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You may arrive at some conflicting conclusions about reported cyber attacks in recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by some of the largest companies in the nation.

Of the 27 largest U.S. companies (by revenue) that reported cyber attacks to the SEC, all of them stated they suffered no major financial losses from the intrusions, according to Bloomberg.

Almost half the companies (12)—which included Amazon, AT&T and Verizon—reported the cyber attacks on their systems “had no material impact” on the companies. Another, Citigroup, reported it suffered “limited losses and expenditures” from Internet bandit activity.

Note: corporations have been known to keep their cards close to their vest when it comes to reporting about intrusions into their computer systems

BloombergOnly one major corporation of this small group of 27 told the SEC that cyberattacks to the business were damaging.

The reports by these companies suggest that much of the controversy being generated in the public debate over American intellectual property being ransacked by foreign powers and cyber criminals may be more steam than flame.


A number of high-profile cyber attacks in recent weeks against the U.S. Federal Reserve, a number of large domestic banks and several large media outlets have raised the severity of the issue of net intrusions in the public consciousness. President Obama issued an executive order in February designed to better protect businesses and critical infrastructure from net assaults on their systems.

However, what companies are reporting to the SEC appears to contradict all the red-flag waving in Washington and other quarters about cyber attacks.

“I find it remarkable that only 27 companies disclosed they were targeted,” Chris Petersen, founder and CTO of LogRhythm, a network security solutions provider in Boulder, Colo. told PCWorld.

“Every piece of evidence that’s out there right now points to the fact than 100 out of 100 are certainly being targeted,” he maintained.

However, he pointed out that what’s “material” to these companies could have a high threshold.

“A million, two million, three million dollars is in the realm of immaterial for these organizations,” he said.

SEC requirements

The SEC adopted guidelines for company reporting of cyber attacks and their threat to a business in October 2011. Those guidelines instruct companies to disclose cyber incidents “if these issues are among the most significant factors that make an investment in the company speculative or risky.”

Critics of the SEC guidelines say the agency needs to pry more information about cyber attacks from companies. The SEC told Bloomberg that its guidelines are working.

However, the SEC has had to ask some companies—including Amazon, Comcast and Verizon—to submit more information about cyber attacks in their more recent filings with the agency than they did in 2011, Bloomberg reported.

Better defenses?

While Bloomberg’s findings may be a narrow view of the cyber attack landscape, it contains some positive news for system defenders, according to Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve known for a long time that large enterprises have been doing a better job at defending themselves,” he told PCWorld.

“So to see some of the largest brands in the world being able to resist attacks or mitigate their impact, is a good sign,” he asserted.

Nevertheless, he added: “There’s a huge arena of small- and medium-sized enterprises which are extremely vulnerable. Sometimes they’re attacked to get a backdoor into these larger enterprises that are more defended.”

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3 Strategies Defending Tech Companies Against Cyber Threats

It’s no secret that the risk associated with cyber-threats facing organizations of all shapes and sizes is growing. Remember that time CBS News reported that a hospital in Washington, D.C. was thrown back into the pre-computer, paper-based age by an attack on their central computer system? The final paragraph of the article reports something incredibly scary for anyone that has electronic medical records (read: everyone in the United States that’s ever seen a doctor):

“Computer security of the hospital industry is generally regarded as poor, and the federal Health and Human Services Department regularly publishes a list of health care providers that have been hacked with patient information stolen.”

In the tech industry, which provides security software and cloud-based solutions to help prevent these kinds of attacks, everyone can benefit from the trend towards stronger workplace security practices. Here are three forms of cyber defense:

Regular Password Resets

I know, this one has been around forever, but it seems like it’s becoming less and less common in today’s workplace. Unfortunately, even with all of the programs that automatically require a password change every few months, chúng tôi reports: “Only 56 percent of employees surveyed are confident that their password usage habits in the workplace are secure.”

To create secure passwords, have employees use a random password generator (like Keeper). The best systems allow employees to automatically update and store randomly generated passwords in the cloud. This makes using a password that isn’t easy to remember a more user-friendly experience.

Securing Data Transmission with VPN Services

Everyone understands that antivirus software is important for cyber defense. But what’s the primary motivation for thieves to create viruses in the first place? They want your data. And your data doesn’t just exist inside your computer. Your private information is also transmitted around the globe whenever your computer connects to the internet.

Thieves can monitor the information leaving your computer to both track your internet usage history, and potentially intercept the information you send and receive. To combat this threat to data that is transmitted over the internet, companies and consumers are using Modulating IP VPN Topology. This improved VPN cyber defense technology changes the IP address (your computer’s public name on the internet) that’s sent to the websites you access every time you connect.

