Wednesday, October 30, 2013

If your Computer Security manager hasn't contacted you, you need to send him this article. Question: Is it ethical to pay the ransom?
CryptoLocker Is The Nastiest Malware Ever & Here’s What You Can Do
Ransomware is an especially odious type of malware. The way it works is simple. Your computer will be infected with some malicious software. That software then renders your computer entirely unusable, sometimes purporting to be from local law enforcement and accusing you of committing a computer crime or viewing explicit pictures of children. It then demands monetary payment, either in the form of a ransom or a ‘fine’ before access to your computer is returned.
Horrible, isn’t it? Well, get ready to meet CryptoLocker; the evil patriarch of the Ransomware family.
CryptoLocker is a piece of malware targeting computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. It is typically spread as an email attachment, often purporting to be from a legitimate source (including Intuit and Companies House).

Will this prove to be the final solution?
EPIC – Leahy and Sensenbrenner Introduce USA FREEDOM Act
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 29, 2013
“The Democratic Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Republican author of the Patriot Act have introduced the USA FREEDOM Act, which would reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and limit NSA surveillance activities. A bi-partisan coalition, including 17 Senators and 70 Members of Congress, have joined as original co-sponsors. Key provisions of the FREEDOM Act increase transparency of intelligence activities, prevent end-runs around the FISA Court, and improve public reporting. In 2012 EPIC testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the need to reform FISA and to improve oversight of the FISA court. The FREEDOM Act also ends the controversial bulk phone records collection program. EPIC has brought a challenge in the Supreme Court to the phone records program, explaining that it is unlawful under current law. For more nformation, see EPIC: In re EPIC and EPIC – Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”

So I'll need to Photoshop a few (dozen) drivers licenses. No problem.
JG Vibes reports:
This week a large number of Facebook users have been locked out of their accounts and are being forced to submit a government ID before they are allowed to log back in. This is part of a process that Facebook began over a year ago, which seeks to remove any trace of anonymity from Facebook, so every single profile is attached to someones personal identity.
Similar mass lockouts have occurred on Facebook in the past, most recently in January this year.
“This is just a general practice for both Facebook and Instagram to request photo IDs for verification purposes depending on what type of violation may have occurred,” Facebook said at the time.
Read more on Intellihub.
[From the article:
According to Facebook help section:
We require everyone using Facebook to use their real name and birthday. This way, you always know who you’re connecting with. When we discover accounts that look fake or like they’re using fake information, we ask the owner to confirm that they are who they say they are.
In most cases, the easiest way to confirm your identity is to follow the on-screen steps to enter your mobile phone number and request a code.
If can’t verify your account using your mobile number, you’ll need to provide a copy of your photo ID. This could be a scanned copy or a close-up photo you’ve taken. We’ll permanently delete this document after we resolve your issue.

Significant opportunities for my Data Analysis students? (Since we analyze Open Data) Note: This is also “Big Data”
Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 29, 2013
Open data—machine-readable information, particularly government data, that’s made available to others — “has generated a great deal of excitement around the world for its potential to empower citizens, change how government works, and improve the delivery of public services. It may also generate significant economic value, according to a new McKinsey report. Our research suggests that seven sectors alone could generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value as a result of open data, which is already giving rise to hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses and helping established companies to segment markets, define new products and services, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. Although the open-data phenomenon is in its early days, we see a clear potential to unlock significant economic value by applying advanced analytics to both open and proprietary knowledge. Open data can become an instrument for breaking down information gaps across industries, allowing companies to share benchmarks and spread best practices that raise productivity. Blended with proprietary data sets, it can propel innovation and help organizations replace traditional and intuitive decision-making approaches with data-driven ones. Open-data analytics can also help uncover consumer preferences, allowing companies to improve new products and to uncover anomalies and needless variations. That can lead to leaner, more reliable processes.”

(Related) Or maybe not? Actually, my students can write the programs that automate their analysis.
Commentary – America’s Incredible Shrinking Information Sector
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 29, 2013
Vision Statement: America’s Incredible Shrinking Information Sector - Interactive by Alvin Chang; Analysis by Hank Robison
“The information industry – which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines as processors, producers, and distributors of data, informational, and cultural products—shed more jobs in the first decade of the millennium than any other sector except manufacturing. Down more than 750,000 jobs, the industry accounts for about 2% of the U.S. market and 4.6% of America’s GDP. The losses seem surprising, given that information businesses have long been assumed to be an engine of the modern economy. The culprit, ironically enough, is tech-driven innovation, which has produced dramatic gains in efficiency and widespread automation.”

My Math students will be thrilled! (Not really, but I can dream)
Wikispaces Adds GeoGebraTube to Their Widget Library
Math teachers who use Wikispaces may be happy to learn that Wikispaces has just added GeoGebraTube to their education widget library. GeoGebraTube is a large gallery of models and animations created by GeoGebra users. The gallery currently has more than 48,000 submissions.
To add a GeoGebraTube element to your wiki just open the editor on any of your wiki's pages, select "widget," then choose "education" to find the GeoGebraTube widget. You can browse through the GeoGebraTube gallery while still in Wikispaces. You can preview the widget before it goes live on your wiki.

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