Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Stranger and stranger. Both North Korea and the FBI benefit by feeding the “North Korea has powerful hackers” hype. Still no clear indication what happened here.
North Korea Issued A Mysterious Message About The Hack On Sony Pictures
North Korea is not denying allegations made by US officials that the country was behind a massive hack on Sony Pictures last week that took down the company's computer network.
… It's still not known exactly who the Guardians of Peace are. They say they have a source inside Sony who had similar opinions and let them inside the computer network. But US intelligence agencies aren't buying that claim.
NBC News says it has knowledge of classified briefings that suggested North Korea was a possible source of the hack.

The FBI has issued a confidential report to businesses in the wake of the Sony Pictures hack which explains that U.S. businesses should remain vigilant against new malicious software that can be used to launch "destructive" cyberattacks.
While the report doesn't name the Sony incident, it describes an attack that cybersecurity experts tell Reuters is large-scale hack that took down the Hollywood company. The hack is said to "mark [the] first major destructive cyber attack waged against a company on U.S. soil." Similar attacks have taken place in Asia and the Middle East, but not the United States

“We have no evidence the data was misused” would be much more believable if they had discovered the hole in their security a couple of years ago... If they can't recognize a security failure would they recognize “evidence” of misuse?
Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in North Carolina is notifying more than 25,000 patients after discovering that an error by their IT vendor, TruBridge, had exposed patient information on the Internet between May 2012 and September 29, 2014. TruBridge is a wholly owned subsidiary of Computer Programs and Services, Inc.
Forensic investigation revealed that although patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth, diagnoses and treatment information, health insurance information, and in some cases, Social Security numbers, were accessible, there was no evidence that they had been accessed or misused.
You can read the hospital’s full November 24th notification on their web site, here.

What do you do with your degree in computers and a degree in finance or an MBA? You use your hacking skills to “analyze” the market.
Hackers Using Lingo of Wall St. Breach Health Care Companies’ Email
For more than a year, a group of cybercriminals has been pilfering email correspondence from more than 100 organizations — most of them publicly traded health care or pharmaceutical companies — apparently in pursuit of information significant enough to affect global financial markets.
The group’s activities, detailed in a report released Monday morning by FireEye, a Silicon Valley security company, shed light on a new breed of criminals intent on using their hacking skills to gain a market edge in the pharmaceutical industry, where news of clinical trials, regulatory decisions or safety or legal issues can significantly affect a company’s stock price.
Starting in mid-2013, FireEye began responding to the group’s intrusions at publicly traded companies — two-thirds of them, it said, in the health care and pharmaceutical sector — as well as advisory firms, such as investment banking offices or companies that provide legal or compliance services.

Should we trust a politician where Privacy is at issue?
Christopher Hope reports:
Facebook can gain direct access to a person’s mobile and take pictures or make videos at any time without explicit consent, MPs warn as they call on social media companies to simplify their terms and conditions.
The MP said that they should simplify the conditions of using their services, which are designed for US courts, because they are so impenetrable that “no reasonable person” can be expected to understand them.
Read more on The Telegraph.

Not a computer security failure, but I want to make sure my students picked up on this.
The Denver Channel reports on an ID theft ring:
A Jefferson County grand jury has returned a 165-count indictment against a suspected ID theft ring that operated for six months in 2013.
According to the indictment, members of the nine-member enterprise obtained personal and financial information of people and businesses and used this information to create checks and identification.
Read more on The Denver Channel.

As data gets bigger, so too does the risk.
  • Data loss and downtime costs enterprises $1.7 trillion1
  • Companies on average lost 400%2 more data over the last two years (equivalent to 24 million emails3 each)
  • 71% of IT professionals are not fully confident in their ability to recover information following an incident
  • 51% of organizations lack a disaster recovery plan for emerging workloads4; just 6% have plans for big data, hybrid cloud and mobile
  • Only 2% of organizations are data protection “Leaders”; 11% “Adopters”; 87% are behind the curve
  • China, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Singapore and the US lead protection maturity; Switzerland, Turkey and the UAE lag behind
  • Companies with three or more vendors lost three times as much data as those with a single-vendor strategy
EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) today announced the findings of a new global data protection study
Read through the complete findings at http://emc.im/DPindex
To view the Global Results Infographic, visit http://emc.im/DPindex

