Friday, April 24, 2015

“We have to buy new stuff and we don't have money in the budget. We need people with special skills and we can't find anyone who will work for a state salary. We're not sure who should be responsible and we can't stop arguing about that long enough to actually do anything.” Typical government. What would happen if the data center stopped doing any other work until they had security under control?
Hillary Borrud reports:
Three years after state auditors identified security weaknesses at Oregon’s main data center in Salem, the state has yet to fix some of the problems.
The vulnerabilities were outlined in a secret March 2012 letter to Michael Jordan, who, at the time, was director of the Department of Administrative Services, which manages the data warehouse. The facility stores data for multiple state agencies.
Read more on Portland Tribune
[From the article:
Hackers recently accessed data at the center, Gov. Kate Brown revealed last month, but Shelby said that breach was unrelated to the security problems auditors identified. [Even more security vulnerabilities? Bob] However, Shelby said one of the suggestions auditors laid out in the letter would have helped IT staff to more quickly assess which types of data attackers accessed.

I thought this sounded a bit cheap...
Reuters reports:
A group of small banks and credit unions suing Target Corp over its massive data breach in 2013 are moving to block the retailer’s proposed $19 million settlement with MasterCard Inc, calling it a “sweetheart deal” aimed at undercutting their own claims for losses.
Lawyers for plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, filed an emergency motion late Tuesday asking a federal judge in St. Paul, Minnesota, for a preliminary injunction that would prevent the settlement announced on March 19 from going through.
Read more on Reuters.
[From the article:
“The agreement between Target and MasterCard is nothing more than an attempt by Target to avoid fully reimbursing financial institutions for losses they suffered due to one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history," said a statement on Wednesday from Charles Zimmerman of Zimmerman Reed PLLP and Karl Cambronne of Chestnut Cambronne PA, co-lead plaintiffs' attorneys in the lawsuit.
"It provides paltry restitution for the substantial losses suffered," the statement added.

Why bother with such a trivial “message?”
Russian Hackers Infiltrated Pentagon Network: US
Russian hackers were able to access an unclassified Pentagon computer network earlier this year, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Thursday.
"We quickly identified the compromise and had a team of incident responders hunting down the intruders within 24 hours," Carter said during a speech on technology and cybersecurity at Stanford University in California.
The Pentagon analyzed the "network activity, associated it with Russia, and then quickly kicked them off the network," he said.
National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers said in March that Russia was pushing for a show of force in the realm cybersecurity as it flexed its muscles in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. [So why waste time on something that is clearly no big deal? Bob]

Like the 470 tolls here in Colorado, I assume there is a discount for allowing this surveillance. Said another way, try to avoid surveillance, pay more to use the bridge. (Also of interest to my Data Analysis students)
From the NYCLU:
April 22, 2015 — The New York Civil Liberties Union this morning released a trove of government records that reveal that both city and state transportation agencies have set up E-ZPass readers in locations far from toll plazas. The records are part of the NYCLU’s new webpage that hosts records on how government agencies collect information on innocent New Yorkers, which includes recently released documents on Stingray surveillance equipment.
“New Yorkers have a right to know if our government is collecting information about us, what they’re doing with it and how long they’re keeping it for,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “One piece of information rarely says much about you, but bits and pieces collected over time can paint a detailed portrait of person – their political beliefs, religious affiliations, medical issues and even personal relationships. The documents the NYCLU is releasing provide a glimpse into some of the information the government is collecting on us every day.”
… Through its FOIL requests, the NYCLU learned that both city and state transportation agencies have set up E-ZPass readers around the state, including in 149 locations around New York City, as part of traffic studies.
View and download the E-ZPass documents

An example of security/privacy on the Internet of Things?
13 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat

There's an App for that, but this one may make you look like a terrorist. (Or am I being paranoid?)
How Your Android Device Can Help You Find Your Next Home
Homesnap tries to be fun by letting you pull up the details of a house just by taking a picture.
It then pulls up detailed information, including things such as property lines and estimated values.

It's no longer Youtube's market. All the big players are trying to do everything at once. Can they all succeed?
The Onion and Vice Are Now Making Ads With Facebook
People watch videos on Facebook—a lot of videos. During its earnings call yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the number of videos watched on Facebook now totals more than 4 billion per day—triple what was being watched on the social network last summer.
With all those eyeballs trained on its moving pictures, the company is now moving quickly to make them pay. Today Facebook announced that it is teaming up with seven popular media companies, including The Onion, Disney and Vice Media, to produce video ads for brands hoping to capture the attention of the social network’s 1.44 billion users.

The future? Hungry? There's an App for that! (If you order it, they will come?) If anyone makes money by delivering, everyone will want to do it.
Chipotle delivers burritos to your door
The fast-casual burrito chain is now offering delivery of online and mobile orders in 67 cities using an app called PostMates.
PostMates, a San Francisco-based startup, works with local businesses to deliver everything from household goods and school supplies to food and beverages.

Another cut to phone companies. Will they die the “death of 1000 cuts” or will they not last that long?
WhatsApp Voice Call: Everything You Need to Know
Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has finally launched a new voice calling service, enabling users to make phone calls over the Internet. This is the first time WhatsApp is offering this, which puts it head-to-head against the likes of Skype, Viber, and others.
WhatsApp Call is now available for Android and iOS.
… WhatsApp Call only allows for voice calls, not video chat. You’ll still need to use other apps to make video calls to Facebook friends. WhatsApp Call is just like dialing a number, putting your phone to your ear and speaking—except instead of dialing a number, you will be dialing a WhatsApp contact only.
You can call any Android or iOS user with WhatsApp installed. You cannot call users on other platforms yet.
Calling someone in another country will cost the same as calling someone in your own country—all you need to pay for is the data charge, which is roughly the same regardless of where your call is going.
Download: WhatsApp for Android (Free)
Download: WhatsApp for iOS (Free)

For my Data Management students. Infographic
Pinterest is More Important to Your Business Than You Think
Pinterest seems to be the social network that not enough people take seriously. Lots of people ignore it as a place to just find recipes or projects, and not enough people are using it correctly. It’s actually one of the biggest traffic drivers across social media, and anyone (business or individual) who isn’t using it is actually missing out.
The infographic below from the folks over at MainStreetHost provides all kinds of interesting facts and statistics on just how powerful Pinterest actually is. If you do any kind of marketing on social media, the numbers below just might change your perception of Pinterest.

(Related) Pinterest plus two others.
Using Social Networks to Find Amazing Products

I'm tossing this in just because I like the article.
The Basic Principles of Strategy Haven’t Changed in 30 Years

Another week, another chance to be amused.
Hack Education Weekly News
… “A California judge has denied a request for state intervention at six California high schools where students said they had been assigned to multiple contentless classes, were told to go home, or sit idly in classrooms or perform menial administrative tasks.” More on the Cruz v California lawsuit here.
Via Buzzfeed: “Texas Sends Poor Teens To Adult Jail For Skipping School.” [“That'll larn 'em!” Bob]
… The Online Learning Consortium and MERLOT are merging their scholarly journals. The new journal’s name: Online Learning.

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