Tag Archives: Business

Symantec Warns Against Small Business Vulnerabilities

Small businesses can benefit greatly by using the latest technologies to improve operational efficiency and innovation, but they can also open the door to a host of headaches. In the Symantec 2014 Small Business Trends Report, the leading IT-security company predicts continued consumer focus on privacy, and a growing “Internet of Things” (IOT) connected to more and more mobile devices which will have a direct impact on small businesses and they way they do business.

“Security researchers have already demonstrated attacks against smart televisionsmedical equipment, baby monitors and security cameras. Many of the companies building gadgets that connect to the Internet don’t even realize they have an oncoming security problem and therefore don’t have a friendly end-user method to patch these new vulnerabilities or notify customers when there is a vulnerability.”

Symantec.com

last ned

“From scary headline news to a much-needed wake-up call,” Symantec writes, not referring to anything in particular. But consumers focus will be on privacy in 201, the security company concludes. warning that many small businesses may wake up to a complete new reality.

“In 2014, we expect to see privacy protection emerge as a feature in new and existing products.  But this new feature will inevitably spark a debate on whether or not these features actually provide real or meaningful privacy protection,” Symantec writes in their “2014 Small Business Trends Report,” released in January.

Internet of Vulnerabilities

I think I would emphasise this one, thou:

“Our devices are getting smarter and so must we.  With millions of devices connected to the Internet—and in many cases running an embedded operating system—expect more hackers to be hacking in 2014.  Security researchers have already demonstrated attacks against smart televisionsmedical equipment, baby monitors and security cameras. Many of the companies building gadgets that connect to the Internet don’t even realize they have an oncoming security problem and therefore don’t have a friendly end-user method to patch these new vulnerabilities or notify customers when there is a vulnerability.  This poses serious and potentially debilitating problem for small businesses.”

READ: Proofpoint Report. Internet of Things Cyberattack

Trouble with social networking

“New social networks attract scammers and cybercriminals the more they grow in popularity. Consider Instagram, which now boasts more than 130 million users. Small businesses are leveraging the visual social network to share artistic photos and promotions to drive engagement, but some spammers are taking advantage of this trend with gift card offers to get sensitive information.”

Here’s the Symantec small business security advice for 2014:

  1. Consider the information you’re collecting on your consumers and whether it is necessary. Be transparent about why you’re collecting certain data, and you’ll establish a more trusting relationship with your customers.

  2. Consider the sensitivity of information accessed and stored via wearable tech in the workplace. Establish an “Internet of Things” employee policy about what can and cannot be used in the office or used to access your network.

  3. Carefully consider what social communities best fit your brand before creating a presence on all the latest social networks.

Full summary @ Symantec.com

And – by the way – here’s the latest Symantec Intelligence report:

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Filed under Laws and Regulations, Technology

Extreme Climate Turn Norway Into A Blowtorch (Extreme Photos)

This may very well be a strange side effect of the global climate change. Extreme dry weather this winter have turned the cost of Norway into a hazardous area that may ignites and burst into flames in a matter of seconds. Right now firefighters are trying to save another village from total destruction as nearly 100 buildings are lost,  but still hey are not able to control the wild-fire. Only one week ago 40 buildings were lost when another small Norwegian village suddenly burst into flames.

“Our theory is that sparks from power lines has started the fire, but that’s what we’re going to find out.”

Trude Skogen

nrk3

Criminal investigators are now arriving the burned-out village, Flatanger, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports Tuesday night. Increasing wind in the area have made fire even more difficult to manage and it is now threatening almost 140 buildings.

“We have begun questioning already. Tomorrow, crime technicians and tactical investigators will arrive to continue the research. Our theory is that sparks from power lines has started the fire, but that’s what we’re going to find out,” police prosecutor, Trude Skogen, says.

And hold it, right there.

Sparks from power lines? You mean those wires hanging over my head right now?

This seem to be the case, based on eye witness reports.

Løsly hanging power lines may have come in contact with each other and produced sparks that may have ignited the extreme dry grass, moss and heather below. Strong winds may have created the scary blowtorch effect.

State meteorologist confirms that the winter have been extremely dry along the Norwegian cost this year. Areas, usually covered in snow this time of year, is currently being blow dried in a way I have never seen before.

Another on of those “small prints” on the “Big Wall”?

If there’s anyone out there, who lives in another part of the world, but have seen or experienced something similar, please let me know.

Photos from:

 nrk.no

andrssa.no

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ONE WEEK AGO:

Something similar happened in the village, Lærdal, on the western coast of Norway. 40 buildings were lost.

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LATEST: 

News reports at 22:30 (Local time) says the firefighters has the fire under control. About 100 buildings are destroyed.

UPDATE:

On Wednesday morning local police says firefighters have lost control over the fire once again, as the fire hoses froze during the night.

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Filed under ecology, National Economic Politics, sustainable development

Another Stress Test – Another Media Circus

Hmm…must be that time of year, or something..  Anyway – European bankers are gearing up for another stress test. Yes, their third. But, hey! This time they promise to get it right.  The ECB has even hired the best external stress tester in the business to do the job.  US-based financial consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, a company who has a proven track record for coming up with the right numbers. However, not always the most accurate ones.

“This is the last opportunity to reestablish confidence in the European banking system.”

Jörg Asmussen

SLOVAKIA-ECB-DRAGHI

Stress testing of European banks is actually one of the most entertaining parts of the financial crisis. It’s almost hilariously funny to watch the troubled bankers desperately trying to cork a swiss cheese with a soft gun – the holes just multiply and keeps getting bigger.

sterss 1For every “the worst is over” statement, the laughter grows… We’ve gone from booing to cheering…

And the preparations for stress test #3 are also promising.

strress 4

Last week the ECB announced that it had hired the US-based consultancy firm, Oliver Wyman, to conduct the test.   These guys are no strangers to the European stress testing.

  • In 2006, it famously said the Anglo-Irish Bank was the best bank in the world. Three years later, the bank had to be nationalised and almost bankrupted the Irish state, which then needed a euro zone bailout.
  • In 2012, during the Spanish bank bailout, Oliver Wyman provided the euro zone decision-makers with the numbers they expected and which were politically acceptable – around €60 billion instead of a much larger gap that the banks actually had.
  • Also 2012, Oliver Wyman did consultancy work in the Portuguese bailout, according to the central bank of Portugal.

The EU observer writes:

“The worry in euro zone central banks, according to one insider, is that if banks are reviewed too thoroughly and their problems exposed, they will stop lending and revive the financial crisis.”

stress 2Thanks for carving it out, but I think we kinda guessed that already.

But there’s another factor in play this time.

You see, the ECB is planning to step up to the role as EU’s chief supervisor next year and I believe they want to know what they’re supposed to supervise.

stress 5The ECB plans to put 130 major European banks to the test before it assumes regulatory supervision of the institutions in the fall of 2014.

“This test is not a threat,” says Jörg Asmussen, former state secretary in the German Finance Ministry, now  a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB).

“But after two failed stress tests, this is the last opportunity to reestablish confidence in the European banking system.”

stress 3I’m sorry, but I think that ship sailed the moment you signed the deal with  Oliver Wyman, Mr. Asmussen.

Additionally, many substantial estimates have already been made over the potential magnitude of the gaps the test will uncover.

stress 7SPIEGEL Online reports that Deutsche Bank estimates that Europe’s banks will need €16 billion in additional capital. Depending on which criteria the ECB applies in its tests, the gap could be much bigger.

The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, has just estimated that the seven largest German banks alone need an additional €43 billion in capital to satisfy the new international capital requirements.

stress 8I don’t think any stress test dares to go higher than that!

A comparison with the United States gives indications on how bad shape the Europeans really are in.

US financial groups are reporting record profits, while banks in the euro zone have lost more than €80 billion ($108 billion) in the last two years. In the United States, 10 times as many ailing banks were closed and balance sheets were more consistently relieved of bad debt than in the euro zone.

stress 6

The European leaders seem to have  failed to adequately address their banking crisis.

But they won’t give up!

So, what can we expect in the next 8 to 10 months?

stress 10My guess is – for what it’s worth – is that we will see a slow, dramatic build-up. with ECB’ers and politicians lining up to give their pledges about the truth and nothing but the truth, followed by a series of suspicious leaks, causing some market turmoil and a little bit of liquidity squeeze, and by this time next year the ECB will take on the European banking supervision with a huge off-balance sheet and the uncertainty of the euro zone bank sector will be unchanged.

stress 11

And finally we start all over again with stress test #4.

We can party for ever!

 

Full history of European bank stress testing:

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