Work Force Tech

Organizations often want to brag that their employers are their best asset, and thus they say in the interview things like they are going to keep you happy above all and all around that you come first. As the improving economy tries to give workers more job options, employers are turning to a growing crop of tech tools that are trying to aim to improve employee engagement through more frequent recognition for good work, strong peer relationships and regular mood checks to pinpoint when people are a flight risk. But to desperate yourselves as the top dog in this regard you need to look deeper into the rabbit hole if you are purely going to separate yourselves in the time it takes you to make an actual difference. 

There are something like 100 people who tried to participate in a survey that looked into vice president all the way to line workers managers and even directors. It not only tried to break down barriers by melding workers personal and professional lives, but ” it was a very cool way to get our employees to not just look at products as products but really get to know our brand.”

“about a third of Ferarra Candy 1,400 U.S. employees registered on the app and of that about 70 percent of those registered are actively posting on a regular basis, said Hepdogan. “Engaged employees are scientifically proven to be more proactive, more business dedicated,” Hopdogan said. “If we can given them that option we know that it will come back with a return on investment.”

Gallup said which has been tracking the question for many years in a survey coming from June it said that more than half of U.S. employees said they were not engaged, suggesting they lack motivation and do teh bared bones minimum and another 17 percent described themselves as “actively disengaged,” which ultimately suggests that the are unhappy, but then again who can say that they are actually happy with their job, maybe its a by product or an inevitability of working is that you are not going to like what you are doing and that is really the long and short of it. Is it possibly the case that these numbers could also be seen across the board and anyone in any sector would echo similar sentiments.? perhaps.

“when employees don’t get the information they want and need they start to make up their own which isn’t always correct and that can be damaging, If the CEO uploads photos when he is at a baseball game or his kid is graduating from high school, the gap between bosses and employees starts to shrink,” 

all and all we can say that on average about 70 percent of a company’s employees join the app and 45 percent actually post content, so what does this actually mean, well I’m really not sure but it doesn’t look good that’s for sure. At any rate to this fate we all must come, and the tech industry both makes and breaks the things it sees with little to no foresight on tomorrow, today.

DNC Attack Prompts FBI Probe

This Monday, The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it has officially opened an investigation into allegations that the Wikileaks publishing of over 19,000 Democratic National Committee emails over the weekend may have been linked to state-sponsored efforts made by Russian intelligence.

According to Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mool, the leak of DNC emails, which revealed concerted efforts made by DNC staffers to undermine the Bernie Sanders Campaign, may have been an effort by Russian hackers to tilt the United States election in favor of Donald Trump.

The leak has resulted in a promise to resign from DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who will hold her post only until the Democratic National Convention was over.

“The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and is working to determine the nature and scope of the matter,” the FBI revealed in a statement provided by spokesperson Jillian Stickels. “A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold those accountable who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

Campaign manager Mook told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the Clinton campaign was informed of the release of the emails to Wikileaks on Friday. Mook went on to claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin prefers Trump to Clinton, which is why he paid for Russian hackers to enter into the DNC server and leak the damaging emails and voice mails.

cozy bear and fancy bearAccording to Mook, cybersecurity experts linked the email hack to a number of Russian groups connected to past attempts to infiltrate several U.S. government agencies and private think tanks.

Perhaps the most damaging email leaked was written by Brad Marchall, the CFO of the Democratic National Committee. In an email dated in May, Marshall suggested that the Democratic party plant a story either in Kentucky or West Virginia that might question whether Sanders was an atheist or whether he embraced his Jewish heritage.

Paul Manafort, manager of the Trump campaign, denied all allegations that Donald Trump is somehow working with Russian intelligence. He accused the charges of being “absurd” during an interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. 

Trump himself tweeted about the allegations, stating the following:

“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.

Russian government officials also repudiated the allegations as groundless:

“As per your request, we see the flood of inadequate and inappropriate allegations that has inundated the U.S. media,” stated Yuri Melnik, press secretary of the Embassy of Russia in the United States. “One can only be surprised by such childish, groundless accusations that are far beyond reality.”

While the Russian gocrowdstrikevernment is probably not working with Trump, there has been evidence that Russian state-sponsored hackers did orchestrate the attack. Multiple cyber security agencies confirmed similarities between the way the DNC was hacked and the way other entities have been hacked by the same Russian hackers.

These hackers, called Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, have been repeated adversaries for the cyber safety company CrowdStrike:

“In fact our team considers them some of the best adversaries out of all the numerous nation-state, criminal and hacktivist/terrorist groups we encounter on a daily basis,” said CrowdStrike STO Dmitri Alperovitch. “Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive use of ‘living off the land’ techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter.”

Tech for the Grounded

Today we are looking at the world of tech as if it is making our lives so efficient that it is like having more than 24 hours in the day. In fact we cultivate and exhaust this reality as something that is inherently good, and to deviate from this new model of speed and technological cunning would be ill informed. But if we take a step back and look at what is actually being produced when we consider this new trends and the ways we live our lives a very different picture emerges. Consider for example the way time we spend on the cultivation of a singular task. If you are going to do anything, even something we love we have to make sure that we are listening toe the most recent podcast we follow, we have our phone on us that is a kind of constant reminder of the outside world with its chimes and alerts. and we are left to ponder what is next, or what we can look up to make our en devours more efficient than if we just did the damn thing to begin with. The fact of the matter is that we are going much more done by one person at a time with the advent of what I will refer to as omnipresent tech, but what is the result is that we are very wide but also very shallow. Moreover, the times of uninterrupted and reflective moments of self discovery and skill cultivation are nearly totally divorced from reality and we never get to truly have these moments that many believe are the catalyst of change and innovation. Thus we are going to keep going down the path of can rather than ever considering the path of ought. Ought is the most important quality given our immense power and scope today and is something that is seen as a road block or speed bump on the international super highway of innovation. The reason being is that we never get to truly check out, when we live in an existence where out technology is always on, and always on us. We sit and wait operating under the possibility that the next notification can come in at any moment and save us from the task at hand. This being the case we are never really in the moment of pure boredom. Yes boredom the catalyst of change and discovery of what you ought to do next. It is often claimed that idle hands are the tool of the devil, but hey the devil also makes some pretty cool stuff. If we do not fundamental rethink our priorities as a society and more importantly have this result in policy change in the way we have our education system then it seems to be the case that we are going to loose the capacity to focus on anything long enough to really do anything substantial or good. More importantly we do not even know what that question would entail or how to even ask it.

Hackers Make Big Money

According to a recent study conducted by Flashpoint, the average Russian ransomware boss makes up to $90,000 annually, an astounding figure considering its about 13 times what the average income is for law-abiding Russian citizens. Malware hackers spend their days supporting and maintaining their malware, which is the key to their hacking success.

“The software has to be constantly updated so that antivirus systems won’t recognize it as malware,” explained cybercrime intelligence analyst Vitali Kremez. “It’s not a situation where you provide the malware and sit back on a couch waiting for your payments. You have to work on it on a daily basis… The boss controls the source code for the malware.”

cyberpAccording to the Flashpoint study, the entire business model surrounding Russian ransomware is quickly developing.

“A new form of ransomware has been developed that is in effect ‘Ransomware as a Service’ (RaaS),” says the report. This “enables ‘affiliates’ to obtain a piece of ransomware from a crime boss and distribute it to victims as these affiliates wish.”

That’s not always how the hacking business used to work. In the past, ransomware was less available and only criminals willing to make a significant investment upfront would be able to use malware. These payments could range from $2,000 to $5,000.

“We started to see developers considering giving their malware free of charge to criminals and keeping 40 to 50 percent of each ransomware payment made,” said Kremez. That means criminals with less and less money to begin with could enter into the business, enabling them to hack into the private files of individuals and corporations through botnet installs, email and social media phishing campaigns.

“It used to be a one-on-one business,” Kremez explained. “At this state, it’s all automated. We see marketplaces. We see services on the dark web where you deposit your money and buy what you have to buy without any direct communication with the seller.

Ransomware has become increasingly popular, and companies like Inflobox have measured that popularity increase by creating a threat index. Upon launching its new index, it quantified the existing threat to 76 in 2013. In 2016’s first quarter, that index reached its highest peak ever recorded: 137.

“While exploit kits remain a major threat, this latest jump was driven in large part by a 35x increase in creation of domains for ransomware over the previous quarter, which in turn drove an increase of 29russian hacker10 percent in the overall malware category,” stated the report.

Sean Tierney, director of cyber intelligence at Infoblox, had this to add:

“A number of exploit kits and threat actor gangs behind them have started adding ransomare to their repertoire over the last few months.”

“These are gangs that were using their kits to deliver other kinds of malware,” he continued. He said the gangs “have either started including or switched entirely to ransomware.”

Tierney says that while every user private or corporate should take steps to protect themselves from these cyberattacks, to some extent we can expect to see a reduction of the threat due to simple economics: “Then the market will become saturated, and the return won’t be able to support the amount of activity going on.”

Microsoft Promises to Crack Down on Terrorism

Last week, Microsoft announced that it planned to aid in the effort to fight terrorism. Their actions may be in response to the Obama administration’s request that Silicon Valley companies pitch in when it comes to abating terrorist activities and recruitment, much of which occurs online.

Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), carry weapons during a parade in the streets in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern Baghdad June 15, 2014. The insurgent offensive that has threatened to dismember Iraq spread to the northwest of the country on Sunday, when Sunni militants launched a dawn raid on a town close to the Syrian border, clashing with police and government forces.  REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani  (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT)

Microsoft’s assistance will come in the form of revised terms of use that then prohibit the posting of terrorist content on its various platforms. The existing prohibition on hate speech and advocacy of violence against others will be expanded and terrorist content will be defined as any material posted by or in support of any organizations in the Consolidated United National Security Council Sanctions list. The CUNSC includes groups that the UN Security Council considers terrorist organizations.

More specifically, this newest prohibition refers to material that depicts graphic violence, encourages violent action, endorses a terrorist group or its acts, or encourages people to join such groups. According to Microsoft, the company understood that it was necessary to find new ways to combat terrorism on digital media given the importance of the internet as a communications hub.

The company added that recent events have served as a reminder that the internet could be used for the worst reasons imaginable, as well as with the best intentions.

When Microsoft locates content that is in violation of its revised terms and conditions, it will continue to use its notice and takedown process as a means of removing it. In response to free speech advocates that may worry that this could be used as a means for censorship as opposed to for public good, Microsoft stated that it would remove links to terrorist-related content from Bing search results when the takedown would be required of search providers under local law. The company added that their system already operates under this process in France.

According to senior behavioral scientist at Rand Corp Todd Helmus, these antiterror efforts by Microsoft will likely be effective not only due to the new limits on access to terror networks:

twitter“What’s noteworthy about Microsoft and what you’re seeing from the other social media giants is that not only are there efforts to remove content or limit access to content, but also… opportunities for counter content… That’s also a very important aspect of this as well.”

According to Microsoft, the company receives government requests for customer data increasingly frequently. In 2015, Microsoft received over 39,000 requests that involved over 64,000 users globally.

Microsoft isn’t the only tech mogul to use its services to combat terrorist groups. Twitter, Facebook, and other major companies have also pledged to crack down on the use of their sites for terrorist activity.

Some find that while the intentions behind these efforts are noble, the actions themselves threaten the right to free speech.

“Creating a free-floating ban on certain types of speech, no matter how controversial, only serves to hide controversial ideas in the shadows- it makes no one safer,” argued ACLU attorney Lee Rowland. “Public dialogue about racism, terrorism and other evils is the most critical step in ultimately defeating it.”

What’s New With the Hyperloop

Buckle up ladies and gentlemen, we’ve entered the age of the Hyperloop, we sort of. The hyperloop. The first test took place this week in the deserts of Nevada and if you blinked you would have probably missed it. The 1500 LBS of aluminum whizzed by at a 120 MPH in 1.5 seconds and reached a speed of 300 MPH before it hit the sand berm there to protect it.

This was a major break through for the company, but they are maybe overstating how successful of a test it was in an attempt to reach more investors. In all honesty, it wasn’t really a hyperloop test in so far as it did not have the protective tube that has its reduced pressure to really show the public what they want to do. However, all things aside, they did get that hunk of medal moving pretty quick, in a fast time frame, and for that the dream of the billionaire whiz Elon Musk may be closer than we think, Who knows, this may be the standard for Mars when he colonizes it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Proponents of this wild idea say that such a system is going to fundamentally change transpiration and making neighbors of distant cities, renders carbon spewing trucks all but obsolete and obviating the misery of air travel while side stepping the political battles and massive cost associated with high speed rail. l

We often say that this is going to faster than most travel today, that is a fact. is it going to be greener and safer, possibly. But the biggest question that people are most concerned with is that it will be cheaper, and that question remains largely up in the air. The challenges are many and wide in their range of affect. The reason being is that of coarse, before Hyperloop One, or anyone else, can consider any of this, someone will have to figure out how the heck they are going to make this technology actually work in a cost effective manner. For all the wow factor the Hyperloop has, BamBrogan is a very good salesman.Whether or not this translates into inspiring market advancements moving forward remains to be seen.

When considering the safety issues Musk said that “the system is immune to wind, ice, fog and rain, the propulsion system is integrated into the tube and can only accelerate the capsule to speeds that are safe in each section. With human control errors and unpredictable weather removed from the system, very few safety concerns remain.”

wreofsfgaaccording to Buisnessweek, ” Musk figures the Hyperloop could be build for $6 billion dollars with people only pods, or 10 billion for the larger pods capable of holding people and cars. All together his alternative would be for times as fast as California’s proposed train, at one tenth the cost. Tickets, Musk says, would be much cheaper than a plane ride.” What that cost will actually be remains to be seen, but you figure that it will in terms of operation costs, but the thing that is unknown is whether or nor it can meet the demand.


Agriculture Leading Way For Tech Integration

With the world facing rising tensions with global warming and international food shortages, we look far and wide into the future for how to find the solutions to this. However, some are looking behind us, and even to the side and saying we can do this better. What I am referring to here is the notion that the thing we associate with being the most simple and low tech en-devours there is, primarily the production of food on a small scale or in organic farms is actually benefiting immensely from the aid of technologies and the adherence to integrated dynamic business solutions that are empowering them to break the cycle of large scale industrial farms that have been the sole jhkjhkjhbenefactors of tech to this point. Today that is all about to change and we are seeing a brighter, greener future. But many think this is closer than many think, like other advances in the industry. 

