Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Strange timing. We've been calling TSA “security theater” since it's inception. Why are we suddenly pointing out how poorly they are doing the job they claim protects everyone?
EXCLUSIVE: Undercover DHS Tests Find Security Failures at US Airports
An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.
… Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was apparently so frustrated by the findings he sought a detailed briefing on them last week at TSA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, according to sources. U.S. officials insisted changes have already been made at airports to address vulnerabilities identified by the latest tests.
… More recently, the DHS inspector general’s office concluded a series of undercover tests targeting checked baggage screening at airports across the country.
That review found “vulnerabilities” throughout the system, attributing them to human error and technological failures, according to a three-paragraph summary of the review released in September.
In addition, the review determined that despite spending $540 million for checked baggage screening equipment and another $11 million for training since a previous review in 2009, the TSA failed to make any noticeable improvements in that time.

(Related) Not fired (not sure what you would have to do to get fired from a government agency) but the rhetoric will make it sound that way.
Head Of TSA Reassigned, After Tests Reveal Security Failures
After covert tests revealed major security failures, the acting director of the Transportation Security Administration has been reassigned.
In a statement, Jeh Johnson, secretary of homeland security, said Melvin Carraway will now work at the department's Office of State and Local Law Enforcement.

Well, this explains a lot. Interesting how management sets priorities.
IRS Using 13-Yr. Old Microsoft Software
IRS computers are still running the 13-year old Microsoft Windows XP operating software which Microsoft stopped supporting a year ago with security updates. Even the agency’s fraud-catching software is two decades old.
… IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has said budget cuts have kept the service from upgrading, telling Congressional members that “we still have applications that were running when John F. Kennedy was president.”
The news comes as cold comfort to the tens of thousands of Americans who have had their identity stolen as a result of filing their taxes. And, the breaches can be no surprise to the IRS itself which has been warned repeatedly by the Government Accountability Office over limited security controls. In the most recent report, the GAO found 69 potential problems, including weak employee passwords.

Flag this resource, eventually you will need it. (Probably 90% of victims can not do step 1)
New One-Stop Resource for Identity Theft Victims
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 1, 2015
News about data breaches at banks, stores, and agencies is an everyday occurrence now. But if your private information has been compromised, it doesn’t feel commonplace to you. The sooner you find out, and begin damage control, the better off you’ll be. IdentityTheft.gov, a new website, offers step-by-step checklists of what to do right away, and what to do next, depending on the information that’s been stolen or exposed. It lists warning signs indicating your identity was stolen, and gives websites and phone numbers for organizations you’ll need to reach. And, it has sample letters for disputing fraudulent charges, correcting information in your credit reports, and getting business records relating to the theft. Check out IdentityTheft.gov, bookmark it, and print out the checklists, as your first line of defense against identity theft.”

A win for Facebook users or just for Phil Zimmerman?
Facebook Wants To Send You Encrypted Emails
Looks like Facebook is as wary of Big Brother as the rest of us. Facebook is testing an experimental encryption feature as a safeguard against surveillance.
You’ll be able to share a public encryption key in your profile, and set up encrypted notifications so that all the emails you receive from Facebook will be protected with encryption.
Facebook’s encryption work with OpenPGP, and it uses GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), a popular free implementation of PGP technology. If this all sounds confusing, Lifehacker has a great guide to setting up email encryption if you haven’t done so yet,
… as much as Facebook needs people to keep posting personal information, it also needs people to feel secure doing so.

Take a few seconds and check! (Digest Item #2)
Check Your Google Privacy Settings
Google has rolled out a new My Account page to help individual users control their privacy settings and understand the options available to them. The simplest way to check everything is as it should be is to take the Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup, step-by-step guides to the most important settings.
Once you’re satisfied with those, you can “manage the information that can be used from Search, Maps, YouTube and other products to enhance your experience on Google,” “Use the Ads Settings tool to control ads based on your interests and the searches you’ve done,” and “Control which apps and sites are connected to your account”.
All of which should help ensure you’re only sharing what you want to share with Google and others trapped within its extensive ecosystem. Alternatively, you could go into full tinfoil hat conspiracy theory mode and try to break away from Google completely.

Perspective. Are we in the 'consolidation phase' of the chip industry, or is this a move of desperation?
RPT-Intel's purchase of Altera defends its datacenter dominance
Intel Corp's $17 billion purchase of programmable chip maker Altera Corp is a costly defensive move to ward off rivals in the prized datacenter business it dominates, analysts said on Monday.
… "This whole deal is defensive for the datacenter," said Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon, who saw it as an admission by Intel that it was getting harder to drive performance gains.
He questioned Intel's projections for the programmable chip market, which is built on datacenter use and growing adoption of Intel chips in everyday objects connected to the Internet. "I think their growth goals are ludicrous," he said. "They think it's going to grow 7 percent a year, but Altera shrunk 2 percent a year in the last three years."
… Intel, which analysts estimate has more than 90 percent of the datacenter market, already has an agreement to use Altera chips. Its move comes as companies such as Qualcomm Inc, using ARM Holdings -designed chips and the soon-to-be merged Avago Technologies and Broadcom Corp , also target the datacenter market.
By buying Altera, Intel avoids the risk of being dropped as the smaller company's manufacturing partner, which had been the subject of some speculation, said Gartner analyst Mark Hung.
The purchase means Intel is hedging against the likelihood that the rise of FPGA chips will reduce the need for central processing unit (CPU) chips running servers, where Intel currently dominates.

(Related) Does this explain “merger mania?”
Why Mega-Mergers Are Back in Vogue for Internet Companies

Perspective. Are news organizations analyzing social networking sites enough to understand the new politics?
How Millennials’ political news habits differ from those of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers
It’s been well documented that younger adults differ from their elders in their news habits, both in the platforms they use and the sources they rely on. A Pew Research Center report released today looks specifically at the political news habits of Millennials, and how they vary from the two generations before them. Here are five key takeaways from the report:
1 Millennials rely on Facebook for their news far more than any other source.
2 Compared with the previous two generations, Millennials are less familiar with many news sources we asked about in the survey.
3 Millennials are no less trusting than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers of news sources they know.
4 Millennial Facebook users are exposed to more political content on the social media site than are Gen Xers or Boomers.
5 Millennials are less interested in politics than older generations.

We now spend more than eight hours a day consuming media
If you weren’t reading this article, you would probably be scanning something else on the internet, watching TV, or maybe—just maybe—reading a newspaper or magazine. In short, you would be consuming media.
On average, people spend more than 490 minutes of their day with some sort of media, according to a new report by ZenithOptimedia. Television remains dominant, accounting for three hours of daily consumption—an hour more than the internet, in second place.

Scholars' Labs” I like it. Sounds like we're growing students in a Petri dish.
The Evolving, Expanding Service Landscape Across Academic Libraries
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 1, 2015
Brian Mathews – Chronicle of Higher Education – The New Service Layer – “…During this same time — while reference transactions were declining — other service points migrated into our environments. Writing Centers, Communication Studios, Multimedia Studios, IT Help Desks, and Adaptive/Assistive Technologies Support Spaces are all common today. Other niche areas have emerged including data visualization rooms, GIS Labs, markerspaces, Digital Humanities Centers, Scholars’ Labs, language labs, and gaming labs. Libraries are as robust as ever. We may be answering fewer traditional questions, but collectively we are involved across many more components of the academic enterprise.”

No comments: