cyber-attack

Are Cyber Attacks something to worry about?

There have been several high-profile cyber attacks in the last few of weeks. Chinese hackers attacked the New York Times and Wall Street Journal; Facebook and Apple were also the targets of malicious software attacks in the past. The question is whether or not this is something that regular consumers should be worried about.

For the most part, cyber attack coverage is FUD

If you aren’t aware FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. For the most part the media blows most of these cyber attack stories way out of proportion. In other words, the media perpetuates FUD. Nothing sells newspapers more than fear.

If companies do their updates and protect their data with backups, cyber attacks are hardly ever as bad as the media makes them out to be. The Apple and Facebook hacks for instance, were the result of employees of the two companies visiting a site with malicious code on it. The code took advantage of a known flaw in Java, and some employee’s computers were infected. No consumer data was affected in either case, but the media went crazy with headlines like “Apple admits to being hacked!!!!!!!!!!” or “Facebook’s data put in jeopardy by hackers!!!!!!!!!!!” Neither one of those headlines is actually helpful nor informative on what actually happened.

The problem is that, like in the old newspaper days, websites have to get clicks in order to make money. So they come up with sensationalist headlines to get people to view their content. If you read a headline about Apple’s data being hacked, you would probably click on it to find out if your data was compromised. What these headlines fail to do is tell the truth. A proper headline for this hack would be “Apple suffers from malware attack, no data lost”. This of course wouldn’t get the attention that a more sensationalistic headline would.

There are problems, however

Just because the media blows these minor hacks out of proportion, doesn’t mean cyber attacks aren’t something we shouldn’t worry about. The United States does need to be on guard for a terrorist or foreign cyber attack. This will be the next type of warfare, and it could actually result in an actual war. Countries, like China, are always trying to gain intelligence on the US, just as the US is always trying to get information on other countries.

Cyber attacks are more dangerous to the entire country than they ever will be to individuals. China doesn’t care about getting US customer information or Facebook data, they want trade secrets and information on their own citizens.

What the average customer has to worry about is the average everyday hacker who is actually trying to steal their data. Whether the hackers are trying to do this by hacking a company or by installing malicious code on users’ computers, they actually want credit card info and other identifying data. Customers need to be on guard for this sort of thing by making sure their computers are up to date, and by turning off Java and Flash when they aren’t absolutely needed.

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Spotlight in iOS 7

Spotlight in iOS 7

If you’re a dev and are playing around with iOS 7, you may have noticed that spotlight, iOS’s search feature, appears to be gone in iOS 7. However, Spotlight in iOS 7 is still available. Here’s how to get to it.

On any homescreen, simply pull down on the icons. Don’t pull down from the top, since that brings down notification center. Literally place your finger anywhere below that and pull down. The motion is similar to when you are scrolling up on a webpage in Mobile Safari. Here’s a picture of what Spotlight in iOS 7 looks like.

Spotlight in iOS 7

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the 3 cast

WWDC 2013 Preview – The 3 Cast #123

This week we previewed WWDC, E3, and talked more XBOX.

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Hosts: M. Weber, R. Williams, V. Hui

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the 3 cast

Dr. Pepper – The 3 Cast #120

Blackberry is dead, Bill Gates is dumb, and streaming won’t ever come. That and more on this episode of The 3 Cast.

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Hosts: Matt Weber, Vincent Hui, Paul Shirey

Topics: Blackberry and the government, Bill Gates and Tablets, Streaming music

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the 3 cast

Archie is Awesome! – The 3 Cast #119

Archie is Awesome, even if Vince doesn’t know it. This week we talked about Nintendo’s failure, Social Media brevity, and the end of the Modern Warfare series.

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Hosts: Matthew Weber, Vincent Hui, Ricky Williams

Topics: Nintendo, Social Media Failures, and the end of Modern Warfare.

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Music

The Future of Music

Back in the early part of this century, iTunes had just come out of Apple’s ovens. It wasn’t very good, and had a crappy selection of music. Now, almost 15 years later, iTunes is the dominant force not only in digital music, but music as a whole. The future, however, does not include sitting down at your computer to download the latest Adele album. No, the future for most people will include paying a subscription for access to millions of tracks.

The Future is here.

Streaming subscription services have been around for almost a decade. The first was Rhapsody, which was a relaunched product, and Napster soon followed in a relaunch of its own. Streaming music services didn’t really become popular until Spotify launched in Europe in 2010. By the time that Spotify launched in the US, people were clamoring madly for the service and had reached out to alternatives like Rdio.

What Spotify did that made people really warm to the streaming model was give away the service for free by showing ads. This allowed them to bring in revenue without burdening the customer with a monthly bill. It also got them used to the idea of having access to 15 million songs without owning them.

Now that everyone is used to the idea of a streaming service they are more willing to pay for something they don’t own than ever before. People love having access to all the music they could ever listen to. They also like being able to listen to that music on their smartphones, tablets and computers, which requires them to pay for them.

Pandora’s Model

Then there is the other way of streaming music. Instead of picking the song you listen to, you get access to a radio-style station that plays music based on your preferences. This is great for music discovery and requires the user to do less curation than they do with Spotify and Rdio. Pandora’s model is also great because it doesn’t cost nearly as much as a subscription to Spotify, and you can get it for free no matter what device you use it on. Of course there are ads, but that is a small price to pay.

No matter which model you use, or if you are still the downloading and owning type, the future of music is online. As the cloud becomes more and more entrenched into our daily lives, our personal local storage will decrease in size. This means that we’ll have less space for our gigabytes of music.

The Problem

The problem with streaming services is that it requires constant access to the Internet. Since most people listen to music on their phones or mp3 players, bandwidth and connection issues are a constant worry. If you have a mobile plan that limits the amount of data you get each month, streaming music can quickly eat through your monthly allowance.

Until ubiquitous Internet access without data limits is available to the majority of the market, streaming music services will continue to just be the future, instead of the present that everyone should already have.

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