In addition, the information that’s transmitted is re-encrypted by the VPN server. This means that (1) websites can’t track your individual activity, (2) thieves attempting to attack your computer’s connection to the internet have difficulty maintaining a connection to your PC, and (3) the information they might get their hands on will be unreadable.

Clean State Computer Reboots

Another fantastic way to secure your PC is by launching from a secured system-image. Corporate PCs that ran Windows XP and Vista used to use a feature called “Windows SteadyState.” This feature would restore the entire system to a prior known state. This meant that any program or software that nefariously installed itself on a computer could be wiped away with a simple reboot.

Today, you’ll find cyber defense software like Reboot Restore RX and Steadier State offering similar features for Windows 7, 8 and 10 PC’s.

Macos 10.15 May Be Called Mammoth

Apple has used a variety of names to help spruce up its desktop operating system’s naming scheme over the years. We’ve seen animals like Snow Leopard in the past, but, more recently, Apple has stuck to natural landscapes located in California. The last release, macOS Mojave, followed right along with that idea, and we may see it continue this year.

MacRumors has a look at just some of the potential options that Apple could use with its next major version of macOS. The report is based on an initial outlook of trademark names that Apple gobbled up years ago. The California-related names have started to dwindle down now, reduced from the original 19 to just a handful.

Apple’s initial move back in 2013 made sure to protect 19 different names under six different company names that appear to be shell companies of Apple. Some haven’t been used, while others, including Mojave, Yosemite, and Sierra, have been.

Over the years, the trademark review process has played out for all of these applications, with most being subject to some form of back-and-forth between the applicants and examiners involving various approvals, denials, and suspensions. Even for approvals, however, owners are required to submit proof of the trademarks being used in commerce. This Statement of Use can be submitted up to 36 months after trademark approval, as long as the applicant regularly requests successive 6-month extensions to the original 6-month submission period.

The names that Apple hasn’t used, many of the remaining options have been abandoned altogether. However, there are four options that are currently live: Mammoth, Rincon, Monterey, and Skyline. Each of these options are equally possible, but it looks like Mammoth has a pretty good shot at being the next name for macOS.

According to the original report, the trademark application for Mammoth was just renewed earlier this month. Over the years since the initial application, this particular trademark has seen delays and even a suspension. However, it’s now active again, thanks to the company Yosemite Research LLC. This current application was approved on May 7, following no opposition to the filing back in March of this year.

Mammoth would make sense, as it probably has ties to Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Lake, popular destinations for outdoor activities in California. That would certainly line up with the previous macOS names that Apple has gone with in years past, celebrating California as a whole.

Monterey, another option, is a historic town on the Pacific coast, while Rincon is a popular area amongst surfers in Southern California. And, finally, Skyline could be related to the Skyline Boulevard which follows the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Any one of these options could be a solid pick for Apple, so it’s not easy to pick any one option right now.

We don’t have long to wait before we find out. Apple is kicking off this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 3. That’s where we will see the keynote, where Apple executives and others will announce the new platforms and new features.

Speaking of features for the upcoming macOS 10.15, we’ve heard in the past that the platform will have more options for authentication with the Apple Watch, beyond just unlocking a computer. In addition, Screen Time, Shortcuts, and more features could be coming to the next major version of macOS as well.

So, Mammoth seems like a solid choice! But, what do you think? If you don’t like any of these four options, what do you think Apple should go with for the next macOS name?

How May Bias Be Found In Current Ai Algorithms?

Each stage of the AI process has the potential to inject bias into algorithms in different ways

While businesses cannot completely remove bias from their data, they may greatly minimize bias by putting in place a governance framework and hiring a more diverse workforce. It’s in our human nature to be biased. Each of us has distinct viewpoints, interests, and likes and dislikes. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that these biases can be detected in data.

Biased data can lead to distorted or incorrect machine learning (ML) models if left unchecked. Organizations may better understand their customers, manage their resources, streamline processes, and respond to ongoing market changes with the use of data. This data is more crucial than ever as businesses use AI and ML more and more.

Data can, however, also inject biases into ML models, and these biases might be challenging to identify. Each stage of the AI process has the potential to inject bias into algorithms in different ways. From data gathering efforts to data processing, analysis, and modeling, each stage brings a unique set of difficulties and chances for unintentional bias introduction into an ML model, training data set, or analysis.

Businesses need to be aware of the various biases in their data that could find their way into their machine-learning models. Organizations may identify and possibly fix some of the problems causing skewed, erroneous, or unsuitable outcomes for the machine learning models by understanding the different types of bias that may present.

