Google’s new tool will make Drive even more useful.

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Google Drive is ready to be the answer to all your computer storage needs and not just the files you create and upload using its cloud-based services like Google Docs and Photos.

The search giant just announced a new Backup and Sync tool, which will give everyday users the chance to save all the files and photos on their PCs to Google Drive. It’ll make file management in the cloud a more seamless experience. Rather than creating entirely new folders, the tool will recreate your desktop folder system in Drive.

Google says it made the tool with casual Drive users in mind, so this isn’t necessarily built for more complex systems that businesses tend to use. Instead, it will give individual users an easier way to backup their files.

The new tool lets you select folders on your computer to be backed up on Drive. If you don’t pay for extra storage and you have a ton of files on your desktop, you might go over the 15 GB limit offered in free accounts but you can always pay for more storage or manage you backup files to fix that issue.

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Google will debut the new feature later this month on June 28, with business class G Suite subscribers getting the functionality with the upcoming Drive File Stream feature later this year.

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Cancer is like a computer virus and can be solved by cracking the code, according to Microsoft. The computer software company says its researchers are using artificial intelligence in a new healthcare initiative to target cancerous cells and eliminate the disease.

One of the projects within this new healthcare enterprise involves utilizing machine learning andnatural language processing tohelp lead researchers sift through all the research data available and come up with a treatment plan for individual cancer patients.

IBM is working on something similar using a program called Watson Oncology, which analyzes patient health info against research data.

Other Microsoft healthcare initiatives involve computer vision in radiology to note the progress of tumors over time and a project which Microsoft refers to as its moonshot aims to program biology like we program computers using code. The researchers plan to discover how to reprogram our cells to fix what our immune system hasnt been able to figure out just yet.

Microsoft says its investment in cloud computing is a natural fit for this type of project and plans to invest further in ways to provide these types of tools to its customers.

If the computers of the future are not going to be made just in silicon but might be made in living matter, it behooves us to make sure we understand what it means to program on those computers, Microsoft exec Jeanette M. Wing said.

Indeed, with all the research data available, the Microsoft project, like many othersin the healthcare machine learning space including in cancer cure discovery could help speed up medical discovery for this debilitating disease.

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When I ask people to picture a coder, they usually imagine someone like Mark Zuckerberg: a hoodied college dropout who builds an app in a feverish 72-hour programming jagwith the goal of getting insanely rich and, as they say, changing the world.

But this Silicon Valley stereotype isnt even geographically accurate. The Valley employs only 8 percent of the nations coders. All the other millions? Theyre more like Devon, a programmer I met who helps maintain a security-software service in Portland, Oregon. He isnt going to get fabulously rich, but his job is stable and rewarding: Its 40 hours a week, well paid, and intellectually challenging. My dad was a blue-collar guy, he tells meand in many ways, Devon is too.

Politicians routinely bemoan the loss of good blue-collar jobs. Work like that is correctly seen as a pillar of civil middle-class society. And it may yet be again. What if the next big blue-collar job category is already hereand its programming? What if we regarded code not as a high-stakes, sexy affair, but the equivalent of skilled work at a Chrysler plant?

Among other things, it would change training for programming jobsand who gets encouraged to pursue them. As my friend Anil Dash, a technology thinker and entrepreneur, notes, teachers and businesses would spend less time urging kids to do expensive four-year computer-science degrees and instead introduce more code at the vocational level in high school. You could learn how to do it at a community college; midcareer folks would attend intense months-long programs like Dev Bootcamp. Thered be less focus on the wunderkinds and more on the proletariat.

These sorts of coders wont have the deep knowledge to craft wild new algorithms for flash trading or neural networks. Why would they need to? That level of expertise is rarely necessary at a job. But any blue-collar coder will be plenty qualified to sling JavaScript for their local bank. Thats a solidly middle-class job, and middle-class jobs are growing: The national average salary for IT jobs is about $81,000 (more than double the national average for all jobs), and the field is set to expand by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than most other occupations.

