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Opinion

Trump presidency offers lessons in how not to lead

CIO.com - Opinion - May 5, 2017 - 4:41pm

As we watch what is shaping up to be a failed presidency, one historic problem becomes clear. Time and again we witness how CEOs who have been advanced to leadership roles without first building a breadth of competencies cannot succeed. It all comes down to the need to ensure an adequate foundation for success, something that often separates successful firms from those that fail. Other than being defined by irony, the Trump presidency is, so far, as much a showcase of what not to do when you have a relatively inexperienced leader running the effort.

[ Related: How a CEO can kill a company in 5 easy steps ]

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Categories: Opinion

UK seeks end to end-to-end encryption

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 4:38pm

It could put an end to end-to-end encryption in services such as WhatsApp: The U.K. government wants telecommunications providers to help it tap their customers' communications, removing any encryption the provider applied.

The government's desires are set out in a draft of the regulations obtained by Open Rights Group (ORG), which campaigns for digital civil rights.

"These powers could be directed at companies like WhatsApp to limit their encryption. The regulations would make the demands that [Home Secretary] Amber Rudd made to attack end-to-end encryption a reality. But if the powers are exercised, this will be done in secret," said ORG executive director Jim Killock.

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Categories: Opinion

Cyberspies tap free tools to make powerful malware framework

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 3:55pm

Over the past year, a group of attackers has managed to infect hundreds of computers belonging to government agencies with a malware framework stitched together from JavaScript code and publicly available tools.

The attack, analyzed by researchers from antivirus firm Bitdefender, shows that cyberespionage groups don't necessarily need to invest a lot of money in developing unique and powerful malware programs to achieve their goals. In fact, the use of publicly available tools designed for system administration can increase an attack's efficiency and makes it harder for security vendors to detect it and link it to a particular threat actor.

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Categories: Opinion

IDG Contributor Network: Six highlights of Red Hat Summit 2017

CIO.com - Opinion - May 5, 2017 - 3:36pm

At the Red Hat Summit 2017, the company showed how it is evolving from being a Linux vendor to a cloud provider and recognized the work of individuals and partners who have contributed to the popularity of open source.

Collaboration with AWS: Multi or hybrid cloud is the future. Companies are using a mix of cloud technologies and Red Hat is working on making it easier to access AWS services right from Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

Customers can use the Red Hat OpenShift console to configure and deploy a huge set of AWS services, including Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, Amazon EMR, Amazon Athena, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, and Elastic Load Balancing.

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Categories: Opinion

Most U.S. households have ditched landlines for mobile phones

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 3:24pm

In America, landlines aren’t the norm anymore.

A recently released survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF) estimates that during the second half of 2016 50.8 percent of U.S. households were wireless only. That’s up from 48.3 percent during the same time period in 2015—a rise of 2.5 percentage points.

The story behind the story: It might seem odd to hear that the CDC is tracking phone usage, but there’s actually a good reason for it. Every year, the CDC conducts a face-to-face survey with 40,000 households called the National Health Interview Survey. Since 2003, the NHIS has monitored what kind of phone connectivity respondents had: landline or mobile. This data gives the CDC useful information that correlates to the health status of people without landlines.

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Categories: Opinion

Facebook nears 2 billion users, warns ad growth will slow

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 3:21pm

Facebook is on track to surpass 2 billion monthly active users (MAU) before the end of this summer. The company ended the first quarter of 2017 with 1.94 billion MAUs and 1.28 billion people using the social network every day.

While the monthly user base grew 17 percent year-over-year, daily usage jumped at a slightly higher rate of 18 percent during the same period. Overall growth remains steady, which is unique for a company with such a massive global user base. Facebook reported identical growth rates on a percentage basis in the previous quarter.

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Categories: Opinion

How to survive a move when your ISP can’t go with you

CIO.com - Opinion - May 5, 2017 - 3:20pm

You’ve just moved into a new place and getting your Internet connection will take a while. Or maybe you’re travelling on business and your hotel has sub-standard WiFi with an outrageous price tag. Staying offline isn’t an option. So what’s the easiest, least costly way to solve this bump in the road?

I faced this very problem when I recently moved across town here in San Francisco. I’ll have an ultra-fast fiber connection by next week, but while I’m waiting I need to be online. Here’s how I solved the problem without busting my budget or spending a lot of time using the free WiFi at my favorite café.

