Hack of federal systems is “grave”

Hack of Federal systems considered “grave”

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has stated that the extensive hack of U.S. federal government agencies is sophisticated, complex and poses a grave risk to the U.S. federal government. It seems that the sophisticated attack, attributed to Russia, started about the time of COVID-19s arrival in the U.S. The vulnerabilities appear to be tied to IT supplier SolarWinds, whose cloud software updates included an unknown back door planted by hackers. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: It seems that 2020 was, in fact, worse than you thought. While the U.S. was focused on COVID-19, stimulus legislation and a hotly contested presidential election, Russian (alleged) hackers were having a field day with Uncle Sam’s computer networks. Is it time to unplug the federal governments computers — all of them — and perform a fresh reboot under the fresh watch of the smartest cybersecurity kids in the country? Are federal governments better of decentralizing their data infrastructures to make it harder to topple, or single, central databases that are guarded better than any networks in the world?

Privacy feud pits Apple vs. Facebook

Apple is seeking changes in the privacy policy of apps running on iOS (any mobile Apple device). The policy, called  App Tracking Transparency, enables consumers to learn of what apps are tracking info about them and to opt in or out. Facebook, a company whose advertising intelligence relies on tracking app activity and collecting data, is not happy, as a mass movement by consumers to “opt out” will reduce the effectiveness of Facebook’s data harvesting technology. Facebook’s claim is that Apple’s move will hurt small businesses and is taking out advertisements in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the Washington Post to say so. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Pop quiz: which company do you trust more with your personal data? Rank in order of most trusted between Facebook, Apple and Google. It is likely that you answered most trusted: Apple, and it is likely that it is tough to decide who is third between Google and Facebook. What is certain, though, is that Facebook continues to build a reputation of the bad boys in the privacy debate, and Apple will certainly win the PR battle in this feud.

Airlines have kept afloat, in part, by converting to all cargo

Passenger air travel has been down, thanks to COVID-19, by 71% to 96%. The industry has been decimated moreso than restaurants or retail. Airlines are still in business thanks to a large bailout by the government(s) and, to some extent, their ability to pivot to cargo carriers. United led the charge to begin flying all cargo flights, trading weight in the upper (passenger) deck for more weight in the cargo hold. United has now flown over 8,000 cargo only flights.   Wired

dis-rup-shun: Resilience and reinvention are the keys to survival, and the airlines are clinging to cargo shipping to buy more time. Shipping COVID-19 vaccinations around the globe in temperature controlled containers will guarantee some short term, high-value cargo for carriers, but rebound of significant passenger levels is not expected until 2023. Innovation and reinvention will have to continue for two more years, and let’s see how else airlines can re-purpose their crafts for the long haul.

Who won the smart home in 2020?

CNET writers debate which Big Tech powerhouse won the smart home in 2020. Their discussion is actually limited to smart speaker and voice assistants, a key, but not complete, part of the smart home. The best smart speaker recognition goes to Amazon. The best voice assistant recognition is a tie between Amazon and Google and the best data privacy recognition goes to Apple.

dis-rup-shun: The biggest disappointment of 2020 is the fact that Apple has not thrown its weight around with regards to smart speakers and smart home. The Home Pod mini is nice, but more expensive than its competitors that offer far more home control capabilities. If any player can upset the race that Amazon is winning, it is Apple, but Apple is not focused here. Perhaps 2021 will see a bigger home automation play by Apple, but likely not.

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