Z Trek: The Alan Zeichick Weblog

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Just say No to Flash, CNN

CNN didn’t get the memo. After all the progress that’s been made to eliminate the requirement for using Adobe's Flash player by so many streaming-media websites, CNNgo still requires the problematic plug-in, as you can see by the screen…
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Varjo offers a new type of high-def VR/AR display tuned to the user’s eye motions

The folks at Varjo think they’re made a breakthrough in how goggles for virtual reality and augmented reality work. They are onto something. Most VR/AR goggles have two displays, one for each eye, and they strive to drive those displays…
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The good and bad of press relations – a view from four editors

What do PR people do right? What do they do wrong? Khali Henderson, a senior partner in BuzzTheory Strategies, recently interviewed me (and a few other technology editors) about “Things Editors Hate (and Like) About Your Press Relations.” She…
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Lordy, I hope there are tapes

I received this awesome tech spam message today from LaserVault. (It's spam because it went to my company’s info@ address). There’s only one thought: “Lordy, I hope there are backup tapes.” Free White Paper: Is A Tape-Related Data…
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Running old software? It's dangerous. Update or replace!

The WannaCry (WannaCrypt) malware attack spread through unpatched old software. Old software is the bane of the tech industry. Software vendors hate old software for many reasons. One, of course, is that the old software has vulnerabilities…
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Business advice for chief information security officers (CISOs)

An organization’s Chief Information Security Officer’s job isn’t ones and zeros. It’s not about unmasking cybercriminals. It’s about reducing risk for the organization, for enabling executives and line-of-business managers to innovate…
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Streamlining the cybersecurity insurance application process

Have you ever suffered through the application process for cybersecurity insurance? You know that “suffered” is the right word because of a triple whammy. First, the general risk factors involved in cybersecurity are constantly changing.…
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Dragonfly, butterfly, bee

Everyone loves bugs — at least, everyone loves beautiful bugs. Right? Here are a few photographed in Phoenix over the past couple of days. The desert here is full of life, from insects to birds to reptiles to plants. Sure, the temperatures…
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A phone that takes pictures? Smartphone cameras turn 20 years old

Twenty years ago, my friend Philippe Kahn introduced the first camera-phone. You may know Philippe as the founder of Borland, and as an entrepreneur who has started many companies, and who has accomplished many things. He’s also a sailor,…
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Hacking can kill — and cyberattacks can lead to warfare

Two Indian Air Force pilots are dead, possibly because of a cyberattack on their Sukhoi 30 fighter jet. According to the Economic Times of India, Squadron leader D Pankaj and Flight Lieutenant S Achudev, the pilots of the Su-30 aircraft, had…
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It's suddenly harder to do tech business in China

Doing business in China is always a rollercoaster. For Internet businesses, the ride just became more thrilling. The Chinese government has rolled out new cybersecurity laws, which begin affecting foreign companies today, June 1, 2017. The…

Stop contacting the other lying spammers!

A little reverse psychology, eh? Don’t worry, trying to get this faux fortune will only cost you $450 from the spammers… or maybe more. Interesting that the name of the contact, Mr.James Richard, has the same spacing throughout, which is…
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How to design software that gracefully handles poor Internet connectivity

"Someone is waiting just for you / Spinnin’ wheel, spinnin’ true." Those lyrics to a 1969 song by Blood, Sweat & Tears could also describe 2017 enterprise apps that time-out or fail because of dropped or poor connectivity. Wheels…
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Malware in movie subtitles are coming to a mobile near you

Movie subtitles — those are the latest attack vector for malware. According to Check Point Software, by crafting malicious subtitle files, which are then downloaded by a victim’s media player, attackers can take complete control over any…
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My article on digital watermarks cited in a U.S. government paper

March 2003: The U.S. International Trade Commission released a 32-page paper called, “Protecting U.S. Intellectual Property Rights and the Challenge of Digital Piracy.” The authors, Christopher Johnson and Daniel J. Walworth, cited an article…
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Female entrepreneurs are treated differently than male entrepreneurs

According to a depressing story in Harvard Business Review, venture capitalists consider female entrepreneurs to be quite different than males. The perceived difference is not good. According to the May 17, 2017, story, “We Recorded VCs’…
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Proposed laptop travel ban is not good news

From eWeek’s story, “Proposed Laptop Travel Ban Would Wreak Havoc on Business Travelers,” by Wayne Rash: A current proposal from the Department of Homeland Security to mandate that large electronic devices be relegated to checked luggage…
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Things you must understand for technical and business due diligence

Technical diligence starts when a startup or company has been approved for outside capital, but needs to be inspected to insure the value of the technology is "good enough" to accept investment. The average startup has something like 1/100 odds…
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The art and science of endpoint security

The endpoint is vulnerable. That’s where many enterprise cyber breaches begin: An employee clicks on a phishing link and installs malware, such a ransomware, or is tricked into providing login credentials. A browser can open a webpage…
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Slow-motion lifecycle of our echinopsis flower

Our beautiful little echinopsis has a second flower. Here you can see it opening wide over a 22-hour period. Sad to think that it's nearly finished. Thursday or Friday the closed-up blossom will drop off the cactus. Tuesday, 5:20pm Tuesday,…
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What the WannaCry ransomworm means for you

Many IT professionals were caught by surprise by last week's huge cyberattack. Why? They didn't expect ransomware to spread across their networks on its own. The reports came swiftly on Friday morning, May 12. The first I saw were that dozens…
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Almost on my way to London for NetEvents to talk about endpoint security

If you’re in London in a couple weeks, look for me. I’ll be at the NetEvents European Media Spotlight on Innovators in Cloud, IoT, AI and Security, on June 5. At NetEvents, I’ll be doing lots of things: Acting as the Master…
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Ransomworm golpea a más de 150 Países

Los informes llegaron rápidamente el viernes por la mañana, 12 de mayo – la primera vez que leí una alerta, referenciaba a docenas de hospitales en Inglaterra que fueron afectados por ransomware (sin darse cuenta que era ransomworm), negando…
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The ongoing challenge for women in high-tech companies

In the United States, Sunday, May 14, is Mother’s Day. (Mothering Sunday was March 27 this year in the United Kingdom.) This is a good time to reflect on the status of women of all marital status and family situations in information technology.…
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Save yourself, save your corporate assets, by blocking spearphishing

Ping! chimes the email software. There are 15 new messages. One is from your boss, calling you by name, and telling him to give you feedback ASAP on a new budget for your department. There’s an attachment. You click on it. Hmm, the file…
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Open up the network, that's how you enable innovation

I have a new research paper in Elsevier's technical journal, Network Security. Here's the abstract: Lock it down! Button it up tight! That's the default reaction of many computer security professionals to anything and everything that's perceived…