Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Who listens to U.S. intelligence agencies? Not US bureaucrats.
Shane Harris reports:
Five years ago, U.S. officials refused to merge a database containing classified personnel records of intelligence agency employees with another run by the Office of Personnel Management, fearing that if the two systems were linked up, it could expose the personal information of covert operatives to leakers and hackers.
Those concerns look prescient now that the OPM, the government’s human resources department, has been overwhelmed by hackers who exploited the agency’s weak computer security and made off with huge amounts of personal information on millions of government employees and contractors. But that incident has also raised troubling questions about whether U.S. spy agencies actually heeded their own advice and have kept their records physically segregated from the OPM systems that were recently hacked, presumably by spies in China.
Read more on The Daily Beast.

(Related) 4-6 weeks? Seems a long time to patch an identified bug.
OPM Suspends Background Check System to Patch Security Bug
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced on Monday that it has temporarily suspended its Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system after discovering the existence of a security bug.
Following the recent data breach, in which attackers are said to have gained access to the details of as many as 18 million federal employees, the OPM started conducting a comprehensive security review of its IT systems.
The audit revealed the existence of a vulnerability in e-QIP, a web-based system used to conduct background checks for federal security, fitness, suitability, and credentialing purposes.
According to the OPM, the temporary shutdown of the e-QIP system is not related to the recent breach; it is a proactive step taken to ensure the security of the organization’s network. There is no evidence that the security flaw uncovered during the review has been exploited, the agency said.
The background investigations system will be offline for 4-6 weeks while security enhancements are put into place.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has filed a class action lawsuit against the OPM, its director, and its chief information officer. The complaint also names KeyPoint Government Solutions, a private contractor that handled a majority of OPM’s background checks. KeyPoint announced suffering a data breach in December 2014.
The AFGE has pointed out that the audits conducted by the OPM’s Office of Inspector General over the past years have revealed the existence of several security issues. The report published by the OIG in November 2014 revealed that the cyber security deficiencies “could potentially have national security implications.”
The AFGE said the OPM failed to take proper measures to protect sensitive information despite knowing of the KeyPoint hack and the security weaknesses that plagued its own systems.

Your Privacy is important to us, unless we can make more money by selling you out.”
Natasha Singer and Jeremy B. Scahill report:
The privacy policy for Hulu, a video-streaming service with about 9 million subscribers, opens with a declaration that the company “respects your privacy.”
That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations and more — could be transferred to “one or more third parties as part of the transaction.” The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.
Provisions like that act as a sort of data fire-sale clause.
Read more on Seattle Times.

How does this help Google strategically?
Google manipulates search results and hurts users in the process, new Yelp-funded study says
Google manipulates its search results in a way that hurts both its competitors and its users, according to a new research paper from prominent law professor and Internet scholar, Tim Wu and funded by Google critic Yelp.
The study claims that when Google privileges its own content over the “organic” results its search algorithm picks, as in the case of restaurant reviews, it actually reduces “social welfare.”
… “The main surprising and shocking realisation is that Google is not presenting its best product,” Wu told Re/Code. “In fact, it’s presenting a version of the product that’s degraded and intentionally worse for consumers.”

“Surveillance, there's a whole bunch of Apps for that!”
Apple's new music streaming app can scan your music library to find out what genres and artists you like
Apple's new music streaming service, Apple Music, launches today, and a handful of publications got an early look at the service. One interesting detail picked up by both Rolling Stone and Re/code is that Apple Music has a clever way of figuring out what music you like.
Rolling Stone writes that when you first sign into Apple Music, it encourages you to let it scan your existing music library.

(Related) Flagging everyone you meet and how you greet them.
Apple Watch may get handshake, hug gesture recognition
A new Apple patent posted on the World Intellectual Property Organization site suggests a gesture-based way where Apple Watch can exchange information with a similar device.
“The exchange of information can be wholly or partially automated and can occur in response to a device detecting a ‘greeting event.’ In some embodiments, a greeting event is detected when two user devices belonging to different users are in proximity and the users of the devices concurrently execute a greeting gesture, such as a handshake, bow, hand slap, hug, or the like,” it said.
… The device can then send contextual information such as current location, access to particular networks or other resources, or even information about the user of the sending device.
On the other hand, a sending device can generate a cryptographic key and can use this key to encrypt information it sends to the receiving device.

