Archive for the Commentary Category

New Research Reveals Companies Are Losing The Web Application Security War

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 22, 2020 by itnerd

Acunetix, a global leader in automated web application security testing, teamed up with Dimensional Research to learn how effectively companies are handling web application security. Security, DevOps, and C-suite professionals from 382 organizations across the globe responded to the survey; Acunetix analyzed the findings and today released a report, “Web Application Security – Enterprises are Losing the War.”

Companies are struggling to keep up with rapidly evolving threats and the need to automate security efforts. Attacks against web applications have increased in prevalence to become the single biggest cause of data breaches. As the battlefield shifts more and more from the network to the application, it is important to understand how companies are meeting this challenge.

Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), found that 43% of breaches could be traced back to attacks against web applications – more than double the results from last year. Equifax is a high-profile example of a web application data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people, costing the company $1.38 billion in settlements and security upgrades. 

According to the Acunetix report, 88% of companies now develop web applications in-house. Half of the respondents have been successful with their shift-left efforts and include web application security scans with every code build or during unit testing. However, that leaves half that don’t scan early enough and may incur major time and resource costs to remediate vulnerabilities. Remarkably, half of the respondents said that vulnerabilities are found faster than they can be fixed, meaning their web applications are open to an attack. 

Nearly 64% of enterprises still burden specialized security personnel with simple web application security testing that could be automated. And less than half of companies empower developers to run security scans on their own code. 

Here is a link to the final report: https://www.acunetix.com/report-web-application-security-enterprises-losing-war/.

LinkedIn Unveils Annual Edition Of Canada’s Top Startups for 2020

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 22, 2020 by itnerd

LinkedIn has released the Canadian edition of the 2020 Top Startups list, featuring the top emerging startups to work for. In the wake of COVID-19, the 2020 list reflects the current state of the economy and the world, showcasing emerging and resilient startups and how they’re navigating the ever-changing world of work

The startups on this list are all experiencing growth, are still in high demand amid the pandemic, and have weathered through an increasingly challenging economic climate this year. These are the key trends we’re seeing among the Top Startups in Canada this year:

  • BREAKING BARRIERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION: Education technology companies have pivoted to embrace new virtual and flexible models to help students pursue educational opportunities remotely. This includes application assistance, online study from abroad, increase student diversity on campus, advocacy for greater flexibility in study permit requirements for international students.
  • EXPANDING ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE: Digital health startups have gained further prominence in the fight against COVID-19, as they address labour shortages, offering telehealth, pandemic healthcare needs, employee-focused health, de-stigmatization of mental health. 
  • EVOLVING FINANCIAL SERVICES: Financial services companies have ramped up innovation to help companies and consumers access the funds they need in new and creative ways, for example online valuation tools and emergency funding for startups, early access to paycheques and government support for consumers.

These are the top emerging startups on LinkedIn right now:

  1. Clearbanc – As e-commerce booms in Canada over the pandemic, it’s no wonder this fintech startup – which specializes in funding online brands – has found its way to the top of the list. Clearbanc has also recently launched a tool to help startups assess their own worth.
  2. Drop – Drop is a personalized platform that matches consumers with brands through a mobile app, allowing customers to earn points for purchases that can be redeemed for rewards. The company has raised over $71M from global investors, and offers employees unlimited time off.
  3. ApplyBoard – The online education platform connects students with academic institutions and recruitment partners around the world. Even as the pandemic disrupts education, the edtech startup closed another round of funding that brought its valuation to USD $1.5 billionand has continued to hire rapidly, adding nearly 250 new employees since March.
  4. BookJane – BookJane’s online platform creates a sort of gig economy for workers across health care facilities. As demand for doctors climbed through the pandemic, the company has been helping the Ontario Medical Association manage a shortage of physicians.
  5. Symend – Symend uses analytics and behavioural science to create individualized debt recovery programs. The startup, which has offices in Calgary, Toronto and Denver, Colorado,received USD $52 million in funding earlier this year and plans to hire up to 300 more roles in 2021.

___

Methodology:

LinkedIn measures startups based on four pillars: employment growth, engagement, job interest and attraction of top talent. Employment growth is measured as percentage headcount increase over one year, which must be a minimum of 15%. Engagement looks at non-employee views and follows of the company’s LinkedIn page, as well as how many non-employees are viewing employees at that startup. Job interest counts rate at which people are viewing and applying to jobs at the company, including both paid and unpaid postings. Attraction of top talent measures how many employees the startup has recruited away from LinkedIn Top Companies, as a percentage of the startup’s total workforce. Data is normalized across all eligible startups. The methodology time frame is January 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020. To be eligible, companies must be independent and privately held, have 50 or more employees, be 7 years old or younger and be headquartered in the country on whose list they appear. We exclude all staffing firms, think tanks, venture capital firms, management and IT consulting firms, nonprofits and philanthropy, accelerators, and government-owned entities. Startups who have laid off 20% or more of their workforce within the methodology time frame are also ineligible.

