How the Internet of Things will Change Your Business

Small businesses across many industries are using the Internet for more devices now than ever before. Beyond point of sale terminals, tablets, laptops and desktops, the Internet is now collecting and transferring data from:

Touchscreen self-serve kiosks
     •     Metering and monitoring devices on equipment and machinery
     •     Barcode readers
     •     Trucks and company vehicles
     •     Drones for cameras and transport
     •     Lighting
     •     Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
     •     Building security
     •     Wearable devices
     •     Product inventory

Though all of these devices, sensors, and items will cost your business money, there are tremendous savings opportunities to be discovered.

Here are six areas of your business where the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive down cost, create efficiency, and lighten your workload.

1. Operational Building Costs
Let’s say you are a Chartered Accountant, and you needed to work late at the office. You were the last out of the building, and forgot to do the rounds and turn off corridor lighting. Fortunately, you are equipped with a smartphone enabled device, so you can turn off the lights from your driveway, instead of driving back to the office.

Climate control, security systems and other environmental infrastructure can also be interfaced with a mobile application. You’ll benefit from the system’s convenience, and the cost savings of being able to regulate your office even when you’re not at the office.

2. Self-Serve Kiosks and Devices
Here are a few more scenarios. Let’s say you run a restaurant, or a retail store. Your employees work hard, yet there are often long line-ups, or your employees can’t be in every aisle. Self-serve touch screen devices can take food orders, help shoppers find what they are looking for, and even find out about promotional offers you have in your establishment.

If you your business is in an area where it is difficult to get qualified employees to serve your customers, or if your business is growing rapidly, IoT connected kiosks, tablets and other devices will increase the accuracy of customer orders, increase the productivity of your staff on the floor, and improve customer satisfaction.

Cashier-less check-out machines have helped to process express lane customers for several years. Since fewer customers are using cash, and turning to credit and/or debit cards, so it seems fairly certain retail transactions will continue to evolve to automated systems.

3. Connected Equipment Monitoring Devices
If your business is in the manufacturing or construction business, you will have machines and equipment which require regular maintenance. Connecting these company assets to the IoT ensures they are maintained either on a usage cycle, when they are due for some down time, or in case a sensor identifies some sort of performance or safety issue.

4. Telematics
Telematics sensors can be equipped on transport trucks or fleet vehicles, to monitor for maintenance, performance, or on-site/off-site location. Although telematics gear and related apps historically have been geared towards large enterprise and public sector, the technology cost is now affordable for small and medium businesses.

5. Wearable Devices
The use of fitness bands, smart watches and IoT enabled garments continues to evolve for personal and business use. For healthcare-related businesses, patients with diabetes, dementia or other mental/physical challenges can be outfitted with connected devices which will alert loved ones or medical professionals in case of an emergency.

6. Practical Uses for Drones
Internet-connected drones have been getting a bad rap lately for their privacy implications and safety. If you have a large warehouse, or operate farms with livestock, or plants, drones can be very useful.
     •     Want to find out where your horses went when the gate wasn’t            secured?
     •     Looking to find out if you have any forest green gas ranges left in inventory, but don’t want to walk back in the            warehouse?
     •     Interested in creating a video of your car dealership from a few hundred feet above, and stream it to the web?
           There are drones for that!

The Internet of Things offers small businesses many opportunities to save money. The role of employees and management will change as more tasks become automated, small businesses will find ways to benefit, and adapt to the evolution of smart things.

The Automation of Life

The other day I took my niece and nephew to a local McDonald’s for lunch. As we walked in we were greeted by a large touch screen that had an “Order Here” sign above it. Customers can order how they want their food right from the screen. But being a person who would rather talk to a human, I walked up to the counter to place my order. Whether this move to automating the ordering process is in response to demands for a minimum pay increase or if the new generation is more comfortable touching a screen than talking to a human is still up for debate. But it got me thinking about what other processes or jobs are being automated in our new world of touch screens, Internet of Things, and mobile devices.

Dangerous jobs
With the advancements of technology, humans are being removed from situations where they could be hurt or even killed. Sophisticated remote devices are used to check for bombs and life-threatening chemicals. Drones patrol the skies over battle zones and can even attack targets that have been identified by someone in a remote location.

