Friday, August 10, 2012

Even gaming has a serious side... hacked
August 9, 2012 by admin
From their official statement:
Even when you are in the business of fun, not every week ends up being fun. This week, our security team found an unauthorized and illegal [Is it just me or does that seem redundant? Bob] access into our internal network here at Blizzard. We quickly took steps to close off this access and began working with law enforcement and security experts to investigate what happened.
… We also know that cryptographically scrambled versions of passwords (not actual passwords) for players on North American servers were taken. We use Secure Remote Password protocol (SRP) to protect these passwords, which is designed to make it extremely difficult to extract the actual password, and also means that each password would have to be deciphered individually. As a precaution, however, we recommend that players on North American servers change their password. Please click this link to change your password. Moreover, if you have used the same or similar passwords for other purposes, you may want to consider changing those passwords as well.
… As a reminder, phishing emails will ask you for password or login information. Blizzard Entertainment emails will never ask for your password.
… Please find additional information here.

Ubiquitous surveillance – Surveillance at any cost? Sounds like a database of video with location and time stamps to make it searchable. Unclear if they have other data matching tools.
Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system
Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.
Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it's the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation's ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.
… According to a press release (pdf) dated June 6, 2012, TrapWire is “designed to provide a simple yet powerful means of collecting and recording suspicious activity reports.” A system of interconnected nodes spot anything considered suspect and then input it into the system to be "analyzed and compared with data entered from other areas within a network for the purpose of identifying patterns of behavior that are indicative of pre-attack planning.”
… In a 2005 interview with The Entrepreneur Center, Abraxas founder Richard “Hollis” Helms said his signature product “can collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition, draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists.” He calls it “a proprietary technology designed to protect critical national infrastructure from a terrorist attack by detecting the pre-attack activities of the terrorist and enabling law enforcement to investigate and engage the terrorist long before an attack is executed,” and that, “The beauty of it is that we can protect an infinite number of facilities just as efficiently as we can one and we push information out to local law authorities automatically.”
… Since its inception, TrapWire has been implemented in most major American cities at selected high value targets (HVTs) and has appeared abroad as well. The iWatch monitoring system adopted by the Los Angeles Police Department (pdf) works in conjunction with TrapWire, as does the District of Columbia and the "See Something, Say Something" program conducted by law enforcement in New York City, which had 500 surveillance cameras linked to the system in 2010. Private properties including Las Vegas, Nevada casinos have subscribed to the system. The State of Texas reportedly spent half a million dollars with an additional annual licensing fee of $150,000 to employ TrapWire, and the Pentagon and other military facilities have allegedly signed on as well.

If my boss asked me to get your records, is that sufficient for me to “believe” they are relevant?
Court Grants Feds Warrantless Access to Utility Records
August 10, 2012 by Dissent
David Kravets reports:
Utilities must hand over customer records — which include credit card numbers, phone numbers and power consumption data — to the authorities without court warrants if drug agents believe they are “relevant” to an investigation, a federal appeals court says.
The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 allows the authorities to make demands for that data in the form of an administrative subpoena, with no judicial oversight. [Even after the fact? Bob] In this instance, the Drug Enforcement Administration sought the records of three Golden Valley Electric Association customers in Fairbanks, Alaska suspected of growing marijuana indoors.
Read more on ThreatLevel.

Another “Lawyer Automation” project?
Finally, Someone Read the Terms of Service So You Don't Have To
I've yet to find anyone who reads the terms-of-service contracts that we "agree" to on the various websites of the world. But now, a group of technologists, lawyers, and interested parties have created TOS;DR, a project to create peer-reviewed summaries of all those documents you will never actually read.
Launched in June, it's a kind of brilliant and already-useful tool for some of the more heavily trafficked sites on the web. For example, if you're uploading photos to TwitPic, you might want to reconsider. They give the site their worst grade, a "Class E." Why? Well, they have an easy-to-understand summary right here. If you click on "Read the Details," you get an extended explanation of these warnings and can also link back (almost like a Wikipedia page) to the TOS;DR discussion that led to the thumbs-down.

Red: Stop
Green: Go
Yellow: Go very fast Jeff Bridges in Starman
New Technology Means You’ll Never Run Another Yellow Light
There’s a name for that panic-inducing split second when a traffic light turns yellow and you have to choose whether to hit the gas or the brake. It’s called the “dilemma zone,” and a new radar system promises to make it a thing of the past.
TrafiRadar is a new technology from Belgium-based Traficon. It combines video and radar vehicle detection that can control a traffic light, holding a yellow until a car has crossed an intersection.
While towns that rely on revenue from red light cameras might be loath to install the new technology, it could make intersections safer for all. Currently, drivers in the dilemma zone can either slam on the brakes and risk a rear-end collision, or run a red light. TrafiRadar can determine whether a vehicle needs more time to get through an intersection before the yellow light turns red, and keep all other traffic stopped until that car has crossed.

To a hacker, everything is Open Source...
"Hacker Highschool is an after school program that teaches students the best practices of responsible hacking. The program is open source, and high schools across the country have begun offering the free program to students. Hacker Highschool recognized that teens are constantly taught that hacking is bad, and they realized that teens' amature understanding of hacking was the cause of the biggest issues. The program aims to reverse this negative stereotype of hacking by encouraging teens to embrace ethical, responsible hacking."

Online Education Degrees Now Dwarf Traditional Universities
Education degrees earned at online universities now dwarf those of traditional universities. USA Today analyzed recent Department of Education data and found that online education behemoth, the University of Phoenix, awarded more than twice as many education degrees as its closest traditional competitor, Arizona State University (5,976 vs. 2,075).
… While ASU still awards the most bachelor degrees, the other top 4 online universities, 3 of which are for-profit, hand out far more advanced degrees, which are increasingly important for hiring and promotion. This, of course, says nothing about the quality of online degrees.

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