What Valentine’s Day present should buy for your tech love?

What Valentine's Day present should buy for your tech love?

Let’s be honest: it’s grisly hard looking for a Valentine’s Day present for that unique individual, and simply getting a charming card, a few chocolates and blossoms won’t cut it nowadays. Rather, get your better half – or even yourself – a spic and span toy to play with as nothing draws out your tech request like another doohickey or device to ruin your adored one with.

Be that as it may, with innovation developing at a quick rate, it’s as a matter of fact difficult to stay aware of everything tech that your significant other merits. In this way, to spare you from worrying on what to get somebody this current Valentine’s Day, we have scoured the domain to wait list the best 9 tech – thikes kiniton blessing thoughts across various spending plans, and all of them will show your accomplice that they are so uncommon to you.

Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700

There probably won’t be a more mindful tech blessing than a decent pair of commotion dropping earphones. And keeping in mind that Bose’s Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 are not modest, they sound astonishing and essentially cause the outside world to vanish (as we can confirm subsequent to purchasing our own pair). Alongside remote network, the Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 offer improved clamor abrogation with a six-amplifier cluster that can square even the most problematic sounds. Then, two mouthpieces are incorporated for improved voice pickup. The earphones too

have a touch-touchy cushion on the privilege earcup to empower contact directions for volume control, changing the melody or beginning/halting a track.

Also, the Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 offer differing levels of clamor dropping that can be balanced with a catch on the earphones. That implies clients can conclude whether to absolutely – or just incompletely – shut out the sounds around them. What’s more, the earphones offer voice control with Siri, the Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa collaborator, while highlighting a noteworthy 20 hours of battery life.

what-valentines-day-present-should-buy-for-your-tech-love

Sonos One

While savvy speakers have gotten typical, the vast majority of them accompany two downsides: fair stable quality and limitation to a solitary voice associate. The Sonos One has neither of those issues, making it a standout amongst other keen speaker alternatives out there (and a blessing that the geek in your life ought to be excited to get on Valentine’s Day). The Sonos One offers stupendous sound and volume even in its moderately smaller structure factor, on account of its two Class-D advanced enhancers alongside a tweeter a mid-woofer. What’s more, as far as interfacing with a voice-controlled brilliant right hand, the Sonos One has both of the main associates worked in- – Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. (Note: The refreshed Gen 2 model incorporates a similar structure as the first model yet with quicker preparing force.) The Sonos One is additionally accessible in two shading decisions – white or dark – and clients can likewise combine two of the speakers together in a space for stereo sound.

Mighty Purse

This leather wristlet has an additional element that your Valentine ought to welcome: the capacity to charge her cell phone in a hurry. The handbag includes a 4,000mAh battery that can charge both iPhones and Android cell phones. (Android telephones must have the option to interface over USB-C, and the tote accompanies a Lightning connector to charge iPhones.) Meanwhile, the Mighty Purse is produced using 100 percent certifiable cowhide and highlights an interior zipper pocket and Visa compartment.

Elite Pro Wine System

A container of pleasant wine combines well with Valentine’s Day- – however stunningly better is a blessing your nerd Valentine will get long use out of: a progressively charming association with wine. For a certain something, they’ll never again need to mess around with a wine opener, as Coravin’s Model Two Elite Pro Wine System utilizes a slight needle to cut the plug and pour the wine. The procedure additionally includes an inactive gas for safeguarding of the wine and permits the stopper to re-seal- – shielding the rest of the wine from oxidation so it tends to be delighted in whenever later on. Eventually, the Coravin framework implies you and your Valentine can appreciate wine from various containers one after another.

Google Nest Hub Max

Another must-have for the cutting edge tech-empowered kitchen is a brilliant presentation gadget, for example, the Google Nest Hub Max. It absolutely doesn’t need to go in the kitchen- – however having the option to stream video, (for example, a cooking how-to on YouTube or the day’s news) while working in the kitchen is an incredible choice. Also, with voice control through the Google Assistant, you don’t have to get dry your hands to control the gadget. The Google Nest Hub Max includes a 10-inch HD screen alongside stereo speakers and a three-inch woofer, and the gadget can show photographs from your Google Photos library when not being used.

Apple Watch Series 5

On the off chance that your Valentine is a wellness aficionado (or tries to be!), the most recent Apple Watch could be a much-refreshing blessing. The fifth-age Apple Watch is pressed with wellness and wellbeing checking highlights including preparing and following for exercises, for example, running, cycling, swimming, yoga and high-force interim preparing. Propelled abilities for sprinters incorporate rhythm and pace alarms, while different wellness highlights extend from customized training to action sharing. The Apple Watch Series 5 likewise offers a lift to exercises by having the option to play Apple Music even without having an iPhone close by. Furthermore, the most recent Apple Watch presents a consistently in plain view, with the goal that clients never again need to raise their wrist or contact the showcase to enact it.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a can’t-turn out badly present for your gamer Valentine (if they don’t as of now have one—most likely best to twofold check). The Switch reassure can be utilized both at home (docked and associated with a TV) and in a hurry in handheld mode. Aside from the much-cherished “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” other top games accessible for the Switch incorporate “Super Mario Odyssey,” “Pokemon Sword” and “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.” The Switch likewise got an inward update a year ago which improves battery existence with up to two extra long stretches of use.

Amazon Kindle

This may be the year to bump your bibliophile Valentine into going advanced with a tablet (the heaps of books wherever are finding a workable pace bit a lot). Amazon as of late invigorated the standard Kindle with the greatest component expansion being a front light, which lets clients modify the showcase splendor for increasingly open to perusing. That incorporates during evening time peruses inside or outside in the splendid sun. The standard Kindle highlights a 6-inch 167 ppi show for perusing digital books, alongside the capacity to play Audible book recordings—and, outstandingly, the Kindle lets clients effectively switch among perusing and tuning in to a similar book.

iPad Mini

Possibly it’s an ideal opportunity to revive the old iPad Mini that your Valentine has been toting around for quite a long time. Or on the other hand, perhaps they’ve been discussing at last getting their first iPad. In any case, this could be the Valentine’s Day when an iPad Mini- – the most reduced measured form of the iPad- – makes an invite blessing. With the fifth-age update to the iPad Mini, key upgrades incorporate the expansion of help for the Apple Pencil stylus (sold independently for $99) and improved execution. The 7.9-inch show likewise offers the “most elevated pixel thickness of any iPad,” Apple stated, it’s 25 percent more splendid than before. The most recent iPad Mini estimates only a fourth of an inch thick and weighs only 66% of a pound—making it effectively the most compact iPad accessible.

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How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook

How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook


You have heard talk of putting in Linux programs on your Chromebook, now discover out just how it’s accomplished.

Image: Jack Wallen

Google has last but not least built it this kind of that the set up of Linux applications has trickled down to even more Chromebooks. Circumstance in issue–what was at the time deemed the most luxurious Chromebook on the sector, the Pixel 2105. At this place a massive variety of Chromebooks can get pleasure from the included layer of Linux applications.

