Data 4 Ransom

Data 4 Ransom

The future of cybercrime will soon become the almost routine taking of your personal and corporate data as hostage. 


Once the hacker has control of it, with or without exfiltration, they will attach malware to it–like a ticking time bomb.


A simple threat will follow:


“I have your data. Either you pay for your data back unharmed OR your data will become vaporware! You have one hour to decide. If you call the authorities, you data is history.”


So how valuable is your data to you?  


– Your personal information–financial, medical, legal, sentimental things, etc.


– Your corporate information–proprietary trade secrets, customer lists, employee data, more.


How long would it take you to reconstitute if it’s destroyed?  How about if instead it’s sold and used for identity theft or to copy your “secret sauce” (i.e. competitive advantage) or maybe even to surpass you in the marketplace? 


Data is not just inert…it is alive!


Data is not just valuable…often it’s invaluable!


Exposed in our networks or the cloud, data is at risk of theft, distortion, or even ultimate destruction. 


When the time comes, how much will you pay to save your data?


(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Lock Or Peephole

Privacy
So is that keyhole in privacy for a lock and key or as an exhibitionistic peephole?



The New York Times had an excellent article on this yesteday, called “We Want Privacy, but Can’t Stop Sharing.”



We are compelled to share online to demonstrate that we are:



– Important

– Interesting

– Credible

– Competent

– Thoughtful

– Trustworthy



The problem is when you inappropriately overshare online, you may leave youself little to properly disclose in building real-world intimate relationships in a normal give and take of “opening and closing boundaries.”



Moreover, being like a lab rat or in a house of glass walls for all to watch indiscriminantly can leave us with feelings of “low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.”



Being under observation–even when it is voluntary–implies being open to judgement and this can drain us of our ability to be ourselves, creative, and take calculated risks.



We don’t want to become too busy brushing our hair back and smiling for the camera and making everything (artificially) look like made for reality TV (e.g. Kardashian) perfection. 



The key to privacy is to disclose what needs to be shared, put a lock on what’s personal, and not arbitrarily leave the peephole eyes wide open. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to g4ll4is)

Data Like Clouds

Cloud Security
So data is like clouds…



Clouds want to be free roaming the wild blue skies similar to how data wants to be searchable, accessible, useful, and so on. 



But with data, like clouds, when it rains it pours–and when data blows about with the windstorm and is compromised in terms of security or privacy, then we not only come away wet but very uncomfortable and unhappy. 



Then, as we actually end up putting our data in the great computing clouds of the likes of Amazon, iCloud, HP, and more, the data is just within arm’s reach of the nearest smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. 



But just as we aspire to reach to the clouds–and get to our data–other less scrupled (cyber criminals, terrorists, and nation states)–seek to grab some of those oh so soft, white cloud data too.



While you may want to lock your data cloud in a highly secure double vault, unfortunately, you won’t be able to still get to it quickly and easily…it’s a trade-off between security and accessibility. 



And leaving the doors wide open doesn’t work either, because then no one even needs an (encryption) key to get in. 



So that’s our dilemma–open data, but secured storage–white, soft, beautiful clouds wisping overhead, but not raining data on our organizational and personal parades. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

For Everyone That Loves Reading

Books
I thought this was a great picture for everyone that loves reading.



Whether you read from traditional paper books, newspapers, magazines, and journals, or you prefer reading from a tablet, smartphone, eReader, or browser. 



Reading expands our mind, challenges our thinking, and builds on our knowledge. 



Here’s to reading…just about everything you can get your hands on. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Calorie Count Cookie

Fortune Cookie Calories
So we were out with family at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. 



And at the end of the meal, of course there were fortune cookies to be had.



As someone opened the cookie, and was about to plop it in her mouth, she said, “Ah, there goes another 100 calories!”



Then I thought for a moment, and said, “wouldn’t it be great (for those of us watching our weight), if every food had an edible embedded chip and display that would flash the calorie count as you picked it up and were about to put it in your mouth. 



