Archive for October 4, 2021

SAP Canada Partners With Social Shifters To Support Young Social Entrepreneurs

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

According to a 2021 study funded by SAP and conducted by an alliance of 16 youth social innovation networks around the world, young people are more motivated than ever by the intrinsic desire to improve the lives of others, both locally and globally. This is especially true now as the pandemic has brought issues such as climate change and social inequality even further into the spotlight, while at the same time giving Millennials and Gen Z hope for a better future.  

In order to improve financial security, work-life balance, mental health, and individual growth for young entrepreneurs, SAP is teaming up with Social Shifters, a non-profit global network of next generation leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs, to provide funding and mentorship to young people with world-changing ideas through the Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge.  

Five regional winners and one global winner were revealed last week at this year’s SEWF Youth Forum. With support from SAP and the Global Innovation Challenge award, Europe and Central Asia award winner, Yaldi, will be bringing to market Wholesome, a pioneering video game that will create meaningful screen time and inspire players to go outside, feel connected to nature, and be happier.  Through this partnership with Social Shifters, SAP is becoming a tech industry leader in providing mentorship, tools and resources for youth to excel with entrepreneurship, and lift them out of the challenges presented by the global pandemic.  

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp & And Whole Lot Of Other Things Are Down At The Moment…. Maybe Someone Decided To #DeleteFacebook ?

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

Isn’t it ironic that less than 24 hours after being outed as the cause of all evil on planet Earth, Facebook and a whole lot of related services have gone down according to Down Detector? I bet that a whole lot of people at Facebook don’t feel that way as they are likely doing everything possible to get Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and the login services that they provide back online.

Personally, I would feel that the world would be better off if Facebook stayed down. But I’ll update this post with news when it (unfortunately) comes back online.

UPDATE: So this is mind blowing:

How in the world did that happen? And it’s actually worse than that:

This is simply catastrophic. And I am sure that this is making the #DeleteFacebook crowd very happy.

UPDATE #2: Facebook and their related services are slowing starting come back on line…. Six or so hours after this disaster began. Here’s what happened:

Here’s a definition of BGP or Border Gateway Protocol. Total #EpicFail on the part of Facebook. It exposes some serious weaknesses in the platform and how it is managed at a time where they didn’t need trouble on top of the trouble that they already have.

Oh well, for those on Facebook or Instagram, they can stop acting like a smoker going through withdraws now.

UPDATE #3: Not only was it a rough day for Facebook and their stockholders, but it was especially hard on CEO Mark Zuckerberg. According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has fallen by more than $6 billion in just a few hours. I feel so sorry for him….. #Sarcasm

UPDATE #4: Facebook just posted this… Ironically on Twitter.

TELUS launches Mobility For Good For Indigenous Women At Risk

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

Today, TELUS announced the launch of Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk, a new program that provides free smartphones and data plans to Indigenous women who are at risk or surviving violence. As established by Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report on Missing Murdered and Indigenous Women, while Indigenous women and girls comprise only 4% of the total female population in Canada, they represent 24% of female homicide victims, and are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other women. Developed in partnership and consultation with four Indigenous-led organizations in British Columbia and Alberta; Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA), BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), Prince George Native Friendship Centre (PGNFC), and Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia (NCCABC), Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk gives women a critical lifeline to timely emergency services, reliable access to virtual healthcare and wellness resources, and the ability to stay connected to their friends, family, and support networks. 

With the support of their partners, TELUS has already started distributing smartphones and plans to support Indigenous women in B.C and Alberta who are at risk or surviving violence. TELUS has committed to supporting 1,200 Indigenous women in B.C and Alberta and plans to partner with additional Indigenous-led organizations across Canada to expand the reach and impact of this program through 2022. 

TELUS Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk is part of the TELUS Connecting for Good portfolio of programs that gives marginalized Canadians access to TELUS’ world-leading technology. Additional programs include:

  • TELUS Internet for Good, offering high-speed Internet to qualified low-income families, people in-need living with disabilities and youth transitioning out of care for $9.95 per month
  • TELUS Mobility for Good, offering 20,000 youth transitioning from foster care a free smartphone and fully subsidized 3GB data plan for two years
  • TELUS Mobility for Good for Seniors, offering a subsidized mobility plan and discounted smartphone to low-income seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • TELUS Tech for Good, empowering Canadians with disabilities to independently use their smartphones and tablets and ultimately improve their quality of life through customized support, training and assistive technology
  • TELUS Health for Good, providing primary care, mental health and addiction support services directly to people in need and living on the streets through TELUS Mobile health clinics operating in 13 communities across Canada.