What does that suggest? It usually means that the slim-focused Chromebook becomes a a lot far more adept and adaptable unit. It signifies you can set up a completely-operating workplace suite, a strong picture editor, admin applications, and so a lot extra. 

The only caveat to installing Linux applications on Chrome OS is that at the time you get beyond enabling the feature, there’s no GUI to help you along the way.

Which is exactly where I appear in.

I am going to wander you by means of the ways of enabling the installation of Linux applications on your Chromebook, and then putting in an application. You can expect to be amazed at how effortless this activity is.

SEE: VPN usage plan (TechRepublic High quality)

What you are going to require

The only matters you’ll need to have to install Linux purposes on your Chromebook are:

  • A supported Chromebook (to find out if your Chromebook is supported, look at out Google’s formal list)

  • A community link

How to enable Linux applications

The initial thing to be performed is the enabling of Linux applications. To do this, open the Chrome OS Options application and glimpse for Linux (Beta) in the still left navigation (Figure A).

Figure A

linuxchromea.jpg

If you do not see the Linux entry in the sidebar, check to see if you can find an update for Chrome OS. If so, use it instantly. Linux help appeared in the most recent batch of equipment with variation 80..3987.58 of Chrome OS.

If you do see Linux (Beta) in the left navigation, simply click it and then, in the resulting window, click Switch On (Determine B).

Figure B

linuxchromeb.jpg

Enabling Linux on Chrome OS.

A new window will surface (Determine C), prompting you to click Put in. Do so and the set up will choose position.

Determine C

linuxchromec.jpg

Launching the set up of Linux on Chrome OS.

When the set up completes (it does get a little bit of time), you will be introduced with a terminal window (Figure D). That terminal window suggests the set up was a good results and you’re now completely ready to put in apps.

Figure D

linuxchromed.jpg

The set up of Linux on Chrome OS is entire.

How to install Linux computer software in Chrome OS

If you’ve carried out substantially perform on Linux, prospects are the relaxation is next mother nature. In get to set up Linux computer software on Chrome OS, you will do so from the command line. The command in problem is straight out of the Debian/Ubuntu community, and appears to be like like:

sudo apt-get set up Application -y

The place Application is the identify of the app you want to set up. 

But ahead of you can do that, you need to have to initial update apt with the command:

sudo apt-get update

As soon as the update completes, you can then install program. Say, for instance, you want to put in the GIMP graphic editor. For that, problem the command:

sudo apt-get set up gimp -y

The GIMP will set up and you can expect to locate it all set to run in your Chrome OS desktop menu (Determine E).

Determine E

linuxchromeh.jpg

All of your Linux apps are observed in this folder.

A single closing note

Any time you want to set up a Linux software on Chrome OS, it is really done by way of the terminal window. You can pin that terminal app to the Chrome OS shelf, or you can often open the terminal from within the Linux applications folder. Just don’t forget, there is no created-in support for Linux application installation in any GUI at the second–so retain that terminal app handy. 

And, need to the situation arise for you to remove a Linux application, the command is:

sudo apt-get remove Application -y

In which Application is the name of the application to be taken off.

That’s all there is to it. Appreciate that new-found productivity on your Chromebook.

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What are your options for Windows 7 PCs you haven’t upgraded?

What are your options for Windows 7 PCs you haven't upgraded?


It may not be the end of Windows 7 on your network, but its days are definitely numbered.

Microsoft Ignite 2019 in review: Azure Arc, HoloLens 2, Edge, Quantum, and Teams
With roughly 26,000 people in attendance at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, the company has announced dozens of new features, products, and updates.

Windows 7 is now officially end-of-life. Its last official update has been published. At least, that’s the case for home users — enterprises and business users have more options. So what can you do with those Windows 7 PCs and licences you still have?

Keep running with ESU

If you have a large fleet of Windows 7 PCs and are unable to migrate to Windows 10, then you have the option of purchasing Extended Security Updates (ESU) for an additional three years, taking critical issue support out to 2023. ESU isn’t an option for home users, as it’s only for Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise editions. You don’t need a volume licensing agreement, although if you do have one as part of Windows Enterprise Software Assurance or Windows Enterprise E3 there will be a discount to the ESU prices.

You can buy Windows 7 ESU directly from Microsoft or from Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners. It’s important to remember that ESU is only available for a year at a time; there’s no automatic renewal, so you must purchase it again in 2021 and 2022. If Microsoft treats Windows 7 ESU in the same way as previous ESUs, then it’s highly likely that prices will rise as we get further away from January 2020.

Put Windows 7 in the cloud

One alternative to running Windows 7 locally is to upgrade the underlying OS and use Remote Desktop to deliver Windows 7 from the Azure-hosted Windows Virtual Desktop service. It’s a useful tool for running migrations, as users can be running Windows 10 locally with new applications and services, while applications that have yet to be migrated to Windows 10 can continue running in cloud-hosted Windows 7 instances.

There’s an added advantage to using Microsoft-hosted remote machines, as all Windows Virtual Desktop instances are automatically enrolled into ESU at no additional cost and you can bring your existing Windows 7 licenses with you. You still have to pay for the Azure resources your virtual machines use, but you can take advantage of reserved instances to reduce costs significantly. And because reserved instances can be returned to Azure if no longer needed, you can still run a planned draw-down of Windows 7 as you complete your Windows 10 migration without spending money on resources that aren’t needed.

If application compatibility is your main issue, then it’s worth looking at Microsoft’s Desktop App Assure service. Designed for companies making migrations to Windows 10, it’s part of the FastTrack service. If you have an eligible Windows subscription, a Microsoft engineer will help diagnose compatibility issues, at no cost to you. That can be a big help, and a big saving, reducing the risks associated with bespoke software and with OS upgrades.

Keeping Windows 7 secure

End of support doesn’t stop your PCs getting antivirus updates. Most third-party security vendors will carry on supporting it, and Microsoft’s own Security Essentials will still deliver signature updates. It’s no panacea, though: the available attack surface will be getting larger every day that Microsoft doesn’t deliver a security update for an operating system vulnerability. Antivirus can only protect you from known threats and known delivery methods.

SEE: What to do if you’re still running Windows 7 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

There are ways to improve security beyond antivirus. With all Windows 7 systems inside your firewall, on a separate untrusted VLAN, and with network services locked down to those needed for your current suite of applications, you can minimise that visible attack surface significantly so long as you keep your network protection up to date. Any laptops running Windows 7 should be withdrawn from service and replaced by supported operating systems or assigned ESU licences.

Using the new Edge on old Windows

One final option is an intriguing one. With the new Microsoft Edge available for Windows 7, and likely to be supported until sometime in 2021, you can start treating your older PCs as the Windows equivalent of Chromebooks, using nothing but a modern, secure browser. Switching users to web apps is easier than it used to be, with Office 365 offering web versions of Office’s familiar desktop apps. Locking down systems to only antivirus and SSL network ports makes them easier to protect, and with the new Edge getting updates every six weeks or so the risk of compromises via the browser should be low.