Rather than those esoteric calorie counts on the side of packages for G-d knows what serving sizes, you get a play-by-play count every time you reach, pick up, and are about to ingest the next big gulp.



I think having calorie counts tied to real portions and having these in your face in real time as you are eating could have a huge impact on portion size and weight control. 



It may not be sexy to see the calories in your face as you eat, but boy could it be healthy. 😉



Copyright to Andy Blumenthal



(Source Photo: Me)

Web 1-2-3

Ushering In Web 3.0

The real cloud computing is not where we are today.

Utilizing infrastructure and apps on demand is only the beginning.

What IBM has emerging that is above the other cloud providers is the real deal, Watson, cognitive computing system.

In 2011, Watson beat the human champions of Jeopardy, today according to the CNBC, it is being put online with twice the power.

Using computational linguistics and machine learning, Watson is becoming a virtual encyclopedia of human knowledge and that knowledge-base is growing by the day.

But moreover, that knowledge can be leveraged by cloud systems such as Watson to link troves of information together, process it to find hidden meanings and insights, make diagnoses, provide recommendations, and generally interact with humans.

Watson can read all medical research, up-to-date breakthroughs in science, or all financial reports and so on and process this to come up with information intelligence.

In terms of computational computing, think of Apple’s Siri, but with Watson, it doesn’t just tell you where the local pizza parlors are, it can tell you how to make a better pizza.

In short, we are entering the 3rd generation of the Internet:

Web 1.0 was as a read-only, Web-based Information Source. This includes all sorts of online information available anytime and anywhere. Typically, organizational Webmasters publishing online content to the masses.

Web 2.0 is the read-write, Participatory Web. This is all forms of social computing and very basic information analytics. Examples include: email, messaging, texting, blogs, twitter, wikis, crowdsourcing, online reviews, memes, and infographics.

Web 3.0 will be think-talk, Cognitive Computing. This incorporates artificial intelligence and natural language processing and interaction. Examples: Watson, or a good-natured HAL 9000.

In short, it’s one thing to move data and processing to the cloud, but when we get to genuine artificial intelligence and natural interaction, we are at all whole new computing level.

Soon we can usher in Kurzweil’s Singularity with Watson leading the technology parade. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Google Hypocrisy?

Google Hypocrisy?

Google, which touts itself as the one that “organize[s] the world’s information and make[s] it universally accessible and usable,” ended its Reader product on Monday, July 1.

The RSS reader was a terrific tool for aggregating content feeds on the Internet (and Google is a terrific company that benefits the whole world’s thirst for knowledge).

With Google Reader you could subscribe to tens or hundreds of news services, blogs, and other information feeds and read it on your desktop or mobile device.

Reader represented the Google mission itself by pulling together all this information and making it available in one reading place, simply and easily for anyone.

While the Goolge line is that they killed Reader, because of a declining user base, I find this less then credible, since anecdotally it seems like a very popular that is helpful to people. Moreover, Google could’ve chosen to competitively enhance this product rather than shut it down.

So why did they end a great product that literally fits their mission perfectly?

We can only surmise that the ad clicks weren’t there (and thus neither was the profit) or perhaps Google felt this product was cannibalizing attention from their other products like Google News (a limited aggregator) or from some of their paying ad sponsors or partners feeding other products like Google Glass.

We may never know the answer, but what we do know is that, in this case, Google sold out on it’s core mission of organizing and providing information and abandoned their adoring userbase for Reader.

Feedly and other more clunky readers are out there, but Google Reader is a loss for the information needy and desirous and a misstep by Google.

RIP Reader, I think we will yet see you, in some form or fashion, yet again. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Laurie Pink)

Back To The Computer Stone Age

Back To The Computer Stone Age

According to Charles Kenny in Bloomberg BusinessWeek (20 June 2013), the Internet is quite a big disappointment–because it “failed to generate much in the way of economic growth.”

