Hey Alexa, Can You Hear Me Now?
How cool is it to say something and have your car act on it? “Play my favorite song,” or “Add my meeting with world leaders to my calendar,” or “Take me to the nearest Radio Shack.” Okay that last one’s tough, but digital assistants are almost ubiquitous in cars these days. (more…)
Remember Windows 95?
Let’s go back to the day when IT professionals wore wire-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors. They didn’t want to stain the pockets of their white short-sleeved shirts or black ties. In fact, let’s replay the entire (more…)
The Art Of Collection
773 million. That’s a lot. And That’s how many records were exposed in what’s being called a “monster breach” or a “breach of breaches.” The data was collected over time and displayed publicly on a cloud service and then a popular hacking forum. (more…)
Freelance Into The Future?
There is post-war, post-modern, post-industrialist, and even the post-post rush of social media. (How many likes did I get? Am I valued in the world?) To advance into the world we’re creating, we often seem to be stumbling backwards. (more…)
Life At The Edge Of Acronym
If you live and work in the IT world long enough, you begin to speak in a strange vernacular, a language specific to the task of dispensing information efficiently to others who also know the language. IT, for example, is more efficient than information technology. (more…)
Setting Suns and Setting Goals
As the sun sets on 2018, don’t let the lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne” and the prospect of bowl game parties occupy the depth and breadth of your personal hard drive and career objectives. There is, after all, a new year on the horizon, (more…)
Thomas Brazil, Chief Digital Officer at Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS), Inc., will be presenting at Innovacon 2019.
Nerds In A Bubble
Ever heard of the term “Think Tank?” No doubt you have, and most of them are centered around policy development and political lobbying in our state and national capitols. Some gravitate to specific areas of interest, like oil and gas, foreign relations, or (more…)
Captain Of The Enterprise
Remember when the Enterprise would hurtle through time and space under the calm direction of Jim and Spock and Dr. Whatshisname? Those were the days, right? Threats were seen in advance, galaxies away, and even shown on the big screen before actual engagement was necessary. (more…)
We Are the Shhh of IT
At ICS, we don’t compromise when it comes to delivering more than our customers expect. We’re so focused on that mission that it seems the only thing we fail to do with equal fervor is tell our own story or toot our own horn. Despite the relative silence, our business has grown in parallel with our clients, whose IT needs have been met professionally and selflessly and, yes, quietly. We’re like the E.F. Hutton of the IT world, and if you recognize that reference, congratulations on your longevity in the tech industry.
The Luddite Next Door
Can you imagine developing a product these days through a process that never once considers the Internet? Utility, distribution, sales, marketing, back-end, and customer support are some of the constituent parts of your new product’s development that will never even brush up against the Internet. Tough to fathom such a circumstance in today’s environment. Even a resurgent buggy whip manufacturer is likely to secure www.buggywhip.com fairly early in the thought process. (more…)
Nanny Cam Gone Rogue
Everybody knows the Internet of Things is changing the way we live in substantive ways, from thermostats and toaster ovens to alarm systems and lighting controls. If you’re sitting at a hotel bar in Schenectady and want to mix a smoothie in your own kitchen back in Phoenix, there’s an app for that. You might also ask yourself why you’re sitting in a hotel bar in Schenectady, but that’s another story. (more…)
The Abstract And The Concrete
The world is abuzz with stories of breaches and cyberthreats, accounts of stolen data and stolen identities. Some famous names are thrown around, names that you know and trust, but the story usually involves someone else, another company or an anonymous cast of unlucky souls who trusted their data to their favorite store or credit card company. (more…)
The Hunter Becomes The Hunted
Ever get the feeling that you are being watched? Has that sensation become even more pronounced as you have transitioned into the digital age? (more…)
Paving The Road To Hell
Even the best intentions can complicate matters. In pursuit of increased transparency, for example, the government designed and maintains a website portal to facilitate Freedom of Information Act requests by the public. According to a recent CNN report, that website was undergoing (more…)
The Warning Lights Are Blinking Red
At what point in a boat ride does incoming water equate into cause for concern? Is it when your toes get wet? Your shoes? Ankles? Knees? Shoulders? (more…)
Cybercrime: A Growth Industry
According to a recent Positive Technologies Report, cyberattacks increased 32% year over year from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018. Numbers like that suggest the likelihood of an attack on your organization falls somewhere between inevitable and (more…)
The Cybersecurity Three Putt
Maybe you’re a golfer, or maybe you know someone who is. If so, then you know the passion that often accompanies the pastime. There’s often a payment of homage to the “golf gods” for putts made or pars saved. (more…)
The Heart Of The Matter
Ever experience one of those moments when your heart races? Maybe it was your first kiss or the first time you saw a Porsche 911. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason your heart is racing. (more…)