The new Edge supports Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), which can work offline. Microsoft is working on a PWA version of its Outlook.com service, and there are plenty of third-party web applications like Twitter that are taking a similar approach. If a web app doesn’t offer a PWA you can still run it as a standalone browser application, with websites opening in their own window without the additional browser functions, and accessible from the Windows start menu.

An intriguing option for using Edge for application compatibility is coming with the shift to .NET Core as the basis for .NET applications and the associated move to WinUI 3.0 for user interface components. One component of the new .NET, Blazor, runs .NET code on the Web Assembly runtime in Edge. Using it, and the Uno Platform port of WinUI 3.0, you will be able to take modern .NET apps and run them in the browser, while you finish updating your PCs.

Ending support for Windows 7 doesn’t mean the end of Windows 7 PCs on your network. However, it’s a clear signal that it’s time to move to a newer, supported OS, as keeping Windows 7 secure will become harder and harder, and, even with ESU, more and more expensive. Taking a year of ESU or moving to Windows Virtual Desktop should give you the headroom you need to port apps and test Windows 10 on old and new hardware, while you invest in a migration program.

After all, if you don’t start now, when will you? In 2023 when Microsoft ends the Windows 7 ESU program?

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Get on the first results of Google

Get on the first results of Google

Some topics, markets, and keyword phrases are a lot more affordable than others as well as will certainly require essentially effort and time with this strategy– your mileage will differ. You must put in the work if you desire to rank at the top of the initial web page of Google.

Placing a page or article is about the competitive setting for a specific keyword expression or topic. Your goal is to be far better than the other ranking pages (or the very least incomplete amongst your peers in the eyes of Google).

What It Takes to Get on the first result of Google

The hard truth is that Search Engine Optimization is hard work that requires you to put in the time. And it involves different skill sets. With the assistance of this message and also consistent continuous initiative, you can do well.

There are elements and also elements with SEO that you can not straight regulate, such as the age of your domain name, your rivals’ efforts, modifications in Google’s formula, and also a lot more. What I’m covering below are the methods and processes that you can control which will certainly get you much along the success curve.

Most importantly, hold your horses! SEO initiatives are a marathon, not a sprint.

A Word Concerning Who This Article Is EXCEPT

If you were looking for “tricks” to faster way the procedure, this message is not for you.

Expanding evergreen natural web traffic that Google provides to your site day-after-day, year-after-year, there are no “techniques” or shortcuts besides establishing the most effective top quality content that people want to engage and also read with. You have to place in the effort. Yet I assure you that if you do, you will gain the rewards.

So if you’re serious and committed to developing natural traffic from top of web page Google positions, generating top quality web content continuous constantly is your finest approach– not one page, but numerous web pages.

Why pay attention to what I have to state?

I’ve been doing SEO as well as digital advertising for twenty years in a few of one of the most affordable SEO areas as well as have actually led a digital advertising agency for 10 of those two decades.

The Ultimate Purpose Is To Rank More Than Just Your Page

The OBJECTIVE is to not ONLY rate your page or article at the top of the very first page in Google yet ALSO rank the material possessions you have embedded in the web page or blog post, too– pictures and also video clips (I cover this below).

You intend to squeeze all the worth feasible from your content within Google’s natural results.

I attempt this on my better half constantly as well as I win some killer keywords. Sometimes the remedy on Just how to jump on the very first web page of Google as well as various other online search engine is oh, so straightforward.

Links are incredibly important to your Search Engine Optimization project. Make sure to make use of URLs that make it simple for Google to index your site. That suggests don’t go putting in dashboards, dots and also other icons in your URL where they do not need to be. Google can’t review.

So, you can make it very easy for Google by utilizing the most common expressions as well as fundamental language.

You can browse for fantastic domain names at People’s Host (using our affiliate link)if you do not have a Domain. we utilize People’s Host and locate them exceptional.

Since they commonly dictate just how your pages are revealed in search results, meta descriptions are valuable. For optimum effectiveness, meta descriptions should be 160-225 personalities long.

Your meta descriptions must be concise and also contain your finest key words or basic synonyms that are plainly relevant. It ought to also include a call to activity. Say so if you desire people to click on your page in Google search results!

An example of a short tail key phrase could be, “paper clips”. If your web page is talking about paper clips, you intend to ensure this word shows up on your page– in small amounts. If your short article is 500-750 words, 4 times may be sufficient.

“Paper Clips” might additionally be extremely affordable, therefore, unless your site is really called, “www.paperclip.com” you might want to accumulate your page using long tail key words.

Expanding evergreen natural web traffic that Google provides to your website day-after-day, year-after-year, there are no “methods” or faster ways various other than creating the finest high quality material that individuals want to check out and engage with. Be certain to make use of Links that make it very easy for Google to index your site. Google can not read.

If you desire people to click on your page in Google search results, say so!

If your page is speaking regarding paper clips, you want to make certain this word shows up on your web page– in moderation.

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Communication and coding named the most-learned subjects on LinkedIn in 2019

Communication and coding named the most-learned subjects on LinkedIn in 2019


All age groups took advantage of LinkedIn Learning courses in 2019, but each generation had a different focus.

How to attract the top millennial tech talent
Millennials are more vocal than previous generations in asking for what they want from employers.

Communication was the No. 1 learned topic across all regions of the world in 2019, and coding dominated two generations’ main focus areas, according to data from LinkedIn Learning on Wednesday. Used by 93 million people worldwide this year, LinkedIn Learning offers more than 15,000 subscription-based online courses taught by real-world professionals, the data found. Through the courses, students can either freshen up their current skills, or gain new ones. 

SEE: Why IT pros need soft skills to advance their careers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Professionals of all ages took advantage of LinkedIn Learning’s online courses, but different age groups had different goals, according to the data. 

Top courses for career starters 

Career starters, or employees with two years or less of work experience mainly focused on becoming skilled developers. These young professionals watched 2x more content on programming languages than the average learner, consuming 47% more hours of content and 50% more courses than their colleagues further along in their careers, the data found.  

The findings outlined the following top courses career starters watched in 2019: 

However, the younger generation wasn’t the only age group interested in developer content. 

Top courses for Baby Boomers 

Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, were also interested in developer content. However, they weren’t as avid in their interest, soft skills in communication and leadership rounded out their other focuses, the data found. 

The findings outlined the following top courses Baby Boomers watched in 2019:

Top courses for Millennials 

The top courses for Millennials, individuals born between 1981 and 1994, covered the widest range of topics out of any generation. However, a lot of the course material focused on becoming more data-driven, the data found. 

Millennials watched 1.2x more content on data driven skills like data visualization, statistics, and data modeling than the average learner. Both Millennials and Gen Xers spent 22% more time on advanced learning compared to their Gen Z counterparts, according to the data. 

The findings outlined the following top courses Millennials watched in 2019: 

Top courses for Gen X 

Gen X, people born between 1965 and 1980, took a step away from technical skills and looked toward leadership skills, the data found. 

According to the data, Gen Xers consumed 1.5x more content on executive leadership than the average learner. This generation also did most of their learning on mobile devices, surprisingly, even 39% more than their Gen Z colleagues.

