Tag Archives: Data

Amazon Announces a Security Change That May Help Companies Using AWS to Avoid Data Breaches
November 17, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Amazon is finally offering a simple way for its cloud services customers to lock down data stored at its Simple Storage Service (S3) with one fell swoop. This change should help companies in the Fortune 500 and mom-and-pops down the street avoid embarrassing breaches of data.

Customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS) routinely leave private files available for public consumption. That’s led to routine, sometimes costly situations for companies that find hackers or security researchers have retrieved customer information, databases containing user passwords, or even proprietary company secrets.

That includes the global consulting and management firm Accenture, which in October 2017 left four of its S3 storage areas, known as “buckets,” open to public examination and download. Over 137 gigabytes of data could have been retrieved, including 40,000 unencrypted passwords. Accenture’s cloud platform, hosted on Amazon’s services, include 92 of the Fortune Global 100 and three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. A security researcher discovered the public data and informed Accenture.

In August 2018, a researcher discovered that a company that sells surveillance software it markets for parents, Spyfone, left an Amazon S3 bucket publicly available, and intimate and personal data extracted from thousands of people its customers were monitoring were exposed, according to Motherboard. This included several terabytes of camera photos.

Last November, Amazon released a change that gave system administrators better notification about any storage buckets set to public access, using an orange label in its file-browsing dashboard.

The change released on Nov. 16, however, allows top-down control for an entire storage area, including disabling overrides for individual folders or files within it. This will prevent companies from leaving data open for global snooping—if they’re attentive enough to know about the new feature and enable it.

The number of security breaches due to customer settings at Amazon S3 has been so high that articles at tech sites devote themselves to listing them all.

Notable breaches include Uber, which exposed personal data of about 57 million customers in October 2016, and didn’t disclose the matter [until November 2017](Dara Khosrowshahi), after it had hired a new CEO; Deep Root Analytics, which exposed personal data on 198 million American voters; and the WWE wrestling entertainment firm, which exposed personal details of 3 million of its fans.

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Data Sheet—IBM’s Make or Break Deal for Red Hat
October 30, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

You’re just what I needed. The mobile search home page of Google got a makeover to promote links to other content. The new “discover” feature positions a curated list of content below the search box. The choice of new topics and stories is based on the user’s web habits. (I’m mostly getting suggested stories about the Red Sox World Series win this morning. Sigh.) Meanwhile, a story that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was planning to eliminate the ability to “like,” or favorite tweets blew up across Twitter on Monday, forcing the company to issue a semi-denial. “We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.”

It’s not the perfume that you wear. In less positive news from Google, a backlash is brewing in the wake of a New York Times story alleging that male senior executives (including Android founder Andy Rubin) left with millions of dollars after being accused of sexual misconduct. A group of about 200 engineers is organizing a “women’s walk” walkout for later this week, BuzzFeed reports. And Intel is declaring that is has reached “full representation” in its workforce three years after making that a top priority. But at 27% female, 9% hispanic, and under 5% black, the employee base is still not representative of the U.S. workforce. Intel says the stat is one of its own devising measuring the make up of workers available in its market. Meeting the target is only a first step on its path to diversity, the company says.

I don’t mind you comin’ here. How is my favorite note organizing app doing? I’m note sure. Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill, who took over for co-founder Phil Libin in 2015, is departing after “putting Evernote on solid financial footing so we can continue to build for the future.” Those are the words of incoming CEO Ian Small, who had run video platform TokBox.

And wastin’ all my time. The new $ 1,300 Hydrogen One phone from high-end camera maker Red arrived on Monday and got some of the worst reviews in recent memory. The phone’s much hyped holographic screen “looks like the entire display has been smudged up when holographic mode kicks in,” The Verge says. “The phone seems misguided and unfinished,” adds PC Magazine “The phone’s advertising also lies about its screen being holographic, which makes me really cranky.”

Standin’ oh so near. My colleague Phil Wahba has a interesting take on a kind of boring subject. He reports how rental car company Avis plans to survive and thrive in the coming wave of self-driving cars.

(Headline reference explainer video for non-Gen Xers.)

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Broadcom sees fourth-quarter boost from data center demand, iPhone launch
September 7, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Broadcom Inc (AVGO.O) on Thursday forecast current-quarter revenue largely above estimates on higher demand for components that power data centers, while the launch of Apple Inc’s new iPhones is expected to bolster its wireless business.

