Cisco and MuralNet introduce Tribal Network Program for rural broadband, U.S. Supreme Court to decide the legality of white hat research and the top vulnerabilities exploited by ransomware

September 10, 2020 | Posted by: Jin Woo

Published every Thursday, The Blue Print recaps the industry’s most intriguing news, unexpected shifts and developing trends that are defining the business and technology landscape. 


SDxCentral: Cisco, MuralNet Tackle Rural Broadband With Tribal Network Program

Cisco teamed up with MuralNet, a nonprofit organization that helps indigenous peoples build and operate their own broadband networks, to launch the Sustainable Tribal Network program, which seeks to bridge the digital divide for indigenous communities in rural areas across the U.S. Connectivity was always important, but COVID-19 has underscored the disparity between those with connections and the connection-less. Cisco and MuralNet’s Sustainable Tribal Network program will give tribal communities the opportunity to deploy fixed-wireless access networks and eliminate dependency on privately provided broadband wireless access.

Why It Matters: Digital Divide is often only talked about in the context of education. It’s an important aspect as learning new skills, especially in tribal communities means that it creates opportunities for betterment for the entire community. However it doesn’t stop there. Connecting tribal communities to the Internet means emergency services, social services such as telehealth, creating economic opportunities and much more. [Disclosure MuralNet is a 280blue client]

Tags: Cisco, MuralNet, FCC, Digital Divide


CBS News: Facebook engineer quits, accusing the company of “profiting off hate”

A Facebook engineer quit the company on Tuesday and accused it of “profiting off hate.” Ashok Chandwaney called out the social media giant’s shortcomings in combating hate speech, incitements to violence and misinformation in a resignation letter reportedly posted to Facebook’s internal message board Tuesday morning. After working at Facebook for more than five years, Chandwaney, who is non-binary and uses “they/them” pronouns, wrote that the company is “choosing to be on the wrong side of history.” “I’m quitting because I can no longer stomach contributing to an organization that is profiting off hate in the U.S. and globally,” Chandwaney wrote.

Why It Matters: This is a very insightful letter from a Facebook engineer who believes the social media company is enabling hate groups to mobilize, which has “life and death consequences.” They cite the Jacob Blake protest as a recent example. 

Tags: Facebook, Jacob Blake, Ashok Chandwaney, Mark Zuckerberg


TechCrunch: What’s driving API-powered startups forward in 2020?

Startups that deliver products via an API are seeing momentum in 2020, as their method of serving customers becomes increasingly mainstream. And investors are taking note. It’s not hard to find a startup with an API-based delivery model that is doing well this year. This column noted a grip of recently funded API-focused startups in May, for example, underscoring how attractive they are to venture capitalists today.

Why It Matters: There is an industry shift towards a software-centric model, one that is able to deliver apps and services faster, improve customer and employee experiences, sell deeper and provide a competitive advantage. While there are more developers than ever today, there’s also a push to simply the development process — enabling anyone to build without having to understand coding languages. 

Tags: Software, SaaS, Developers, APIs


Washington Post: Bezos’s likely Amazon successor is an executive made in Bezos’s image

There are few chief executives more identified with the companies they run than Jeff Bezos. But the 56-year-old Amazon founder, and the world’s wealthiest person, will one day need to pass on the reins of the e-commerce giant. And an heir apparent has emerged in recent weeks: Andy Jassy, the 52-year-old head of Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the company’s cloud computing business, who was one of two No. 2s in Amazon’s corner offices. The likelihood of Jassy’s being Bezos’s successor increased when the other deputy, Jeff Wilke, who ran Amazon’s retail business, last month unexpectedly announced plans to retire early next year. Wilke, 53, and Jassy shared a spot in the corporate hierarchy and were both seen to be groomed for the top job, according to current and former executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the matter.

Why It Matters: AWS accounts for half of Amazon’s revenue, so it makes sense that Andy Jassy will take over when Jeff Bezos retires, although no changes are imminent. Amazon is all-in on the retail side, with innovations in drone deliveries, driverless delivery vehicles and even physical storefronts that offer a touchless experience — and it will be interesting to see how the company evolves, should Bezos retire. 

Tags: Amazon, AWS, Jeff Bezos, Andy Jassy, Jeff Wilke


Dark Reading: Legality of Security Research to be Decided in US Supreme Court Case

Independent security researchers, digital-rights groups, and technology companies have issued friend-of-the-court briefs in a US Supreme Court case that could determine whether violating the terms of service for software, hardware, or an online service equates to hacking under the law. The case—Nathan Van Buren v. United States—stems from the appeal of Van Buren, a police sergeant in Cumming, Georgia, who was found guilty in May 2018 of honest services wire-fraud and a single charge of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for accessing state and government databases to look up a license plate in exchange for money. While Van Buren was authorized to use the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) to access information, including license plates, federal prosecutors argued successfully that he exceeded that authorization by looking up information for a non-law enforcement purpose. With the appeal accepted by the US Supreme Court, security researchers and technology companies are concerned with the potential for the case to turn independent vulnerability research into unauthorized access and, thus, a prosecutable offense.

