Food industry must tighten security in face of cyber attacks

What was once purely academic has become a reality

Food industry must tighten security in face of cyber attacksMeat processing giant JBS recently paid out a US$11 million ransom following a cyber attack, according to reports. Most of its meatpacking facilities, including the one in Alberta, remained idle for a few days. Most of us link the concept of cyber attacks with information technology companies, governments and media. But experts have warned the…

The do’s and don’ts of e-mail etiquette

When it comes to interoffice e-mails, most employees are under the impression that they can be more casual and informal

The do’s and don’ts of e-mail etiquetteThere have been hundreds of stories and several books published about the importance of crafting grammatical, well-thought-out, professional e-mails at work. Yet most people are still under the impression that different rules apply to e-mail. Discipline and planning go into writing letters and memos committed to paper, but most employees think they can be more…

Is COVID-19 today’s Y2K?

Draconian responses did more to kill the economic, social, spiritual and educational lives of citizens than stop fatalities

Is COVID-19 today’s Y2K?Twenty-one years ago, the world panicked over an invisible, media-hyped enemy. That enemy was Y2K, a problem whose shadow was much larger than its substance. Unfortunately, COVID-19 may be this era’s equivalent of that ‘millennium bug.’ The Y2K problem was essentially this: many computers had two digits for dates. If they went to 00, the…

Too many fault lines in digital voting process

The shambles of the Iowa caucuses reconfirms that electronic voting is still a long way off

Too many fault lines in digital voting processThe recent Iowa caucuses debacle reminded me of two things. First, my about-face as a member of the New Brunswick Commission on Electoral Reform with respect to electronic voting. Second, further confirmation that the electronic infrastructure continues to be an impediment in advancing digital democracy. The 21st century has empowered humanity with electronic connectivity and…

Protect yourself from financial phishing

Welcome to the predatory online scamming world. Fraudulent emails, often containing links or attachments, are dangerous. If it seems too good to be true, it is

Protect yourself from financial phishingBeware the phishing hook. Phishing describes an attempt to get you to unknowingly disclose personal information such as credit card details, banking information, usernames and passwords. The party trying to gather your information will try to hook you by sending you an email and asking you to click on a link. The email will look…

Creating an unnecessary barrier between doctors and patients

A convoluted – and doomed – communication portal in Nova Scotia has failed the health care system and its users on both sides

Creating an unnecessary barrier between doctors and patientsMost businesses encourage clients to electronically access their own information because consumers value the efficiency and convenience of electronic access. Unfortunately, the Nova Scotia Department of Health (DOH) has a different idea. It has been a successful barrier preventing most Nova Scotians from retrieving and using their own health information. Few Nova Scotians have access…

We must manage the Internet of things with care

Who will ensure devices have been tested thoroughly and are secure? Who will ensure our privacy is protected?

We must manage the Internet of things with careBack in the early 1990s, I came across a story about a Coke machine that you could query from anywhere on the Internet and it would tell you the temperature of the drinks, the last time it was stocked and how full it was. The machine was in the computer science department of Carnegie Mellon…

Can we protect privacy in a cashless society?

The key is to find digital mediums of exchange that preserve the distinct attributes of cash

Can we protect privacy in a cashless society?Canada leads the world in the transition to digitized commerce. With more than two credit cards per capita, the cashless economy is approaching swiftly. The move has been largely voluntary, driven by convenience, and half of Canadians favour dispensing with notes and coins altogether. With cash-only businesses declining to near non-existence, what’s the problem? As…

Only constant vigilance will stem a rising tide of scammers

If it sounds too good or too awful to be true, hang up or delete. In the very remote case that it’s legitimate, someone will get back to you

Only constant vigilance will stem a rising tide of scammersI’m writing this on April Fool’s Day, the day we set aside to play tricks on one another. Unfortunately, many people don’t limit their tricks to one day a year – they go way beyond harmless pranks. These scammers are usually very clever people who would rather trick the rest of us out of our…

Municipalities must protect against cyber attacks

Canadian towns and cities hold valuable data yet are poorly prepared to detect and fend off attacks

Municipalities must protect against cyber attacksCybercriminals have caught Canadian municipalities flat-footed. Our cities must get with the times or send more taxpayer money and private data out the door. Cybercrime costs Canada $3.12 billion a year. A portion of that involves ransom payments to cybercriminals who digitally hold computers hostage. Ransomware, which involves remotely encrypting hard drives and demanding money…
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