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unstructured data: the smart person's guide

mary e. shacklett is president of transworld data, a technology research and market development firm. prior to founding the company, mary was senior vice president of marketing and technology at tccu, inc., a financial services firm; vice president of product research and software development for summit information systems, a computer software company; and vice president of strategic planning and technology at fsi international, a multinational manufacturing company in the semiconductor industry. mary is a keynote speaker and has more than 1,000 articles, research studies, and technology publications in print.





survey: what's on your company's tech budget for 2018?

image: istock/ktm_art it's that time of year, when technology decision makers are looking ahead to the 2018 fiscal and calendar year. techrepublic's sister site, tech pro research, is conducting a survey to find out where companies are directing resources, and how this compares with the it budget from last year.if you're familiar with how the budget is created in your organization, please share your thoughts about your company's plans and top priorities for the next year by filling out this survey by august 15, 2017. the survey contains 15 multiple choice questions, and should take less than five minutes. you'll be asked questions about how your company's budget for fiscal or calendar year 2018 compares to fiscal or calendar year 2017, how important it spending is within your organization, what your company's top budget priorities are, and who makes recommendations for it budget items. all respondents will have a chance to enter their email at the end of the survey and receive a free copy of the resulting research report, which is normally only available to tech pro research subscribers.take tech pro research's survey on it budgets for the upcoming year before august 15, 2017 and you can request a free copy of the resulting research report.





macos users beware: a new and nearly undetectable malware is on the rise

macos users aren't as safe as they think they might be—there's a new strain of malware going around that infects devices, fakes bank websites, and steals credentials. it's a dangerous strain of the osx/dok malware and it goes deep into macos's configuration to prevent its removal.osx/dok cases found in the wild have surged in the past few weeks according to check point software technology's malware team, who say it's only likely to become more of a threat due to the aggressive apple certificate buying activities of the malware's creators. apple's computers are generally considered more secure than their windows competitors, but this malware is proving that no one is exempt from the security concerns of the modern age.osx/dok: what it doesosx/dok was initially discovered in may 2017. back then it was only known to be spying on web traffic and stealing website credentials, but this newly discovered mutation is actively redirecting traffic to a command and control (c&c) server that spoofs bank login pages in the attempt to harvest user information.when a computer gets infected, osx/dok goes to work disabling security updates and redirecting traffic to apple servers (and others like virustotal.com, the only known antivirus platform that detects it) back to the local machine. in this way the malware hides itself and prevents updates that can remove it or stop its operation.see: security awareness and training policy (techrepublic)after embedding itself, osx/dok downloads...





eric trump during the campaign: "you can't allow [hackers] to attack the government."

best of the weekour editors highlight the techrepublic articles, galleries, and videos that you absolutely cannot miss to stay current on the latest it news, innovations, and tips.delivered fridays subscribe





5 project management solutions that work for multiple industries

image: istock/hakinmhan when you're looking for project management software, you'll find there's no shortage of options to choose from. it can seem daunting to find the best one for your unique industry challenges. this list offers some visibility into five project management solutions, including their capabilities, industry focus, and pricing options. intended for mid-size and small businesses, this software solution offers an end-to-end project/job management platform. workflowmax allows project teams to develop budgets, work with resource and task management, milestones, time and expense, percent complete, status tracking, and integrates with over 30 systems. workflowmax has business intelligence capabilities to reduce a user's learning curve while helping teams to master their ability to be more productive and more efficient. from the start of lead generation through to the invoicing process, teams can collaborate and access projects via mobile devices.features like time and expense tracking for billable and non-billable hours, collaborative workspaces, configurable workflow, multiple system integrations, lead generation, customizable reporting, quotes, and invoices, make workflowmax work well for these professional service industries that require flexibility and precision:creative agencies (marketing and freelancers)building, construction, and architectureengineeringitmanagement consultingaccountingpricing: 1 user2-5 users6-10 users11-20 users21-50 users$15/...