Across the country, people are seizing this opportunity, particularly in states hit hardest by deindustrialization. In Kentucky, mining veteran Rusty Justice decided that code could replace coal. He cofounded Bit Source, a code shop that builds its workforce by retraining coal miners as programmers. Enthusiasm is sky high: Justice got 950 applications for his first 11 positions. Miners, it turns out, are accustomed to deep focus, team play, and working with complex engineering tech. Coal miners are really technology workers who get dirty, Justice says.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee nonprofit CodeTN is trying to nudge high school kids into coding programs at community colleges. Some students (and teachers) worry that the kids dont fit the Zuckerbergian clich. Thats a cultural albatross, CodeTN cofounder Caleb Fristoe says. We need to get more employers saying, Yeah, we just need someone to manage the login page, he says. You dont have to be a superstar.

Now, to be sure, society does need some superstars! Serious innovators, at companies and in academia, are the ones who create new fields like machine learning. But that doesnt preclude a new mainstream vision of what most programming work actually is. For decades, pop culture (and, frankly, writers like me) have overpromoted the lone genius coder. Weve cooed over the billionaire programmers of The Social Network and the Anonymized, emo, leather-clad hackers of Mr. Robot. But the real heroes are people who go to work every day and turn out good stuffwhether its cars, coal, or code.

This article appears in the December 2016 issue. Subscribe now.

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  • Maersk, APL, Hyundai race to build paperless cargo system
  • Adoption of blockchain could generate $1 trillion in trade

Globalization has brought the most advanced trading networks the world has seen, with the biggest, fastest vessels, robot-operated ports and vast computer databases tracking cargoes. But it all still relies on millions and millions of paper documents.

That last throwback to 19th century trade is about to fall. A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and other container shipping lines have teamed up with technology companies to upgrade the world’s most complex logistics network.

The prize is a revolution in world trade on a scale not seen since the move to standard containers in the 1960s — a change that ushered in the age of globalization. But the undertaking is as big as the potential upheaval it will cause. To make it work, dozens of shipping lines and thousands of related businesses around the world — including manufacturers, banks, insurers, brokers and port authorities — will have to work out a protocol that can integrate all the new systems onto one vast platform.

Should they succeed, documentation that takes days will eventually be done in minutes, much of it without the need for human input. The cost of moving goods across continents could drop dramatically, adding fresh impetus to relocate manufacturing or source materials and goods from overseas.

“This would be the biggest innovation in the industry since the containerization,” said Rahul Kapoor, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Singapore. “It basically brings more transparency and efficiency. The container shipping lines are coming out of their shells and playing catch-up in technology.”

The key, as in so many other industries, from oil tankers to cryptocurrencies, is blockchain, the electronic ledger system that allows transactions to be verified autonomously. And the benefits wouldn’t be confined to shipping. Improving communications and border administration using blockchain could generate an additional $1 trillion in global trade, according to the World Economic Forum.

APL Ltd., owned by the world’s third-largest container line CMA CGM SA, together with Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Accenture Plc, a European customs organization and other companies said last month that they’ve tested a blockchain-based platform. South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. held trial runs last year using a system developed with Samsung SDS Co.

The shipping paper trail begins when a cargo owner books space on a ship to move goods. Documents need to be filled in and approved before cargo can enter or leave a port. A single shipment can require hundreds pages that need to be physically delivered to dozens of different agencies, banks, customs bureaus and other entities.

Trail of Roses

In 2014, Maersk followed a refrigerated container filled with roses and avocados from Kenya to the Netherlands. The company found that almost 30 people and organizations were involved in processing the box on its journey to Europe. The shipment took about 34 days to get from the farm to the retailers, including 10 days waiting for documents to be processed. One of the critical documents went missing, only to be found later amid a pile of paper.

