Posted by & filed under Career, Cyber Security.

Civil defence used to involve air raid wardens, ambulance drivers and rescue teams.

That was at the height of the Cold War, and the hot wars of the 20th century that preceded it. These days, it means taking the fight online — against hackers and cyber criminals looking to take down or ransom critical infrastructure, such as hospitals.

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted Canadian IT professionals to form an all-volunteer cyber defence team to protect Canada’s hospitals, health-care providers, municipalities and critical infrastructure from online attacks during the COVID-19 crisis.

The SecDev Group, which has pioneered advanced analytics and cyber safety, has been spearheading the recruitment effort and has asked information technology professionals to step up and provide preventative measures and remedial services.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 26th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/covid19-cyber-companies-1.5508570

Discussion

  1. What skills do you think it takes to be on a Cyber Defense Team?
  2. What are you doing to make sure you have basic cybersecurity skills?

Posted by & filed under eSports, Virtual Reality.

Aston Martin's Red Bull car in virtual race

Formula 1 streamed its first ever Virtual Grand Prix, with full pundit and commentary team. Celebrities including singer Liam Payne and cyclist Sir Chris Hoy played against each other and in teams from their own homes, in isolation.

Television outlets are also getting in on the action. In the US, more than 900,000 viewers tuned in for the inaugural eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series on Fox Sports. The network has said it will host an entire series of stock-car races, replacing the ones lost due to the pandemic.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 26th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52049893

Discussion

  1. With a move to being virtual, what will the impact be when people can meet in person again?
  2. Can all sports move to virtual? What makes a move to virtual possible?

Posted by & filed under Future of Work, Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

I believe that once Covid-19 is contained, we are about to see a huge acceleration of change around the Future of Work.  Work that is repeatable and requires little human skill is going to get automated away much, much faster than it already was.  Think how useful it would be right now if we had automated pharmacies.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been in stealth mode for the last 5 years, quietly infiltrating companies around the world.  PwC, a global Accounting, Tax and Consulting firm has spent two full days teaching RPA to every single one of it’s 23,000 employees in the U.S. so that they can in turn roll it out in their clients.

RPA performs the routine tasks of a business that require little skill but much repetition.   

I think that we are about to see an explosion of RPA once Covid-19 is contained.  Businesses are realizing that having people perform the many routine tasks of a company puts them at serious risk when those people are not around.  RPA provides a way for a business to keep the cogs of a business turning without having to have people around to do it.  Covid-19 has really highlighted how big an issue this is.

David Moss of Blue Prism RPA said that doing RPA properly requires management to think about what parts of everyday work are “repeatable” and what is “humanistic”.    You assign “repeatable” work to robots, RPA.  You assign “humanistic” activities, such as answering customer’s questions, to humans.  

The Virtual Workforce

If you want to see RPA in action, this video shows RPA software from UIPath processing orders all the way from getting them via email to the accounting general ledger.  It even sends emails if it finds a problem.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp3hG9UFFk4&feature=emb_logoThe leading vendors of RPA are Blue Prism, UIPath and Automation Anywhere.  They are likely to see explosive growth in the next two years. 

Again, I believe Covid-19 is going to provide is an acceleration of what we covered in the Future of Work section right at the start of class.  

Posted by & filed under COVID-19.

In the early days of Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak, Elisa Baniassad was able to trace how new cases were spreading and plan her outings accordingly.

“When I plotted how the virus was being transmitted, I saw that it was from close contact. People weren’t getting it out on the street, they were getting it at home from their family members,” said the computer science instructor at the University of British Columbia.

Baniassad is one of a handful of people making use of the reams of data being collected and published daily around the world to help governments and citizens plan and be informed of the latest situation.

Her diagrams are published on ViriHealth.com, a website started by someone in Toronto to keep track of the information released by the provinces.