5 things it departments can do to get organized during the summer break

stop. take a deep breath. it's summer, and for many it departments that means there's finally a few free minutes. along with time to breathe comes the question of what to do to occupy said time. the last thing you want is an it team just sitting around. time to lean is time to clean, my superiors in the army used to say. there's a lot less mud to be cleaned off of servers (hopefully), but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of "cleaning" to do. here are five things your it team should prioritize this summer, or during any downtime you might have in your particular sector.1. clean up your asset management inventory old pcs, retired network switches, dead firewalls, and other internet-connected miscellany have a habit of gumming up any asset management platform over time. machines of all types die unexpectedly, leaving only an expired ip lease and a mac address behind in your inventory to prove they ever existed.see: hardware inventory policy (tech pro research) unfortunately those records have to be deleted, and let's be realistic: it's low on the priority list, especially if getting a replacement up and running yesterday takes precedence.see: four attributes of a successful it organization (techrepublic) now is your chance to go through your asset management console to identify the missing, mislabeled, and retired hardware that's still in it and clean it up.2. review and update your documentation documentation is fundamental to smooth operation of an it department. ...





with this $7 malware, anyone can be a hacker for cheap

ever wonder what it costs to start using malware to steal important user credentials on the web? if you're using ovidiy stealer, it could be as cheap as $7, according to a new report from proofpoint. in its thursday report, proofpoint noted that the ovidiy stealer had been originally observed in june 2017, but it is still being developed and actively adopted by cybercriminals. there are now several versions of it in the wild. what's really surprising is the cost, as a single build of the credential stealer only costs between $7 and $13. despite the low price, the build executables are crypted, making them harder to find and analyze, the report said. so, for only $7, a would-be hacker gets access to a tool that allows them to steal credentials and avoid detection at the same time. see: the four volume cyber security bundle (techrepublic academy)more about it security the report did note that the behavior of ovidiy stealer could be detected, but it is often categorized in a way that doesn't take its significance into account. ovidiy stealer is written in .net and primarily targets the following browsers and applications: filezilla, google chrome, kometa browser, amigo browser, torch browser, orbitum browser, and opera browser, the report said. ovidiy stealer is likely being distributed as executable attachments in an email, or links to a download. it is also being spread through file hosting and keygen sites, the report noted. potential purchasers can buy ovidiy stealer from...





box elements brings part of the box ui to your business app

image: istockphoto/scyther5 a new offering from cloud storage provider box, announced thursday, aims to bring aspects of the box user experience, for free, to business apps built on the box platform. the overall solution is called box elements, with the first portion dubbed ui elements debuting first, the press release said. all of the elements are modular and customizable, offering application integration with only a few lines of code, the release said. the elements can be used by themselves, or in tandem with one another to create new user experiences. see: complete front-end to back-end coding bundle (techrepublic academy) the ui elements portion, now generally available, is made up of four distinct pieces:the box content uploader allows users to upload content by dragging and dropping files into their business app, or by choosing the files from their device to be uploaded to box. the box content explorer is a box-centric way to approach viewing and navigating files and folders in box from the app itself. the box content preview offers interactive viewing experiences for certain kinds of files from within an application. the box content picker simply allows users to select files or folders stored in box in their application.must-read cloud the box ui elements can be accessed as a javascript library or as a react component through the node package manager (npm). box content preview source code can be found on github now, and box will be releasing more ui element so...





the secret of google's success? don't play the blame game

best of the weekour editors highlight the techrepublic articles, galleries, and videos that you absolutely cannot miss to stay current on the latest it news, innovations, and tips.delivered fridays subscribe





why your company needs clear security policies: a cautionary tale

image: istock/etiammos even with byod (bring your own device) policies in place, the lines continue to solidify between business and personal computing in corporate environments. in the wake of what now seems like daily security breaches and malware infestations, companies are seeking to protect themselves in every possible way by limiting or locking down what employees can access on company-owned systems, or personal devices permitted for business purposes. the mantra is now: "only access what you need to do your job."more about it securityit's becoming a matter of survival, but there are casualties along the way, at least in the form of increased suspicion and decreased morale. a friend of mine who works in it for a financial firm was aghast to be written up recently by his manager. his misstep? using dropbox to store his work data and not being aware of the recent security rule that personal cloud storage services were banned. this issue came to a boil when his security team determined he had saved some spreadsheets containing data about hosts and their current vulnerabilities to dropbox. he committed no intentional wrongdoing, but that was of little matter. he was asked to delete the spreadsheets, uninstall dropbox and sign an affidavit attesting he had done both. corporate america isn't taking any chances.as you can imagine, my friend related the story while asking about job openings at my workplace. "it was a real eye opener," he told me. "i've worked l...





how to take advantage of the dynamic lock feature in windows 10

the creators update brought a host of new features to the windows 10 operating system. while a lot of these features are noteworthy and are touted everywhere you look, other features are less well known and remain in the shadows. such is the case with the dynamic lock feature, which is designed to improve security by automatically locking your computer when you forget to do so manually. to accomplish this feat, the dynamic lock feature uses a bluetooth connection to monitor the proximity between your pc and your phone. once your phone moves out of the range of the bluetooth piconet, dynamic lock will automatically lock your computer.let's take a closer at how you go about establishing a bluetooth connection between your pc and your phone and then enabling dynamic lock.want more about windows?sign up for techrepublic's microsoft weekly newsletter and get windows and office tutorials, plus our experts' analyses of microsoft’s enterprise products.the bluetooth connectionof course, for the dynamic lock feature to work, your pc must have bluetooth connectivity. but how does the dynamic lock feature use bluetooth to determine when to lock your computer? well, without getting tied down in a lot to detail, bluetooth uses radio waves to establish a wireless short-range communications network called a piconet. a piconet consists of two or more devices that have been configured, or paired, to use the same wireless channel. just like any wireless connection, a bluetooth piconet has a...





why your company needs clear security policies: a cautionary tale

image: istock/etiammos even with byod (bring your own device) policies in place, the lines continue to solidify between business and personal computing in corporate environments. in the wake of what now seems like daily security breaches and malware infestations, companies are seeking to protect themselves in every possible way by limiting or locking down what employees can access on company-owned systems, or personal devices permitted for business purposes. the mantra is now: "only access what you need to do your job."more about it securityit's becoming a matter of survival, but there are casualties along the way, at least in the form of increased suspicion and decreased morale. a friend of mine who works in it for a financial firm was aghast to be written up recently by his manager. his misstep? using dropbox to store his work data and not being aware of the recent security rule that personal cloud storage services were banned. this issue came to a boil when his security team determined he had saved some spreadsheets containing data about hosts and their current vulnerabilities to dropbox. he committed no intentional wrongdoing, but that was of little matter. he was asked to delete the spreadsheets, uninstall dropbox and sign an affidavit attesting he had done both. corporate america isn't taking any chances.as you can imagine, my friend related the story while asking about job openings at my workplace. "it was a real eye opener," he told me. "i've worked l...





how to speed up dns caching on linux machines with dnsmasq

image: jack wallen chances are, you're looking to squeeze out as much performance from your linux servers and desktops as possible. this is especially so with regards to networking. with linux, there are so many tweaks you can undertake to optimize a machine, it's mind blowing. one such tweak that can significantly decrease your dns lookups is by adding dnsmasq into the mix.dnsmasq is a lightweight dhcp and dns caching nameserver. unlike bind, dnsmasq is incredibly simple to get up and running. the benefits of adding this will be quite obvious (like your dns queries getting dramatically faster). i want to walk you through the steps of installing and configuring dnsmasq. i'll demonstrate on a ubuntu 16.10 machine, but the software is available in the standard repositories of most distributions (which means that if you're using a different flavor of linux the steps will only require slight alteration).installationthe first thing you must do is install dnsmasq. to do this, open up a terminal window and issue the following command:sudo apt install dnsmasqonce that command completes, the software is installed and ready to be configured.configurationthere are three files that must be configured. the first is /etc/dnsmasq.conf. open that file in your text editor of choice and look for the line:#listen-address=change the above line to:listen-address=127.0.0.1optionally, you could increase the cache size for dnsmasq. look for the line #cache-size=150. remove the # and cha...





