Saturday, December 27, 2014

The theory du jour.
New theory emerges in Sony hacking suggesting Russian hackers
… Writing samples from hackers claiming responsibility for leaking finance reports and emails by Sony employees suggest the native language was Russian, according to Taia Global, a cyber security consulting group.
“Our preliminary results show that Sony's attackers were most likely Russian, possibly but not likely Korean and definitely not Mandarin Chinese or German,” the Seattle-based company wrote in a Christmas Eve blog post.
… The emails and other online posts were compared to four major languages used by hackers and learned that the majority of the phrasing originated from a Russian speaker.
The New York Time reports 15 out of 20 phrasings translated to English in the emails matched the Russian language. Only nine matched Korean and none matched Mandarin or German.

(Related) Probably many more than would have seen it under normal conditions.
'The Interview' Illegally Downloaded 750,000 Times on Christmas

Pakistan has hackers, perhaps we should turn off everyone's TV?
Pakistani officials upset with 'Homeland'
Pakistani officials are not happy with how the Showtime TV Series “Homeland” portrays the country.
Pakistani diplomats reportedly watched all 12 episodes of season four, which is set in Islamabad showing Claire Danes’ new role in the Central Intelligence Agency after a tumultuous three previous seasons.
… Mostly, officials were upset with how the show shows Pakistani government protecting terrorists.
“Repeated insinuations that an intelligence agency of Pakistan is complicit in protecting the terrorists at the expense of innocent Pakistani civilians is not only absurd but also an insult to the ultimate sacrifices of the thousands of Pakistani security personnel in the war against terrorism,” a source told the paper.

(Related) Denial if everything related to WWII is very common in Japan.
Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' stirs resentment in Japan
Nationalists in Japan are denouncing Hollywood filmmaker Angelina Jolie's new movie about an American airman brutalized in Japanese prison camps during World War II as anti-Japanese propaganda and are calling for a boycott of the film and its star director.

Perspective and an interesting infographic. Clearly this will impact data analysis.
2014 Bot Traffic Report
“As Incapsula’s prior annual reports have shown, bots are the Internet’s silent majority. Behind the scenes, billions of these software agents shape our web experience by influencing the way we learn, trade, work, let loose, and interact with each other online. Bots are also often designed for mischief, however. In fact, many of them are used for some kind of malicious activity—including mass-scale hack attacks, DDoS floods, spam schemes, and click-fraud campaigns. For the third year running, Incapsula is publishing our annual Bot Traffic Report—a statistical study examining the typically-transparent flow of bot traffic on the Web. This year we build upon our previous findings to report year-to-year bot traffic trends. We also dig deeper into Incapsula’s database to reveal an even more substantial data sample, providing new insights into bot activity… In 2013, bots accounted for over 60 percent of all traffic flowing through Incapsula-protected domains. This year bot traffic volumes decreased to slightly 56 percent of all web visits—a reversal of the upward trend we’ve observed the past two years, but still the majority of website visitors.” [emphasis added]

I find it interesting that the bank accepted these transactions without question. Apparently their software does not question unusual transactions.
School error takes money from staff bank accounts
Instead of receiving their paychecks via direct deposit on the day after Christmas, Plymouth Public Schools workers awoke Friday to find that the amount they were to be paid had instead been withdrawn from their bank accounts. About 1,300 workers were affected. reports ( Superintendent Dr. Gary E. Maestas sent an email to employees saying the issue was caused by human error.

Pick a slow news day (Christmas eve) and redact everything that looks like a word.
U.S. Spy Agency Reports Improper Surveillance of Americans
The National Security Agency today released reports on intelligence collection that may have violated the law or U.S. policy over more than a decade, including unauthorized surveillance of Americans’ overseas communications.
The NSA, responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, released a series of required quarterly and annual reports to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board that cover the period from the fourth quarter of 2001 to the second quarter of 2013.

Every week, free humor.
Hack Education Weekly News
… The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a Mississippi school district violated a student’s First Amendment rights when it punished him for a video he posted to Facebook and YouTube (from off-campus).
Via BoingBoing: “The Appoquinimink, DE school board is contemplating requiring parental permission slips for students who want to check YA novels out of their school library.” [Helping students to gain a love of reading? Bob]
Massachusetts’ Hopkinton High School principal has banned school dances for fear of “twerking” and “dirty dancing.” [Let them find some place where they can do this unsupervised! Bob]
Via the Cleveland Scene: “Nearly 500,000 Fewer Americans Will Pass the GED in 2014 After a Major Overhaul to the Test.” The new test, now administered by Pearson and “Common Core-aligned,” costs more (and there are no more free retakes). It must be taken on a computer. You must have a credit card in order to sign up for it. “The numbers are shocking: In the United States, according to the GED Testing Service, 401,388 people earned a GED in 2012, and about 540,000 in 2013. This year, according to the latest numbers obtained by Scene, only about 55,000 have passed nationally. That is a 90-percent drop off from last year.”

I love lists, even year-end lists. I really like lists I can use.
2014 Top 100 Tools for Learning
The 2014 List is shown in the left hand column, follow the links to find our more about each of the tools. The slideset appears below. You can view some of the individual contributions here.
… The annual lists have also become a useful longitudinal study into how the way we learn is changing. Take a look at this year’s analysis or if you are still surprised at the results, read The Web is 25 years old – so how has it changed the way we learn?
[The slides:

Would you market this as sure-fire weight loss technology?

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