Archive for November 8, 2021

VPN Awareness ⬆, Usage ⬇ Says Security.org

Posted in Commentary on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

We all know the security benefits of VPNs. According to research by Security.org, VPNs are top-of-mind with Americans, whether for personal or business use, but, and surprisingly, use is down year-over-year.

Key findings on perception, usage and value of VPNs from nearly 1,000 U.S. adults include:

  • 85 percent aware of VPNs and what they do, up from 72 percent last year
  • 41 percent use VPNs for personal or business reasons, down from 49 percent last year
  • Free VPNs used by 41 percent, up from 29 percent last year
  • Cost remains the top barrier for adoption with 23 percent indicating VPNs are “too expensive”

Security.org’s research can be found at: https://www.security.org/resources/vpn-consumer-report-annual/

China Says A Foreign Spy Agency Hacked Its Airlines And Stole Passenger Records 

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

Chinese officials said last week that a foreign intelligence agency hacked several of its airlines in 2020 and stole passenger travel records:

The hacking campaign was disclosed last week by officials from the Ministry of State Security, China’s civilian intelligence, security, and secret police agency. The hacking campaign was discovered after one of China’s airlines reported a security breach to MSS officials in January 2020. Investigators said they linked the hacks to a custom trojan that the attackers used to exfiltrate passenger details and other data from this first target. A subsequent investigation found other airlines compromised in the same way. “After an in-depth investigation, it was confirmed that the attacks were carefully planned and secretly carried out by an overseas spy intelligence agency,” the MSS said in a press release distributed via state news channels last Monday. The MSS did not formally attribute the attack to any foreign agency or country.

It’s interesting to see China on the receiving end of a hack after being accused of trying to hack into anything and everything. But the thing that makes me think is the fact that the Chinese didn’t tie this to anyone. That makes this whole thing a bit suspect to me. Surely if they knew who did it, they would just say so. Thus I am not sure why they have to gain by not calling someone out unless it was a close ally or something like that. In any case, this will be interesting to watch to see if they change course and start pointing fingers at a country or intelligence agency.

McAfee To Be Taken Private

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

An investor group led by buyout firms Advent International, Permira Advisers and others agreed to take McAfee private in a deal that values the cybersecurity software maker at more than $14 billion including debt.

The private equity consortium will pay $26 a share in cash, according to a statement Monday. Crosspoint Capital Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, GIC Pvt Ltd. and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are also part of the group of buyers. The purchase price represents a premium of about 23% over McAfee’s closing share price of $21.21 on Nov. 4, the day before Bloomberg News first reported details of the potential deal. The shares were up less than 1% Monday morning in New York to $25.55. McAfee has total debt of about $4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Founded by cybersecurity entrepreneur John McAfee in 1987, the company was a pioneer in developing antivirus software for personal computers. McAfee left in 1994, and was found dead in a Spanish prison cell in June this year, hours after Spain’s National Court approved his extradition to the U.S. over multiple tax fraud charges.

Seeing how packed that this market is with competition, I have no clue how this is a workable idea. Perhaps with the passing of John McAfee, this group sees an opportunity. Or perhaps there’s still value in the IP that this company has. Either way, I don’t get it. But clearly someone does, otherwise they would not go ahead with this.

hayu Joins LG To Bring Reality TV On Demand To Canadians

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

Reality TV fans looking to get their daily dose of drama with The Real Housewives, go Below Deck or binge-watch every season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, can now do so more easily than ever before.

Today, NBCUniversal announced that hayu – the all-reality TV and ad-free subscription video-on- demand (SVOD) service – is now available on LG TVs running webOS 4.0 through webOS 6.0.

Reality TV lovers in 27 territories can now watch their favourite reality content via the hayu app – enabling more ways for subscribers to access the service within Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Targeting the broad base of viewers who are fans of the reality genre, hayu offers over 8,000 episodes* of top reality content. The service offers extensive choice, with a wide variety of unscripted sub-genres including: Home and Design, Dating, Cooking, Fashion and True Crime. hayu’s breadth of content uniquely super-serves reality fans, and subscribers don’t have to worry about spoilers as the vast majority of US shows are available on hayu the same day as their US broadcast.

In multiple markets hayu has distinguished itself as the must-have, all-reality service. Canadian reality fans can now subscribe for $5.99 per month, with a seven day free trial.

*Episode count varies in each market due to licencing content terms and respective restrictions.

In Depth: Infosec Institute Helps Iraqi’s Stay Safe Online

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

I recently had the chance to interview Megan Sawle of Infosec Institute who is working with the US Embassy and an organization called IREX in Iraq to help Iraqi civilians stay safer online. Infosec’s is providing cybersecurity training  to several hundred professionals simultaneously translated into Arabic and Kurdish) across Iraq. This is a unique story that got my attention because Iraq usually makes the news for all the wrong reasons. Thus this is a good news story that I feel should be told far and wide.