A sign to the campus offices of chip maker Broadcom Ltd is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Shares of Broadcom rose 4 percent to $ 224.90 in extended trading after the chipmaker also reported third-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates.

Revenue from enterprise storage business jumped 70 percent in the reported quarter as the acquisition of Brocade helped drive sales gains at the unit.

Its wireless business, which makes chips for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity, reported flat revenue, while its wired infrastructure unit, which makes components used in telecommunication networks, posted a 4 percent rise from a year earlier.

“More than half our consolidated revenue … is benefiting from strong cloud and enterprise data center spending,” Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

“This, coupled with a seasonal uptick in wireless, will drive our forecast revenue in the fourth quarter.”

The company expects a ramp at its North American customer – which analysts identified as Apple – to drive a 25 percent rise in wireless revenue from the previous quarter, although it may be down in single-digit percentage compared with a year earlier.

Apple (AAPL.O) is set to unveil its new iPhones next week.

Tan, who has transformed Broadcom into a $ 100 billion behemoth through a series of acquisitions, surprised Wall Street in July with his move to acquire software maker CA Technologies for $ 19 billion.

Explaining his rationale behind the CA acquisition, Tan said he planned to target the company’s enterprise customers with Broadcom’s offerings including server and storage connectivity products.

The CA deal comes after U.S. President Donald Trump blocked Broadcom’s $ 117 billion offer to buy Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) on national security grounds.

Broadcom forecast current-quarter revenue of about $ 5.40 billion, plus or minus $ 75 million. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $ 5.35 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income attributable to common stock rose to $ 1.2 billion, or $ 2.71 per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 5 from $ 481 million, or $ 1.14 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $ 4.98 per share.

Net revenue rose to $ 5.06 billion from $ 4.46 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $ 4.83 per share on revenue of $ 5.07 billion.

Reporting by Sonam Rai and Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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Spotify hits subscriber targets but revenues slow on EU data rules
July 26, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

LONDON (Reuters) – Music streaming leader Spotify (SPOT.N) on Thursday reported results mostly in line with forecasts, as the number of paid subscribers rose 10 percent over the last three months, but revenue growth was slowed by new European data privacy rules.

FILE PHOTO: The Spotify logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Monthly subscribers, which account for around 90 percent of revenue, rose to 83 million at the end of June, up from 75 million in the first three months of 2018. Analysts, on average, was looking for 82 million subs, a Thomson Reuters poll showed.

Second-quarter revenue rose 26 percent to 1.27 billion euros, roughly in line with market expectations. Fifteen analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast, on average, 1.26 billion euros.

“We did see some GDPR disruption across our European markets during Q2 but seem to be largely past that now,” the company said in a statement, referring to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that came into effect in May.

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London; Editing by Adrian Croft

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How Companies Can Safeguard User Privacy in the Data Era
July 18, 2018 6:56 am|Comments (0)

Many companies use data they collect about you to make the online services and connected devices you use that much more convenient. But that vast trove of personal information can also come with a number of risks like hacking.

The complexities of how companies can best navigate this reality was the focus of a round table discussion at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. on Tuesday.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president at Microsoft and former leader of its Windows and devices group, talked about his company’s efforts to replace passwords with biometrics, the use of fingerprints and eye readers instead of passwords. But he quickly pointed out the privacy concerns about using biometrics while another participant pointed out, ominously, that many peoples’ fingerprints are already available online.

Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s, said his company is “using AI to look for behaviors” online that may signal security concerns. But Cliff Justice, a partner at consulting firm KPMG, mentioned that sophisticated hackers are now starting to use AI to power their attacks.

“It’s a marathon. It’s a race,” Lawton said. “An arms race,” agreed Kirsten Wolberg, chief technology and operations officer of digital signature firm DocuSign.

“We are constantly struggling as companies to make sure we have the best experience for customers and at the same time ensure their security,” said Nat Natarajan, chief technology and product officer at Ancestry.com.

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Facebook says Indonesian user data not misused
July 13, 2018 6:47 am|Comments (0)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Social media giant Facebook has assured the Indonesian government that personal data of about one million of its citizens had not been improperly accessed by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Facebook has faced intense scrutiny, including multiple official investigations in the United States, Europe and Australia, over allegations of improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica.

Indonesia, where more than 115 million people use Facebook, has also been pressing the firm to explain how its citizens’ personal data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica via a personality quiz. 

