This Week In Tech And Telco: Giving Privacy To The People

Welcome back to This Week In Tech And Telco. What’s in store for you today?

There has been lots of movement by key players over the past two weeks, so let's run through some key changes and new features we’ll be seeing from big tech in the near future. We’ve still got a month to wait before hearing Apple’s big plans, but let's look at Facebook and Google. So grab a coffee, get comfortable, and get reading.

Tablet on a newspaper
Get settled and get reading tech and telco news. Photographer: Matthew Guay | Source: Unsplash

Facebook is always talking privacy

I know this one is a little outdated, in the fact it happened over a week ago, but there’s just so much important news to keep you updated with what we missed it last week.

Facebook isn’t playing the privacy game very well, and Zuckerberg isn’t trying to dodge the issue anymore. He opened F8 with: “I know we don’t have the strongest reputation on privacy right now,” … “But I’m committed to doing this well and starting a new chapter for our products.”

  • Facebook groups are being pulled to the center of the social network. New features will let members within groups to anonymously post questions and share information. It also rolled out–to the US, other countries will see it later–a new template for professional groups to post jobs on the platform, allowing members to message employer and apply through the app.
  • Messenger is seeing some big changes with a faster mobile app, an all-new desktop app–assumingly similar to that of Whatsapp–, and some new features for business users. Most notably, the desktop app will allow users to host group video calls, and for businesses, it created an automated system that allows customers to book an appointment through either Messenger.
  • For businesses on Whatsapp, the company rolled out product catalogs, allowing customers to view a list of products within the chat. It also allows customers to purchase an item directly within the app. The payments feature is testing in India and will be available in a “number of countries” this year.
F8 2019 Keynote, key points condensed into 12 minutes.

Google promises to make it easier to protect your privacy

Privacy is a common theme across tech giants at the moment. Following Facebook’s supposed shift to “the digital living room”, Google has also announced several new privacy-focused features at its annual I/O conference.

The announcements:

  • Google is expanding “Incognito mode” to its maps app and the search bar in smartphones. This will stop activity within these services being saved.
  • A new “auto-delete” feature will let you set a time limit for how long Google saves your activity. Google does, however, warn users that Assistant relies upon data to serve you better.
  • Google has promised to make it easier to access your privacy settings—from your profile photo.
  • It said it would limit cookies as part of measures to reduce the pervasive tracking we’re all subject to online.

What about other features?

  • Google Assistant–using the company’s Duplex technology–will now make phone calls on your behalf. If you want to book an appointment at a restaurant, Google Assitant will do it, and send you a confirmation notification.
  • New Google News will give you key 5 stories right at the top when you open the app. This will feature big headlines, local news, YouTube videos, and more.
  • Okay, this one is a cool one. Starting next week, Google Lens will be integrated right into the camera app of Google Pixel and other Android phones. New features for Lens include smart text selection, which will help the phone camera understand words. Is this the first native push for augmented reality we’ve seen?
Google I/O 2019 condensed into 13 minutes.

Key takings from the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)

The annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) collates information from more than 2,000 confirmed breaches that hit large and small organizations all over the world. Here are the key points that you need to know from the 2019 publication:

  • Financial gain remains the most common motivate behind data breaches (71%)
  • 43% of breaches occurred at small businesses
  • A third (32%) of breaches involved phishing
  • The nation-state threat is increasing, with 23% of breaches by nation-state actors
  • More than half (56%) of data breaches took months or longer to discover
  • Ransomware remains a major threat, and is the second most common type of malware reported
  • Business executives are increasingly targeted with social engineering, attacks such as phishing\BEC
  • Crypto-mining malware accounts for less than 5% of data breaches, despite the publicity it didn’t make the top ten malware listed in the report
  • Espionage is a key motivation behind a quarter of data breaches
  • 60 million records breached due to misconfigured cloud service buckets
  • Continued reduction in payment card point of sale breaches
  • The hacktivist threat remains low, the increase of hacktivist attacks report in DBIR 2012 report appears to be a one-off spike.
telco and tech news - hacking is on the rise
Quick response to breaches is critical. Photographer: Jefferson Santos | Source: Unsplash

Cisco beefs up malware security in WAN

But increased cyber threats are to be expected with the rise of virtualization and software-defined business. If you use Cisco services, much of the hard work may be done for you.

Product marketing manager Patrick Vitalone said SD-WAN customers are now able to sandbox and block standard polymorphic and file-less malware across wide area networks with a few clicks on the console. AMP works with Cisco's Viptela SD-WAN technologies.

According to Vitalone, AMP for Networks in Cisco SD-WAN uses integrated preventative engines and signature-based antivirus solutions to stop malicious attachment and file-less malware before they can be executed.

The company also said Cisco's hardware SD-WAN platforms, such as the 1000 and 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers, are purpose-built and enhanced with proprietary, embedded defenses to provide SD-WAN connectivity and protection.

Cisco SD-WAN uses integrated preventative engines and signature-based antivirus solutions.

Still have time? Here's what's up in telco:

  • Amazon entrepreneur Jeff Bezos has unveiled a mock-up of a new lunar lander spacecraft that aims to take equipment and humans to the Moon by 2024. The unmanned, reusable Blue Moon vehicle will carry scientific instruments, satellites, and rovers. (BBC)
  • Telefonica has announced a deal to sell a broad portfolio of data centers to Asterion Industrial Partners. The arrangement will see 11 facilities in the Americas change hands. Telefonica will keep its customers and space in those data centers, it’s just the facilities themselves that will move to Asterion ownership. (Telecom Ramblings)
  • In France, Orange has made a significant acquisition aimed at the enterprise marketplace. They have agreed to buy 100% of SecureLink for €515m. Netherlands-based SecureLink specializes in Cybersecurity and did €248m in revenues last year with its biggest presence in northern and western Europe. (Business Wire)
  • In a trial environment conducted with Nokia and Intel in California, Verizon achieved full virtualization of baseband functions – the heaviest portion of computing on the Radio Access Network (RAN). Veriron said this virtualization will enable the network to be hardware agnostic, using Common Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware, leading to greater flexibility and speed to deployment of products and services. (Converge!)
  • Uber and Lyft claim their services reduce congestion, but a study reveals that these two companies have increased traffic delays by 40% in San Francisco over a six-year period. (New Scientist)

Header photo credit: (CC) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com and bub.blicio.us.

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