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Janalynne Rogers

Various reputable sources, including the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Canadian Crypto Module Validation Program and Microsoft, have reported a significant increase in the number of ransomware attacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. How prepared is your organization to defend against such an attack? There are best practices that, if implemented, could prevent an attack from being successful or at least mitigate the effects thereof. Additionally, there are recommended actions to take if your systems or data are affected. Risks associated with giving in to the attacker's ransom demands should also be considered before any payment is made.

How the attacks work

Malicious software is used to deny access to data or systems until or unless the attacker's ransom demands are met. Methods for delivering the malware payload vary, with the three of the most common being phishing emails, exploitation of application vulnerabilities, and delivery via remote desktop protocol (RDP). The use of phishing emails as an attack vector is currently on the rise.

Like it or not, data collection technology is pervasive. Your online activities and purchases are tracked. Your travels are monitored, and your location history is stored. Cameras regularly capture your image in public places. Now, technology recently patented by Microsoft for the stated purpose of improving meeting efficiency in the workplace may soon be monitoring the effectiveness of your behaviour at work. The collected data is then used to evaluate meeting participants' body language and analyze the data collected to determine whether or not they are making significant contributions to the meetings they attend. Although this technology is still in its infancy and there are currently no indications of when, or even if, Microsoft plans to make it available for deployment in the workplace, concerns have been raised that it crosses a line and that, if widely implemented, it could result in changes that will negatively impact a significant percentage of the working population.

How It Works

Using sensors, cameras, and software algorithms, Microsoft's "Meeting Insight Computing System" (MICS) will collect data on each meeting participant's body language, expressions, and participation level. MICS will also track how much time attendees spend on activities that are not meeting-related, such as texting or reading email. For remote meeting participants, MICS factors in whether or not they activate their cameras. The system will also take environmental factors into consideration, including the temperature and level of noise in a meeting room. Meeting time is also considered. A hot meeting room, a room with a distracting level of noise, or a meeting running into lunch hour could affect the attendees' levels of participation.

Monday, 22 February 2021 17:25

How SaaS is Changing IT Departments

As software as a service (SaaS) tools continue to gain more popularity with businesses, it's only natural that on-premises, perpetual license software will decline in usage. That's already resulting in significant changes for information technology (IT) departments in many companies. For example, technology managers recognize that they will need staff with different skill sets, new infrastructure to support cloud-based technologies, and a complete overhaul of their processes to support their evolving mission. Here are the most significant ways that SaaS is transforming IT departments.

Hiring for Different Skill Sets

Traditionally, IT staff have been expected to possess highly technical skills because workers needed to be able to manage and configure on-premises software and servers. However, since cloud-based servers require less technical expertise, IT departments need fewer computer science graduates with programming and database management skills. Instead, technology workers need more proficient in business analytics and savvy decision-making skills. As more companies transition to SaaS, it becomes more about creating business processes based on what the technology can effectively support, as opposed to customization, because that's how it's always been done. Therefore, IT departments will likely hire an increasing number of business graduates - and fewer computer science grads - in the future.

The phrase "open source", as used in the title, can also be read as "free." That is correct - there is a fully functional suite of office software applications very similar to, and compatible with, Microsoft Office. Developers donate their time to maintain the LibreOffice suite of applications and keep them up to date.

LibreOffice will run on your Windows operating system and will open, edit, and create Microsoft data files including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. It has been around in one form or another for years and is totally free to download. You do have the option to make a donation to the cause, but there is no requirement to do so.

A Very Brief LibreOffice History

In the early 1970s, Richard Stallman was a Harvard-educated software engineer working on artificial intelligence projects for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As software development migrated away from the university environment and into the private sector, jobs like Stallman's were gradually eliminated, including his in the early 1980s. Stallman was not pleased that private industry was making money writing computer programs and believed that software is meant to be free. And so began the Free Software Foundation in 1985. Developers from around the world joined Stallman's cause, creating free applications and updating and improving them over time.

There are many reputable free tools available online that will allow you to lower your chances of becoming an identity theft victim. You can quickly find out whether your personal information has been compromised in a data breach. You can also take advantage of no-cost offerings that enable you to check the security of your passwords and receive alerts regarding future security violations that may expose your sensitive data. Additionally, you can obtain free copies of your credit reports and sign up for credit monitoring tools that will alert you to suspicious activity.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) has surpassed Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to become the most popular website protocol on the internet. According to research conducted by tech survey organization W3Techs, over 60 percent of all websites are now powered by HTTPS. They use a digital certificate that encrypts their data as it flows to and from their respective visitors.

While HTTPS is undeniably popular, its technical nature has given rise to many myths. When deciding whether or not to use it on your website, you must separate fact from fiction. Otherwise, you may unintentionally take the wrong path with your website.

Most businesses rely on information technology (IT) systems. Even a small business may have critical data and applications without which it could not operate. Computers have become more reliable, and many business systems are now cloud-based. Even so, if the hardware is stolen or destroyed in a natural disaster, the downtime that it would cause could have a significant impact on any business.

So, a company should have a plan to get systems online again ASAP following an IT disaster. But, if you have never prepared a disaster recovery plan (DRP) before, where do you start? Here is a ten-step guide to help you develop a disaster recovery plan for your business.

Outsourcing your IT department offers impressive benefits, such as improving productivity, increasing security, and gaining access to the latest technology. However, one of the main advantages of using a managed service provider is that it is an excellent way to save your company money in many ways. Instead of hiring additional IT employees, a managed service provider will take care of all your technical needs in the workplace at a fixed price each month. Ultimately, this will make it easier to stay within a budget, as you will not have to worry about any unexpected expenses.

Here are a few more ways that an IT service provider can save your business money.

Identity theft has reached epidemic proportions, with millions of stolen credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and bank account data for sale on the dark web and millions more traded on secret hacking sites. Cybercriminals use a multitude of tactics to obtain this ill-gotten booty, from backdoors planted inside compromised computers to keyloggers embedded deep within the operating systems powering popular mobile devices.

As users grow wise to these cyber threats, the bad guys are adapting their tactics, adjusting the way they do business in an attempt to trick people into giving up information they otherwise would not have. One of the slyest and most dangerous forms of cybercrime takes advantage of human psychology, making it particularly challenging to combat.

This insidious form of cybercrime is known as social engineering. It has been successful with everyone from ordinary home users to the executives at Fortune 500 companies. If you want to protect yourself, your devices and your data, understanding how the cybercriminals operate and how they trick their victims is a smart place to start. Here are some of the most popular tricks and how to fight back in an increasingly treacherous digital landscape.

You may have noticed lately that more businesses have made signing in to your online account more of a hassle. Most of the time, this is a one-time passcode that's sent to your phone number or email. This is an example of two-factor authentication, a method of proving your identity. Two-factor authentication is a concept in cybersecurity that tries to make it more difficult for someone to access your personal info online. If you're running an online business or just a consumer struggling to understand why there's this extra step, here's a brief explanation of two-factor authentication and how it helps you stay secure.

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5 Tips for Creating a Great UX  - STEP Software Inc. - Custom Software Development https://t.co/I4cPf4ngRS https://t.co/PmPDcrLJwr


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