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The Cyber Why: What We Read This Week...
... and why you should too! (07/25/23)
Welcome back, fellow reader! Our resident expert, Tyler, is still on a “well-deserved vacation” this week, so you’re stuck with me for one more week. (Editor’s note: I made it back just in time to cause havoc in today’s release - My notes are all in italics!)
In this week's edition, we've got some fascinating updates in the tech world. Twitter's 'X' transformation, a glimpse into the Dark Forest of AI, a tribute to a legendary hacker turned cybersecurity advocate, a conversation on the five types of entrepreneurs, and a wise observation from Steve Jobs. No holding back — let's jump right in!
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Oh, Twitter, or should I say "X"?
The latest in the Twitter saga includes expanding Musk's vision of transforming Twitter into an all-encompassing super app called "X," and “centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking—creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities. Powered by AI.” Twitter's recent changes and Musk's spontaneous decisions have received mixed reactions from users and advertisers. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next, but what’s left if you’ve alienated your core user base, key influencers, and deteriorated the brand value and user experience? Will great AI be enough to keep users on the new X platform?
(Editors note: If you EVER get to the point where your company name or product is a VERB, you probably shouldn’t rebrand. See Google, Tissue, and Tweet! This is a massive mistake)
Venturing into the Dark Forest of AI
The Dark Forest of R&D and Capital Deployment in AI (Michael Dempsey Blog)
Michael Dempsey does a great deep dive into the future of AI companies; this market is undoubtedly intriguing, akin to navigating a dark forest filled with many uncertainties and challenges. The capital deployment and R&D costs associated with AI models are substantial, and companies are betting on long-term success despite the ambiguous tactical levers for progress. As AI matures, companies must explore new frontiers beyond scale to stay competitive. However, the diversity of AI companies' strategies means we can expect a fascinating journey with various outcomes – some successful, while others may face existential threats.
“However, in the end, the question all companies must answer is how do they sequence to the future they believe in, how much capital will they deploy to get there, and will it be worth it to stay there?” - Michael Dempsey
As AI tech continues to advance, these [AI] companies will undoubtedly shape the future of tech in both exhilarating and uncertain ways. We must wait and see how their strategies unfold, with a sense of curiosity and excitement while acknowledging the challenges they face. After all, it's like watching a multi-dimensional game of chess, where each move has far-reaching consequences, and nobody knows exactly how it will end.
Banking Industry on Alert: Cyberattackers Targeting Via Open-Source Software Supply Chain
Two separate incidents occurred involving threat actors attempting to inject malware into the software development environment of different banks through poisoned packages on the Node Package Manager (npm) registry. Checkmarx researchers noted that these attacks represent the first known instances of adversaries targeting banks via the open-source software supply chain. The attacks demonstrated advanced techniques, including specific targeting of components in the banks' web assets, indicating a concerning trend of banks becoming specific targets for cyberattacks.
These attacks on banks through the open-source software supply chain highlight the evolving tactics of threat actors. This should serve as a wake-up call for the financial industry. The threats are real, and the stakes are high.
(Editors Note: When hackers set their sights on you, they are almost impossible to stop. Be afraid when the spotlight shines!)
From Most Wanted Hacker to Cybersecurity Advocate: Remembering Kevin Mitnick's Journey of Redemption
Kevin Mitnick, Once the ‘Most Wanted Computer Outlaw,’ Dies at 59 (The New York Times)
Kevin Mitnick, a reformed hacker once considered the "most wanted" computer criminal in the United States, passed away at the age of 59 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. After serving prison time for hacking into corporate computer networks and stealing data files and credit card numbers, Mitnick began a new career as a security consultant, writer, and public speaker. His story of transformation from a notorious hacker to a respected cybersecurity expert is a powerful reminder that individuals can change and use their skills for good. His ability to reform and become an advocate for cybersecurity highlights the importance of providing opportunities for rehabilitation and redemption. As the world becomes more digitized and reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity experts will continue to grow. Mitnick's legacy serves as an inspiration for the next generation of hackers to choose ethical paths and contribute to the safety and security of the digital landscape.
May his story encourage us to invest in education and training programs that nurture talent and guide individuals away from illegal activities toward productive and constructive careers in the ever-changing cybersecurity field.
(Editor’s Note: This one hit home this week. I have had the pleasure of meeting Kevin multiple times, dating back to the Free Kevin movement. His impact on me personally and cyber security as a field is undeniable. Rest in peace, Kevin.)
Everything Belongs In a Little BOX
(Editor’s Note: Tyler’s last-minute contribution to the newsletter) I’ve been around startup companies and entrepreneurs my entire career. I’ve started my own business before and drove the train for others from $0 to success multiple times. When you sit down and think about “why” someone decides to become an entrepreneur, you realize precisely how much the odds are stacked against you. It makes no sense. There are many more painless ways to make a living. Yet somehow, I keep coming back for more. This article in Inc discusses the “types of entrepreneurs” and what drives each of them to take the long walk off the short business pier and found a company. From “The Serial Inventor” and “The Industry Expert” to “The Problem Obsessor,” I see myself in each of these definitions. For any founders out there, look at this article and see where you fit in. I bet it’s more than one!
Life is Semi-Organized Chaos - Embrace It!
(Editor’s Note: Tyler’s OTHER last-minute contribution to the newsletter) Life is unpredictable. No matter how much you analyze the past, you can’t predict what will happen in the future. Steve Jobs, one of the best business leaders that ever lived, has a great take on the topic of destiny:
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. — Steve Jobs
The further along my own life’s journey, the more I agree with the great one. While we can use the data we have from the past to make smarter decisions based on knowledge, we can never be sure what the future holds. Hindsight leads to better choices, but a significant part of life is based on chaos. Read this article and take some of Steve’s teachings to heart - I think you’ll be glad you did.
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