*For fairness, we have removed LinkedIn and Microsoft from consideration for the LinkedIn Top Startups list as we do with all other lists in the editorial franchise.

LinkedIn Top Startups – Canada 2020

  1. Clearbanc
  2. Drop
  3. ApplyBoard
  4. BookJane
  5. Symend
  6. Dialogue
  7. BlueDot
  8. League
  9. KOHO
  10. Maple

College Of Nurses Of Ontario Pwned In Ransomware Attack

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 22, 2020 by itnerd

The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) is still trying to figure out if the personal information of its 300 employees and 195,500 members has been compromised more than ten days following a ransomware attack. CBC News has the details:

“We are aware of a claim on the dark web regarding data theft from CNO,” the nursing regulatory body told CBC News in a statement.

“While we are not able to confirm at this time, through a comprehensive forensic investigation, CNO is seeking to determine whether personal information was compromised as result of the incident that may require notification to individuals. Although CNO was affected by ransomware, the organization is implementing a range of approaches to resume operations safely and securely, including restoring from backups.”

Hackers have posted some of the information they claim to have obtained online, including folders marked “Human Resources” and “Human Rights Matters.” Among the information posted are photos of small claims and Superior Court settlements, which include the full names, addresses and phone numbers of people. 

Lovely. This isn’t a trivial attack as clearly someone has information that they shouldn’t have. And it will be interesting to see what The College of Nurses of Ontario does to remedy this situation. You should likely stay tuned for updates.

David Masson, Director of Enterprise Security at Darktrace had this to say:

This latest news follows a number of intensifying ransomware attacks globally – just last week a woman’s death in Germany has been directly linked to a cyber-attack. Threat actors no longer simply lock up data until the ransom is paid; instead they steal it and threaten exposure until they receive payment. This ransomware technique has been a developing trend since the end of 2019 in Canada. When attackers are able to target data, we can assume they have been lying dormant in the infrastructure for some time before they launch a full blown attack.

This is common amongst organizations around the world who struggle to get visibility over their increasingly disparate and dynamic workforces. CNO may now pay a price in loss of trust through not having disclosed to their clients as soon as possible that they suffered a compromise. In situations like this it is best practice to have a disclosure plan and to disclose as soon as possible otherwise it is likely that someone else will make the story public and it won’t be on the company’s terms.

Ransomware is evolving but the key to preventing attacks remains the same. It is clearer than ever before that the status quo is not good enough. Organizations need to ensure they are using the best technologies available to them, like AI, to automatically stop fast-moving attacks in their tracks.

FlexJobs Survey Finds 51% Have Been More Productive Working From Home During COVID-19

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2020 by itnerd

According to a FlexJobs survey* of approximately 4,000 people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 51 percent report they have been much more productive working from home than they were in the traditional office. 44 percent said their productivity was about the same. Only 5 percent say they have been less productive in their home office.

Overall Views on Remote Work:

  • 65% would prefer to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, while 31% would like a combination of remote and in-office work. 4% would prefer to return to the traditional office full-time
  • Just 3% view remote work less favorably since the pandemic started. 61% say they view remote work more favorably and 35% say their views have been unchanged
  • Exactly half of people working remotely during the pandemic say their companies view remote work more favorably since the pandemic, while 21% think their views have been unchanged. Only 9% say they view it less favorably, while the remaining 20% are unsure

Remote Job Market During COVID-19:

FlexJobs has seen a significant increase in people looking for remote and flexible jobs since the COVID-19 crisis began, as well as more companies than ever allowing remote work and hiring for remote positions. In fact, despite a slower overall job market, FlexJobs saw a 12% increase in remote job listings in August over July, and previous pandemic months saw increases as well.

Top Reasons Remote Work Has Benefited Job Performance During COVID-19:

Despite the potential distractions while working from home during an emergency, workers say their focus has improved because of:

  • Quieter work environment (68%)
  • Fewer interruptions from colleagues (68%)
  • More control over workplace (66%)
  • More comfortable work environment (65%)
  • More focused time (63%)
  • Avoiding office politics (55%)
  • Fewer meetings (35%) 

Top Ways Working Has Benefited Overall Life During COVID-19:

Eliminating pain points around commutes is the best benefit of remote work. This is not surprising, given that 36% have had roundtrip commutes of more than two hours. Relatedly, 39% either have plans to move in the next six months, or are considering a move.