“The paperwork and processes vital to global trade are also one of its biggest burdens,” according to Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, which has teamed up with International Business Machines Corp. to enable real-time tracking of its cargo and documents using blockchain. “The paper trail research that Maersk did uncovered the extent of the burden that documents and processes inflict on trade and the consequences.”

That plethora of paper processors has been one of the reasons shipping has lagged behind other industries in moving to electronic forms. The variety of different languages, laws and organizations involved in moving cargoes in the past made standardization a slow process.

Instead the industry has relied on advances in transport technology and cargo handling to improve efficiency, with the great Clipper sailing vessels replaced by steamships and then modern oil-powered leviathans – the largest ships on the oceans. In the 1850s, it took more than three months to move chests of tea from southern China to London. Today, that journey would take about 30 days.

The biggest change came in the 1960s, when the industry adopted the standard-size steel boxes in use today, replacing the wooden crates, chests and sacks that stevedores had hauled on the docks for centuries.

With these containers sometimes holding products from different suppliers, and ship cargoes sometimes ending up with thousands of customers in dozens of countries, the transition to a uniform electronic system presents major challenges.

“Not all stakeholders are looking at deploying the same blockchain solution and platforms,” APL said in response to questions. “This can pose as a challenge if stakeholders are expected to trade via a common platform or solution.”

And the shipping lines will also need to persuade the ports and other organizations involved in cargo trading to adopt their systems. Maersk said Singapore-based port operator PSA International Pte. and APM Terminals, based in The Hague, Netherlands, will use its platform. APL and Accenture said they plan to pilot their product by the end of this year. Accenture said it has tested its technology with other pilot shipments that range from beer to medical supplies.

The cost savings could be visible in the companies’ financial statements in about two years, Kapoor of Bloomberg Intelligence said.

“Shipping needs to stop thinking about itself as this standalone middle sector,” said K D Adamson, chief executive officer of Futurenautics Group. “It needs to start thinking about how the different elements of shipping fit into other ecosystems.”

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The story of how India’s biggest bank fraud went undetected for seven years includes an $81 million cyber-heist in neighboring Bangladesh, penny-pinching lenders and a series of missed opportunities.

In 2016, after revelations that hackers had infiltrated the Bangladeshi central bank’s computer systems to siphon off money, its counterpart in India sensed a danger to its own banking system. The Reserve Bank of India reminded all the country’s lenders to ensure their computer networks were properly integrated with Swift, the global system used to transmit payment instructions in the Bangladesh theft.

Unknown to the RBI at the time, a rogue employee at state-owned Punjab National Bank had allegedly been taking advantage of precisely that flaw in the Indian lender’s computer systems for five years, perpetuating a fraud that would eventually balloon to $1.8 billion, according to PNB’s account.

“The biggest thing that didn’t happen was the linkage between Swift and the bank’s back-end software — they didn’t talk,” said Abizer Diwanji, a financial services partner in India at the accountancy firm EY. “The ball was first dropped” when PNB missed a chance to reconcile the two systems, he said.

As the fallout from the incident spreads and various government agencies move to investigate, one thing stands clear: the financial damage was exacerbated by a combination of inferior technology, weak risk management and insufficient regulatory oversight. Had the fraud been discovered a year earlier, the total amount would have been about $800 million lower.


PNB alleges its former employee Gokulnath Shetty provided billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi and his associates with guarantees to obtain loans from abroad. Between 2011 and early 2017, guarantees worth 65 billion rupees ($1 billion) were issued without any collateral, followed by another 49 billion rupees over March to May last year, when Shetty retired, according PNB’s complaint that has been made public.

To read about the modus operandi behind the fraud, click here

Because the computer systems of many Indian banks weren’t compatible with Swift, the RBI didn’t make it a requirement to integrate the two, according to R. Gandhi, a former RBI deputy governor who oversaw the central bank’s risk operations at the time of the Bangladesh hack. However, banks like PNB that hadn’t integrated their systems were required instead to perform daily manual checks to reconcile the Swift messages with internal records, Gandhi added.