The findings outlined the following top courses Gen X watched in 2019: 

Top courses learned by managers and C-suite pros 

Gen X wasn’t alone in their leadership interests. Managers, in particular, focused on soft skills, with an emphasis on people management 32% more than other colleagues. They also consumed 2.3x more content on executive leadership skills and 1.8x more on talent management, mentorship, and coaching than the average learner, the data showed. 

The findings outlined the following top courses managers watched in 2019: 

As for C-suite professionals, they made up 64% of the population using LinkedIn Learning. The data clarified that these C-suite professionals are most likely entrepreneurs, running a company with 50 employees or less. 

The entrepreneurial C-suite was 3.2x more focused on how to raise capital or how to pitch to investors, compared to the average learner. This group did a lot of their learning after hours too, with 23% more reportedly taking courses on weekends compared to the average learner, the data found. 

The findings outlined the following top courses C-level employees watched in 2019: 

Across age groups and employee levels, learning had a large presence in 2019, indicating the efforts employees take to improve their skills in today’s enterprise. 

For more, check out The 20 fastest-rising and sharpest-declining tech skills of the past 5 years on TechRepublic.

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Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff



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Stay cybersecure when shopping for the holidays

Stay cybersecure when shopping for the holidays


Common sense and a careful backup plan are just a couple of the ways to be prepared for online and traditional dangers during the season.

Marketing to Gen Z: How retailers are reaching consumers this holiday season
TechRepublic’s Bill Detwiler interviews Salesforce’s Rob Garf, VP of Industry Strategy and Insights, at Dreamforce 2019, about how retailers are trying to reach buyers during the 2019 holiday season.

Even if you’ve barely drawn breath since Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals filled your inboxes, you’re not out of the shopping woods just yet. 

The holidays are only days away; although the days never come soon enough for those under 10, the average adult is lamenting how quickly the need for even more shopping looms ominously above. 

SEE: 10 ways to raise your users’ cybersecurity IQ (free PDF)

Pretty on the outside only

No matter how anxious or stressed you’re feeling, the first big bit of advice is a sensible one. Do not be swayed by the great marketing ads that populate your social media pages. The ads may look good, but never click and buy without doing your due diligence.

Beware of clicking on links delivered to your email

“During the holiday season, a phishing attempt may come via an email with a link to a fake website built to steal your personal information,” said Chris Duvall, senior director at The Chertoff Group.

 “Exercise caution in refraining from clicking on such links and downloading files from unknown sources—also beware of emails or websites with typos and grammatical mistakes, which are common characteristics of phishing attempts,” he added.

Look up the name of the company proposing to sell you some coveted item and see what kind of feedback they’ve gotten from review pages.

Read the lowest (one) star first, so that you have an idea of what might be going on. Granted, it may seem, in general, like the first ones to complain and dole out a bad review are written by those for whom criticism is a daily thing. But if you continue to read, you’ll get a sense of mutuality.

For example, if you’re looking to get a shower radio, and the majority of the one—and two-star reviews state that the volume control knob comes off too easily, then that’s probably what’s wrong with it. The same can be said for ads touting great bargains. Be sure to read the fine print. 

Assess website security

Duvall advised: “Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar, or a URL that begins with ‘https’ as opposed to ‘http,’ with the ‘s’  standing for ‘secure.’ Some browsers will even indicate whether it’s safe for you to give out your credit card information by showing you a green address bar, while unprotected ones will be red.”

Be skeptical of suspiciously low prices

“While big sales are a holiday trademark, if a price seems ‘too good to be true,’ then it probably is,” Duvall said. “Compare prices for the same items on other websites. If the price is drastically lower, then it is probably a scam designed to acquire your information.”

Deals can be dicey

The holidays are defined by gift-giving, whether for genuine sentiment or obligation, and you may be eager to jump on the deals. 

Monique Becenti, product and channel specialist with the website security company Sitelock, says proceed with caution.

“With the great deals available, shoppers may be tempted to click on third-party links offering coupons or promotions,” Becenti said. “A shopping holiday means there is vast opportunity for cybercriminals to try to steal shopper information through spoofed sites, malicious coupon code links and phishy marketing campaigns.”

Be on the lookout for fake shopping apps

“Hundreds of fake retail apps designed to steal your credit card information are popping up in Apple’s App Store and Google Play,” Duvall warned. “Make sure to download the legitimate version of retail apps by downloading it directly from a store’s website, or by thoroughly checking user reviews if downloading from an app store.”

Prioritize shopping at trusted sites and do your research

Duvall said: “On the internet, some websites are created by people just wanting to steal your information. To avoid this pitfall, shop at retailers you are familiar with and have used before. If you want to purchase an item from an unfamiliar retailer, do some research first.

“Consider checking out the company’s social media following, customer reviews, its record at the Better Business Bureau, and even contact the business directly. When buying from online marketplaces like eBay, thoroughly review the seller’s reputation, assess the item description carefully, read comments, and even ask the seller direct questions before buying.”

Never use that ‘other’ card

While you may have the best intentions, such as avoiding using your credit card too much, don’t use your debit card, either.

Yes, when you want to return an item to a company like Target or Old Navy or Nordstrom, having a card number, credit or debit, in their “system,” makes it much easier when you don’t have a receipt, as they can look you up through your card.

That’s a convenience for those who lose their receipts easily and pay in cash, but it’s a convenience you could and should do without.

With debit cards, while regulated by the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, it’s easier for fraudsters to hack your account. You also are subject to more liability. If you report an issue with your debit card within two business days, your liability is only $50, but after two days, leaps to $500. Credit card liability is limited to $50.

And, if a bartender or hotelier wants to ensure you have the funds to pay them, your debit coin may be on hold, whereas with credit cards, it is instantaneous. Debit cards are also not beneficial to travelers, you won’t get points or credits, and lastly, they won’t help you rack up rewards. Use your debit card for what it’s best and intended for: the ATM and cash withdrawals. 

Handling a hacking

If you’re unlucky enough to be hacked, Becenti said, there are steps to take. “Affected consumers should start by changing usernames and passwords for any connected accounts. If you can implement two-factor authentication, do so.”

“For website owners keen on avoiding a similar fate, enacting security plugins that will monitor your site for suspicious activity, ensuring your website software is always up to date, and utilizing parameterized queries are all key steps to take to keep your data secure,” she added. “It’s also important for businesses to evaluate the cybersecurity practices of their partners.” 

The key to being cybersafe is to not shop rashly, take time to not only ensure you’re getting the best deal, but to give yourself time to do even the most minimal of searching for the company online, never use your debit card, and on-ground, be sure your card has been returned to you by the cashiers. 

Here are 7 tips

1. Don’t rush and don’t let “time-sensitive” sites bully you into buying things quickly. If you are on a site you don’t know and haven’t ordered successfully from, open another browser window and look the seller up. You can put the name of the seller and “review” and you are very likely going to get helpful feedback.

2. Be on the lookout for spoofed sites, malicious code links and too-good-to-be-true marketing campaigns. 

3. If it’s available to you, opt for two-step verification. Use the cybersecurity available to you.

4. Don’t use a debit card for anything but the ATM.

5. If shopping at a store, make sure you get your card back, and put it back into the same place in your wallet right away. 