  • No commute (79%)
  • Better work-life balance (73%)
  • No commute cost (72%)
  • Not having to “get dressed” for work in more formal office clothes (62%)
  • More time to take care of myself (cook healthier, exercise, meditation, etc.) (62%)
  • Save money on eating out, making my own coffee, etc. (62%)
  • More time with my family/children (46%)
  • More time with my partner/spouse (42%)
  • Easier to take care of my pet(s) (37%)

Top Things People Miss About Being in an Office During COVID-19:

Roughly 1 in 4 say they don’t miss anything about the office, but missing camaraderie with colleagues has been observed. Only a fifth struggle with unplugging after working hours.

  • Miss seeing my colleagues (49%)
  • Stronger relationships with colleagues when in person (44%)
  • Nothing (37%)
  • In-person meetings are more effective (26%)
  • Unplugging is too difficult while working from home (20%)
  • More stimulating environment (14%)
  • Miss water cooler talk (14%)
  • Worried about remote work’s impact on my career (12%)
  • Too lonely working from home (11%)
  • Too distracted working from home (7%)

Insights for Employers to Consider:

  • 81% say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options
  • 30% have already made a request and been approved by their employers to continue working remotely post-pandemic. 13% say their companies have already requested they continue to work from home. 13% have made a request but been denied. 
  • 27% would take a 10-20% cut in pay in exchange for the option to work from home as much as they wanted
  • Less than 4% worry a lot that working from home will hurt their career progression

*FlexJobs created the survey, which was promoted to general audiences and its subscribers/members primarily through social media and newsletters. We used a multiple choice and multi-select question format via Survey Monkey’s online platform. The survey ran from August 19, 2020 – September 7, 2020. 
 

 **Demographic breakdown of the 4,000 respondents: Location: United States (73%), Canada (4%) Outside US & Canada (23%) ; Gender: women (69%), men (31%); Ages: 20-39 (37%), 40-59 (51%), 60+ (11%); Education: high school degree or equivalent (4%), some college but no degree (12%), associate or bachelor’s degree (50%), graduate degree (33%); Career level: entry-level (10%), experienced (55%), manager (21%), senior level or higher (14%). Income: 11% earn over $100,000, 12% earn between $75,000-$99,999, 20% earn between $50,000-$74,999, 28% earn between $25,000-$49,999, and 29% earn less than $25,000. 62% had children 18 or younger living at home with them. 

For more information please visit https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/survey-productivity-balance-improve-during-pandemic-remote-work/ 

TikTok Cuts Deal With Walmart And Oracle…. Trump Green Lights The Deal

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2020 by itnerd

The latest plot twist in the TikTok vs Trump saga has TikTok announcing that the company has reached a deal with Oracle and Walmart that will keep the video sharing platform alive in the US. The deal has also been approved by President Donald Trump reports Bloomberg. The deal will effectively establish a new company called TikTok Global. Oracle and Walmart can together take up to a 20 percent stake in this company. TikTok Global will be headquartered in the United States and will bring 25,000 jobs to the country. And Oracle will be responsible for storing user data.

But before anyone stops traffic and holds a parade, this deal could still go off the rails as the Chinese government will likely still get some sort of say. Meaning that if they say no, then this situation is back to square one. There’s also the fact that Oracle is associated with Larry Ellison who is a Trump supporter and the current CEO of Oracle is also a Trump supporter. That has the smell of cronyism. Something that Trump said he was going to stop. We’ll have to see how this plays out in the coming days.

BREAKING: Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump’s Ban On WeChat

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 20, 2020 by itnerd

There’s yet another plot twist in the attempt by President Trump to ban TikTok and WeChat. A Federal judge has temporarily blocked Trump from banning the latter:

In issuing the preliminary injunction, Judge Laurel Beeler wrote that the plaintiffs — a group of US-based WeChat users who stand to be affected by Trump’s ban — had shown “serious questions” in their claim that the executive order threatens the users’ First Amendment rights. 

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

Nor does the order escape First Amendment scrutiny under an easier standard known as intermediate scrutiny, the judge said, because the ban on WeChat does not provide enough evidence that it is narrowly tailored to resolve the US government’s national security concerns with respect to the app. “And, as the plaintiffs point out,” Beeler wrote, “there are obvious alternatives to a complete ban, such as barring WeChat from government devices, as Australia has done, or taking other steps to address data security.”

For many people of Chinese extraction, WeChat is the Internet. WeChat allows users to send messages, make mobile payments and use local services. But since it is a Chinese app, it must censor content the Chinese government deems illegal. In March, a report said WeChat was censoring key words about the coronavirus outbreak from as early as 1 January for example. Which is one of the reasons why Trump wants it banned. That an the fact that it’s a Chinese app and he’s anti-Chinese. We’ll see what Trump does in response to this, and what happens next. Watch this space.

