Tech News for May 23

Ransomware Infections Are Becoming an Epidemic

A computer scam making the rounds could cost you hundreds of dollars or the ability to access your most precious pictures and sensitive files. It’s called ransomware. It’s a type of malware that locks up computers or computer files and won’t allow users to access them unless they pay up. “It’s heartbreaking,” said Jeremy Buschine, the director of IT service and repair at ClickAway, a chain of computer repair shops headquartered in Silicon Valley. “It’s about as close to cyberterrorism as I’ve ever seen.”

[] 5/20

Cybersecurity investment to reach $400 million due to IoT threats

The cybersecurity industry could see a boost in venture capital, thanks to new threats the Internet of Things (IoT) provide to smart homes, autonomous cars, and future factories. Investment in cybersecurity rose by 78 percent in 2015 to $228 million and Lux Research expects it to reach $400 million this year, in part because of the rapid adoption of IoT devices. “Connected consumer and business products have begun flooding the market, but security has been an afterthought. The world now has to figure out how to secure the multitude of things that have recently become connected,” said Lux Research Vice President, Mark Bünger.

One Year After OPM Breach, Federal Cybersecurity Continues to Struggle

Despite repeated high-profile breaches, federal government continues to struggle with its job of keeping personal data and public infrastructure safe. Survey results released May 19 revealed a federal landscape struggling to keep up with cyberthreats or even to understand its own assets and infrastructure. According to The State of Cybersecurity from the Federal Cyber Executive Perspective report (PDF) released by KPMG and the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, 59 percent of federal workers say their agencies struggle to understand how cyber attackers could potentially breach their systems, while 40 percent said they were unaware where their key assets were located. About 65 percent said the federal government as a whole cannot detect ongoing cyber attacks.

[] 5/19

California’s Digital Innovation and Technology Engagement Office to Enhance Digital Services Delivery

The California Department of Technology’s new innovation lab will be a place where government can try unconventional or radical ideas that encourage experimentation, its director Scott Gregory says. “That may scare some folks — ‘radical’ and ‘unconventional’ in government. Those two don’t often reside in the same sentence or conversation. But we aim to do that,” Gregory said during a May 12 technology conference in Sacramento. The lab being launched within the Office of Digital Innovation and Technology Engagement is a space where users can experiment with open source code via Redhat OpenStack. It will will be housed in the state’s private cloud.

[] 5/20

California: Public Records Should Be Public Domain

The public domain status of federal government works is enshrined in the Copyright Act. Until now California has followed the same core principle—documents, pamphlets, photos, videos, and datasets produced by the state are public domain. A.B. 2880, a bill quickly moving in the legislature, would overturn that idea, allowing governments—at the state, county, and local level—to exercise copyright restrictions on the materials they produce. This bill threatens government transparency and sets the stage for censorship and suppression of public information.

[] 5/23

IBM Adds Nvidia’s Tesla M60 GPU Accelerators to Its Cloud

IBM officials for more than a year have turned to Nvidia’s GPU accelerators to boost the system in its cloud computing environment. The massive tech vendor last year brought Nvidia’s Tesla K80 and Tesla K10 GPUs into the IBM Cloud to make it easier and faster to run such complex high-performance computing (HPC) workloads as data analytics and deep learning. IBM officials this week said they now are offering the graphics-chips maker’s Tesla M60 GPU in the cloud to enable users to run virtual desktop applications more quickly and more affordably.

[] 5/20

STEM Diversity Can Rescue Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity workers are in high demand but short supply – and a panel of tech professionals on Thursday discussed how to get more students interested in that field and to prepare hiring managers to recognize qualified women and minority candidates. National Security Agency Deputy Director Rick Ledgett said during the “New World Cybersecurity Threats: STEM to the Rescue” discussion at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference that his agency hires about 1,500 people every year, including 800 from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. These are selected out of the 90,000 applications the agency receives every year, he said, but the traditional lack of interest in those sciences among women and minorities “limits the pool a little bit.”

[] 5/20

Technology Drives Open Government Initiatives

As technology becomes more pervasive in daily life, ordinary citizens are looking to government to use the same tools to meet the growing demand for increased transparency. When it comes to using technology to drive open (or transparent) government, citizens have so far been less than impressed by what they’ve seen, according to the Pew Research Center’s study, “Americans’ Views on Open Government Data.” Just 7 percent of respondents said local governments share their data very effectively, and only 19 percent could think of an example where the local government did a good job providing information to the public about data it collects.

[] 5/23

California’s tech industry is headed toward a new frontier

California technology companies are poised to take the lead in developing new anti-drone and gun safety tools for the federal government – adding another layer of complexity to the West Coast industry’s relationship with East Coast intelligence agencies. The demand for a technological solution known as “geo-fencing” stems from concerns that arose in 2015, after drone hobbyists brazenly flew their hovercraft over wildfires during the fire season. Their zeal for filming the blaze interfered with the ability of firefighting aircraft to douse the deadly flames with water and fire retardant. That year Rep. Adam Schiff, a Burbank, California, Democrat who’s the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member, called on the Federal Aviation Administration to finalize rules for drone operators so that they are deterred from interfering with the duties of emergency response personnel.

[] 5/21

May 2016 IT Procurement Update

Here’s a quick snapshot of active bid opportunities TechWire is following this month. View our Bids page for more information about these and other opportunities in California government.

[] 5/23

Gore: Dynamic Ag Tech Disruption Shapes Irrigation Practices

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program … even the acronym is cumbersome, ILRP. Ag and food tech entrepreneurs need to know about ILRP – about the bureaucratic infighting, the growers’ fears and the implications for on-farm technology businesses.  About how it illustrates your business sector and the useful lessons to be learned. This is the second part of my two-part blog on dynamic ag tech disruption as manifesting at the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).

[] 5/23

Red Hat Shares Could Rise 30% In a Year

Red Hat shares could rise 30% in a year as more companies use its server software, according to a report on Sunday in the financial publication Barron’s. Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat RHT 2.23% , which distributes an open source computer system known as Linux, is growing its apps business which generated roughly 15% of annual revenue last year.

[] 5/22

Assembly Subcommittee Approves Funding for Online Business Filing System

An initiative by the Secretary of State to replace its antiquated business filing process with an automated, online service has won preliminary budget approval in the Assembly. The Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on Thursday voted 4 to 1 in favor of the administration’s $2.6 million request to fund the suspended IT project, which advocates say will improve customer experience and reduce the state’s operational costs. The online system, known as Business Connect, is intended to enable the Secretary of State to process documents within a few hours, allowing business to quickly open their doors, create bank accounts, acquire loans, hire employees and generate income, according to a committee analysis.

[] 5/23


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