Wednesday, December 03, 2014

“Facts” are leaking rather than being disclosed. Note: “Korean” is not a programming language.
Malware fuels growing suspicion that North Korea hacked Sony Pictures
The destructive malware that infected Sony Pictures’ network last week was written in Korean, a source familiar with a recent FBI alert told Fox News, further fueling suspicions that North Korea launched the cyber attack.
The source added that the Korean-written malware also may have been an effort to confuse investigators about its origin.
… Fox News is told that the malware has two destructive threads: it overwrites data and it interrupts execution processes, such as a computer’s start-up functions. The FBI warns that the malware can be so destructive that the data is not recoverable or it is too costly a process to retrieve. [Have you backed up your data recently? Bob]

(Related) So now we have a “new” group to blame for Sony and perhaps the Ukrainian reactor?
Report Says Cyberattacks Originated Inside Iran
Iranian hackers were identified in a report released Tuesday as the source of coordinated attacks against more than 50 targets in 16 countries, many of them corporate and government entities that manage critical energy, transportation and medical services.
Over the course of two years, according to Cylance, a security firm based in Irvine, Calif., Iranian hackers managed to steal confidential data from a long list of targets and, in some cases, infiltrated victims’ computer networks to such an extent that they could take over, manipulate or easily destroy data on those machines.
… But the “most bone-chilling evidence” Cylance said it collected was of attacks on transportation networks, including airlines and airports in South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Researchers said they had found evidence that hackers had gained complete remote access to airport gates and security control systems, “potentially allowing them to spoof gate credentials.”

A sidebar on Big Data? Lesson: If you handle Big Data, make sure your programs can count big numbers?
'Gangnam Style' Has Been Viewed So Many Times It Has Actually Broken YouTube
PSY's music video has now had so many views on YouTube that the video sharing platform has had to "upgrade" so people can still watch it.
On its Google+ page, YouTube says it didn't ever think something like this would ever happen, "until we met PSY".
The South Korean pop sensation has now amassed well over 2 billion views on his original Gangnam Style music video, alongside nearly 9 million 'likes' and just over 1 million 'dislikes'. That turns out to be more numbers than YouTube is coded to display, based on a 32-integer system

Technology probably can't prevent harassment, but it can collect evidence. The question is, what do we do with it?
A New Harassment Policy for Twitter
It’s no secret that Twitter is currently playing host to an uptick in targeted harassment. The site has long provided an easy way for people to lob hostile and threatening messages into someone’s timeline, but things seem to be getting worse, not better. Gamergate targets like Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and Breanna Wu have all been inundated with death and rape threats that have forced them to cancel talks and flee their homes. After her father’s death, Zelda Williams—Robin Williams's daughter—quit the social network after sustained harassment. A recent PEW study found that half of women have been sexually harassed online.
Twitter has admitted there is a problem. After Zelda Williams signed off for good, the service re-upped its efforts to handle abuse. And today, the service announced a handful of changes aimed at making it easier for victims of harassment to report abusers.

Perhaps even judges have had enough?
Ross Todd reports:
A federal magistrate judge in San Jose has refused to sign off on an indefinite gag order prohibiting Microsoft Corp. from disclosing a warrant for access to a Hotmail account holder’s email.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, who has previously pushed back against government requests for electronic surveillance, ruled Nov. 25 that investigators are not entitled to delay notification without specifying an end point.
Read more on The Recorder. (Free sub. Required)

(Related) It's contagious!
Matt Reynolds reports:
A federal judge ordered the federal government Monday to provide more detail on a “mysterious” law enforcement database that sparked the investigation of a man charged with violating the trade embargo against Iran.
The U.S. government maintains that Homeland Security investigators did not spy on defendant Shantia Hassanshahi using the National Security Agency’s bulk telephony metadata program, which collects individuals’ phone calls and records.
But Hassanshahi argues that the government used the mass surveillance program, or at least something like it, to access telephone records that helped secure his arrest.
Read more about the opinion in U.S. v. Hassanshahi on Courthouse News.

Perhaps we should watch “Minority Report” again?
Anucyia Victor reports:
It can tell you what you want to eat in the blink of an eye, simply by tracking the movement of your retina.
In exactly 2.5 seconds the subconscious menu reads the minds of customers, by using a mathematical algorithm to identify a customer’s perfect pizza.
The incredible software was developed for Pizza Hut by Swedish eye tracking technology pioneers Tobii Technology.
Read more on Daily Mail.

Definitions can change. (Perhaps not in government bureaucracies)
Steve Kolowich writes:
The U.S. Education Department wants to encourage colleges and the tech companies they work with to protect student data from misuse. But the agency’s power to protect the privacy of people taking free, online courses is essentially nonexistent.
“Data in the higher-education context for MOOCs is seldom Ferpa-protected,” Kathleen Styles, the Education Department’s chief privacy officer, said Tuesday at a symposium on student privacy.

For my fellow teachers. (I've heard this before, haven't I?)
Change Is Coming: What U.S. Colleges Must Do To Survive
Universities and colleges across the nation are getting it wrong.
So says University of Delaware president Patrick Harker, who has a plan to transform traditional Ivory Tower institutions into student-focused powerhouses that will shatter old educational models and usher in a new era of educational excellence.
The problem is, he says, it will be painfully difficult and some schools are bound to be left behind.
... a thought-provoking paper about major challenges facing the education system.
… But technology enables new processes, and those new processes can deliver lower costs and higher quality. For example, massive open online courses (MOOCS) can play a role. We’re also starting to see more interactive, problem-based learning that allows students to learn by doing, which is a positive sign.

Why I'm never in a Dilbert cartoon: I don't even have a flip phone.

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