Not long ago the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was badly crippled by an earthquake and then a tsunami. The lingering radioactive fallout as well as the unstable structure of the plant made it nearly impossible for someone to investigate the area without dying. Scientists developed an autonomous drone to fly into the area and investigate. The drone self-guides with the use of lasers to avoid obstacles and can even replace its own batteries and work where GPS doesn’t.

Not only are we seeing the first steps to replacing minimum wage labor at fast food restaurants, the same is happening at grocery stores. One person can now supervise up to 10 registers where customers scan their food and other goods before paying. No longer do we need someone to provide change or scan our card card thanks to the automated payment.

A few years ago you were out of luck on getting cash if you weren’t fortunate enough to get to the bank during “bank hours.” That was until the Automated Teller Machine, otherwise known as the ATM, became a feature of banking. Along with online banking, you can now deposit and withdraw funds at all hours of the night as well as weekends and holidays without needing a human to handle the transaction.

Warehouses that fulfill hundreds if not thousands of order per day are improving efficiency by automating the packing and shipping of goods. They have also automated the process of transporting goods from one point to another, saving the company money and improving efficiencies. If Amazon is correct, UPS and FedEx delivery drivers will one day be replaced by drones, which will leave our orders on our doorsteps.

Data protection
So much information has become digitalized! Our music is now files rather than tracks on CDs (or if you’re older, grooves on vinyl). Pictures are now viewed on a computer or mobile device rather than being printed. In the past, in order to protect your photos, you would store them away from moisture and heat. Now we worry about hard drive crashes. Backing up these new digital versions is necessary, especially for preserving family pictures, which can’t be replaced if they are lost or otherwise damaged. Rather than burning copies to DVDs or backing up to hard drives and then safeguarding those copies at mom’s house, we now rely on cloud backup. With a few clicks of a button you can back up your music, photos, and other precious data to an offsite location to ensure that they’re protected in case of an emergency. And to further simplify the process, you can schedule backups to run when your computer is idol.

We might not always like where automation is taking us, but there is no escaping the fact that automation is becoming more and more a part of everyday life.

Now where is my e-reader? I want to check if that bestseller has been automatically downloaded.

Small Business Owners and IT: Yes, You Can DIY

Running a small business requires creativity, a relentless work ethic, and the ability to wear multiple hats at any given time. While regular employees can “turn it off” once they leave the office, owning a business is a 24/7 undertaking and business owners simply don’t have that luxury.

No matter what type of business you own, it’s likely that technology plays a key role. These days more business is done via smartphones and computer screens than ever before. So it stands to reason that in order to remain competitive in the marketplace, small business owners have to stay on top of their technological needs. Generally this means having to pay an expert to manage their IT process.

The problem is, a lot of business owners can’t afford a dedicated IT admin, and as a result many tech issues go unresolved.

But what if there was a way for the small business owner to manage some of these IT needs themselves, without having to hire an outside person? Luckily there is! Here are a few ways that business owners can pick up tech skills that are relatively easy to learn, yet incredibly powerful for helping manage a small business.

Look online
Whether you are just starting out and handling multiple tasks within your company or you are an experienced business owner, every entrepreneur can benefit from continuing education and do so without paying tuition and taking evening classes at the local community college.

These days there are a number of online resources that will help develop skills in any subject matter—information technology included—often for free or at a much lower cost than college or tech school tuition.

Among the most popular options (Udemy, Coursera, and Lynda), business owners can learn from experts in their field the skills needed to become proficient in managing technology issues.

Reach out to your local Small Business Development Center
Small Business Development Centers work in conjunction with local colleges and universities to provide training, advice, and assistance to small business owners. They offer courses, workshops, and seminars on a range of topics from how-to courses on accounting software to Internet marketing and managing tech issues.

While the exact courses and workshops offered may differ from one SBDC to another, they generally will offer some basic instruction on managing technology for small businesses.

Seek out a mentor
Although online coursework and workshops are an invaluable resource for business owners, all learning doesn’t have to be completely structured. Organizations like SCORE match retired executives with small business owners who are in need of advice or help.

