Ransomware goes rogue

It’s bad when hackers lock up computers and hold them for ransom — but it’s about to get a whole lot worse. My first freelance article for the Tribune-Review delves into this frightening new world where hackers don’t want your bitcoin and they’re interested in deleting more than your files…

dt.common.streams.StreamServer

As bad as it seemed when hackers locked up computer systems at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in February, demanding a $17,000 ransom, the attack could have been much worse, experts tell the Tribune-Review.

The cybercriminals used so-called ransomware that seeks victims through emails and websites, then locks their computer equipment until they pay a ransom.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer-1When a victim pays the ransom — typically in digital bitcoins — the thieves provide a digital key to unlock the system. Yet hackers who aren’t motivated by money could refuse to offer a key, said Brian Nussbaum, a former security intelligence analyst who teaches computer security at State University of New York at Albany.

“There is certainly the potential for you to have organizations where the data is simply gone,” Nussbaum said. Read the full story here.

Advertisements

Journalism is changing — and I want to be part of it

I spoke recently with Essential Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh’s NPR station 90.5 WESA-FM about the future of journalism. This is what they took away from our discussion…

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 10.25.40 AMFormer Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigative reporter Andrew Conte knows newspapers. The industry is not dying, he said.

As the new director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, Conte — still a monthly columnist — is using his delight for an evolving craft to help prepare aspiring storytellers.

“Journalism is changing, and I wanted to be a part of helping figure out that change for our broader audience,” Conte told Essential Pittsburgh on Friday. See the whole story and listen to the interview here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 10.24.22 AM

 

Sneak peak: Center for Media Innovation

HardHatTour-18

We hosted a tour of the Center for Media Innovation with several Point Park alumni and members of the local media clubs.

It seems like everyone has a great idea for saving journalism — and I’m loving it. Ever since taking over as director of the new Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, I have been swamped with proposals for new projects. People are pumped for good journalism and for making sure young people still see a bright future in this profession.

At the same time, walls are going up! I have been in the Center almost daily over the past couple of weeks and it’s great to see the place coming together, moving from the paper designs to actual plasterboard and glass. Every week brings some new development: The news ticker has arrived!

We recently hosted a tour of the Center for several Point Park alumni and leaders of the local media clubs — including Kim Palmiero, president of the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, Tory Parrish, president of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, and Stacey Federoff, president of the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh.

We are on schedule to open for the fall semester.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finding value in journalism

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsMy first media column was inspired by meeting Curt Guyette, an investigative reporter for the ACLU in Michigan. Curt discovered officials in Flint, Mich., had not treated the drinking water properly, leading to high levels of lead. He figured it out the old-fashioned way — talking to citizens, asking tough questions and refusing to accept the wrong answers.

Especially in this age of instant news, journalism remains too important to neglect. Too often, news outlets have devalued their products by giving away information. My goals at the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University are reminding the public about the valuable roles of an independent press, while helping journalists — newly minted and cynically old — figure out the paths forward.

Take a moment to check out the column: http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/10457846-74/media-journalists-pay