to update or not to update: there is no question

image: getty images/istockphoto it seems like every day we wake up to read about yet another attack made possible by one or more vulnerabilities. even wordpress became the target of an sql injection attack that affected over 300,000 sites. android, ios, windows, even linux all find themselves vulnerable.at some point, one of the first questions you might ask is, "why?" the simplest answer is "because it's possible." the not-so-simple answer (the one that is far more dangerous) is because there is both profit and power to be had. an entire industry centered around ransomware has risen over the last few years. unethical hackers have taken to making it their business to profit off of their ability to hijack your data.more about it securitybut don't get me wrong, i know that computer systems have suffered from vulnerabilities for a very long time; and that no computer is perfectly safe, so long as it is connected to the internet. even so, it seems we've reached this event horizon with hacking where banks, nuclear power plants, cars, iot devices, smartphones, servers, desktops, refrigerators, hvac, thermostats, you name it, all exist with a target on their metaphorical backs. and it seems, no matter how much experience and skill you have, those devices remain at the whim of developers who (hopefully) work with the diligence of a beaver to patch discovered holes.thing is, no matter how hard those developers work on solving the vulnerabilities in their software, thei...





robots will steal 15 million jobs in uk, widen gap between the rich and poor, report says

robots are invading the uk, and they're going to steal 15 million jobs and widen the gap between the rich and poor, according to a new report from uk education charity the sutton trust. according to the report, published wednesday, this will lead to a deterioration in social mobility. the state of social mobility in the uk report examines how emerging tech trends and other factors will impact social mobility, which it defines as the ability to break "the link between an individual's parental background and their opportunities to reach their full potential in terms of income and occupation." the 15 million jobs number actually comes from an earlier bank of england study cited in the sutton trust report. the report does note that routine jobs are those at the highest risk of automation, and that jobs that aren't as easily defined by rules could be safe for a little bit longer. see: research: automation and the future of it jobs (tech pro research) administrative and secretarial occupations are likely to be automated, as are jobs in customer service and skilled trades, the report said. automation is likely to hollow out many opportunity for middle-class careers, making it more difficult for those in low-skilled jobs to move to a higher-skilled position, the report said. while there's been much talk of retraining workers for new jobs maintaining robotics systems or automation programs, there will also be a stronger demand for soft skills in order to secure the available job...





how to use the adjustment brush in lightroom with a wacom tablet

as an aspiring photographer, you not only look into tips to help capture better photos, but you're more than likely reading or viewing content about photo editing software to really make your photos pop. previously, i shared an intro to the adobe lightroom software. this is one of my primary tools for photo editing. the intuitive layout of the software is great and it offers many useful photo editing tools—including the adjustment brush. this is a powerful tool for fine tuning your photographs, but you can make it even better: use a wacom tablet instead of your mouse or touch pad. allow me to explain.more about mobilitywhat is a wacom tablet? have you ever watched popular photographers on youtube discuss a photo edit? ever noticed they have a stylus in their hands to point to things on their screen? that stylus belongs to a wacom tablet. the stylus acts as a pointing device by interfacing with the trackpad you connect to your computer. think of a wacom tablet as an interface allowing you to digitally draw onto your computer screen more naturally than with a mouse. wacom has a variety of tablets and displays designed for creative artists. if you look into some of its products, you may get sticker shock because a lot of the items are rather pricey. but don't worry—you can still buy a more affordable wacom tablet and add it to your editing workflow. personally, i own the intuos pen tablet, which was only $99. i can use it in conjunction with the stylus (wacom pen) as a mou...





at&t, netcomm wireless to offer fixed-wireless broadband to rural areas in 18 us states

a tower is built for microsoft's mawingu white space project in kenya. image: microsoft. difficulty accessing broadband continues to plague many americans—a 2016 broadband progress report found that 34 million people across the us don't have access to 25 mbps/3 mbps service—and the problem is particularly stark in rural areas, where as many as 23 million lack access to this service. on thursday, at&t and netcomm wireless announced a partnership to address this disparity. a new initiative from the two providers aims to improve fixed-wireless broadband access in rural america. at&t will be using netcomm wireless—a supplier of fixed-wireless equipment for australia's national broadband—to outfit its outdoor wireless antennas. for rural areas across 18 us states, these antennas can provide connectivity speeds of 10mbps and over.according to zdnet, the initiative has "already been deployed in louisiana, florida, alabama, georgia, kentucky, mississippi, north carolina, south carolina, and tennessee." the move follows microsoft's announcement on tuesday of its rural airband initiative—an ambitious, $10 billion investment in providing 2 million americans with broadband access in the next five years, via a tv white space, a 600 mhz band dubbed "super wi-fi." for georgia, north dakota, texas and wisconsin, microsoft's seed money could bring broadband access sooner, in under 12 months. microsoft says it will invest profits gained by the initiative into future ...





