Archive for February 3, 2021

somm: An App That Elevates The Culinary Experience

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 3, 2021 by itnerd

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a strong test of the resilience of the hospitality and beverage alcohol sectors. 

As they continue to battle through the effects of the economic restrictions, the timing of the arrival of the innovative new app somm™ couldn’t be better. 

somm™ is the first of its kind B2B and B2C foodtech company that accurately automates food and beverage pairings for every situation, location and context. Starting with wine, the team is creating the world’s first intuitive virtual sommelier (thus the name somm™) for consumers, intuitive digital menus for hospitality partners and a logistics-free marketplace for everyone. 

Through AI and Machine Learning technology, sommTM solves known, common problems for consumers and the hospitality industry alike. somm™ takes the guesswork out of wine – no matter where its users may be – at home, a restaurant or a store. Even the LCBO. It’s user experience is simple and seamless, and its partnerships across the hospitality sector are designed to be accretive and complementary. 

Conceived in summer 2020, with its Toronto launch in December, the company closed its Angel financing round last year and is now embarking on its first institutional venture capital raise. Since incorporating the company only six months ago, the group has swiftly moved to establish relationships with some of Toronto’s most well known hospitality players including Ascari Group, Distillery Group, Happy, Pearl Morissette, Cave Springs and Boxcar Social, among others.  

somm™ takes advantage of three main pillars in the market: i) hospitality’s catalytic embrace of technology, ii) an archaic regulatory framework that is ripe for disruption, with positive change already happening as a result of the pandemic, and  iii) shifts in consumer behaviour towards e-commerce and local discovery. 

The company is proudly founded by women, led by women and to date, has been largely financially backed by women. It’s a rare trifecta that makes  somm™ stand out — globally.  Chief Executive Jennifer, 32, has a capital markets background and is a former VP for the algorithmic trading team at TD Securities. She was the recipient of Canada’s Women in Capital Markets Emerging Leaders Award in 2016 and the New York-based Markets Media & Traders Magazine Rising Star Award in 2017.

Alongside Jennifer, the team includes technologists from some of Canada’s tech darlings like Shopify and Wealthsimple, as well as three esteemed hospitality professionals — a former GM of Alo, a Sommelier from Relais and Chateaux Property, Langdon Hall, and one of only five Master Sommeliers in the nation. 

An exciting future lies ahead for somm™ with downloads growing by the day and a national expansion plan in the books for the year ahead. 

somm™ is available across Canada on both Android and iOS. Learn more about somm™ at bethesomm.com; or join the somm™ social community on Instagram @bethesomm, Twitter @bethesomm or Facebook at /bethesomm

Based in Toronto, somm is a tech company founded, led and majority invested in by women to revolutionize and democratize wine for everyone. somm is the smarter way for you to pick wine, regardless of your knowledge, your location, budget, occasion or food options. No more staring blankly at restaurant wine menus, feeling anxious or overwhelmed by the world of wine, and no more aimless meandering around wine shops without really understanding what you’re doing and what you want. somm™ is all about simplifying wine, and making it more approachable, inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Microsoft Defender ATP is Detecting Yesterday’s Chrome Update As A Backdoor Trojan

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 3, 2021 by itnerd

While there are some that say Google’s software is a backdoor to them gathering as much info on you as possible, this is the first time that I have ever heard of antivirus software actually flagging Google software as a backdoor trojan. Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), the commercial version of the ubiquitous Defender antivirus and Microsoft’s top enterprise security solution, is currently having a bad day and labeling yesterday’s Google Chrome browser update as a backdoor trojan:

The detections are for Google Chrome 88.0.4324.146, the latest version of the Chrome browser, which Google released last night. As per the screenshot [embedded in the linked story], but also based on reports shared on Twitter by other dismayed system administrators, Defender ATP is currently detecting multiple files part of the Chrome v88.0.4324.146 update package as containing a generic backdoor trojan named “PHP/Funvalget.A.” The alerts have caused quite a stir in enterprise environments in light of recent multiple software supply chain attacks that have hit companies across the world over the past few months. System administrators are currently awaiting a formal statement from Microsoft to confirm that the detection is a “false possitive” and not an actual threat.

The consumer version isn’t behaving the same way. Thus my assumption is that this is a mistake by Microsoft in terms of it’s detection engine and we should have official confirmation of that at some point. Until then, the safe thing to do is to wait until Microsoft comments publicly on this just in case it is a real threat.

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says Over 300 Million Individuals Affected By US data Leaks In 2020

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 3, 2021 by itnerd

The year 2020 was full of challenges. The global pandemic threatened our health and digital safety as cybercriminals took advantage of the worldwide uncertainty for a quick gain.

According to the data analyzed by the Atlas VPN team, over 300 million individuals were affected in 1,108 US data breach and exposure incidents in 2020.

While last year’s data breach and exposure numbers are impressive, the number of such events actually went down by nearly a fifth (19%) from 1,362 in 2019 to 1,108 in 2020. The number of affected individuals also dropped by 66%, from over 887 million in 2019 to more than 300 million in 2020. 

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the decline in data breaches and exposures in 2020:

“While data breaches and exposures declined in 2020, other research sources reveal that the number of actual data records leaked reached record-highs last year. Cyberattacks are growing more sophisticated as cybercriminals find new and more effective ways to exploit organizations and consumers.”

Cyberattacks were the primary reasons behind such data infringements. They made up the majority — 79% of all the root causes and hit close to 170 million individuals. Phishing, including smishing and business email compromise, was by far the most common cyberattack method behind 44% of such breaches.

Other reasons behind data breaches and leaks last year included human and system errors (14%), as well as physical attacks (7%).

Name and Social Security Number was most commonly leaked data

While data breach and exposure incidents declined in 2020, they still caused tremendous damage, as cybercriminals managed to get a hold of a wide array of sensitive personal information.

The most commonly leaked personally identifiable information type was a name. It was involved in 973 or 88% of last year’s US data infringements.

Up next is the Social Security Number (SSN). There were 556 data breaches and exposure incidents where full SSN was revealed or stolen. Such events made up nearly half of all breaches and data exposures in 2020.

To read the full report, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/over-300-million-individuals-affected-by-the-us-data-leaks-in-2020

NOVIPRO/Leger Study Reveals COVID-19 Forced Canadian Companies To Scale Back On Their IT/Business Plans In 2020

Posted in Commentary on February 3, 2021 by itnerd

Today, Canadian IT solutions firm, NOVIPRO released survey results from their fifth annual IT portrait of Canadian businesses, finding that COVID-19 forced Canadian companies to completely rethink their IT strategies. This Canada-wide study examined IT trends and the state of technology in large and medium-sized Canadian businesses in 2020, including AI and cybersecurity investment plans, perception of IT infrastructure and cloud computing. 

Key findings from the study are: 

  • An overwhelming majority of businesses (81%) say the pandemic caused serious security issues, primarily due to managing remote workforces. 
  • Despite the higher risks due to working from home, only 25% of businesses plan to invest in solutions to improve security in the next two years—a significant drop compared to 2019 (42%). 
  • Employees account for more than half (53%) of businesses IT threats.
  • Only 29% of Canadian businesses plan to invest in AI in the next two years, compared to 36% in 2019. 
  • Companies began to see their IT as functional rather than innovative in 2020; mere 29% of respondents viewed their IT infrastructure as “state-of-the-art” compared to 41% in 2019. 
  • Only 37% of companies say they have full confidence in their IT team’s security capabilities, a slight drop compared to 2019 (42%).

You can look at the complete study here.

TikTok Rolls Out Prompts To Help People Consider Before They Share

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 3, 2021 by itnerd

TikTok is committed to countering misinformation, and they partner with fact checkers to help them assess the accuracy of content. If fact checks confirm content to be false, TikTok will remove the video from their platform. Sometimes fact checks are inconclusive or content is not able to be confirmed, and in these cases a video may become ineligible for recommendation into anyone’s For You feed to limit the spread of potentially misleading information.  

