What is phishing and spear phishing?

One of the most basic practices every cybersecurity guide will recommend is not to click on links and attachments contained in emails coming from unknown sources, and to think twice even if they come from seemingly trustworthy sources.

You think it’s unnecessary caution? Ask John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential elections campaign. This is exactly how he (or the operator of his email account) gave away his accounts credentials to hackers. The breach led to a series of damaging and embarrassing leaks which might have cost his boss her chance of becoming president. Continue reading

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What’s preventing Artificial Intelligence from taking the next big leap?

No one will argue that Artificial Intelligence has taken great strides in past years. Thanks to AI we’re getting targeted and personalized ads, becoming better in education, healthcare, agriculture and whatnot.

So what’s preventing Artificial Intelligence from taking the next big leap? Maybe it’s intelligence.

Fact of the matter is, AI algorithms are becoming very smart and efficient at doing specific tasks, but they’re not smart enough to explain their decisions. And neither can their creators. Continue reading

How healthcare can benefit from Artificial Intelligence

As artificial intelligence takes leaps at an increasing pace, there’s fear that robots will conquer the future and put humans out of jobs. While technological unemployment is a worry that has its own merits, there are some fields where there is already a shortage of human experts.

One of those fields is healthcare. It takes years of education and hands-on experience to train a decent doctor. And as the figures show, there’s a shortage of physicians everywhere.

Fortunately, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help alleviate this problem. AI-powered tools can help healthcare workers and doctors improve precision and efficiency while lowering skill and energy requirements. This can effectively put more people into healthcare jobs while also bringing services to a larger number of people, especially in underserved areas. Continue reading

The tyranny of the social media filter bubble

In this picture taken on Tuesday April 4, 2017, Syrian man Abdul-Hamid Alyousef, 29, carries his twin babies who were killed during the suspected chemical weapons attack, in Khan Sheikhoun town, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Alaa Alyousef)

Two days ago one of the worst crimes against humanity in recent years took place in Syria. The government of Bashar al-Assad carried out an aerial bombing on the town of Khan Sheikhun, targeting defenseless residents of the town with the sarin nerve agent. At least 70 people were killed—tormented to death—among them children.

Meanwhile, social media platforms didn’t think this would be something I should know about. Facebook insisted I should rather be following funny animal videos and other silly posts on pages I’ve liked (TBH, I don’t use the platform very much, and I’m happy about it). Twitter, on the other hand, fed me with a rich list of the latest tech news and innovations and some promotional tweets that I ignored as usual. Continue reading

What is encryption?

The main takeaway from the buildup of developments in the cybersecurity landscape is that privacy is becoming a commodity. The CIA is spying on your phone. Hackers are breaking into your home. Your documents, emails, messages, can be intercepted. And Congress is empowering ISPs to pry into your communications.

Long story short, nothing remains secret.

Under such circumstances, encryption becomes your best friend, your last line of defense in protecting your information. Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence and the disruption of employment

We are at the cusp of the next industrial revolution—or maybe it’s in full swing already. Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, cloud computing, smartphones, and a slew of other technologies that were unknown or sci-fi before the turn of the century are redefining and disrupting different aspects of life as we know it today.

As with every industrial revolution, most of the changes overcoming our lives are pleasant. Efficiency, safety, comfort, lower energy consumption, lower costs. These are just some of the advantages brought by these technologies.

But the same trends drag in tow some less appreciated disruptions, namely the upheaval of the socio-economic landscape. Employment is undergoing fundamental changes. Continue reading

After the CIA leaks, cybersecurity should be everyone’s business

Last week, WikiLeaks dropped a bombshell on intelligence agencies by publishing a trove of classified documents dubbed “Vault 7.” The revelations gave a damning account of government surveillance powers and hacking capabilities.

It was also a testament to how vulnerable the increasing number of Internet-connected devices we own can make us. And if you think you shouldn’t worry about what hacking capabilities the feds have, think again. Three-letter-agencies aren’t the only ones who are looking for security holes in hardware and software.

As with every hack that makes noise, the Vault 7 leak is associated with new facts, old misunderstandings and some very important lessons. Here’s what you need to know about the latest batch of information that WikiLeaks has spilled into cyberspace. Continue reading