Entries by Alan Zeichick

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Tell your customers about your data breaches!

Did they tell their customers that data was stolen? No, not right away. When AA — a large automobile club and insurer in the United Kingdom — was hacked in April, the company was completely mum for months, in part because it didn’t believe the stolen data was sensitive. AA’s customers only learned about it […]

The Acting Director of the FBI is not a scammer

This is an amusing spam scam, if only because it’s so poorly written. Mr. Andrew McCabe, the Acting Director of the FBI, is certainly not behind this scam. Also, the FBI doesn’t send emails using Cyber Internet Services Private Ltd. in Pakistan, or refer people to Nigerian banks, or pay people via ATM card. If […]

Get the time-wasting monkey off your back

Here are a few excerpts from one of the most important articles on leadership ever published. “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?,” from Harvard Business Review in 1974, equally applies to the business and non-profit worlds. The premise of the article, by William Oncken Jr. and Donald L. Wass, is that leaders too often take […]


Flat tire adventures with a Prius: Jacks and donuts spares

“The wheels on the Prius go flop flop flop….” Sunday’s travels in our trusty 2005 Toyota Prius were marred only by a flat tire. I wish to share two hard-earned bits of wisdom with other Prius owners, and potentially with owners of other front-wheel drive vehicles. 1. Don’t trust the included tire-changing jack. The crappy […]


Watch out for threatening emails from Anonymous or Lizard Squad

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning about potential attacks from a hacking group called Lizard Squad. This information, released today, was labeled “TLP:Green” by the FBI and CERT, which means that it shouldn’t be publicly shared – but I am sharing it because this information was published on a publicly accessible blog run by […]

With Petya, Malware Means Cyberwar

Petya may indicate the start of real cyberwar. This week’s newest ransomware attack is technically similar to the WannaCry (aka WannaCrypt) cyberattack. However, the intent, and the results, are quite different – one wants to make money, the other to destroy data. Both Petya and WannaCry are the results of an exploitable flaw in many […]

Sorry, spammers, but James Comey is no longer FBI Director

This is a generally unremarkable spam message except for the obvious. James Comey was fired as the Director of the FBI on May 9. That makes it unlikely that Mr. Comey can deliver the promised $1.2 million. Bummer. The missing spaces are just the way they were in the message. I do like the comment […]

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Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Real Reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality are the darlings of the tech industry. Seemingly every company is interested, even though one of the most interested AR products, Google Glass, crashed and burned a few years ago. What’s the difference? Virtual reality (VR) is when you are totally immersed in a virtual world. You only see (and […]

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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 I saw just a few minutes ago. Have you not heard of HTML5, oh, CNN programmers? Perhaps […]


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 started the story with, I asked these veteran editors what they think about interfacing with business […]


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 Disaster In Your Future? Is a tape-related data disaster in your future? It may be if you […]

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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 and compete safely and  securely. While the CISO is often seen as the person who loves to say “No,” in reality, the CISO wants […]


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. Consider the rapid rise in ransomware, for example. Second, it is extremely labor-intensive for businesses to document how “safe” they […]


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 may be hot. The forecast is for 117° F next week (47° C) but never […]


Hacking can kill — and cyberattacks can lead to warfare

Hacking can kill. To take the most obvious example, take ransomware. One might argue that hackers demanding about US$300 (£230) to unlock some files is simply petty crime – unless those files were crucial to hospitals. If doctors can’t access medical files because of the WannaCry ransomware, or must postpone surgery, people can die. It […]


It’s suddenly harder to do tech business in China

Doing business in China has always been a rollercoaster. For Internet businesses, the ride just became more scary. The Chinese government has rolled out new cybersecurity laws, which begin affecting foreign companies today, June 1, 2017. The new rules give the Chinese government more control over Internet companies. The government says that the rules are […]

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 a telltale sign of either a bad copy/paste or a machine-generated form letter. Delete messages […]

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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 spin. Data is lost. Applications crash. Users are frustrated. Devices are thrown. Screens are smashed. It doesn’t have to be […]


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 type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms. Those media players include VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time […]


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’ Conversations and Analyzed How Differently They Talk About Female Entrepreneurs”: Aside from a few exceptions, the financiers rhetorically produce […]