Ms. Sawle talked to be about the fact that this effort started out with a presentation of 10 tips that Iraqi’s could use to stay safe online. I had a look at the presentation and it is the same sorts of topics that I speak to my clients about. And the fact that it has a cat theme is a nice touch. Then it broadened out a broader discussion about topics like what if I do if I get phished, what do I do if I get infected with ransomware, how do Iraqi women and girls avoid cyberbullying, and even how to keep Bitcoin safe. It should be noted that Ms. Sawle observed that these questions are the same types of questions that she gets from friends and family. Which means that there’s not a whole lot of difference in what Iraqi’s are concerned about and what people in the west are concerned about when it comes to cybersecurity. On top of that, there was an additional presenfiaotn on cyber security careers. And all of this was done in October which is Cybersecurity month.

In my discussion with Ms. Sawle, careers in cybersecurity, she notes that Iraqi’s are some of the most educated people in the world. But questions about how to break into this field, resources for training, and how to identify a mentor came up. Again this isn’t that much different than what one would hear from people in the west. Also, given that there are a ton of of roles open in cybersecurity at the moment, it would be in the best interests of this industry to bring these people into roles. That’s because there has to be broad representation in cybersecurity so that it mirrors the representation that’s present on the threat actor side of the fence.

This is a really cool effort, and I applaud Infosec Institute for taking this on. Every person that in educated in protecting themselves and others online makes us all safer. And if people from Iraq can join the cybersecurity industry in.a friction free way, that is even better. In the age of news of constant hacks and Facebook, this is the sort of good news story that I can get behind.

Well done!

WW Announces Global Launch Of New PersonalPoints Program

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

Today, WW International announces the global launch of its groundbreaking new PersonalPoints Program: a revolutionary, truly individualized and livable path to sustainable weight management and healthy living. Driven by cutting-edge nutrition and behaviour change science as well as consumer research, the new program makes losing weight and reaching wellness goals simpler and more attainable, all while helping members continue to live their best, fullest lives. WW PersonalPoints has been proven to deliver clinically significant weight loss; decreases in hunger and food cravings; increases in physical activity and healthy habit formation; as well as improvements in overall well-being and quality of life.And as always with any WW program, no foods are off limits.

Studies have proven that individualized programs work and this new program is more personalized than ever; in fact, it’s the first time in the company’s history where no two plans are alike, making it easier for members to achieve their goals and sustain them over time. WW PersonalPoints delivers a trifecta of game-changing new elements that work together to yield weight and wellness benefits, including: 

  • Individualized plans, custom-built for each member: Upon sign-up, members complete the new PersonalPoints Engine, WW’s proprietary assessment that merges a member’s food and activity preferences with WW’s nutritional algorithm to generate an individualized weight loss and wellness plan. Each member has a unique PersonalPoints Budget with food and activity targets and their very own ZeroPoint foods list, based on the foods they say they love and can’t live without – such as avocado, a new ZeroPoint food option – to help them stay full and feel satisfied. ZeroPoint foods – nutritional powerhouses that members reach for often and do not need to be weighed, measured or tracked – form the foundation for a healthy pattern of eating, as recommended by national and international guidelines. 
  • The most advanced food algorithm to date: For the first time since 2015, WW has updated its awarding-winning Points® system to account for added sugar, unsaturated fat and fibre in addition to other nutrients. WW’s team of registered dietitians and nutrition scientists developed the rigorously tested food algorithm to reflect the latest in healthy eating recommendations, boiling down a food’s most important nutritional factors into a single number to make healthy eating simple. Whereas Points values on the previous system were based on four components – calories, protein, sugar, and saturated fat – the PersonalPoints value is even smarter. The new, cutting-edge food algorithm is now based on six components, adding fibre for a greater focus on fullness and unsaturated fat to nudge members toward heart-healthy fats, as well as replacing sugar with added sugar to better distinguish food with added sugar versus natural sugar. And with sophisticated data science capabilities, WW has been able to accurately predict nutritional information that may not be currently available on the food label, so that members can make informed food choices that support overall healthy eating. 
  • The ability to earn PersonalPoints for healthy behaviors: Now for the first time, members can earn Points for practicing healthy behaviours to help turbo-charge a healthy habit loop. Behavioural science is clear on this: when people receive positive reinforcement for doing something, they are more likely to repeat it, and repetition creates habits. Members can grow their PersonalPoints Budget by: eating non-starchy vegetables (like carrots, tomatoes, broccoli and spinach), reaching a daily water goal, and moving more.

The last thing anyone wants to do is miss out on a single moment, let alone pause their life to get healthier; people want to enjoy the things they love and have missed, no restrictions and no deprivation. And we know that is especially true today; in fact, a new report revealed that more than 3 in 5 (61 percent) adults agreed recent times have made them rethink how they were living their life.

