Mo’ Apps, Mo’ Problems

Guest Blogger: Sanjeev Verma, Director of Network Operations, ACD

Three Things to Keep Your Data Safe

 

ACD’s experts want you to know that more apps and more features on your phone and desktop have created more doors for cyber robbers to get your money and your identity info. Being able to keep your money and your family safe are two critical concerns on the Internet today. It is imperative to know how to stay safe on the Internet so hackers don’t learn personal information.

Sanjeev.jpgWhat Can You Do?

The Department of Homeland Security says October is National Cyber Security Awareness
Month. The message this year is:

Stop think and connect which includes:

– keeping a clean machine,

– protecting your personal information and

-connecting with care.

Step One: Clean Machines are Safe Machines

First, to keep a clean machine one should keep security software current, enable automatic software updates, protect all devices that connect to the Internet including smartphones and gaming systems by enabling virus and malware protection, and scanning devices before plugging them in (such as USBs and other external devices).

Step Two: Logins are Key

Next, to best protect all personal information, it is important to lock down your login, make passwords a sentence that is at least 12 characters, have a unique account and password via different passwords for every account, and write passwords down to keep it safe.

Step Three: Social Media Security

Finally, to connect with care one must keep emails and social media clean by deleting threads every so often, limit the scope of usage on WiFi hotspots, and always check that a site is security enabled when banking and shopping online. These simple steps can make it much easier to keep yourself and your assets safe online.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is upon us, and we want to help raise awareness about cyber security.

Today East Lansing Has Something… Cool, Fast and Powerful

You likely won’t see them, but Lansing-based technology firm ACD installed 14 distributed antenna systems and built a fiber network throughout East Lansing.

This gives East Lansing world class Internet coverage, allowing businesses access to fiber optics for powering desktop computers, and gives the public improved cell phone and wireless Internet coverage.

“The improved coverage ensures that there is substantial capacity increase on 4G wireless service to East Lansing and will also result in improved broadband capacity for East EL DasLansing,”according to Kevin Schoen, ACD’s CEO. “This next generation broadband network will also increase local companies connection speeds and reduce their business operational costs.”

How Will East Lansing Benefit?

• East Lansing residents are major consumers of broadband. MSU’s thousands of researchers have this need for speed, and it’s tech savvy residents made it a perfect place to build this network.

• The region has taken a huge leap forward in the next generation of broadband, into a gigabit network that lowers broadband costs for homeowners, government, and businesses.

• East Lansing is on its way to becoming a “FiberHood,” which means its residents now have world-class smartphone coverage and access to up-to-Gigabit-speeds in their offices — 100-times faster then regular broadband.

• How Did This Happen in East Lansing? The collaborative efforts of city officials and ACD have led to this important economic investment. ACD is building fiber networks in the areas where they can complete engineering and necessary permits. East Lansing city officials understand the importance of working with a provider such as ACD to build out broadband networks.

“People are making decisions on where to live and work based upon the technology infrastructure available to them. Our mission is to bring direct world class connections to all business andresidents, said Schoen.”

Tell Your Town’s Government Leaders To Get World Class For Your region’s Internet and Cell Phone Connections….It’s only a phone call away:   517-999-9999

About ACD and ACD Telecom, Inc. ACD owns an extensive statewide fiber network and is a leading fiber optic provider of broadband services to businesses and residential customers. ACD is headquartered in Lansing, Michigan. Learn more about ACD.net and its commitment to the state of Michigan at www.ACD.net

Pokemon & GPS Watching You

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Pokemon Go is a lot of fun, but the App is also very nosey. If you don’t like your every move being tracked, don’t go with Pokemon Go. It’s cartoon world is fueled by GPS satellites just like hundreds of other Apps. With some cell phone operating systems, Pokemon Go asks to download the personal data stored on your phone.

Here some great content from a Dow Jones article on GPS, it might surprise you.

Author Greg Milner became interested in GPS — Global Positioning System — several years ago as consumers started using it more frequently on their phones to access maps and directions.
“It seemed like this thing that everybody used and no one knew anything about,” Milner said.

Although consumers might be most familiar with using the service on mobile applications such as Google Maps, Milner said it affects daily life in a lot more ways. By 2019, the number of apps that use GPS will double, according to his research, which he turned into a new book about GPS, “Pinpoint,” which was published by W.W. Norton & Company in May.

