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Why you risk data heartache

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Research reveals a contradiction in the way people treat their data – they are aware of the threat from cybercriminals, but their actions show they’re failing to protect their data properly.

People love their digital devices. Yet, they put them at risk with dangerous behaviour that compromises security. New research by Kaspersky Lab reveals a contradiction in the way people treat their data – although they are aware of the threat from cybercriminals, their actions show they’re failing to protect their data properly, with around half not even using basic security measures such as passwords or PINs.

The study found that globally, an overwhelming majority of people recognise there are security threats to their information, with three quarters (73%) agreeing that cybercriminals and hackers pose a high risk to their data, and two-thirds saying malware (65%) is a high-risk threat. However, there exists a discrepancy between the concerns people have about the safety of their data, and the measures they take (or rather don’t take) to protect the data they love.

Worryingly, only around half protect their devices with a password, with 53% using a password for their smartphones, 42% for their tablets and 48% for their computers. Worse still, one-in-ten people don’t do anything to protect their data at all (19% on tablets, 10% on computers and 11% on smartphones). And although the threat of cybercriminals and malware is considered by many to be a high risk to their data, only about a third have a general security solution on their devices.

Moreover, there is a disconnect between user perception – and the reality – of reckless behaviour, and its impact upon data risk. Less than half (47%) of people admit that their own inattentiveness can put their data safety at high risk, yet when asked how they’ve lost data in the past, in one-in-five (19%) cases, users admitted they have actually accidentally deleted it themselves. This is second only to people losing data due to their device being damaged (23%).

When it comes to the data people love, photos and videos are seen by many as the most valuable and irreplaceable forms of data stored on digital devices. But these are most likely to be lost from smartphones, with 44% of people saying this has happened to them in the past. 37% of computer users and 30% of tablet users have experienced the same.

Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab commented: “Precious data that we save on the digital devices we use every day is not getting the protection it deserves. With so much trust placed in devices to safeguard our memories and information, it is important that the security measures that individuals rely on are able to adapt to the scenario and keep them safe – no matter what the device or where they use it.  Reliance on multiple devices to store what matters most, calls for a more robust and reliable approach. Only then can all points of vulnerability be covered and any gaps in user knowledge or unintentional data mishaps be taken care of.”

To help safeguard valuable data on their devices, users can take a number of simple precautions. By backing up data to the cloud, it can be easily retrieved from anywhere at any time, should it disappear from the device. Encrypting sensitive information and password protecting devices and apps will also make data access a lot harder, should a device fall into the wrong hands. Password managers can help create and store secure and unique passwords.

Users should also activate VPN connections to protect their data while in public Wi-Fi networks. For added peace of mind, sensitive data can also be wiped remotely using remote administration tools, if the device is lost or stolen. Kaspersky Total Security can help users put these measures – and many more – in place for total protection and true data integrity.

For further information on the research, please see the report: “Risking data heartache: it hurts to lose the data you love”.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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