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Good morning. As the volume and severity of cyberattacks seems to rise, CIOs have the opportunity to play a critical role in improving corporate resilience. They can function as a bridge between management and the board, where a deeper understanding of cyber risk is necessary. “We need board members to be a little more tough on themselves,” said Ed Amoroso, former chief security officer at AT&T Inc., speaking Thursday at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “They should take the time to really go off and do the homework and learn. It can’t be an hour-long board session. It’s got to be a commitment.” (Read the full story here.)
Like a bank robbery. Companies can’t expect to eliminate cyber risk any more than banks can expect to eliminate bank robberies, according to Mr. Amoroso, now CEO of TAG Cyber LLC. “(Cyber risk is) never going to go away, and people are going to have to keep worrying about it,” he said. “Just like bank robbery, you can’t say get rid of it and make it never happen,” he said.
Boards need a better understanding of cyber risk. Directors should spend more time educating themselves about cybersecurity and technology fundamentals, Mr. Amoroso said. Just as it would be unacceptable for someone to join a board without any finance or business experience, the same should go for technology and cybersecurity. Increasingly, CIOs are helping fill that gap in knowledge, often by joining boards themselves.
Cargill Inc. set up a blockchain system to let customers trace their Thanksgiving turkeys from farm to freezer.LEFT: CARGILL INC. / RIGHT: KIM S. NASH/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
DOWNLOAD EXTRA: TURKEYS ON THE BLOCKCHAIN
The act of giving thanks will be fuller this year for some consumers who will be able to say a word around the Thanksgiving table about the very farmer who raised their dinner.
Cargill Inc. is tracking 60,000 of its Honeysuckle White brand turkeys on a home-grown blockchain. Consumers can visit honeysucklewhite.com to type in a six-digit code from the label of the bird to see information about the family farm where it grew up. Details about the farmers — names, location, number of generations in the business, photos and videos — reside on a blockchain system Cargill built from scratch, CIO Deb Bauler tells CIO Journal. Also uploaded: Information about the turkey flock, including what it ate, how long it was there and where it was processed for sale.
Four farms in Texas are participating in the traceability test, which could be expanded after the holiday, Ms. Bauler says.
Retailers, suppliers and agriculture companies have tried for years to digitize data related to food production, to help smooth product recalls and to satisfy consumers increasingly hungry for information about how their food was grown, treated and processed. Cargill’s turkey blockchain runs on a cloud from Amazon Web Services, which makes it easier for farmers to access than, say, a proprietary RFID system, Ms. Bauler says.
After Thanksgiving, Cargill’s IT group and innovation lab will study data about who used the blockchain system and what they liked and didn’t, she says. “We’re trying to figure out what’s helpful for [farmers] to track and what’s helpful for us to track,” she says. – Kim S. Nash
How deep learning, quantum rank among 2017′s top emerging tech. Deep learning and quantum computing entered the mainstream in 2017. CIO Journal Columnist Irving Wladawasky-Berger sees in the emerging field of AI-powered computer vision the potential for dramatic improvements within the medicine, agriculture and transportation fields. But quantum? Someone please him know when the technology is ready to leave the research labs.
Employees of Russia’s Kaspersky Lab working at the company’s office in Moscow in October.MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS
U.S. flagged Kaspersky as potential threat over a decade ago. The Russian cybersecurity firm was flagged by U.S. military intelligence as a potential security threat as early as 2004, according to new information the Defense Department provided to Congress. In 2013, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. military spy service, also issued a Pentagon-wide threat assessment about products made by the company, the Journal’s Paul Sonne reports. The Journal reported in October that hackers suspected of working for the Russian government targeted a National Security Agency contractor through the contractor’s use of Kaspersky Lab antivirus software foreign computer networks.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said hard-and-fast rules can stifle investment and innovation in a fast-moving industry.ZACH GIBSON/BLOOMBERG NEWS
FCC to outline plan to roll back net-neutrality rules. Federal regulators this week are expected to unveil their plans for reversing Obama-era rules that require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally, the Journal’s John D. McKinnon reports. The changes, expected to be adopted at the Federal Communications Commission meeting in mid-December, would open the door to a wide range of new opportunities for internet providers, such as forming alliances with content firms to serve up their webpages or video at higher speeds and quality than those without such deals.
New regulator steps up. The change would affect not only how the internet is regulated, but who regulates it. Under the new plan, legal experts say, oversight responsibility would shift to include the Federal Trade Commission as well as the FCC.
One of the most advanced 3-D chip packages has powered the Apple Watch since its introduction, an analyst says.IFIXIT
Stacking chips and big tech breakthroughs. Microchips, now are getting stacked like pancakes and becoming 3-D—with big consequences for all our devices. For example, Samsung Electronic Co.’s V-NAND flash memory, used for storing data in phones, cameras and laptops, has 64 chips placed one atop the other. Writes WSJ Columnist Christopher Mims: “Think of this 3-D stacking as urban planning. Without it, you have sprawl—microchips spread across circuit boards, getting farther and farther apart as more components are needed. But once you start stacking chips, you get a silicon cityscape, with everything in closer proximity.”
Talking to appliances. Developing the voice technology to understand commands for some 2,500 tasks for more than 100 models of GE appliances involved digging deep into the widely varying words and phrases Americans use to describe their household chores, the company tells the WSJ’s Ellen Byron. So far, developers have compiled more than 160 billion versions of these commands, and the list grows as software updates are made every few months, the company says.
MORE TECHNOLOGY NEWS
The news media watched as Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas talked to President Reagan about the Senate passage of the tax overhaul bill on Capitol Hill in 1986.JOHN DURICKA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
On Capitol Hill, the tech has changed. The last time Congress passed a major tax overhaul in 1986, lobbyists arrived at the Capitol with pockets full of dimes to feed pay phones to relay the latest news, says the WSJ’s Kristina Peterson. Some well-heeled lobbyists carried brick-sized cellphones. Today, liberated by the ability to email, text and Gchat lawmakers and aides, lobbyists no longer have to physically be present as the House and Senate speed through a sweeping rewrite of the tax code.
The latest path to Silicon Valley riches: Stake sales. Entrepreneurs and venture investors are cashing out of hot startups through secondary sales of big stakes, rather than waiting for companies to go public or be acquired, the WSJ’s Eliot Brown and Greg Bensinger report. Leading the way is SoftBank Group Corp., which last week cleared a hurdle for a deal with Uber Technologies Inc. where SoftBank’s tech-focused investment fund would seek to buy shares from investors and employees at a discount to the ride-hailing firm’s $68 billion valuation.
PayPal to introduce customers to robo investing. The San Jose, Calif., payments company is connecting its website and smartphone apps with those of Acorns Grow Inc., a five-year-old automated savings and investment service that specializes in micro investing. The WSJ’s Peter Rudegair has the story.
Worker visa applications scrutinized. The Trump administration is more closely scrutinizing applications for the high-skilled visa program known as H-1B, sending back more than one in four applications between January and August via “requests for further evidence,” the Journal’s Laura Meckler reports. The H-1B visas are heavily used by technology companies, including outsourcing firms.
Apple hits pause on HomePod. Apple Inc. pushed back the release of its HomePod smart speaker beyond Christmas, making it the latest new product from the company to miss its promised ship date, the Journal’s Tim Higgins reports. The company declined Friday to elaborate further on the delay, saying only the product would ship in early 2018. The HomePod, which Apple in June said would ship in December, joins the AirPods headphones, Apple Watch and iPad pencil and keyboard in missing a projected shipment date.
Fan backlash defeats microtransactions’s dark side.Electronic Arts Inc. halted in-game sales of virtual goods in its high-profile sequel to “Star Wars Battlefront” on the eve of the game’s launch, bowing to pressure from Walt Disney Co. as well as customers who fear big spenders could gain an unfair edge over other players. Microtransactions are an increasingly important piece of industry cash, say the WSJ’s Sarah E. Needleman and Ben Fritz, but critics have balked as such in-game goods for sale shift from nice-to-haves such as new costumes to more integral pieces of content, such as access to high-powered characters.
Toshiba to raise funding. Toshiba Corp. said it would raise $5.3 billion through the sale of new shares to foreign funds, a step to avoid a delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange if the planned sale of its chip unit is delayed. The Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki has the story.
Alibaba to buy big Stake in Chinese big-box retailer. E-commerce giant Alibaba Holding Group Ltd. says it will pay $2.88 billion for a 36% stake in China’s second-largest big-box retailer, Sun Art Retail. As the WSJ’s Liza Lin explains, Alibaba, which runs the world’s largest online shopping operation, sees traditional retail venues as a way to expand its reach into fresh foods while also creating demand for its Alipay mobile-payment business and its logistics services.
EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
A housecleaning at GE’s board will remove many long-term associates of former Chief Jeff Immelt and aims to create a board that is more closely aligned with CEO John Flannery’s strategy to streamline the industrial giant.
Instead of copying Amazon.com’s playbook, retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores and Target are coming up with new tricks to maximize sales ahead of Black Friday.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, who led the Small Business Administration under President Barack Obama, has submitted an offer to acquire Weinstein Co.
Charles Manson, the convicted killer and cult leader who persuaded his young followers to commit a string of murders in 1969, has died. Manson was serving a life sentence at California’s Corcoran State Prison and died at the age of 83 of natural causes. (WSJ)
The Morning Download is edited by Kim S. Nash and Tom Loftus and cues up the most important news in business technology every weekday morning. You can get The Morning Download emailed to you each weekday morning by clicking http://wsj.com/TheMorningDownload.