Entries by Alan Zeichick


There’s no one best programming language

Asking “which is the best programming language” is like asking about the most important cooking tool in your kitchen. Mixer? Spatula? Microwave? Cooktop? Measuring cup? Egg timer? Lemon zester? All are critical, depending on what you’re making, and how you like to cook. The same is true with programming languages. Some are best at coding […]

The FBI isn’t sending you to a Nigerian bank for an ATM card

Mr. Christopher A. Wray is confused. Otherwise, why else would he use an email address that says Eric Wilson? Why else would he say he’s head of the FBI, but uses an email domain at a supply-chain management company in Pennsylvania? Why would his return-to be to a gmail.com account? Needless to say, this email […]

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Make software as simple as possible – but not simpler

Albert Einstein famously said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Agile development guru Venkat Subramaniam has a knack for taking that insight and illustrating just how desperately the software development process needs the lessons of Professor Einstein. As the keynote speaker at the Oracle Code event in Los Angeles—the first […]


What Java 10 means for developers

Simplified Java coding. Less garbage. Faster programs. Those are among the key features in the newly released Java 10, which arrived in developers’ hands only six months after the debut of Java 9 in September. This pace is a significant change from Java’s previous cycle of one large release every two to three years. With […]

Yes, this scam sounds strange and unbelievable

Oh, no! The scammer’s letter was returned undelivered! Well, this is a nice scam, isn’t it, including using an address at lawyer.com as the faked sender. (According to my quick detective work, the email originated from a commercial Internet service in Guatemala.) How about the reference to the Helicopter Society? That presumably means AHS International, […]


inching toward cyberwar with Russia

Has Russia hacked the U.S. energy grid? This could be bigger than Stuxnet, the cyberattack that damaged uranium-enriching centrifuges in Iran back in 2010 – and demonstrated, to the public at least, that cyberattacks could do more than erase hard drives and steal peoples’ banking passwords. For the first time, the United States has officially accused […]

No, I am not embarrassed by your spam scam attempt

I had to clean up the formatting on this email to make it somewhat more readable. I hope you enjoy the stilted language and attempts to assure the recipient that this isn’t actually a scam. These messages are always scams. Delete them, don’t ever reply. From: AHMADU SAMBO email hidden; JavaScript is required Subject: HELLO […]

Fake Amex message is barely trying

Could anyone fall for this spam message that claims to be from American Express? Sure, it has pretty graphics, but come on. Look at all those typos. Look at sentences that don’t make any sense. And really, we’re going to open that file? Amex would never ask you to download or click on a file. This […]

You can rent a mid-size jet aircraft for $50,000 savings

This message came to one of my spam trap email addresses. So, this private jet company thinks that hovering addresses from websites is the best way to find customers. Maybe they’re right. In any case, it’s spam. Amusing spam, but spam nonetheless. (Plus, it is always suspect when the “from” email address is not the […]

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Blockchain is a secure system for trustworthy transactions

Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger technology in which blocks of transaction records can be added and viewed—but can’t be deleted or changed without detection. Here’s where the name comes from: a blockchain is an ever-growing sequential chain of transaction records, clumped together into blocks. There’s no central repository of the chain, which is replicated in […]


No lessons learned from cloud security breaches

Far too many companies fail to learn anything from security breaches. According to CyberArk, cyber-security inertia is putting organizations at risk. Nearly half — 46% — of enterprises say their security strategy rarely changes substantially, even after a cyberattack. That data comes from the organization’s new Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report 2018. The researchers surveyed 1,300 IT […]


Surprise! Serverless computing has servers

Don’t be misled by the name: Serverless cloud computing contains servers. Lots of servers. What makes serverless “serverless” is that developers, IT administrators and business leaders don’t have to think about those servers. Ever. In the serverless model, online computing power gets tapped automatically only at the moment it’s needed. This can save organizations money […]

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Smartphones are all about the camera nowadays

New phones are arriving nearly every day. Samsung unveiled its latest Galaxy S9 flagship. Google is selling lots of its Pixel 2 handset. Apple continues to push its iPhone X. The Vivo Apex concept phone, out of China, has a pop-up selfie camera. And Nokia has reintroduced its famous 8110 model – the slide-down keyboard […]


Patch. Sue. Repeat. That’s the plan with Spectre and Meltdown

Spectre and Meltdown are two separate computer security problems. They are often lumped together because they were revealed around the same time – and both exploit vulnerabilities in many modern microprocessors. The website MeltdownAttack, from the Graz University of Technology, explains both Spectre and Meltdown very succinctly – and also links to official security advisories […]

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Most routine IT operations will soon be handled autonomously

Companies can’t afford downtime. Employees need access to their applications and data 24/7, and so do other business applications, manufacturing and logistics management systems, and security monitoring centers. Anyone who thinks that the brute force effort of their hard-working IT administrators is enough to prevent system downtime just isn’t facing reality. Traditional systems administrators and […]

From beyond the grave, Baron von Bismark has fake money for you

He died in 1898, but that doesn’t stop Baron Otto von Bismark from wanting to scam you from beyond the grave. Sure, he’s calling himself Diplomat Otto Bismark, but that can’t fool me: We know he’s the First Chancellor of the German Empire, seeking his revenge. Amusing though this email is, it is a scam. […]


Business partners and vendors might disclose your data

On February 7, 2018, the carrier Swisscom admitted that a security lapse revealed sensitive information about 800,000 customers was exposed. The security failure was at one of Swisscom’s sales partners. This is what can happen when a business gives its partners access to critical data. The security chain is only as good as the weakest link – […]

Are you dead or Alive?

Here’s a scam attempt noteworthy only for its inadvertent humor. Needless to say, any email like this is trying to defraud you. Don’t respond to such messages; simply delete them without asking why an allegedly South African email is coming from a Russian address. Or anything like that. From: “FROM THE DESK OF MR. AKIN […]


Pornography is a huge security risk – especially in the workplace

Savvy businesses have policies that prevent on-site viewing of pornography, in part to avoid creating a hostile work environment — and to avoid sexual harassment lawsuits. For security professionals, porn sites are also a dangerous source of malware. That’s why human-resources policies should be backed up with technological measures. Those include blocking porn sites at […]