These interactions generally take place on a one-on-one basis, and an owner can get help on a wide variety of business topics from general business to specific technology-related questions.

In addition to the one-on-one assistance, SCORE’s website also offers online learning options. These can serve to supplement the other learning options and help reinforce understanding in a particular subject area.

By educating yourself on your company’s technological needs, and working with the correct tools and professionals to help you make sense of it all, you’ll be well on your way toward long-term success—all without a negative hit to your bottom line.

A Look at the Future: Predicting Techological Progress Over the Next Century

In 1989, the movie “Back to the Future II” showed main character Marty McFly traveling to the then far-flung future date of October 21, 2015. While some of the predictions suggested by the movie actually came to be—such as computer headsets, video conferencing, hands-free gaming, and self-tying shoes—flying cars are noticeably missing from modern-day life.

There is a certain impulse in life to skip to the last chapter in the book. In an attempt to get in on the future-guessing trend, in this post we look at the current trends of modern technology to predict what you should expect to see in the next 100 years.

Within the next 20 years

     •     Autonomous cars will be a reality. Autonomous car features            such as automatic brakes, hands-free parallel parking, and            collision avoidance will find their way into more cars (while            engineers figure out a way around the autonomous car’s            biggest hurdle—other drivers).
     •     The first real-world quantum computer will be commercially            introduced (and binary digits will give way to quantum bits, or            qubits).
     •     Internet of Things technology will reinvent how medicine,            clothing, and everyday conveniences work. Imagine a cash            register built into your grocery store shopping cart, where            items placed in the cart are automatically purchased without            the need of a cashier. Imagine your doctor knowing that you            are sick even before you do because she received a message from the ingested computers in your body. With            single-board computers now being as small as 1.5 centimeters, such possibilities are not far off.
     •     3D printing and “bioscaffolding” will make tissue replacement simpler. Regenerative technologies such as            bioscaffolding—or the building of a 3D artificial structure that would encourage tissue growth or even the development of            a new organ—bears the possibility of making tissue donor sourcing and patient organ rejection a thing of the past.

Within the next 50 years

     •     Advances in organic processors and in thermal conductivity for artificial muscles will not only make androids            economically feasible, but will also make fully-functional cybernetic limbs possible. The first true cyborg (in which more            than 50 percent of a person is replaced by mechanical devices) will be introduced.
     •     The world’s media will be completely digitized and made available for general download.
     •     Fuel efficiency and new engine designs such as the pulse detonation engine will make affordable commercial supersonic            and subspace flight feasible.
     •     We will have visited Mars multiple times and will be in the process of establishing a permanent colony on the red planet.

Within the next 100 years

     •     Urban living spaces will be redefined with the advent of vertical farms or skyscrapers in which the floors are dedicated to            indoor farming and cities are self-contained in super-skyscrapers.
     •     The first interstellar flight will have successfully launched to Alpha Centauri (the closest star system to our sun).
     •     Gasoline and other consumable hydrocarbon fuels will be made obsolete by renewable energy sources by the advent of            both micro- and macro-scale fusion reactors and by social moves toward local sustainable living.
     •     Everyone who is currently reading this will most likely be dead.

While we hope you enjoy our list, we recognize that to some predicting the future is an attempt to limit and define what is possible. When asked about predicting the future, science fiction author Ray Bradbury said, “People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it … You look … around you … and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.”

It may be that the best prediction of the future is that the future is unpredictable; the human spirit is infinite and so is its possibilities.

The Basics of Data Encryption

As the world becomes ever more connected, data encryption—once a topic so unsexy it almost seemed taboo—has slowly turned into a hot topic that we’ve come to rely on more and more. With your phone spouting off your credit card number and with people logging into Facebook at every public computer they can find, data about us is everywhere and it’s valuable. Data encryption is how programmers can make sure that our data doesn’t fall into places where it wasn’t intended to go. But how does it work?

Encryption was born out of cryptography, the science of secret codes. Just like if you wrote a note with a cipher and only someone with the same cipher could decode it, encryption requires a key. Quality encryption always has one common feature: the algorithm (aka the process to encrypting something) can be public, but the key will always be private. Even the smartest hackers in the world can’t break into encrypted data if they don’t know the key.

Encryption ciphers of today fall into one of two categories: secret key and public key. Secret key is also known as symmetric cryptography because both people (or computers) must have the same key, and it is usually used for sensitive or private data. Data Encryption Standard (or DES) was one of the strongest secret-key algorithms when it was first made available for public use in the 1970s.

Public-key, or asymmetric, algorithms use a pair of keys: one public key that’s to be shared with other people and one private key that’s kept in secret by its owner. This way, anyone can send the owner encrypted data by using the public key, but only the owner can decode those messages using the private key.

Secret-key ciphers are either stream or block ciphers. Stream ciphers encrypt data one bit at a time by writing a long string of bits with no repeats and hiding the message within it. One common example of this type of cipher is the RC4 (Ron Rivest’s Cipher #4), which is used by a large number of e-commerce stores. Other uses for stream ciphers include cellphone traffic and satellite TV signals.

Block ciphers, on the other hand, encrypt data in blocks of multiple bits. This results in an encrypted data block that is the same size as the original data block. For example, DES takes 64-bit blocks and returns another 64-bit block using a 56-bit key.

Other examples of block cipher encryption methods are Blowfish and AES. Blowfish was introduced by Bruce Schneier and uses huge keys. Its block size is 64 bits and it provides a good encryption rate with variable key length of from 32 bits up to 448 bits. AES, on the other hand, accepts keys of 128, 192 or 256 bits and uses 128-bit blocks—double the size of Blowfish and DES. AES replaced the aging DES in the 1990s as the standard symmetric encryption algorithm for the US government.

Data encryption is a big topic and encompasses the fields of mathematics, computer science, and cryptography. In its simplest form, encryption is just a way of changing information that makes it unreadable by anyone except those in possession of the key, which is what allows them to change the information back to its original form. Because the amount of data the world creates will likely never fail to increase and because that data must be protected from increasingly more sophisticated hackers, data encryption will continue to be a hot topic.

Kilobytes, Megabytes, and the Metric System

To understand how we measure data is to understand the metric system, which unfortunately is not a given in the United States of Inches and Feet. Our documents, photos, videos, and apps are all measured in bytes—the virtual building blocks of our data.
These days our files are too big to be measured in only bytes—a Blu-Ray disc, for example, holds 10 billion bytes of data—so we use the metric system to make the language more understandable. 1,000 bytes is a kilobyte*, 1,000 kilobytes is a megabyte, and so on.

Kilobytes and megabytes were large units of data measurement in the past, but now technology has moved on and consumers are now using gigabytes and terabytes, and perhaps in the not-so-distant future will start using petabytes.

*A kilobyte is actually 1,024 bytes, but for the sake of understanding the system, we’ll talk in intervals of 1,000.

Gigabytes (GB)

IBM built the first gigabyte hard drive in 1980, weighing 550 pounds and costing $40,000. But the first true gigabyte drive that people could and would actually buy was introduced in 1991 and remained the standard “large” until until the 2000s. A gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes and we still measure a lot of files that way today; movies, TV shows, video games, and apps are all measured in some range of gigabytes:

•     A movie at basic TV quality (480p) is 1 GB
•     A standard DVD holds 4.7 GB
•     A Blu-Ray disc holds 10 GB
•     Battlefield 4 for Xbox One is approximately 34 GB
•     A good solid state drive is around 250 GB

Terabytes (TB)

Fast forward to 2007 and Hitachi brings us the world’s first terabyte hard drive for consumers. Following the metric system, a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes and it’s the unit in which we measure almost all modern hard drives. In fact, a hard drive is considered a letdown if it’s anything less than 1 TB. That’s why everyone wants the 1 TB versions of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 over the 500 GB hard drive. Even solid state drives are starting to produce in 1 TB, and the biggest consumer drives available are only made in 10–12 TB (and they’re very expensive).

