Thursday, August 28, 2014

Can we tell the intentions of hackers? CyberWar or Cyber-Fooling-Around? Isn't it rather important to know where the hacking is coming from (after a month?)
JPMorgan and Other Banks Struck by Cyberattack
A number of United States banks, including JPMorgan Chase and at least four others, were struck by hackers in a series of coordinated attacks this month, according to four people briefed on a continuing investigation into the crimes.
The hackers infiltrated the networks of the banks, siphoning off gigabytes of data, including checking and savings account information, in what security experts described as a sophisticated cyberattack.
… It was not clear whether the attacks were financially motivated, or if they were collecting intelligence as part of an espionage effort.
JPMorgan has not seen any increased fraud levels, one person familiar with the situation said.
… The intrusions were first reported by Bloomberg, which indicated that they were the work of Russian hackers. But security experts and government officials said they had not yet made that conclusion.
Earlier this year, iSight Partners, a security firm in Dallas that provides intelligence on online threats, warned companies that they should be prepared for cyberattacks from Russia in retaliation for Western economic sanctions.

Are we seeing a random rise in the number of DDoS attacks, or are these more coordinated?
Twitch Knocked Offline in Latest Online-Gaming Attack
The Twitch videogame-streaming service went offline for several hours last night (Aug. 26), possibly as a result of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which would make it the latest in a series of attacks on online gaming services.
A hacker group called Lizard Squad claimed credit for last night's disruption via its Twitter feed. On Sunday (Aug. 24), the same crew said it was behind outages of Sony's PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment services, as well as connectivity problems with Blizzard's and Microsoft's Xbox Live.

Government health care: Like a roach motel, once the data enters it never leaves. Perhaps this lady should sue for “fraudulent amputation?”
Federal medical-privacy law frustrates ID theft victims
Linda Weaver had two good feet when she opened her mailbox one day in 2005. So she was surprised to find a bill for the amputation of her right foot.
Weaver, who runs a horse farm in Florida, soon discovered that it wasn't just a mix-up. According to the Los Angeles Times, her stolen identity and insurance information had been used to get surgery. She was stuck with the bill—and with a medical record full of incorrect, potentially dangerous information.
Weaver was one of a growing number of medical identity theft victims whose identity was stolen to make false health care claims. A 2013 study from the Ponemon Institute, an independent research organization in Traverse City, Michigan, that focuses on privacy and security, found the crime grew by 19 percent between 2012 and 2013. The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit working on prevention and victim assistance, said in March that medical records breaches made up 43.8 percent of all breaches reported to the federal government last year.
Medical identity theft creates some of the same financial complications as identity fraud. After Weaver convinced her insurance company that an imposter had the amputation, the insurer wouldn't cover it. So the hospital socked Weaver with the whole bill, even after she sent a notarized photo of her feet. Collection agencies weren't interested in Weaver's story, so the debt kept getting resold, creating multiple false entries on her credit report. Clearing this up became a 40-hour-a-week job, Weaver told the newspaper.

Is it so surprising that the country that invented Big Brother finds itself forced to live in his world?
Manchester Gazette reports:
UKIP Deputy Leader, Paul Nuttall, has warned that all new cars are set to be fitted with tracking devices under new EU Rules.
Since the EU passed plant to fit new cars with tracking devices that work similar to mobile phone technology, the UK Government has admitted it cannot do anything to stop British drivers having to comply.
The EU claim the devices can be set to send out an SOS to the emergency services should the car’s airbag be deployed, potentially saving 2,500 lives a year across the continent.
“This is an absolute disgrace,” said Mr Nuttall, UKIP deputy leader.
Read more on Manchester Gazette.
[From the article:
“It is a very convenient step toward being able to charge drivers per mile, and cement car driving as a luxury only the well-off can enjoy.
“Manufactures will want to recoup the extra cost of fitting these devices and may well offer to sell the tracking data to insurance companies.”

