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The Actuator - July 31st

Level 17

Had a great stay-cation last week. I made no plans except a quick overnight trip to the beach. It was wonderful doing nothing, catching up on sleep, and enjoying our backyard space. I highly recommend everyone find the time to do nothing; your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.

As always, here are some links I hope you find interesting. Enjoy!

Why the WhatsApp Security Flaw Should Make Enterprise IT Nervous

WhatsApp may be the most flawed application out there right now, owned by a company (Facebook) known to have shoddy security practices. If you are using this app, you are putting yourself, your friends, and your company network at risk.

Netflix: 105 Mil Have Watched One ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Episode

Buried inside this story is the reason I included this link: Netflix is losing customers. This is the story to track over the next 24 months. Netflix has a lot of data, and a lot of smart people. I can't imagine this is the end, but likely a pivot.

You’re very easy to track down, even when your data has been anonymized

Privacy is an illusion, a lie we tell ourselves every day.

Louisiana declares state of emergency after ransomware attacks

"It'll get worse before it gets better." - Dalton

Amazon dominates IaaS cloud services market, small enterprises lose out

No shock here, but AWS is the market leader in IaaS, followed by Azure. But many are surprised to find that Google is 4th, behind Alibaba. I'm certain they exist, but I don't know any company outside of Silicon Valley that uses GCP for production purposes.

Why the dockless scooter industry is going after a repossessor and a bike shop owner

SPOILER ALERT: A DotCom company didn't care how their business would affect anything other than money generated. By advertising the scooters can be "left anywhere," these companies have created a nuisance. I'm glad to see people standing up to the stupid.

Quantum Supremacy Is Coming: Here’s What You Should Know

Long, but good summary of quantum computing for those that haven't taken a dive into those waters yet. I view quantum supremacy as the moment when quantum computing is powerful enough to render all current encryption useless.

"These go to eleven."

Happy, honored, and humbled to have been awarded the Microsoft MVP for the 11th consecutive year.

11th-mvp.JPG

38 Comments
Level 20

We're investing heavily in Quantum and AI/ML.  For use perhaps quantum is even more important.

Level 12

Ditto on your comments on the dockless scooter industry. Nuisance indeed.

Level 14

Thanks for the articles!  Good to have you back.

I find the quantum supremacy stuff a bit scary.  

Level 12

Think about the ransomware attacks after quantum supremacy. I'm sure the real threat will be someone finding a way to retrieve and publish all data on any and all computers. Which will be fine for a while since there will be too much data. Then someone will find a way to organize the data and use which would result in no secrets. I think there was a movie about that...

Level 16

Why the dockless scooter industry is going after a repossessor and a bike shop owner

They started having the same problem in a town by me. They fixed it by installing racks in different places you needed to return them to. Just like the bikes in Chicago.

Level 12

Thanks to data mining techniques, online privacy is a thing of the past.

I was surprised you didn't mention that Credit One unintentionally provided hackers with 106,000,000 credit applications, but that news broke a couple of hours after this Actuator was posted.

The FBI didn't need advanced data analysis techniques to identify the hacker. She stored data publicly on GitHub and had a public resume with her name on that account.

Level 16

A lot of companies would reimburse employees for partial use of their cellphones. While that was a thing a lot of people had their phones 'tethered' with corporate software. Once the reimbursements stopped a lot of people 'un-tethered' their phones and quit using them for checking work email etc. This had an unintended effect of disconnecting a large number of BYOD's on the network.

Why the WhatsApp Security Flaw Should Make Enterprise IT Nervous

Level 12

Don't even get me started on the scooters!

Level 13

Thanks for the articles.

Level 13

Thanks for a bunch of interesting links.  Thankfully we only have a few scooters in our area, but I can really sympathize after what I've seen while travelling in major cities, esp.  San Diego.

Kudos to the Microsoft MVP awards!

MVP
MVP

So does Quantum Supremacy = The end of encryption as we know it?

Wouldn't one want (expect?) any app to be forced to endure internal security scrutiny, then external security testing by a group of white hat companies, BEFORE a very-large distributor (like FB, MS, Amazon, etc.) makes it available to the public?

What's App's vulnerability is dangerous at best.

MVP
MVP

Cool article

NetFlix losing viewers / market share . . .

The end of the world!

Not.

People losing time interacting in-person with their spouse, children, relatives, friends--all to watch a virtual world of drama and acting?  This is a much more valid harbinger of coming disaster.

No matter how interested a person may be in discovering how well or poorly an anonymizer may work, requiring them to provide PII to see how easily they are tracked on the Internet certainly seems a mistake.

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One of the LAST things I'd do is provide my date of birth and gender and zip code to the Internet.

"Here lies Common Sense.  It expired in the face of idiocy.  Rest In Peace."

The way I understand it is that Quantum encryption is also a thing, but it does mean that at some point everything we do to encrypt will have to to be replaced with something. I guess that is always true, but this will be a bigger shift than normal.