•     212 DVD-quality movies or 125 Blu-Ray quality movies is 1 TB
•     Most “large” hard drives today are 2–4 TB

Petabytes (PB)

There’s no such thing as a mass-market petabyte drive and there won’t be for a long time. A petabyte is 1,000 terabytes and that is huge. Only data centers and some large IT servers measure in petabytes:

•     All US academic research libraries is 2 PB
•     The production of every consumer hard drive is 20 PB
•     All the printed material in the world is 200 PB

And finally, as a footnote, there is the exabyte—1,000 petabytes—which is so large we likely won’t see an exabyte drive in our lifetime. Just to understand the scale, every word ever spoken by human beings is 5 exabytes. Even if you wanted to own every movie and TV show ever made in ultra-high 4K resolution, you wouldn’t come close to filling an exabyte in your lifetime. Wow!

How Women Can Secure Grants to Jumpstart Their Business

Do you have a great business idea but need the cash to fund it?

Believe it or not, there are grants that might be able to help you jump start your business. There are ones that offer small business grants to women. That being said, it is not as easy as you think.

What about government grants?

Most might believe that the government has a lot of money to hand out, when in fact that is simply not true. Many federal grants for small businesses are for very specific things, such as development or research projects for rural areas. So if you’re looking to get a grant to cover startup costs or daily expenses, you might be out of luck.

However, if your business features a product or service that can positively affect women’s lives, you can try your hand at the InnovateHER Challenge, hosted by the US Small Business Administration. The top three national finalists can win up to $40,000. To qualify, you need to win a local InnovateHER challenge.

Because grants like the InnovateHER challenge can be very competitive, you might want to consider your state or local government grants. Keep in mind that the availability and types of grant differs depending on where you live, so you’ll need to do some research to find specific grant programs.

A good place to look is at your local women’s business centers. The Small Business Association (SBA) sponsors around 100 of these centers all over the country. They are specifically there to help females gain access to capital and with developing their business plans. Some of these places will actually lend you money directly. Others will help you figure out what kinds of grants you can qualify and apply for.

Another place to look is your local SBA sponsored centers. They are usually found at colleges and they offer free one-on-one business consulting. Simply set up a meeting with an adviser who can help you find grants in your area.

Are there any private grants?

There are a few national grant programs for women. You can win $500 from the Amber Grant Foundation. If you are a winner, you might be one of 12 grant winners to be awarded another $2,000. To apply, all you need to do is describe what your business is all about and tell them what you plan on doing with the money. After you pay a $7 application fee, you just have to wait and see if the foundation’s advisory board likes your story and passion.

Another grant you might want to look into is the FedEx Small Business Grant. They award 10 small businesses up $25,000 each annually. To apply, you need to explain what your business will be and how you would use the money. In addition, you need to provide photos or a video or your business. This one is not specifically geared towards women, but it doesn’t hurt to look into it.

If you need more options, a great website is Grants For Women. You can search through their database for grant opportunities, though you need to make sure the grants are specifically for businesses.


Grants are a great way to jump start your business. Again, understand that the grant money you receive might not be enough to cover all your costs, so try your hand at applying to as many as you can to help make your business dreams come true.

Happy Habits

In this day and age of lots to do and multiple devices to do it on, you might sometimes feel stressed. After watching family members, co-workers, and random strangers in the grocery store, gym, and other gathering places, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need more happy habits. Sure, most of us have developed some pretty good habits, but they’re not always happy habits. Often times, they’re more like responsibilities; you know, the kind of things we have to do (like cleaning the bathroom) or we’re supposed to do (like going to the gym every day. Or maybe that’s every other day?).

As I was thinking about my stress levels, I started making a mental list of my happy habits. It wasn’t long before I thought about one of my favorites: eating See’s candy. (Yes, I readily admit that my See’s habit is one of the reasons I go to the gym.) I have been enjoying See’s candy since I was a little kid. And when I say little, I mean little. Both sets of grandparents introduced me to the delights of See’s when I was just old enough to walk. Now that I look back on those early days, that’s probably why I learned to walk: “Brian, come here! Come on, walk to grandma! Come and get a piece of See’s!” Once I figured out what See’s was, I needed very little encouragement to walk.

