The Battle Broadens Against Tech Support Phone Scams

first_imgOur Chief Information Security Officer Alan Daines recently spoke to business owners on Direct2DellEMC about protecting their organizations from the threat of ransomware. While ransomware is a rising threat that is impacting home computer users, we also continue to battle legacy threat vectors that remain effective in defrauding users.One such threat that I’d like to discuss today is the telephone tech support scam, which has been ongoing for many years but in recent times we have seen a marked increase in prevalence.This scam is perpetrated when a criminal fraudster makes an unsolicited call claiming to be from a well-known company like Dell and tries to convince you that there is a problem with your computer. This is done in  an attempt to gain remote access to your computer and to get your money.In addition to our frustration in seeing our customers being harassed and victimized by this fraud scam, we also hate to see our name used for such fraud. We want to stop it as much as you.How we’re addressing phone scams at DellAs we’ve said before, the best way to protect yourself from phone scams is to simply hang up. Dell won’t make unsolicited calls asking to charge you to fix an issue you did not report or previously request help with unless you have signed up for our enhanced monitoring and support services like Dell Tech Concierge, Dell Premium Support or Dell ProSupport services.That’s why we assembled a team of experts that span Dell’s security, information technology, customer support, privacy, legal and communications organizations to focus on the issue.We have set up two ways for you to assist us in combatting this effort by reporting when someone pretending to be from Dell tries to trick you into giving up private information or downloading software to your computer:Submit online, orCall 866-453-1742 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm Central Time)But we’re not stopping thereThis is a wide-ranging issue that demands a broader approach of attack. That’s why we have also been meeting with other major technology companies, members of the telecom and banking industries, internet service providers, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and U.S., Canadian and UK law enforcement organizations, as well as members of the call center industry. Everyone in this group has a stake in preventing these scams from adversely affecting our customers.We’ve seen positive results from sharing within this group intelligence related to internal processes and common practices used by the fraudsters. Several payment processing companies have adjusted their business practices to reduce acceptance of payments from suspect IPs and put more rigorous vetting into place for new merchant accounts. This will make it harder for a fraudulent call center business to get started.We’ve also been able to work with major Internet search engines to reduce fraudulent web sites that gather and share your personal information. And, we’ve been able to get some of the companies that create such sites banned from advertising.Many battles have been won, but the war against fraud and tech support scams will continue, and so we will continue to fight. We will gather with our colleagues again soon to plan the next steps in our coordinated efforts to counter fraud against you, our most precious asset.As more wins are scored, we’ll continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, please continue to use the online form or call us to report when someone is using our name in what you suspect might be a scam. The more information you can give us to investigate and share with the relevant authorities, the more progress we can all make in reducing these scams that plague our industry.last_img read more

Dell EMC Hybrid Cloud Advances to be Main Attraction at VMworld 2017

first_imgIn a perfect digitally transformed world, every application workload would instantly know where best to deploy itself. No one on the IT staff would ever have to spend time optimizing the performance of those workloads or worrying where they are running at any given moment. As great as that all sounds every IT professional attending the VMworld 2017 conference this month knows all too well that application workloads are not going to manage themselves any time soon. What IT professionals can count on is the fact that application workloads and the IT infrastructure on which they depend are becoming acutely more intelligent with each passing day.IT professionals today routinely get asked to manage workloads that are anywhere from a few decades old to literally being born of the cloud in that last few minutes. Some of those workloads need to run on a public cloud. But the clear majority of those workloads will continue to be deployed in traditional on-premises data center environments now and well into the future. The real challenge going forward will be managing those workloads as they migrate across hybrid cloud computing environments that will soon be the de-facto standard across the enterprise.At the Dell EMC booth #400 we will be showcasing new additions to our Enterprise Hybrid Cloud and Native Hybrid Cloud platforms as well as updates on our HCI portfolio. In addition to the Dell EMC experts staffing the booth, there will no shortage of vBrownBag TechTalks and Hands-on Labs!Of course, the inimitable Chad Sakac, president of the Dell EMC Converged Platform and Solutions Division (CSPD), will provide his unique perspective on the ‘the State of the Union’ within Dell EMC with a special focus on multi-cloud, converged and hyper-converged platforms during a breakout session on August 30 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. That will be preceded by an ‘Ask Chad’ session at the Dell EMC booth during which customers and partners will be invited to ask Chad questions on Monday, August 28 between 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.In addition, you should make time to visit the HCI Room to see why VxRail systems are the fastest growing product line in our history.Finally, don’t miss a chance to hear from your peers during our CONVERGED meetup Monday, August 28 from 3-5:30 p.m., at StripSteak in Mandalay Bay. The highlight of this session will be a customer panel of VxRail and EHC/NHC customers moderated by CPSD’s head of marketing, Bob Wambach, Chad Sakac and VMWare’s head of Dell Technologies solutions, Iain Mulholland.Naturally, no conference experience is complete without the opportunity to take home some cool swag. In the HCI Room you’ll discover a new HCI Hero interactive video game along with some awesome VxRail swag. In the VxRail’s escape room you’ll find the The Great Xscape – a physical experience that challenges participants to complete thee puzzles in less than 10 minutes to escape the room. The group with the best time of the day will win Dell laptops! For those that arrive early enough we also encourage you to participate in the 9th annual v0dgeball tourney on Sunday, August 29 at 3:00 p.m. to benefit the Wounded Warriors charity.The unifying theme of all these events is VMware, which now sets the bar for what hybrid cloud computing in the enterprise should really be. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how the latest version of the VMware vRealize automation framework injects a massive amount of intelligence into the management of hybrid clouds. That capability makes public clouds hosting instances of VMware an almost seamless extension of any on-premises IT environment.We are also excited to show you how the latest generation of NVMe-based VxRack systems are redefining the economics of hybrid cloud computing. Contrary to popular opinion it’s now much more cost effective to run certain classes of long-running workloads in an on-premises IT environment. In fact, a recent Cloud Price Index report published by 451 Research notes that anything involving more than 400 virtual machines is less expensive to deploy on-premises. Obviously, public clouds will continue to play an important role in IT. But we believe it has been conclusively proven that the future of enterprise IT will revolve around hybrid clouds built on top of robust pre-integrated IT infrastructure such as our Dell EMC Blocks, Racks and Appliances that are designed from the ground up to achieve unparalleled levels of scale.If you can’t make it out to Las Vegas this month, be sure to try and attend VMworld 2017 conference in Barcelona next month. Whether we are in the desert or on the shores of the Mediterranean we know there really is no substitute for a hands-on experience when it comes to seeing and believing in the future of hybrid cloud computing.last_img read more

CFOs Need Mavericks to Boost Data Analytics

first_imgWe are moving from an era of data scarcity to an era of data abundance. This is being driven by the Digital age we live in. But data is not made equal, some of it is far less useful or trustworthy than other data. This is a huge challenge for society and our education systems. Zooming in on what I know best – the finance function in corporations – big data can become a curse, if you allow yourself to drown in it. To turn it into a blessing, CFOs need to change a few things, starting with the kind of talents they hire …We live a data paradox. We feel submerged by data which is all around us and omnipresent, whereas those data could make our lives so much easier are much harder to find and identify. The real problem is most data is not useful. You need to figure out where data analytics can provide you with real insights instead of bringing more complexity or setting people going off in tangents. This is not an easy task. As a CFO, I try to stay focused on the basics (revenues, costs and profits) and build up from there starting with simple data analytics that gives me more clarity on the market opportunities, the go-to-market costs and the different scenarios to allocate business profits. It is only when I feel I have a strong understanding of these scenario’s that I then move to look at big data analytics and outputs to try and validate the scenario’s that have been identified.I know this is easier said than done. Another good ploy is to surround yourself with the right people.I recently stumbled across an article in Healthcare Finance, referring to a survey by WorkDay, which perfectly summarizes the promise of big data for the finance functions: data-driven decision-making (rather than intuitions) that makes the CFOs and their teams more resilient and intelligent, delivering quality insights and strategic advantages for the whole organization. But the report also indicates that many corporate finance functions are still unable to deliver these insights, due largely to:difficulty integrating finance and non-finance datalack of relevant skills within finance teams, andineffective collaboration among C-suite peers on data-driven decision-making.My previous blogs were about point 3 and, indeed, the need for partnerships, specifically between the CFO and the CIO, which is key to aligning on the right data sets.Regarding point 1, I do not think that access to non-financial data is a problem, as such. The difficulty is to get data in a trustworthy format that you can easily embed into your own CFO story. There are so many different templates and subsets across departments and business units. This is also where a strong CFO-CIO can help getting everyone in tune.Where I think CFOs have still a long way to go is, indeed, point 2 and the access to skills.Chalk and cheeseTo refresh the knowledge inside your finance department, I strongly encourage you to search for less traditional profiles. Besides accounting and finance champions, attract some nerdy data scientists and make them feel comfortable in your team. They are so scarce on today’s market that you had better offer these mavericks a motivating challenge, as well as a suitable infrastructure to start getting value out of artificial intelligence. Otherwise, like in this testimonial, they will not stay long in your team.The infographics here illustrate that data scientists and business analysts are like chalk and cheese. They do not naturally work together. But it is your task, as CFO, to show leadership and make the best of both worlds.A tactical tip? Introduce some job rotation so that each group of skilled people understands the benefits brought by the other one. There is a kind of trade-off to be found here.If you keep data scientists and business analysts separated, the risk is that your own exploitation of Big Data may go too behind the wall, disconnected from the business realities. Data science just for the sake of it.Conversely, if you keep them together all the time, you restrict the power of data scientists to think out of the box and to provide real insights once their job is combined with the skills of the business analysts.In conclusion, there is not one silver bullet to make your finance department smarter and more resilient, but investing in a good mix of new talents while increasing the data analytical skills of the existing teams… is definitely a sound decision. Though, I must confess, it is based on my own intuition and experience more then on machine learning.Always happy to read your comments!last_img read more

How Will the Working World of 2030 Differ from that of Today?

