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

Tap water, file

A computer hacker gained access to the water system of a city in Florida and tried to pump in a “dangerous” amount of a chemical, officials say.

The hacker briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide (lye) in Oldsmar’s water treatment system, but a worker spotted it and reversed the action.

Lye is used in small amounts to control acidity but a large amount could have caused major problems in the water.

Oldsmar Mayor Eric Seidel said: “There’s a bad actor out there.”

No arrests have yet been made and it is not known if the hack was done from within the US or outside.

A computer controlling Oldsmar’s water treatment system was remotely accessed on Friday.

A plant operator saw an attempt to access the system in the morning but assumed it was his supervisor, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

But another attempt was made early in the afternoon and this time the hacker accessed the treatment software and increased the sodium hydroxide content from 100 parts per million to 11,100 ppm.

The operator immediately reduced the level to normal.

Source: Tampa Bay Times

Date: February 12th, 2021

Link: https://www.tampabay.com/news/pinellas/2021/02/08/someone-tried-to-poison-oldsmars-water-supply-during-hack-sheriff-says/

Discussion

  1. Why might a hacker do this?
  2. What does it say about the design of controls in the system that it took human intervention to prevent the sodium hydroxide content from being 100 parts per million to being moved to 11,100 ppm ?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, Self-driving vehicles.

Hyundai's concept EV is called Prophecy

The car firm has been investing heavily in new technology with a string of partnerships, acquisitions and investments within the tech space.

Its takeover of robotics firm Boston Dynamics last year was a clear indication of the direction it is taking – into cutting-edge technology.

The whole auto industry has been forced to innovate as the move towards electric cars and autonomous vehicles accelerates.

Hyundai has been criticised in the past for lagging behind rivals in adopting emerging technologies but is fast catching up, sealing a string of alliances and investments with technology groups recently.

“Hyundai has a different set of motivations and more incentive to push the limit. They have been a lot more aggressive in reinventing themselves,” says Dale Hardcastle, a partner at consultancy firm Bain.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: February 12th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55806568

Discussion

  1. Why do you think that a global car company wants to become a technology company?
  2. What sorts of changes are going to be needed for a car maker to become a technology company?

Posted by & filed under Electronic Surveillance.

A report by four Canadian privacy commissioners has found Clearview AI’s technology created a significant risk to individuals by allowing law enforcement and companies to match photos against its database of more than three billion images, including Canadians and children. Clearview AI’s software collects images from the internet and allows users to search for matches. 

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: February 6th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/technology-clearview-facial-recognition-1.5899008

Discussion

  1. ” Clearview AI’s technology created a significant risk to individuals by allowing law enforcement and companies to match photos against its database of more than three billion images, including Canadians and children ” Why should this be illegal?
  2. What could Clearview do to gather photos legally for its purposes?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Politics.

Computer chip

For the most part they go unseen but computer chips are at the heart of all the digital products that surround us – and when supplies run short, it can halt manufacturing.

There was a hint of the problem last year when gamers struggled to buy new graphics cards, Apple had to stagger the release of its iPhones, and the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles came nowhere close to meeting demand.

Then, just before Christmas, it emerged the resurgent car industry was facing what one insider called “chipageddon”.

New cars often include more than 100 microprocessors – and manufacturers were quite simply unable to source them all.

Since then, one technology company after another has warned they too face constraints.

Samsung is struggling to fulfil orders for the memory chips it makes for its own and others’ products.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: February 5th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55936011

Discussion

  1. What are some issues that arise when one country dominates design (the US in this case) and another or two dominates manufacturing (Taiwan and South Korea in this case)?
  2. How might you advise your company, as a CIO, on how to deal with issues surrounding shortage in supply of a key technology component?

Posted by & filed under Drones.

For many cattle producers in Kentucky, 5pm isn’t the end of the workday – rather, it marks the transition from their non-farming day jobs to working with their livestock. But putting out hay, checking water tank levels, locating cattle and assessing herd health becomes more difficult after the Sun sets, and sick or calving cows make the chores trickier as they often hide themselves in secluded areas.
Time to call in the drones.
A team of researchers at the University of Kentucky are testing the feasibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to remotely handle those assessments for small-herd cattle producers. “The idea is to make it easier for them to have this second form of income, this second job, by automating some of it and helping keep an eye on their cattle without them having to be there to do it all the time,” says Jesse Hoagg, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky.

