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The Cost of a Data Breach

Introduction

Data breaches are one of the biggest challenges businesses face in this digital world. A data breach can cost more than an organization’s worth when its reputation is threatened, and it has to pay for rectifying the damage.

 

What exactly is a data breach?

A data breach is when a hacker or third party gains access to systems, applications, or websites that contain personal data and are not authorized to possess. Data in these systems and applications are often electronic, such as credit card information and other personal information.

 

What are the different types of data breaches?

At some point, everyone will be affected by identity theft due to data breaches. On average, there is a data breach every day globally, and the number is only getting more significant.

Data brokers have discovered new ways data can be used for identity theft, from browsing history to social media accounts. There are four main ways in which data will get stolen:

 

  1. Hacking into a site.

 

  1. Exploiting vulnerabilities.

 

  1. Social engineering (tricking someone into giving up their personal information).

 

  1. Ransomware.

 

What are the costs?

A data breach often does not end in financial losses for customers or the company, but this is not always the case. Data breaches can be expensive for both parties. Once a data breach occurs, an organization loses control over its brand image and customers’ trust in its products and services. A data breach can cause significant financial damages to an organization due to the loss of sales and the payment of fines.

 

How to avoid data breaches

To avoid data breaches, it is crucial to conduct penetration testing and vulnerability assessments of the network regularly.

Companies should ensure their database are secure. There are many ways to do so. One of them is by making the most out of their passwords. Passwords can be stored with encryption, have a length that makes guessing near impossible, and include unique and ever-changing characters. Also, never work on files or other documents on a public computer or network.

 

Conclusion

The cost of a data breach is continuously on the rise, but taking action to secure data now can help protect data in the future.

Re Assistive Technology Empowering Students

Assistive Technology Empowering Students

Stepping Into the Future: How Assistive Technology is Transforming Teaching Students with Disabilities

When considering technology, the first thing that comes to mind might not be the assistive tools used in classrooms, but these innovative instruments are revolutionizing the way teachers conduct their classroom business, especially Special Education classrooms. With a variety of different apps, organizers, and special technologies, students with disabilities and their families can rest assured that teachers have a large group of resources at their disposal.

 

Consider the Academy of Whole Learning, a K-12, private Minnesota school for students with learning disabilities including Autism. The academy introduced virtual reality technology to their classrooms, which is just one example of the many assistive technologies teachers can implement in their teaching. According to Kade Dreschler, a teacher at the Academy of Whole Learning, the immersive VR experience was a wonderful experience for the students. Using the VR technology, the students were able to block out classroom distractions and focus on the environment on the screen in front of them, leading to improvements in their social and friendship experiences. These technologies, too, are helpful for students with a range of disabilities, including those who are blind or visually compared, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, or those with other learning, cognitive, or developmental disabilities.

 

The types of assistive technology used by teachers is incredibly varied, especially depending on their students’ disabilities. For students who are visually compared, have dyslexia, or are blind, teachers can use text-to-speech technology to allow these students to listen to things on a printed page. It works by scanning words on a page and reading them allowed in a robotic voice, allowing students who cannot easily read to still enjoy the text!

 

Perhaps a lesser-known type of assistive technology is called the sip-and-puff system and works to assist students and people with paralysis or other motor skill difficulties. Using this system, students can use a joystick in order to control their technological applications, moving the cursor with their heads and clicking with a sip or puff. While this system is new and still needs some refinement, it has already become a pivotal part of special education classrooms.

 

Clearly, assistive technologies for students with disabilities are quickly becoming a necessity. With the emergence of these technologies, and the tireless plight of teachers to teach their students to the best of their ability, it’s safe to say that students with disabilities are in good educational hands.

 

Re Home Tech Devices To Help People With Disabilities

Home Tech Devices To Help People With Disabilities

People with disabilities understand that it is important to maintain independence while making their living spaces accessible. The goal of independence requires that people have access to the same opportunities in their social, physical and cultural environments as their peers without disabilities. To achieve this it helps to have technological support so that they’re able to make meaningful choices about the management of their lives.