FIN7 Redefining Hospitality
Three Ukrainian nationals have been indicted by the Justice Department for their alleged participation with FIN7 hacking group, an international crime cooperative that has used phishing scams to (more…)
Mitt Romney, Cyber Savant
If you were expecting this post to reveal some special powers possessed by any member of the Romney family, please assuage your initial disappointment with your first-hand experience with click bait. (more…)
I Invented Cyberspace
Meet William Gibson, an unassuming science fiction writer and author of the 1984 cult favorite Neuromancer. The Wikipedia description seems unassailable: (more…)
The Weather Channel On Cybersecurity
Imagine Jim Cantore in the classic blue slicker, microphone in hand, battling the winds and rains coming off the gulf coast as a category five hurricane makes landfall. (more…)
From Russia, With Love
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the voting booth, suspicions emerge anew that Russian hackers are watching from the other side of the screen. (more…)
Beethoven’s Cybersecurity Symphony
The Fifth Symphony is one of Beethoven’s most broadly popular works, with its trademark beginning of attention grabbing followed by a series of foreboding elements that remind us that chaos and (more…)
A Remote Chance For Re-Election
This is not a piece about candidates, or even the 2016 elections or the results thereof. This is not even about politics. (more…)
Hacking The Airport
It’s Thursday afternoon, and the weather is wreaking havoc across the Northeast and Midwest. But you’ve got to get to Cincinnati to take a key client to dinner, to pitch a deal that will make your year and set you on the course to fiscal independence and occupational fame. (more…)
Droning On About Cybersecurity
A couple of months ago, a USAF truck traveling between missile silos in Wyoming dropped a box of explosives along the way. Not sure those were ever recovered. (more…)
Hacking The Weight Off
Most of us could stand to lose a few pounds, and that reality has fueled an entire industry around the latest exercise and fitness gadgets, from watches to fitbands and everything in between. Back in the day, it was heart monitors, but now the world is counting every step and using GPS to track every movement, inspiring friendly competition by data sharing between friends and across platforms. (more…)
How Tweet It Is
Twitter was once a quirky little social media platform that challenged folks to express complete thoughts in 140 characters or less. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It seems to have been deployed as a weapon of misinformation across our political processes, though no social media platform (or user, for that matter) is without some responsibility. (more…)
Hacking Provokes New Perspective
The power we wield in a digital world can sometimes make us feel bulletproof, like our organizations can conquer the world. To some extent this is true. We do more in less time, enjoy global connectivity, and open the world to new information and transformation. And then we get hacked and it all begins to look suspicious. In the IT world, maybe it’s just a cost of doing business, a plumbing issue that has to be resolved or a cleanup on aisle nine. (more…)
The Snarky Fitband
There have been reports of IoT-connected thermostats offering judgmental comments to their owners returning home to the nest a little later than usual. “Home kinda late, don’t you think,” one display read, and “Where do you think you’ve been,” read another. AI should improve the syntax over time, but the comments struck a chord nonetheless. (more…)
Hey Alexa, How Do You Spell Sabotage?
Ever have one of those mind-melding journeys through time and space when it feels like someone is reading your mind, where your every thought manifests itself in unpredictable ways? You have if you use a smartphone, and especially if you engage social media on that smartphone. And it’s not really unpredictable. It’s commercial. (more…)
Exposure Of Digital DNA
The latest revelation about consumer-level DNA mapping — the kind advertised on television that track your origin back to exotic and unexpected continents — is the evolution of a database that exposes both the unsuspecting and the suspicious. Adopted children are reacquainted with birth parents seven decades removed and introduced to sisters that look just like them. (more…)
Light The Candles Of Cybersecurity
As we approach our national birthday, now 242 years in the making, let’s look at the trends and expectations settling out there on the horizon. Threats are up, breaches are increasing in size and scope, ransomware is hitting public and private organizations, and researchers struggle to keep pace with the clever people with bad intentions. Before we eat the cake, we ought to light the way to a more secure future.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold Lowell
The City of Atlanta was recently the victim of a ransomware attack. As reported by Wired and others, Atlanta paid over $2.7 million dollars in consulting and legal fees to settle a $52,000 ransom. The malware used was of the SamSam strain, and experts at SecureWorks, the response firm working with the City, (more…)
A Bite Of The Apple
One of Apple’s many selling points, beyond the cool factor and lifestyle connectivity, is the relative security of Apple products, partly because of architecture and partly because their market share of end users remains relatively low. More people, it seems, prefer other hardware and operating systems. The only outlier may be the iPhone, so let’s assume that to be the case — and forgo all the market data that might support it — for the sake of this discussion. (more…)
Do You Have Gas?
