Ransomware 101: What it is and how to protect yourself

Ransomware was once a blip on the cyber security radar, but times have changed: Ransomware attacks grew nearly 500 percent, to 3.8 million attacks, from 2014 to 2015.

Ransomware has been headline news ever since hospitals became big targets. One survey found that only 18 percent of hospitals haven’t been hit with ransomware attacks. But health care isn’t alone: Police departments, schools, and churches are all seeing ransomware attacks grow in frequency. Still, some organizations fail to protect themselves or are simply unaware of the threat ransomware poses. (more…)

What you need to know about SQL 2016 licensing

SQL licensing changesSQL 2016 was released on June 1 and licensing will remain mostly consistent for customers; however, there are a few changes that organizations must consider when purchasing or migrating to SQL 2016.

At a high level, there are three differences in licensing SQL 2016:

  • Reduction in SQL 2016 Edition options.
  • New license grant rules for migrating from SQL BI Servers to SQL Enterprise Servers.
  • A simplified virtual core licensing calculation to align with physical core models.

Compared to the SQL 2014 license models, this round of changes is less complex, but it will still have an impact on your organization. Let’s break down each of these adjustments and how to proceed. (more…)

Staff picks for the week of June 6, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralEvery day brings new innovations or developments in technology, and this week was no different. Catch up on what’s new in tech with our staff picks!

Microsoft finds cancer clues in search queries (Read by Camillia S.)

Microsoft scientists are making strides in e-health by using search engine queries as a way to possibly identify users suffering from pancreatic cancer. Researchers sifted through search data to determine which users may have been already diagnosed and then worked backwards by examining previous queries indicating possible symptoms. With this information, scientists aim to detect cancer quicker and more easily than a trip to the doctor. The data used was anonymous so there was no way to contact the users to determine if they have cancer or if they were searching on behalf of someone else, but researchers are confident that they’re onto something. I believe our online habits are quite telling and the earlier cancer is detected the better, so anything helps! (more…)

Staff picks for the week of May 30, 2016

Staff PicksIt was a short week following the Memorial Day holiday, but there’s plenty of tech news to highlight, from the escalating fight against ad blockers to a growing trend of cities accommodating “petextrians.” Catch up on these and more stories you might have missed with our staff picks!

Why you should delete the online accounts you don’t use anymore — right now (Read by Camillia S.)

Up until last Friday, your old social media account credentials weren’t worth anything, not even to you. You probably don’t remember the password anyway. But all of that changed when a data dump of over 33 gigabytes, consisting of 360 million MySpace usernames and passwords, was listed for sale. Hackers can use this information for phishing and to wreak other kinds of havoc. On Tuesday, MySpace announced that it has disabled all affected passwords so no one can gain access, so while you can’t go in and update your Top 8 right away, you should be able to change your password and delete your account for good. Unless you’re still into MySpace, in which case … no judgment. (more…)

What today’s IT security looks like in 3 charts

Internet Security Threat ReportThe 21st edition of Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) was released in April, detailing emerging trends such as the increase in malware, the rise of mega data breaches, and an uptick in ransomware.

The data presented in the ISTR comes from Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, which monitors threat activity in over 157 countries and is made up of 63.8 million attack sensors that record thousands of events per second.

The ISTR highlights some eye-opening security breakdowns: In 2015 alone, ransomware increased 35 percent, more than 100 million fake technical support scams had to be blocked, and vulnerabilities were found in 75 percent of all websites. And because the Internet of Things and smart devices are expected to grow to more than 20 billion units by 2020, the “insecurity of things” remains a huge risk.

A strong security strategy must be a top priority for organizations and their employees alike. Here are three areas in particular that deserve special focus. (more…)

Staff picks for the week of May 23, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralBefore you pack up and hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, take a look at our top tech picks for this week!

Boom makes your music sound boomin’ and/or slammin’ (Read by Camillia S.)

If you’re an audiophile, then this is the app for you. Boom for iOS adds some surround-sound quality to those flat MP3 music files on your phone. Instead of playing music through the Music app on the iPhone, you play it through Boom, which gives you a selection of effects including “3D surround sound simulation” and other boosters. If you’re like me and have been struggling to find a decent pair of headphones without having to shovel out a ton of money, then this app may be worth a try. (more…)

Staff picks for the week of May 16, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralHappy Friday! This week we’re talking origami robots, the benefits of buying used electronics, and more. Wrap up your week by checking out what’s new in technology with our staff picks!

Origami robot may operate from inside the body (Read by Camillia S.)

A tiny, foldable robot made out of dried pig intestine will soon be able to operate from inside the body — untethered. It’s swallowed as a capsule, which dissolves to allow the origami robot to unfold and get to work. Researchers are expecting the robot to be able to repair wounds or remove small objects that were accidentally swallowed. The demonstration looks like a Lego being jostled around a cavity, but is interesting nonetheless. If any advancement in science can help alleviate doctors’ stress and give them more time to tend to life-threatening matters, then I’m all for it! (more…)

Staff picks for the week of May 9, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralHappy Friday! Wrap up your week by checking out what’s new in technology with our staff picks!

These grad students didn’t know their teaching assistant was a robot (Read by Camillia S.)

I completed my grad school education last year, and after reading this article, I’m wondering if one of my online course instructors had some robotic assistance as well. Grad students at Georgia Tech were floored when they found out the teaching assistant (TA) they had been interacting with, named “Jill Watson,” was a robot created on the IBM Watson platform. The professor already had eight TAs, but with 300 students every semester and a whopping 10,000 messages in the online forum, the team needed a hand. A virtual one. This is just one more example of how AI is impacting our lives and how it’s here to stay. (more…)