While on one hand, the author seems to see the impact that the Internet has had–“it sparks uprisings, makes shopping easier, help people find their soul mates, and enables government to collect troves of useful data on potential terrorists;” on the other hand, he pooh-poohs all this and says it hasn’t generated prosperity.

And in a sense, don’t the facts seem to support Kenny: GDP is still in the 2-3% range, labor productivity growth is even lower, and unemployment is still elevated at over 7%?

The problem is that the author is making false correlations between our economic conditions and the rise of the Internet, which already Jack Welch pronounced in 2000 as “the single most important event in the U.S. economy since the industrial revolution.”

Kenny seems to think that not only aren’t there that many economic benefits to the Internet, but whatever there is we basically squander by becoming Facebook and Youtube junkies.

It’s a shame that Bloomberg BusinessWeek decided to publish such a ridiculous article as its “Opening Remarks,” blaming the failure of the Internet for economic challenges that have been brewing for decades–with high-levels of debt, low levels of savings, hefty entitlement programs based on empty national trust funds, the global outsourcing of our manufacturing base, elevated political polarization in Washington, and various economic jolts based on runaway technology, real estate, and commodity bubbles.

It’s concerning that the author, someone with a masters in International Economics, wouldn’t address, let alone mention, any of these other critical factors affecting our national economy–just the Internet!

Kenny adds insult to injury in his diatribe, when he says that the Internet’s “biggest impact” is the delivery of “a form of entertainment more addictive than watching reruns of Friends.”

Maybe that’s the biggest impact for him, but I think most of us could no longer live seriously without the Internet–whether in how we keep in touch, share, collaborate, inform, innovate, compute, buy and sell, and even entertain (yes, were entitled to some downtime as well).

Maybe some would like to forget all the benefits of technology and send us back to the Stone Age before computing, but I have a feeling that not only would our economy be a lot worse than it is now, but so would we. 🙂

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Willy Wonka Wears Google Glass TOO

Willy Wonka Wears Google Glass TOO

I can only say that my fascination with Google continues to grow daily.

Years ago, I used to joke, “What is this G-O-O-G-L-E?”

But now, I know and marvel at how Google is information!

And every type of information from news and facts to shopping and entertainment:

Research is Google.
eCommerce is Google.
Entertainment is Google.

Google this…Google that.

Archive, index, search, discover, access…learn, grow.

Google has quite literally ushered in a new age of enlightenment, no really!

The focus is on information…Google’s mission statement is:

“Organize the world’s information and make it universally acceptable and useful.”

If you believe that knowledge and learning is one of the core underpinnings for personal growth and global development then you can appreciate how Google has been instrumental in unleashing the information age we are living in.

Of course, information can be used for good and for evil–we still have free choice.

But hopefully, by building not only our knowledge, but also understanding of risks, consequences, each other, and our purpose in life–we can use information to do more good than harm (not that we don’t make mistakes, but they should be part of our learning as opposed to coming from malevolent intentions).

Google is used for almost 2/3 of all searches.

Google has over 5 million eBooks and 18 million tunes.

Google’s YouTube has over 4 billion hours of video watched a month.

Google’s Blogger is the largest blogging site with over 46 million unique visitors in a month.

But what raises Google as the information provider par excellence is not just that they provide easy to use search and access to information, but that they make it available anytime, anywhere.

Google Android powers 2/3 of global smartphones.

Google Glass has a likely market potential for wearable IT and augmented reality of $11B by 2018.

Google’s Driverless Car will help “every person [traveling] could gain lost hours back for working, reading, talking, or searching the Internet.

Google Fiber is bringing connection speeds 100x faster than traditional networking to Kansas City, Provo, and Austin.

Google is looking by 2020 to bring access to the 60% of the world that is not yet online.

Dr. Astro Teller who oversees Google[x] lab and “moonshot factory” says, “we are serious as a heart attack about making the world a better place,” and he compares themselves to Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory. (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

I like chocolate and information–and yes, both make the world a better place. 😉

(Source Photo: here by (a)artwork)