...so even if you wear your Star Wars StormTrooper helmet, the FBI will know who you are.
University of Adelaide reports:
University of Adelaide forensic anatomy researchers are making advances in the use of “body recognition” for criminal and missing persons cases, to help with identification when a face is not clearly shown.
PhD student Teghan Lucas is studying a range of human anatomical features and body measurements that can help to identify a person, such as from closed circuit television (CCTV) security videos, no matter what clothing the person may be wearing.
Part of Ms Lucas’s research has involved using a database of anatomical measurements of almost 4000 US armed services personnel. “We compared eight facial and eight body measurements to investigate whether or not there is enough information on the body to use for identification. Results consistently show that compared with the face, less body measurements are needed before eliminating duplicates and achieving a single ID match. The larger the range of each of the measurements, the less chance there is of finding a duplicate.
With a combination of eight body measurements it is possible to reduce the probability of finding a duplicate to the order of one in a quintillion. These results are comparable with fingerprint analysis,” she says.
Read more on Medical Xpress.

The world is falling apart! Chicken Little
Ukraine, Russia and the ceasefire that never was
When 1,000 people have died in less than three months, when civilians cower in basements and tens of thousands more flee their homes we can no longer speak of a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
It is a fiction. All that has happened is that the front lines have remained static. There are no big offensives going on - for the moment.

(Related) Their analysis does not match my analysis. Let's see who is right.
As ruble tumbles, what will Putin do next?
Against the backdrop of a falling currency, the threat of capital controls and a four-year low in the price of oil, analysts are wondering what Russia's "superhero" President Vladimir Putin will do next.
The Russian ruble suffered its worst one-day decline since 1998 on Monday, falling four percent to trade at over 53 rubles against the dollar as oil prices tumbled to multi-year lows.
On Tuesday, the ruble had weakened around 3 percent against the greenback to trade at 52.89 but year-to-date, the currency has fallen around 35 percent against the dollar on the back of a sharp decline in the price of oil – Russia's main export and revenue source.
Adding insult to injury, the Russian economy ministry now believes that the country will enter recession next year, predicting that gross domestic product (GDP) will shrink 0.8 percent in 2015, revising an earlier forecast of 1.2 percent growth.
… "I don't think the West either is in the game of regime change, because they fear that someone after Putin might be much worse. At least Putin is naturally cautious by instinct and very calculating, or that is the view in the West," he told CNBC in an email on Tuesday.
"But I do think Putin is at a cross roads between isolation and rediscovery of a new relationship with the West which could be better for both sides. Unfortunately at the moment isolation from the West looks more likely and that will be bad for Russia over the long term."

Of course they are...
The Justice Department appealed federal judge’s October ruling that it must release documents on its policies and procedures for use of location-tracking technology in Northern California.
SOURCE: Courthouse News.

(Related) Of course the do...
Cyrus Farivar reports:
Newly discovered court documents from two federal criminal cases in New York and California that remain otherwise sealed suggest that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is pursuing an unusual legal strategy to compel cellphone makers to assist investigations.
In both cases, the seized phones—one of which is an iPhone 5S—are encrypted and cannot be cracked by federal authorities. Prosecutors have now invoked the All Writs Act, an 18th-century federal law that simply allows courts to issue a writ, or order, which compels a person or company to do something.
Read more on Ars Technica.

Interesting. Does this suggest that Brazil is the “most sociable country” or should we be looking for the next Steve Jobs there?
The Global Geography of Internet Addiction
Thanks to its young population armed with smartphones, Brazil beat nine other Internet-connected countries for its citizens’ frequency of web use, according to a new report from business consultancy A.T. Kearney.
The study surveyed people who use the Internet at least once a week. The respondents also skewed toward the young, with 64 percent aged 45 or younger. In this survey, 51 percent of Brazilian Internet users said they were online all day long, and 20 percent used the Internet more than 10 times a day.
… Social networking drives Internet use in the top countries. In Brazil, respondents spend 58 percent of their online time on social networking sites—a higher proportion than in any other country.

For my students.
ExamTime Presents a Mind Map About Creating Mind Maps
ExamTime is a service that students can use to create flashcards, mind maps, and practice quizzes to help them study. After I published my chart of free mind mapping tools, the folks at ExamTime shared with me a mind map about creating mind maps. ExamTime's mind map on mind maps outlines ideas and best practices for developing mind maps. That mind map is embedded below.

For my students.
Concerned About Copyright? A Guide For Legally Using Images On The Web

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