6. If you suspect you’ve been hacked or lost your card, call the company as soon as you can. One way to ensure you have all the necessary numbers is to keep your CC information admins in your phone contacts, using a simple pneumonic or device you’ll easily figure out and you’ll have handy.  

7. Some stores are open very late. The discount chain shop Ross is open throughout the holidays until midnight (or even later in some locations). That said, and if you have to actually set foot in a shop, be sure you  go with someone. Don’t park far away from the store entrance (that’s where the security guards will be, too). And be aware of your surroundings. Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings if you get a weird vibe and don’t want to share an elevator. Wait for the next elevator car. 

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Java and JavaScript dominated software development in the 2010s

Java and JavaScript dominated software development in the 2010s


Ruby and PHP had short-term popularity but long-term impact, and Python is on the rise again.

The mindset of software developers is changing, and employers need to take note
Princeton Professor Ed Felten believes software developers today are looking to make a positive change in the world, and employers need to understand their needs.

Over the last 10 years, Python had two spikes of popularity while Java, JavaScript, C#, and SQL dominated software development. TechRepublic looked at the numbers and talked to a dozen professionals to understand which languages had the biggest impact on the industry. 

Developers favored a few other languages briefly during the 2010s, including Ruby, Swift, and PHP. Java and JavaScript, however, had the biggest impact.
 
This review includes three measures of popularity:

  • The Tiobe Index based on search queries 
  • Developer surveys from Stack Overflow
  • Languages used in technical interviews from Karat 

The Tiobe Index tracks the popularity of programming languages from month to month and year to year based on search queries. The Programming Language Hall of Fame lists the language that had the highest rise in rankings each year:

  • 2018 – Python
  • 2017 – C
  • 2016  – Go
  • 2015 – Java
  • 2014  – JavaScript
  • 2013 – Transact-SQL
  • 2012  – Objective-C
  • 2011  – Objective-C
  • 2010  – Python

Briana Brownell, founder and CEO of the analytics company PureStrategy.ai, said that Python has had the biggest impact in the data science community.

“Machine learning is fast becoming a mainstay of technology, and Python is way ahead in terms
of scientific computing and data analysis,” she said.

Jeff Rouse, vice president of product at ActiveState, said that Python strikes the right balance between ease of use and functional capability.
 
“At the start of the modern AI revolution (circa 2010), Python was suddenly the best candidate to bring machine learning out of academia and into mainstream businesses,” he said. “The result has been an explosion in intelligent automation that has transformed key parts of multiple industries, from fraud detection to customer support (via chatbots/digital voice assistants) to spam filters, and supported solutions are now part of most people’s daily lives.”

Asking developers directly

Stack Overflow has been tracking developers’ habits and coding preferences since 2011 with annual surveys. The first Developer Survey got 2,532 respondents. That year the hot topics were job satisfaction and smartphone wars. In the 2012 survey, the most popular languages were SQL, JavaScript, CSS, C#, and Java. In 2013, SQL was at the top of the list and PHP joined the top 5, replacing CSS. By the middle of the decade in 2015, JavaScript was at the top of the list. 

Transformify CEO Lilia Stoyanov said PHP has had a big influence over the last decade, even if it is already considered outdated. She said many of her clients come to Transformify for help hiring  developers who can work in PHP. 

“It is a widespread language, it’s easy to find developers, and the pay rates are lower,” she said. “I don’t believe that PHP will disappear anytime soon.”

In 2019, almost 90,000 developers took the Stack Overflow survey and the top five list among professional developers looked like this:

  1. JavaScript     70%
  2. HTML/CSS    63%
  3. SQL               57%
  4. Python           39%
  5. Java               39%

The same five languages ruled the top four spots from 2013 to 2017: JavaScript, SQL, Java, and C#. In 2018, HTML and CSS pushed out C# and Python. 

SEE: Implementing DevOps: A guide for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

A cybersecurity researcher and software engineer, Akshay Sharma, said that Java and JavaScript had completely changed the industry in many ways.

“JavaScript made ‘serverless’ architecture possible with languages like NodeJS and AngularJS. Previously, one would’ve never even imagined using a client-side language to serve the purposes of a back-end server,” he said. “This led to not only creation of new jobs but a new way of ‘thinking’ on the programmer’s part when conceptualising software projects: recycling the same technologies but using them for a different purpose.”

Bryan Becker, product manager at WhiteHat Security, said there’s no sign of Java ever going away.

“You can complain as much as you want about Javascript but a lot more people know programming now, which is a good thing,” he said.

Venkat Venkataramani, co-founder and CEO of Rockset, said that SQL is still the language of choice for developers building data-driven applications.

“It is annoying to write custom code in order to glue together a data pipeline and it is also notoriously difficult to learn a bunch of domain-specific query languages for different NoSQL databases,” he said. “Turns out the killer feature that is missing from NoSQL systems is SQL, and this explains the renewed interest in SQL.”

Testing technical skills

The Stack Overflow surveys reflect the languages people are learning and using on the job. The next set of data reveals the data job candidates use during a technical interview.

Karat manages the interview process for companies hiring software engineers. Karat trains experienced engineers to conduct technical interviews and to use an interview platform to record the interview, capture a candidate’s code, and create structured feedback. 

SEE: More Decade in Review coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

Karat shared these stats from the last three years that reflect language use in technical interviews conducted in a given month.

The company’s VP of Engineering Zach van Schouwen said that Java and Python are the most popular languages for candidates in technical interviews, in part because these languages are most frequently taught in university computer science classes. JavaScript, C#, and C++ tend to be used by more experienced or specialized programmers, so they don’t see the same bumps in the fall interview cycle.

These stats reflect the languages a job candidate used during a technical job interview to complete an assigned task.

screen-shot-2019-12-03-at-8-54-09-pm.png

These stats reflect the languages a job candidate used during a technical job interview to complete an assigned task.

Image: TechRepublic

Van Schouwen said that the reason for the rise of Python is that it tends to be a preferred language for AI/ML-focused and cloud-native programmers compared to Java. Another reason for Python’s rise in popularity is that it’s a really succinct language. 

“Verbosity is a factor that can trip up engineering candidates using a language like Java—it just takes longer to get through code in a timed environment,” he said.

Josh Vickery, SquareFoot’s vice president of engineering, said that when he graduated in 2002, the dot-com bubble had just burst and he spent nights reverse-engineering the framework he was supposed to be using.

“The market has changed a lot since then; now people are learning frameworks on the job,” he said.

Vickery said when SquareFoot, a real estate technology company, recently started building with Python, he budgeted self-directed learning to bring staff members up to speed.

“A reasonably experienced software engineer can learn on the job without coming to a complete standstill,” he said. “Also, this is the first time I chose a language based on hiring potential.”

SEE: Decade in tech: What stood out or fell flat in the 2010s (ZDNet)

Improving security

Alexandre Rebert, co-founder and developer at ForAllSecure, a cybersecurity company, said that an important development in the last decade has been an even stronger focus on security and a push to replace memory unsafe languages like C and C++. 

