Which AWS certification?

As the market leader and most mature provider in the cloud computing space, AWS is considered a thought leader and point of reference for all of its competitors. In 2019, AWS continues to lead in public cloud adoption, and it currently offers eleven certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics.

AWS offers 11 different certifications. The article below discusses which one is right for you:

https://cloudacademy.com/blog/choosing-the-right-aws-certification/

New Orleans cyber attack

The City of New Orleans has suffered a cybersecurity attack serious enough for Mayor LaToya Cantrell to declare a state of emergency. 

The attack started at 5 a.m. CST on Friday, December 13, according to the City of New Orleans’ emergency preparedness campaign, NOLA Ready, managed by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. NOLA Ready tweeted that “suspicious activity was detected on the City’s network,” and as investigations progressed, “activity indicating a cybersecurity incident was detected around 11 a.m.” As a precautionary measure, the NOLA tweet confirmed, the city’s IT department gave the order for all employees to power down computers and disconnect from Wi-Fi. All city servers were also powered down, and employees told to unplug any of their devices.

www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/12/14/new-orleans-declares-state-of-emergency-following-cyber-attack/

AWS vs Azure

Amazon has the top spot when it comes to cloud market share, but Microsoft is presenting more of a threat than ever.

Amazon Web Services essentially invented the modern cloud computing market in the mid-’00s, and dominates it to this day. According to estimates from Gartner, AWS has 47.8% market share, with its position reinforced by new products in databases, AI, and other fields.

But Microsoft, the runner-up, is catching up, with its arsenal of long-time enterprise customers. Already, analysts say that AWS — which has historically prided itself on paying attention to customers, not competitors — is showing rare signs of becoming more reactive to Microsoft’s big moves.

www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-amazon-aws-reinvent-execs-2019-12

America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough in IT – WSJ

Six-figure bonuses, outsize equity stakes and the flexibility to work from just about anywhere: These are some of the perks companies are offering information-technology workers as they compete for talent in a tight labor market, job seekers and recruiters say.“

Recruiters are feeling the pressure, from the chief executive officer down to the hiring manager, and are working extremely hard to find that tech talent,” said James Atkinson, vice president of quantitative analytics and data science at research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner estimates that most large U.S. companies are competing to fill many of the same technology roles, including computer and information research scientists, systems managers, analysts, engineers and software architects. “Nearly a third of the most critical roles, like tech talent, are left unfilled after five months, costing millions in lost productivity on the table for each company every year,” Mr. Atkinson said.

Demand for these workers is growing as companies world-wide seek an edge over competitors by using technology such as cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence. Global spending on these and other enterprise IT tools is expected to reach $3.79 trillion this year, up 1.1% from 2018, Gartner said.

In the first half of 2019, tech job postings in the U.S. rose 32% from a year earlier, according to federal employment data analyzed by IT trade group CompTIA. In the past three months, U.S. employers had about 918,000 unfilled IT jobs, CompTIA said.

While some companies are racing to train existing staff in high-demand skills, others are buying smaller tech ventures to acquire IT workers.

Some of the biggest companies are adding to their arsenal of tools to secure the right employees, said Michael Solomon, co-founder and managing partner at 10x Ascend, an advisory firm for senior technology job seekers.

Source: America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough in IT – WSJ

Energy consumption of data centers

The music video for “Despacito” set an Internet record in April 2018 when it became the first video to hit five billion views on YouTube. In the process, “Despacito” reached a less celebrated milestone: it burned as much energy as 40,000 U.S. homes use in a year. 

Computer servers, which store website data and share it with other computers and mobile devices, create the magic of the virtual world. But every search, click, or streamed video sets several servers to work — a Google search for “Despacito” activates servers in six to eight data centers around the world — consuming very real energy resources.

fortune.com/2019/09/18/internet-cloud-server-data-center-energy-consumption-renewable-coal/

The NSA Makes Ghidra, a Powerful Cybersecurity Tool, Open Source

THE NATIONAL SECURITY Agency develops advanced hacking tools in-house for both offense and defense—which you could probably guess even if some notable examples hadn’t leaked in recent years. But on Tuesday at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, the agency demonstrated Ghidra, a refined internal tool that it has chosen to open source. And while NSA cybersecurity adviser Rob Joyce called the tool a “contribution to the nation’s cybersecurity community” in announcing it at RSA, it will no doubt be used far beyond the United States.

You can’t use Ghidra to hack devices; it’s instead a reverse-engineering platform used to take “compiled,” deployed software and “decompile” it. In other words, it transforms the ones and zeros that computers understand back into a human-readable structure, logic, and set of commands that reveal what the software you churn through it does. Reverse engineering is a crucial process for malware analysts and threat intelligence researchers, because it allows them to work backward from software they discover in the wild—like malware being used to carry out attacks—to understand how it works, what its capabilities are, and who wrote it or where it came from. Reverse engineering is also an important way for defenders to check their own code for weaknesses and confirm that it works as intended.”

If you’ve done software reverse engineering, what you’ve found out is it’s both art and science; there’s not a hard path from the beginning to the end,” Joyce said. “Ghidra is a software reverse-engineering tool built for our internal use at NSA. We’re not claiming that this is the one that’s going to be replacing everything out there—it’s not. But it helped us address some things in our workflow.”

Source: The NSA Makes Ghidra, a Powerful Cybersecurity Tool, Open Source | WIRED

The Case for Dropping Out of College

This is an interesting article. CI is inexpensive ($15K/year, with a lot of students receiving scholarships). But beside that, this article makes me think about how to give our students “more value” for their time invested in our Computer Science department at CI.

The Case for Dropping Out of College
written by Samuel Knoche

During the summer, my father asked me whether the money he’d spent to finance my first few years at Fordham University in New York City, one of the more expensive private colleges in the United States, had been well spent. I said yes, which was a lie.

I majored in computer science, a field with good career prospects, and involved myself in several extracurricular clubs. Since I managed to test out of some introductory classes, I might even have been able to graduate a year early—thereby producing a substantial cost savings for my family. But the more I learned about the relationship between formal education and actual learning, the more I wondered why I’d come to Fordham in the first place.

* * *

According to the not-for-profit College Board, the average cost of a school year at a private American university was almost $35,000 in 2017—a figure I will use for purposes of rough cost-benefit analysis. (While public universities are less expensive thanks to government subsidies, the total economic cost per student-year, including the cost borne by taxpayers, typically is similar.) The average student takes about 32 credits worth of classes per year (with a bachelor’s degree typically requiring at least 120 credits in total). So a 3-credit class costs just above $3,000, and a 4-credit class costs a little more than $4,000.

Read more here – Source: The Case for Dropping Out of College – Quillette

US weapons systems can be easily hacked

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found “mission-critical” cyber-vulnerabilities in nearly all weapons systems tested between 2012 and 2017.That includes the newest F-35 jet as well as missile systems.

Pentagon officials had no immediate response to the 50-page report from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The committee’s members expressed concerns about how protected weapon systems were against cyber-attacks.

Source: US weapons systems can be ‘easily hacked’ – BBC News

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies – Bloomberg

The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.
— Read on www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies

Understanding Cybersecurity & Privacy Best Practices

Understanding “industry best practices” involves a simple process of distilling expectations for both cybersecurity and privacy requirements. This process is all part of identifying reasonable expectations that are “right-sized” for an organization, since every organization has unique requirements. It can be best to visualize “best practices” as a buffet of cybersecurity and privacy controls, where you select what is applicable to your organization, based on statutory, regulatory and contractual obligations.

Source: (18) Understanding Cybersecurity & Privacy Best Practices | LinkedIn