Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Apparently it takes time to beat the truth out of employees...
Elections Ontario breach update
July 17, 2012 by admin
Two memory sticks with some information on voters registered with Elections Ontario are missing because personnel did not follow protocol.
Earliest reports on the breach involving Elections Ontario said that the data were encrypted.
Later reports are now saying that the data were NOT encrypted (see official press statement) and that up to 2.4 million may be affected.
Elections Ontario has set up a web page on the breach with additional information.

Mis-targeted retaliation?
Madi’ malware acts like Flame virus, targets Middle East
A new piece of malware called Madi is spreading in the Middle East, and it has a number of the same characteristics as the Flame virus — known to be a major step in cyber-espionage.
The year-old malware comes in the form of a phishing email, which social engineers, or dupes, unsuspecting recipients into opening an attachment. Once open, the malware installs on your system and a real Word document or PowerPoint presentation pops up to make the viewer believe the attachment was legitimate. In one of these cases, the Word document showed an article titled, “Israel’s Secret Iran Attack Plan: Electronic Warfare” by The Daily Beast. Another attachment opened a PowerPoint file (see image above) with “serene images.” The malware in this case was executed on the victim’s system as they paged through the presentation.
Seculert observed the malware’s transmissions to the command and control servers, which occasionally communicated using Farsi. The command and control servers were based in Canada, though Seculert traced early transmissions from the virus back to an original server in Iran.

Register early and often, so you can “Like” your candidate.
"The Associated Press reports that the state of Washington will soon have an application available on its Facebook page that will let residents register to vote. Washington and other states already allow online registration, but this is the first time it will be allowed over Facebook. The state's co-director of elections, Shane Hamlin, said, 'In this age of social media and more people going online for services, this is a natural way to introduce people to online registration and leverage the power of friends on Facebook to get more people registered.' Facebook won't have access to the State's database, and Hamlin says Facebook won't collect any of the personal information with which it interacts." [Want to bet your job? Bob]

I suppose it can't hurt? (This from a longer article)
Internet privacy is focus of Gansler as head of U.S. attorneys general
July 18, 2012 by Dissent
Len Lazarick reports:
You’re walking down the street and you get a text message on your smartphone about the Chipotle restaurant around the corner. That’s interesting. How did they know you liked Chipotle?
And wait a minute. How did they know where you were?
That’s an example Attorney General Doug Gansler gave in an interview last week about the far reach of Internet data collection into our daily lives, from dining choices to GPS connections.
As the new president of the National Association of Attorneys General – NAAG for short – Gansler has targeted Internet privacy as the focus of his year at the top.
Invasion of privacy
“Clearly, what the Internet companies are doing is an invasion of privacy,” Gansler said. “It certainly could very well be an acceptable and appropriate invasion of privacy,” much as airport security has become an accepted invasion of privacy [Huh? Bob] – up to a point.
“Most of the things we look up on the Internet are free, but there’s a legitimate interest for those companies to make money,” Gansler said. “Where to draw that line is the dialogue we’ll be having in NAAG.”

Even if all their lawyers are named Don Quixote, they might someday bag a real dragon...
EFF Challenges National Security Letter Statute in Landmark Lawsuit
July 18, 2012 by Dissent
Matt Zimmerman writes:
Since the first national security letter statute was passed in 1986, the FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of such letters seeking private telecommunications and financial records of Americans without any prior approval from courts. Indeed, for the period between 2003 and 2006 alone, almost 200,000 requests for private customer information were sought pursuant to various NSL statutes. Prior to 2011, the constitutionality of this legal authority to investigate the records of Americans without court oversight had been challenged in court — as far as we know — exactly one time. EFF is today releasing FBI-redacted briefing from a major new ongoing case in which it is challenging one of the NSL statutes on behalf of a telecommunications company that received an NSL in 2011.
Read more about the case and issue on EFF.

Did them furriners get it right?
"Last week, a Canadian Supreme Court decision attracted attention for reduced copyright fees for music and video. Michael Geist has a detailed analysis that concludes there are two bigger, long term effects. First, Canada has effectively now adopted fair use. Second, the Supreme Court has made technological neutrality a foundational principle of Canadian copyright. The technological neutrality principle could have an enormous long-term impact on Canadian copyright, posing a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules."

Who owns your computer system?
"Despite weaknesses in the Linux-hostile 'secure boot' mechanism, both Fedora and Ubuntu decided to facilitate it, by essentially adopting two different approaches. Richard Stallman has finally spoken out on this subject. He notes that 'if the user doesn't control the keys, then it's a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.' He says, 'Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot.' Stallman adds that 'this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.'"

College Algebra, How to use Excel, and Field stripping your AK47... The future of education?
Syrian Rebels Use YouTube, Facebook for Weapons Training
Rebels fighting against Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war are outgunned, outmanned and largely aren’t professional soldiers. So they’re turning to social media for tutorials in how to use their weapons.
In the video above, a faceless individual offers a 15-minute crash course in Arabic on the basics of assault rifles. It’s posted to the YouTube channel FSAHelp, for “Free Syrian Army,” as the resistance calls itself. Additional videos on the channel demonstrate how to shoot from a prone position, how to creep up on an enemy from a hidden position, and hand-to-hand combat. The hi-def videos are fairly high quality, with actors wearing ski masks and toting guns in wooden fields demonstrating combat maneuvers.

For my Data Mining and Data Analytics classes.
Study: WikiLeaked Data Can Predict Insurgent Attacks
Insurgencies are amongst the hardest conflicts to predict. Insurgents can be loosely organized, split into factions, and strike from out of nowhere. But now researchers have demonstrated that with enough data, you might actually predict where insurgent violence will strike next. The results, though, don’t look good for the U.S.-led war.
And they’re also laden with irony. The data the researchers used was purloined by WikiLeaks, which the Pentagon has tried to suppress. And the Pentagon has struggled for years to develop its own prediction tools.

I like the concept of KickStarter – I just haven't decided which of my brilliant ideas need to be kicked...
4 Keys to a Winning Kickstarter Campaign
Mention Kickstarter these days and blockbuster campaigns come to mind. There’s Ouya’s blistering $2 million in one day for a new Android gaming console (it’s raised more than $5 million to date), and the Nifty MiniDrive, external memory for Apple MacBooks. The tiny storage company is more than 2,000% above its $11,000 goal with 15 days left in the campaign.
But for all the success stories on Kickstarter, there are many, many failures. So what’s the secret to ending a campaign with tall boys rather than tears? Wharton Business School professor Ethan Mollick and social entrepreneur Jeanne Pi examined data from almost 50,000 Kickstarter campaigns. They found four keys to a successful Kickstarter campaign: Realistic goals, timing, a bit of marketing, and strong social media ties.

Data Analysis Students Don't tell anyone, you'll change the odds!
Can an algorithm win your fantasy football league?

Perspective Aer we finally easing out that old (1876) technology?
Texting overtakes calling in U.K., says research
According to research published by the U.K.'s communications regulator, Ofcom, on Monday, text messaging is outstripping actually making a call. Last year 58 percent of people communicated via text messaging on a daily basis, while only 47 percent made a mobile call at least once a day, the watchdog found.


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