“Facebook has reported to the Communications Ministry that no data from any Indonesian users was collected,” Deputy Communications Minister Semuel Pangerapan said on Friday.

A Facebook official had told members of parliament in April that 1,096,666 people in Indonesia may have had their data shared, or 1.26 percent of the global total.

This led Communications Minister Rudiantara, who goes by one name, to briefly threaten to shut down Facebook in Indonesia if personal data was found to have been breached.

But Facebook told Reuters on Thursday it had only indicated the number of Indonesian users “who could potentially have had their data accessed, not necessarily misused”.

“Both public records and existing evidence strongly indicate Aleksandr Kogan did not provide Cambridge Analytica or (its parent) SCL with data on people who use Facebook in Indonesia,” it added, referring to the researcher linked to the scandal.

Facebook says Kogan harvested data by creating an app on the platform that was downloaded by 270,000 people, providing access not only to their own but also their friends’ personal data.

Pangerapan said he believed Facebook had improved options for users to limit access to data, but did not say whether authorities would continue their inquiry.

The Indonesian communications ministry had sent a letter to the company in April seeking confirmation on technical measures to limit access to data in Facebook and more information on an audit the social media company was doing.

Britain’s information regulator on Wednesday slapped a small but symbolic fine of 500,000 pounds on Facebook for breaches of data protection law, in the first move by a regulator to punish the social media giant for the controversy.

Reporting by Fanny Potkin & Cindy Silviana; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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New Zealand's Z Energy flags possible data breach in online card system
June 27, 2018 6:21 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – New Zealand-based fuel supplier Z Energy Ltd on Wednesday said it has been presented with evidence that customer data from its Z Card Online database was accessed by a third party in November 2017.

The database held customer data such as names, addresses, registration numbers, vehicle types and credit limits with the company, Z Energy said in a statement. The data accessed did not include bank details, pin numbers or information that would put customer finances directly at risk, it said.

Z Energy did not specify the extent to which its customer data had been compromised.

The company said it had notified affected customers and advised the Privacy Commissioner of the breach. It said the system in question had been closed since December 2017.

The Z Card allows customers to manage fuel accounts online, and is used primarily by companies with vehicle fleets.

Z Energy said it had been made aware of a potential vulnerability in the system in November, but had not found evidence of any data breaches at that time.

Z Energy operates in both New Zealand and Australia. New laws in Australia requiring companies to report data breaches took effect in late-February this year.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru

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Supreme Court restricts police on cellphone location data
June 22, 2018 6:28 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday imposed limits on the ability of police to obtain cellphone data pinpointing the past location of criminal suspects in a major victory for digital privacy advocates and a setback for law enforcement authorities.

In the 5-4 ruling, the court said police generally need a court-approved warrant to get the data, setting a higher legal hurdle than previously existed under federal law. The court said obtaining such data without a warrant from wireless carriers, as police routinely do, amounted to an unreasonable search and seizure under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

In the ruling written by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, the court decided in favor of Timothy Carpenter, who was convicted in several armed robberies at Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in Ohio and Michigan with the help of past cellphone location data that linked him to the crime scenes.

Roberts stressed that the ruling did not resolve other hot-button digital privacy fights, including whether police need warrants to access real-time cellphone location information to track criminal suspects. The ruling has no bearing on “traditional surveillance techniques” such as security cameras or on data collection for national security purposes, he added.

Roberts was joined by the court’s four liberal justices in the majority. The court’s other four conservatives dissented.

Although the ruling explicitly concerned only historical cellphone data, digital privacy advocates are hopeful it will set the tone for future cases on other emerging legal issues prompted by new technology.

“Today’s decision rightly recognizes the need to protect the highly sensitive location data from our cellphones, but it also provides a path forward for safeguarding other sensitive digital information in future cases – from our emails, smart home appliances and technology that is yet to be invented,” said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Nate Wessler, who represents Carpenter.

“We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier’s database of physical location information,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the ruling still allows police to avoid obtaining warrants for other types of business records. Police could also avoid obtaining warrants in emergency situations, Roberts added.

The high court endorsed the arguments made by Carpenter’s lawyers, who said that police needed “probable cause,” and therefore a warrant, to avoid a Fourth Amendment violation.

