Monthly Archives: July 2014

Why the Security of USB Is Fundamentally Broken | WIRED

Computer users pass around USB sticks like silicon business cards. Although we know they often carry malware infections, we depend on antivirus scans and the occasional reformatting to keep our thumb drives from becoming the carrier for the next digital epidemic. But the security problems with USB devices run deeper than you think: Their risk isn’t just in what they carry, it’s built into the core of how they work.

That’s the takeaway from findings security researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell plan to present next week, demonstrating a collection of proof-of-concept malicious software that highlights how the security of USB devices has long been fundamentally broken. The malware they created, called Bad USB, can be installed on a USB device to completely take over a PC, invisibly alter files installed from the memory stick, or even redirect the user’s internet traffic. Because Bad USB resides not in the flash memory storage of USB devices, but in the firmware that controls their basic functions, the attack code can remain hidden long after the contents of the device’s memory would appear to the average user to be deleted. And the two researchers say there’s no easy fix: The kind of compromise they’re demonstrating is nearly impossible to counter without banning the sharing of USB devices or filling your port with superglue.

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10 Ways You Can Blow a First Impression | Entrepreneur.com

first meetingEver hear the saying, “you only have one chance at a first impression”? Of course you have, because you didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

The difficulty with first impressions is that when you meet someone new, you don’t often know if that person could be highly valuable to you or your business. Yep, that random person at that restaurant or the baseball game that was just introduced to you by a friend could work for or own the company that you’re currently trying to sell your new product line to.

But you won’t know that until you walk into their office and realize that you’ve recently met. Let’s just hope that you didn’t make one of these 10 first impression killers.

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Is the iPad doomed? | CnnMoney.com

Tablet sales are “crashing,” says Best Buy’s CEO! IPad sales are sinking fast! Is this the beginning of the end for the tablet?

Easy, there, tiger. Tablets are still popular and sales are growing — 11% last quarter, to be precise, according to tech consultancy IDC. Still, that’s a far cry from two years ago, when tablets were growing at a 60% clip. Meanwhile, the iPad has been in the doldrums, posting a 9% sales decline last quarter, which was preceded by a 16% slump the quarter before that.

So what’s going wrong? There are three big obstacles facing the market that are impacting demand for tablets: Smartphones are getting bigger, tablets last a while and businesses aren’t buying them.

Smartphones are getting bigger. Like, seriously huge. Samsung’s popular Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch screen. Its Galaxy Note smartphone has a 5.5-inch screen, and Apple  is expected to release an iPhone 6 of the same size this fall. Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet is just 1.5 inches bigger.

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NLRB Federal Ruling on McDonald’s Just Turned Franchising Upside Down | Inc.com

mcdonalds_39120In a move that could ultimately have a huge impact on all franchising, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has said that McDonald’s is the joint employer of workers at its franchise locations. If ultimately upheld, that could put McDonald’s at the epicenter of class action suits over fast food worker wages and working conditions.

Traditionally, franchise owners themselves were considered sole employers of their workers. Because they operated as separate legal entities, franchisors were isolated from any labor disputes. By declaring that McDonald’s is a joint employer, the NLRB has shaken that structure.

“Corporations that exercise sufficient control over their franchisees cannot claim ignorance,” said Catherine Ruckelshaus, general counsel and program director for the National Employment Law Project, in a Tuesday conference call held by the organizations supporting the lawsuits. “This accountability means ensuring that the franchises comply with the basics of the law.”

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9 Meals ‘Win’ Awards for Unhealthy Nutrition | Livescience.com

French toast served with butter syrup and bacon, a platter of fried seafood and hush puppies, and a cheesecake made with Reese’s peanut butter cups and fudge are among the meals singled out this year for their shockingly unhealthy nutrition content in a new report from a nonprofit watchdog group.

Nine meals from American chain restaurants were selected for the 2014 Xtreme Eating Awards, a list released yearly by the Center for Science in the Public Interest as a way to highlight meals that are very high in calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

Nearly all the meals on this year’s list have at least 2,000 calories, and a few top 3,000 calories. “You could take half home and still overeat,” the CSPI says.

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Female Entrepreneurs Are Happier Than Male Entrepreneurs | Forbes.com

Statistics for women in business are mostly bleak. For example, women still earn 77 cents to every dollar men make and just 7% of female-backed teams get venture funding. A recently released study however, offers a glimmer of positivity. When women have established businesses, they are actually happier than their entrepreneurial male counterparts, as well as rating their well-being more than twice as high as non-entrepreneurs and non-business owners, according to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor GEM U.S. Report.

There was one caveat – female entrepreneurs who are just starting out are less happy than male entrepreneurs in the start-up phase, says Edward Rogoff, one of the reports authors. One out of 10 women in the U.S. is starting or running a new business, the report also found. This rate is higher than any of the other 24 developed economies measured.

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Why Are We Doing This? | Peter Mehit

WhyYou probably remember the old saw about the wisdom of bringing a knife to a gunfight. Obviously you’ll be out matched and have a bad day. Yet, so much of the thinking that goes into shaping and changing companies revolves around the tools and tactics that a consultant brings to the table (the knife), rather that the reasons for them to be used (the gunfight).

This isn’t helped by the fact that many change consultants and coaches are clueless about how to run a company day to day and how to manage people with varying interests and agendas. What usually happens is the consultant will bring in whatever tool set they have developed (or are required to use) and apply tactics to the situation without developing an overall strategy.

For example, a closely held company was run by the four people who founded it. Over the ten years it’s been in operation, a lot of the control became concentrated with one autocratic founder. This person rubbed everyone, including customers, the wrong way. Yet, because of loyalty, and perhaps fear, the other three founders ignored his behavior. As would be expected, this individual’s performance began to affect the company negatively. A consultant we know was hired to help them sort out the situation.

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