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HackNotice launches as the first way to truly know what hackers have on you

(TECH NEWS) Consumers find out about hacks only when there are major breaches, and typically way too late. HackNotice is fighting back by quickly making indices of breaches public.

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We all know that our identities are at risk of being stolen, we’ve all grown tired of hoping a company will fess up when they’ve been breached, and we’ve all heard the horror stories of credit being unknowingly destroyed by strangers.

And so far, the only real solution is to remain vigilant and changing all of your passwords when you hear that a major company (be it a file storage company or a major retailer) has had a breach.

Today, there’s another solution. Enter HackNotice, a service that allows you to be proactive with your identity by finding out what hackers know about you and what they’ve recently stolen that is yours.

The co-founder of PwnedList is the brains behind HackNotice and sought to create a meaningful tool for consumers, noting that businesses have ample tools available, but individuals are nowhere near as empowered.

“Learn what hackers know about your digital identity and where you’ve been showing up in what dumps, leaks, and credentials,” Thomas explained.

So we’re not hackers here at The American Genius, and it’s all scary, but what we learned from HackNotice Founder, Steve Thomas, is that the real need is to address the blind spot in the security industry and to acknowledge that there are hacks every day that never make headlines.

Thomas combs the internet (including the Dark Web) as part of the hacker community, finds credentials and data dumps, indexing that and making the data totally public. That is far more impressive than getting an email from a retailer a year after a hack that says “oops, sorry.”

The problem as it exists today is that if your credit card is stolen, for example, you won’t find out until charges start popping up on your account. That information is typically sold once by a hacker, in bulk at $1-5 per credit card number, used to commit fraud by money mules who will steal what they can before the account is blocked.

Thomas advises that any time you find out you’ve used your credit card at a retailer, or sign in credentials on a website that has been hacked, don’t wait until you feel the ramifications, treat those accounts as if they are stolen (get a new credit card number and/or change your password). That’s the power of HackNotice – you don’t have to pray that you eventually learn about a particular vulnerability to address, you can learn through the site’s public index of secret hacks.

HackNotice brings threat intelligence to everyone, even us mere lay people mortals.

But we noticed by using the service that you can’t just insert your Social Security Number in and generate a list of vulnerabilities. Thomas said, “you should never put that number into anyone’s system,” even if you trust them.

Thomas himself, a longtime hacker community member, had his own info stolen last year. He says several of his passwords were freely shared, his SSN was publicly available, and charges were hitting his banks by the thousands. He can’t get a new social security number, and the data on him was repetitively stolen and shared, even his wife’s credit card pin number.

“Even I couldn’t keep track of all of the breaches last year,” he said, and he’s constantly combing for them. Which is the inspiration for HackNotice, to accumulate that data and make it publicly available, from the darkest corners of the internet.

Even the cyber security sector, which is typically a cynical bunch, is reacting positively to the HackNotice launch and Thomas’ efforts to fight back.

There’s a major knowledge gap, and Thomas is “taking a stab at solving that.” He notes that the current problem is that this is a “highly technical, nuanced security area,” and their mission is to “explain good security, and offer advice anyone can follow.”

Get ahead of the hackers by heading over to HackNotice to learn what they know about you, and be prepared to change your passwords and possibly request new credit card numbers.

Tech News

Students say free coding school wildly fails to deliver

(TECH NEWS) There’s a serious barrier to entry into web development so a free coding school launches, but students say it isn’t delivering on their promises.

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Coding bootcamps

Technology changes quickly and so does the skillset requirement by companies. Many people are finding themselves in the stage of their career path where they may want to try something new – and not surprisingly, make a nice salary doing it. The launch of coding bootcamps (starting with Code Academy and 2011) has been touted as the solution to educate those on a missing skillset and setting them up for well-paying J-O-Bs.

Coding bootcamps, now up to 95 full-time coding academies in the United States, offer job seekers training in an area where they can move in to a new career and also meet to provide much needed talent to employers who need people who can code. This doesn’t usually come for free though. Average coding bootcamps (6 months) can cost up to $21K with the promise you will land a high paying salary at the end of it. There are also many universities providing coding boot camp classes.

What does it mean when a free coding school launches (with the intent to provide an educational opportunity to those who maybe don’t have the funding for a large investment and/or the ability to take out more student loans) and simply asks for a portion of your starting salary once you land that incredible new Developer gig?

Sounds like a great idea. This meets the market demand for interested people to learn a new skill set and be ready for a new career in software development. Shouldn’t we be asking how easy it is for these folks to get hired after the program? The challenge with the Lambda School is that their curriculum and UX for online learning is in development.

