Risk News

The 5 Most Important Technology Stories of 2011

"What happened during the past 12 months that will reverberate in 2012 and beyond?"

Annie's take:

These story picks from the staff of Government Technology are not necesarily the same as would be made on the private sector side, but they are certainly each worth reading about.

Are You at Risk? What Cybercriminals Do With Your Personal Data

"When hackers attack a company's systems and steal your personal data, what risk does that pose to you and other victims?"

Annie's take:

A sobering look at how much your personal data is worth on the open market. At least one study shows that 40% of those who receive pfishing emails will click through on a link and compromise their own data.

How to choose what you share with Google

"Google’s decision to unify 60 of its services under one privacy policy has set off renewed interest in how, exactly, Google account holders have their privacy settings configured."

Annie's take:

This article offers a mapping of the services that will be included in Google's new privacy policy, as well as the location of settings that allow the Google-ite to turn settings on or off. Just as with Facebook, it's probably a good idea to plan to spend time reviewing and adjusting your settings on a regular basis.

Social Media Just Won't Go Away

While there are some folks in public safety who embrace the idea, many others are still on the fence or down-right resistant to the whole concept.

Annie's take:

In the online chapter of Advice From A Risk Detective, I wrote about the enormous potential of social media for good, especially in helping to shoulder the communications load during disasters. Though Craig Fuguate, director of FEMA, is a walking example of how to effectively use social media, many in the emergency management profession still resist it. Here's a book, written especially for emergency managers, that could be persuasive.

Google to Update Privacy Policy to Cover Wider Data Use

Reading this article, I was struck by how few of us actually understand what is done with data we post on the Internet. Google+ is a service I signed up for but rarely use, at least at this point. But it is only one of a range of services connected with Google. When the new policy comes out, it will behoove each of us to read it.

Annie's take:

Reading this article, I was struck by how few of us actually understand what is done with data we post on the Internet. Google+ is a service I signed up for but rarely use, at least at this point. But it is only one of a range of services connected with Google. When the new policy comes out, it will behoove each of us to read it.

Delay in Satellites Could Jeopardize Severe Weather Forecasts

"2016 is looming as the year during which a gap in weather satellites could leave the nation without some of the severe storm data that’s vital to early warnings. "

Annie's take:

The last piece in Pittman's article is the most significant: when data was rerun without the satellite data input, the forecast was off by 50%. That's a graphic demonstration of how valuable the satellites are in forecasting severe weather. Funding the program as it has been designed should be continued.

The Big Bank Banker: Handle with Care

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock with the Geico gecko has likely noticed that the banking industry has been taking it on the chin for the past couple years.

Annie's take:

Every once in awhile an article comes along that nearly perfectly captures all of the issues around a single topic. This is one such article. Sommer has captured the key benefits and risks of bringing in a "big player."

‘Crisis Response and Disaster Resilience 2030: Forging Strategic Action in an Age of Uncertainty’

"FEMA has released a new document which looks at the future role of emergency and disaster management in the US."

Annie's take:

Whether you're in the public or privat sector, you'll want to review this new FEMA document.

Senators drop support of piracy bill after protests

"Support for two online piracy bills in Congress appeared to wane Wednesday after opponents of the legislation staged a dramatic protest in which vast swaths of the Web effectively went dark. "

Annie's take:

It's hard to see just yet what the effect of yesterday's technology campaign will be on members of Congress. At least it should be enough for them to reconsider both badly written antipiracy bills.

Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills

"With a Web-wide protest on Wednesday that includes a 24-hour shutdown of the English-language Wikipedia, the legislative battle over two Internet piracy bills has reached an extraordinary moment — a political coming of age for a relatively young and disorganized industry that has largely steered clear of lobbying and other political games in Washington."

Annie's take:

Take some time today to read the two anti-piracy bills as well as the reasons that so many organizations oppose both of time.

Wikipedia to Go Dark on Wednesday to Protest Bills on Web Piracy

"The wave of online protests against two Congressional bills that aim to curtail copyright violations on the Internet is gathering momentum."

Annie's take:

As I said yesterday, both anti-piracy bills are badly written and would cause un-thought-out consequences. Wednesday could be a lonely day on the Internet.

Bills to Stop Web Piracy Invite a Protracted Battle

"When the Obama administration announced on Saturday its opposition to major elements of two Congressional bills intended to curtail copyright violations on the Internet, the technology industry, which has been loudly fighting the proposed legislation, could declare victory."

Annie's take:

These are badly written bills, and this article lays out some of the ground that is being disputed in the discussion.

New Storage Device Is Very Small, at 12 Atoms

"Researchers at I.B.M. have stored and retrieved digital 1s and 0s from an array of just 12 atoms, pushing the boundaries of the magnetic storage of information to the edge of what is possible. "

Annie's take:

This is a major breakthrough. Storage and storage devices will become smaller and run with less power in the future.

Google launches personal search tool linked with social media

"Google is taking Googling yourself to a whole new level, by folding users’ personal data into Google search results."

Annie's take:

Thousands, perhaps millions, signed up for Google+, but don't have time or energy to post to the site. Now Google is upping the ante with its new personal search tool. Add that to a standoff with Twitter as to whether or not tweets should be indexed, and you have a whole new playing field.

But is this enough for Facebook users to move to Google+? It's hard to remember that there is still a whole world out there that does not know how to use Facebook or Twitter. Those who do use those sites would have to significantly modify their habits to also post to Google+, or to use it rather than Facebook.

National Preparedness Report : Browse Popular Ideas

"FEMA and its partners are working on the National Preparedness Report, which tracks the progress toward achieving the National Preparedness Goal and will help inform the President’s budget for preparedness efforts."

Annie's take:

Using the "ideashare" tool, you are invited to agree or disagree or to add your own ideas to the National Preparedness Report developed by FEMA and its partners. For some, this is as close as you'll ever get to using a social media tool. I'm delighted to see FEMA using this approach to collect additional data, and hope that you'll consider participating.

Banks Unite to Battle Online Theft

"Rising cybersecurity threats are pushing big banks to do something that doesn't come naturally for these secrecy-steeped institutions: share information with one another."

Annie's take:

The banking and financial sector has for years led other critical infrastructure sectors in this country where information security is concerned. It's been under seige for at least ten years from hackers, pfishers and now cyber-terrorists as well. The move to share information among institutions with a goal to reducing incidences of online theft is a logical next step.

The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives

"In it, he shared some of his research on what over 50 former high-flying companies – like Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rubbermaid, and Schwinn – did to become complete failures.  It turns out that the senior executives at the companies all had 7 Habits in common.  Finkelstein calls them the Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives."

Annie's take:

Sydney Finkelstein did this research and published it in 2004. Forbes reprinted it recently, and it is as relevant today as it was then. On the basis of my own work, I have to say that I believe he has all seven of these habits right.

Spam Finds New Target

"Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. are building up their forces to fight an emerging enemy: "social" spam."

Annie's take:

Our hope is that more people recognize "Get your free iPad here" as exactly what it is -- a form of spam.

Japan tasks Fujitsu with creating search-and-destroy cyber-weapon

"Fujitsu has been commissioned to develop ‘seek and destroy’ malware, reportedly designed to track and disable the sources of cyber-attacks."

Annie's take:

One hardly knows what to make of this development, especially since it is government-sanctioned. It is certainly worth tracking.

2012’s top stories…

"Continuity Central makes five predictions for the big issues that may impact the business continuity profession in 2012."

Annie's take:

Continuity Central is one of the world's most respected publications. Here, its editor David Honour makes big predictions for 2012.