Let’s be honest. There are worse predicaments than having gas. One of them, perhaps, is not having gas. Another is surrendering to some bad actor the capacity to determine whether or not you have gas. The boys at the fourth grade lunch table would snicker and call it strategic flatulence, but we’re not in the fourth grade and, as it turns out, someone else may be eating our lunch. (more…)
The Subtle Irony Of Cybersecurity
You are the master of the manor, the king of the castle, and you will deploy the greatest weapons in your vast arsenal to protect your business, your people, and your customers. Back in the day, your would wrap your soldiers in chain mail and the heaviest of protective layers, and you would call it armor. In today’s world of threats and attacks, the armor isn’t always effective.
Is It That Time Again Already?
Graduations, weddings, and beach trips. These mark the transition from spring to summer. And, if you live along the Gulf Coast, hurricanes. Before the June page is even visible on our calendars, meteorological disturbances lurk in the increasingly warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. (more…)
Not As Fast As You Might Think
In a recent Security Week article, Justin Fier holds forth on a topic that is at once both incredible and credible. The topic is data exfiltration, and the perspective the article casts makes it a worthy read. Most consumers and laypeople in the commercial streams of the Internet think data breaches occur with great haste, (more…)
Proven Exploits, Variable Payloads
Markets influence the choices hackers make in designing exploits and payloads. Ransomware is all the rage until cryptocurrencies rocket up the value chart. As those values recede, ransomware returns to the sexy side of the dark business. Newsweek makes the argument, in a recent story, that ransomware attacks draw more media attention. Maybe that’s because the mining of cryptocurrency is a tougher story to explain. (more…)
Fridge With A Mind Of Its Own
Well not exactly. Let’s just say the refrigerator may not always be focused on keeping your lettuce crisp.
The Real Deal
In a recent television interview, FBI Director Chris Wray reflected on Russian hacking into the American power grid and other vital infrastructure. The breach occurred in early March, and Wray didn’t mince words, calling the invasion “the real deal.” First the elections and now the grid? Wait. (more…)
Monetizing Uncle Larry’s Politics
Facebook, and social media in general, opened the floodgates of torrential conversation. As has been said of the technology, “The good news is, everybody has a voice. The bad news is everybody has a voice.” For many, Facebook has been slipping into a realm of political rants separated only by friend requests from high school sweethearts and pop-up ads. (more…)
The Dark Side Of Breach Victims
As a part of reconciling interests following a highly publicized breach, victim organizations often apologize with an offer to induce customers to remain or return to the fold. Retailers may reduce prices or offer subscription memberships, while banks may offer credit reporting or monitoring for a year or enhanced rates on accounts. (more…)
Stuxnet: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Remember that time when the Iranian nuclear program was flummoxed by the speeding up or slowing down of their centrifuges? Though the actors have never been formally identified, the special sauce to that enterprise was Stuxnet, and the secret ingredient of that sauce was counterfeit cryptographic certificates from known companies that greased the skids for the malware. Ars Technica is reporting that the secret ingredients are now commonly available for all of your over-the-counter malware needs, if you know who to call. (more…)
This Is Only A Test
Imagine a scenario in which one of your employees — Madge in accounting, or Skip in sales, for instance — selects an incorrect option from a drop-down menu and opens your network and data to the world. Working with that set of menu options is part of his daily routine, but for some reason the mouse clicks on the “organizational armageddon” option instead of the “test network security” option. (more…)
Got Your Head In The Clouds?
A recent cloud security report, as you might expect, had some good news and some bad. Somewhere in the middle is the news that’s just that: news. The cases you hear the most about, like the ransomware attacks, make up only about 2% of the overall picture, while web applications represent about 75% of the vulnerability. As for cloud storage and cloud services, the report found that public clouds are more than 50% safer than private or onsite storage. A recent article by Security Intelligence summed it up nicely, and we commend that to your reading list. That’s good to know, especially if you are scaling up or outgrowing your current storage arrangement. But it’s not a perfect system. (more…)
The Most Interesting IT Guy In The World
You’ve seen him at conferences, sporting an ascot and a pocket protector and making it look good. He works the vendor pit like he owns the place, collecting cards and envy from everyone he meets, and connecting demand with supply in subtle but glamorous ways. He walks into a seminar like he was walking onto a yacht, his credentials strung unassumingly around his neck like a lift ticket from Davos. The panel surrenders a seat at the table and he holds forth on contemporaneous cyber issues. He is undoubtedly the most interesting IT guy in the world. (more…)