June 21, 2019

Last weekend, Target shoppers around the country received some unwelcome news when they reached the checkout counter. Due to an “internal technology issue,” the retailer’s registers crashed for about two hours on Saturday afternoon. Soon social media became filled with footage of long lines at Target stores as employees completed cash transactions by hand. Of course, many customers abandoned their carts and went home after they learned about the problem.

Eventually Target announced that the registers had come back online, Continue reading

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June 14, 2019

In 2013 the photo sharing app Ever launched with the slogan “Make memories” as it invited people to store their pictures on the startup’s cloud-based platform. Millions of users took the company up on its offer and shared their “best moments” on Ever over the years. According to a recent report from NBC News, however, Ever’s sentimental marketing doesn’t mention a key part of its business plan. All photos stored on the app are used by the company to Continue reading

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In 2017 we looked at how the ransomware virus called “WannaCry” caused more than $8 billion in damage as it quickly infected hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe. Some victims even gave into the ransom that the virus demanded in order to regain access to their computers. Although a “kill switch” was eventually discovered in WannaCry’s code, the surprise cyberattack shocked many people in the business world. After all, securing a network against ransomware is extremely challenging, with Continue reading

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March 15, 2019

With stories about the Boeing 737 Max 8’s potentially fatal flaws dominating the news, some consumers may start to lose trust in the safety of air travel. As this video shows, that’s what happened in the 1930s when the Hindenburg airship plummeted in flames on a journey from Germany to the U.S. Although it wasn’t the first nor the deadliest airship crash, footage of the burning Hindenburg shocked the public and destroyed almost all confidence in the budding airship industry. Continue reading

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August 24, 2018

By now it’s no secret that big tech companies routinely collect tons of data about their users’ online habits. And as Facebook’s recent scandal with Cambridge Analytica showed, sometimes they sell that information to outside parties without first telling users about it. As a result, people must always be careful about sharing too much information online. According to a new study conducted by a Vanderbilt University professor, however, even the most cautious users probably can’t escape the all-seeing power of Continue reading

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July 24, 2018

Last week, we took a look at the “robocallers” who use fake caller ID information to trick Americans into picking up their phones. Although they are undoubtedly annoying, these automated messages are far less dangerous than the human scammers who directly target vulnerable consumers. For instance, an older person might receive a threatening call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The scammer will then tell their victim to send an immediate payment or else risk Continue reading

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July 20, 2018

Back in the pre-Internet days, companies would pay a fortune to set up services that allowed them to limit the number of phone lines used in the office. This meant that a company with 100 employees could use a single number with extensions rather than set up 100 seperate lines. Once caller ID came on the scene, these systems would display the same name to the receiver whether the call was coming from the mailroom or the C-suite.

This pricey Continue reading

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April 10, 2018

Paying with a credit card is an almost entirely electronic process except for one notable step: the signature. Although this final part of the transaction is meant to provide another layer of security, many consumers quickly squiggle something down on the line just to get the procedure over with. Then there are people like Doug Taylor, who goes the extra mile by signing his receipts with a doodle of a little dog wagging its tail. “It gets a laugh, most Continue reading

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March 23, 2018

In the aftermath of Facebook’s data sharing scandal, critics of the company are calling on lawmakers to discuss ways that the social network could be regulated. To these concerned citizens, Facebook has grown too large to be trusted with so much of the public’s information. The video below looks at how America’s tech giants became so big and the ways that regulators could possibly target these companies in the future.

Questions:

  1. Do you think big tech companies like Facebook, Continue reading
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March 22, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the hyperscale data centers that Facebook relies on to handle its userbase of more than 2 billion accounts. With so much information swirling around these enormous structures, it’s easy to assume that any data you provide to the social network will fade away in an ever-increasing crowd. But not only can Facebook access much of the data it collects, the company also routinely shares this information with scholars and researchers. Users consent Continue reading

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