Categories ArchivesNews and Analysis

Climate Resilience: No Longer Islands Unto Ourselves link

No sooner than the record-breaking hurricane Irma wrought havoc across the Caribbean as the most powerful and persistent Atlantic storm ever, the region braces for yet another monster category 5 hurricane with Maria. Maria, the first major hurricane to make direct landfall on the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in more than 85 years, has devastated the island. Islands are particularly vulnerable to climate risks and are fast becoming ground zero in our rapidly changing world, reminding us that in the face of unprecedented challenges, we can no longer be islands unto ourselves. An emblem of this devastation is the fact that the inhabitants of the once idyllic island of Barbuda, along with other islands in the region, are now ...

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The Equifax Breach and 5 Years of Missed Warning Signs link

Reports that Equifax’s chief information officer along with their chief security officer were retiring should alleviate few concerns and not divert scrutiny from the company’s risk governance standards. While this is not the largest data breach in history, it is quite possibly the most damaging. This data breach is different in kind and much more harmful than anything before it, primarily because it reveals personally identifiable information on nearly 100% of the U.S. workforce, as well as private information on consumers from other countries. Had Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) been in force, Equifax would not only face the raft of litigation in the U.S., alongside a growing number of government investigations, it would also be in breach of ...

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Disaster Response: When Speed Matters Most Friction Stands In The Way link

No sooner than hurricane Harvey’s nuclear rain bomb devastated Houston and parts of the Gulf, strained disaster response and recovery resources turned to hurricane Irma. Irma, a monstrous category 5 storm that wrought havoc across the Caribbean, the entire Florida peninsula and parts of Georgia and South Carolina, shattered records as the most powerful (and persistent) Atlantic storm ever recorded. With Irma’s direct hit on the water-logged Florida panhandle and the particularly vulnerable Florida Keys, Irma’s storm surge and rain proved to be a more severe danger than her fearsome winds. Anticipating a major catastrophe that will likely exceed the damage wrought by hurricane Andrew 25 years earlier, Florida’s officials were right not play chicken with this storm, ordering record ...

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Harvey and Irma Could Have a Silver Lining link

Since hurricanes Harvey and Irma have unleashed their wrath on the U.S. – 2 ‘thousand year’ and $100+ billion in damage events in one month – the battle lines that have been drawn between climate change believers and deniers could not be more distinct. Irma has literally brought climate change to doorstep of President Trump’s Winter White House. As is often the case, it takes a calamity in a center of power and influence (Miami or Houston versus the Maldives) to focus attention on an issue that millions of people around the world live with on a daily basis. Just as it took about 30 years to move Corporate Social Responsibility from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘need to ...

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The Equifax Cyber Breach and a Lifetime of Vulnerability link

Equifax, one of the 3 major credit bureaus in the U.S., recently revealed a cyber breach resulting in the exfiltration of more than 143 million personally identifiable records – these are the veritable “crown jewels” in cybersecurity parlance, including social security numbers, addresses, birthdates and credit card information (albeit for a subset of the total). This corresponds to nearly half of the U.S. population and virtually 100% of the labor force. While the sheer number makes this one of the largest and most damaging cyber-attacks of its kind, the real long-range damage to Equifax may be the ill-timed stock sale by 3 of its executives, including its CFO, just days after the breach was originally discovered and nearly 2 months ...

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From Tech Titans to Blockchain Billionaires link

If the internet augured a world of frictionless information sharing, can blockchain augur a world of frictionless value transfer? A standards war – or better still a use case knife fight – is being waged among blockchain technology companies large and small, as well as a raft of consultants who are pitching every novel blockchain use case to anyone who will listen. The industry and world-changing outcomes that are promised are few and far between in the real world, with the exception of blockchain’s so-called “killer app,” Bitcoin and its digital currency brethren. And yet, however fleeting or threatening the prospect of a low-friction economy may seem to established players, blockchain is here to stay and its power to transform, ...

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Digital Democrat link

An undeniable change is afoot. No country is spared from the forces of digital disruption. Experts are sounding dire warnings of a near-future that will be profoundly disrupted by digitization, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), industrial automation, the internet of things (IoT) and rampant cyber threats, which have already undermined the cornerstones of democracy and trust in institutions. In response to these relentless changes the world needs a new breed of civic engagement that goes beyond Facebook activism, true political compromise, and, perhaps most importantly, the emergence of a new breed of elected leader who can champion people’s rights in a time when all lines are blurred. These leaders are veritable Digital Democrats and their numbers are scarce in ...

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GDPR and Information Security Arbitrage link

As the countdown clock continues to speed toward the May 2018 imposition of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, many public and private sector leaders remain either oblivious or confounded by what may become the world’s most far-reaching privacy and information security standards. GDPR sets out directives on data privacy and security, adopting a carrots and sticks approach to information security–the biggest stick being the EU’s ability to impose fines of up to 4% of global turnover or €20 million on firms that, in the judgement of regulators in Brussels, breach the new mandates or put the data of EU citizens at risk. Today there is an array of inconsistent survey data regarding GDPR preparedness for both large ...

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The I of very big T: (IoT Risks) link

With our propensity to connect every gewgaw and curio in our lives to the internet, the surface area and vectors of cyber threats are expanding exponentially with each Consumer Electronics Show (CES). As the latest “smart” coffee maker, refrigerator, light bulb and doorknob – killing the expression “dumb as a doorknob” – are revealed to rapturous technophiles, many in the cybersecurity community are aghast. While the prospect of killer coffee makers or a doorknob that will not unlock or will open at will, as was recently visited upon Airbnb hosts, is certainly frightening. The specter of small scale internet of things (IoT) exploits pales in comparison to the risks posed by the internet of very big things. Simply put, if ...

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