Wednesday, March 26, 2014

While President Obama tries to smooth over relations, North Korea reacts like a spoiled 6 year old (with nukes)
Obama brokers Japan, South Korea talks as Pyongyang fires missiles
U.S. President Barack Obama brought together the leaders of Japan and South Korea for their first face-to-face talks as a North Korean ballistic missile launch underscored the need for Washington's two key Asian allies to repair their strained ties.
Washington hopes the three-way summit will improve relations between Seoul and Tokyo, which are clouded by the legacy of Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula and Seoul's concerns that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to rewrite Japan's wartime past with a less apologetic tone.

ATM robbery? Dude, there's an App for that!
ATM Hackers Turn to Text Messages to Pull Bank Heists
According to Symantec, a new variant of ATM malware discovered in 2013 has been updated to allow hackers to withdraw cash using SMS messages.
The malware, known as Ploutus, first surfaced last year in Mexico. At the time, the malware enabled attackers armed with an external keyboard to make illegal withdrawals from ATM machines. In the ensuing weeks however, a new variant appeared with an evolved architecture.
"The criminals can remotely control the ATM by using a mobile phone which is connected to the inside of the ATM," Regalado explained. "There are multiple ways to connect a mobile phone to an ATM. A common method is to use a setup called USB tethering, which is effectively a shared Internet connection between a phone and a computer (or in this case, an ATM)."

Now do you believe me when I say, “You have to be crazy not to encrypt your laptop!”
Stacia Glenn reports:
A Gig Harbor psychologist who failed to immediately fess up that a prostitute stole his laptop with medical information about 652 state Department of Social and Health Services clients must undergo a mental health evaluation if he wants to practice again.
Sunil Kakar was suspended in October on charges ranging from unprofessional conduct to failure to provide security safeguards. He remains suspended for not protecting sensitive client information, according to records.
The state said Kakar also remains suspended because he failed to take part in a required substance abuse monitoring program ordered after a 2012 incident for which he was charged with unprofessional conduct.
Read more on the News Tribune

(Related) And encryption is not hard to implement!
Toshiba's Self-Encrypting Hard Drives Get FIPS 140-2 Stamp
Toshiba announced on Tuesday that its MQ01ABUxxxBW series hard disk drives (HDD) has achieved validation to U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 (FIPS 140-2).

“Let's sue everyone and see who settles?” OR “Why do they insist these systems are secure when they clearly are not?” OR (Most likely) “Security failed, therefore someone screwed up.”
Chicago's Trustwave sued over Target data breach
… Although the most serious allegations are leveled at Target, the suit alleges that Trustwave failed to identify deficiencies in the retailer's IT systems. Trustwave's software audits companies' IT systems to make sure they comply with credit card security regulations.
The lawsuit is a blow to Trustwave, which according to the complaint says it has “performed more Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Certifications than all other companies combined.” [So now they too are suspect. Bob]
… Trustwave has been growing fast in recent years, swallowing up smaller competitors. Earlier this month, it bought Cenzic, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company that specializes in continuous automated security testing for cloud, mobile and Web applications. Trustwave, which previously planned to go public but had to pull the offering, has been seen as one of Chicago's most likely candidates for a sale or IPO.

This is what my Ethical Hackers call a “high value target.” I wonder how long it took the average hacker to break in?
Dan Massoglia writes:
FirstNet is a public/private cooperative surveillance and information exchange enterprise—a vast network to share Americans’ personal information—conceived by and written into law with the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. By law, FirstNet’s purpose is to “create a nationwide, wireless, interoperable, public safety broadband network,” a euphemism that means, “increase the ease with which government agencies share private and public information about people.” By consolidating the placement of points of reference and interoperability for each potential node of state, local, commercial, and other communications networks, FirstNet is a blueprint for making surveillance data-sharing national, lightning-fast, and independent from the insecure, heavily monitored public internet.
Read more on PrivacySOS.

You didn't really think they'd stop, did you?
Don’t Listen to Google and Facebook: The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership Is Still Going Strong
If you’ve been reading the news recently, you might think that corporate America is doing its best to thwart NSA surveillance.
Google just announced that it is encrypting Gmail when you access it from your computer or phone, and between data centers. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg personally called President Obama to complain about the NSA using Facebook as a means to hack computers, and Facebook's Chief Security Officer explained to reporters that the attack technique has not worked since last summer. Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and others are now regularly publishing "transparency reports," listing approximately how many government data requests the companies have received and complied with.
On the government side, last week the NSA's General Counsel Rajesh De seemed to have thrown those companies under a bus by stating that—despite their denials—they knew all about the NSA's collection of data under both the PRISM program and some unnamed "upstream" collections on the communications links.
… The U.S. intelligence community is still playing word games with us. The NSA collects our data based on four different legal authorities: the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, Executive Order 12333 of 1981 and modified in 2004 and 2008, Section 215 of the Patriot Act of 2001, and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008. Be careful when someone from the intelligence community uses the caveat "not under this program," or "not under this authority"; almost certainly it means that whatever it is they're denying is done under some other program or authority. So when De said that companies knew about NSA collection under Section 702, it doesn't mean they knew about the other collection programs.