Why It Matters: Threat researchers identify vulnerabilities and new threats through unauthorized access. Threats are growing in sophistication, there’s greater collaboration and bartering on the dark web, and it’s increasingly organized including foreign actors affiliated with government agencies to carry out targeted nation-state attacks against government and public utilities. To prevent this type of research by making it illegal would not only prevent white hats and security vendors from protecting their customers but it becomes a matter of national security. 

Tags: Nathan Van Buren, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Supreme Court


CSO Online: 4 top vulnerabilities ransomware attackers exploited in 2020

The biggest security trend for 2020 has been the increase of COVID-19-related phishing and other attacks targeting remote workers. New York City, for example, has gone from having to protect 80,000 endpoints to around 750,000 endpoints in its threat management since work-from-home edicts took place. Ransomware remains a big threat 2020, but what interested me in a recent SenseCy study was that the ransomware attacks it identified were not all triggered by Windows vulnerabilities. Attackers used vulnerabilities in tools used for remote access into Windows networks.

Why It Matters: With unprecedented levels of remote workers there are exponentially higher endpoints and a much wider attack surface. Research from Check Point revealed that 80 percent of the attacks targeted vulnerabilities that were reported in 2017 or earlier. In these cases software updates that included fixes were not applied. The four most common were vulnerabilities in Citrix Application Delivery Controllers, Pulse Secure VPN, Microsoft Office Common Controls and Windows Win32k. 

As more employees work from home, attackers have more endpoints to target. These unpatched vulnerabilities in remote access tools and Windows makes their job easier.

Tags: security, phishing, ransomware, SenseCy, Check Point Software


SiliconAngle: AWS keeps ‘commanding’ lead in latest Gartner cloud report

Amazon Web Services Inc. remains the “commanding” leader in cloud computing over No. 2 Microsoft Corp. and No. 3 Google LLC, but Google and “niche” providers Oracle Corp. and Alibaba Group Ltd. are coming on strong. That’s according to a new report from Gartner Inc., its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services report, made available on its site this week. Rounding out the niche category with Alibaba and Oracle are IBM Corp. and Tencent Holdings, with no new entrants in any of the categories and empty quadrants for “challengers” and “visionaries.” This report for the first time combines into the overall cloud market both basic infrastructure as a service offerings such as compute and storage and platform-as-a-service offerings such as cloud databases and “serverless” computing services provided on an as-needed basis.

Why It Matters: While AWS continues to hold the largest market share when it comes to cloud infrastructure, and accounts for 50 percent of Amazon’s revenue, it’s lead could shrink over the next year as competitors continue to innovate and introduce new solutions. Among the notable factors enterprises consider are cost, availability/redundancy, ease-of-use, support/interoperability and new solutions in its portfolio. While Google Cloud Platform remains third behind AWS and Microsoft Azure, its strong developer-centric focus, especially Kubernetes, may gradually lead enterprises to more strongly consider Google and help close the gap. One black eye on Google is the number of cloud outages it experienced during the last year, including Google Drive on Tuesday.

Tags: Amazon, AWS, Microsoft, Azure, Google, Oracle, Alibaba, IBM, Tencent


CNN: Amazon is hiring 33,000 new employees with an average pay of $150,000

Amazon announced it will hold a Career Day on September 16 that is open to everyone seeking a job. Amazon’s (AMZN) Career Day will include a team of 1,000 Amazon recruiters offering 20,000 career coaching sessions, according to the tech giant’s press release. The sessions are free of charge. Amazon currently has 33,000 job openings for corporate and tech roles and says it will share “thousands of additional hourly roles in Amazon’s Operations network” soon. All of the new employees for these roles will be paid at least minimum wage at $15 per hour with up to 20 weeks of parental leave. The employees who fill the corporate and tech roles will receive an average pay of $150,000, including salary, stock-based compensation and benefits, an Amazon spokesperson told CNN Business.

Why It Matters: Amazon needs more people in more places to support it’s online retail business, ensure timely deliveries with workers, drones and self-driving vehicles, and support its cloud business. This will be the first career fair of this scale as a virtual event.  It is unclear how many of these jobs will be temporary for the holiday season. Last year, Amazon Career Day resulted in more than 200,000 applications with 17,000 invited to six cities for a physical event. 

Tags: Amazon, Career Day