Ransomware, AI & Buying Behavior, Vehicle Data, Energy Problems, Alt Data, and SolarWinds Breach

This week we begin with an article on a surge in ransomware attacks in 2020 that ravaged hospitals, schools, and municipal departments, showing no signs of slowing down in 2021. Next is a piece that highlights the inability of AI to predict consumer buying behaviour, contrary to popular opinion. The following article is about vehicles collecting private data such as location and recording of the voice of drivers and passengers. Following this is a research report by Our Word in Data on the world’s dual-energy problem of lack of sufficient energy and energy-linked greenhouse gas emissions. Next is an article on how investments using alternative data have bridged the gap between the East and the West. To end, we have included a video by CBS News on a data breach at software company SolarWinds, that lay undetected for months, leaving government agencies vulnerable to suspected Russian hackers.

Ransomware Is Headed Down a Dire Path

AT THE END of September, an emergency room technician in the United States gave WIRED a real-time account of what it was like inside their hospital as a ransomware attack raged. With their digital systems locked down by hackers, health care workers were forced onto backup paper systems. 

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Marketers Can’t Predict What You’ll Buy—Even if They Use A.I.

Popular media has been warning us about the ability of unsavory marketers and other bad actors to predict and even control our choices using the latest in tracking and artificial intelligence technologies. In the 2019 Netflix documentary The Great Hack, for instance, the case is made that the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica scraped social media to gain deep insights into individuals’ psyches.

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Your Car May Be Recording More Data Than You Know

When we think about privacy and who can access our location data, we’re often focusing on our phones, and not on the machine that actually takes us places: our car. A recent report from NBC News goes into just how much data is collected by our vehicles, and how it can be used by police and criminals alike.

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The World’s Energy Problem

The world lacks safe, low-carbon, and cheap large-scale energy alternatives to fossil fuels. Until we scale up those alternatives the world will continue to face the two energy problems of today. The energy problem that receives most attention is the link between energy access and greenhouse gas emissions. But the world has another global energy problem that is just as big: hundreds of millions of people lack access to sufficient energy entirely, with terrible consequences to themselves and the environment.

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Alternative Data Bridges the Gap Between East and West

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial markets worldwide have entered a period of extreme volatility, making it much harder for investors to identify sound investment opportunities using just their experience and traditional data analysis. An emerging solution to this problem is alternative data – large volumes of data collected from non-traditional sources such as news, social media, payment data or foot traffic volumes in particular stores.

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How did SolarWinds’ massive data breach go undetected for months?

The massive data breach of the software company SolarWinds, which left government agencies like the Treasury and Defense departments vulnerable to suspected Russian hackers, went undetected for at least nine months. Hitesh Shesh, president and CEO of the cybersecurity threat detection company Vectra, joins CBSN to discuss what we know so far.

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Source: https://mailchi.mp/zigram/data-asset-weekly-dispatch_04_january_2

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