It Takes Two (To Thwart Data Breaches)

Some interesting insight from Gemalto's 2017 Data Breaches and Customer Loyalty Report:

  • Of the 10,000 consumers interviewed, only 27% feel businesses take customer data security seriously
  • 70% would take their business elsewhere following a breach
  • 41% fail to take advantage of available security measures available such as multi-factor authentication
  • 56% use the same password for multiple online accounts

While consumers are rightfully skeptical of the security hygiene of businesses they interact with, there is certainly a role for consumers to play here. I have seen some clever internal marketing efforts aimed at protecting internal/staff identities but not as many that go out to consumers. Perhaps, businesses would do well to step up their outreach and educate users.

 

Krebs on IoT Vulnerabilities

Brian Krebs has some interesting insight into this past weekend's DDoS attack on Dyn, an internet infrastructure company that provides services for some of the web's biggest destinations including Twitter, Amazon, Reddit and Netflix.

At first, it was unclear who or what was behind the attack on Dyn. But over the past few hours, at least one computer security firm has come out saying the attack involved Mirai, the same malware strain that was used in the record 620 Gpbs attack on my site last month. At the end September 2016, the hacker responsible for creating the Mirai malware released the source code for it, effectively letting anyone build their own attack army using Mirai.

Mirai scours the Web for IoT devices protected by little more than factory-default usernames and passwords, and then enlists the devices in attacks that hurl junk traffic at an online target until it can no longer accommodate legitimate visitors or users.

...

The wholesalers and retailers of these devices might then be encouraged to shift their focus toward buying and promoting connected devices which have this industry security association seal of approval. Consumers also would need to be educated to look for that seal of approval. Something like Underwriters Laboratories (UL), but for the Internet, perhaps.

Until then, these insecure IoT devices are going to stick around like a bad rash — unless and until there is a major, global effort to recall and remove vulnerable systems from the Internet. In my humble opinion, this global cleanup effort should be funded mainly by the companies that are dumping these cheap, poorly-secured hardware devices onto the market in an apparent bid to own the market. Well, they should be made to own the cleanup efforts as well.

The upside here is that IoT manufacturers and vendors will now have to wisen up to the fact that they have more to gain from secure devices and a lot to lose from a repeat of this weekend's events.

On Aesthetic Diversity (or lack thereof)

While sifting through Airbnb for our upcoming honeymoon, we noticed that apartments in Tokyo and Kyoto looked noticeably similar to the ones we've stayed at in Australia and even, Hawaii. You're also likely to notice that with local cafes and restaurants - exposed walls, raw wood tables and brushed ceramic cups. The Verge has a surprisingly insightful piece on the phenomenon.

"As an affluent, self-selecting group of people move through spaces linked by technology, particular sensibilities spread, and these small pockets of geography grow to resemble one another, as Schwarzmann discovered: the coffee roaster Four Barrel in San Francisco looks like the Australian Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn looks like The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen looks like Bear Pond Espresso in Tokyo. You can get a dry cortado with perfect latte art at any of them, then Instagram it on a marble countertop and further spread the aesthetic to your followers."

(...)

"The connective emotional grid of social media platforms is what drives the impression of AirSpace. If taste is globalized, then the logical endpoint is a world in which aesthetic diversity decreases. It resembles a kind of gentrification: one that happens concurrently across global urban centers. Just as a gentrifying neighborhood starts to look less diverse as buildings are renovated and storefronts replaced, so economically similar urban areas around the world might increasingly resemble each other and become interchangeable."

On Deep Work

“An even more extreme example of a onetime grand gesture yielding results is a story involving Peter Shankman, an entrepreneur and social media pioneer. As a popular speaker, Shankman spends much of his time flying. He eventually realized that thirty thousand feet was an ideal environment for him to focus. As he explained in a blog post, “Locked in a seat with nothing in front of me, nothing to distract me, nothing to set off my ‘Ooh! Shiny!’ DNA, I have nothing to do but be at one with my thoughts.” It was sometime after this realization that Shankman signed a book contract that gave him only two weeks to finish the entire manuscript. Meeting this deadline would require incredible concentration. To achieve this state, Shankman did something unconventional. He booked a round-trip business-class ticket to Tokyo. He wrote during the whole flight to Japan, drank an espresso in the business class lounge once he arrived in Japan, then turned around and flew back, once again writing the whole way—arriving back in the States only thirty hours after he first left with a completed manuscript now in hand. “The trip cost $4,000 and was worth every penny,” he explained.” 

- Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World