One of my earliest and fondest memories of enjoying See’s candy was riding in my grandfather’s 1953 Chevy Bel Air 4 door to pick up my grandmother, who worked part-time at the nearby department store. This was in the days when seatbelts weren’t mandatory, so we kids were like dogs with our heads sticking out the windows, enjoying the cool Southern California breeze blowing in our faces. Picking up grandma also meant treats from See’s. Grandma would be waiting by the curb with a small white bag of those wonderful butterscotch lollipops.

On the drive home, my grandfather would honk the horn (which embarrassed my grandma, which only encouraged my grandpa to honk even more) any opportunity he got. Us kids thought it was the funniest thing in the world. It didn’t seem that life could get any better than those moments. Cool breeze, butterscotch lollipops, laughter, and being with grandma and grandpa. Those were good memories—happy memories to be sure. And that’s what I’m talking about: first, always be aware of opportunities to create happy moments with the ones you love. And then develop the habit of looking back to relive those good feelings when you’re feeling stressed. And even when you’re not stressed, happy memories make today a lot better, and they make our tomorrows a lot more enticing. While it’s true that you can’t relive the past, the sweet habits we’ve created because of them can sure help us minimize our stress levels. For me, a butterscotch lollipop confirms that.

Could Your Data Be Hijacked and Held for Ransom?

Hospitals were on edge recently when the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was hit by cyberterrorists. After all, if this Los Angeles hospital’s information could be held for ransom, why couldn’t another’s? Which is, in fact, the reality: any organization, including medical, government, education, industry, etc. can be the target of a ransomware extortion plot.

If you didn’t hear about the incident, here it is in a nutshell: Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center is an acute-care facility with physicians representing a wide variety of specialties, from cardiac and cancer care to fetal therapy and maternity services. A few weeks ago hackers hijacked the hospital’s computer system, preventing access to any data by encrypting it. Initially, hackers demanded $3.6 million in return for releasing the data. Although the attackers later decreased their demands to 40 bitcoins (worth $17,000) in exchange for a decryption key, they had made a point to the world: patient data and medical records are not safe from hackers.

A sobering lesson can be learned (again): important data must always be protected. Hackers don’t necessarily care who the data belongs to; they will do their best to exploit any weakness in the IT infrastructure to steal, damage, or hold for ransom an organization’s data. Like most criminals, cybercriminals are opportunists who seek out easy targets. Are you an easy target? Just for starters, consider this: Is your data unencrypted? Do you employ password protection policies? Are you using expired antivirus software?

Fortunately, organizations can safeguard their data by backing it up to the cloud. The more secure your data is, the more likely are cybercriminals to look elsewhere for better odds of accessing important or sensitive data. Don’t let your data become vulnerable! So, when looking for a service that backs up to the cloud, what should you expect? There are many points to consider, including the following:

•     Is your data encrypted in transit and at rest?
•     Do you have the option to use your own encryption keys?
•     Are backups automated?
•     Is the cloud service audited and certified?

Finally, ask yourself this question: In the event of hardware failure, theft, virus attack (including a ransomware extortion plot!), accidental deletion, or natural or man-made disaster, will my data be safe and recoverable quickly?

Organizations rely on digitized data more than ever. As such, all organizations—from the smallest business to the largest enterprise—must take the necessary steps to ensure that their data is securely backed up, accessible, and easily recoverable.


Most Prolific Hackers (infographic)

Money. Power. Politics. A new Porsche. Any one of those can be sufficient motivation for a hacker to ply his trade. These days, even with the most sophisticated security in place, hackers continue to break through the inner sanctums of government, industry, and business to steal secrets and other sensitive information like weapons technology and credit card numbers. These guys are so good that some end up making a legitimate profession by using their hacking skills. Let’s take a look back to learn about the most prolific computer hackers and the motivations behind their exploits.

As long as there have been computers, there have been hackers. Through the use of computers to gain unauthorized access to everything from radio station phone lines to government agencies, hackers have a wide variety of motives for their actions. Join us as we list the most prolific hackers to date.

