percent increase in ransomware attacks worldwide.

However, the United States is firmly in the crosshairs of attackers as the number-one targeted country. Symantec found 64 percent of American ransomware victims are willing to pay a ransom, compared to 34 percent globally. Unfortunately, this has consequences. In 2016, the average ransom spiked 266 percent with criminals demanding an average of$1,077 per victim up from $294 as reported for the previous year.

Cracks in the Cloud: The Next Frontier for Cyber Crime is Upon Us

A growing reliance on cloud services has left organizations open to attacks. Tens of thousands of cloud databases from a single provider were hijacked and held for ransom in 2016 after users left outdated databases open on the internet without authentication turned on.

Cloud security continues to challenge CIOs. According to Symantec data, CIOs have lost track of how many cloud apps are used inside their organizations. When asked, most assume their organizations use up to 40 cloud apps when in reality the number nears 1,000. This disparity can lead to a lack of policies and procedures for how employees access cloud services, which in turn makes cloud apps riskier. These cracks found in the cloud are taking shape. Symantec predicts that unless CIOs get a firmer grip on the cloud apps used inside their organizations, they will see a shift in how threats enter their environment.

About the Internet Security Threat Report

The Internet Security Threat Report provides an overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity. The report is based on data from Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, which Symantec analysts use to identify, analyze and provide commentary on emerging trends in attacks, malicious code activity, phishing and spam.

Symantec will host a webinar on this year’s ISTR results on May 16 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 1 p.m. Eastern. For more information or to register, please go here . Please visit Symantec’s website to download the full report plus supplemental assets.


OpenTable Introduces GuestCenter iPhone App

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 28, 2017 by itnerd

OpenTable is making it easier for restaurant owners and managers to keep a pulse on their business while on the go through its GuestCenter iPhone app and notifications to the Apple Watch.

OpenTable iPhone App 01.png

The iPhone app enables restaurateurs to make informed business decisions wherever and whenever by providing them with the data, insight and tools needed to keep their operation running smoothly.

Initial data indicates the iPhone app is gaining traction fast with high user adoption and engagement. The app is opened on average nine times per day by each user and more than half engage with it daily.

The key benefits of the iPhone app include:

  • Business insights on the go. Understand how many diners have been seated, upcoming reservations numbers and when peak dining times are, all at a glance. Get valuable insights everyday as well as being able to monitor key dining holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
  • Ensure service is properly prepped. Know which tables are VIP, larger parties or which diners may be celebrating a special occasion. Ensure the front of house team are prepared for any changes to service that may be needed to ensure great hospitality for special diners or for key annual dining dates.
  • Manage reservations and guest book. Make new reservations, review guest notes or details and update the status of diners on the move.
  • Notifications to the Apple Watch. Be alerted when a VIP has been seated, a reservation has been amended or cancelled and when new bookings are made.

The iPhone app is the latest innovation to GuestCenter, OpenTable’s flagship cloud-based hospitality product for restaurants worldwide, available on iPad and web. GuestCenter has been designed and custom-built from the ground up to help restaurants optimize their service and benefit from data-driven insights to ensure their restaurant runs as efficiently as possible. The unique technical architecture of the product ensures its reliability as well as enabling the rapid delivery of new features and upgrades.

GuestCenter integrates restaurants’ real-time availability on the OpenTable network, which seats more than 21 million diners per month across more than 40,000 restaurants around the globe. To learn more about the iPhone app for GuestCenter, vist our YouTube channel.