The Rising Threat of Ransomware
Ransomware has been around for years, but incident responders say that the problem has escalated and that the forecast for next year looks pretty dire, Wired reports. Attackers have transitioned from a model in which they hit lots of individuals and gathered many small ransom payments to one where they target fewer large targets from which they can demand massive ransoms.
A Very Good Year for Tech Stocks
For most people, 2020's been a pretty awful year, but not for tech stocks. Big Tech did particularly well, Protocol reports. Amazon is up 74 percent and Apple shares have jumped 80 percent. But Zoom and Tesla left even those tech titans in the dust, soaring 500 percent and 700 percent, respectively.
And a Strange Year for Online Learning
Coursera's annual list of its most popular courses is usually a bland collection of worthy professional skills and self-improvement classics. But this year the list is as unusual as the year it reflects, Inc. reports. Among the top 10: COVID-19 Contact Tracing from Johns Hopkins University and First Step Korean from Yonsei University.
What Pandemic Tech Will Stick?
In 2020, Covid-19 made Zoom, WiFi, virtual school, Instacart, streaming and telemedicine parts of everyday life. But when this is all over, what technology will we keep using? The future, the Washington Post predicts, won’t be decided by what’s convenient.
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Fakery on the Cheap
For years, journalists and technologists have warned about the dangers of “deepfakes,” or “synthetic media’” that has been manipulated or created by artificial intelligence. But that concern may have been misplaced, the MIT Technology Review says. The greater danger might be the “cheapfake,” a piece of media that has been crudely manipulated, edited, mislabeled, or improperly contextualized in order to spread disinformation.
The Standout Apps of 2020
While 2020 has been brutal on the whole, it’s been an unusually fruitful year for apps. Fast Company offers a list of the best new and significantly upgraded apps of the year.
Cloud and Data Trends on the Horizon
IT experts predict a doubling of people working from home by 2021, and cloud usage is set to grow even more in the year ahead. They also say creating a cloud-based culture and democratizing data will receive a lot of focus in 2021. Those are two of the four cloud and data trends highlighted by The Next Web.
Fledgling Firms That Failed to Survive 2020
Even in a non-pandemic year, running a successful startup is no simple task. In 2020, some notable ventures failed to make it to the end of the year. A list compiled by TechCrunch ranges from standard smaller-name closures to big blockbuster crashes like Quibi and Essential.
Programming Jokes Anyone Can Understand
Slightly Behind the Curve
On page 921 of the new Brexit agreement, the text cites "modern e-mail software packages including Outlook, Mozilla Mail as well as Netscape Communicator 4.x." Mozilla Mail? Netscape? Both are now defunct—the last major release of Netscape Communicator was in 1997. The BBC says it appears the Brexit authors copied and pasted text from a 2008 EU law.
TO OUR READERS
Happy New Year!
Best wishes from the Dwaiter team for a healthy, prosperous 2021.