Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

Cyber Security

Hacking Cryptocurrency







Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in a cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly. The attractiveness of this new technology is that it allows users complete financial control since there are no banks or other third parties involved in the process. However, there are some risks that come with purchasing cryptocurrenices such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.

Due to the rise of cryptocurrencies, hackers have been discovering new ways to breach data. Since blockchain technology is still in the early stages, it is vulnerable to security issues. The article below discusses how hackers have used an app named Coinhive to mine digital currency. In the past few weeks, numerous US and UK government websites have been compromised. Hacking is enticing since the currency is not on anyone’s phones or computers, instead it is held on companies websites alongside many other user’s transactions. Because of this framework, multiple user’s sensitive data have been breached simultaneously. There is now an increasing market for software, services, and hardware to secure blockchain activity and it was estimated that $259 million was spent in 2017 for businesses looking for a solution.

Do you think investing in cryptocurrency is secure? Does it have a bright future? Would you/have you invested in any?


The way the role of IT is changing

No longer is it the role of IT to bring in the latest and greatest technology in the most cost effective way. IT management and the role of IT has started to become “Strategy-Oriented, Collaborative and more business Aware.” (Morgan, Jacob Inc. Aug 29, 2017) IT used to be a group of tech enthusiasts who kept the servers running in a basement data center, out of sight from the rest of the business. Today the role of IT has expended into every single business unit in the company. The IT management team is involved in almost all company projects and help make integral decisions on what new technologies to bring in and offer support to the business units on how to use existing data. Social Media has now become a business need versus a business want. Many IT departments have dedicated employees just to handle the day-to-day social media needs of each business unit. IT is becoming globally aware. IT employees have to keep an eye on growing trends and technology is constantly changing. Large on premise data centers are slowly being outsources to cloud companies such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Everyone in IT now shares the responsibility of keeping data and IP secure to reduce the threat of being hacked.

How harmless data becomes dangerous.

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Photo by idealisms

This November the app Strava wanted to share its data it had collected from users using the app to log fitness information such as runs and bike rides. Within roughly two months observers had noticed that the app had perhaps revealed private U.S. military base locations and personnel based on the data collected and now publicly shared. Of course, this was not the fitness apps intention, as it was simply made to help people track their personal performance, but all of this personal data collection comes at a cost. This is not the first time data has been revealed and unintentionally had unintended negative consequences and will probably not be the last. With people downloading apps everyday and not fully understanding all of the data they are collecting about them there will always be consequences of some sort.

How much data are you willing to give up about yourself and your daily life ? Where do you draw your privacy line ?


ATM Hacking the New Cyber Attack







Article Link:

When we were reviewing the Cirque Du Soleil case, the conclusion was that IT is IT. IT can enhance any industry, and it’s definitely enhancing hacking ATMs by making it easier to steal money like it’s the jockpot. This actually, makes the case for why Cyber Security is so important right now.

Last week alone, six ATM hacking attacks happened in six different cities in the US resulting in a stolen sum of $1 million so far.

A cyber security firm tracked conversations around malware used for jackpotting and also people talking on some forums about new ATM hacking hardware targeting specific machines. The same company spotted a jackpotting guide available for sale on one dark web forum

The same way IT can take a business to the next level and make some aspects of our lives easier, it can be used for criminal activity as well because again IT is IT!

What do you think is the solution to stop these criminal activities? Fight IT with IT? How important is Cyber Security now that we face all this hacking targeted specifically towards financial situations and individuals?

Share your thoughts, questions, and ideas by leaving a comment below.

Blockchain in Financial Services Industry

Blockchain technology is a digital, decentralized, and distributed transaction ledger with a growing list of records that is linked and secured by using cryptography. Due to its recent growth in popularity, corporations are starting to understand the technical capabilities for blockchain technology and finding use cases for it, especially in the financial services industry. Currently, the third largest cryptocurrency Ripple (XRP), with a market cap of approximately $50 billion was founded in 2012. Ripple has gained a tremendous amount of popularity since its one of the most scalable cryptocurrency. XRP connects banks and payment providers through its blockchain, RippleNet, simplifying global financial transactions. It’s advantages are quicker transaction times, lower transaction costs, and tracking transactions on its network. In comparison to Bitcoin, cross-border payments could take hours that is associated with ridiculously high transaction fees while Ripple can be completed in a matter of seconds for a fraction of the price.  It has locked partnerships with large organizations such as American Express, Santander, and other financial services companies in Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

In the future, do you think Ripple gain mass adoption and replace our current financial system? What are some of the risks if there was a full scale adoption of Ripple? What are some other applications can blockchain technology be used for?