Facebook is monitoring videos you watch
Facebook has yet again tinkered with its news feed algorithm -- this time to show you more videos similar to ones you expand to full-screen, un-mute or opt to watch in HD.
Facebook would take it for granted that you loved that particular video, even if you do not like, share or comment.
Those same signals will tell Facebook that a video is enjoyable so the News Feed shows it to more people, TechCrunch reported.
The more Facebook understands which videos are great and which are boring to which people, the faster it will grow its view count, which has already reached four billion per day. That is enormous growth considering it was at one billion per day in September.
Just a few weeks ago, Facebook's algorithm started factoring in how long you linger looking at posts and videos.

Android app secretly mines for Dogecoin, FTC not amused
When you say your app is free of malware but does exactly the opposite, you aren't just lying, you could also be committing a crime. That is exactly what Prized app developers Equiliv Investments and Ryan Ramminger learned the hard way when they were slapped with an FTC complaint because their app actually used infected smartphones to help the developers mine for cryptocurrency like Dogecoin. The defendants wisely decided to settle out of court, which included a monetary judgment of $50,000, which is no small amount for someone desperately hunting for digital currency.

Surveillance from space. Because satellite technology is amusing. Interesting gif and videos.
A View From Space So Clear You Can See the Cars Moving
Even from outer space, Fenway Park is immediately recognizable.
… Here’s footage from UrtheCast’s ultra high-definition camera aboard the International Space Station: https://vimeo.com/130889258
… “Impressive stuff,” another Vimeo commenter wrote of UrtheCast’s latest offerings. “Only a matter of time before Google Earth is live.”
UrtheCast also posted videos of London: https://vimeo.com/130889259

Perspective. It sounds much worse than it is.
So long and thanks for all the ads! Here's why Microsoft is exiting the $74 billion display advertising business
Microsoft just announced a big shift in operations that signals it is close to exiting the highly-competitive display advertising business.
… Microsoft's share of the $74 billion global display advertising market has been eroding over recent years. EMarketer predicts its share of the sector will decline to 1.2% this year, down from a 1.4% share in 2014 and a 2.1% share in 2013.
And while the global display ad market grew 22.4% last year, Microsoft's display revenues dropped 15.5% in 2014, according to eMarketer.
… However, rumors of an exit from advertising have been looming for some time. In 2012, Microsoft took a $6.2 billion write-down on aQuantive, the company it acquired in 2007 in the hope of taking on Google. Microsoft ended up selling off the remnant parts of that business, the Atlas ad server, to Facebook last year. In the US, Facebook is the biggest seller of display advertising, estimated by eMarketer to take a 25% share of the market in 2015. Google will have a 15% share, eMarketer predicts.

Interesting, if measurable. Another indicator of well managed risk?
How Disaster Risk Is Priced into the Stock Market
If stock prices fall in the event of a disaster — and that is an important risk that investors take into account — that can explain why in normal times we have such high returns on stock prices, which has long been a puzzle. It can also explain why stock prices are so volatile, because this risk is hard to calculate, and as investor’s perceptions of it move around, that can move around stock prices.

How should my IT Governance students change their strategy based on this article?
The Internet of Things Changes the Company-Customer Relationship
… It used to be that most of the value we derived from our devices was the result of direct physical interaction: For example, we turned a key in a door look, flipped a light switch, or twisted the dial on a thermostat. Now, however, our interaction with devices is profoundly changing – they are becoming more like interconnected services than products. Soon it will be common to drive up to one’s house – which has adjusted heating or cooling in anticipation of your arrival — and have the garage door automatically open, the security system disarm, the doors unlock and lights come on. This impending future creates a conundrum for “thing makers” as the way that services must be supported is profoundly different from the way that devices are.
… Some firms may look at this situation and see operational headaches and increased service costs. Others — the companies that will be the winners in the IoT — will see opportunity.
… The companies that see service in an IoT world as a competitive differentiator — a brand and growth opportunity — will thrive; those that continue to view service as an episodic cost obligation will lose out.

An Infographic to help my students with their presentations.
9 Steps to Becoming a Better Public Speaker
… Make sure your public speaking skills are up to par with by following the 9 simple steps outlined on the infographic below.

No comments: