Ransomware & Bitcoins

Ok ladies, it’s time for some heavy lifting! So let’s get right to it:

  • Question: What is Ransomware?
  • Answer: Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system. It forces its victims to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods in order to grant access to their systems, or to get their data back. (Trend Micro)

Let me give you a real life example to help you relate. If a criminal kidnaps a child, like in the popular Denzel movie, Man on Fire, they often demand cash in exchange for returning the person to their relative/loved one. During the time of the kidnapping, the family has no access to the child – they cannot even see the child or perform everyday tasks like eating dinner together or talking about what happened at school that day. Imagine that the child got their report card on the day they were kidnapped – the family would not be able to see what was on the report card – not the child’s name, not their grades, nothing. Access to the child and everything the child has is completely cut off. No family member can get to the child or access to the information they may hold until the ransom is paid and the child is returned. #InThatOrder

Ransomware is technical jargon; but, it basically means the same situation as described above; but, in this case the kidnapper is a computer hacker and the kidnapee is a computer systemA hospital in Southern California, Hollywood Presbyterian, is under a ransomware attack as we speak. Their computer system is completely shut down and workers do not have access to patient information, records, etc. Patient  registration, notes, medical records and conditions are all being handled the old way – by pen and paper. This is serious: the FBI has been called in to investigate and help!

The ransom being demanded is 9,000 bitcoins (or 3.4 million dollars). In exchange, the hackers would send back the key code to restore the system.

video.yahoofinance.com@8dfea102-b1a8-362e-9e14-5554f85eab4c_FULLBitcoins are a sort to encrypted virtual currency – think of it as electronic money (they are not real dollars) that can be transferred between entities or people digitally and ANONYMOUSLY. Your bank keeps track of everything you send/receive but that’s not possible with Bitcoins. Users simply have a Wallet ID and that’s it. You can “never” know who the buyer or seller is. This virtual currently is not ensured by the FDIC and this industry, praised by Bill Gates and others, is largely unregulated.

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Today, it’s a hospital, tomorrow maybe it’ll be the Social Security Administration or your bank. Then what? Sure, those agencies/companies spend millions of dollars fighting cyber attacks – President Obama recently announced that he wants$3 billion from Congress to to fight such crimes as these, cyberattacks; but, we, very much live in a digital world and it only takes one lucky attempt or try for a hacker to do “virtual” damage.

Ransomware is not just for companies, individuals can be targeted as well. Even you! So, what can you do? Don’t open email from people you don’t know, especially attachments. Don’t click on UNKNOWN links – seriously, if the sender’s email address is something like “info@yourbank.com” this should a RED FLAG. If you haven’t paid attention to that before, spend 5 seconds to look NOW! Don’t download FREE software you think is going to solve your problem (i.e. my computer is slow software X claims to be able to fix it”, etc.) Don’t play games online that require you to DOWNLOAD something. PERIOD. FREE != GOOD != SAFE… I just taught you a bit of computer programming there 🙂 And finally, get a Mac. Seriously… read more here.

I included a few videos below in case you want to learn more about Ransomware or Bitcoins. #StaySafeOnline

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K Michelle & Beats1Radio

I listened to Beast1 Radio (on my Mac) for the fist time today. Why? Because my ABSOLUTE FAV, K Michelle, premiered the single, #NotALittleBut, for #Album3. Because I follow her on Instagram and Twitter and have setup alerts on one or more of those mediums (a girl will not tell), I instantly got the notification to tune into Beats1Radio a mere 30 minutes before the premier was played. The artwork is amazing. I looked at it and literally said to myself WOW! You can listen to the song on YouTube here.

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I listened to the song, smiling the entire time and nodding my head in anticipation of K’s new single. And I was not disappointed. The song is fire, just as  expected. Make no mistake, K Michelle has a HUGE following. I went to her concert in Atlanta last year (wouldn’t miss it for the world) and 99% of the audience sang every single word of every single song (yours truly included). I loe K Michelle. I continued to listen to Beats1 Radio for the next 90 minutes and I actually really enjoyed it. Rev Run was up after K’s premier talking about the origins of hip hop, which was great. I WILL tune in again.

