Craig Peterson
Show Notes
October 25 – October 31, 2021

ExpressVPN Is No Longer Safe to Use

Israeli firm Kape Technologies buys ExpressVPN raising privacy concerns

The Real Cost of Government-Mandated Wind and Solar

The government and big financial institutions promote a fraudulent analysis of the cost of solar and wind electricity. Their narrative is that wind and solar are competitive with traditional fossil fuels and that the cost of wind and solar is rapidly dropping.

The basis of the fraud is a simple comparison of the cost per kilowatt-hour at the plant fence for electricity produced by wind or solar versus electricity produced by a traditional plant. Some or all of the massive subsidies for wind and solar are ignored in such comparisons. With such a rigged comparison, wind or solar may seem competitive.

A proper comparison reveals that wind or solar is five or even ten times more expensive than natural gas or coal electricity. To understand why this is so, we have to explain some basic facts that apply to either wind or solar.


US Businesses Turn to Automation Amid Labor Shortage

A lack of applicants, however, isn’t always negative for companies and profits. The shift to software, machines, and contactless methods was already underway in certain segments pre-pandemic, and the health crisis simply spurred on the process.

“Prior to the pandemic, we had over 120 employees,” Bret Bonnet, co-founder, and president of Quality Logo Products, a Chicago-based company that prints logos on merchandise such as t-shirts, water bottles, and stress bottles, told The Epoch Times.

Now 18 months later, the company employs 83 workers and is managing a workload that is similar in size to 2019.

“Thanks to additional automations, we anticipate additional reductions by the end of the year that could get our overall headcount below 50,” he said.


Macs Still Targeted Mostly With Adware, Less With Malware

Apple Macs are not immune to malicious attacks, but outside of some major nation-state efforts, bad actors continue to use adware as the method of choice to make money from infecting the macOS operating system, new research shows.

The report highlights that Macs are not a major target for malware programs. Between Apple’s built-in signature-based blocking technology, XProtect, and the company’s developer-based notarization of apps, run-of-the-mill malware has had difficulty finding a foothold.

However, adware, which often operates in a gray area between aggressive marketing and outright fraud, is often allowed. Yet adware shows that there are vectors for infecting macOS systems, Jamf researchers say.


Privacy Management for Microsoft 365 Now Generally Available

A major hurdle organizations face in managing privacy is understanding where personal data is stored, especially in an unstructured environment. Sixty percent of companies still use manual processes to maintain data inventory and mapping, mostly using email, spreadsheets, and in-person communication, wrote Shilpa Ranganathan, corporate vice president of mobile and modern productivity experiences, in a separate post, adding this is “costly and ineffective.”

Privacy Management automatically discovers personal data in organizations’ Microsoft 365 environments using “data classification and user mapping intelligence,” she wrote. Businesses can see an aggregated view of their privacy posture including volume, category, location, and movement of personal data within their environments, as well as the status and trends of privacy risks that come from personal data being overshared, transferred, or unused.


Intel slipped—and its future now depends on making everyone else’s chips

Last month, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger stepped to a podium on a hazy, wind-whipped day just outside Phoenix. “Isn’t this awesome!” Gelsinger exclaimed, gesturing over his shoulder. He was in Arizona to announce not one but two new fabs that, when finished, will form a $20 billion bet that Intel can return to the leading edge of semiconductor manufacturing, one of the world’s most profitable, challenging, and cutthroat businesses.

But now, as the global pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains, chipmakers have decided that the current spike in demand isn’t going away. Intel’s $20 billion investment is only one example. Samsung announced in May that it would spend $151 billion over the next decade to boost its semiconductor capacity. TSMC made a similar announcement in April, pledging to invest $100 billion in the next three years alone.

The investments required to stay at the leading edge—where the most advanced chips are made—has whittled down the number of semiconductor competitors from more than 20 in 2001 to just two today. “There’s really only so much room at the leading edge, just because of the huge capital costs involved,” said Will Hunt, a research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.


FBI, others crush REvil using ransomware gang’s favorite tactic against it

Well, apparently, whoever relaunched REvil wasn’t the brightest bulb. Last night, Reuters reported that several countries working together took down the ransomware gang using one of the criminal organization’s favorite tactics—compromised backups.

Though the FBI isn’t commenting on the matter, private-sector cybersecurity experts and a former US official confirmed the operation, Reuters reports. “The FBI, in conjunction with Cyber Command, the Secret Service, and like-minded countries, have truly engaged in significant disruptive actions against these groups,” Tom Kellermann, VMware’s head of cybersecurity strategy and an adviser to the US Secret Service on cybercrime investigations, told Reuters. “REvil was top of the list.”

US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco recently determined that ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure are a national security threat on par with terrorism. That allowed the Justice Department to bring in assistance from the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies.


Google Buckles Down on Android Enterprise Security

Google today launched the Android Enterprise Vulnerability Rewards Program, its latest effort to boost Android Enterprise security, along with several new capabilities and tools in Android 12.

Android 12, which is now available for Pixel phones and will be available for other devices later this year, brings more default enterprise security features to the operating system. Employees have access to more privacy controls over which work apps can access their device data, and IT admins have more controls to apply management configurations for enterprise devices.

Google’s new program offers up to $250,000 for a full exploit on a Pixel device running Android Enterprise, Google says.

Enterprises are under attack multiple times per day. It’s good to see Google finally making strides with Android.


Nearly Three-Quarters of Organizations Have Been Victimized by DNS Attacks in Past 12 Months

Domain name system (DNS) attacks are impacting organizations at worrisome rates. According to a new survey from the Neustar International Security Council (NISC) conducted in September 2021, 72% of study participants reported experiencing a DNS attack within the last 12 months. Among those targeted, 61% have seen multiple attacks and 11% said they have been victimized regularly. While one-third of respondents recovered within minutes, 58% saw their businesses disrupted for more than an hour, and 14% took several hours to recover.

According to the NISC survey, 92% of organizations report that their website is vital to business continuity and customer fulfillment at some level, with 16% entirely enabled by it. More than half of respondents (56%) consider their website as having a major role in day-to-day activity, while only 8% feel they would be able to conduct business without their website up and running. Despite the clear reliance on a functional website for business continuity, only three in ten (31%) survey participants were very confident in their preparedness to deal with a DNS attack that could take their website offline, and more than a quarter (27%) were not confident.


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