But not everyone is comfortable with being tracked. Here are some things you should know about using GPS:
GPS is made in America, and other countries are making their own versions

Milner became even more interested in GPS when he learned that it originated with the U.S. military; GPS operates out of Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado.
GPS is made up of 24 navigation satellites, plus ground stations and receivers.

The U.S.’s Naval Research Laboratory had been experimenting with positioning satellites since 1960, and added a timing signal to them in 1964. The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force were working on their own satellite positioning technology at the same time. The Navy and Air Force launched a combined program in 1974 and called it NAVSTAR. That technology has improved over time.

In 2000, then-president Bill Clinton announced the U.S. would stop giving civilians only selective access to GPS, and they would be able to pinpoint locations up to 10 times more accurately than they’d been able to in the past.

The U.S. government does not charge companies or individuals a fee for using GPS (besides taxes that support the military).
Yet so many companies benefit from using it that Milner estimates it has a value of $3 trillion — from cutting down on inefficiencies in industries including transportation, shipping and farming, to making other industries possible, such as geography-based dating apps or games like Pokémon Go.

Other countries have set up their own satellite-based navigation systems, including Russia, China and the European Union, in order to not be solely reliant on the U.S.-based system.

Russia was developing its system, GLONASS, at the same time as GPS and it became fully operable in the mid-2000s; but GPS has better coverage, said Greg Worona, a senior security consultant at cybersecurity firm NCC Group. The EU’s system, Galileo, is expected to reach global coverage by 2020 and will potentially be even more accurate than GPS, Worona said, because it may be able to track locations within one centimeter. China’s system is expected to be complete in 2020 as well, he said.

Why do all of these governments need their own systems?
During a military strike, any government could disable the civilian versions of the navigation service, so countries want to be covered in those cases, Worona said.

In theory, without a navigation system available to them, countries wouldn’t be able to find targets accurately during a war, said Rick McElroy, a security strategist at the security firm Carbon Black.

GPS works when your phone is off
GPS has also been used as evidence in crimes because it can signify the location of the person carrying the phone, including in the 2007 murder of Rachel O’Reilly in Ireland and in the trial of Adnan Syed, who was accused of killing his high-school girlfriend in 1999. Syed’s case was featured on the popular podcast “Serial.” Syed was granted a new trial in June after a new witness came forward to say she saw him at a library at the time police believe the victim was murdered; a judge also decided Syed’s late trial attorney “failed to cross-examine the state’s expert regarding the reliability of cell tower location evidence.”

Consumers should know GPS can still track cellphones when they are powered off, McElroy said, because even after using the “off” switch, many phones are still performing some limited functions.
To completely cut off GPS tracking, consumers would have to remove the battery from their phones, he said.

When people don’t want GPS to track them, there are a few options.
Putting phones on “airplane mode” is more effective in turning off GPS tracking, McElroy said, but may not work on every device. Plus, hackers can easily make phones appear to be on “airplane mode” when they’re not, so if a phone has previously been hacked in this way, GPS may still be picking up on a user’s location, he said.
People who don’t want to be tracked would be safest not carrying any devices with GPS capability or any that transmit radio frequency, such as using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, Worona said.
Sometimes, those who don’t want to be tracked try more sophisticated technology though, in a process known as “jamming,” or intentionally interfering with GPS signals by using a device known as a “transmitter.” Although this process is fairly easy to do, Worona said, it’s also easy to detect. “Jamming” GPS signals is illegal.
Another way consumers sometimes interfere with GPS is by “spoofing,” or essentially fooling a GPS receiver into providing false position, velocity and time information, Worona said. There have been some reports of Pokémon Go players using this technology to trick the game into believing they had visited certain GPS locations when they had not.

Most consumers probably don’t realize how much information apps are picking up about them by using GPS, McElroy said.
He recommended reading more closely what type of data an app will require before downloading it and said even if consumers are OK with giving those apps and websites their data, there’s a chance companies will sell the data to other companies without explicitly telling consumers their plans.

“Consider if whatever that activity is, is worth giving up all that data,” McElroy said. “It may say it’s ‘free,’ but the payment you make to that organization is your data.”