Given the prevalence of fraud involving global trade finance transactions, it’s critical for banks to ensure automated or manual reconciliation with Swift, said Tim Phillipps, an Asia-Pacific financial crime specialist at Deloitte. It isn’t hard to build an interface between Swift and the bank’s own software, he said.


“Trade finance operations at banks are one of the riskiest parts of the business they do and also one of the most profitable,” Phillipps said. “Most checks in world structured environments don’t allow data to be entered directly into Swift because that is where many of the big problems have occurred over the past decade in terms of falsifying information.”

Cost may have been a factor in preventing Indian banks from upgrading their systems, according to Saswata Guha, a director in the financial institutions group at Fitch Ratings. Indian lenders have been grappling with rising bad loans and insufficient capital for years, a situation that may worsen after new regulations take effect in coming months.

Road to Discovery

These four months played a key role in discovering India's biggest bank fraud

Source: Documents seen by Bloomberg, PNB complaint to investigators, PNB filings to exchanges

For a more detailed timeline of events, click here

The RBI didn’t reply to an email sent early Tuesday seeking detail on its warnings about Swift, but late that evening it posted a statement on its website saying it had confidentially cautioned banks about misuse of Swift on at least three occasions since August 2016. “Banks have, however, been at varying levels in implementation of such measures,” the RBI said.

‘Down to Its Heels’

Federal officials have arrested Shetty, who couldn’t be reached for comment. PNB didn’t reply to emails seeking comment. Swift doesn’t comment on particular allegations and customers, spokeswoman Natasha de Teran said by email on Tuesday.

All of Modi’s transactions with PNB were documented and Modi denies allegations he was involved in the fraud, Modi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal told NDTV on Tuesday. Modi’s office didn’t reply to a Bloomberg email seeking comment.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said supervisors and auditors must ensure that frauds are detected early. His ministry is said to have sought a reply from the RBI on whether it found any wrongdoing while inspecting PNB’s account books. The 10-member Bankex index rose 0.3 percent in Mumbai on Wednesday, snapping a three-day drop, as the main equity gauge advanced 0.4 percent.

While India’s government and central bank have been setting up panels and making recommendations for years to reform the nation’s banking sector, real progress has been slow, said Fitch’s Guha.

“If a few people, or connivance of a group of people, can take a bank this large down to its heels with the kind of capital market implications one has been seeing, then it poses very serious questions,” he said. “At the core of it, it’s really governance.”

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    After I learned of this clever exploit from Samy Kamkar, my poor 2012 MacBook Air looks more vulnerable than venerable: Asleep on the table, its USB ports exposed, it could be hijacked in seconds by a malicious Raspberry Pi Zero called PoisonTap. No need for passwords, zero-days or million-dollar back doors although a little social engineering to get me to leave the room might help.

    Kamkars latest project shows another chink in the armor of our computers security: In this case, its about briefly tricking the computer into thinking that the entire internet resides on the $5 barebones computer it first met a few seconds earlier.

    PoisonTap connects to the USB port and announces itself not as a USB device, but an Ethernet interface. The computer, glad to switch over from battery-sucking Wi-Fi, sends a DHCP request, asking to be assigned an IP. PoisonTap responds, but in doing so makes it appear that a huge range of IPs are not in fact out there on servers but locally connected on the LAN, through this faux wired connection.


    Your computer, being dumb, just accepts this at face value and sends data to the fake IPs on PoisonTap instead of to the actual websites and services. And you dont even have to be there: pre-loaded items like analytics and ads will be active, and as soon as one of them sends an HTTP request BAM, PoisonTap responds with a barrage of data-caching malicious iframes for the top million Alexa sites. And those iframes, equipped with back doors, stick around until someone clears them out.

    Meanwhile, cookies and sessions are being collected and converted to the attackers own purposes, and the router itself is exposed to remote manipulation. All this remains after PoisonTap has been unplugged, and it all happened in less than a minute, without the computer even being unlocked!

