Businesses hit hard by malware
G Suite tackles Office
In our May issue we look at Google's new push with G Suite to make this office productivity software something for the Enterprise user, seeking to topple Microsoft Office. New AI tools like voice recognition and virtual assistants have been added to G Suite, and we have details. We also look at Android "Bubbles" – allowing apps to open in small inset windows on a smartphone so users can multitask without closing one app to use the second. Apple and Qualcomm have settled patent issues, which may pave the way for 5G chips in iPhones, experts say. Microsoft has released an updated schedule for Windows product updates and confirmed January 14, 2020 as the day Windows 7 will be officially "retired." And, malware continues to plague the IT industry, as seen by the city of Baltimore being shut down by a ransomware attack, and the "bad guys" are getting more sophisticated in the tools they use. We have more on their exploits in this issue.
Is your information at risk?
In our April issue of SIMformation we look at the revelation that Facebook left user passwords on a network server in an open (not encrypted) file. Any of the 20,000 Facebook employees on their network could have accessed this data and done whatever with it. So, is your information at risk and what steps can you take to guard your personal data? We have tips. In the "just desserts" category, a scammer has been sentenced for bilking Google and Facebook out of more than $100 million by issuing phony invoices. At least there is some justice out their for the "bad guys." We also look at Apple's decision to table their Air Power wireless charger product, and discuss on-line privacy and a poll from Malwarebytes on how people feel about their on-line actions - where do you compare? Finally, we discuss the concerns in the IT industry that Ransomware is being used to cover other hacks and exploits, as the "fix" for ransomware is often "wipe and reload" meaning all old data, logs and files are erased before re-loading backups. Some experts believe that this plays into the hands of those people doing more than just looking for some bitcoin ransoms. We have the full story, plus our usual wrap-up of news you can use.
Is the "Big One" Coming?
Ransomware roared back on the radar this month when Norsk Hydro, a major aluminum producer, was hit company-wide, affecting 25,000 employees and shutting down operations to the point it impacted the global aluminum market. Since the NotPetya and WannaCry attacks, things had been quite in this sphere, and companies became lax in their defensive posture. So, it is unfortunate that such an attack at this must bring ransomware back into focus. We discuss how experts believe that such an attack could have world-wide impact on productivity and cost billions for remediation. Also in March we look at the continuing rise and fall of Windows 10 vs. Windows 7, and Chrome against Firefox and Edge. The underdogs (Edge and Windows 7) staged comebacks last month to regain some market share, and we have details. We also look at how secure messaging services are, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, and how Facebook intends to provide encryption across these different platforms. Finally, we cover the puzzling fact that none of the data from the 2017 Equifax data breach has appeared on the black market, leading security experts to believe that a nation-state obtained this information and are using it for espionage or blackmail, rather than selling it for financial fraud purposes as is usually the case with stolen personal identification. Plus we have other news like the possibility you may be spamming yourself if you whitelist your own e-mail address.
Siri and Alexa find a home in the office
In our February SIMformation, we discuss how Artificial Intelligence and digital assistants are becoming more of a business tool, helping to automate certain tasks and improving collaboration between workgroups. We look at the new version of Android coming out this year and some of the new features it will contain. The Apple Group FaceTime flaw created privacy concerns, so if you use this app and have not updated it, we have the details. Mozilla is increasing anti-ad tracking tools in the latest Firefox browser release, and Windows 10 is a notorious space hog on your hard drive, so we have some tips on how to clean out old and unnecessary files to improve PC performance.