Ransomware Cripples Major Newspapers…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Ransomware suspected in cyberattack that crippled major US newspapers.

The Ryuk ransomware strain is suspected as the culprit in a cyberattack that disrupted printing and delivery at several major US newspapers this past weekend. The attack reportedly affected printing centers operated by Tribune Publishing and the Los Angeles Times, which is a former Tribune Publishing property. The impacted papers included the Chicago Tribune, Lake County News-Sun, Post-Tribune, Hartford Courant, Baltimore Sun, Capital Gazette, and Carroll County Times. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

I’m expecting this to be the first of a long list of ransomware attacks in 2019 – and these will be the ones publicized.  The ones that don’t make the news will include hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized companies that will also be affected. Update your security software, get some training and subscribe to a good online backup service.  And also, see the next item.

2 — Windows 10 is now more popular than Windows 7.

According to Net Applications, Microsoft’s latest version of the Windows 10 operating system is now the most popular desktop OS in the world, after beating the market share of Windows 7. In December 2018, Windows 7 had a market share of 36.9 percent, while Windows 10 held 39.22 percent of desktop OS market share—a level that has taken Microsoft three and a half years to reach. This comes just a year before Microsoft ends its extended support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

This should come as no surprise. But an important takeaway here is that Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10 for its updates and you need the most updated operating systems in order to protect yourself from security threats like ransomware (see above). This year, make sure the computers and devices in your company are running the most recent version of Windows 10.

3 — Google is primed to go big at CES again.

The Consumer Technology Association, which oversees the CES trade show, confirmed that Google’s presence there next week will be triple the size it was in 2018. Google plans to promote its software and hardware on an official stage as it tries to compete against AmazonApple, and Samsung. It’s moving aggressively on AI—specifically with its Google Assistant, a digital helper similar to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. The tech giant’s goal is to use the show to attract people to its platforms before they get locked into using Alexa. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

This year’s CES will be big on artificial intelligence technologies, many of which will impact small and medium sized companies. Clients often ask me where the best place is to keep up to date on new technology. My advice is to keep an eye on the news coming out of this show.

4 — Network speeds poised for giant leap forward in 5G.

Verizon Wireless launched the world’s first 5G network in October in certain parts of Houston, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis, with much of the wide band already done across the US. Installing 5G network equipment is the next step, so 5G service will be available at high-traffic locations like stadiums and airports first before becoming more widely available in cities across America. (Source: Boston Herald)

Why this is important for your business:

By the second quarter of this year, 5G technology will make hyper-fast internet speeds possible for smartphones, drones, robots, and cars. These speeds—which are 20 times faster than 4G—could help spread the use of AI and other cutting-edge technologies for your business.

5 — MIT researchers are now 3D printing glass.

Researchers at MIT have nearly perfected the process of 3D printing glass with a system called G3DP2 that offers far more control over the hot material and the final product. The company says its new AM platform for molten glass combines a digitally integrated three-zone thermal control system with a four-axis motion control system, enabling industrial-scale production capabilities with enhanced production rates and reliability as well as ensured product accuracy and repeatability. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Slowly but sure 3D technology is quietly evolving into the mainstream. There’s little action needed by a business owner yet because – as you can see by the printed glass example above – many of these technologies are still in the lab research phase.  But it’s a technology that will be critical to keep costs low and delivery times short within the next few years.

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