While they intended to meet people where they were with an online platform (offering flexibility to the students and teachers), it has left a little bit to desire by its participants. The learning opportunities are constantly changing. The teachers are also not always available and most likely have other full-time obligations or employment.

Many students were left disappointed that they didn’t feel the education matched expectations and didn’t see how they were going to be able to be hired in to roles that would allow them to pay back the tuition. So much so they sent requests to get out of their signed contracts and halt the program.
It goes without saying that anything new has its challenges and businesses can only move so fast.

No matter how fast technology changes, we are humans and have certain human behaviors. Employers want to see real-world experience so even if you’ve taken classes, the candidate must be willing to do things above and beyond the class (volunteer projects and networking for sure). While we root for Lambda School to be a legitimate solution for those how may not have the budget for a full-time coding school, it might be worth the time to let them sort out their curriculum challenges and consider building up your skill set in this area in other ways.

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Tech News

Defense startups are getting beaucoup bucks from the DoD

(TECH NEWS) Some tech companies are getting large venture capital because the Department of Defense is looking for new defense startups.

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military looking defense startups

While private investors remain wary of funding defense startups, they are still keeping an eye on the possible venture opportunities. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is hoping domestic investors will increase spending into these startups in order to compete with China’s strategy of creating private equity firms to invest into foreign technologies.

A major reason for the growing interest by venture capitalists is the shift in focus from traditional weapons to tools for information warfare, meaning software and tech systems. Defense startups are creating products that may have multiple benefits outside the DoD.

Changes in the defense venture landscape are slow with all three parties learning how to benefit from one another. Startups realize working with the DoD is a “mission-driven objective” as stated by Ryan Tseng, founder of Shield AI. “We went into this eyes wide open, knowing full well that to the venture community, the math doesn’t make sense.”

However, there are several big investor players already in the game. Andreessen Horowitz, a top-tier venture fund is banking on the economic sustainability of defense startups in the future. They’ve already invested in Shield AI and defense tech company Anduril Industries. Additionally, the Founders Fund, another big name venture firm led by Silicon investors Peter Thiel, Brian Singerman, and Ken Howery is investing in Anduril and goTenna after successfully backing SpaceX and Palantir Technologies.

Defense companies’ emphasis on tech could be the answer to challenges usually associated with DoD investments like competing against dominate manufacturers with steady government contracts and long procurement cycles. U.S. Code 2377 stipulates that commercially available items be considered first in procurement efforts. If defense startups can enter the market, they will also stand a chance of winning government contracts over bigger, traditional companies, thus diversifying the playing field.

But until there is a greater guarantee of a payoff, investors are likely to remain skeptical. The possibilities for this new generation of defense companies is going to needs some more wins to prove the future is in their corner.

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Tech News

Goal-based project management tool simplifies your work life

(TECH NEWS) If you are struggling to keep tasks straight then this new tool Qoals allows for a simpler and more straightforward way to accomplish goals as a team.

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Qoals pitch

We all have goals – whether they be personal, professional, financial, etc. Anyone can set a goal, all it takes is having a thought and assigning it a certain level of importance. However, not everyone completes their goals due to the oft difficulties and confusions associated with execution.

Like anything else, if there’s a will, there’s a way. A new way has been found in the form of Qoals – a simple and straightforward tool that helps you to get aligned around business goals instead of an endless wall of tasks.

The ability to complete goals is done through: setting goals, adding tasks, collecting things, and tracking progress. With this, everyone on your team has access to this information to keep tabs on what’s happening.

With setting goals, you create and prioritize your goals, letting your team members know which ones are most important at that time. Goals can be prioritized with tabs such as: long term, short term, and urgent. By adding tasks, you can add and assign tasks to set a clear path in order to complete set goals.

In collecting things, you collect resources related to your goal and keep them in one safe place (again, this is accessible to your whole team). This doesn’t require uploading files, but simply including links to resources to keep everything easily accessible. Finally, by tracking progress, everyone on the team can see where you’re at with your goals – which saves time with the follow ups of “how’s Goal X going?”

Why did Qoals develop this goal-oriented approach? “It’s about time we simplify things,” according to the official website. “Get aligned around goals and let everyone know what’s important for the business. Add goals under various projects and start adding tasks and resources to make that goal happen.”

Additionally, Qoals boasts that this provides users with a birds-eye view of what’s happening with their team, allowing them to be more human-centric. You can create unlimited projects, set and track your goals, collected everything related to said goal, keep the discussion relevant, access your tasks with one click, stay connected to your team, and see what’s going on at a glance.
Qoals is currently in beta.

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