Monday, April 20, 2015

Apparently the Defense industry is getting ready to wage cyberwar.
Raytheon to Acquire Websense for $1.9 Billion to Form New Company
Under the terms of the deal, Raytheon will contribute $1.9 billion (net of cash acquired) to acquire Websense, of which $600 million will be in the form of an intercompany loan to the yet to be named joint venture.
Raytheon will also contribute the assets of Raytheon Cyber Products and related intellectual property, which is valued at $400 million, the company said.
In November 2014, Raytheon acquired Blackbird Technologies, a provider communications and cybersecurity solutions to the Intelligence Community (IC), Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and intelligence organizations supporting the Department of Defense, for roughly $420 million.

Are all DA's delusional or are the trying to lull terrorists into believing they are invulnerable when they use a smartphone? In order to get a warrant to tap a phone, you need to convince a judge that your targets are terrorists (or some kind of bad guys). You can still identify who they call, when they call, and how long they talk. You can track them on the Internet, see where they use their credit cards, and analyze data from a growing list of “smart” devices. Expecting them to discuss their plans in plain language on tap-able phones is just silly.
Manhattan DA: Terrorists love using Apple and Google phones
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. on Sunday said in an interview broadcast Sunday that new Apple and Google technology will vastly improve communications for terrorists.
“[They] cannot be accessed by law enforcement, even when a court has authorized us to look at its contents,” Vance told host John Catsimatidis of the new Apple iPhones and Google’s similar devices on “The Cats Roundtable” in New York.
… “Social media and the Internet is the primary way in which these terrorist organizations are communicating,” Obama said in a Jan. 16 press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on cybersecurity.
“Because this is a whole new world, as David says, the laws that might’ve been designed for the traditional wiretap have to be updated,” Obama continued.

(Related) Is this the other extreme? “We don't need no stinking warrants?”
There was a bit of drama on Twitter yesterday, when an attorney tweeted a link to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggesting that – despite the prosecutor’s denial – the city had dropped charges against a defendant rather than reveal information about its use of StingRay.
Today, Cyrus Farivar reports:
Prosecutors in St. Louis, Missouri, have seemingly allowed four robbery suspects to go free instead of explaining law enforcement’s use of a stingray in court proceedings.
The St. Louis case provides yet another real-world example where prosecutors have preferred to drop charges instead of fully disclose how the devices, also known as cell-site simulators, work in the real world. Last year, prosecutors in Baltimore did the same thing during a robbery trial.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the dismissal this month came just one day before a St. Louis police officer was set to be deposed in the robbery case where three men and a woman were accused of stealing from seven people in September 2013.
Read more on Ars Technica.
[From the article:
This revelation strongly suggests that the St. Louis Police Department has an agreement along the lines of one recently revealed in a court case in Erie County, New York. In that case, a rare unredacted form demonstrated the full extent of the FBI's attempt to quash public disclosure of stringray information. The most egregious example from the document showed that the FBI would prefer to drop a criminal case in order to protect secrecy surrounding the stingray.

My students learn how easy it is to mis-state statistics. This is a case of pretending there was a scientific bases for their conclusion. (Did anyone ever challenge them?)
FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades
… Federal authorities launched the investigation in 2012 after The Washington Post reported that flawed forensic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people since at least the 1970s, typically for murder, rape and other violent crimes nationwide.
The review confirmed that FBI experts systematically testified to the near-certainty of “matches” of crime-scene hairs to defendants, backing their claims by citing incomplete or misleading statistics drawn from their case work.
In reality, there is no accepted research on how often hair from different people may appear the same. Since 2000, the lab has used visual hair comparison to rule out someone as a possible source of hair or in combination with more accurate DNA testing.

(Related) Perhaps “talk first, think later” starts at the top?
Poland summons US ambassador over FBI chief's Holocaust comments
Poland urgently summoned the US ambassador on Sunday to "protest and demand an apology" after the head of the FBI was accused of suggesting that Poles were accomplices in the Holocaust.
… After meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Leszek Soczewica on Sunday, US ambassador Stephen Mull said he would urgently contact the FBI and Washington about the matter.
Earlier in the day, Mr Mull said in Polish that Mr Comey's words were "wrong, harmful and offensive," and didn't reflect the US administration's views.

Many of today's articles seem to suggest we are heading for a rather dystopian future. This one just reports another group who are making it up as they go along.
When Cops Check Facebook
… For the past several years, police and prosecutors across the country have been quietly using social media to track criminal networks. Their methods have become more sophisticated: by combining social media APIs, databases, and network analysis tools, police can keep tabs on gang activity.
… Today, police across the country regularly use social media data to keep tabs on citizens. 75 percent of them are self-taught, according to a 2014 Lexis-Nexis research report on social media use in law enforcement.
… The fundamental problem with policing via social-media data is that it misrepresents what social networks actually look like on the ground. Despite what techno-evangelists might wish, not all social relationships can be described using computational logic. The problem is structural and epistemological. Like all computer programs, databases are ultimately based on binary logic. If you want shades of meaning, you have to explicitly build that capability into your system. And building nuance is far harder than it seems.
… There are many known hazards to data-driven policing. “Crime network data in general have limitations and biases,” write sociologists Amir Rostami and Hernan Mondani in a case study about gang databases. An observational study in Arizona showed that police were more aggressive with documented gang members, using excessive force more often than with individuals not documented in a gang database. Listing a teen in a database as a gang affiliate could bias future prosecutions against them. A district attorney or cop looking for a suspect could automatically assume that the kid who’s listed in the gang database is more likely to be involved than the kid who isn’t. This specific bias is embedded in IBM’s CopLink, a software package in use at police departments across the country since 1996. “The premise behind CopLink is that most crime is committed by persons who are already in police records,” writes Meghan S. Strohine in Critical Issues in Policing: Contemporary Readings. Simply creating an entry in a database labeled “criminals” tinkers with the presumption of innocence. Rebecca Rader Brown writes of this issue in the Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems:

Once upon a time, we thought parents new best how to raise their children. Today, governments, schools, or your neighbors don't hesitate to tell you that in their opinion you got it wrong.
Raising (and Educating) 'Free Range Kids'
… Ten year-old Rafi and six-year-old Dvora Meitiv had been allowed by their parents to walk around their Silver Springs, Maryland neighborhood. But recently, as they walked the two blocks to a nearby park, someone called the police and Child Protective Services.

(Related) But statistics say otherwise.
There’s never been a safer time to be a kid in America

Makes finding things to hack that much easier!
Shodan is the world’s first search engine for Internet-connected devices
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Apr 19, 2015
  • “Explore the Internet of Things Use Shodan to discover which of your devices are connected to the Internet, where they are located and who is using them.
  • See the Big Picture – Websites are just one part of the Internet. There are power plants, Smart TVs, refrigerators and much more that can be found with Shodan!
  • Monitor Network Security Keep track of all the computers on your network that are directly accessible from the Internet. Shodan lets you understand your digital footprint.
  • Get a Competitive Advantage – Who is using your product? Where are they located? Use Shodan to perform empirical market intelligence.”

If you think about it, this make tremendous sense. (Digest Item 1)
    1. Netflix Battles Piracy With Pricing

Netflix continues to grow at an astonishing pace. After building a userbase of millions in its native United States, the streaming media service expanded overseas, and its most recent financial results suggest it’s still going from strength to strength.
Interestingly, it turns out Netflix sets it prices according to the levels of piracy in each territory it enters. As reported by TorrentFreak.
David Wells, Netflix’ Chief Financial Officer, revealed, “Piracy is a governor in terms of our price in high piracy markets outside the US. We wouldn’t want to come out with a high price because there’s a lot of piracy, so we have to compete with that.”
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’ Head of Content, boasted, “The real great news is that in the piracy capitals of the world Netflix is winning. We’re pushing down piracy in those markets by getting access.”
While this suggests that if you want the price of Netflix in your country to fall you should start pirating popular movies and television shows more, that’s obviously not the message Netflix is trying to get across. Instead, the company offers an alternative to piracy, and it’s trying to make it as attractive an option as is possible. Which sounds sensible.

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