Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Now I get it. Many top Chinese officers own large firms that supply the military and the government. Perhaps the government strategy does not include “trade secrets” but I bet the general's strategy does.
US metal firms said targets of Chinese spying
Chinese hackers allegedly have stolen sensitive economic data from U.S. metal companies, including U.S. Steel Corp. and Alcoa Inc.
Victims of the alleged hacking include U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), Westinghouse Electric Corp. and the United Steelworkers union, all based in Pittsburgh, the Justice Department said in a release May 19. Also among the alleged victims was Bonn, Germany-based solar energy company SolarWorld AG.

Retaliation or just anti-Microsoft bias?
China bans government use of Windows 8
… The central government procurement centre issued the ban on installing Windows 8 as part of a notice on the use of energy-saving products, posted on its website last week.
The official Xinhua news agency said the ban was to ensure computer security after Microsoft ended support for its Windows XP operating system, which was widely used in China.
Neither the government nor Xinhua elaborated on how the ban supported the use of energy-saving products, or how it ensured security.
… “China’s decision to ban Windows 8 from public procurement hampers Microsoft’s push of the OS to replace XP, which makes up 50% of China’s desktop market,” said data firm Canalys.

Good luck with that, Sheriff. (You can bet the NSA is watching)
The Erie County, New York Sheriff Timothy B. Howard doesn’t think residents need legislative oversight of his use of surveillance technology.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard told legislators Thursday that it is solely up to the courts – not them – to determine how he may use cellphone surveillance equipment to track persons of interest.
Howard told the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee that the Stingray surveillance device the office has owned since 2008 is used only for tracking a person’s movements, not for snooping into the content of phone communications.
But beyond that, he was polite but defiant in refusing to answer questions about the equipment, telling legislators, in essence, that it’s not their business.
“With no disrespect to this honorable body … the specific use of the device should be left to the monitoring of the courts and not to the Legislature or to the media,” he said.
Dressed in an olive green suit instead of his usual sheriff’s uniform, Howard said, “Anything we do with the device is subject to review by the federal or state courts, including by our own County Court, and that’s where it should be reviewed.”
Read more on The Buffalo News.

One more “Thing” that lives on the Internet of Things.
Andrea Peterson reports:
Fitness tracking apps and devices have gone from an early adopter novelty to a staple of many users’ exercise routines during the past few years — helping users set goals and measure progress over time. Some employers even offer incentives, including insurance discounts, when workers sign up.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of evolution in the app space, both generally and in the fitness app,” since she joined the Federal Trade Commission six years ago, Senior Staff Attorney Cora Han acknowledges. “It’s a completely different landscape.”
But as several major tech companies appear poised to disrupt that landscape, privacy advocates warn that consumers aren’t always aware of how sensitive the data the apps collect can be or what privacy protections exist. And changes in the privacy policy of Moves, a fitness tracking app recently acquired by Facebook, have only amplified those fears.
Read more on Washington Post.

(Related) Lots of concern(?) with the Internet of Things.
32 years ago, experts foresaw much of today’s digital world
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 19, 2014
In a new Pew Research Center report by Drew DeSilver, nearly 1,600 technology experts give their thoughts about how the “Internet of Things” — wearable computers, processor-embedded products and other digital advances — will alter society over the next decade. Many (though not all) of the experts foresee, in the words of the report, “a global, immersive, ambient networked computing environment” that will change the way we do everything from stocking our fridges to finding our soulmates. Even though videotex and teletext never took off the way the report’s authors thought they would (slow speeds and lack of common standards being the biggest obstacles), many of their projections will sound familiar: Blurring of lines separating work and home; Fragmenting of traditional media; Privacy concerns; Data-based professions; Electronic banking; On-demand media; New kinds of relationships…”

Sure to bring another kerfuffle. Interesting that they have “legal” access but the government doesn't know about it.
Report – NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 19, 2014
By Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras: The National Security Agency is secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas. According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government. Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month. SOMALGET is part of a broader NSA program called MYSTIC, which The Intercept has learned is being used to secretly monitor the telecommunications systems of the Bahamas and several other countries, including Mexico, the Philippines, and Kenya. But while MYSTIC scrapes mobile networks for so-called “metadata” – information that reveals the time, source, and destination of calls – SOMALGET is a cutting-edge tool that enables the NSA to vacuum up and store the actual content of every conversation in an entire country.”

