Microsoft made a major splash a few years back when they announced that the NFL would be using the Surface tablets on the field and in the locker room for various aspects of team management. Up until now it really only caught the media’s eye briefly when commentators mistakenly identified the Microsoft tablets as Apple iPads, a stinging verdict on the strength of both Microsoft and Apple’s branding. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the Surface tablets were correctly identified this time at the recent AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos. Unfortunate because the Patriots were experiencing technical difficulties with the devices at a crucial moment in the most important game of the season. As you’d expect, the internet had a field day with this, even though the the technical difficulties were quickly overcome, and the Patriots carried on.
What this means for you:
Rather than taking an easy opportunity to poke fun at Microsoft as you might expect, I’m more interested in making sure everyone grasps the more important lesson here. Even though the Surfaces had become an important part of sideline operations during a game, the Patriots were able to keep moving forward with their critical processes because the Surface tablets weren’t a single point of failure in the complex workflow of team and game management. Are there parts of your business or organization that depend on a single point of technology that, if it failed, would prevent you from executing on critical processes or tasks? Always have a back up plan, both in the literal sense (as in: Back up that data!) as well as the figurative. Important presentation tomorrow that you’ve only stored on a single thumb drive and nowhere else? What would happen if that little thumb drive accidentally fell out of your pocket while you were on the way to the big meeting? When it’s game day, make sure you have more than one way to get the ball into the end zone!
Hacktivist group Anonymous is at it again, this time targeting Brazilian websites apparently in protest of Brazil’s costly hosting of the FIFA World Cup. While more traditional protests had been going on for many months with only nominal impact and attention, Anonymous immediately gained the media spotlight after claiming through Twitter to have hacked over 100 websites, including Brazil’s federal police website. Many of the website attacks consisted of Denial of Service assaults or simple defacements, but Anonymous sharply made their point by posting a list of logins and passwords purportedly from the police website, as well as claiming to also have harvested numerous operations documents and email exchanges.
What this means for you:
Just like any hot media item, hackers will be leveraging the globe’s enthusiasm for the World Cup, and it’s likely you will see spam and phishing attempts based around news, events and celebrities of the sport. As always, avoid clicking links in emails unless you can verify they lead to legitimate websites. Cybercriminals will also be counting on plenty of people searching for news about World Cup matches, so make sure you examine your search results carefully and only visit websites you know and trust. Don’t rely just on your antivirus software to protect you – use your common sense laced with a healthy dose of skepticism to avoid hackers scoring a goal on you.