Modern technology has produced devices that can improve life for those who have disabilities.

Some devices that have proven useful include:

 

  1. Amazon Echo:

This device is prudent to start with because it’s versatile. It allows users to control devices in their homes via voice. Another option is downloading the app. It gives users the freedom to control devices from their smartphones even when away from home.

 

  1. Smart Lock:

A smart door lock allows individuals to choose who has access to their home and how often. It keeps track of who’s entering the home and access can be revoked in seconds if needed. This device is ideal to allow nurses, housekeepers, and loved ones access to the home.

 

  1. Smart Doorbell:

A smart doorbell can be beneficial to those who may be bed-bound. It allows the user to see who’s at the door via a motion sensor camera. The user decides to grant access or not.

 

  1. Smart Thermostat:

A smart thermostat can ensure a comfortable home temperature at all times. These devices even allow individuals to change the temperature while away from home.

 

  1. Smart Lighting And Outlets:

Smart lighting is ideal for individuals who suffer from visual impairment or sensory issues. Smart outlets allow users to turn lights off or on via apps so they are easy to access regardless of mobility levels.

 

  1. Smart Window Dressings:

Using curtains, blinds, and shades may be challenging for individuals with mobility issues. Having the ability to install window treatments that can be operated remotely makes it much simpler.

 

  1. Smart Garage Door Opener:

If an individual has trouble operating a regular garage door opener, a smart version may be a good choice. A smart opener allows operation of the garage door remotely whether they’re at home or not.

 

People with disabilities can use various technologies to lessen the impact of their individual challenges in daily life. These devices and others can make a significant difference in the quality of life for them.

Russ Ewell Virtual Reality

How Virtual Reality is Assisting Individuals with Disabilities

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was launched in May of 2012. Ever since then, it’s been recognized on the third Thursday of May every year. Its purpose is to increase awareness about the digital options people with disabilities have. This is in hopes of generating innovative digital solutions to increase their ease of mobility. Virtual Reality (VR) technology has a strong potential for making learning easier for disabled men, women and children.

 

An Equal Playing Field

 

Distance learning is evolving at a rapid rate, and VR technology is the platform of choice for many educational companies. For example, ENGAGE is a virtual reality education and training platform that deeply immerses each student and teacher into their topic of study. The platform was built with the idea of helping the disabled learn just as effectively as those who are not disabled. In this platform, and similar ones, each student has an equal opportunity to learn and not feel hindered.

 

Navigating Virtual Worlds

 

For the physically challenged, a world of opportunities now exists to learn things they could have never learned before. VR technology is making it possible for those confined to wheelchairs to take their time learning how to get around their cities. They can now do this in a virtual world, while in the comfort of their living rooms. Or they can take part in sports activities that they never could have without VR technology. The wheelchair confined can learn about surfing sitting in their wheelchairs while standing up on their skateboards in the virtual world.

 

Increasing Attention Levels

 

Children, as well as adults with moderate to severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), can learn with the help of these VR platforms. The learning environments are so stimulating and engaging, those with ADHD tend to remain engaged throughout the lesson and retain more of what they have learned. The VR headsets also cover their frame of view, cutting out distractions from the physical world. Autistic children can learn how to connect with others socially with the help of VR environments specially created for their individual needs.

The fact that these VR applications can be used in familiar environments is an added plus. While most VR headsets are out of many people’s financial reach, more affordable options, such as Google Cardboard, are compatible with smartphones and are much more affordable.

Technology Spotlight Project Understood Russ Ewell

Technology Spotlight: Project Understood

Google is a seasoned pro when it comes to developing reliable and modern technology that promotes inclusion amongst all users. We are living in an era where voice technology is becoming the norm as pivotal software to assist users with a variety of tasks. Digital voice assistants like Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa have quickly become a necessity through all tech mediums like smartphones, tablets, and home devices. 

