Cyber Security Today: Rise of ransomware, ads on iOS apps and quantum computing

The high cost of ransomware, threats posed by ad-supported Apple iOS apps and what you can do today with ultra-fast quantum computing

We’re bringing you the latest cyber security news. Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Friday April 6th. I’m Howard Solomon.


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You might not tell by the headlines, but 2017 was a good year compared to others when it came to data breaches. Last year more than 2.9 billion records were leaked, as counted from publicly disclosed incidents, according to an annual report by IBM. That’s nearly a 25 per cent drop from 2017. What are attackers doing different? Focusing on ransomware for easy cash or just plain chaos. It’s estimated that ransomware attacks cost companies around the world more than $8 billion globally last year in downtime and in ransomware payments.

The other big finding: Misconfigured corporate cloud servers and networked backup incidents unintentionally exposed more than 2 billion records that were supposed to be private. If they were found the data was ripe for picking.

Adding apps to your iPhone is pretty neat. However, many in the Apple Store pose a privacy threat to users and organizations, mobile security vendor Appthority said this week. These apps are ad-supported. And while many ask for user permission to access their data for advertising purposes, a large number don’t. Many iOS apps often access data without any real functional justification, the company said. The best way iPhone and iPad users can protect their privacy is to be selective about granting permission for apps to access device data such as contact lists, calendars and photos.

Finally, researchers are still working to perfect ultra-fast quantum computers. Common availability is years away but at a conference this week in Washington CIO Dive said experts talked about how they are using quantum principles on today’s platforms. Vancouver’s D-Wave computing and Volkswagon, for example, can crunch location data on 10,000 Bejing taxis in seconds. It takes a conventional server a half an hour to come up with the same solution. One researcher is powering through U.S. election results for more accurate forecasting.

So pick your toughest computing problem and get in line.

That’s it for today’s edition of Cyber Security Today. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, add it to your Alexa Flash Briefing or get it wherever else you listen to podcasts. Thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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