How small businesses can defend against cyberattacks

Could you afford to lose $117,000? According to one estimate, that’s how much a digital data breach can cost a small business. Add to that startling number the fact that it takes an average of three days to stop a cyberattack, and the potential financial and operational damage becomes worryingly real.

“All of a sudden you’re bouncing checks because you thought you had a couple thousand dollars in your account,” Green Bay Police Department Capt. Jeremy Muraski explained while discussing the fallout for a local business that found itself in a hacker’s crosshairs. “All your bills go out, get paid, but there’s no money to support it, so then you have a bunch of creditors after you. So it leaves kind of a trail of destruction in its wake, for sure.”

Cyberattacks on small businesses are on the rise: In 2017, a shocking 61 percent of U.S. small businesses surveyed said they’d been a target of a cyberattack, compared with 55 percent in 2016. The most common security problem? Phishing and other forms of social engineering, usually involving a criminal posing as a legitimate organization who tries to obtain sensitive information, such as a password, through an email, text, or phone call. For the businesses surveyed, the costs of repairing the damage from a successful attack was high: more than $1 million.

Of course, big companies are at risk, too. But cybersecurity “represents an especially pernicious threat to smaller businesses,” a report from the Securities and Exchange Commission states. “The reason is simple: Small and mid-size businesses are not just targets of cybercrime; they are its principal target.”

Bigger businesses have their cyber acts together, with security policies and protocols in place, so cybercriminals are turning their attention to smaller, more vulnerable, enterprises. On top of this, smaller operations are less likely to be able to afford full-time cybersecurity staffers. This makes it harder to both diagnose potential weaknesses and find the cause of an attack when there is one.

Without the luxury of a board or teams of lawyers and consultants, startups need to know how to protect corporate information, intellectual property, and confidential data. But it seems small businesses aren’t yet taking this issue seriously enough. A loss of $117,000 may not be a big problem if a company has the right insurance in place, but just 21 percent of …read more

Source:: The Week – Tech


Boeing CEO Says He’s Considering Launching a Rocket to Bring Back Rival Elon Musk’s Tesla

Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg highlighted the company’s deep roots in space exploration with a playful jab at up-and-comer Elon Musk.

The aerospace titan doesn’t plan to launch cars into the heavens anytime soon, Muilenburg said at a Politico Space Forum. But “we might pick up the one out there and bring it back,” he said.

It was an apparent dig at the cherry-red Tesla Roadster, with a mannequin astronaut behind the wheel, that Musk launched into space on the first flight of Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket in early February.

The budding rivalry between the companies is anything but playful, however. Musk’s SpaceX is remaking rocketry by undercutting established rivals such as United Launch Alliance, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin Corp. venture, with low prices and reusable rocket boosters that tamp down costs. Musk has also outlined an audacious agenda for colonizing Mars, stoking Muilenburg’s competitive fire over who would build the first rocket to reach the planet.

Boeing, which has been building spacecraft since the 1960s, has intensified its investment in advanced space technology under Muilenburg, 54, an engineer by training and the rare Fortune 50 CEO who is a company lifer.

Space Investments

There’s the Phantom Express, an experimental reusable craft that Boeing is developing with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to air launch small satellites. Then there’s the support from Boeing’s venture-capital arm for an Australian maker of nanosatellites. On Wednesday, Boeing announced an in Reaction Engines, a U.K. company developing a hybrid engine capable of flying at Mach 25 for space flight.

Boeing and SpaceX are also working on rival commercial capsules to take humans into orbit under a National Aeronautics and Space Administration program that aims to end the U.S. reliance on Russian rockets to send astronauts to orbit. Both companies are behind schedule as they race to begin flights to the International Space Station before NASA runs out of purchased seats aboard Soyuz craft at the end of 2019.

The CEOs are training their sights on travel to Mars, as well, in what could become the ultimate space race. SpaceX is assembling tools for an enormous rocket nicknamed the BFR. Boeing is a subcontractor for the Space Launch System, a new, government-funded rocket family. And Muilenburg thinks NASA should take the lead and leave industry to focus on commercializing space travel closer to Earth.

With the first of the powerful spacecraft under construction, Muilenburg, sees …read more

Source:: Time – Technology


In Defense of Using Your Phone on the Toilet

The most famous toilet-reader in literature is surely Leopold Bloom, hero of James Joyce’s Ulysses. After a slightly burnt fried kidney breakfast, Bloom heads to his outhouse where, “asquat on the cuckstool,” he relieves himself while perusing a story from a cheap magazine. His business done, Bloom wipes himself with a torn-off scrap of the story.

A century after Joyce penned this evocative but humanizing episode, reading in the bathroom continues to be a dubious activity. Historically, some psychoanalysts have argued that it is a sign of abnormality. Medical authorities tell us that it exposes us to gastrointestinal problems and fearsome germs. Social critics contend that it signifies a mind or a culture out of balance — particularly in an age when our phones seem to have become fused to our bodies as needy new appendages, demanding constant and compulsive attention. But despite the taboo, toilet reading remains stubbornly popular.

What gives? Should toilet readers yield to the call of decency and hygiene, and give up their troublesome habit? Or should they read on without shame?

Let’s first consider the psychoanalysts, two of whom have explored why people might be driven to read on the loo. The American analyst Otto Fenichel determined in 1937 that “reading in the water-closet” is a passion of people with early childhood fixations. Reading is an act of incorporation, so toilet reading is “an attempt to preserve the equilibrium of the ego; part of one’s bodily substance is being lost and so fresh matter must be absorbed through the eyes.” Only the unbalanced would feel the need to fill their head while emptying their bowels.

James Strachey, Sigmund Freud’s English translator, agreed. He argued in 1930 that light reading of the sort that toilet readers prefer — few tackle modernist novels, after all — is essentially infantile. “The blissful absorption, the smooth, uninterrupted enjoyment, that characterize the mental states of the novel-reader … suggest … that their nourishment is liquid and that they are sucking it in.” Reading, writes Strachey, “is a way of eating another person’s words,” so people who read on the toilet are reading the words excreted metaphorically by an author at the same time as they excrete literally.

Fanciful ideas about the unconscious meanings of toilet reading aside, there is no evidence that its practitioners are abnormal. Studies consistently show that large fractions of humanity admit to reading …read more

Source:: Time – Technology