Last year, TELUS contributed 5% of their pre-tax profits to charitable organizations – a total of $85 million – to build healthier communities, along with more than $150 million in support of Covid-19 related initiatives. For the latest information about the TELUS Connected For Good programs please visit telus.com/connecting-canada.

Amnesty International Pwned In Malware Campaign

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

New intelligence from Cisco Talos shows Amnesty International’s branding and profile is being used as part of a new malware campaign titled “Sarwent” that exploits people’s fears of the notorious Pegasus spyware app:

Adversaries have set up a phony website that looks like Amnesty International’s — a human rights-focused non-governmental organization — and points to a promised anti-virus tool to protect against the NSO Group’s Pegasus tool. However, the download actually installs the little-known Sarwent malware. 

Sarwent contains the usual abilities of a remote access tool (RAT) — mainly serving as a backdoor on the victim machine — and can also activate the remote desktop protocol on the victim machine, potentially allowing the adversary to access the desktop directly. We believe this campaign has the potential to infect many users given the recent spotlight on the Pegasus spyware. In addition to Amnesty International’s report, Apple also had to recently release a security update for iOS that patched a vulnerability attackers were exploiting to install Pegasus. Many users may be searching for protection against this threat at this time. 

The malicious software being deployed is not a standard information stealer that, once executed, steals credentials and exfiltrates them immediately. In this case, Sarwent has a look and feel that could easily be recognized as a regular anti-virus program. It provides the attacker with the means to upload and execute any other malicious tools. Likewise, it can exfiltrate any kind of data from the victim’s computer. 

The campaign targets people who might be concerned that they are targeted by the Pegasus spyware. This targeting raises issues of possible state involvement, but there is insufficient information available to Talos to make any determination on which state or nation. It is possible that this is simply a financially motivated actor looking to leverage headlines to gain new access.

This is another one of these malware campaign that is far from trivial. Saumitra Das, CTO and Cofounder Blue Hexagon had this to say about this campaign:

     “Although technically Sarwent is not as sophisticated as Pegasus; both Sarwent and Pegaus are examples of how the commercial surveillance industry is growing, and the myriad of tactics that spyware actors will use to ensure the targeting of individuals.”

     “New legislation is needed to ban not only the use but purchase of surveillance-ware and targeting of individuals. Despite the fact there is a lot of noise being made about Pegasus, very little light has been shed on the organizations, countries and individuals who are actually purchasing and using such software to target individuals.”

Because you can expect to see more campaigns like this in the future, you need to keep your wits about you to ensure that you don’t become a victim.

Telstra Now Providing Direct Connection to Microsoft Azure Peering Service and Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

Telstra today announced it is a selected carrier for Microsoft Azure Peering Service, a networking service that enhances customer connectivity, and Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams, a new programmatic approach to operator-provided calling in Teams.

Today’s announcement builds on the long-standing relationship between Telstra and Microsoft to help enhance connectivity to Microsoft cloud services and provide an integrated calling experience via Teams.

Microsoft Azure Peering Service provides reliable and optimized internet connectivity to Microsoft cloud services such as Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Azure. Customers can register for the offering in the Azure portal, and Telstra and Microsoft will work closely to provide enterprise customers with end-to-end, high-performing public connectivity with optimal routing in their selected region.

This offering is integrated with Telstra Global Internet Direct (GID) to ensure robust connectivity service and secure access through a single network. Additionally, customers will enjoy high levels of availability of service and lower latency connections. Telstra is now offering Azure Peering Service to customers in Asia, with plans to expand availability to Europe and the United States next calendar year.

Building on the momentum from the launch of Telstra Calling for Microsoft Teams in August last year, Telstra has streamlined calling for users by providing a simplified and unified collaboration experience for organizations through Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams.

This offering will enable organizations to speed up and simplify the provisioning of telephony services and reduce deployment time by using advanced automation that integrates architecture components between Telstra and Microsoft. Additionally, business users will experience enhanced voice call quality through the use of private network infrastructure and administrators will gain ability to provision and manage telephone numbers via the Microsoft Teams Admin Center.

Telstra is recognized for its Microsoft Azure expertise and is a Microsoft Gold Partner in ten categories including Cloud Platform, Cloud Productivity and Communications, as well as a member of the Azure Expert MSP Program.

TikTok Launches #BeCyberSmart Campaign For Cybersecurity Awareness Month #BeCyberSmart

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

TikTok just launched a campaign to encourage our global community of 1 billion to #BeCyberSmart, a campaign championed by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and industry-leading experts on how we can all create a culture of cybersecurity.