The quickest way to get online is with your smartphone, of course. But doing any serious writing or spreadsheet crunching requires a laptop or a tablet. Fortunately, most carriers let you use your phone’s cellular connection as a hotspot.

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Categories: Opinion

Microsoft teases a Surface event to 'show the world what's next.' Is it mixed reality?

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 2:18pm

Microsoft said Thursday night that it will host another mysterious event for reporters, to “show the world what’s next” in Shanghai, China.

So far, the invitation has come somewhat out of left field. Microsoft representatives were unavailable for comment at press time, and Microsoft executives haven’t previously indicated that such an event was planned. It likely involves new hardware, though, since Microsoft’s device chief, Panos Panay, has tweeted that he will be at the May 23 event, using the #Surface hashtag.

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Categories: Opinion

Net neutrality defenders gear up for new fight

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 1:47pm

Advocates for strong net neutrality rules enforced by a powerful federal regulator may be on the ropes, but they are striking a defiant tone as they look to whip up grassroots opposition ahead of the effort to dismantle the FCC's open internet order.

Later this month, the FCC is planning to hold a vote at its May 18 meeting that would begin consideration of an order reclassifying broadband service under communications law such that the commission would significantly limit its authority to police ISPs.

The distinction in service classification is arcane, but in a practical sense the FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing to undo the legal underpinning of his predecessor's 2015 open internet order, which expanded the commission's oversight authority over the broadband sector, and established net neutrality rules that have been upheld in federal court.

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Categories: Opinion

Microsoft plots changes to Windows 10's release lingo

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 12:42pm

Microsoft will change the nomenclature of its Windows 10 release model in September, dropping terms used since the operating system's debut and substituting names that sync with Office 365.

In an online Q&A Thursday about "Windows as a service," Microsoft's concept of an ever-evolving, ever-updating OS, Michael Niehaus, a director of product marketing on the Windows 10 team, answered a question about the new terminology.

[ Related: Fix Windows 10 problems with these free Microsoft tools ]

"New Windows 10 releases in the Semi-Annual Channel are initially to be used for pilot deployments," Niehaus wrote [emphasis added]. "After about four months, we'll declare that the release is ready for broad deployment."

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Categories: Opinion

Top tips for finding the right cybersecurity products

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 12:00pm

Having trouble finding the right security products for your business? You’re not the only one.

Today’s market is filled with hundreds of vendors and plenty of marketing hype. But figuring out which solutions are worthwhile can be a challenge, especially for businesses with little experience in cybersecurity.  

So we asked actual buyers of enterprise security products for tips, and here’s what they said.  

Damian Finol, security technical program manager at a major internet firm

Businesses have to do their research. That means looking at customer recommendations instead of relying on what vendors say. Testing the security products in house is also highly advised.

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Categories: Opinion

The pitfalls of cybersecurity shopping: hype and shoddy products

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 12:00pm

There's a growing threat on the cybersecurity scene that could drain millions from unsuspecting businesses and leave them vulnerable to hacking threats.

It isn’t a new strain of ransomware. It’s the cybersecurity industry itself.

It's ironic, but the products vendors sell, and the marketing they use, sometimes leave buyers misinformed and less secure, according to several business directors who actually buy the tech.   

“There’s definitely a lot of vaporware,” said Damian Finol, an IT security manager at a major internet company. “There are definitely products that have really exaggerated claims about what they actually do.”

For some vendors, it's more about the sale than about security, IT executives say. To close a deal, bad vendors tend to overpromise features that they claim will be added down the line but never materialize. That makes a buyer's job harder.

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Categories: Opinion

Surface Laptop: Everything you need to know

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 11:30am

The Surface Laptop stole the show at Microsoft’s May 2 event. The focus may have been on education, Windows 10 S, and affordable laptops for classroom use, but the oohs and ahhs went to the Surface Laptop for its beautiful display and Alcantara-clad keyboard, not to mention its light weight and long battery life. College kids are the Surface Laptop’s purported target user, but a lot of regular folks are intrigued by this new addition to Microsoft’s premium Surface family—and, frankly, many students won’t be able to afford it anyway. 