How are they benefiting from integrating tech into their daily operations ? in more ways than one that’s for sure. To understand how this process is taking place, you need to look at every aspect of how they normally go about their business from the initial soil sampling, to water distribution and seed lay out, all the way to distribution and transportation. It all starts with the idea of making things in greenhouses which has a larger up front cost but as we see the ability to have a much higher degree of quality control and the ability to fight against pests like no others justifies the investment. From here they have the ability to equip the green houses with many sensors and monitors that allow them to take much of the tedium and labor intensive aspects of the job and allocate it to their smartphone or computer. Next when it comes to watering this is one of the most wasteful things we do as a society in regards to our allocation of resources. Considering the fact that the way we irrigate has remained the same sgsince the times of ancient Mesopotamian or Egypt. That is to say that we still do flood based soil irrigation that is highly ineffective, hard to control, and abundantly wasteful. The tech solution is drip line irrigation and it allows the farmer the ability to directly distribute water to the necessary regions as they are needed. That is to say it is being administered directly to the roots, and with the coupling of the greenhouse limiting evaporation we see that this is using about 5-10% of traditional water usage. Not only that but the farmer has the ability to install sensors that are smart and on a network that administer water to the plants per their needs, so that there is not a drop wasted in the cultivation of plants. before this drones are able to administer the seeds to the places needed, although this is still a bit of a fringe technique it will probably be the norm someday. When it is time to take them to market, or should I say web the farmer has more freedom than ever before. Thus the means of production are being seized.

Tech Products, Just Around The Corner

In 1956 MIT presented in a kind of symposium a notion of the “house of the future” which at the time researches toyed with the idea of potentially having plastic homes, or other other wacky ideas like that where you could hose down your home, or have your cigarettes sucked out of your house like a bank statement suction hose. All of these ideas look silly in hind sight, but I can only imagine that where we think we’ll be in a few years will be just as, if not more ludicrous sounding to our future selves. At the very least what this symposium did was it put a target on the back of the future and said fire when ready to whoever was willing to dream big enough. It bridge the home as being something more than a structural thing but thought of it much like a machine and gave way for what we now are referring to as the internet of things. Everyday computers exponentiation their potential and computing powerrufdsadf

Here is a look at some of the innovations we can expect to have in our homes in the not so distant future that our children will grow up with.

Lighting Control:

Imagine coming home and hitting one button all the lights of your house go on to the setting you prefer. That would be awesome, but what if you remove the button from the equation and the lighting everywhere. Instead you enable a lower energy intensive sensor to go on, and just like that as you move through your house the energy usage follows you. No longer will you have to get up switch the light. More importantly we can imagine that if we expand this thinking to having the lights be programmable we can adjust the dimness settings for various hours of the day and get it exactly how we want it given our houses feel.

Power Tracking:

Going with this same line of thinking we realize that we need the means to track our power and resource usage more efficiently. We will have the means to do so no problem. Consider the ease at which we have the means to expand data and make connections via our smart phones and other devices, when we can couple this data we are already gathering at an astronomical rate, and then compare it against our energy usage we will be able to have a more predictive sense of what to expect and how to more effectually use what we need.

Home Robotic Assistance:

asdfasdfWith this think less Jetson’s, and more Iron man. The idea being that it will not be a jack of all trades robot that serves as a cyber butler, rather the appliances that we already have will be voice commanded and automatize considering on the task specific choir they are designed for. For instance you walk down stairs in the morning and just blurt out, “cafe late, 2 sugars” and bam, its there. Later your autonomous car will drive you to work while your autonomous vacuum tidy’s up the floor of your apartment.

Landmark U.S. Bill Considers the Future of Encryption

In a bipartisan effort put forth by United States Reps, Ted Lieu a democrat from the state of California, and Blake Farenthold a Republican from the state of Texas introduced legislation that aims to prevent and ensure that states are wholly blocked from banning the sale of smartphones with even the potential to operate under a smartphone capable platform.

The “ENCRYPT Act of 2016” as the bill is refereed to enables a state or any political subdivision of a state cannot in any way mandate or even request that smartphone manufacturer and or developers, sell and or providers converted products either design a “backdoor” past the encryption or modify existing security specifications to allow the government the surveillance of any and everyone they want. CyberSecusdfgrrrity

The Bill excludes the usage services or hardware from to decrypt or otherwise enable understandable data to remain otherwise unintelligible.  Essentially the bill seeks to halt attempts by the FBI and NSA or local law enforcement agencies in the U.S> to force high-tect companies to include security and encryption backdoor to allow information to devices.United_States_Capitol_Building

The thinking behind the bill can be understood as follows, by the mouth of Leau himself who states that, “I was concerned when I saw the New York State legislator’s bill that would mandate encryption backdoors, and got more concerned when the California state legislature introduced a similar bill…California is a Democratic state, and if a Democratic legislator introduces the bill, I figure it will pass.”

