Iranian Hackers Run Rampant

Iranian threat actors are on a mission to create a worldwide disruption. State-backed hackers are primarily targeting North American and Israeli agencies, with a particular focus on the healthcare, government, technology, and defense sectors.

Hot off the press

A six-year Iranian cyberespionage campaign has been unraveled, which targeted Iranian dissidents and expats. The attacks involved:

  • Four strains of Windows infostealers for theft of personal documents, along with gaining access to KeePass and Telegram Desktop account information.
  • An Android backdoor to pilfer 2FA codes from SMS messages.
  • Sending malicious Telegram phishing pages.

What does this imply?

The threat actors have managed to evade detection for several years and have used various attack vectors to spy on the victims and siphon their private, secure communication details. Moreover, it is anticipated that these attackers have been attempting to gain intelligence on potential adversaries of the Iranian regime.

More insights

  • The Department of Justice (DoJ) charged 3 Iranian hackers for participating in a campaign intended to steal critical information related to the aerospace and satellite resources and technology. The campaign was coordinated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
  • In another instance, the DoJ indicted two cybercriminals for defacing more than 50 websites with pro-Iranian messages.
  • A group of newbie hackers from Iran have been found to be spreading the Dharma ransomware.

Yet another threat

The CISA and FBI, in a joint alert, warned about the Pioneer Kitten APT group targeting various federal U.S. agencies and networks. The threat actor attempts to exploit CVEs associated with VPN infrastructure in order to gain access to target networks.

The bottom line

Iranian hackers have become progressively more sophisticated and aggressive. They have shifted from defacing U.S. websites to running extensive cyberespionage campaigns.

Their motive is to cause maximum fear, chaos, and economic harm to political rivals. Thus, organizations and businesses across every sector are recommended to adopt proactive cybersecurity measures to defend against such threats.

Adoption Of Technologies Like AI, ML By the Insurance Sector

The 21st century has given a stage to the discourse around technology and its ability to enable co-creation and seamless service delivery. While businesses across sectors are embracing technology-enabled solutions, technological innovation continues to outpace technological adoption. Even though the insurance industry has been cautious in leveraging technology in the past, in recent years it has accelerated its pace of technological adoption. Several insurance companies are endeavouring to introduce automation in their processes and leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to embed themselves in the customers’ journey and offer hyper-personalised solutions seamlessly. While newer ways of leveraging technology are envisaged on a regular basis, we discuss a few ways by which AI and ML are transforming the insurance sector.

The era of data explosion

Data has always played a central role in the insurance industry forming the foundation of most decisions. Today, the human race is creating more data than ever before as we get deeply entrenched into digital solutions. As a result, the insurance industry today finds itself in a very unique position—it has to contend with an explosion of data from myriad sources including telematics, online and social media activity, voice analytics, connected sensors and wearable devices. The insurance industry now needs technology and machines not only to mine this data but also to leverage it to derive analytical insights. This is where technologies such as AI and ML can play an integral role in the insurance industry.

Accelerating adoption of AI & ML by the insurance sector

First, what does AI actually mean and why is there so much excitement around this technology?

Simply put, it is the science and engineering around making machines intelligent. The aim is to ensure that machines are able to mimic cognitive functions associated with human minds. These cognitive functions include all aspects of learning, perceiving, problem-solving and reasoning. Only thing is that machines are able to do all these faster, more accurately, often at a lower cost.  ML, at the same time, is a set of techniques that give machines the ability to automatically learn, especially about things that can’t be conventionally programmed, by leveraging and harnessing data gathered—just as humans do through experience. Clearly, these technologies can play an integral role in understand the needs of the insurance customer better and in building and delivering the relevant solutions. They can help insurers solve business challenges and enhance their value proposition across the insurance value chain, i.e., from underwriting and loss prevention, product pricing, claims handling, and fraud detection to customer acquisition and servicing.

From the what to the how of AI and ML

AI-powered technology enables the insurance companies to better understand their customers and embed themselves deeper into the customers’ journey. The widespread adoption and use of existing devices (such as cars, fitness trackers, home assistants, smartphones, and smart watches) will continue to increase rapidly, further exacerbated by new categories such as clothing, eyewear, home appliances, medical devices, and shoes. The resulting explosion of data engendered by these devices presents insurance companies with an opportunity to understand their clients more deeply, allowing them to create more product categories and more personalised pricing, all delivered in an efficient and seamless manner.

