Sunday, December 13, 2015

Intercepting Terrorists, Hacking Donald Trump and Protecting Healthcare Data

  • Last week, FBI director James Comey (during Congressional testimony about the challenges of intercepting terrorist communications) said, “Post-Snowden, encryption [security technology] has gone from being something that was only available to sophisticated bad guys to becoming the default. It affects every criminal investigation we deal with.”
  • Note: during July 2015, Mike McConnell (former Director of the National Security Agency and Director of National Intelligence) said, “If law enforcement starts to change the way they think about this [encryption technology], I think there are many, many ways to carry out the mission [of law enforcement], given that you are faced with a situation where technology is not going to be reversed.”
  • Separately, on Wednesday activist group Anonymous (in an Internet video) said, “Donald Trump, it has come to our attention that you want to ban all Muslims to enter the United States. This policy is going to have a huge impact. This is what ISIS wants. The more Muslims feel upset, the more ISIS feels that they can recruit them. The more the United States appears to be targeting Muslims, not just radical Muslims, you can be sure that ISIS will be putting that on their social media campaign. Donald Trump, think twice before you speak anything.” On Friday, the Trump Towers website was knocked offline for about an hour. 
  • Finally, Lynne Dunbrack, research vice president for IDC's Health Insights said, “healthcare data is really valuable from a cyber-criminal standpoint. It could be 5, 10 or even 50 times more valuable than other forms of data" and estimated that 3% - 10% of U.S. healthcare expenditures each year results from fraudulent billing.
 
MY TAKE
  • Regarding terrorists and encryption – While law enforcement organizations are frustrated by encryption and policy makers want to restrict its use, adapting to the presence of this technology seems like the best approach.
  • Regarding Anonymous and Trump – Anonymous’ actions are a reminder of the vulnerabilities of the internet.
  • Regarding healthcare data – Reversing the data breach trend will require better 1) systems planning, 2) education of healthcare providers on the impact of data security issues and 3) data security solutions

Sunday, December 6, 2015

NYC, Porsche, Cold Weather and Electric Vehicles

  • Last week, when announcing “NYC Clean Fleet”, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “A cleaner, greener fleet is yet another step toward our ambitious but necessary sustainability goals, including an 80 percent reduction in all emissions by 2050.” Note: the plan includes replacing about 2,000 fossil fuel sedans with plug-in electric vehicles, which would mean EVs would make up half of the City’s non-emergency sedans (police and fire vehicles are currently not part of the plan).
  • In addition, when Porsche announced plans to bring its Mission E electric concept car into production by 2020, Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board said, “With Mission E, we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand. Even in a greatly changing motoring world, Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car." Note: The vehicle should have more than 600 horsepower, a range of over 500 km (310 mile) and reach 80% of full-charge in 15 minutes.  
  • Finally, the Bloomberg BusinessWeek article “Electric Cars Can’t Take the Cold” noted that electric vehicles perform better in temperate areas such as California, but “the batteries used by the greener cars generate electricity from chemical reactions that work less efficiently as temperatures drop. In tests conducted by the American Automobile Association, an electric car that ran for 105 miles at 75F went only 43 miles at 20F—a 60% reduction in range.
MY TAKE
  • Regarding New York City – It is likely that many innovations in alternative energy and transportation systems will occur before the city’s 2050 target date – which will change how it will meet its “sustainability” objectives.
  • Regarding Porsche – Given that significant torque can be achieved with electric vehicles, it is likely that Porsche’s Mission E offering will be well received in the high-performance auto market.
  • Regarding cold batteries – Many electric vehicle owners are likely aware of the impact cold weather can have on mileage, however prospective purchasers may be surprised by this news.  Note: mileage for gas/electric hybrids can drop by about 31% below 20 degrees – for conventional gas vehicles, the mileage drop is about 12%.