“This explains, in part, the rise of memory safe languages, like Python, Java, C# or the rise of Go in infrastructure tooling,” he said. “More importantly, Rust has introduced a fundamental new approach to memory safety, offering an alternative to garbage collection for memory management. While still young, the safety concepts introduced in Rust are likely to be a strong influence in the coming decade.”

Becker said the shift left trend is encouraging more developers to use languages that are secure by design. 

“It is really, really hard to program something in Rust that is not secure,” he said.

SEE: Decade in Review 2010 – 2019 (CNET)

Other influential languages

Although Ruby and Ruby on Rails do not show up at the top of any of these lists, the language had an impact on the industry. Stephen Fiser of Central Standard Technologies said that what made Ruby on Rails so successful was the concept of “convention over configuration.” 

“Rails pushed the idea that if you stick to simple naming conventions, there is very limited need to configure the set up,” he said. “You can just type a few simple commands and have an entire basic app up and running. This led to massive improvements in efficiency which is essential to launching new products.

Becker also named Ruby and Ruby on Rails as an influential language.

“It was the first framework that was easy to use and that changed web development forever,” he said.

Quinn Slack, co-founder and CEO of the code intelligence company Sourcegraph, said that the most influential programming language of the last 10 years is the multi-language application.  

“Previously, developers would spend years writing code in a single language,” he said. “Now, their applications are a mix of the best frontend language (like TypeScript), the best backend language (Go), the best high-performance language (Rust), the best language for machine learning components (Python) and the languages for mobile applications (Swift, Kotlin, Objective-C, Java, etc.).”

What about the future?

Transformify CEO Stoyanov said recently employers have been looking for blockchain developers and machine learning experts. Employers want people with experience to fill these roles, which is a challenge because the technology is relatively new. Stoyanov predicts this shortage will last at least three more years.
 
“It is much harder to learn machine learning vs. traditional programming languages – it’s not for everyone,” she said. “PHP and Java could be mastered by people with mid-level math skills but machine learning requires advanced math and logic skills.”

Becker of WhiteHat Security is a fan of Rust and believes that Go and Python will continue to be popular.

“Security tools are built in Python and Go—those are great languages to be skilled at,” he said. “Also, Web Assembly is growing in popularity, everyone is excited to see where it is going.”

Rouse at ActiveState, an open source languages company, said Go is a great choice for developers who are interested in making a long-term investment in a language for their long-lived applications.  

“It scales exceedingly well for web services and Go is ideally suited for building a microservices architecture,” he said.

Vlad Ionescu, chief architect at the software company ShiftLeft, sees a need to go back to strongly typed languages to improve security and make maintenance easier. Although it’s easy to build a prototype faster with JavaScript, Python, and Ruby, it’s harder to maintain the code base long-term, he said.

Ionescu names Go and TypeScript as good examples of taking the learnings from both older languages and newer languages and not repeating the same mistakes.  

Calvin French-Owen, co-founder and CTO of Segment, a data integration company, said Golang and Typescript are both rising in popularity.

“Golang is one of those influential languages that has quickly become the ‘swiss army knife’ of building servers and distributed systems and I believe it’s poised to replace most other languages when it comes to concurrent programming,” he said. “TypeScript will help developers tackle programming challenges at scale.”

Vickery of SquareFoot said if you like what you’re doing right now, there’s no reason to pick a new language.
“If someone’s paying you to do it now, there’s probably 10 more people who want to pay you to do it, too,” he said.

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Top 5 things to know about cyber insurance

Top 5 things to know about cyber insurance


With cyberattacks escalating, it truly is becoming a lot more and far more critical for corporations to safeguard on their own. Tom Merritt lists five factors you should really know about cyber insurance.

Major 5 factors to know about cyber insurance plan
With cyberattacks growing, it is turning into additional and a lot more important for businesses to secure themselves. Tom Merritt lists 5 points you ought to know about cyber coverage.

Cyberattacks are obtaining larger, and paying money on stability is likely turning out to be your prime priority. Cyber insurance is developing and turning into not just an option, but a necessity for some businesses. Here are five issues to know about cyber insurance.

SEE: Mastermind con guy behind Catch Me If You Can talks cybersecurity (TechRepublic download)

  1. Cyberattacks are now the top enterprise issue. A 2019 Worldwide Cyber Danger Notion study (PDF) done by insurance consultancy Marsh and tech big Microsoft found that cyberattacks conquer out financial uncertainty, brand destruction, and governing administration regulation, so which is severe.
  2. Far more corporations have cyber insurance policies than ever before. 47% of corporations surveyed say they have cyber insurance plan now–that is up from 34% in 2017. By 2020, the gross written rates for cyber insurance is envisioned to be just considerably less than $8 billion.
  3. Income will make a variance in your insurance determination. 57% of businesses with revenues of extra than $1 billion experienced a cyber insurance coverage coverage, as opposed with 36% of firms with revenues considerably less than $100 million. And 63% of organizations that categorical cyber possibility economically have cyber insurance policies, as opposed to 46% of individuals who evaluate cyber threat qualitatively or not at all.
  4. The top rated danger protected by cyber insurance looks to be business enterprise e-mail compromises. AIG mentioned electronic mail compromises accounted for 23% of all cyber-insurance statements in the EMEA location in 2017, adopted by ransomware.
  5. Not all cyber insurance policies statements are paid out. Drug maker Merck and foods large Mondelez are equally suing insurance plan suppliers about nonpayment for damages from the NotPetya virus in 2017. NotPetya was deemed by many insurance plan companies as “an act of war.”

We’ll know cyber insurance plan has seriously made it when it receives some variety of mascot–like a duck.

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The 10 most important cyberattacks of the decade

The 10 most important cyberattacks of the decade


After a number of devastating breaches and hacks, the sheer size of data lost is no longer the only indicator of severity.

Video: 3 billion reasons to change your passwords
Yahoo’s parent company Oath revealed recently that 3 billion user accounts were exposed in the 2013 hack. TechRepublic’s Brandon Vigliarolo explains what you should do now to stay secure.

Since 2010, billions of sensitive files, personal information and account details have been leaked thanks to devastating hacks and damaging breaches. 

As more sensitive personal data has made its way online, the size and impact of breaches has steadily increased throughout the decade. Attacks have hit almost every sector and show no signs of slowing down as more people are forced to entrust the safety of personal information to various websites.

SEE: Special report: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“For me, the largest hacks of the decade are not just the ones that were the biggest, but the ones that were game-changers in how we approach security. If we had this talk 10 years ago, we would be blown away by the numbers, but now, the numbers don’t really affect us that much,” said Etay Maor, chief security officer at the cybersecurity firm IntSights.

“All of a sudden, we’re in the age of career-ending or career-altering hack. Honestly in 2011, if you had a hack with over a million credentials, everyone would lose their mind,” Maor said. “Today, you probably won’t even read about hacks that happen with a couple million credentials stolen.”