Police helped establish that Carpenter was near the scene of the robberies by securing from his cellphone carrier his past “cell site location information” that tracks which cellphone towers relay calls. His bid to suppress the evidence failed and he was convicted of six robbery counts.

The big four wireless carriers – Verizon Communications Inc, AT&T Inc, T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp – receive tens of thousands of such requests annually from law enforcement.

Carpenter’s case will now return to lower courts. His conviction may not be overturned because other evidence also linked him to the crimes.

‘BIG BROTHER’

The case underscored the rising concerns among privacy advocates about the government’s ability to obtain an ever-growing amount of personal data. During arguments in the case in December, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who joined Roberts in the ruling, alluded to fears of “Big Brother,” the all-seeing leader in George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”

Conservative Justice Samuel Alito, a former prosecutor, said in a dissenting opinion that the ruling could do “far more harm than good.”

The decision “guarantees a blizzard of litigation while threatening many legitimate and valuable investigative practices upon which law enforcement has rightfully come to rely,” Alito added. Alito also said the ruling does not address “some of the greatest threats to individual privacy” that may come from data collection by private companies.

It was the third ruling in recent years in which the court has resolved major cases on how criminal law applies to new technology, each time ruling against law enforcement. In 2014, it required police in most instances to obtain a warrant to search a cellphone’s contents when its user is arrested. In 2012, it decided a warrant is needed to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle.

The U.S. Justice Department argued that probable cause should not be required to obtain customer records under a 1986 federal law. Instead, it argued for a lower standard: that prosecutors show only that “reasonable grounds” exist for the records and they are “relevant and material” to an investigation.

Roberts said the government’s argument “fails to contend with the seismic shifts in digital technology that made possible the tracking of not only Carpenter’s location but also everyone else’s.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

There has been rising concern over the surveillance practices of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and whether companies like wireless carriers care about customer privacy rights.

Various tech firms, including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft Corp, joined a brief in the Carpenter case urging the court to adopt strong privacy protections.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Erin Schaff/File Photo

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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The Amazing Ways Samsung Is Using Big Data, Artificial Intelligence And Robots To Drive Performance
May 30, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

, Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Until recently, Korean company Samsung was said to behind its competitors in terms of researching and developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology, but the company’s recent strategy suggests that it’s committed to closing the gap and even competing for the top spot. Since 70 percent of the world’s data is produced and stored on Samsung’s products, the company is the leading provider of data storage products in the world. By revenue, Samsung is the largest consumer electronics company in the world—yes, it has even overtaken Apple and sells 500 million connected devices a year. From industry events to setting goals with AI at the forefront to updating products to use artificial intelligence, Samsung seems to have gone full throttle in preparing for the 4th industrial revolution.

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Bringing innovators together

Samsung started 2018 with intention to be an artificial intelligence leader by organizing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Summit and brought together 300 university students, technical experts and leading academics to explore ways to accelerate AI research and to develop the best commercial applications of AI.

Samsung has Dr. Larry Heck, world-renowned AI and voice recognition leader, on their AI research team. At the summit, Dr. Heck emphasized the need for collaboration within the AI industry so that there would be a higher level of confidence and adoption by consumers and to allow AI to flourish. Samsung announced plans to host more AI-related events as well as the creation of a new AI Research Center dedicated to AI research and development. The research center will bolster Samsung’s expertise in artificial intelligence.

Bixby: Samsung’s AI Assistant

Bixby, Samsung’s artificial intelligence system designed to make device interaction easier, debuted with the Samsung Galaxy S8. The latest version, 2.0, is a “fundamental leap forward for digital assistants.” Bixby 2.0 allows the AI system to be available on all devices including TVs, refrigerators, washers, smartphones and other connected devices. It’s also open to developers so that it will be more likely to integrate with other products and services.

Bixby is contextually aware and understands natural language to help users interact with increasingly complex devices. Samsung plans to introduce a Bixby speaker to compete with Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

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How to deal with bad data in your cloud migration
May 16, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Do you have dysfunctional enterprise data? The symptoms are pretty easy to spot, including not having a single source of truth for customers, orders, inventory, etc. Or not be able to properly secure and govern the data, thus being unable to deal with regulations.

Many enterprises are taking their dysfunctional data to the cloud, and thus their limits and problems. But you don’t have to perpetuate that dysfunction in the cloud. Here are some ways to fix that dysfunctional data when moving to the cloud.

Option 1: Fix the data in flight to the cloud

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