Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I would be shocked if this hadn't happened regularly. Clearly, hackers (including the Russians) have the tools and techniques needed and the White House is quite high on the “bragging list.” Are they jumping to the conclusion it was Russia?
Hackers Breach White House Computer System
The White House's unclassified computer network was recently breached by intruders, a US official said Tuesday, with The Washington Post newspaper reporting that the Russian government was thought to be behind the act.
The Washington Post quoted sources as saying hackers believed to be working for the Russian government were believed to be responsible. [So, contractors? Bob]

(Related) Another “of course they are” article. Apparently breaking into unsecured civilian phones makes the North feel competent.
South Korea Spy Agency Says North Hacking Smartphones
North Korea attempted to hack tens of thousands of South Korean smartphones this year, using malware disguised in mobile gaming apps, the South's spy agency said in a report submitted to parliament this week.
The National Intelligence Service said more than 20,000 smartphones may have been infected by the apps that were posted on South Korean websites between May and September
The North is believed to run an elite cyber war unit of at least 3,000 personnel, but it has denied any involvement and accuses Seoul of fabricating the incidents to fan cross-border tensions. [Their standard reply Bob]

I'll survey my Computer Security students tonight.
Kashmir Hill writes:
The generally accepted trade-off on the Internet is that you give up your privacy to get free stuff. It’s summed up by a frequently repeated adage, “If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.” But sometimes you’re paying for it, and you’re still the product. Verizon and AT&T customers are paying an (often steep) monthly bill, but the payment doesn’t ensure privacy. Researchers say the carriers are inserting a unique code into customers’ browser requests to help serve up personalized ads. The way they are doing it makes you trackable by the sites you visit, third party ad networks, or, of course, the NSA, even if you take measures to protect your privacy, such as clearing your cookies.
Wired reports that it was first discovered by digital rights group EFF. Kenn White, a security consultant, created a site where mobile users can find out whether their phone is broadcasting the tracking code.
Read more on Forbes.
[From the article:
You can check it out here; the tracker is turned on for you if you see a bunch of letters and numbers after “Broadcast UID.”

Perhaps we'll see similar reports from all 50 states?
LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released the second annual report detailing the 167 data breaches reported to the Attorney General’s office in 2013 that impacted18.5 million Californians by putting their personal information at risk. The report is accompanied by recommendations from the Attorney General for consumers, businesses and lawmakers on how to protect against data breaches and prevent them in the future.
… In 2013, the number of reported data breaches increased by 28 percent, from 131 in 2012 to 167 in 201. The number of Californians’ whose records were affected increased by over 600 percent, from 2.5 million in 2012 to 18.5 million in 2013. This increase was largely due to two massive retailer breaches at Target and LivingSocial, each of which put the personal information of approximately 7.5 million Californians at risk.
… The full Data Breach 2013 report is available here:

Sort of a mini-background check? Would it creep you out to know they did this to you?
– Make a killer impression on whoever you’re meeting. Charlie combs through 100’s of sources and automatically sends you a one-pager on everyone you’re going to meet with, before you see them. Be the one they remember by talking about things that truly matter to them. You’ll know what makes them tick, what you have in common, and the critical insights on their company that your competitors won’t.

Perspective. Somewhat simplistic, but interesting.
When It Goes Down, Facebook Loses $24,420 Per Minute

Cheaper than drones and no piloting skills required. What does Ohio really use them for?
The Ohio State Dept. of Transportation has loaned the “eye in the sky” to Pennsylvania, according to IBT and CBS.
No mention of what/how much the balloon records or for how long the data are being retained for people who may be incidentally surveilled in the process of searching for Eric Frein.
[From the IBT article:
The balloon had been scanning Ohio prisons for potential fugitives [Huh? Bob]

Terrific analysis and commentary by Daniel Solove, on LinkedIn.

The joy of BYOD. So, my little Computer Security minions, how do you control this?
Heck, that’s not a dirty little secret. It’s widely known as a problem, but I guess VentureBeat editors were looking to sex up the headline.
Mark Sullivan reports:
Hospital caregivers typically bring their own mobile devices to work and use them to share clinical and care coordination information other members of their multidisciplinary care team. It’s a practice that screams “HIPAA violation.”
Much of this information is transmitted via text messages or multimedia SMS. This can even include images.
Read more on VentureBeat.

Similar to setting up a phoney Facebook page for a 'sting?'
June Williams reports:
The FBI used a fake Seattle Times article and Internet link to infect a high school bomb-threat suspect’s computer with spyware, an ACLU technologist said Monday.
Documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation show the FBI made up a news story about the threats, used an AP byline and emailed a link “in the style of the Seattle Times” to the suspect’s MySpace account. When he clicked on the link, agents were able to track his IP address. [Couldn't they have subpoenaed the IP address from MySpace? Bob]
The Seattle Times appeared unaware of the ruse, and editor Kathy Best said she was “outraged.”
Read more on Courthouse News.

Interesting. Is this for parents to monitor their children or for anyone to monitor anyone? If you have the app and fail to take action, is there liability? Why doesn't the app call (or text) 911? Will this become mandatory? This one is only Twitter, but expect Facebook and Google Mail and everyone else to jump on similar Apps.
Twitter wants to tell you if your friends are suicidal
Samaritans Radar is a new Twitter app designed to warn users whether their connections online are at risk of suicide.
Predominantly aimed at those aged 15 to 35, the free app works by using a specially designed algorithm to monitor the tweets of those in people's network. If it finds specific keywords or phrases that throw up red flags that a person may be struggling to cope...
… The app will then send an email alert to a Twitter connection, which will include a link to the tweet that raised the alarm. That person will then be offered guidance on the best way of providing support to the tweeter.