The campaign will feature a @TikTokTips video series on ways to spot and defend against common cyberthreats with TikTok creators and employees, including TikTok Chief Security Officer Roland Cloutier and touring comedian @alex_falcone (Los Angeles-based), telling tales of cyber crimes and how to #BeCyberSmart. We’re also excited to formally welcome NCSA to the platform (@natlcybersecalliance), and tomorrow is the first US Cyber Team Draft Day. The US Cyber Team will be unveiled via live-stream from the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas on TikTok LIVE.

Full details on the news can be found here: https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/becybersmart-cybersecurity-awareness-champions

Finally, a call to action from TikTok Chief Security Officer Roland Cloutier can be found on LinkedIn.

Emergency Services Across Canada Encourage Public To Download Free Location App what3words Ahead Of Expected Surge In 9-1-1 Calls Around Thanksgiving

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

Emergency services across Canada are preparing for a busy Thanksgiving, as people are expected to travel, while lovers of the great outdoors venture out to make the most of Canada’s stunning fall colours and cooler temperatures. Seventy per cent of Canadian emergency services control rooms surveyed noted they see a spike in calls over holidays and long weekends. To ensure emergency response teams can be directed quickly to precisely where help is needed, control rooms are encouraging the public to download and familiarize themselves with the free what3words app as a simple way to stay safe and support emergency services this fall.

what3words has divided the world into a grid of 10-foot squares and given each square a unique combination of 3 random words: a what3words address. For example ///lashes.candlelit.earned will take you to the main pier at Clear Lake Marina, Riding Mountain National Park. The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, and works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with an unreliable data connection, such as hiking trails and campsites. what3words can also be used via the online map at what3words.com.

Canadian emergency services encourage the public to download what3words

Emergency services across Canada are encouraging the public to download what3words – with 100 per cent of those surveyed agreeing it’s “a useful tool for the public to have on their phones.” The technology is available in 50 languages, including Canadian French, and can be used anywhere in the world. The system does not store or track users’ location data, and there are no advertisements on the app or map. To date, what3words is available to over 42 emergency communication centres across Canada, with a presence in eight provinces and two territories.

Emergency control centres often cannot automatically detect a caller’s precise location – despite over 50 per cent of Canadians wrongly believing they can – and in an emergency, identifying precisely where help is needed is critical to getting resources to the scene quickly. However, this can be nearly impossible if you’re in a remote area with no street address, no obvious landmarks, or on an unnamed trail. In these moments, emergency services can waste precious time and resources just trying to locate the person in need of help. Using a what3words address gives callers a simple way to describe precisely where help is needed and allows these services to dispatch resources straight to the scene.

In a recent voluntary survey of 10 emergency control rooms across Canada:

  • 100 per cent of those surveyed reported that using what3words cut response times when it matters most
    • 70 per cent reported that what3words saved them at least one minute per call
    • 40 per cent reported that it saved them 5 minutes or more per call
    • 20 per cent reported that on average the technology saved their team more than 10 minutes per call
  • 50 per cent commented that they regularly receive calls from those in hard-to-describe locations, such as hiking trails, lakes, campsites and remote rural areas – and all services surveyed noted that remote landscapes and a lack of landmarks made it difficult to locate callers
  • 100 per cent agreed that what3words was a “reliable tool to have as part of the emergency toolkit”
  • 100 per cent of those surveyed agreed it’s “a useful tool for the public to have on their phones”.

The technology has been used for everything from reporting fires and rescuing pets to locating critically injured snowmobilers and hikers with pinpoint accuracy, and one control centre reported the technology had been used to assist more than 100 incidents to date.

what3words can save lives

Earlier this year a cyclist fell and injured themselves at Turkey Point, Norfolk, Ont. The caller had no address or landmarks to share with the dispatcher, only that they were “at the bottom of a hill, on a trail about one kilometre from the road.” Through what3words, the victim’s location was relayed to emergency crews, who swiftly located the victim, provided emergency care and rapid transportation to the hospital. Assistant Fire Chief at Norfolk County James Robertson said that without the app, the search for this injured person may have taken significantly longer and the victim’s condition could have deteriorated.

While not intended as a replacement for any traditional “must-pack” survival gear worth bringing along on all hikes, camping trips, and other outdoor adventures, the technology has become a well-used additional tool for emergency services across the globe, saving dispatchers and responders precious time and resources in an emergency. In the UK, what3words is now used by over 85 per cent of emergency services – police, fire and ambulance.

Since its entry to the Canadian market in 2016, what3words has dramatically increased its presence through strategic partnerships, and to date in 2021 the company has already seen a 97 per cent year on year growth in partners. There are now thousands of opportunities for Canadians to use the system on a day-to-day basis. For example, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Ford and Triumph drivers can navigate to any 3-word address in the world using their cars’ navigation systems, and hotels, parks and travel guides are using what3words addresses to mark accessible entrances, beauty spots and starts to hiking trails.