The most important hacks since 2010

Yahoo – 2013
Yahoo deserves the first mention because of the sheer size of its breach and the damaging effect it had on the company’s ability to compete as an email and search engine platform. 

In 2013, all three billion of Yahoo’s accounts were compromised, making the breach the largest in the history of the internet. It took the company three years to notify the public that everyone’s names, email addresses, passwords, birth dates, phone numbers and security answers had been sold on the Dark Web by hackers. 

Security experts say the Yahoo breach is notable because of how it was mishandled by the company and the devastating effect it had on Verizon’s $4.8 billion acquisition. Yahoo initially discovered that a breach occurred in 2015 exposing 500 million accounts. 

It was later confirmed by American security agencies that the attack was perpetrated by a group affiliated with the Russian government. While looking into the 2015 attack, Yahoo officials realized more than one billion accounts had been exposed in the breach. 

The company then admitted in 2017 that all of its accounts had been breached. Verizon removed nearly $400 million from the buying price and signed an intricate deal that allowed both companies to share the financial liabilities associated with the breach.

Equifax – 2017
The size of the Equifax breach pales in comparison to the value of the data exposed to hackers. As one of America’s largest credit bureaus, the company had the most sensitive data on hundreds of millions of people. 

Hackers gained access to the information of 143 million Equifax customers, including their names, birth dates, drivers’ license numbers, Social Security numbers and addresses. More than 200,000 credit card numbers were released and 182,000 documents with personally identifying information was accessed by cybercriminals.

Equifax’s CEO, Richard Smith, was forced to testify at four hearings before Congress, where he asserted that one employee was responsible for failing to process a necessary update.

“Equifax would probably rank as the most careless given that it as due to an unpatched Struts vulnerability, which might have been prevented using even the most rudimentary protection measure,” said Ameesh Divatia, co-founder and CEO of the cybersecurity firm Baffle.
 
It was later revealed that hackers were able to gain access to passport information from affected Equifax users. The Government Accountability Office released a detailed report about the breach. 

SEE: More Decade in Review coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
 
Sony Pictures – 2014
The hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 made the news for a bunch of reasons that made it different from most breaches. The situation originated with the controversial Seth Rogen film The Interview, which revolves around a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The North Korean leader was incensed by the film and his government threatened to attack US theaters if the film was released.
 
Sony tried a number of things to quell the controversy, agreeing to recut the movie to make it less offensive and push back the release date. Because of the threats against theaters, executives eventually decided to pull the film from theaters and release it digitally. 
 
This did little to calm North Korean anger about the film and in November 2014, a group that the FBI later said was tied to the North Korean military apparatus attacked Sony Pictures’ servers, wreaking havoc on the company’s internal systems. Some Sony executives, and even Rogen himself, still question whether it was truly North Korea that was behind the attack, hinting at either a disgruntled insider or the Russian government. 
 
While Sony feared the leak of its films, what ended up hurting the company most were the millions emails of film executives discussing their true feelings about some of the world’s biggest movie stars.
 
The attack also launched North Korea into international prominence, kickstarting a new generation of small countries punching above their weight through devastating, yet low-cost, cyberattacks. 
 
Charity Wright, cyber threat intelligence adviser at IntSights, worked for the NSA in the Asia-Pacific theater and said previously, North Korea had mostly focused efforts on attacking South Korea and Japan.
 
“The Sony hack was incredible because it really showed the world that North Korea can hack legitimately. They are legit. They really put themselves on the map as a legitimate threat actor with that hack,” Wright said. 

Gossip sites spent months digging through the nearly 200,000 emails of Sony executives, highlighting negative comments about stars like Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kevin Hart.

Marriott Hotels – 2018
The Marriott Hotel breach was massive both because of the amount of data exposed and the sensitivity of the information accessed.

According to The Washington Post, hackers breached the reservation systems of Starwood Hotels, which was bought by Marriott in 2016 for $13.6 billion. The cybercriminals behind the attack had an astounding four years to move within the Starwood system, which includes the Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Four Points, Aloft, Le Méridien, Tribute, Design Hotels, Element, and the Luxury Collection.

Hackers gained access to the names, credit cards, addresses and passport numbers of millions of people who stayed at the hotels between 2014 and 2018. 

At first, Marriott said the number of people affected was 500 million but revised that number down to 383 million after an investigation.

“Marriott was significant in that it attacked databases and the content was protected at rest, which demonstrated that traditional database protection methods do not adequately protect sensitive data records,” Baffle’s Divatia said.

SEE: Decade in tech: What stood out or fell flat in the 2010s (ZDNet)

Ashley Madison – 2015
While the information leaked in the hack of discreet extramarital dating website Ashley Madison was not financially significant, its cultural footprint was very wide. More than 30 million email addresses and hundreds of credit cards were leaked in the attack.

The hack also set off months of marital disputes that came from spouses searching for their partner’s email address in the leaked database of Ashley Madison. 

Debate raged online about the ethics of news outlets reporting on famous people and politicians found in the company’s files. There were reports of hackers extorting people based on the information found on the site, demanding people pay a ransom in exchange for hiding evidence of affairs.

In 2017, the company settled a lawsuit filed by users for more than $11 million, but that did little to quell the social furor over the information and messages found on the website. The aftermath was said to have life-altering implications for some.

Police in Toronto attributed two suicides to information that came from the leak and a pastor in New Orleans wrote a suicide note detailing the fear and embarrassment he felt about being implicated in Ashley Madison leaks. The hack was one of the first to lead to real-world deaths.

Target – 2013
The attack on Target is one of the biggest to hit a major retailer and involved a point-of-sale system that was compromised by malware.

The breach highlighted a problem that would come to dominate the cybersecurity conversation for the rest of the decade: third-party partners. Hackers gained access to Target’s systems through a heating and air-conditioning contractor working for the company.

With their access, the cybercriminals got payment card details for more than 40 million Target customers. The company was forced to admit that the number was even larger, with the actual amount of impacted customers reaching 110 million. 

The attack had a devastating effect on Target, forcing the CIO to resign months after the attack and the company reported that it lost more than $160 million due to the breach.

Both Divatia and Maor said the hack was notable because it became the first of many major breaches involving third-party systems or companies.

SEE: Decade in Review 2010 – 2019 (CNET)

Capital One – 2019
In July, Capital One bank acknowledged that from 2005 and 2019, hackers were able to access the personal information of 100 million Americans and six million Canadians. 

According to the bank, cybercriminals obtained the information from a trove of credit card applications, including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and self-reported income. 

Capital One also said credit scores, limits, balances, payment history and about one million Canadian Social Insurance numbers, as well as 140,000 American Social Security numbers were also seen by hackers.

Unlike most of the hacks on this list, the culprit behind it was caught and charged in court. Paige Thompson, a former Amazon Web Services employee, posted on GitHub about the attack and was charged in August for the massive breach. Thompson was arraigned in September and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The United States Office of Personnel Management – 2015
The hack conducted by the Chinese government on the United States Office of Personnel Management is one of the largest attacks to ever hit the government in the country’s history.
 