 

However, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) noticed that voice technology can lack the capability to correctly understand and transmit the voices of individuals with Down Syndrome. The way that individuals with Down Syndrome speak can be anomalous compared to those without, making the software difficult to use. Although, it is likely that individuals with a number of disabilities would benefit from the technology the most.  

 

With this mission in mind, the CDSS set forth to find partnership in one of these major tech companies to not only recognize the issue at hand but join them in developing a solution that they have named Project Understood. Google was quick to jump on board and, with the society’s help, is testing its technology. 

 

The initial test was to record 1,700 words and phrases spoken by individuals with Down Syndrome. From there, researchers could analyze whether or not Google’s voice technology was able to learn from the repetitive input of this voice data. They started with about nine volunteers. 

 

After the initial testing, researched could confirm that Google’s voice technology was able to understand about 2 of 3 words spoken by individuals with Down Syndrome and that it has the capabilities to learn more with further data. Now the project just needs to secure more volunteers to feed Google’s voice technology more data. 

 

Google and the CDSS are now seeking to collect about a thousand different voices of individuals with Down Syndrome to donate their time to developing this dynamic software. Not only will this help teach the system to learn to recognize speech from individuals with Down Syndrome, but it should also benefit other individuals with disabilities or atypical speech. 

 

Google and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society are just a few of a number of companies that are working to build a more inclusive future for individuals with disabilities. Voice recognition, along with other smart technologies, has the capability to enhance the lives of all users, no matter their differences. 

Video Games Provide An Outlet For People With Disabilities Russ Ewell

Video Games Provide an Outlet for People with Disabilities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 61 million individuals with disabilities living in the United States alone. That is 26% of the adult population or 1 out of 4 people.

 

These disabilities vary immensely between being physically or mentally centered, but having any can impact an individual’s quality of life. Social and physical isolation is common among people with disabilities. Not being able to perform day-to-day tasks, or even leave the house, can lead to crushing discouragement. 

 

However, especially with technological advances in the digital age, Video games can often provide an outlet for relief and inclusion for these individuals. This can be true for several reasons.

 

To begin with, video games are a great distraction from the real world. Regardless of genre, a good game pulls you into its world, allowing the user to forget about your problems. And for individuals with disabilities, they are offered the same opportunity to immerse themselves in a new world. 

 

Many gamers with disabilities call the virtual realms an escape from reality. The same is true for everyone. Video games are an outlet for gamers with or without disabilities, for anyone looking for another life.

 

The distraction isn’t the sole appeal of games. Video games can also become major hubs for socializing. Many games are driven by online, real-time interactions. As a result, games are incredibly connective. People from all walks of life can assume new identities and work together to complete a common objective.

 

Consistent teamwork builds strong friendships, even among strangers. People bond over mutual interests. By default, all of the users have a mutual interest – the game itself. There are even communities for single-player and offline games, which reside in forums and social media.

 

This is a huge benefit for gamers with disabilities as well. Not only do they enjoy a safe space to have fun (the game itself), but they also have an opening to make friends and join social groups. All of this is possible to do from home, most often times for free.

 

Video games bring friendship, activities, and entertainment directly into homes for children and adults alike. For those who can only leave the house with a great deal of effort, this reality (or, rather, virtual reality) is life-changing. In particular, individuals with disabilities are given new opportunities for fun and mental stimulation.

Google's New Accessibility Projects Russ Ewell

Google’s New Accessibility Projects

Google has recently unveiled 3 separate efforts to bring technology to those with disabilities to help make their daily lives easier and more accessible. The three projects are Project Euphonia, which aims to help those with speech impairments; Live Relay, which assists anyone who is hard of hearing; and Project Diva, which aims to give autonomy and independence to people with the help of Google Assist.

