Archive for the Commentary Category

Mission Workshop The Spec Laptop Sleeve

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 15, 2018 by itnerd

The Spec is a fully-padded laptop sleeve designed to be used on its own or paired with any of Mission Workshops rucksacks or cargo packs—specifically the Fraction, Sanction, Fitzroy, Rambler, Vandal, or R2/R6/R8.

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The top flap can either be left open for easy in-and-out use or can be folded closed for more secure storage. It is fully lined, and features an exterior pocket ideal for an iPad, cords, or other small accessories. The Spec is made from either our burly and light HT500 fabric (Black and Gray) or 500D CORDURA (Black Camo).

Available in two sizes: Size small accommodates most laptops up to 13” Size large fits most laptops up to 15.5”

Small dimensions: 14” x 10” x 1”
Large dimensions: 15.5” x 11” x 1”

Created out of the desire to build gear as tough as it is beautiful Mission Workshop has always been about passion and product. Utilizing nothing but the very best materials, researched designs and stylish looks Mission Workshop sets the standard in utilitarian bags and beautifully tailored apparel made from performance fabrics. Made to endure, guaranteed forever.

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Guest Post: Innovative Ways to Incorporate A Culture Of Cybersecurity Into Your Business

Posted in Commentary on August 15, 2018 by itnerd

By Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security

Cybersecurity is a prevalent issue that’s received increased attention in many companies lately. And no wonder, since it’s continuously been a hot topic brought to the spotlight by the significant data breaches of the past few years.

The good news is that there are plenty of solutions that can help stop cybercriminals in their tracks. The bad news is that many companies don’t take the necessary precautions because they lack proper cybersecurity practices. That leaves them wide open to all sorts of malicious attacks. In prevention, businesses should first build a security culture from within, while ensuring they retain a strong security partner from outside the organization. Here are three steps to creating a culture of cybersecurity.

Aim to Disrupt

If your company’s security culture is at a low level, you’ll need to put in extra effort to change it for the better. That means you’ll have to be disruptive and work on improving the existing cybersecurity mindset of every individual you employ. The ultimate goal of this process is to give the power of knowledge to your employees and spread awareness of the common cybersecurity issues. Without awareness, it’s pointless to hold employees accountable for maintaining security. Humans will always be the weakest link in any system, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on cybersecurity education.

Engage Employees through Education

You can make sure your employees will go through the cybersecurity education process smoothly by making it engaging. Want to teach them all about Business Email Compromise (BEC) and Email Account Compromise (EAC) scams and how to recognize them? Don’t settle for a PowerPoint presentation they’re sure to forget next month.

Instead, make sure they have something to do while they learn —such as organize a competition or let them try getting into the hackers’ shoes. That way, your employees will have a better understanding of what they need to do to maintain security. By helping them learn actively, you will ensure that the knowledge they acquire lasts. No matter how strong your training, remember that it is never foolproof.

Invest to See a Return

Everything you invest in to improve your company’s cybersecurity practices should pay off down the line. If it doesn’t, then it’s ineffective. However, some things are always worth an investment. For example, creating a secure development lifecycle (SDL) is likely to have good ROI. An SDL will cover all the activities you need to perform for each system or software release, which can improve the effectiveness of your cybersecurity practices.

On the other hand, using services that prevent threats from ever reaching you can be even more beneficial. This primarily holds true for forms of attack that traditional defenses, such as firewall and antivirus, can’t stop. Phishing is the cause of 95 percent of data breaches, and with Area 1 Security’s Area 1 Horizon Anti-Phishing Service, you can be sure that any email, web, and network phishing attacks will stop before they become a problem.

We’ve reached the point where cybersecurity has to become an intrinsic part of all business processes. The organizations that fail to make it so eventually find their weaknesses exploited by cybercriminals. To prevent this, build a security culture within your organization and invest in solutions that can minimize or stop threats completely.

University of Waterloo Study Leads To App That Extends Battery Life By An Hour Each Day

Posted in Commentary on August 15, 2018 by itnerd

New research out of the University of Waterloo has found a novel method to extend the battery life of smartphones for up to an hour each day.

The researchers have developed an app which smartphone users can use to reduce the energy consumption of their devices without any significant impact on performance.

“The built-in multi-window feature released with the new Android operating system allows users to have multiple windows and files open at the same time similar to a laptop, but this results in unnecessary energy drain,” said Kshirasagar Naik, co-author of the study and a professor in Waterloo’s faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“We have developed an app which users can install on their devices and use to reduce the brightness of non-critical applications. So, when you’re interacting with one application, the brightness of the other window goes down thereby reduces the energy consumption of the device.”

The app was evaluated in an experiment involving 200 smartphone users, who downloaded the software on their devices and used it while they had multiple windows opened. It was found that when the energy saving technique was used it extended their battery life by 10 to 25 per cent.

“What happens now is that you put the phone on a charger for the night and when you leave home the next day the battery is at 100 per cent, but there is a lot of behind the scenes computation and communication going on, and it drains the battery,” said Naik. “By midday charge is reduced to 30 per cent. So, you need to charge the battery many times in a day, and from the user’s perspective that is a big pain.

“Due to the excess energy consumption, the phone becomes warmer and warmer while the frequent charging reduces the life of the battery. So, batteries that are meant to last for three years may have to be replaced in two years.”

The study, MultiDroid: An Energy Optimization Technique for Multi-Window Operations on OLED Smartphones, co-authored by Milind Kumar Rohit, Chiranjeev Kumar and Ginny all of the Indian Institute of Technology and Naik was recently published in IEEE Access, an open access journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Canadian Organizations Identify Cybersecurity as Top IT Priority: CDW

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 14, 2018 by itnerd

IT security continues to be a high priority for Canadian organizations, while many businesses are interested in cloud storage and collaboration tools, according to a new survey from CDW Canada, a leading provider of technology solutions and services for Canadian organizations.

When asked to identify areas of security that are a top priority, 59% of organizations cited email security as a main focus. Ransomware protection (52%) and intrusion prevention (48%) were also identified as top priorities, up from 35% and 39% respectively in a similar CDW Canada survey last year.

Shift to the cloud continuing, but many still relying on existing collaboration tools

More than half of Canadian organizations (53%) say their cloud strategy for 2018 includes shifting workloads over time through hybrid solutions. Sixteen per cent of organizations plan to take a “cloud-first” strategy moving forward while 13% want to move all workloads to the cloud. However, when asked about their unified communications strategy, over one-third (36%) of respondents said they would continue to use their current tools and applications – compared with 22% who plan on making an upgrade in 2018.

Over the next 12-24 months, Canadian organizations cite the Internet of Things (32%) as well as analytics and Big Data (30%) as the emerging technologies that will have the most impact on their business.

Other key findings from CDW Canada’s survey include:

  • The main goals for organizations around data centre technologies include expansion and scalability (24%), reducing costs (21%) and consolidation (21%).
  • When it comes to IT services, Canadian organizations look for the most support in deployments and upgrades (24%) followed by architecture and design (23%) and migrations and replacements (21%).

CDW Canada conducted a survey of its Canadian customers at its BTEX Toronto event in May 2018.

For more information about CDW Canada and its services, please visit: www.cdw.ca.

Pulse Secure Application Delivery Business Records Record Growth

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 14, 2018 by itnerd

Pulse Secure has announced that its virtual Application Delivery Controller (virtual ADC) business unit has achieved record growth and increased market share in the last year. The announcement marks the one-year anniversary since Pulse’s acquisition of the virtual ADC Business Unit from Brocade Communications.

Factors driving the company’s success are the increased worldwide demand for online content and web services, and rapidly evolving infrastructure requirements including cloud and hybrid IT growth, DevOps, containerization/Docker and workload migration.

2018 highlights testifying to Pulse Secure’s virtual ADC market success include:

  • Average deal size more than double historical averages
  • 25% increase in revenues since product line acquisition from Brocade Communications
  • More six-figure deals than any other time in virtual ADC’s history
  • Double-digit growth in user participation within Pulse Secure Community
  • Solid partner execution, as validated by the company’s Connect Now partner program, receiving CRN’s Five-Star award

Significantly contributing to the unit’s growth in the last year, and the years ahead, is the opportunity to sell integrated solutions to existing Pulse Secure clients including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and some 22,000 other companies. These organizations, including the world’s largest enterprises, are attracted by a unified solution that combines secure access from any device to any system, proven capabilities to deliver applications with high performance and system-wide tools to manage their infrastructure efficiently for both security and performance.