Alias: The Homeless Hacker
Name: Adrian Lamo
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Threat analyst
Agenda: Unkown

Best Known For:

Using coffee shops and libraries as his command centers, Adrian earned his alias by hacking into The New York Times, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

After an arrest and 6 months of house arrest in 2003, Lamo became an American threat analyst. He was one who turned in U.S. soldier Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning) for leaking thousands of government socuments, which shined the spotlight on the now infamous WikiLeaks website for the first time.

Alias: ASTRA
Name: Withheld from public
Country of Origin: Greece
Current Status: Inactive following arrest in 2008
Agenda: $$$

Best Known For:

This hacker has never been publicly identified, though it is suspected he was a 58-year-old math teacher. Astra spent over half a decade hacking into the aviation company Dassault Group’s inner sanctums to steal and sell weapons technology information.

Alias: Dark Dante
Name: Kevin Poulsen
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Senior editor for Wired magazine
Agenda: A new Porsche 944 S2

Best Known For:
Being the first American to be banned from the Internet and computers for 3 years after his release from a 5-year prison sentence for hacking.
Poulson hacked the phone lines of a local radio station to rig a competition in which he would be the 102nd caller, winning the grand prize.

Alias: Cumbajohnny, Segvec, Soupnazi, Kingchilli
Name: Albert Gonzalez
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Inactive, currently in prison until 2025
Agenda: $$$

Best Known For:
Starting, a website that gained up to 4,000 followers where stolen or fake passports, driver’s licenses, bank account information, debit and credit cards, etc. were bough and sold.
He hacked TJX Companies and Heartland Payment Systems to steal upwards of 45 million debit and credit card numbers. Gonzalez was arrested in 2008 for this crime.

Alias: The Condor, The Darkside Hacker
Name: Kevin Mitnick
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Security consultant and author of two books
Agenda: Social engineering

Best Known For:
Being “the most wanted computer criminal.”

Mitnick started his illustrious career by bypassing the punch card system on the city bus line in Los Angeles. Soon he was hacking Motorola, IBM, the Pentagon, and others.
In 1995, a judge placed him in solitary confinement, fearing Mitnick’s skills were so diverse he could start a nuclear war by whistling codes into a payphone.

Alias: c0mrade
Name: Jonathan James
Country of Origin: USA
Current Status: Committed suicide in 2008
Agenda: Unknown

Best Known For:
Being the first juvenile to be tried and sentenced for hacking in America.

At 15, James began hacking into the Miami-Dade School System, Bell South, the Department of Defense, and NASA. He also intercepted source code for the International Space Staion, causing NASA to shut down its computers for 3 weeks to fix the breach.

Alias: Unknown
Name: Vladimir Levin
Country of Origin: Russia
Current Status: Whereabouts unkown
Agenda: $$$

Best Known For:
Without using the internet, but instead, a telecommunications system, he was able to gain access to millions of dollards, which he siphoned off and split between his 2 partners. After serving 3 years in prison, he was ordered to pay back only part of the money because that was all that could be recovered.

Alias: Solo
Name: Gary McKinnon
Country of Origin: England
Current Status: Currently lives in England
Agenda: Looking for evidence of UFO’s

Best Known For:
Hacking into 100 American military and NASA servers from his girlfriend’s aunt’s house. He deleted sensitive software, files, and data.
Later he shut down 2,000 comptuers in the US Army’s Military District of Washington network in just 24 hours, making it the largest military computer hack of all time, rendering the US military network inoperable for days.

Alias: Syrian Electronic Army (group)
Name: Unknown
Country of Origin: Syria
Current Status: Active
Agenda: Support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Best Known For:
Hacking US President Barack Obama’s and the Associated Press’ Twitter feeds are just two of the high-profile altercations they’ve been involved in. The Syrian Electronic Army has also attacked political opposition groups, western news organizations, human rights groups, government websites, and US defense contractors.

Alias: Anonymous (group)
Name: Unknown
Country of Origin: Multiple
Current Status: Active
Agenda: Social causes

Best Known For:

Being a group of individual members (known as Anons) from around the globe who unite for social causes.

Anonymous has attacked government, religious, and corporate websites.  Among their targets are the Vatican, the FBI, the CIA, Paypal, Sony, MasterCard, and Visa , as well as the Chinese, Israeli, Tunisian, and Ugandan governments.

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