Ransomware is bad everywhere.  But minimizing its costs and impact when it applies to a school (the administrator says he doesn't think anything important was lost--except for seventeen years of work, exams, test answers, test results, etc.) certainly seems a dangerous line of Public Relations damage control.

The effect of losing all the time to recreate a working environment for our children, the effect of losing their test results, and possibly losing personal identification information might be akin to discovering a single pin-hole leak in a dam.  Which later becomes hundreds of leaks.  And eventually the dam fails.

Yes, having the biggest provider(s) achieving majority control of any resource seems a way to cause big problems resulting from greed and being power-hungry.

But does it matter if it's Microsoft or Amazon, Facebook or Netflix--or Standard Oil or ATT or big railroads, or the Big 3 automakers?

Remain aware of absolute power and its corruption risks.

Be doubly aware of well-intended reactions towards monopolies that drag them through courts and "seemingly" break them up, only to discover their new owners remain beholden to the original big company or single individual (as happened with Standard Oil), and they continue to maintain the monopoly despite the courts breaking it up.

The electric scooter impounding controversies.  It sounds like the problem is folks wanting profit without hassle or paperwork or licensing--until they discover that getting all those bits of offication on their side may help them in the long run.

It's not ideal when people don't put away their things.  It's not that different from throwing plastic shopping bags to the wind and not caring what happens to the environment.

Except in this case the scooters are several orders of magnitude more valuable than the shopping bags.

But how does someone impound 10,000+ electric scooters and yet the scooter companies don't believe they're on the hook for the impound fees?

Better yet, why doesn't the scooter company require people to drop off scooters at appropriate locations, with penalties for scooter users who don't drop them off responsibly?

Quantum Supremacy seems a moving target--one which we may not care about because it IS moving.  When "normal" computers become increasingly efficient and less expensive every second, why worry about whether an artificial milestone has been achieved?

One might extrapolate this into a future using reductio ad absurdum and say "we'll know we have quantum supremacy because our computers ask and answer the questions we thought we'd have asked, just to test to find whether they have reached the state of Quantum Supremacy."

Which might well be beyond the point at which humans (r any other organic programming entities) are rendered obsolete.

When the computer says "Here is the list of seemingly-original thoughts and questions you would have asked today or tomorrow or for the coming year--AND here are all their answers", then we have really undermined our ability to justify our existence.  We'll be like the clueless people from Wall-E who cannot move due to poor exercise and poor nutrition, who only can interact with a video screen, and who are fed mind-numbing pablum from a "benevolent" computer system.

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MVP
MVP

Happy, honored, and humbled to have been awarded the Microsoft MVP for the 11th consecutive year. -

Level 14

We should be Ok with the WhatsApp flaw.  Personal phones can't connect to the corporate network and corporate phones can only run a prescribed set of apps.  WhatsApp isn't one of them.

Level 14

I must be special.  I've never watched "Orange is the new Black".  Then again, I've never watched Netflix.    

Level 14

There's so much information about each and every one of us on the internet.  Anonymizing one set of data won't really help.

Level 14

I can imagine the  way the USA is divided up into small counties each running their own IT would make it very susceptible to hackers.  I can also imagine it is very difficult to force any sort of centralised security policies.  I guess the State of Emergency would allow the perpetrators to be shot on sight (I'd be OK with that).  I really don't like these people.  My job is hard enough without some scrotes making it harder. 

Level 14

I hope Amazon enjoy their market lead.  Novell dominated the server market until Microsoft decided to compete.  We all know that Novell had the better products but they lost.  Amazon will lose too unfortunately.

Level 14

Scooters aren't such a big problem in London as they are illegal to ride on the road or footpath.  Dockless bicycles on the other hand are everywhere.  At least the Boris Bikes have to be returned to a docking station or the rider loses their deposit.

Level 14

Quantum Supremacy.  Is that when the machines take over ?

Level 14

Congrats on the 11 years.

MVP
MVP

Why the WhatsApp Security Flaw Should Make Enterprise IT Nervous - Hmm

MVP
MVP

Netflix: 105 Mil Have Watched One ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Episode -

MVP
MVP

You’re very easy to track down, even when your data has been anonymized - this is bad

MVP
MVP

Louisiana declares state of emergency after ransomware attacks - perfect, being proactive

MVP
MVP

Amazon dominates IaaS cloud services market, small enterprises lose out - as expected

MVP
MVP

Why the dockless scooter industry is going after a repossessor and a bike shop owner -

MVP
MVP

Quantum Supremacy Is Coming: Here’s What You Should Know -

Level 11

Thanks for the articles.

About the Author
Thomas LaRock is a Head Geek at SolarWinds and a Microsoft® Certified Master, SQL Server® MVP, VMware® vExpert, and a Microsoft Certified Trainer. He has over 20 years experience in the IT industry in roles including programmer, developer, analyst, and database administrator.