Usually, the ‘bug’ is activated when an employee on the network opens an infected piece of e-mail.

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Google to Shut Down Online Insurance Site, Partners Say

It appears Google Compare’s grand experiment in online comparison shopping for auto insurance is dead – for now at least.

Insurance Journal has learned that two of Google Compare’s major partners were told today that the giant tech firm is shutting down its online shopping comparison undertaking.

One former partner, Compare.com, heard the news not from Google, but from several of its carriers that are partners in Google Compare. Another unnamed partner confirmed it had been told of the pending shutdown. A third major partner described the Google move as “going dark” and that the business is retooling.

A Google spokesman couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. An official announcement from Google is expected to be made on Tuesday.

Read the full story here: http://bit.ly/1OrnpQe

Drones, dogs and DNA the latest weapons against invasive species

By Tamsyn Burgmann

THE CANADIAN PRESS

RICHMOND, B.C. _ Field technicians on the hunt for invasive species used to go on foot, by canoe or relied on satellite photographs taken from outer space.

But an ecologist who dispatched a drone to detect invaders in a British Columbia wildlife area is now recommending more remote-controlled robots do the difficult work.

“With a drone we’re looking at pixel sizes that are teeny tiny. The resolution is amazing. You can literally zoom in and see all the petals on that flower,” said Catherine Tarasoff, an adjunct professor at Thompson Rivers University.

“I’ve gotten past the steep learning curve and see the unlimited possibilities.”

Tarasoff trialled the unmanned aerial technology last June at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, an internationally protected wetland in south-central B.C.

The successful experiment was one of several cutting-edge advancements showcased in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday in the ongoing battle against invasive species. More than 150 specialists from across the province are gathered for three days to discuss emerging issues and learn about the latest techniques to apply in their own regions.

“There’s way more technology involved than there used to be,” said Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C., which is hosting the forum. “We’re in a whole new world now.”

Wallin said technology has not only empowered the experts, but is making a dent by enlisting the public. For example, there are now smartphone apps that help identify and report what’s in your backyard.

The council hopes to persuade people to take preventative actions against spreading invasives as a new social norm, just like recycling, she said.

“Now I can give you tools, and without being an invasive species specialist, you can go and find out what is invasive and what to do,” she said, noting the strategies are also being disseminated over social media.

“You don’t need to know about mussels or spartina or milfoil, or anything like that.”

Prof. Tarasoff, who also runs her own consulting firm, ran the drone pilot project after she was approached by the wildlife area’s manager, who suggested she try the increasingly popular technology.

So she sent two students and the drone out for two days to map a vast region being consumed by the yellow flag iris, a plant considered one of the province’s worst invasives. The species with garden-flower appeal was used by landscapers all along the coast before ecologists realized it was swallowing aquatic environments and decimating habitats.

Tarasoff said the camera-mounted drone soared about 50 metres above to snap thousands of photos, which were stitched together into a massive final image. When viewed on a computer, she could move her mouse cursor over any spot to find out its GPS location. The data was handed over to experts tasked with weeding out the invader.

Drones could save money over the long-term and provide an alternative to dangerous, labour-intensive foraging, she said. Her next goal is to train a “smart drone” that can determine on its own which species must be photographed.

Other novel techniques gaining traction and reducing human error include sniffer dogs and DNA analysis, the forum heard.

Cindy Sawchuk, with Alberta’s environment and parks ministry, described using canines’ ultra-sensitive nose as a “game changer” for blocking the entry of zebra and quagga mussels on boats returning to the province after visiting foreign waters.

A double-blind trial that compared dogs to trained watercraft inspectors found the animals outperformed humans in every category, she said. Dogs detected mussel-fouled boats 100 per cent of the time, while the people only caught hitchhikers 75 per cent accurately.

Canada’s federal fisheries department is also getting on board with more sophisticated detection methods, said Davon Callander, who works at its Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, B.C.

She said that invasive species can now be detected in environmental DNA, which is found abundantly in any ecosystem.

“It really is as easy as going out and getting a litre of water,” she said, explaining how the samples are filtered for the “eDNA,” which is then amplified, sequenced and matched to species’ barcodes.

“Times are changing.”

canada-press

Worst passwords of 2015: Did yours make the list?

Worst passwords of 2015: Did yours make the list?

Source: 

Do you have a safe password, or are your accounts open season for hackers? The list of 2015’s worst passwords will help you to find out.