Many contemporary businesses gather data in both organized and unstructured formats, in a variety of formats or modalities, including numerical, graph, text, image, and audio data. Bias can be introduced into the data collection process employed by businesses, and it can also be present in the language used in each of these many data forms. For instance, erroneous input data from a mislabeled graph may result in skewed results from a machine learning model.

Data collection frequently contains biases that cause some groups or categories to be overrepresented or underrepresented. This is particularly true when several data sets are merged to be used in aggregate. For smaller datasets, anomalies can be detected, but for larger datasets with millions or billions of data points, anomalies are very challenging to detect.

As a result, the models have bias, preferring or disfavoring particular data categories. When some data types are overrepresented in the data or, conversely, when other datasets are undervalued relative to their actual incidence in real-world data collection, modeling bias can happen.

How to identify data bias?

Even when factors like gender, color, locality, and sexual orientation are eliminated, AI systems learn to make conclusions based on training data, which can include biased human decisions or reflect historical or social imbalances.

Businesses can more effectively identify and remove bias in their data by recognizing common data biases. In all stages of their data pipeline, organizations should consider ways to minimize the likelihood of skewed data sets.

Since not all data have an equal representation of the data pieces, there are various opportunities for bias to be introduced during the data collection process. Some sources might offer data that is insufficient, while others might not accurately reflect the real world or your modeling data set.

Biases can also be introduced during data processing, including data preparation and data labelling. The replacement of outdated or duplicate data is a part of data preparation. Businesses run the danger of unintentionally eliminating critical data, even though this might assist remove unnecessary data from training sets. Data anonymization, which removes personally identifiable information like a person’s ethnicity or gender, contributes to privacy protection and makes it more challenging to identify or correct bias based on those variables.

Adding labels to unstructured data enables a computer to interpret and comprehend it. This technique is known as data labelling. Data labelling, however, depends on both people and technology. A human data labeler may add bias to the data if they incorrectly label a picture or use their own judgment when translating or tagging. Organizations should make sure they have established checks and balances and don’t rely only on one system or data labeler for all human-based data labelling decisions in order to reduce errors.

On The Farm, Algae May Be The New Corn

Nothing quite beats the taste of corn of the cob in summer or the delightful yellow offering of a true succotash. For centuries, corn has been a staple in North American diets and continues to be a primary choice for meals whether in its native form or processed, such as corn flakes.

Apart from human uses, corn makes up the majority of feed for livestock. At one point, over 95% of the feed grains grown in the United States were based on corn. It’s no surprise then that in 2023 alone, some 89.2 million acres will be grown in the United States. This represents around 40% of all the corn grown worldwide.

But corn has seen a decline due to a number of factors. Crops have been hard hit by climate change. Higher temperatures have led to decreased yields and less overall abundance. As a result, the value of corn has dropped since 2012. This has put additional pressure on farmers, suggesting they may have to forego corn and look to other crops to maintain viability. This could harm corn stocks and hinder food security.

There may be an answer to the corn dilemma, but to find it, one has to look not in the prairies but the sea. Within the salty brine are algae. These microorganisms, once believed to be primordial plant species, are nutrient-making machines. They are known to produce high levels of antioxidants and also a variety of essential fatty acids. Some companies have even seen their algal-derived products make it to market.

But extraction may not be the only benefit behind these waterborne creatures. The use of the entire organism as a food source has been suggested for decades. Back in the 1960s, trials of algae-based diets revealed the idea wasn’t all that bad. They were nutritious, provided all the right dietary ingredients. Their bitterness shocked at first, but was eventually tolerated.

Little has been done in the last five decades as there have been few reasons to explore this option. But the decline in corn has once again raised the algae idea. This time, however, the target isn’t humans but livestock.

The use of algae in feed has been tested sporadically with fairly good results. In cattle, algae helped to increase the level of essential fatty acids in milk. In sheep, overall health improved. Even chickens seem to gain some benefit from algae in their feed. The idea has become so popular there is a push to develop policies for their inclusion in all forms of agriculture.

Despite the overall improvement of animal health, algae have traditionally been seen as a supplement rather than a major constituent. But that may change thanks to an American team of researchers. Earlier this year, they published a study in which they used algae as a replacement for corn. The results showed these microorganisms may one day help to improve food security by keeping corn out of animal feed and keeping it solely for humans.