While officials initially estimated that the records of four million current and former government workers were released, a later analysis found that 21 million records were accessed. The trove of data even included information from background checks on people who were never hired by the government.
 
The forms accessed by hackers had detailed information about candidates’ family members, college roommates, foreign contacts and psychological information. They also stole millions of Social Security numbers, names, dates, places of birth and addresses.
 
The group also stole a database with nearly six million fingerprints, endangering government officials across the world. 
 
Donna Seymour, CIO for the Office of Personnel Management, was forced to retire because of the scandal and Katherine Archuleta, the director of OPM, resigned. It was later revealed that Chinese government hackers had access to OPM systems for more than a year before they were caught. 
 
First American Financial – 2019
Billion-dollar real estate title insurance company First American Financial had one of the biggest leaks of 2019, exposing 885 million files dating back more than 15 years.
 
The breach was exposed by the security reporter Brian Krebs, who wrote a lengthy blog post explaining how the massive insurance company exposed millions of mortgage deals, which featured bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts and drivers license images.
 
He was tipped off by a real estate developer who discovered that you could access any of the company’s documents just by changing the URL link. Although it is unclear whether any of the information was accessed and used, First American immediately took down the entire website.
 
Stuxnet – 2010
The Stuxnet attack, allegedly perpetrated by the governments of the United States and Israel, was relatively minor in its effects but has had wide-ranging implications that will become evermore important in the next decade.

It was one of the first examples of government-led cyberattacks that could destroy physical systems and structures, setting off a growing cascade of attacks that are increasingly blurring the line between military cyberattacks and cyberattacks affecting infrastructure systems.

The Stuxnet worm destroyed Iran’s 984 uranium enrichment centrifuges, essentially ruining most of its nuclear program by specifically targeting Siemens SCADA systems. 

Outside of a few headlines, the attack had little impact on the US. But it kicked off a decade of attacks by dozens of countries that aimed to destroy architecture systems.

The Russian government later used similar tactics during their alarming 2015 attack on Ukraine. For the first time in history, a government was able to shut down another country’s power grid through a cyberattack. Stuxnet and the attack on Ukraine opened the door to increased efforts by adversarial countries to include cyberattacks in their arsenal of military weaponry.

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How Salesforce’s Einstein Call Coaching uses AI to help sales reps be top performers

How Salesforce's Einstein Call Coaching uses AI to help sales reps be top performers


Einstein Call Coaching empowers inside sales managers to build stronger teams and gain strategic AI-powered insights from every sales call through a new channel: Voice.

How Salesforce’s Einstein Call Coaching uses AI to help sales reps be top performers
Einstein Call Coaching empowers inside sales managers to build stronger teams and gain strategic AI-powered insights from every sales call through a new channel: Voice.

At Dreamforce 2019 in San Francisco, TechRepublic’s Bill Detwiler spoke with Efrat Rapoport, director of product management with Salesforce, about Einstein Call Coaching. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

More about artificial intelligence

Bill Detwiler: One of the concerns with artificial intelligence is the effect it will have on jobs, and that’s why I’m really excited to be here at Dreamforce 2019 speaking with Efrat Rapoport about Einstein Call Coaching. So Efrat, tell me a little bit about your role at Salesforce.

Efrat Rapoport: My name is a Efrat Rapoport; I was the CEO and co-founder of the Bonobo AI, which was acquired by Salesforce exactly six months ago. We’re based in Tel Aviv, Israel. We have a great, great team. It’s actually one of the fastest growing hubs of Salesforce.

SEE: The ethical challenges of AI: A leader’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

I was personally always very fascinated by languages, by speech, by the way people choose to construct sentences. You can really learn a lot about people or about customers, in our use case, if you just listen, and today we’re very, very happy and proud to unveil Einstein Call Coaching.

When we designed this product, we constantly had the sales manager in mind. Now think of yourself as a sales manager–you have a team of sales reps out there, they’re making calls, they’re receiving calls, they’re engaging with customers all day long, and very often these calls are the very first interaction customers have with your brand. How do you make sure, as a sales manager, that you’re making the most out of every single call, and how do you coach and support your sales reps to make the most out of every single call?

We’ve talked to many, many sales leaders across different domains, and they all seem to agree that it’s impossible to do this without the help of artificial intelligence, and more specifically conversation intelligence. Today, we’re unveiling Einstein Call Coaching, and this product does exactly that. It gives sales managers the insights, the visibility, they need into every single call. It gives them insight into trends that emerge from calls with customers, such as which competitors are being mentioned in conversations, how are we positioning different products, how are we handling objections, and much more. That’s the product in a nutshell.

Bill Detwiler: This is a little different than what people usually think of when they think of AI and Voice for customer service. Oftentimes, it’s the caller, the customer, dealing with an automated system on the other end. This is really interesting to me because it’s using artificial intelligence, natural language processing, Voice, to help coach humans, to help managers of call center reps make better decisions, produce better outcomes for customers. What was it that drew you to that path when it came to Voice as opposed to just developing another automated call center application?

Efrat Rapoport: There are many, many different use cases for Voice and for speech analytics. We’re really thinking about the experience of the sales manager, and as you said, we’re here to give sales reps what they need to become top performers. We’re here to give sales managers what they need to become informed decision makers at the company.

When you look at the product–if I have to break it down into three different pillars–number one, we have visibility, so we give managers control and visibility into every single call. For the first time we bring this data into Salesforce, the number one CRM, so you can now play calls, listen to them.

Number two, it’s not always enough because how do you even know where to start? How do you find the needle in the haystack. You have so many calls every day, hundreds and thousands, and this is why we’re introducing key moments, and these are the parts in the call that you do not want to miss. They could be a mention of a competitor, mentions of cancellations, upsell opportunities, anything that you are interested in as a sales manager we surface, and then you can jump to the relevant 10 seconds and not listen to the whole call.

Bill Detwiler: What you’re describing is a system where the AI can pick out that key moment from a call without the manager having to go through and listen to the entire call, and pick out that moment where you did a good job, or maybe you missed an opportunity to address a customer issue. Is that right?

Efrat Rapoport: Exactly. This is exactly what we do. And then we get to number three: we can save these calls for future reference for people who would like to learn and improve themselves. So now you can, as a manager–let’s say we have a wonderful call where we listen to one of our top performers handle a pricing objection, and we want to save this call for future reference. We can add it to a library, and then you can access this call as a sales rep, listen to how the objection handling was done, and you’re empowered and you’re better.

Bill Detwiler: Let’s talk a little bit about Voice in general. Salesforce has been incorporating Voice in so many of its products and services, its platforms. You have Einstein Voice, and now we have Einstein Call Coaching. Where do you see Voice going in the future?

Efrat Rapoport: I think that Voice is the new frontier. I think it was clear this morning in the opening keynote that Salesforce is really doubling down on Voice. We’ve seen Call Coaching; we’ve also seen Service Cloud Voice, Einstein Voice, Einstein Voice Builder. These are very exciting times. There’s a lot of demand from customers, and it’s really good to be leading the way and innovating towards the next generation of voice.

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