Year in and year out web users are reminded of the danger of using poor passwords for their online accounts – and 2015 was no different. From the Ashley Madison hacking scandal, to a data leak affecting children’s electronic toy company VTech, there were plenty of examples as to why password security is important.

But if the following list is any indication, people still aren’t getting the message.

SplashData, a password management application company, has released its annual list of the 25 worst passwords of the year. The list is compiled from files containing over two million leaked passwords from 2015.

For the fourth year in a row “123456’ and “password” topped the list.

The data was largely compiled from North American and Western Europe.

Here’s the full list:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. 12345
  6. 123456789
  7. football
  8. 1234
  9. 1234567
  10. baseball
  11. welcome
  12. 1234567890
  13. abc123
  14. 111111
  15. 1qaz2wsx
  16. dragon
  17. master
  18. monkey
  19. letmein
  20. login
  21. princess
  22. qwertyuiop
  23. solo
  24. passw0rd
  25. starwars

Tips for creating secure passwords

If any of your passwords made this list, you might want to consider some of the following advice.

Stay away from easy-to-guess passwords like “123456″ or “password” as well as easy to guess identifiers, like your dog’s name.

Numbers included in a password should never be something easy to guess based on the user. That means your age, the current year, or your address are not good choices. Similarly, the longer the password the better.

Passwords that use up to 10 uppercase and lowercase letters mixed with numbers are proven to be more secure – despite being hard to remember.

One tip is to construct a password from a sentence, mix in a few uppercase letters and a number – for example, “There is no place like home,” would become “tiNOplh62.”

And remember, try not to use the same password for any two accounts.

Technology In The Workplace: Top 9 Issues For Employers

Technology In The Workplace: Top 9 Issues For Employers

Technology enters the workplace in many ways and there are a number of risks and issues that employers need to consider.

  1. Cybersecurity and Data ProtectionA number of data breaches have been making headline news. These threats do not only come from criminal hackers or other external sources. Much of the risk around data security comes from the way employees manage company data. Instituting policies, practices and training around acceptable use, storage and retention of employer data, systems and property is key.
  2. Employee Misuse of Social MediaWhere there is a nexus between an employer and inappropriate content posted online by an employee, such conduct may provide a basis for employee discipline up to and including termination of employment. A number of recent cases demonstrate that terminating with just cause is possible, particularly when the post is harmful or potentially harmful to the employer.
  3. When Not to Discipline For Misuse of Social MediaWhile disciplining employees for misuse of social media is quite appropriate in many circumstances, on the other hand, we may find that Canada follows the U.S. trend in which some employees argue that social media posts are protected or that discipline is an unlawful reprisal under employment standards and other legislation.
  4. Privacy on Workplace ComputersEmployees will likely have some expectation of privacy on workplace computers where personal use is permitted. This expectation of privacy can be limited by way of computer use policies that provide for employer monitoring of workplace computers, where the employer has a legitimate need to conduct monitoring and where such monitoring is reasonable in scope. Such policies should be clearly communicated to employees.
  5. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ProgramsIn August 2015, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner and the B.C. Information & Privacy Commissioner issued joint guidance for organizations considering the implementation of BYOD programs, where employees are permitted to use personal mobile devices for both business and personal purposes. BYOD programs give rise to privacy and security risks that warrant careful consideration prior to rollout.
  6. Social Media Background ChecksPre-hire social media background checks may give rise to privacy concerns, including in respect of issues of consent, accuracy, over-collection of information, collection of irrelevant information and collection of the personal information of third parties. Such background checks must be reasonable in the circumstances of the employer’s operations and should be carried out in accordance with guidance from Canadian privacy commissioners.
  7. Educating Employees on E-DiscoveryGiven the growth of electronically stored information and a growing tendency for employees to email or text rather than use the telephone, it is important that employees understand that what they write may be produced in subsequent litigation.
  8. Protecting Your Client List from Employees’ Online PresenceWho owns the social media account? In this era of online networking, employees may leave their employment with a social media account that functions as a client list or company contact point. This may undermine contractual non-competition and non-solicitation covenants. To help manage risk in this respect, employers should establish corporate ownership of social media accounts that are used for business purposes, including by way of the employer’s social media policy.
  9. Updating PoliciesPolicies dealing with email, Internet, acceptable use, social media, electronic devices or BYOD, travel and passwords should regularly be reviewed and updated given the changing digital landscape. Education around phishing emails and other nefarious communications is also important.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Article by Andrea York and Brian Thiessen

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