Saturday, June 21, 2014

What took ya so long?
The 'Yo' App Everyone Is Talking About Has Been Hacked
Yo has reportedly been hacked and the phone numbers of those using the app could be at risk, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"Security researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found a glaring hole...
...The students apparently found a way to access the cell phone numbers of every Yo user, including the founder of the app, Or Arbel. The students, still unidentified, emailed their findings to TechCrunch last night.

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley"
Google Play stares at serious security breach: Study
Using a new tool called PlayDrone, researchers at Columbia Engineering have discovered a crucial security problem in Google Play - the official Android app store where millions of Android users get their apps.
They found that developers often store their secret keys in their app's code, similar to usernames/passwords info.
These can be then used by anyone to maliciously steal user data or resources from service providers such as Amazon and Facebook.
These vulnerabilities can affect users even if they are not actively running the Android apps.
… PlayDrone scales by simply adding more servers and is fast enough to crawl Google Play on a daily basis, downloading more than 1.1 million Android apps and decompiling over 880,000 free applications.
… Google is now using our techniques to proactively scan apps for these problems to prevent this from happening again in the future, he added in a paper presented at the ACM SIGMETRICS conference.

Follow-up for my student Vets and something for my Computer Forensic students. Note that I have skipped a lot of this report. The important thing seems to be that the VA doesn't bother to encrypt patient data. (The “due to being attached” excuse is an outright lie since the laptops were not attached.)
A breach involving the Denver VA center was reported in the VA’s most recent monthly report to Congress. I’m including it here because it shows how thorough the VA can be in investigating breaches – and how time-consuming and labor-intensive it can be when someone neglects security measures like a cable:
Incident Summary
Two biomedical device laptops were discovered missing on 05/20/14. VA Police were notified of the event. The two missing laptops were password protected but not encrypted due to being attached to biomedical devices. The laptops were located on mobile test stations in the Pulmonary Department.

“I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!” (Full text omitted)
Julian Hattem reports:
The federal court overseeing the country’s spy agencies renewed an order Friday allowing the National Security Agency to collect phone records of people in the United States.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s renewal of the contested program, authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, comes as lawmakers continue to debate reform legislation.
“Given that legislation has not yet been enacted, and given the importance of maintaining the capabilities of the Section 215 telephony metadata program, the government has sought a 90-day reauthorization of the existing program,” the Justice Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a joint statement.
Read more on The Hill.

The Privacy invasion continues! “No wonder you keep your thermostat set so high – you wander around nude!”
Google's Nest to Buy Video-Monitoring Security Startup for $555 Million
Google Inc.'s Nest Labs said it agreed to buy video-monitoring and security startup Dropcam Inc. for $555 million as part of a push to become the dominant operating system for connected devices in and around the home.
Nest, which makes Internet-connected thermostats and smoke detectors, is paying cash for the startup and will work with Dropcam to develop products and services that connect users to their homes...
… Dropcam sells an Internet-connected video-monitoring service that streams live video to mobile apps, sends alerts based on activity that its small cameras sense and lets users communicate with people in their homes while they are away. It markets itself and is often used as a home-security system.

Is Dilbert suggesting a modification to Google Glasses?

Perspective. This is why I'm training the students who will program the robots. (I'll wager the robot doctors will make house calls, the lawyers will speak plain English and the architects will bring a 3D printer...)
UK Guardian – Robot doctors, online lawyers and automated architects: the future of the professions?
… “Last year, reporters for the Associated Press attempted to figure out which jobs were being lost to new technology. They analysed employment data from 20 countries and interviewed experts, software developers and CEOs. They found that almost all the jobs that had disappeared in the past four years were not low-skilled, low-paid roles, but fairly well-paid positions in traditionally middle-class careers. Software was replacing administrators and travel agents, bookkeepers and secretaries, and at alarming rates. Economists and futurists know it’s not all doom and gloom, but it is all change. Oxford academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A Osborne have predicted computerisation could make nearly half of jobs redundant within 10 to 20 years. Office work and service roles, they wrote, were particularly at risk. But almost nothing is impervious to automation. It has swept through shop floors and factories, transformed businesses big and small, and is beginning to revolutionise the professions…”

(Related) On the other hand...
This is Probably a Good Time to Say That I Don’t Believe Robots Will Eat All the Jobs …

Do they have a plan or are they just tossing out some big numbers to impress the peasants?
FCC proposes $1B per year for Wi-Fi in schools
… E-Rate was established in 1996 and is too tied to the technologies of that era, according to Wheeler. His plan calls for a transition in funding from technologies such as dial-up and pagers to broadband and Wi-Fi in order to serve students on tablets and other personal devices. In past years, the program has only been able to support Wi-Fi in 5 percent of schools and 1 percent of libraries, Wheeler said. E-Rate provides a total of $2.4 billion per year in funding.

For my students. No doubt the Apps for other devices will follow.
Meet LinkedIn Job Search: The company’s first standalone app for iOS
In a bid to cash in on the growing mobile traffic, LinkedIn has launched its first standalone mobile app called LinkedIn Job Search. The app can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store.
… The app lets users search and apply for jobs on LinkedIn. The company also ensures that your job search app is private. In its official blog, LinkedIn writes, “Our goal is to help make this process easier for you and to help you be discreet. Everything you do within the app will be completely private and not shared with your network.”
… In October last year, the company had revealed that 38 percent of LinkedIn unique visits now come from mobile devices.

Too cool!
Interactive Model Skeletons
eSkeletons is a great website produced by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. eSkeletons features interactive models of mammal skeletons. Select a model from the menu on the home page then click on any bone in the model to view it in detail. After select a bone to view you can choose from a menu of viewing angles. In many cases eSkeletons offers a short video display of the bone you've selected from the menu.
Applications for Education
eSkeletons gives students the option to compare bones across models. Select two or more animals from the menu then select a bone and a small gallery of comparative images will be generated. eSkeletons offers a glossary of terms and a legend to help students understand what they are viewing. Even without the models, the glossary is a good resource for anatomy students.

For my students. You can skip the “free laptop” stuff, but the second half of the article is interesting.
Online Colleges That Offer Free Laptops For Students
… Other Ways to Get a Laptop
Finding a school with a laptop program is only one way that a student can reduce his or her tuition bill. If your dream school doesn’t include laptops in its package, several manufacturers offer student discounts on specific products. There are also public organizations, grants, and scholarships across the United States that help students purchase laptops and other college material necessary for success. A few starting points include:
  1. Apple Store for Education is Apple’s discount on specific products designed for the classroom (including Macbook laptops and iPads). The discount is available to students accepted to college, and includes up to $200 for a new Mac laptop or up to $30 off a new iPad.
  2. Dell University, which encompasses discounts and technology for students, offers a free Dell tablet when students purchase a PC that is $699 or more.
  3. Notebooks For Students is a nonprofit founded in 1998. It helps college students and faculty find affordable laptops and technical support. NFS offers refurbished and new laptops, from many different brands, at affordable prices.
Although a large percentage of colleges do not include laptops in their tuition, financial aid offices often know of places to acquire college preparedness scholarships that help students to purchase computers (sometimes offered by the school itself). The best way to find out if such a program exists at your school of choice is to contact the financial aid office directly and speak to an advisor. Additionally, your local library may have resources about organizations and resources for college preparedness in your community.

My weekly amusement. (Okay, not much this week)
… The LAUSD school board has reappointed Stuart Magruder. Magruder, an outspoken critic of the district’s iPad investment, was voted off the panel last month.

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