Hah! A mere $15.9 million? That'll teach him!
Ousted Target CEO: $15.9 million severance
Target cut about $8 million from former CEO Gregg Steinhafel's 2013 pay package after ousting him from the job. But he is still making $13 million for his work last year and walking away with a severance package totaling $15.9 million.

You should listen to these guys.
McKinsey – Strategic principles for competing in the digital age
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 19, 2014
Digitization is rewriting the rules of competition, with incumbent companies most at risk of being left behind. Here are six critical decisions CEOs must make to address the strategic challenge posed by the digital revolution. May 2014| byMartin Hirt and Paul Willmott,
“Staggering amounts of information are accessible as never before—from proprietary big data to new public sources of open data. Analytical and processing capabilities have made similar leaps with algorithms scattering intelligence across digital networks, themselves often lodged in the cloud. Smart mobile devices make that information and computing power accessible to users around the world. As these technologies gain momentum, they are profoundly changing the strategic context: altering the structure of competition, the conduct of business, and, ultimately, performance across industries. One banking CEO, for instance, says the industry is in the midst of a transition that occurs once every 100 years. To stay ahead of the unfolding trends and disruptions, leaders across industries will need to challenge their assumptions and pressure-test their strategies.”

For my Computer Security students.
Invincea Releases Free Malware Discovery and Analysis Tool
Invincea, a provider of endpoint security solutions that leverage secure virtual containers to protect against advanced malware and other threats, has released a free malware discovery and analysis tool for the forensics analysts and incident responders.
Dubbed Invincea Research Edition, the solution includes licenses of Invincea FreeSpace -which creates a secure virtual container around web browsers and their plug-ins -- PDFs and documents such as Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint and features advanced behavioral-based detection proven to spot known, unknown and zero-day malware.

For the Digital Design students.
Metropolitan Museum Initiative Provides Free Access to 400,000 Digital Images
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 19, 2014
“Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today that more than 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in the Museum’s world-renowned collection may be downloaded directly from the Museum’s website for non-commercial use—including in scholarly publications in any media—without permission from the Museum and without a fee. The number of available images will increase as new digital files are added on a regular basis. In making the announcement, Mr. Campbell said: “Through this new, open-access policy, we join a growing number of museums that provide free access to images of art in the public domain. I am delighted that digital technology can open the doors to this trove of images from our encyclopedic collection.” The Metropolitan Museum’s initiative—called Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC)—provides access to images of art in its collection that the Museum believes to be in the public domain and free of other known restrictions; these images are now available for scholarly use in any media. Works that are covered by the new policy are identified on the Museum’s website with the acronym OASC. (Certain works are not available through the initiative for one or more of the following reasons: the work is still under copyright, or the copyright status is unclear; privacy or publicity issues; the work is owned by a person or an institution other than the Metropolitan Museum; restrictions by the artist, donor, or lender; or lack of a digital image of suitable quality.)”

Smarthistory: Learn About World Famous Art & Paintings Through Khan Academy Videos [Stuff to Watch]
Most of us are able to recognise a world famous painting or sculpture when we see it, but we’re not so good at recalling the story, history or much about the artist behind the piece. Smarthistory from the Khan Academy fills in the blanks for you, with more than 100 educational short videos prepared for the Google Art Project.
With more than 100 videos produced, there’s plenty of free education on here to vastly expand your knowledge of the art world. And thanks to the Google Art Project, you can study all of the featured works in detail at your own leisure too – just click the headings below.

Could be amusing to have my students create these.
was created to provide educators with a quick way to create gameshow-style boards for test reviews in the classroom. Traditionally, these are created (tediously) using posterboard, chalkboards, or dry-erase markers on an overhead slide. The review questions are usually even written on a separate sheet of paper. With FlipQuiz, questions are displayed on-screen and boards are saved for later use.

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