In the news: 5 tech news stories worth another look

Pete Roythorne

When it comes to IT security, conventional wisdom says the biggest cause of breaches are employees that aren’t “tech savvy.”

A new study says otherwise.

MostRiskyAccording to Intermedia’s 2015 Insider Risk Report, “it’s the workers that are most familiar with technology that often cause the biggest risks.”

That means you, IT pros.

“Of all the job roles in this survey – HR, marketing, operations, finance, sales – it was the people in IT who reported the poorest security habits in their responses,” the report says.

Survey findings revealed that, among IT pros:

  • 28% (13% overall) have accessed systems of their former employers
  • 65% (46% overall) share login credentials with multiple users
  • 40% (27% overall) think it’s OK to install applications without consulting IT

More than 2,000 office workers in the US and UK were surveyed for the report. Care to guess which industry is plagued the most by this problem?

Tech tops the list.

…What else made this round-up? Read on:

A big deal for Big Data
What do IBM and the Weather Company have in common? More than you may think.

The tech giant announced it bought the Weather Company’s digital assets, including all forecasting data and technology.

“Weather data isn't as trivial as it seems. It's one of the most-looked-up pieces of information that businesses and consumers rely on. You obviously care about what to wear every day. But many businesses rely on weather data to maximize profits,” CNN Money reported.

According to IBM, routine weather in the US cost businesses more than $500 billion last year.

“We see the next wave of improved forecasting coming from the intersection of atmospheric science, computer science and analytics,” Weather Company Chairman and CEO David Kenny said.

Missing the mark
Spending big money to develop their technology is a common practice for many companies. But that’s not the only similarity they share.

Sixty-seven percent of spending misses the mark.

A new study by Genpact Research Institute says “of nearly $600 billion spent on digital projects, almost $400 billion of it was invested in projects that fall short of expectations and returns on investment (ROI),” CNBC reported.

The study found that many investments in technology are designed to keep outdated “legacy” systems running.

“The idea that companies could throw substantial amounts of cash, and get diminishing returns for their efforts, suggests that companies’ tech priorities are misplaced,” CNBC’s story said. “It reinforces the belief that far too much money is spent on existing infrastructure rather than new breakthroughs.”

Most popular device
Smartphone users in the US have nearly doubled from 35% in 2011 to 68% now, according to a new Pew Research study.

Maybe that’s expected. But this? Pew’s findings show the market is “surging at the expense of other gadgetry,” Yahoo tech reported.

Statistics suggest specific demographics are “near-saturation levels,” including:

  • 18- to 29-year-olds (86%)
  • 30- to 45-year-olds (83%)
  • People earning at least $75,000 a year (87%)

“The figures appear to confirm that the smartphone is now the preferred tech gadget for many Americans, who can use it as a mobile computer, mapping device and a way to stay connected on social networks, even if the phone itself is less important than in the past,” Yahoo said.

Making hackers happy
It wasn’t a banner two weeks for IT pros.

A white paper from CompTIA reveals the findings of a USB stick study, in which 200 thumbnail drives were distributed in airports, coffee shops and public squares of several big US cities. CompTIA concluded that 17% of the sticks were plugged in to computers.

“Some of them by IT pros,” Network World reported.

Once plugged in, USB finders followed instructions to list their profession.

More from Network World: “Among those who obeyed this dangerous command were IT workers and a security worker for a multinational firm, the study says. Some of those who emailed asked – when it would have been too late – whether the memory stick contained a virus.”

Hackers reading this week’s roundup must be very happy.