10 tips for becoming a better programmer

skilled programmers remain highly valued in the tech world: developer jobs are typically some of the hardest to fill, and the demand for these types of professionals doesn't seem to be slowing down.however, both new programmers and industry veterans face several struggles in a world of rapidly-changing technologies, making it increasingly difficult to stay relevant in the field and move up the career ladder, according to dan vassallo, a web developer at vydia. "newbies and long term hackers alike are constantly striving to perfect the newest hot technology and add another skill to their linkedin profiles," he said. "sometimes this is a good thing, and other times it can have a negative effect."more about mobilityhere are 10 tips for becoming a better programmer to help you enhance your career opportunities. see: how to learn programming: 3 languages to get you started1. hone your soft skillsinterpersonal skills including communication, empathy, and humor are key to setting yourself apart from other qualified programmers when it comes to building a career and moving up the ladder, according to executive coach debra benton. "charisma, likability, and other soft skills are important," said jim baca, a senior android developer and coach. "no one wants to work with uncharismatic, unlikeable people. these are skills that are just as important as tech skills—in fact, they become more important as your career progresses. these skills garner more opportunities, so don't dis...





74% of professionals believe their jobs could be automated, report says

as artificial intelligence (ai) and machine learning continue to make their way into the enterprise, questions remain about which jobs will be most impacted by the technologies. according to a report from automation os workmarket, published thursday, 74% of business leaders and employees said they believe that some parts of their job could be automated in some way. in addition to believing that automation could impact their jobs, many respondents felt that it could happen soon. some 61% of business leaders said that automation could be deployed in their particular industry or job within a single year. it problems, data processing, and repetitive tasks like data entry are the most automatable tasks, the report said. it issues were listed as the biggest hindrance to getting work done, with 43% of leaders and 29% of employees mentioning it as a roadblock—meaning that efforts to automate it could lead in some deployments. see: the machine learning and artificial intelligence bundle (techrepublic academy)more about artificial intelligence while many of the respondents felt that automation could happen, they weren't all interested in exploring it. only 29% of employees said that they were interested in automation, while 52% of business leaders said they were. in the short term, process automation is more valuable than general ai, the report found. automation technologies were currently being used by 41% of respondents, compared to the 13% using ai. more leaders (56%) have a plan...





at&t, netcomm wireless to offer fixed-wireless broadband to rural areas in 18 us states

caption: a tower is built for microsoft's mawingu white space project in kenya. image: microsoft. difficulty accessing broadband continues to plague many americans—a 2016 broadband progress report found that 34 million people across the us don't have access to 25 mbps/3 mbps service—and the problem is particularly stark in rural areas, where as many as 23 million lack access to this service. on thursday, at&t and netcomm wireless announced a partnership to address this disparity. a new initiative from the two providers aims to improve fixed-wireless broadband access in rural america. at&t will be using netcomm wireless—a supplier of fixed-wireless equipment for australia's national broadband—to outfit its outdoor wireless antennas. for rural areas across 18 us states, these antennas can provide connectivity speeds of 10mbps and over.according to zdnet, the initiative has "already been deployed in louisiana, florida, alabama, georgia, kentucky, mississippi, north carolina, south carolina, and tennessee." the move follows microsoft's announcement on tuesday of its rural airband initiative—an ambitious, $10 billion investment in providing 2 million americans with broadband access in the next five years, via a tv white space, a 600 mhz band dubbed "super wi-fi." for georgia, north dakota, texas and wisconsin, microsoft's seed money could bring broadband access sooner, in under 12 months. microsoft says it will invest profits gained by the initiative int...