Interesting idea however it seems they are not trying to educate the police but rather how to combat surveillance.
Learn how police and intelligence agencies can access your data, and how the law (might) protect you! Hackers, attorneys, and concerned citizens are all welcome.
Jonathan Mayer of Stanford will be offering a free online course on surveillance law. Here’s the Syllabus:
I. Introduction
We will begin with a brief overview of how surveillance fits into the American legal system. We will also discuss how surveillance issues can be litigated.
II. The Basics of Surveillance Law
Next, we will review established police surveillance procedures. Using telephone technology as a simple starting point, we will work through various sorts of data that investigators might seek to access—and the constitutional and statutory safeguards on that data.
III. Applying Surveillance Law to Information Technology
Having learned the basics, we will turn to more modern technologies. We will discuss snooping on email, web browsing, and mobile phone location, as well as hacking into devices.
IV. Compelled Assistance to Law Enforcement
What happens when data is technically protected? In this section, we will talk about the government’s (limited) ability to mandate backdoors and to require decryption.
V. The Structure of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law
The law that applies to foreign intelligence activities runs parallel to the law that applies to police activities. We will compare the two systems of law and review key distinctions. The section places particular emphasis on Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, and Executive Order 12333.
VI. Controversial NSA Programs
In the final section, we will review the conduct and legality of controversial National Security Agency programs. We will discuss in detail the domestic phone metadata program, PRISM, and “upstream” Internet monitoring.
Read more on Stanford.

For my programming students?
Kano's Alejandro Simon: If This, Then Do That
Imagine a world where playing Pong and Minecraft gives people the power to program their computers. That world is Kano.
A crowdfunded startup, it took the idea behind Lego to teach computer programming by playing first-generation computer games.
… The innovative programming language lets kids drag and drop blocks into the code window to create Python or JavaScript code. The Kano Kit is powered by the Debian Linux derivative distro and a suite of apps.
The Kano Kit comes with a Raspberry Pi, a custom case, covers, a wireless keyboard with trackpad, HDMI and MicroUSB cables for display and power, a USB WiFi dongle, power sockets, and an 8-GB SD card carrying the Kano OS.

For the student Book Club.
Go On A Reading Buffet: 4 Top eBook Subscription Services Compared
Internet-based subscription services look to be the future. For video, you’ve got Netflix, the king. For music, you’ve got big man Spotify. If there was an Internet subscription for literature, that would complete the trifecta, wouldn’t it? Well, look no further because ebook subscription sites are finally here.
For not much money at all, you can unlock an entire world of literature just waiting to be read at your convenience. Indeed, in the long run, ebook subscriptions tend to be far cheaper than buying them at retail prices. Should you subscribe? If so, which site is best?
… For those who don’t read often, you may want to check your local public library first. Most libraries nowadays offer ebook rentals for free, which is the way you want to go for one-off reads. Obscure genre readers and those who need to read new releases are probably better off making straight purchases.

For my statistics students. Does this suggest why football is America's most popular sport?
What Baseball Fans Really Love: Doubt About the Outcome
In major league baseball’s first half-century, game attendance was entirely determined by teams’ winning percentages, but in recent decades fans have been increasingly attracted by stadium quality, batting performance, and outcome uncertainty, raising the importance of competition-enhancing policies such as player free agency, say Seung C. Ahn of Arizona State University and Young H. Lee of Sogang University in South Korea. When a league policy enhances competitive balance enough to increase doubt about game outcomes and about consecutive-season dominance by 1 standard deviation, attendance increases by 4% in the American League and 7% in the National League.

Something to think about for my spreadsheet class. I usually teach my students to do this, but without the predefined templates.
– is an Excel add-in that connects your spreadsheets with APIs. Data keys are used by the SpreadCloud data partners to provide you with access to their data. Use the Request Builder to build requests from scratch or start with one of the pre-built templates that are ready to use. All data is saved with your spreadsheet so you can use it offline or share with others.

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