Friday, July 06, 2012

Who are these people and how do we make them understand? NOTE: This is not only a “Dutch” problem...
"In Holland, a major ISP (KPN) has found a major security flaw for their customers. It seems that all customers have had the same default password of 'welkom01'. Up to 140,000 customers had retained their default passwords. Once inside attackers could have found bank account and credit card numbers. KPN has since changed all the passwords of the 140,000 customers with weak passwords. [Was this 'required' because they found a security flaw? Bob] They also do not believe anyone has actually been burglarized since discovering this weak spot in security."

For my Business Continuity class. See, there are costs to inadequate backups...
Dating Site Breaks Up With Amazon Over Broken Cloud
Netflix, Pinterest, and Instagram may be sticking with Amazon’s cloud after last weekend’s outage, but for Brandon Wade’s online dating site, the Friday night crash was the last straw. He’s going off of Amazon now. After two outages in June, he says Amazon is simply not reliable enough for romance. [Catchy. I see this as a marketing catch phrase. Bob]
The paying users of his website,, are “very impatient, and relatively intolerant of such failures,” he says. “Some people’s lives were interrupted in a big way.”

(Related) It's “How much do we need?” not “What can we get away with?” Perhaps there is a place for Best Practices that are not related to the local culture?
"The predominant narrative of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has been that the accident was caused by a one-in-a-million tsunami, an event so unlikely that TEPCO could not reasonably have been expected to plan for it. However, a Parliamentary inquiry in Japan has concluded that this description is flawed — that the disaster was preventable through a reasonable and justifiable level of preparation, and that initial responses were horribly bungled. The inquiry report points a finger at collusion between industry executives and regulators in Japan as well as 'the worst conformist conventions of Japanese culture.' It also raises the question of whether the failed units at Fukushimi Daiichi were already damaged by the earthquake before the tsunami even hit, going so far as to say that 'We cannot rule out the possibility that a small-scale LOCA (loss-of-coolant accident) occurred at the reactor No 1 in particular.' This is an explosive question in quake-prone Japan, appearing in the news just as Japan begins to restart reactors that have been shut down nationwide since the disaster."

(Related) Are location apps part of your business strategy?
Drone Hijacking? That’s Just the Start of GPS Troubles
On the evening of June 19, a group of researchers from the University of Texas successfully hijacked a civilian drone at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico during a test organized by the Department of Homeland Security.
The drone, an Adaptive Flight Hornet Mini, was hovering at around 60 feet, locked into a predetermined position guided by GPS. Then, with a device that cost around $1,000 and the help of sophisticated software that took four years to develop, the researchers sent a radio signal from a hilltop one kilometer away. In security lingo, they carried out a spoofing attack.
“We fooled the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) into thinking that it was rising straight up,” says Todd Humphreys, assistant professor at the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas.
Deceiving the drone’s GPS receiver, they changed its perceived coordinates. To compensate, the small copter dove straight down, thinking it was returning to its programmed position. If not for a safety pilot intervening before the drone hit the ground, it would have crashed.
… What’s worse, the experiment at White Sands shows that drone-jacking is “just the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger security issue we have in this country,” according to Logan Scott, a GPS industry consultant who has worked for defense giants like Lockheed Martin.
In other words, it’s not only about drones, it’s GPS in general that is not safe.

Makes me wonder what technology he traded for this deal.
The Analyzer’ Gets Time Served for Million-Dollar Bank Heist
Ehud Tenenbaum, aka “The Analyzer,” was quietly sentenced in New York this week to time served for a single count of bank-card fraud for his role in a sophisticated computer-hacking scheme that federal officials say scored $10 million from U.S. banks.
He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $503,000 and was given three years probation.
… It’s not clear how long Tenenbaum was in custody after he was extradited. The U.S. Marshal Service told Threat Level in August 2010 that he’d been released on bond in March of that year, after Tenenbaum had agreed to plead guilty on the access device charge. The sequence of events, the lengthy time that the case remained inactive, and the quiet sentencing suggest that part of the plea agreement may have involved cooperation with authorities, something that is a condition of many plea agreements that involve hacking and bank fraud.

Good morning Mr Bond. How's all that secret agent stuff working for you?”
British Airways Borders On Creepy With “Know Me” Google Identity Check
British Airways is using Google Images to develop passenger dossiers for checking people out as they come through the gate. Now that’s what you call customer service.
At least that’s British Airways spin. Privacy advocates have a different take.
According to The Evening Standard, the airline is facing considerable backlash today after it announced a plan to launch a program called “Know Me.” The new intelligence tool uses Google Images to find pictures of passengers for staff to use so they can approach them as they arrive at the terminal or plane.

This should be interesting. A “Rodney King App?” Perhaps there would be a market for an App that connected you to a lawyer in real time?
Secretly Monitor Cop Stops With New ACLU App
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey is unveiling an Android app allowing citizens to secretly record audio and video of police stops, and have the footage sent to the group’s servers for review.
“This app provides an essential tool for police accountability,” ACLU-NJ Executive Director Deborah Jacobs said in a statement. “Too often incidents of serious misconduct go unreported because citizens don’t feel that they will be believed. Here, the technology empowers citizens to place a check on police power directly.”
The Police Tape app is among a growing number of apps aimed at empowering citizens in their encounters with police activity. The New York chapter of the ACLU released a similar app last month, and others enable protesters to notify family, friends and attorneys if they’ve been arrested.