(Related) Google search inside your body!
Google scientists to find 'hidden' cancer via nanoparticles
In a pioneering research, a Google life sciences team - which has two senior Indian-origin researchers - is set to find signs of deadly diseases like cancer by sending 'nanoparticles' in the bloodstream of a person and then get the results via a wearable device.
… "Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system," Andrew Conrad, head of the Life Sciences team at the Google X research lab, was quoted as saying at a WSJ conference.
The tiny "nanoparticles" will be delivered via a pill.
… According to Conrad, the firm will not collect or store medical data itself but will license the technology to others. [So they will publish the API to help me hack in Bob]

“It's a no brainer! They fly, so we'll regulate them like aircraft (except for blimps). No need to ask anyone if they see things differently.” Did the DHS pressure the FAA? OMG!
FAA Criminalizes Use Of Drones Near Stadiums, Violators Could Face Up To A Year In Jail
Flying drones or model planes near or over sports stadiums and auto race tracks could land operators in jail, the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, warned in a notice, The Associated Press, or AP, reported Tuesday. This is reportedly the first time that the use of drones has been criminalized in the United States.
… The notice is "another attempt by the FAA to impose legal restriction on drones or model aircraft that never existed before,” Brendan Schulman, a New York-based attorney, who represents several drone operators said, according to AP.
… The FAA reportedly stated that the restriction was being imposed for security reasons.
However, Schulman reportedly said that he did not believe that such restrictions would in any way help prevent terrorist attacks. The prohibition reportedly applies to nearly 150 stadiums in the U.S.
Sports teams too have expressed concerns over the new restrictions as drones are used for photographing and recording games, Kenneth Quinn, a former FAA general counsel who also has voiced concerns over the drone restrictions, said, according to AP. Quinn added that the teams wanted permission from the FAA to allow the use of drones by them to record practice sessions for future training.

(Related) Of course, this is not a drone.
A flying camera ... on a leash

As clear as mud. Does this look like a strategy or political tactics?
Streaming TV companies might soon play by cable’s rules — and that’s a good thing
As Americans begin watching more of their TV online, federal regulators want to even the playing field to make new Internet startups — such as the recently announced CBS streaming app or Aereo — more competitive next to their bigger rivals in the cable and satellite business.
A new proposal being circulated around the Federal Communications Commission would do just that. In a blog post Tuesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler acknowledged that consumers are being forced to "buy channels they never watch."
… When the FCC gets around to voting on the proposal, the result could mean being able to mix and match video sources more easily.
… But the FCC proposal leaves out several of the most well-known video streamers -- Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. This may be a confusing distinction – after all, what's really the difference between CBS's streaming app and Hulu? The agency has said it distinguishes apps like CBS All Access because it provides programming on a schedule, while the Netflixes of the world offer shows on demand. But analysts have said what's really going on here is that the agency does not want to pull Web-based services such as Hulu into its orbit because of the political minefield surrounding the regulation of Web companies.
But there's another big benefit to the FCC proposal. Wheeler argued that the move would also help companies trying to break into the broadband market. These firms, such as Google Fiber, could focus on just building super high-speed connections without having to worry about being treated like a cable company. Currently they are being forced to pay a fee for video programming that travels over their pipes. According to Google, those costs are the single biggest thing holding Google Fiber back.

So it looks like the customers (and the researchers) were right, despite all the denials.
AT&T Accused of Deceiving Smartphone Customers With Unlimited Data Plans
Three years ago, AT&T warned smartphone customers with “unlimited” data plans that their connections might be slowed if they used a lot of data. On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission said AT&T’s disclosure was deceptive because it was not specific enough.
The commission filed a federal lawsuit against AT&T on Tuesday, saying the company had misled customers by slowing the connections of people with unlimited plans after they used more than two gigabytes of data in a month.
For some of the people who hit that threshold, the F.T.C. said, downloads were slowed by as much as 95 percent, essentially making their smartphones unable to gain access to the Internet or use certain apps.
“AT&T promised its customers unlimited data, and in many instances it has failed to deliver on that promise,” said Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the agency. “The issue here is simple: ‘Unlimited’ means unlimited.” [What a concept! Bob] The commission, which does not have the power to impose fines, said it would seek “millions of dollars” in restitution for consumers.

It's not renting, it's borrowing. Funny she has never heard of this before.
Rent eBooks & Audiobooks for FREE
I spend way too much money on books! This year, I made a concerted effort to get more books from the library to help my budget. On my first visit to a local library, [That explains why she didn't know about borrowing Bob] I learned that they used Overdrive to rent eBooks and audiobooks! So now, I can check out eBooks and audiobooks from home and read them on my iPad! Overdrive allows you to rent eBooks, Audiobooks, and even video straight from your local library! There are no fees associated with this service. All you need is a library card!
To see if you library partners with Overdrive, simply make a quick search on their site. You can then create an Overdrive account using your library card. Download the App onto your Computer, iOS, or Android device and you’re ready to start checking out material! The nice thing about an Overdrive account is that you can sync your content across devices! Never lose your spot on your eBook or Audiobook! When your rental expires, it automatically goes back to the library, so no late fees!

I have a couple students writing books. Perhaps they could use this?
– is a reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

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