Welcome to humanity’s first data-driven pandemic.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 18th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/coronavirus-date-information-sharing-1.5500709

Discussion

  1. The article suggests that “It’s calming for people to have a sense that they’re being fully informed.” Why is this?
  2. How can you make sure that people are “fully informed”?

Posted by & filed under Internet Advertising, The Internet.

Graphic of social media and virus

There’s a huge amount of misleading information circulating online about coronavirus – from dodgy health tips to speculation about government plans. This is the story of how one post went viral.

It’s a list of tips and advice – some true, some benign, and some possibly harmful – which has been circulating on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and elsewhere.

Dubbed the “Uncle with master’s degree” post because of the alleged source of the information, it’s hopped from the Facebook profile of an 84-year-old British man to the Instagram account of a Ghanaian TV presenter, through Facebook groups for Indian Catholics to coronavirus-specific forums, WhatsApp groups, and Twitter accounts.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 19th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-51931394?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/technology&link_location=live-reporting-story

Discussion

  1. How can you use the information in this article to more successfully make a post go viral?
  2. How do you stop things like this that shouldn’t go viral from going viral?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Ethical issues.

A market in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The Israeli government is escalating efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has authorized the country’s internal security agency to tap into a vast and previously undisclosed trove of cellphone data to retrace the movements of people who have contracted the coronavirus and identify others who should be quarantined because their paths crossed.

Source: New York Times

Date: March 19th, 2020

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/world/middleeast/israel-coronavirus-cellphone-tracking.html

Discussion

  1. What are some of the ethical issues of ” tap[ing] into a vast and previously undisclosed trove of cellphone data to retrace the movements of people “?
  2. What sort of algorithm would it take to track someone, and then also who they have been in contact with?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Spoofing.

Canada’s big phone companies warned MPs on a parliamentary committee Tuesday their networks aren’t yet ready to implement new anti-spoofing technology to guard against fake calls — and many existing landline phones and cellphones will need to be upgraded in order for the technology to be effective.

Representatives from Bell, Rogers and Telus appeared Tuesday before the Industry, Science and Technology House of Commons Committee that’s studying how to prevent the millions of fraudulent phone calls Canadians receive each month.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/crtc-wireless-companies-spoofing-scams-1.5493067

Discussion

  1. What is “spoofing”?
  2. How do you think the telephone companies will detect a spoofed call so they can block it?

Posted by & filed under Career.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/coronavirus-school-closures-canada-1.5495075

Discussion

  1. “When you design courses for online, it actually takes deliberate thought and attention as to doing it in a good way. “So if we’re asking people just to suddenly teach their in-person courses online, it will be very difficult for those instructors to offer equal quality.”
    What sorts of things need to be considered as you move in-person content online?
  2. What sort of business could you set up to help move in-person service delivery (which in-class instruction is) online?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Google, YouTube.

Data on coronavirus cases on a map and a phone

Facebook is already working with researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and the National Tsing Hua University, in Taiwan, sharing anonymised data about people’s movements and high-resolution population density maps, which help them forecast the spread of the virus.

The social network is also helping partners understand how people are talking about the issue online, via tools such as Crowdtangle, which aggregate social-media posts.

In the past, Google search data has been used to track infectious diseases.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: February 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51851292

Discussion

  1. Google said its team was “working round the clock to safeguard our users from phishing, conspiracy theories, malware and misinformation”.
    How might Google be doing this?
  2. ” YouTube, meanwhile, is using its homepage to direct users to the World Health Organization and other groups, for education and information, while working to remove videos suggesting alternative cures as soon as they go live. “
    How might YouTube be detecting “alternative cure” videos?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack, Phishing.

Envelope with virus

Security experts say a spike in email scams linked to coronavirus is the worst they have seen in years.

Cyber-criminals are targeting individuals as well as industries, including aerospace, transport, manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and insurance.

Phishing emails written in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish languages have been found.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51838468

Discussion

  1. Why are phishing emails so effective as a cyber attack strategy?
  2. How do you help yourself, and a company you are the CIO for (say) combat phishing email attacks?