On the other hand, cops can use their 'e-Sting' Apps...
Court: Cops can read suspect’s texts, spring text trap
July 6, 2012 by Dissent
Elinor Mills reports:
Police did not violate the privacy rights of a Washington state man who responded to a text message from the iPhone of his suspected drug dealer only to get arrested on drug charges after arranging to meet up, a Washington appeals court says.
Read more on CNET.
Have I mentioned recently that we really really really need to update ECPA and decimate third party doctrine?

We have the technology to suppress dissidents, but only the US can use it?
July 05, 2012
Pew - The Future of Corporate Responsibility
The Future of Corporate Responsibility - by Janna Anderson, Lee Rainie. July 5, 2012: "Experts are divided about the role Western technology companies will play in helping monitor and thwart dissident activity in the future. Some hope the open Internet and the prospect of consumer backlash will minimize businesses’ cooperation with authoritarian governments; others believe the urge for profits and for global reach across all cultures will compel firms to allow their digital tools to be used against critics of the status quo."

How does your liability increase as user continue to violate your “Terms of Service” without any action on your part? “Yes, we have a record of the kidnapper sending the ransom note, but we didn't think it was important.”
Cisco Hit With Backlash Over Home Router ‘Cloud’ Service
Cisco is facing a backlash over its decision to update the embedded software on some its home Wi-Fi routers so that they’re managed via a new “cloud” service it offers over the net.
Some customers are concerned that Cisco is invading their privacy by requesting personal data via the service, while others felt that the fine print barred them from surfing the net for “obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes.” Cisco has moved to quell at least some of these fears, but it didn’t stop the complaints from reverberating over the net over the holiday week.
In some ways, this is a tempest in a teacup. But on another level, it works as a metaphor for the company’s attempts to stay relevant in the age of cloud computing. The company is facing increasing pressure from companies that are seeking to redefine networking in the proverbial cloud with technologies such as OpenFlow and virtual networking, which seek to reduce the importance of brand-name hardware.

There are none so blind as those who will not see...
"In a twist that will surprise no one except the RIAA, MPAA, BREIN, and other anti-piracy lobbies, the amount of BitTorrent traffic has stayed the same or increased in Europe following the blockade of The Pirate Bay in the UK, Netherlands, and other countries. This news comes from XS4All, one of the largest European ISPs, which has published a graph of the network traffic associated with the BitTorrent protocol — and sure enough, since the Dutch Pirate Bay blockade began in February 2012, traffic has stayed the same or increased slightly. There are probably a few reasons for this: a) The European blockades created a lot of publicity (and no publicity is bad publicity); b) TPB isn't the only torrent site out there, and many of its torrents are available elsewhere; and c) Internet denizens are a lot more savvy (proxies, VPNs, etc.) than the MPAA and co give them credit for."

Ah, them zoomies are a hoot! Remember, no texting while piloting!
Air Force Wants Apps for Training Flyboys
Manuals are so analog. The Air Force is thinking about turning some of its training programs into apps for reservists’ smartphones.
According to a recent call for industry input, the Air Force Reserve Command’s Development and Training Flights want to “obtain a smartphone application that allows all participating Reserve members the opportunity to engage in training and gaming activities with other members.”
It doesn’t look like full training manuals would be digitized. Suggested functionality includes apps to teach “Air Force Core Values,” and “Fitness and Nutrition Principles,” as well as games to memorize M-16 components and military songs (“Name that Military Tune”). [“Into the air, junior birdmen...” Bob

For my Data Analysis entrepreneurs... Hey, maybe that statistics class was worthwhile.
Will Data-as-a-Platform Deliver New Opportunity?
In his post over at GigaOm, Oestreich writes Thursday:
And, if the data is becoming so valuable, then analyzing and mining it ought to provide incremental revenue streams beyond the traditional product-based business model. But consider going one step further: If treated right, access to enough quality data would be valuable to others outside of your enterprise too — assuming the correct federation and business models were constructed.

Global Warming! Global Warming! So this is nothing new and seems to be related to normal climate cycles, but it is still evidence of man made changes? Help me! I have a pain in my logic circuits...
Coral clues to climate: Reefs vanished for 2,500 years
Coral reefs along Panama's Pacific coast completely collapsed for 2,500 years due to natural climate cycles, researchers reported in a study Thursday, adding that there's a lesson in the data for man-made climate change: ease up on greenhouse gasses and reefs will restore themselves.
… The researchers reconstructed 6,000 years of coral reef history by driving pipes into reefs to pull out core samples.
… The team found the same gap in earlier studies by other researchers as far away as Australia and Japan, and tied the collapse to an intensification of the natural climate cycle that produces El Nino and La Nina weather events.

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