April 2017 News Briefs

(Synopses of articles from online publications to bring you up to speed in business and the latest technology.)

As of January 31, “outsiders” can now Skype into the White House Press Room. This enables journalists outside the Washington, DC, area to ask questions during White House press briefings. It’s part of the Trump administration’s strategy to keep in touch with people outside the beltway. Journalists attending via Skype must be at least 50 miles from the DC area. All political questions aside, it’s just another example of business (or, in this case, government) taking advantage of available technologies. Or, in this case, finally catching up… Skype, the world’s largest video calling service, is nothing new – it’s been around since 2003. Sometimes it just takes a while for users to figure out how to make tech work to their advantage. Yahoo.com, 01.31.17

Anti-malware programs can’t even touch this new kind of attack... “Fileless” attacks became all the rage among hackers in 2016. According to a report by cybersecurity firm Carbon Black, fourth quarter 2016 saw a 33% rise in these “non-malware” attacks compared to the first quarter. Experts expect the trend to continue through 2017. Cyberbad-guys carry out these attacks in any number of ways. Their “en vogue” method at the start of 2017 was hijacking PowerShell and WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) to do their dirty deeds. Brian Kenyon, chief strategy officer for Symantec, said recently, “Fileless infections are difficult to detect and often elude intrusion prevention and antivirus programs.” Reports show the Democratic National Committee hack last year used a fileless attack.DarkReading.com, 12.27.16

This simple, 30-second breathing exercise wakes you up like a cup of coffee. Whether you skip caffeine to get a better night's rest, or just wake up slowly, here's a quick way to activate your brain and give yourself an energy boost. It can help you beat that mid-afternoon slump, or to just get going in the morning. If you're doing it in the office, find a quiet place, like an unused corner or stairwell. Stand up straight, arms gently at your sides. Leaving elbows down, raise your hands up to shoulder level. Now, inhale deeply and raise your hands and arms straight up over your head. Quickly exhale and lower your arms. Repeat for 30 seconds, or until you're re-energized. -Lifehacker

Cassette audio tapes (remember those?) are making a comeback. Compact disk sales are declining, yet vinyl records have enjoyed a resurgence over the past several years. And last year, cassette sales rose to 129,000 units, an increase of 74% over 2015. So what’s up with cassettes – why so popular all of a sudden? Actually, the numbers are still miniscule compared to the 105 million CDs sold in 2016. Yet the bump in cassette sales reflects a growing appetite for tangible items that fans can cherish. Also, it doesn’t hurt that artists like Justin Bieber, Eminem and Prince brought tape reissues to market. Or that online retailer Urban Outfitters has exclusive deals to sell their cassettes, as well as vintage gear to play them on. TheVerge.com, 01.23.17

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