Monday, September 03, 2012

NOW will you consider using encryption?
"Is full disk encryption (FDE) worth it? A recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute shows that the expected benefits of FDE exceed cost by a factor ranging from 4 to 20, based on a reduction in the probability that data will be compromised as the result of the loss or theft of a digital device. 'After doing all of the math, Ponemon found that the cost of FDE on laptop and desktop computers in the U.S. per year was $235, while the cost savings from reduced data breach exposure was $4,650.'"

(Related) Find 'em and toss them in the clink! More on the costs...
September 02, 2012
Paper - Measuring the Cost of Cybercrime
Measuring the Cost of Cybercrime. Ross Anderson, Chris Barton, Rainer Bohme, Richard Clayton, Michel J.G. van Eeten Michael Levi, Tyler Moore, Stefan Savage
  • "In this paper we present what we believe to be the first systematic study of the costs of cybercrime. It was prepared in response to a request from the UK Ministry of Defence following scepticism that previous studies had hyped the problem. For each of the main categories of cybercrime we set out what is and is not known of the direct costs, indirect costs and defence costs - both to the UK and to the world as a whole.
  • We distinguish carefully between traditional crimes that are now `cyber' because they are conducted online (such as tax and welfare fraud);
  • transitional crimes whose modus operandi has changed substantially as a result of the move online (such as credit card fraud);
  • new crimes that owe their existence to the Internet; and
  • what we might call platform crimes such as the provision of botnets which facilitate other crimes rather than being used to extract money from victims directly.
  • As far as direct costs are concerned, we find that traditional offences such as tax and welfare fraud cost the typical citizen in the low hundreds of pounds/Euros/dollars a year; transitional frauds cost a few pounds/Euros/dollars; while the new computer crimes cost in the tens of pence/cents. However, the indirect costs and defence costs are much higher for transitional and new crimes. For the former they may be roughly comparable to what the criminals earn, while for the latter they may be an order of magnitude more. As a striking example, the botnet behind a third of the spam sent in 2010 earned its owners around US$2.7m, while worldwide expenditures on spam prevention probably exceeded a billion dollars. We are extremely ineffi cient at fighting cybercrime; or to put it another way, cybercrooks are like terrorists or metal thieves in that their activities impose disproportionate costs on society. Some of the reasons for this are well-known: cybercrimes are global and have strong externalities, while traditional crimes such as burglary and car theft are local, and the associated equilibria have emerged after many years of optimisation. As for the more direct question of what should be done, our gures [“gurus? Bob] suggest that we should spend less in anticipation of cybercrime (on antivirus, rewalls, etc.) and more in response - that is, on the prosaic business of hunting down cyber-criminals and throwing them in jail."

“I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!” (Imagine how shocked I would be if they used unsophisticated, custom designed software at 10 times the price.)
Software Meant to Fight Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents
September 2, 2012 by Dissent
I’ve noted articles about FinFisher software by Gamma Group before, but more has come out on how extensive its use is. Nicole Perlroth reports:
Morgan Marquis-Boire works as a Google engineer and Bill Marczak is earning a Ph.D. in computer science. But this summer, the two men have been moonlighting as detectives, chasing an elusive surveillance tool from Bahrain across five continents.
What they found was the widespread use of sophisticated, off-the-shelf computer espionage software by governments with questionable records on human rights.
Read more on The New York Times. Mathew J. Schwartz also covers the story on InformationWeek.

I needs gooder grammar!
Road To Grammar offers a multitude of games and quizzes to help you practice your grammar skills in a way that is fun. The quizzes are broken down by category, so you can work on exactly the part of grammar you need to practice. In all, there are 365 quizzes available, so you can do one a day for a year, and greatly improve your writing skills.

Free is good!
Sound Sunday is a weekly feature promoting free album downloads. Following last week’s excursion into Punk Rock, we return to a more quiet theme this week. This edition explores the different shades of blues and jazz.
Note that name your price albums can be downloaded for free by entering 0 in the price field. That said, we strongly recommend you to donate a few dollars for music you enjoy!

Being a SciFi fan, I'm ashamed to admit that I missed one or two of these... Fortunately, the library is online!
The 2012 Hugo Award ceremony has completed at Chicon 7, and Among Others by Jo Walton has been given the award for Best Novel. The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson won for Best Novella, and The Paper Menagerie won for Best Short Story. Doctor Who had three nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), and ended up taking home the award for the episode "The Doctor's Wife," which was written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Richard Clark. Season 1 of Game of Thrones won Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), edging out Hugo and Captain America. Ursula Vernon was awarded the Best Graphic Story Hugo for Digger. See below for the full list of winners.
The complete list of nominations is on our 2012 Hugo Award Nominations Page.
For a full breakdown of how all 1922 ballots were cast, check this PDF.

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