Monday, August 27, 2012

Claims and counter-claims, but not many facts.
"Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil producer, has resumed operating its main internal computer networks after a virus infected about 30,000 of its workstations in mid-August. The group, calling itself the 'Cutting Sword of Justice,' claimed to have hacked Aramco systems in several countries before sending a virus across 30,000 computers, achieving a 75 percent infection rate of all the company's systems. It refuted suggestions that a nation state was behind the attack."

Was the money sufficient to turn this employee to the dark side?
Private Swiss bank Julius Baer confirms another insider data theft
August 26, 2012 by admin
Catherine Bosley reports that Swiss private bank Julius Baer has suffered another insider breach. If the bank’s name sounds familiar, it’s because another former employee claimed to have given WikiLeaks details of clients who were using the private bank to avoid paying taxes. In this case:
According to the SonntagsZeitung, the stolen data on clients found its way into the hands of tax investigators in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia, with the thief paid an undisclosed sum.
The suspect, a bank employee working in Zurich, acted alone and has been arrested, the paper said.
Read more on BusinessInsider.
Switzerland and Germany have been locked in a dispute over tax cheats for years, with officials in Germany repeatedly paying for stolen bank account data, to the anger of their Swiss counterparts.
… Last year, Julius Baer agreed to pay German tax authorities 50 million euros to close a tax probe. Germany has promised to stop buying leaked bank data naming suspected tax cheats if the tax deal comes into force.

(Related) Hackers do it wholesale...
"TeamGhostShell, a team linked with the infamous group Anonymous, is claiming that they have hacked some major U.S. institutions including major banking institutions, accounts of politicians and has posted those details online. The dumps comprising of millions of accounts has been let loose on the web by the hacking collective. The motivation behind the hack, the group claims, is to protest against banks, politicians and the hackers who have been captured by law enforcement agencies."

Security and Privacy implications... (As usual, you need to think about this.)
Cory Doctorow has posted the content of his talk delivered at Google this month on what he calls the coming civil war over general purpose computing. He neatly crystallizes the problem with certain types of (widely called-for) regulation of devices and the software they run — and they all run software. The ability to stop a general purpose computer from doing nearly anything (running code without permission from the mothership, or requiring an authorities-only engine kill switch, or preventing a car from speeding away), he says boils down to a demand: "Make me a general-purpose computer that runs all programs except for one program that freaks me out."
"But there's a problem. We don't know how to make a computer that can run all the programs we can compile except for whichever one pisses off a regulator, or disrupts a business model, or abets a criminal. The closest approximation we have for such a device is a computer with spyware on it— a computer that, if you do the wrong thing, can intercede and say, 'I can't let you do that, Dave.'"

Another reason to stick with my anti-social network?
"The newspaper Kommersant [Google translation] reports that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (formerly part of the KGB) has invested 30 million roubles (USD $940,000) on 'blog and social network intelligence' programs. A small part of that money is used for surveillance and analytics, but 22 million roubles (USD $690,000) is invested in 'mass distribution of messages in social networks with a view to the formation of public opinion.' Which presumably can be rephrased as 'launching massive pro-Kremlin astroturfing propaganda spambots in order to stifle and undermine political dissent.' The brazen Russian government acknowledgement of this investment indicates that the Kremlin does not think of such activities to be in any way illegal or unethical. No words whether these spambots would respect any anti-spam laws or the Terms and Conditions of victim websites. But hey, now you can accuse anyone you disagree with online of being a 'KGB bot'!"

We're just a bunch of old dogs...”
August 26, 2012
Report - Internet2 eTextbook Spring 2012 Pilot
"In October 2011, the Provosts at the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) institutions expressed interest in initiating a quick‐turn‐around multi‐institutional eTextbook pilot. The next month, Indiana University approached the Internet2 organization to put together an eText pilot for the spring 2012 semester, based on IU’s eTexts Initiative. In January 2012 IU, along with Internet2, McGraw‐Hill, and Courseload launched the Spring 2012 eTexts Pilot. The University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and the University of Virginia joined the pilot and evaluation..." Selected research results:
  • The lower cost of an eTextbook was considered the most important factor for students considering future purchase of an eText.
  • The portability of eTexts also ranked very high as a factor leading to future purchase.
  • Other important factors in future eText purchases included that it should be accessible without an internet connection and available throughout a student’s academic career, not just for a semester.
  • Difficult readability of the text (e.g., difficult zoom feature) was mentioned numerous times by students as well as lack of native functionality on tablets such as the iPad.
  • Faculty, for the most part, did not report using the enhanced eText features (sharing notes, tracking students, question/answer, additional links, etc.) and indicated the need for additional training.
  • Because faculty did not use the enhanced features students saw little benefit from the eText platform’s capability of promoting collaboration with other students or with the professor."

For my students... Try taking some notes.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
… Try one or all of these seven apps ff you have students that prefer to handwrite their notes or if you prefer to handwrite your notes, but you're worried about those notes getting lost.

For my students: Go. Find a job.
Top Companies in Colorado on the 2012 Inc. 5000

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