One of the biggest roles that technology can play is in better risk assessment and claims settlement. Automation and AI-powered technology can now help insurers assess the risk associated with an individual. Wearables can help insurers understand an individual’s lifestyle and assess whether the person leads an active healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy high-risk life style. Devices fitted to cars can help insurers understand a person’s driving habits and assess whether the individual is a safe driver or a risk-seeking driver. This means that instead of putting individuals in groups and then deciding the premium-based on the profile of the group, insurers can now price the premium based on the individual’s unique risk profile. For example, while buying a health insurance policy, a healthy individual would have the benefit of paying a lower premium compared to an unhealthy individual. Similarly, when it comes to settling claims, AI-powered tools and robotics can help insurance companies assess the damage more accurately and quickly so that the claim is settled at the earliest. For an insurance buyer, this can prove to be invaluable.

The important thing to remember is that technology adoption should not be done in silos. For the industry to truly benefit from technology, it needs to be holistically embraced by the entire ecosystem. Enabling technology infrastructure needs to be created such that all insurance companies, advisors, the regulator, and the customer can talk to each and co-create value accretive solutions.

Finally, the power of these technologies will need to be harnessed with a sense of responsibility.  The data used by the AI will need to confer to strong data privacy, data security and customer consent norms.  And the AI/ML decisioning models cannot introduce discriminatory biases in access or pricing.  For this, the insurtech ecosystem and insurers will need to work closely with the regulator and society at large, so that this revolutionary technology can truly deliver on the promise of a better safety net for all.

Google Cloud Platform 2020

My name is Tim Diamond and I am a google cloud enthusiast.

To be very certain, I wasn’t always this way.  Back in 2012,  I, much like a great majority of web developers, considered Amazon’s AWS services simply unparalleled in terms of functionality and service.  I figured that in the short/medium term, no other cloud provider would be able to offer what AWS had (amazingly quickly) brought to the table.  Had you asked me at that time which cloud provider I would be using in 3 years time, I would have bet big money that it would be AWS.

Shame on me for underestimating the one company one should never under estimate.

In 2014, I left a company that I had built entirely on AWS – we were a cloud provider of business ERP solutions.  I came to love what I had created using a mix of different amazon services – it was my baby.  EC2 servers, S3 backups, Postgres RDS, Elastic search, Code deploy – for every need we had, it seemed AWS had an offering that was our perfect solution.  It’s not surprising then, that when I moved to silicon valley to accept a new job at a tech giant (rhymes with schmoogle), that I wasn’t excited to be put into forced adoption of a new cloud platform.

Flash forward a couple years, and I couldn’t be happier about the switch.  I’m not saying that the google cloud platform beats out AWS in every category – in fact, in many categories, AWS is still the clear winner.  But with what google has done in the past few years (and with what is in the pipeline) it is inevitable that google’s offerings will start to eat away at the market share of AWS (and Azure, if we are on the subject).  This WordPress blog aside, the google cloud platform would be the first place I would currently look to start a new project.

I want to use this blog as a platform for a few different things:

  1. Source of tips, tutorials, and examples leveraging google’s cloud services
  2. Hub for news and new feature releases relating to the google cloud platform
  3. Platform for discussion (via comments) relating to the google cloud platform

Welcome to Dedicated Server

Dedicated Server is part of Google Cloud.  We have a datacentre in North East England and will provide high-quality co-location and web hosting solutions for companies seeking a dedicated facility that offers a secure place in which to physically house server hardware and equipment.

A dedicated server will allow your business to get going without purchasing the servers yourself.  Dedicated servers can be configured to meet your needs precisely by our experienced and qualified engineers.   hosting can also offer server management so that you can be confident that your hosting is being handled by experts – it completely depends on your experience!

Selecting a dedicated facility with redundant power and high-speed resilient connectivity is important for protecting information and bolsters the integrity of your business. We all want to know that, as customers, our information is being protected, and storing server equipment on your own premises makes it more likely to fall victim to a fire, power cut, or vandalism.

Dedicated datacentres, like those utilized by ZebraHosts clients, supply electricity, air conditioning, connectivity to the Internet, fire safety and back up power facilities – in short, everything to ensure the high server availability which is vital for all businesses.

The BEST Cloud Storage in 2020

when moving files from onedrive to Google Drive calls me an issue because, Google Drive doesn’t do this nifty feature that the onedrive has called files on demand a couple of people commented that I was using the wrong. Google Drive app and well who doesn’t own
it but they were right so I thought this week was pretty timely to do a post on a bit of a comparison between Google. Microsoft Apple, Dropbox since they’re probably the most well-known file
syncing apps out there there are also others like Amazon and as your files but some as those typically get a lot more involved and I thought we stick to just those for today but I might touch on the very very briefly

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