In addition to proven weight loss, participants also showed a number of other health and wellness benefits, such as, on average: 

  • Significant increases in intake of health-promoting foods. This includes a 55.4 percent increase in daily frequency of fruit consumption and 60.6 percent increase in daily frequency of vegetable consumption. An increased intake of fruits and vegetables is well-aligned with the dietary pattern recommended by the USDA.
  • An increase in moderate physical activity by 27 minutes per day and decrease in sitting time by 83 minutes per day. Physical activity not only supports greater weight loss and maintenance, but research has shown it may also be the single best predictor of weight maintenance; in fact, increased physical activity coupled with a healthier pattern of eating leads to 20 percent greater weight loss than changing eating habits alone.
  • A 52.9 percent average increase in automaticity of healthy habits. Participants began to engage in healthy habits without thinking about it, helping to make these habits part of their daily lives.

To personalize the new program even further, PersonalPoints can be tailored to meet the needs of people living with diabetes. Consistent with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) guidelines,9, 10 this plan helps those living with diabetes establish a healthier pattern of eating, guiding them toward foods that are less likely to impact blood sugar levels (e.g., lean protein, high fibre legumes and healthy fats). 

With decades of experience in behaviour change, WW inspires millions of people around the world to adopt healthy habits for real life, thereby allowing people to live while losing. The new PersonalPoints Program is delivered and amplified through the award-winning WW app as well as the in-person and virtual workshop experience, all of which provide the tools, information and inspiration to help people achieve their goals across food, activity, mindset and sleep. And when people need one-on-one support or guidance, they can chat 24/7 with a WW expert Coach—a real, live human—right in the WW app. 

For more information, please visit www.ww.ca.

 Mobile Klinik Offers A Solid Option For Holiday Gift Giving

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

Many Canadians are already thinking about holiday shopping – and tech is once again going to be a favourite. Holiday spending is expected to rise 31 per cent this year compared to 2020, so with peak tech-buying timeframes on the horizon including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Canadians will once again be looking for tech deals and opportunities to upgrade. 

But, with more and more Canadians looking to reduce their environmental footprint, make more sustainable purchases, and also save money, there’s an opportunity for Canadians to revisit their approach to holiday tech shopping with Mobile Klinik who are Canada’s leading and most trusted provider of smartphone and tablet repair and refurbishment with 100 stores coast-to-coast. As it turns out, 41% of Canadians say they would consider purchasing a pre-owned phone, citing cost and environmental benefits as leading motivators. Despite this, only 12% of Canadians have actually ever purchased a used device.

This holiday season, spread a little cheer – whether for yourself or a loved one – with certified pre-owned devices that are smarter for the planet, kinder on bank accounts, and operate like new. Here are three reasons why Canadians should consider a certified pre-owned device this season:

  • The features you need, the price you want: Mobile Klinik carries the latest in mobile device offerings, meaning customers don’t have to sacrifice quality for cost. Purchasing a device through Mobile Klinik can save customers hundreds of dollars on what they might spend on a new device.
  • Like-new and under warranty: Sanitized and professionally refurbished, Mobile Klinik’s certified pre-owned devices go through a 34-point inspection by a trained technician and are backed by a 1-year warranty.
  • Available without the wait: While the technology industry grapples with chip shortages, leading to a lack of supply for consumers, Mobile Klinik fills this gap by still offering a “new” device in the form of certified pre-owned device options. There is no shortage of devices like the iPhone 7,8,and XR for shoppers to snatch up this holiday season.

Check out Mobile Klinik and the list of devices that they offer.

SCYTHE Announces $10 Million Series A Investment To Support Expansion Of Enterprise-Level Cybersecurity

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 8, 2021 by itnerd

SCYTHE, a leader in adversarial emulation, today announced the company has received $10 million in Series A funding, led Gula Tech Ventures and Paladin Capital Group. The Series A also includes investment from Energy Impact Partners (EIP), and as part of the financing, SCYTHE will add a member of the EIP management team as a Board Observer. 

SCYTHE enables offensive security, defensive security, and hybrid “purple” teams to build and emulate real-world cybersecurity threats in minutes. This helps customers validate the risk posture of their business and employees. The new investment puts SCYTHE in a strong market position to expand the company’s engineering, sales and marketing and customer service operations for SCYTHE’s advanced attack emulation platform for the enterprise and cybersecurity consulting market

SCYTHE is like hiring the hacker you always wanted, but could never could afford. SCYTHE transforms the capability and defines a new technology category: Attack, Detect, and Respond to integrate cybersecurity risk management across people, process, and technology.

Based in Arlington, VA, the company is privately held and is funded by Energy Impact Partners (EIP), Gula Tech Adventures, Paladin Capital, Evolution Equity, and private industry investors. For more information email info@scythe.io, visit https://scythe.io, or follow on Twitter @scythe_io.Image