Thursday, January 17, 2013

We only steal from the best. (Why waste time on targets with less than 6 figures in the bank?)
"Researchers at RSA say that a new phishing toolkit allows attackers to put a velvet rope around scam web pages – bouncing all but the intended victims. The new toolkit, dubbed 'Bouncer,' was discovered in an analysis of attacks on financial institutions in South Africa, Australia and Malaysia in recent weeks. It allows attackers to generate a unique ID for each intended victim, then embed that in a URL that is sent to the victim. Outsiders attempting to access the phishing page are redirected to a '404 page not found' error message. Other phishing kits have used IP address blacklists to block anti malware companies from viewing their malicious pages, but this is the first known use of whitelisting, RSA said. The phishing attacks that RSA technicians discovered that used the Bouncer kit were designed to harvest login credentials from financial services firms. The whitelisting feature may well work, especially given the volume of potential phishing pages that security companies review each day. Getting a 404 message may be enough to get a forensic investigator or security researcher to move on to the next phishing site, rather than investigating."

Double Secret Probation! What do you expect when you put Dean Wormer in charge?
Surveillance Strategy Is ‘Privileged and Confidential,’ FBI Says
… He also said the government issued two memos on how to proceed following the so-called “Jones” decision — memos the government now claims are not for public consumption. What that boils down to is this: If the government told you how it was spying on you, it would have to kill you. [Not funny. They have drones! Bob]
… According to the ACLU, the withholding of the documents’ contents is “an unfortunate decision” that “leaves Americans with no clear understanding of when we will be subjected to tracking — possibly for months at a time.”
Catherine Crump, the ACLU’s lawyer on the topic, added that “Privacy law needs to keep up with technology, but how can that happen if the government won’t even tell us what its policies are?

What are banking regulations in the Cloud? When data moves constantly (to balance workloads and improve performance) it only “passes through” jurisdictions.
New Bank Has No Branches, Just an App — And Thinks You’ll Volunteer to Pay for It
The company that made prepaid debit cards for the “unbanked” ubiquitous has a new venture: a bank. But Green Dot (GDOT) isn’t planning on opening any branches. To visit this bank, you have to open up the app.
Green Dot’s GoBank, announced this week in San Francisco, attempts to push mobile banking forward by making banking mobile-only. And the company seems to believe the GoBank app will delight account holders so much that they will voluntarily pay for the privilege of using it.
… “If you look at people who have an iPhone or Android and are under 40 and are dissatisfied with their bank, it’s actually quite a large market,” said Sam Altman, Green Dot’s vice president of mobile.

Toward automated legal services.
January 16, 2013
Article - Can Lawyers Stay in the Driver's Seat?
Can Lawyers Stay in the Driver's Seat? - Daniel G. Currell, Corporate Executive Board; M. Todd Henderson, University of Chicago - Law School. University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 629. January 16, 2013
  • "The law firm business is thriving, despite significant pain in the legal sector as changes take place. The continuing success of Big Law is in part because of its ability to adjust quickly to changes in demand by hiring and firing staff. But as Larry Ribstein saw, big changes nevertheless loom on the horizon. These changes will likely be driven by a series of specialized service providers who compete with law firms from a lower price point as Benjamin Barton points out in his article in this volume. If history is a guide, cheaper alternatives will evolve into higher-quality alternatives, at which point the law firms most invested in the status quo are likely to suffer greatly. While the significance of this disruption is often viewed in terms of how it will affect lawyers, in fact it should be assessed mainly from the perspective of consumers and society: does the quality of legal services rise or fall at any given price point?"

One day we will be able to automagically annotate articles (even my blog posts) with proper legal citations.
January 16, 2013
Enhancements to U.S. Statutes at Large on FDsys
"The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) recently enhanced the U.S. Statutes at Large collection on FDsys by adding descriptive metadata for public laws, private laws, concurrent resolutions, and presidential proclamations. For approximately 32,000 individual documents, the enhancements allow researchers improved searchability and retrieval by searching such metadata fields as title, SuDocs classification number, date, category, etc. The U.S. Statutes at Large collection includes volumes 65-115, covering the 82nd -107th Congresses, from 1951-2002. The additional descriptive data was added by both manual and automatic processes. A team of GPO staff members from Library Services and Content Management (LSCM), including catalogers and automation librarians, added descriptive metadata for titles, public law numbers, and dates."

If the process is that old, has the patent expired? And why 5-10 years to re-start production?
"California scientists have just created a new biofuel using plants that burns just as well as a petroleum-based fuel. 'The discovery, published in the journal Nature, means corn, sugar cane, grasses and other fast-growing plants or trees, like eucalyptus, could be used to make the propellant, replacing oil,' writes the San Francisco Chronicle, and the researchers predict mass marketing of their product within 5 to 10 years. They created their fuel using a fermentation process that was first discovered in 1914, but which was then discontinued in 1965 when petroleum became the dominant source of fuel. The new fuel actually contains more energy per gallon than is currently contained in ethanol, and its potency can even be adjusted for summer or winter driving."

For my statistics students. You can find bias anywhere, if you are so inclined. (Inclined = tilted, titled = biased)
"The much-publicized international rankings of student test scores — PISA — rank the U.S. lower than it ought to be for two reasons: a sampling bias that includes a higher proportion of lower socio-economic classes from the U.S. than are in the general population and a higher proportion of of U.S. students than non-U.S. who are in the lower socio-economic classes. If one were to rank comparable classes between the U.S. and the rest of the world, U.S. scores would rise to 4th from 14th in reading (PDF) and to 10th from 25th in math."

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