The algal mass was mixed with soy hulls and hay to make an appetizing mix for the steers. The group tested varying concentrations of the algal supplement in combination with lower levels of corn or wet gluten from corn (a byproduct of distillation). In the most extreme condition, the algal mass was 45% of the feed with corn being only 16%. In the gluten experiment, the ratio of algae to the wet mass was 45% to 35%.

At first, the team conducted experiments in the lab to determine whether the new diet would be actually digestible. It was. This allowed them to continue the experiments with the steers. They tested a variety of factors including actual dry mass consumed including crude protein and fiber levels as well as daily weight gain.

The experiments revealed the animals didn’t mind algae but they have their limits. When the algal concentration was 30%, they ate it up readily. When the concentration was 45%, however, they were less likely to choose the meal. This wasn’t a hit on the algae but rather how it was made. In this study, the algal mass was dried and de-oiled, making it very dry. For the steers, this might have been a little too dry for their tastes. By adding water to the mix, the amount of food consumed increased. In the gluten experiments, because moisture was already present, this dietary preference wasn’t observed.

As for the nutritional value, weight gain was comparable to corn save for the 45% algae option. In this case, the animals did better than those fed solely corn. The most benefit from the algae came when it was mixed with the wet gluten. This suggests the two could work together to improve nutrition for the animals.

The authors suggested the results of this study offer a viable option for reducing if not eliminating raw corn usage in feeds. The results show steers can do quite well with algae and the waste from corn distillation. This could help to reduce the strain on corn supplies and leave the raw food for more human purposes.

Insider Threats Giving It Execs Nightmares

A network engineer at a Kansas City company says he’s just as worried

about threats to his company’s network coming from inside the corporate

walls than he is about any hacker busting through the perimeter.

”Once you’re already inside that firewall, you’re considered trusted,”

says Josh Herr, network engineer at Ladlaw Transit Services, an

outsourcing company that handles bus scheduling and routing services.

”You’ve always got to worry… We’re in the process of putting firewalls

between the front end and the back end of the system to alleviate that

concern. The back-end system will have a completely separate firewall

network. It will keep people internally from getting through.”

According to a new survey, Herr isn’t alone in his concerns.

Sixty-nine percent of 110 senior executives at Fortune 1,000 companies

say they are ‘very concerned’ about insider network attacks or data

theft, according to a study by Caymas Systems, a network security

technology firm based in San Jose, Calif. And 25 percent say they are so

concerned they can’t sleep at night, Sanjay Uppal, a vice president at

Caymas Systems, told eSecurityPlanet.

Only 13 percent says they are not worried at all.

And Uppal says if they’re not, they should be.

”I think they should definitely be worried,” he adds. ”The people who

are not worried just haven’t been hit yet. They have a false sense of


What’s worrying Herr is the number of outside contractors who are on his

network. ”A lot of [the worry] is about the people who are coming into

our network for short periods of time, such as auditors and

contractors,” says Herr. ”We’re not in charge of those PCs.”

Uppal claims 30 percent of people who come in and work on your average

network every day are temporary workers. And that brings up specific

threat concerns. But he also says that IT and security administrators

should not forget about permanent workers and the havoc they can wreak.

After all, who knows better where critical information is stored or what

the boss’ password might be, than someone who works in the company?

And if a worker is unhappy about not receiving a bonus or feels slighted

for any other reason, she just might be disgruntled enough to want to

cause the company some serious damage.

”As we can see in the media more and more, the concept of a company

really taking care of its people — that bond is less and less secure,”

says Uppal. ”If a company doesn’t take care of its people, then the

workers won’t have that much loyalty either.”

Security from the Inside

Uppal says insider security threats definitely need to be dealt with…

and quickly. But it’s not an easy problem to solve.

”People coming from the outside all come from one place,” he explains.

”People on the inside are coming in from many many places — the

conference room, their desks, at home on their laptops. It’s actually a

problem that’s not all that easy to tackle.”

The first step, according to Uppal, is to reign in the temporary workers

and people who are coming in as guests to the company. ”Someone might

come in for a meeting, find an open jack in a conference room, then plug

in, and they’re off and running,” he says. ”People should install

barriers or hurdles, access controls on the network. The software would

scan the laptop and then realize it’s not an authorized machine. It would

then ask for a user name and password to distinguish that this person

should not be there.”

Uppal also recommends that workers should be limited as to what parts of

the network they can access. Someone working in production shouldn’t be

able to access financials. And someone working in the financial

department, should be able to access personnel records and reviews.

”We hear a lot about viruses or hackers coming in through the

perimeter,” Uppal says. ”We don’t hear what’s going on inside the

network. People don’t want to admit that it’s a problem.”

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