GPS directions don’t always pan out
GPS isn’t always accurate and people have gotten into some dangerous situations, Milner writes, such as a mom who drove down a road in Death Valley National Park and became lost while using GPS in 2009. She and her 6-year-old son Carlos were lost for five days, and Carlos died before park rangers found them. Park officials called the incident and others like it “Death by GPS.”
(The mother and son left their vehicle to find help in the heat of the summer, which is dangerous in itself.)
Of course, GPS isn’t the only problem in many of these cases, but it may contribute to motorists’ decisions to try driving in dangerous locations they wouldn’t otherwise, because GPS provides a sense of security.

“Something is happening to us,” Milner writes in “Pinpoint.” “Anyone who has driven a car through an unfamiliar place can attest to how easy it is to let GPS do all the work.”

GPS may be changing our brains
Because the rise of GPS is relatively recent, researchers don’t know yet the extent of its impact on the human brain, Milner writes. But there is some evidence that an over reliance on GPS may also be bad for our brains.

Some London cab drivers actually had larger hippocampi, the area of the brain that stores spatial information about the environment, than control subjects who didn’t drive taxis, leading researchers to believe the human brain can actually change in response to different demands, according to a 2000 study published in the scientific journal of the National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. It stands to reason that many people aren’t creating the mental maps they would without GPS. The same size was small; the researchers studied the brains of just 16 drivers.
And yet it’s hard to argue with the benefits of GPS, Milner said.
“It’s a free thing given to the world to play with,” he says. That is, if you don’t include the data it uses up on your cellphone plan. Pokémon Go, for instance, has shown that GPS can now be used for augmented reality, which mixes real-time images as seen through a smartphone camera with added graphics or video, Milner said. “There’s so much potential for creativity.”

Black Swan Tech-Events Can Disrupt Midwest Companies

Swan Article DRAFT.pagesCertain game-changing events are as rarely seen as a black swan. Black swan events can be disruptive or creative, and they can happen to every Midwest industry.

Black swan events are extreme outliers. Rare as they are, they have vastly greater impact than regular occurrences. These large magnitude events include the rise of the personal computer and creation of the Internet.

Whether your business is selling baked goods or supplying parts to a global company, how you use technology to improve your company is an indicator of the future of your business — or if it even has a future.

Technology is naturally disruptive and generates more than its share of unpredicted black swan events. Smart-tech professionals are aware of this.

In 1995, only a few years before the creation of Google, Bill Gates said that large competitors didn’t worry him as much as small groups working on something completely new. Google’s market capitalization surpassed Microsoft’s in 2012.

“Small business people need to keep an eye out for these millennials working out of basements and garages,” ACD CEO Kevin Schoen said.

Continue reading

Cutting the Cord to Cable

Is Apple TV enough to cancel your monthly cable bill?

Signs suggest that Apple’s new steps toward changing the world of television could mean a change in the way people watch their favorite shows and movies.

For years, no single TV device has been able to play content from all the different applications we have grown to incorporate into our everyday lives. Consumers have had to wrestle with a bewildering array of cords and television ports to get all of their online shows onto their screens at home.

Apple is changing that as they work to provide a format that allows users to cut the cord with cable.appletv

With the new Apple TV users have access to a multitude of apps. From Netflix to nightly news, Apple TV owners are able to access all of their content in one place for quite literally the first time ever.

This new app-centered technology has the potential to be the only box you’ll ever need as it eliminates the overabundance of devices that compete against each other to dominate your living room.

Rather than waiting for your show to come on, or setting the DVR to record your shows while you’re away, Apple TV allows users the freedom to watch what they want, when they want with their new app-centered television that caters to the needs of its users.

Whether it’s Roku, Apple TV, or the Amazon Fire TV Stick, these online centered technologies make dropping your cable provider more fun, and less expensive.

For more information and to hear Kevin’s thoughts on Apple TV click the link below:

Apple TV on WJR

 

Apple Mentor

As a mentor, Jay Elliot guided Steve Jobs in utilizing the management principles Jay had learned at IBM and Intel, which helped build Apple into a multi-billion dollar company. This turned Jobs into the inspired leader that created society-changing Apple products. In this NewsCast ACD’s Kevin Schoen interview’s Jay Elliot, a business legend.