I think the best rulings (and most amusing language) come when the Judge is angry or frustrated.
Zoe Tillman reports:
A federal magistrate judge in Washington wants to hear from Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. before ruling on a request by federal prosecutors to block those companies from disclosing information on grand jury subpoenas.
In two orders issued on March 21, U.S. District Magistrate Judge John Facciola said he received applications from the government asking that Twitter and Yahoo be barred from “notifying any person of the existence or content of” the grand jury subpoenas.
Read more on Legal Times.
[From the article:
Twitter and Yahoo have a policy of notifying users about requests for information on their accounts unless prohibited by law or a court order.
… "This Court is increasingly concerned about the government's applications for search warrants for electronic data," he wrote. "In essence, its applications ask for the entire universe of information tied to a particular account, even if it has established probable cause only for certain information."
On March 11, he denied applications for search warrants that would allow law enforcement to search cellphones and other electronic devices seized in a child pornography investigation, finding the government used "inaccurate, formulaic language," failed to limit the scope of the search to data for which it had probable cause, and didn't explain how the search would take place.
On March 20, the judge again declined to sign search warrants for four more electronic devices in a child pornography investigation. Facciola said the government still failed to address many of the issues he raised in his March 11 order.
Prosecutors specified what law enforcement would seize from the devices and, for the first time, provided a search protocol, the judge said, but they still failed to provide a detailed explanation of the search process.
"Since the government has not taken the hint, the Court will be more explicit: the government needs to provide a sophisticated technical overview of how it plans to conduct the search," Facciola wrote. "It need not be overly detailed—the Court is not asking for a list of search terms—but the overview must provide this Court with sufficient information such that it will not be authorizing the 'general, exploratory rummaging in a person’s belongings' that the Fourth Amendment prohibits."

Not sure where Facebook is heading with this. (Of course, I've been blind before.)
Facebook Makes $2 Billion Virtual-Reality Bet With Oculus
Facebook Inc. is making a $2 billion bet that a virtual-reality headset will one day become the center of its users’ social lives.
… Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is following Google in seeking growth beyond smartphones and tablets. While Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google’s Android mobile devices dominate today, developers are looking for new gadgets to showcase wares and are focusing on the more lifelike experiences that Oculus provides, Zuckerberg said in a blog.

(Related) Content for VR?
Disney Agrees to Pay $500 Million for Maker Studios
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) agreed to buy Maker Studios, a supplier of online video content to YouTube, for $500 million, gaining technology and experience with short-form entertainment.
Disney also agreed to pay as much as $450 million more if Maker Studios meets “strong” performance targets, the Burbank, California-based company said today in a statement. That could boost the total to $950 million.
With Maker Studios, Disney is following DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) into an online video business with expanding audiences and little profit. DreamWorks Animation, producer of the “Shrek” movies, bought AwesomenessTV, a smaller competitor of Maker Studios, for $33 million plus as much as $117 million in incentives last year. The online outlets could help media companies build awareness for films and TV shows.

Economics in the current age. Disintermediation dude, look it up. I'd say Tesla won in Ohio – New Jersey will fight to the last bankruptcy. (What value do dealerships add for consumers?)
Compromise to Limit Tesla to Three Stores
The arrival of Tesla motors in the Ohio market stirred up local car dealers who sensed a threat to their way of doing business. Tesla sells high-end all-electric cars but does so without the use of franchise dealerships. Ohio lawmakers are working to resolve the dispute.
There's no middleman at Tesla. The company manufactures the cars and operates its own stores where customers can shop and learn. There are no car lots full of inventory to look at — each Tesla is made to order.