Source: BBC Future and YouTube

Date: February 5th, 2021

Link to article: https://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/drones-finding-cattle-where-cowboys-cannot-reach.html

Link to YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYvI43YueCc

Discussion

  1. What other services could you provide that are very similar to this?
  2. What are some of the issues with using drones in this way?

Posted by & filed under Emerging Technologies.

From chameleon-inspired camouflage to clothing that mends itself when damaged, the Department of National Defence is looking to outfit Canadian troops with next-wave gear that provides better protection — and less detection — on the battlefield.

Those are just two technologies in a long list of cutting-edge scientific advancements that DND is spending $9 million over three years to research, spearheaded by five Canadian universities.

“Adaptive camouflage would be more like a chameleon where, depending on your background, your camouflage will modify itself. So if you are in front of a dark wall, your camouflage could be darker. If you are in front of a whiter wall, your camouflage would be lighter,” said Eric Fournier, director general of innovation with DND.   

That technology exists and is being worked on right now, he said.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: January 29th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/military-research-technology-combat-protection-1.5889528

Discussion

  1. How might this ” chameleon-inspired camouflage ” powered by technology work?
  2. How might ” clothing that mends itself when damaged” be achievable?

Posted by & filed under FinTech.

Chinese tech giant Ant Group was set to sell shares worth about $34.4bn (£26.5bn) before it was abruptly halted. The listings in Shanghai and Hong Kong would have been the biggest stock market debut to date.

Ant Group is China’s biggest payments provider, with more than 730 million monthly users on its digital payments service Alipay.

The company also has a consumer lending division, which takes fees from banks to match borrowers with lending services.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 29th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55821608

Discussion

  1. The IPO of Ant Group was going to make it the largest “FinTech” company in the world, by far. What is FinTech?
  2. Why do you think China has innovative FinTech companies like Ant Group that are able to disrupt how financial transactions get done, whereas this doesn’t happen in North America?

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

A few weeks ago,  I added some chai tea to my cart on Amazon, clicked the buy button, and didn’t think anything more of it.

That is, until it arrived a couple days later in a Walmart box.

I opened the box, initially not knowing what it was because I don’t usually shop at Walmart. What I found inside was the tea I’d ordered. It didn’t take much detective work to figure out what had happened: I’d ordered the tea from Amazon’s marketplace, where third-parties can sell anything from TVs to detergent. The seller that I’d bought from, named CasGlobal Commerce, accepted my order, then ordered the exact same thing from Walmart for a cheaper price, had it shipped directly to me, and pocketed the money.

It’s called “retail arbitrage,” and it’s more common than people think.

Source: Digital Trends

Date: January 29th, 2021

Link: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/ordered-from-amazon-but-got-a-box-from-walmart/

Discussion

  1. Make sure you understand what “retail arbitrage” is. Basically a customer purchases from Amazon, but if the item is cheaper at Walmart, the fulfiller delivers the product from Walmart. They (the fulfiller) pocket the difference between the Amazon price paid by the customer, and the Walmart price they (the fulfiller) paid.
  2. Why does Amazon not allow its fulfiller to use Walmart to fulfill the orders? What are all the things that are issues?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack.

Thousands of fake Canadian government websites, emails and apps that take advantage of the pandemic to try to mine personal data or steal money have been taken down in the last few months, according to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.

The centre leads the federal government’s response to cyber-security events, defends Ottawa’s cyber assets and provides advice to Canadian industries, businesses and citizens about how to protect themselves online.

Evan Koronewski, a spokesperson for the centre, said in email the fraudulent websites are impersonating the government of Canada to “deliver fake COVID-19 exposure notification applications, designed to install malware on users devices.”

Koronewski said those programs were created to steal personal information or money. 

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporatin

Date: January 22nd, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/covid-apps-phones-scammers-fraudulent-personal-data-1.5877496

Discussion

  1. In what ways would you advise your employees to make sure they avoid being entrapped by these fake websites?
  2. What sort of cyber security business could you set up to offer services to companies to prevent this sort of issue?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology.

A cricket bat designed for virtual reality gaming and a bluetooth-connected baseball are among the sport innovations to be unveiled at the CES tech show.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 22nd. 2021

Link to 2 minute 38 second video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-55722029

Discussion

  1. What sort of business could you set up around this technology?
  2. Why is “sports-tech” a growing field?