Thursday, January 02, 2014

Are there Best Practices for my Ethical Hackers? Somewhere between notifying the 'target' and making the exploit public must be alerting the tech media and user group blogs to bring public pressure.
Remember how I posted about how some frustrated researchers at Gibson Security had gone public with a SnapChat vulnerability that the firm allegedly hadn’t addressed?
Well, now it seems 4.6 million SnapChat users’usernames and phone numbers have been leaked.

Chris Ziegler reports:
The individual or team claiming responsibility for SnapchatDB has responded to The Verge‘s requests for comment the morning after the database went online, containing a leaked collection of some 4.6 million apparent Snapchat usernames and partial phone numbers. “Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed,” they say. “Security matters as much as user experience does.”
Read more on The Verge.
Violet Blue writes that this incident shows that responsible disclosure has failed, while Marcia Hofmann and I both noted that perhaps the FTC and/or California Attorney General should investigate SnapChat’s response to the responsible disclosure:
GMTA RT @marciahofmann: I hope @FTC & @calagharris look into Snapchat’s failure to respond to responsible disclosure.
Dissent Doe (@PogoWasRight) January 2, 2014

Even if it doesn't exactly automate the lawyering function, it does cut the time and money that used to be spent in backroom analysis.
Law firms look for an edge in leveraging big data with innovative applications
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 1, 2014
How new tech can help lawyers rethink their jobs in the big data age, Derrick Harris: ”The legal profession has undergone a lot of unpleasant changes since the Great Recession struck in 2008. New data-analysis technologies and a new approach to thinking about data could help firms operate leaner, meaner and better.”
[From the article:
… Last year, for example, we wrote about a software vendor called Recommind that uses machine learning to do what it calls predictive coding, a process that saves firms time and money by helping lawyers sort through all those files to figure out which ones are relevant.
… We’ve covered another company, PureDiscovery, that applies semantic analysis techniques to e-discovery documents in order to achieve largely the same result.
Lex Machina is a startup that aims to give intellectual property attorneys statistical data that could help them make better decisions about their cases.
… The “big” part of big data gets a lot of attention, but for most industries and companies — law firms included — the variety part is probably the most important aspect. Data isn’t just about numbers anymore. Our Structure Data conference in March is focused on just this idea — that every document, social media post, photo, video, website, and pretty much anything is now a source of data just waiting to be analyzed and turned into information.
For example, people do a lot of talking on social media today, so maybe a lawyer could use something like ScraperWiki to download a witness’s Twitter connections and activity (check out what I’ve done with it here, here and here). There are free tools like etcML (and paid services like AlchemyAPI) that can analyze any type of text file, be it tweets or email logs, to determine sentiment or extract key concepts.
And even for more-traditional numerical data (say, for example, a record of car accidents and locations that might be relevant to a personal injury case) there is no shortage of easy tools available to help analyze and visualize it. Tools like make it easy to actually extract data from websites (say, the changes in price for real estate listings over time) and turn it into tables.

Just a small part of the “Personal Budget” spreadsheet I make my Excel students create.
2012 Edition of AAA’s Your Driving Costs brochure
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 1, 2014
“AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon. Clearly, that is no longer the case. In 2012 the average costs rose 1.1 cents per mile to 59.6 cents per mile, or $8,946 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving. AAA’s analysis covers vehicles equipped with standard features and optional equipment including automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering, antilock brakes and cruise control. Rising fuel prices are a key factor in this year’s ‘Your Driving Costs’ study. Paying more at the pump is not only increasing the operational costs of vehicles, but it’s also affecting depreciation values. [For some reason, those 8 miles per gallon monsters aren't as popular as they used to be. Bob] With the growing appeal of more fuel efficient vehicles, small sedans are experiencing less depreciation and are holding their value longer, while there is a rise in depreciation costs of less fuel-efficient vehicles.”
  • See also this AAA news release – “With today being the last day of 2013, the national retail average price of gasoline continues to hover just above the same date last year, and motorists will almost certainly ring in 2014 with the highest price on record for New Year’s Day. This will be the fifth consecutive January 1 that Americans have paid more at the pump than the year prior and the fourth straight year with a new record to start the year. The national average prices to begin 2011, 2012 and 2013 were $3.07, $3.28 and $3.29 respectively.”

Something for my Statistics students.
Digest of Education Statistics, 2012
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 1, 2014
“The 48th in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest’s purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.”

Apparently a useful tool for the basics, but I prefer to use pizza for teaching fractions (I grew up with a lot of Italian friends)
Thinking Blocks - Model Math Problems on iPads, Interactive Whiteboards, and in Your Browser
Thinking Blocks is a nice site for elementary and middle school mathematics teachers. Thinking Blocks provides interactive templates in which students use brightly colored blocks to model and solve problems. As students work through the problems they are provided with feedback as to whether or not they are using the correct sequence to solve each problem. There are templates and problems for addition, multiplication, fractions, and ratios. You can also develop your own problems using the modeling tool.
Thinking Blocks is also available as a set of four free iPad apps.

An Infographic for my students! (Note that you can barely see the bottom line.)
The Hierarchy Of Digital Distractions

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