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Categories: Opinion

Windows 10 S FAQ: Everything you need to know about Microsoft's streamlined operating system

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 11:00am

Microsoft’s taking aim at Chromebooks and MacBooks alike with Windows 10 S, a new version of Windows 10 designed foremost for educational use. But schools alone aren’t Microsoft’s target audience, and while the new operating system shares the same underlying bones as the standard version of Windows 10, there are some stark differences too.

Here’s everything you need to know about Windows 10 S, mostly from a mainstream consumer perspective—and starting with the question everybody’s asking.

Okay, so what’s the S for?

Windows chief Terry Myerson claims it stands for four different aspects of the operating system:

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(Insider Story)
Categories: Opinion

Third parties leave your network open to attacks

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 11:00am

Most businesses hire third-party providers to fill in when they lack in-house resources. It is often necessary to allow third-party vendors access to their network. But after Target’s network was breached a few years ago because of an HVAC vendor’s lack of security, the focus continues to be on how to allow third parties access to the network without creating a security hole.

The use of third-party providers is widespread, as are breaches associated with them. Identity risk and lifestyle solution provider SecZetta claims that on average, 40 percent of the workforce make up third parties. A recent survey done by Soha Systems notes that 63 percent of all data breaches can be attributed to a third party. “The increased reliance on third-party employees, coupled with the growing sophistication of hackers, has led to the current identity and access management crisis that most businesses are faced with today — whether they realize it or not,” a SecZetta blog post stated. 

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Categories: Opinion

25 geek-inspired gifts for Mother's Day

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 11:00am
To mom, with love

Image by Ultimate Ears, Looking Glass Design, ThinkGeek, Vik Muniz and MoMA Store

If you're looking for Mother’s Day gift ideas that are less about gadgets and more about stellar product design, this is the collection for you. The tech quotient is low, but the design bar is high. The creators are artists, craftspeople and industrial designers – and their inspiration comes from science, technology, engineering and math.

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Categories: Opinion

Oracle rethinks modular Java plan after Red Hat’s objections

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 11:00am

Oracle's chief Java architect has proposed tweaks to Java's modular plan. The revisions were said to be not in response to recent objections by Red Hat and IBM, but they do appear to address one of the concerns.

In a post to an openjdk mailing list on Thursday, a proposal by Oracle's Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group, centers on an "AutomaticModuleNames" feature. He also referenced the plan on his twitter feed, tweeting, "Module names should be reverse-DNS and so automatic modules can be given stable names." An Oracle representative said the proposal was just ongoing work on issues that continue to be under discussion and was separate from Red Hat and IBM's issues.

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Categories: Opinion

How upgrading from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro could cost you

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 10:00am

There’s plenty about Microsoft’s new Windows 10 S that’s not fully understood, not the least of which is its built-in upgrade path to Windows 10 Pro. Which Windows 10 S device you buy and where you buy it, however, will decide whether you’ll pay a $49 fee for the the upgrade—or have Microsoft pay you with a year’s subscription to Office 365.

With most Windows 10 S devices reserved for closely managed classrooms, there's arguably only one Windows 10 S device where the transition from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro becomes an important decision: Microsoft's Surface Laptop, designed for college students. But as hardware vendors start shipping more laptops with Windows S installed, more users will have to consider how they handle this upgrade path. We'll explain what we know so far. 

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Categories: Opinion

Uber may be under a US federal criminal probe for its ‘Greyball’ tool

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 7:33am

Uber Technologies is reportedly under a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in the U.S. over its use of secret software, which helped the company avoid officials seeking rides to investigate the ride-hailing service, according to news reports Thursday.

Their accounts appear to tally with a report last month by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which stated that the City of Portland was notified by the U.S. attorney of the Northern District of California that Uber is the subject of a federal inquiry. The city is cooperating with the on-going probe.

Soon after the use of the so-called “greyballing” technology in many countries was reported by the New York Times in early March, Uber said it would prohibit the use of the technology to target action by local regulators.

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Categories: Opinion

Google Docs phishing attack underscores OAuth security risks

CIO.com - News - May 5, 2017 - 12:20am

Google has stopped Wednesday’s clever email phishing scheme, but the attack may very well make a comeback.

One security researcher has already managed to replicate it, even as Google is trying to protect users from such attacks.

“It looks exactly like the original spoof,” said Matt Austin, director of security research at Contrast Security.

The phishing scheme -- which may have circulated to 1 million Gmail users -- is particularly effective because it fooled users with a dummy app that looked like Google Docs.

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Categories: Opinion

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