(Related) Some people are recognizing the changing times...
From Digitally Disrupted to Digital Disrupter
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 25, 2014
“Big companies are back in the digital game. Procter & Gamble, Tesco, Disney, GE—these are just a few of the global 2,000 that are now in a race to become digital. Those that get there first will be able to disrupt their existing markets and penetrate new ones. They will be in control of their new digital destinies. This year’s report represents the latest iteration of Accenture’s Technology Vision, which declares that “every business is a digital business.” In last year’s report, we laid out the imperative for every business to reimagine itself in this digital world, and we charted the increasing appetite of leading enterprises for exploring the opportunities that emerging technologies provide.” [One of which is disintermediation. Bob]

Perspective. Cable continues to die. Newspaper revenue continues to drop. News “repeaters” replace news “Reporters.”
One in three Americans view online news videos
More American adults are watching news videos online than ever before. According to the 2014 State of the News Media report, released on Wednesday, nearly half of people under 50 watch online news videos, and one in ten adults have posted their own videos of news events to social networking sites.
This year’s report is the eleventh annual survey released by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it examines how newspapers, magazines, websites and network and cable news fared over the course of 2013.
… Americans are increasingly attached to their cellphones and the internet, and their news habits are evolving. Thirty percent of the adults Pew surveyed get some of their news from Facebook. Fifty percent of social network users share or repost news content, while 46 percent discuss news events on social media.
… Local and cable television numbers were less encouraging. Nearly 300 local television stations were sold in 2013, and more stations are being managed jointly by large companies like the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and sharing content with each other than before. There are joint service agreements (in which stations share news-gathering resources) in nearly half of 210 local television markets nationwide, up from 55 such agreements in 2011. Cable news audiences declined, with the combined median prime-time viewership of CNN, Fox and MSNBC dropping 11 percent to approximately three million, the smallest since 2007.
Print and television advertising are still the major sources for revenue in journalism, making up more than half of the money supporting professional journalism. Newspaper ad revenue in 2012 (the most recent year data was available) was down 52 percent from 2003.

For my Math students. This was a “Billion Dollar Sure Thing.” Expect more like it now that Billion is the new Million.
Quicken Loans' billion-dollar gamble pays off
Say what you will about the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge with Yahoo Sports. But the contest, which magically latched on to the mania of March Madness with the promise of a possible $1 billion prize for anyone who picked the winner of every tournament game, put Quicken Loans in rare PR air.
How rare? Try 1 billion social media and PR impressions since the contest began, estimates Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer, in an interview with USA TODAY.
… What's more, brand awareness for Quicken - the second-largest retail lender in America, next to Wells Fargo - shot up a whopping 300% since the contest began vs. prior to February, he says.
… Then there are new customer leads. While Farner is reluctant to be specific on this, he says the contest elicited "millions and millions" of new customer leads - though that wasn't its focus, he says. The focus, he says, was "engagement." [Right... Bob] The contest, which was free to enter, had a limit of 15 million entries - but he declined to state if it reached that number.

For my geeky students.
Microsoft releases source code for MS-DOS and Word
In recognition of their historical importance and commercial irrelevance, Microsoft has given the source code to MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Word for Windows 1.1a to the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, California. The source is now freely downloadable by anyone, though making practical use of it is an exercise for the reader.

I may find a use for this in my Statistics class, students beware! (Still in Beta and rather slow)
Census Data Mapper – Beta
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 25, 2014
“The Census Data Mapper is a web mapping application intended to provide users with a simple interface to view, save and print county-based demographic maps of the United States. The data are from the 2010 Census.”

For me and for my students.
5 Tools To Migrate Your Data From Windows XP
With the April 8, 2014 end-of-support date looming, it’s long past time to upgrade from Windows XP. If you have a Windows XP system filled with your personal data and settings, upgrading can be daunting. These tools will help you easily migrate your data from Windows XP to a modern version of Windows, Mac OS X, or even Linux.
… Microsoft is now providing a free copy of LapLink’s PCmover Express to all Windows XP users.

For my website students.
FREE EBOOK Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster
Markdown is essentially a syntax language for formatting text as you write. It’s fast, and built for people who write for the Web.
If you want to learn Markdown, but don’t know where to start, this free MakeUseOf Guide is for you.

I'm shopping for cellphone service. So far, I hate them all. Anyone have any advice?
Make Your Calls for Free
Get more mileage out of your minutes by making free calls whenever you can. Viber, Skype Mobile and Textfree are all free apps that allow you to call anyone else who has the app for free.
Don't Use 4-1-1
Dial 4-1-1 from a cell phone, and it could cost you $1 or more. Crazy! Fortunately, you can skip the charge and still get the information that you need by calling 1-800-GOOG-411, a free 4-1-1 service provided by Google.
Another free 4-1-1 number to try: 1-800-free411
Use a Free Texting Service
Or go one better, and switch to free texting. Heywire and Textfree are two free apps that allow you to send texts and pictures for free.

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