Lieu goes on to say that, “You can’t design a smartphone that would work in different states differently in terms of encryption, because people travel in different states all the time.”

As we can see this bill will have lasting implications moving forward. given the political climate of the Apple v. U.S. government in relation to the San Bernadino shooters, the implications will be wide spread and debated. Whether or not this bill passes we can safely assume that some case that relates to this topic will and should make its way before the superior court of the land and be hard by the supreme court. Today we live in a world where the line between public and private, accessible and inaccessable are more blurred then ever, and the rights and liberties of the citizenry needs to be protected in light of this reality. The fact that the bill is being put forth by a California Democrat and a Texas Republican, traditionally polar opposites of our politiical area should give us pause when we consider that the implications go far beyond partisan lines. The very fabric of liberty is being considered and what emerges from this era will define how posterity works and operates in relation to itself, others, the state, industry, advertisement, and basically every facet of our political and social arena.  It is easy to flee towards the path that curtails our liberty in light of fear or terror, but we should ask ourselves, if we are so willing to give up those rights we hold so dear, what are we really defending or fighting for when we say “we are a free nation?”

France Reigns in Facebook

It’s been a rough week for Facebook, who’s efforts towards constant growth and expanding its role in more and more people’s lives can at times rub governments the wrong way.

On Monday, for example, India’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority ruled that Facebook’s Free Basics app was to be banned throughout the country.

franceAllegedly altruistic, Free Basics is Facebook’s initiative to bring a limited, but free internet access to the approximately one third of the global population that has been left out of the last 20 years’ information revolution. Zuckerberg and his associates likely saw a lot of potential for their initiative in India, where only about 19% of the population has access to the internet.

However, Free Basics doesn’t offer the entire internet; instead it offers a limited version in which only some websites (including Facebook, obviously) are accessible to users. It was with that the TRA took issue, believing that Free Basics’ methodology for bringing the internet to the poor offered too much of a social risk in that it didn’t offer the entire internet, allowing for the possibility of censorship and manipulation by internet providers. Accordingly, it banned the app from the entirety of the country.

Now France has a bone to pick with the social media mogul as well. Its federal data protection authority CNIL recently have Facebook three months notice to comply with the French Data Protection Act after on-site and online inspections along with a documentary audit revealed that Facebook had failed to meet the FDPA requirements. The requirements include the following:

france2Facebook must stop compiling the data of French account holders for advertising purposes without a legal basis, stop processing data that’s irrelevant, excessive or inadequate with respect to the purposes pursued, and stop asking account holders to prove their identity by providing medical records. It also must obtain the explicit consent of account holders, based on specific information, for the collection and processing of their sensitive data- including religious and political views and sexual orientation. Facebook must inform account holders on the sign-up form and profile pages about the processing of their personal data, why data is transferred outside the EU and to whom, and the level of protection offered by third countries, and it must fairly collect and process data of non-account holders with regard to data collected using the “datr cookie” and the “like” button. Finally, Facebook must inform internet users and obtain their prior consent for placing cookies on their terminal.

“The Europeans take a tough stance, and it makes sense,” observed Laura DiDio, Strategy Analytics research director. She goes on to explain that our era is one in which who owns what data in a very interconnected virtual space must be ironed out.

“[Facebook is] using illegal means of collecting data and data transfer mechanism which was invalidated by the European Court of Justice last fall,” she notes. “I think it’s pretty nervy that they collect the browsing activity of anybody who surfs the Web, even if they don’t have a Facebook account- and I laugh at their response, which is always ‘We are willing to work with the European authorities.'”