    This attack gets around many standard security measures: password protection, two-factor authentication, DNS pinning and lots more. Its basically all because the OS decides to trust a strange USB connection when it says its a LAN encompassing the entire internet.

    Server admins can prevent this basically by enforcing HTTPS at every level. But on the client side, things look pretty dire Apple and Microsoft only found out about it today. I asked both for comment and have yet to hear back; Ill update this post if they respond.

    Update: Microsoft says:

    Regardless of operating system, for this to work, physical access to a machine is required. So, the best defense is to avoid leaving laptops and computers unattended and to keep your software up to date.

    Even Kamkar doesnt have a 100 percent fix, other than pouring cement in your USB ports.

    If I were Apple/Microsoft, I would have network devices (actually, probably any USB device except a mouse or keyboard) ask the user if they want to allow it to operateat least the first time its plugged in, Kamkar wrote in an email to TechCrunch.

    Its possible that having the computer enter an encrypted deep sleep mode that locks down network connections and interfaces could do it so if youre in the habit of leaving your computer unattended around DIY hacker-engineers, maybe you should do that. Also, that may not be your only problem.

    The threat goes deeper, though its silly that the computer should allow an unfamiliar device to completely take over connectivity in the first place, and this USB attack is not the only vector by a long shot. And the fact that these HTTP requests are being accepted for sites that are otherwise secure weve got a lot of work to do.

    If you want to try it for yourself,$5 gets you a Raspberry Pi Zero, and the software is available on Kamkars site. Be responsible, now.

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    Barclays Plc has installed devices that track how often bankers are at their desks.

    Managers were peppered with queries when investment bank staff in London discovered black boxes stuck to the underside of their desks in recent months, according to several Barclays employees who asked not to be identified speaking about their workplace. They turned out to be tracking devices called OccupEye, which use heat and motion sensors to record how long employees are spending at their posts.

    There was a “phased roll-out” of the devices, and Barclays staff and the Unite union were notified before they were installed, although the bank did not send out a specific memo about them, according to spokesman Tom Hoskin. The Barclays employees said they don’t remember being informed about the boxes, but spokespeople for the bank said there have been no official human-resources complaints.

    The devices, made by Blackburn, U.K.-based Cad-Capture, are pitched as a way for companies to find out how they can reduce office space, providing a multicolored dashboard to show managers which workstations are unoccupied and analyze usage trends.

    “The sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity; they are assessing office space usage,” the bank said in an emailed statement. “This sort of analysis helps us to reduce costs, for example, managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to further adopt flexible work environments.”

    Shrinking Workplaces

    Hot-desking may appeal as a cost-cutting strategy to Barclays Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, who has said there are “tremendous savings” to be made by reducing the bank’s real-estate footprint. In December, Barclays sublet office space in London’s Canary Wharf district to the government, saving about 35 million pounds ($45 million) a year.

    Investment banks are increasingly using technology to keep tabs on how their staff spend their time. Barclays has introduced a computer system to track how much is earned from every client, allowing bosses to determine how much time traders, analysts and salespeople should spend with each customer. 

    “We were given assurances that the boxes did not monitor individuals or their performance,” Unite national officer Dominic Hook said in a statement. The union “will keep a close eye on the situation to make sure that the sensors are never used to spy on staff or as a means to measure productivity.”

    Other Banks

    Inquiries to ten other banks with operations in London found that Lloyds Banking Group Plc uses similar motion-tracking devices. OccupEye boxes have caused controversy elsewhere: the Daily Telegraph newspaper removed the devices the same day they installed them after complaints from staff and a journalists’ union about “Big Brother-style surveillance.”

    Investment banks JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG do not currently use any kind of desk monitoring in London, according to people with knowledge of the banks’ practices, who asked not to be identified speaking about personnel matters. Spokespeople for the four firms declined to comment.