More than 15% of people in the United States live with a disability, and that number is only expected to grow in the years ahead as we grow older and start living longer. There has never been a better time to try to harness the power of our technology to help make the lives of the disabled more comfortable and fulfilling.

 

Project Euphonia

Project Euphonia aims to help those with speech difficulties caused by cerebral palsy, autism, and other developmental disorders, as well as neurologic conditions like ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), stroke, MS (multiple sclerosis), Parkinson’s Disease, or traumatic brain injuries. Google’s aim with Project Euphonia is to use the power of AI to help computers understand speech that is impaired with improved accuracy, and then, in turn, use those computers to make sure everyone using the service can be understood.

Google has partnered with the ALS Residence Initiative and the ALS Therapy Development Institute to record voices of men and women with ALS, and have worked on optimizing algorithms that can help to transcribe and recognize their words more reliably.

 

Live Relay

Live Relay was set up with the goal of bringing voice calls to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. By using a phone’s own speech recognition and text-to-speech software, users will be able to let the phone listen and speak on their behalf, making it possible to speak to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Google also plans to integrate real-time translation into their Live Relay software, allowing anyone in the world to speak to one another regardless of any language barrier.

 

Project Diva

Project Diva helps those who are nonverbal or suffer from limited mobility to give Google Assistant commands without needing to use their voice, but instead by using an external switch device.

The device is a small box into which an assistive button is plugged. The signal coming from the button is then converted by the box into a command sent to the Google Assistant.

For now, Project Diva is limited to single-purpose buttons, but they are currently devising a system that makes use of RFID tags which they can then associate with certain specific commands.

How Ai Is Improving Assistive Technology Russ Ewell

How AI is Improving Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is an AI-based solution that helps people and businesses save time and simplifies processes. Many businesses have adopted forms of assistive technology, such as automation, in their operations to increase efficiency. Ultimately, automation and robotics are becoming more sophisticated and are playing an increasing role in the workplace in many operations. However, a lesser-known function for AI is how it is improving and advancing assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. 

 

AI for Medicinal Purposes

One of the areas where AI has developed rapidly is the medical industry, as physicians can now track patients through electronic medical devices. Smart devices are helping save lives by alerting medical professionals in emergency situations. AI-based devices can track heart rate, blood pressure, and many other physical processes of patients. Robots can be programmed to assist individuals with disabilities with certain tasks like making emergency calls or reminding a patient to take medication.

 

Communicative Assistance

Many new developments are in the works to help improve communication among individuals with disabilities. A highly accurate device that converts sign language into text or voice makes communication easier between those with and without hearing impairments. A 3D camera tracking body movement is also revolutionizing the possibilities of AI. Assistive technology can potentially change someone’s life at a personal and professional level.

 

Smart Glasses and Hearing Aids

Some of the innovations on the horizon for assistive technology include smart glasses and cognitive hearing aids. Augmented reality glass enhances a certain component of sight, developed by Google, which has been working on smart glass projects throughout the decade. Cognitive hearing aids that track brain waves are now on display at Columbia University School of Engineering.

 

Other AI Applications

There are several other AI applications in the medical industry, many of which relate to wearables. University of Houston researchers are currently testing a biofeedback rehabilitation wearable, which consists of a belt made of vibrating actuators. These actuators are sensors that map out real-movement of the individual wearing the belt. By collecting and analyzing data on a daily basis, the system can monitor behaviors associated with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

Assistive learning is focused on improving the quality of life for individuals with a variety of disabilities. Innovative ideas ushered in by AI technology allow for a growing range of solutions that these individuals did not experience prior to the development of wearables. In the future, we expect many new opportunities for assistive technology advances with the help of AI devices.

Assistive Technology In The Classroom Russ Ewell

Assistive Technology in the Classroom

According to statistics of organizations that represent people with disabilities, one out of nine children under the age of 18 in the United States needs to receive special education attention. It has been reported that the number of students with disabilities has risen by over 30% over the last ten years.