Today, they’re taking that a step further to inform viewers when TikTok identifies a video with unsubstantiated content in an effort to reduce sharing. Here’s how it works:

  1. A viewer will see a banner on a video if the content has been reviewed but cannot be conclusively validated.
  2. If a viewer attempts to share the flagged video, they’ll see a prompt reminding them that the video has been flagged as unverified content. This additional step requires a pause for people to consider their next move before they choose to “cancel” or “share anyway.” 
  3. The video’s creator will also be notified that their video was flagged as unsubstantiated content.

TikTok loves that their community’s creativity encourages people to share TikTok videos with others who might enjoy them – both within their platform and beyond – but they’ve designed this feature to help their users be mindful about what they share. In fact, when TikTok tested this approach, they saw viewers decrease the rate at which they shared videos by 24%, while likes on such unsubstantiated content also decreased by 7%.

This feature will be rolling out globally over the coming weeks, starting today in the US and in Canada. It was designed and tested with Irrational Labs, a behavioral science lab, and is a continuation of their ongoing work to advance media literacy, including the series of “Be Informed” educational videos they created in partnership with the National Association of Media Literacy Education. TikTok believes that media literacy is crucial to enhancing the online experience for everyone and are continuing to invest in product experiences that help promote an authentic and welcoming community.

Learn more at their Newsroom

Commvault & Skytap Expand Innovative Support Capabilities For IBM i (AS/400) In Microsoft Azure

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 3, 2021 by itnerd

Commvault, a recognized global enterprise software leader in the management of data across cloud and on-premises environments, today announces a new partnership with Skytap to expand data protection and migration for IBM i (AS/400) workloads hosted in Skytap on Microsoft Azure. Through the partnership, Commvault and Skytap are further accelerating the hybrid cloud journey of enterprise customers by enabling the ability to migrate, run, and protect IBM i workloads natively on Azure. 

Many industries, including financial services, retail, entertainment, and casinos, for decades have relied on trusted IBM i technology to house mission-critical data on-premises. Now with the rising costs of protecting mainframe technology, businesses are looking to cloud alternatives, including Azure, to offer cost-effective solutions without compromising their data protection SLAs.

To address this need, Commvault is partnering with Skytap to offer a seamless solution that backs up, recovers, and migrates data on IBM i that is hosted and running in Skytap for Azure cloud datacenters. The solution eliminates expensive mainframe backup hardware, instead using Azure as a seamless backup target, powered by Commvault’s differentiated cloud-native data protection. As customers migrate their IBM i workloads from on-premises environments to Skytap on Azure, they can continue using the same trusted data protection from Commvault, driven by the simplicity of the Commvault Command Center.

Find more information about Commvault’s support for Microsoft Azure here.

HelpSystems Acquires Digital Defense

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 3, 2021 by itnerd

HelpSystems announced today the acquisition of Digital Defense, a leader in vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions. Digital Defense’s cloud-native vulnerability scanning engine gives organizations in healthcare, legal, financial services, and other industries the ability to proactively detect infrastructure security gaps and take effective remediation steps to safeguard against internal and external cyberthreats. As part of HelpSystems’ cybersecurity portfolio, Digital Defense joins Core Security and Cobalt Strike to establish a comprehensive, best-in-class security assessment toolkit. 

The Digital Defense platforms encompass enterprise security needs across penetration testing, employee training, cybersecurity defense, enterprise risk assessment, and physical security testing. The vulnerability scanning engine is noteworthy for its ability to enable pen-testers to focus their efforts on identified issues rather than blindly testing the network. For companies that lack the internal bandwidth or expertise necessary to carry out this critical function, Digital Defense’s team of US-based pen testers is a trusted resource to conduct the tests. 

KPMG Corporate Finance LLC (“KPMG CF”) acted as exclusive investment banking advisor to Digital Defense, and Norton Rose Fulbright was the exclusive legal advisor to Digital Defense. 

HelpSystems is a software company focused on helping exceptional organizations Build a Better IT™. Their cybersecurity and automation software simplifies critical IT processes to give customers peace of mind. They know IT transformation is a journey, not a destination. Learn more at www.helpsystems.com