    U.K. peers HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc also have no similar desk monitoring system, spokespeople for the lenders said. Standard Chartered Plc, Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Lloyds, like Barclays, has been trimming its London space, aiming to save 100 million pounds a year. “It’s important to keep office and working space under regular review,” Lloyds spokesman Ross Keany said in an email. “While we use motion sensors in some of our sites, we also make sure to engage colleagues and seek their feedback on what would work best.”

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      If you don’t follow the ins and outs of Silicon Valley personnel moves, you might have missed the news. Even if you saw it, it may not have made much sense. Chris Lattner is leaving Apple for Tesla? Chris who?

      Lattner doesn’t enjoythe name recognition of a Tim Cook or a Jony Ive. But he’s a rock star among software engineers. As the guy whobuilt Swift, Apple’siPhone-centric programming language, he’s one of those coders that other coders put on a pedestal. He personifies Silicon Valley’s relentless push toward technology capable of changing the world.

      Tesla is not just building a car. Its building an entirely new kind of computer.

      Now, he’s moving on, becoming the head of software engineering for Autopilot, the technology that’s transforming Tesla’s electric vehicles into autonomous vehicles. Apple’s innovation machine is losing another key cog to a company that haslured so many others away from the House That Jobs Built. And that provides an obvious storyline for the tech press and so many other Silicon Valley watchers: Tesla is the new Apple.

      In many ways, the story is true. Applevice president of Mac engineering Doug Field, director of alloy engineering Rich Heley, and MacBook Air engineer Matt Casebolt are among those who’ve left Cupertino for Tesla. But the truth goes deeper than that. Sure, Tesla is snagging some of Apple’s mojo, becoming a definingsymbol of Silicon Valley innovation. “Apple is stuck in the world of phones and watches,” the argument goes, “while Tesla is well down the path to self-driving cars, for Jobs’ sake!” Look beyond the A-list talent and sexypublic image, though, and you’ll see that Tesla is mimicking Apple (and Google and Amazon and Facebook) in a more meaningful way. Lattner’s arrival is just the latest evidence of this. Like those other tech giants, Tesla is not just building new products. It’s building themfrom entirely new parts, remaking them from top to bottom. Apple did this with phones. Now, Tesla is doing it with cars—and with computers, too.

      Extreme Engineering

      Google didn’t just build a new search engine. It built a new kind of global computercapable of running that search engine at unprecedented scale, fashioning everything from the software to the servers to the network switches to the data centers. That’s what made Google so successful: It could serve far more people, far more quickly than anyone else. Facebook and Amazon soon followed suit.

      In similar fashion, Apple didn’t just build the iPhone. It built so many of the individual parts inside the iPhone, including the microprocessor at the heart of this iconic device. That allowed the company to not only build a phone no one else could, but do it with unprecedented speed and efficiency.

      Tesla knows that autonomous vehicles require the same kind of extremeengineering. Tesla is not just building a car, it’s building an entirely new kind of computer. Today, computers are designed to send data into the world. Autonomous vehicles require computers that can drawdata from the world and use it to understand what’s happening around it. That is a very different kind of computer, and it hasn’t yet been built—not to the degree that anyone can be sure it will work with unerring accuracy and safety.

      Theworld is already headed toward a new kind of AI chip. Last year, Google revealed that it built one called the Tensor Processing Unit, or TPU, and commercial chip makers like nVidia and Intel are building dedicate AI chips as well. Suchchips are needed to serve the demands of the neural networks and other techniques behind so many of the AI-driven services moving into the market, from image and speech recognition to the nerve centers that drive autonomous cars.

      Tesla could get this technology elsewhere, but its ambition is often far more extreme. After all, it’s already building its own batteries in its own factory. Building your own stuff lets you do things no one else can do, at a scale and cost no one else can achieve. That’s where the real advantage comes. So, yes, Tesla hired Chris Lattner because it wants to be more like Apple. But it also hired him because it wants to be something very different.

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