first_imgSteam engines revolutionized the working world back in the late 18th century – first in England, and then in the rest of the world. This development kicked off the Industrial Age: Commercial production took a great leap forward, the mechanical production of goods ousted previously conventional ways of working, and people had to make radical adjustments accordingly. In turn, this gave rise to entirely new types of work, as well as new opportunities.Today, with the digital transformation, we once again find ourselves in the midst of a comparatively disruptive development, shaped by the widescale digitalization of organizations, structures, processes, full networking, and the use of new technologies such as data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. This digital transformation is far more than just a technological advance – the way in which we live and work today will thoroughly change. It’s not for nothing that this shift is being referred to as the fourth Industrial Revolution.One of the key related questions is whether artificial intelligence will threaten job availability – will its use cause future generations to run out of work at some point? In other words: Where are we headed? What can young people who are about to enter the working world expect, and what do they themselves expect from their future careers? What capabilities will be needed in the future, and which ones will become obsolete?To learn more, we asked German secondary school and university students about their dreams and expectations. So-called ‘Generation Z,’ born starting in the mid-1990s, has grown up with smartphones, apps, and social media, loves technology, and knows how to use it. According to our study, 75 percent of Generation Z wants to make use of cutting-edge technologies at their workplace; what’s more, a third of survey-takers can even imagine pursuing careers in IT. Generally speaking, this generation is unafraid of AI and robots. On the contrary: These young people believe in strong partnership and cooperation between man and machine.For some, this concept may seem unlikely at first. After all, machines are already taking on highly demanding tasks today, ones that, until recently, were only entrusted with humans. That being said, I am firmly convinced that there is no cause for concern. Although machines are already covering whole fields of work, entirely new areas of activity and careers will arise – and a significant amount of them, at that. An additional study carried out by Dell Technologies in cooperation with the Institute for the Future (IFTF), entitled ‘Realizing 2030,’ supports this expectation; it predicts that 85 percent of all jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been ‘invented.’ This shows that we are not – as some may fear – on the brink of mass joblessness, but rather facing a disruptive shift in the working world, one which will cause people to take on tasks that are, as yet, wholly unknown.The nature of this shift – which, incidentally, is already in full swing – will cause the IT sector to take on a leading role. The key drivers of new IT jobs include the ones mentioned above – virtual and augmented reality, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and robotics – to name just a few examples. Those who are well-versed in IT security, can design cloud architectures, or are able to analyze data are already winners on today’s IT job market. The IT sector is urgently searching for new talents, since digitalization has long affected every company in one way or another.However, we still cannot say for sure where exactly this great disruption to the working world will occur, and how it will continue. What we do know for sure is that Industry 4.0 will increase the rate of change severalfold. That being said, we will be the ones to determine whether technological progress has a positive impact on our working world. Those who remain flexible, enjoy learning, and, above all, stay open to new things will be in demand on the job marketplace of tomorrow. As such, digital transformation is far from a threat; instead, it represents a source of previously unimagined opportunities. I’m certain of that – and I look forward to seeing the working world of 2030!last_img read more

Detroit to dismiss some tickets issued during Floyd protests

first_imgThe city of Detroit will dismiss most misdemeanor citations issued last spring during several days of protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Most of the tickets written May 31 and June 2 were for curfew violations as hundreds of people demonstrated in downtown Detroit. Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia says Tuesday that the city expects to dismiss 238 of the 245 tickets issued on those three days. Dozens of demonstrators violated Detroit’s curfew requiring people to be off city streets after 8 p.m. and received appearance citations. Others were ticketed for disruptive or violent behavior. In addition to those in Detroit, charges that stemmed from demonstrations in some other U.S. cities also have been dismissed.last_img

Court tosses murder conviction over fire in secret tunnels

first_imgCOLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A Maryland appeals court has overturned a wealthy stock trader’s conviction on a murder charge in the fiery death of a man who was helping him dig tunnels for an underground nuclear bunker. Daniel Beckwitt was sentenced in 2019 to nine years in prison after a jury convicted him for the death of 21-year-old Askia Khafra. A Court of Special Appeals panel ruled Friday that the evidence wasn’t sufficient to sustain Beckwitt’s second-degree “depraved heart” murder conviction. But it upheld his involuntary manslaughter conviction. Prosecutors said extreme hoarding conditions in Beckwitt’s home prevented Khafra from escaping after a fire broke out above the tunnels in a suburb of Washington, D.C.last_img

Marilyn Manson denies Evan Rachel Wood’s abuse allegations

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) — Marilyn Manson has been dropped by his record label after actor Evan Rachel Wood accused her ex-fiancé of sexual and other physical abuse. Wood is a star of HBO’s “Westworld” and wrote Monday on Instagram that the rocker “horrifically abused me for years” and “left me brainwashed into submission.” Manson’s label, Loma Vista Recordings, says it will no longer work with him because of the allegations. Manson calls the allegations “horrible distortions of reality.” Wood and Manson’s relationship became public in 2007 when she was 19 and he was 38. They were briefly engaged in 2010.last_img