Special assistive technology in classrooms is highly essential to enable these students to learn as seamlessly as possible. Here are four of the most essential assistive technologies used in learning institutions for students with disabilities across the country.

Text-to-speech tools

The text-to-speech assistive technology is software designed to enable students or children with reading-related disabilities to learn. This software is suitable for children with disabilities such as visual impairment that prevents them from seeing and reading effectively. Additional students that can benefit from TTS software include children with autism, intellectual disabilities, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Draft:Builder

Draft:Builder is a writing aid tool that enables children with disabilities to comprehend writing-related tasks in the classroom. This tool enables students to visualize classwork material and thereafter insert the necessary information in template form. Draft:Builder helps students to conceptualize the entire process of learning through definite steps that are easy to memorize. The visible steps allow students to engage more of their senses for assistance with memorizing and learning class materials. The software is used for students with intellectual-based disabilities.

FM Systems

FM Systems are built for children who have sensorineural hearing loss that is commonly linked to hearing impairments. The technology has the teacher use a special transmitter microphone to relay coursework to the student wearing a receiver. The receiver then amplifies the teacher’s voice into the ears of the student. The FM System is designed to enable students to hear clearly, irrespective of surrounding noises, distance, and background noise.

Math tools

For students with visual impairments, learning mathematics can be quite challenging. Various math-related tools, like Matt Talk, allow students with these disabilities to speak through a microphone into a program that then transforms the voice into actual writing. Math Simulations is another math tool that is suitable for students with dyscalculia, a learning disability to makes it difficult for them to comprehend arithmetic-related tasks. It is designed to enable students with visual and intellectual disabilities to visualize math concepts for better understanding.

Navigate The City With These Assistive Technologies Russ Ewell

Navigate the City with These Assistive Technologies

Modern technology is empowering people to make simple changes to the way they live. For instance, voice-activated commands have become a common way for consumers to shop and self-driving cars are making their way into the general population. However, these innovations aren’t nearly as astonishing as the technology that’s empowering individuals with disabilities to live more efficient lifestyles – especially those who live in bustling cities.

It’s harder for people with disabilities to make trips outside of their homes. Consequently, the assistive technology business is a growing industry that’s set on changing the lives of people with disabilities by helping them get around their cities. This list gives a synopsis of the way technology is evolving to help the handicapped find accessibility in their cities.

 

  • Walking Stick of the Future: Visual impairments make living in a crowded and busy city extremely difficult. Imagine moving along a busy intersection without relying on the use of eyesight for guidance. Engineers from Young Guru Academy (YGA) in Turkey have developed a smart walking stick – the WeWalk Stick. This technology uses voice navigation to guide the user. It’s integrated with Google maps to help the user with navigation, and it warns the user with vibrations when the stick is approaching objects above chest height

 

  • Robotic Suit: A brilliant innovation in mobility is making marathon racing possible for people with disabilities. This exomuscular robotic suit has sensors that help control its movements and adds a layer of artificial muscle to support stability and mobility. A robotic suit sounds like it would weigh a ton, but this innovation weighs just 11 pounds.

 

  • Wheelchair That Climbs: A new innovation in handicapped assistance is set to become available by the end of 2019 – the Scewo. For individuals living in or outside of the city who have a physical disability, stairs are an unavoidable obstacle. It’s hard to imagine staying on the ground level when there’s a horizon of sky rises. Luckily, developers of the wheelchair technology created a wheelchair capable of facing a variety of terrains, including stairs.

 

These machines and the technology that powers them have the ability to dramatically change the lives of individuals with physical disabilities. While these innovations are relatively expensive, this technology is just becoming available to the public and this growth will come to more affordable options for all. It is hopeful that this technology will continue to grow at this rapid pace and soon navigating a city with a physical disability will not be a daunting task.

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