Epic Games Has Bigger Problems Than It’s Fight With Apple

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Fun fact. Epic Games has a Chinese company that owns 40% of the company. That Chinese company is Tencent who owns portions of many American businesses including Epic. And they’re now under investigation by US authorities on orders of President Trump:

The Trump administration has asked gaming companies to provide information about their data-security protocols involving Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., people familiar with the matter said.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is chaired by the Treasury Department, has sent letters to companies, including Epic Games Inc., Riot Games and others, to inquire about their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company, owns Los Angeles-based Riot and has a 40% stake in Epic, which is the maker of the popular video game Fortnite. Representatives for the companies declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond. The Treasury Department declined to comment.

Well, Epic’s fight with Apple over Fortnite now seems to be the least of their problems. If I were Epic, I’d focus on what is important as I would assume that being associated with a Chinese company in the current company is not going to be too good for Epic in long term. And if Epic would have to divest the Tencent investment, that would really hurt.

Jump Back Into The Action With Rainbow Six Siege Canada Division Stage 2!

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Not only is it the beginning of the weekend, but Friday also brings us back to the action we’ve been missing with the Rainbow Six Siege Canada Division Stage 2!

Today’s match will be between @NordikGG vs @AltioraGG. As always, you can tune into the matches every Friday at 6PM EDT/3PM PDT on http://Twitch.tv/Rainbow6.

Epic Game To macOS Users…. Fortnite Is Kind Of Done On The Mac

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Epic Games has announced that “Fortnite: Save the World” will no longer be playable on macOS. This is due to the fact that Apple has terminated their developer account:

Apple is preventing Epic from signing games and patches for distribution on Mac, which ends our ability to develop and offer Fortnite: Save the World for the platform. Specifically, our upcoming v14.20 release will cause bugs for players on v13.40, resulting in a very poor experience. Since we are no longer able to sign updates and release fixes for these issues, beginning September 23, 2020, Fortnite: Save the World will no longer be playable on macOS.

We are issuing a refund for all players who purchased any Save the World Founder’s or Starter Packs (including Upgrades) and played Save the World on macOS between September 17, 2019 and September 17, 2020. Additionally, any purchased V-Bucks spent on Llamas on macOS in this period will also be refunded. As of today, September 17, 2020, Save the World Starter Packs will no longer be available for purchase on macOS.

Please note: It may take up until October 2, 2020 to receive the refund in your bank account. 

But there’s also this:

Fortnite: Battle Royale remains playable for Mac users at this time on the v13.40 build, but is no longer receiving version updates due to Apple’s actions.

To the shock of nobody, Epic is still implying that this is Apple’s fault despite the fact that Epic created this situation. That’s pretty sad. Maybe Epic should take a look in a mirror and rethink their actions.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses If Augmented Reality Will Harm The Influencer Business for Good

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 18, 2020 by itnerd

Gucci, an Italian luxury brand, is the first to get on the potential Generation Z market, shifting their efforts to Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) shopping features. The app now offers lenses allowing users to virtually try on Gucci sneakers and purchase them directly through a “Shop now” button. 

As AR offers an effortless try-on of brand products, it technically eliminates intermediaries between brands and prospective consumers. This innovation makes Snapchat users self-influenced. 

Another iceberg approaching influencers’ fleet

The advertising industry values influencers for their ability to integrate brands into personal experiences in a way that speaks to their customers. People crave to have the same experience, which makes them want to buy things and eventually leads to successful sales. With the opportunity to self-influence by trying on lenses with different outfits, there is a chance that brands will no longer need influencers. Friends and family trying on designer pieces for free without leaving their apartment might become more inspiring and influential.

“There are multiple businesses that were once threatened by digitalization. Books, newspapers, and magazines were expected to vanish from the face of the earth, but are still here. What digitalization has done is created an omnichannel consumption and expanded audiences for the same products. The same might happen to online try-outs: they will become a convenient tool for making shopping decisions, but will not replace influencers. People will still be looking for ideas and inspirations outside their own imagination,” says Ruby Gonzales, Head of Communications at NordVPN.

The youth’s increased digital vulnerability 

As exciting as technology is, it has its own drawbacks. Snapchat reaches at least 105 million people a month in the United States alone, including over 90% of 13-24-year-olds and over 78% of 18-24 year-olds. According to Pew Research Center, Generation Z is the most vulnerable to phishing attacks.

“Every new tool means more sharing. Each shared picture is a disclosure of personal aspects of life, making people more vulnerable. Oversharing fuels cybercrime. It is advised to always think twice before taking a picture, making sure the snap doesn’t reveal the home address or other information that can be used to trace a person,” says Ruby Gonzalez.