Thursday, November 1, 2018

Technolink Snapshot November 2018

Technolink member Kevin McDonald, Executive Vice President of Alvaka Networks, advises us all to stay on top of vulnerabilities in software. "If you own a computer, it is very likely you know something about patching or updating software," says Mr. McDonald. "This is different from upgrading, which usually means a developer of software has added new features or made significant changes to the application." Sometimes a weakness, or hole in software allows an attacker (malware or a hacker) to take action. These weaknesses are discovered either by an outsider or the developer of the software.
The patch is designed to modify the application in order to close the hole—otherwise known as a vulnerability—or to fix bugs and/or errors. Software vulnerability is a leading attack vector, and yet one of the simplest to secure. According to a recent study by Fortinet, 90% of attacks leveraged vulnerabilities that were known for three or more years, and 60% for 10 years. In Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, they reported 99.9% of exploited vulnerabilities were known for more than one year before an attack.
"It is essential to close these vulnerabilities at home, as well as in your business," Mr. McDonald continues. "Many individuals and organizations do a very poor job of keeping up on patching and, as a result, leaving themselves exposed. I can speak from experience, as we at Alvaka Networks patch thousands of servers and desktops for corporations every month. While the application of patches is straightforward, if delayed, done poorly, or without proper consideration of back-up, application corruption, post patch testing and other issues, serious damage and business interruption can occur." 
To learn more about Alvaka Networks, click here


John Jaramillo, Technolink member and Dean of Economic and Workforce Development & Business Science at Saddleback College, reports that students are gaining real world experience in developing tools and devices through a collaboration with Swift Engineering.  Their collaboration benefits e-NABLE, a group of volunteers from across the globe that use 3D printers to create free prosthetics.
The devices Saddleback students are making can be printed in a variety of materials, including durable nylon, ABS, PLA, and TPU. Students download files of the pre-designed hands and arms and then print the devices using the 3D printers in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab.
e-NABLE does not charge for the prosthetic devices it provides. Typically, a professionally made, muscle-actuated arm can cost up to $10,000, with much of the cost coming from the materials and parts alone.
This is a great opportunity for Saddleback College to collaborate with a leading motorsport, aviation and aerospace manufacturing company, Swift Engineering, in the design, manufacturing, and assembly of robotic prosthetic hands, for not only for the applied learning experience for students in STEM, but more importantly for the humanitarian purpose of improving the quality of life of the recipients of these robotic hands.” states Israel Dominguez, Director of Economic Workforce and Development at Saddleback. e-NABLE estimates it has delivered about 1,800 hands to children, with the devices holding up quite well to the activities of a typical child. Many have sent in videos of themselves using the hands to ride bikes, throw a ball with a dog, swim, and perform other activities.
Past students have completed a hand for both an 8-year-old boy who is missing a hand and most of the lower arm from his left side and for a 3-year-old boy with the same missing limb. Students are also working on their own design by integrating Arduino Uno technology with a sensor that detects electrical activity of muscles to control robotic hand movements of the device.
For additional information on Saddleback College Manufacturing and other Career Education Programs, please visit the Saddleback College web site: