Monday, January 26, 2015

Do people still use the same password on multiple sites? (Yes, they do!) Otherwise, this might not be too concerning.
Peter Burrows reports:
User names and passwords of 20 million visitors to an unidentified dating site have been hacked and offered for sale on a website, according to a posting by the thief on an online forum used by cybercriminals.
Fifty percent of the credentials were for people based in Russia, and 40 percent came from the European Union.
Read more on Bloomberg Businessweek.
Update: Bloomberg News identifies the site as Topface.

Are there hundreds (thousands) of similar warrants Google might disclose?
Guardian – WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government
Ed Pilkington and Dominic Rushe: “Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge. WikiLeaks has written to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012. In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is “astonished and disturbed” that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to “privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches”. The letter, written by WikiLeaks’ New York-based lawyer, Michael Ratner of the Center For Constitutional Rights, asks Google to list all the materials it provided to the FBI. Ratner also asks whether the California-based company did anything to challenge the warrants and whether it has received any further data demands it has yet to divulge.”

The assumption is that you would willingly share your data? No one questioned this?
Alex Matthews-King reports:
The NHS’s information centre will have to contact potentially millions of patients who have opted out of informing them they will not receive services such as e-prescribing, bowel screening, e-referrals or e-pathology reporting when the scheme goes live.
In a letter submitted to the commons health committee, the Health and Social Care Information Centre explains that patients had been unaware that opting out of allowing HSCIC to share data meant they would not be contacted about screening programmes or be able to use services that require data sharing, such as e-prescribing.
As a result, it will have to contact patients to inform they they must remove their objections to data being shared at that level if they want to receive these services, but they will still be able to opt out of allowing their practice to share data.
Read more on Pulse.
So you have to be willing to share your data to get services? Is that extortionist or is it just the reality that if you don’t agree to share, they’d have no way to figure out to contact you or to provide info to the service responsible for e-prescribing, etc.??

Not as interesting as I had hoped. No dark conspiracy. They were tossing money at anything that looked useful. They still are.
Nafeez Ahmed writes:
INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world [How very “Dr. Evil” of them Bob] through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.
Thanks to Joe Cadillic for these links. Now if he could just find me the time to read everything he sends me!
Note that I am not vouching for the accuracy of anything reported or alleged in the series, but wanted to make readers aware of it so they can evaluate it for themselves.

If my Computer Security students do this, will they auto-magically be flagged as terrorists?
Avoiding Internet Surveillance: The Complete Guide
… This article is meant to be as comprehensive a resource as possible on avoiding Internet surveillance. We’ll talk about why Internet surveillance is such a big deal, who’s behind it, whether or not you can completely avoid it, and a wide range of tools that will make you harder to track, identify, and spy on.

An overview/history for Javascript students.
What is JavaScript, And Can the Internet Exist Without It?
JavaScript is one of those things many take for granted.
Everybody uses it. Everybody. When you use Facebook, you’re using JavaScript. When you post a tweet, you’re using JavaScript. Indeed, when you visit MakeUseOf, you’re using JavaScript. There are very few websites which don’t use it.
But few people know what it really is, and how it works. Many are unaware of the long and fascinating history of JavaScript, and what you can do with it.

Walmart understands that anyone can cut the cable and many probably will.
Walmart takes on Chromecast with even cheaper, simpler streaming stick
Walmart’s quietly launched Vudu Spark is the latest Chromecast competitor, a device that’s supposed to be about as big as Google’s streaming dongle, but even cheaper. However, it appears the stick might have more limited powers than the Chromecast also, as GigaOm reports.

I have my students reading “The Dynamo and the Computer” which discusses how slowly new technology replaces older technology. The phone was first demonstrated in 1876 and took almost 40 years to cross the continent. (The telegraph had reached across the country in 1861.)
AT&T ushers in the cross-country call, 100 years ago
On January 25, 1915, AT&T completed the first transcontinental telephone call in the US, after completing the challenging stretch from Denver to San Francisco.

Fortunately, none of my students have any bad habits. Unfortunately, I lie a lot.
Kill Your Bad Habits With Exciting Tools From 10 Startups
Bad habits come in a multitude of forms. From smoking and drinking to biting your finger nails and needing to be more productive, most people have some practices that they aren’t proud of – practices that they would rather leave in their past.
It’s not easy to break habits – it requires dedication, commitment, and sometimes painful introspection. Luckily, the digital age is here. It means that although you’ll still need all those things, there are now gadgets and programs that can make it just that little bit easier to get those demons off your back.
Here are ten start-ups that have the sole aim of helping you kill your bad habits:

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