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So now, here’s the funny part. I’ve written about my preference for Spotify before; but, after tonight’s experience I started revisiting in my mind why I picked  Spotify over Apple Music in the first place. The only thing I really remember about Apple Music was liking that the background was white (Spotify’s is black). nothing else really stood out. I also thought about the Spotify features I use the most (playlists and top tracks in the US). So then I searched for “Spotify vs. Apple Music” (Bri’s Commandment #4) just to see what would come up. Here are some of the top headlines I found – I did NOT read any of these articles, just the titles:

  • Apple Music Is Now a Bigger App Than Spotify, Nielsen Finds Digital Music
  • Apple Music reportedly approaches half as many paid subscribers as Spotify The Verge
  • New and interesting music is harder to find than ever The Economist
  • Music Streaming Revenue Doubles, Google Play Passes Apple Billboard

(If you can’t tell, I’m referencing these articles so I can revisit them when I get ready to do another analysis, RE: Spotify Music vs. Spotify)

I haven’t made a move or a decision about my music streaming service based on the limited facts/notes listed above. The point I’m trying to highlight is that I am actually THINKING about why I chose Spotify over Apple Music, just because my absolute favorite artist debuted her new single on Beats1Radio, just be K Michelle pulled me there. If tonight would have never happened, I wouldn’t have given Apple Music two seconds of my brain power. I had been chalked that off. This profound because I never really thought an artist would have any influence over my decision about which music service I subscribe to.

Music is everything to me and I must have unrestricted access, hence I WILL pay. Maybe I’ll give Apple Music another try. Maybe I’ll stick with Spotify. #staytuned #2postsin1day #winning #loveblogging

Post-It Note Goes Digital

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Pink, Yellow, Green and Blue Post-it Notes are synonymous with the workplace. Most frequently, we use them in collaborative sessions to capture ideas, thoughts and display them for everyone to see. We also “group” them by common themes – a tactic I recently saw used in a sorority meeting. 3M, maker of the brightly-covered square paper notes, introduced an iOS app called Post-it Plus App. Typically someone, the facilitator, would collect these thoughts and send them out for the entire gourd to see, which could take days! The 3M app allows you to create virtual groups where people can share (i.e. post) ideas. You can then share the content via PDF, EXCEL, PPT or JPG – an immediate way to “keep the momentum going”. Check it out in the app store (iOS only)! This is definitely a productivity win!  

Bookless Libraries

I’m posting this article, mostly in its entirety because it’s so awesome!

IMG_0887.JPGThere are no dusty bookshelves or piles of textbooks in the library of Florida’s newest university. Welcoming its first students this week, Florida Polytechnic University’s new library houses not a single physical book.

Instead, its inaugural class of 500 will have access to around 135,000 ebooks. “Our on-campus library is entirely digital,” said director of libraries Kathryn Miller. “We have access to print books through the state university system’s interlibrary loan program.  However, we strongly encourage our students to read and work with information digitally.”

The 11,000 square-foot library is situated within a huge, white-domed building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Eschewing physical books, it is a bright, open space featuring computer terminals, desks, and comfortable spots to read.

A budget of $60,000 (£36,000) has also been set aside for students to read ebooks that the library doesn’t already own. Once a book has been viewed twice on this system, it will be automatically purchased. The set-up, said Miller, “allows for many more books to be available for the students, and the university only has to pay when the student or faculty member uses the book”, allowing students “to make direct choices regarding the books they want to read and have available in the library”.

The new university offers courses exclusively in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and Miller said that one of its objectives was to “prepare students for the high-tech workforce by giving them hands-on experience with advanced technology”. 

Source: The Guardian

Product Idea For Amazon

amazonHello! I have an idea for a (bundled) product that I’d like to partner with Amazon on. The idea involves packaging digital + print books for sale as one unit. As a consumer and avid reader, I am often torn over which to buy: sometimes I want the freedom of digital and sometimes I want to hold the book in my hand while I read. Why should I have to decide?? It would be great if Amazon offered a product that provided flexibility (it would also increase sales for Amazon/authors and require very little overhead). For example, I am currently reading Flash Boys by Michael Lewis. The hardcover is $16.77 and the Kindle version is $13.64. If I want to buy both, it would cost me $30.41. Most people will not do this because of the high cost. However, if Amazon were to offer a Hardcover + Digital package at $23.59 (half the cost of the digital) I would definitely purchase that and I’m sure other people would as well! That option allows me to read books right away, take the physical book with me to Starbucks in a few days (after receipt), then switch back to the digital version for my next business trip.

I’m putting this idea out there via email, Twitter and Facebook in hopes that someone at Amazon will notice! Appreciate your consideration!

Update at 10:32 AM EST

  • 2nd offering = Print + Audio + Kindle! Would be great for Runners!
  • Or why not embed a reading feature into the Kindle version? #winning
  • Plus an annoying way to get your Kindle to read to you with a robotic voice.