The outlook is bright given these trends, the investments made by Pulse Secure in people, products and the platform and the proven accomplishments of the virtual ADC team. In the last year, the company:

  • Introduced virtual ADC products on Google cloud, accelerating enterprise cloud adoption with deployment flexibility and the capability to deliver mission-critical applications in a highly secure and reliable manner
  • Extended virtual ADC integration with cloud technologies including support for: Amazon AWS GovCoud for federal cloud applications; Docker containers, Terraform, Service Discovery and DevOps tools; and intuitive graphical analytics of end-to-end traffic flows
  • Published tools and documentation to support the deployment of Pulse virtual ADC, with Pulse Connect Secure and Pulse Policy Secure, for closer integration with Pulse VPN and NAC solutions

Global partners play an essential role in the growth of Pulse Secure’s Virtual Application Delivery Controller. An outstanding example is Hitachi Vantara, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., who uses virtual ADC technology for the reliability, security and optimal delivery it provides for Hitachi’s Data Intelligence solutions.

Another outstanding example is SCSK Corporation, an APAC partner, who distributes Pulse Secure virtual ADC to many cloud service providers who offer these services to their customers and charge based on monthly usage in Japan.

Pulse Secure virtual ADC business results show that the company is outpacing market growth with its new acquisition and continuing to expand the product and partner capabilities in ways that extend their business reach and attract new customers.

Pulse Secure virtual ADC completes the company’s broad customer offering with secure access to deliver customer solutions for data center applications from the web, cloud and mobile networks, while providing an end-to-end solution designed to reduce cost and complexity, increase security and enhance user experience.

There Appears To Be A Mass Attack On Instagram In Progress

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 14, 2018 by itnerd

A number of people have reported having their Instagram accounts hacked this month, Mashable reports, and many of these hacks appear to have taken the same approach:

Users suddenly find themselves logged out of their accounts and when they try to log back in, they discover that their handle, profile image, contact info and bios have all been changed. Often the profile image has been changed to a Disney or Pixar character and the email address connected to the account is changed to one with a .ru Russian domain, according to Mashable. Some even had their two-factor authentication turned off by hackers. A handful of Instagram users reported the same details to Mashable as have hundreds of others who have taken to Twitter and Reddit to report hacks of their accounts.

It clearly sounds like Instagram has a serious problem on their hands if the hackers can get in and do things like turn of two factor authentication. So far, Instagram has only said the usual “we take our users security seriously” sorts of things, but so far there’s nothing from them as to how this is happening and what they are doing to stop it. Thus I would suggest that Instagram needs to step up its game right now. In the meantime, with no details on how this is happening, there’s nothing that I can suggest to help you to protect yourself.

Apparently I Am Not Alone When It Comes To Receiving Poor Customer Service From Oakley, Lens Crafters Or Luxottica

Posted in Commentary on August 14, 2018 by itnerd

In the decade or so that I’ve been doing this blog, I have never seen a reaction like I have in regards to this story or this story on my wife’s now failed attempt to get her Oakley eyeglasses by Oakley or Lens Crafters, both of which are owned by Luxottica. I say failed, because if you recall from the latter story, my wife used a online page to try and get help based on the instructions in this Tweet:

Well, they didn’t intervene. They simply closed the case and sent an email to my wife telling her so. I guess that means that they don’t care about fixing her issue with a pair of glasses that is under warranty.

But back to the reaction that my stories on this topic are getting. Thirty one emails from frustrated customers of the above companies hit my inbox over the last few days (and as an aside, I’m still trying to work my way through these emails so If I haven’t responded to you, I apologize and I will get to you ASAP). That’s a big sign that these companies have a serious customer service issue. So are Tweets like these from people who illustrate that the experience that my wife and I have had isn’t a unique one. Starting with Oakley:

And for Lens Crafters:

And finally Luxottica:

Elements of all of the above mesh with what my wife and I have experienced. Which is a customer service experience that is so bad, there are major teclos and cable companies that look good because of how bad these three companies are. When you do worse than a telco or cable company, you’re really in trouble. And you should take action immediately to fix that. But in the case of Oakley, Lens Crafters, and Luxottica, I do not see that happening. Thus you should avoid anything owned by Luxottica, which according to this article on Wikipedia is quite a bit because if you run into trouble, you won’t get help. Ever. Just browse Twitter and see for yourself.