Canada Games Announces First-Ever Diversity & Inclusion Partner – Accenture

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

The Niagara 2022 Host Society is proud to announce that Accenture will become the Official Diversity and Inclusion Partner for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, playing a lead role in creating activations that will engage Games’ participants and spectators alike and celebrate Canada’s diversity during next summer’s event.

In partnership with Niagara 2022, Accenture will organize activations at the Athletes Village and at Niagara Place, an outdoor festival site that will be situated at Canada Games Park. Additionally, Accenture will be the presenting sponsor of Pride Day at Niagara Place. This event, currently scheduled for August 17, will bring participants, spectators and volunteers together to celebrate LGBTQI2S social and self-acceptance, achievements, and pride.

These celebration sites and activations will aim to foster a more welcoming and safe environment for everyone at both sport and non-sport venue sites at the 2022 Canada Summer Games regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, age or disability.

Accenture has been an employer in the Niagara Region since 2001, and in 2020 it expanded its footprint by opening a new intelligent operations centre in downtown St. Catharines. As a leading global professional services company, Accenture has long been recognized for its commitment to providing an inclusive, open and equitable work environment. As a result, Accenture has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for nine consecutive years, ranked in DiversityInc‘s Top 50 List of Companies for Diversity for 15 consecutive years, and in the top three of the Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Top 100 index over the last four years.

As a result of this expertise, the Niagara 2022 Host Society has welcomed Accenture’s collaboration on the development of future diversity and inclusion initiatives. Next summer’s event will also be the second Canada Games where athletes will be allowed to compete in events for the gender with which they identify under an inclusion policy that was enacted by the Canada Games Council prior to the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.

About the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games

At the peak of Niagara’s boldest summer yet, more than 5,000 up-and-coming athletes, their coaches and support staff will gather to compete for the podium in Canada’s largest multi-sport event. From August 6 to 21, 2022, Niagara will surge stronger than ever on the national stage. The 2022 Games, made possible thanks to funding and support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Niagara Region, and the Canada Games Council, will give rise to new legacies of ambition, confidence, and compassion that will inspire generations to come.

For further information, visit us at niagara2022games.ca or follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@2022canadagames).

OVHcloud Announces Strategic Partnership To Scale Its Database As A Service Catalog

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

OVHcloud is scaling its Database as a Service (DBaaS) catalog with the general availability1 of Managed Databases for MongoDB as well as the free beta version2 of four major databases: MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis and Kafka.

As more and more organizations want to move their databases to the cloud to increase their agility and scalability, OVHcloud brings them reliability and compliance with a fully managed service based on its trusted cloud infrastructure.  

The managed database solutions enable developers to not have to worry about time-consuming database configuration, set-up, and maintenance of the software, the backups, and hardware infrastructure needed to run the service securely. Additionally, they are compatible with all OVHcloud solutions (Bare Metal, Hosted Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Virtual Private Servers) as well as companies’ on-premise infrastructure.   

With Managed Databases for MongoDB – which was primarily launched in beta back in June 2021, its now available today for all – users benefit from the latest and official version of MongoDB and can get started within minutes thanks to OVHcloud’s vertically integrated system. 

Beanfield & Elevate Partner To Grow Toronto/Montreal Tech Ecosystem

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2021 by itnerd

Beanfield Metroconnect, owner and operator of the largest independent fibre-optic network in Toronto and Montreal, has announced its partnership with Elevate, a hub for technology, innovation and sustainability. As part of this partnership Beanfield upgraded Elevate’s Internet infrastructure as their Official Telecommunications Partner.

When Elevate approached Beanfield, they were in need of a fibre-based connection and Beanfield was their obvious choice. Beanfield was referred to Elevate as a trusted and reliable telecommunications’ industry leader. The partnership unites two companies that are dedicated to innovation and share similar values of being industry leaders with a tech-forward approach.

Upgrading Elevate’s Internet infrastructure provides superior and reliable fibre-optic connectivity for Elevate’s Digital Events such as Elevate Live and C-suite roundtables. This infrastructure upgrade also provides dependable connectivity for Elevate Exchange, a popular venue hosts a number of in-person, virtual and hybrid events.

Elevate came to Beanfield looking for a telecommunications provider who could meet their increasing demands. Elevate’s existing infrastructure could not keep up with their growing operations’ and bandwidth needs. In today’s world, businesses and end users need the ability to download and upload data efficiently on a dedicated and symmetrical fibre Internet connection.