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Blog // Connect Michigan

Pay or Lose Everything: the Rise of Ransomware

By Eric Frederick

Recently, businesses, governments, and universities have been finding their information locked down under an ultimatum: pay up or lose your information forever. A familiar tactic in a new age, this is a virus aptly named ransomware, and it is on the rise nationwide.  Ransomware began with the Trojan horse program CryptoLocker. Spreading through infected e-mails, CryptoLocker made a victim's files—texts, videos, photos, spreadsheets, and more—encrypted and unusable. In its final act, CryptoLocker informed the victim that their information would stay encrypted forever unless a ransom was paid within a set time frame. Though the original...

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Launching Rockets and Igniting Interest in STEAM

By Eric Frederick

Mentors can make a permanent impact on a young person's life. Mentors can encourage children to challenge themselves, cultivate new interests, and solve problems in positive ways. The 4-H Tech Wizards program brings young people under the wing of caring adults while tackling fun, STEAM-related projects, giving kids someone they can talk to and work with as they develop critical thinking and creativity skills. The 4-H Tech Wizards program started in Oregon with the goal of giving extra support to children struggling in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) classes. The program is now active in 25 states, including Michigan....

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Turning Toxic Waste Into Technology Assets

By Eric Frederick

An estimated 30 to 50 million tons of electronics are trashed every year globally. In America, this produces 70% of all toxic waste, caused by lead, cadmium, beryllium, and other dangerous metals. Electronics that become toxic waste could be used by schools, relief organizations, and non-profits in need all over the world. InterConnection, a recent partner with the Connected Community Engagement Program, works to fix both problems with safe electronics recycling and refurbishment.  President Charles Brennick started InterConnection in 1999. “The mission has always been to provide technology to underserved  communities,” said...

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Osceola County Dedicated to Getting Connected

By Eric Frederick

Recognizing that their county was being left behind in regard to Internet access and digital literacy, officials in Osceola County, Michigan, knew they needed to spark a change. In September 2012, Osceola County began a long journey of ongoing development and cooperation to make a positive change to Internet access, adoption, and use. And, 31 months later, their hard work, planning, and dedication has paid off. Osceola County is now recognized as a certified Connected community, showing quantifiable proof that levels of broadband use, availability, and digital literacy are in line with FCC benchmarks and are now at nationally competitive...

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