Friday, July 31, 2015

It might be interesting to explore some of the reasons the FBI can't get to these guys before the deadline. Not in the US shouldn't be a major stumbling block. Are they being protected?
FBI says hackers shake down big banks, threaten to shut sites if they don’t pay up
… More than 100 companies, including targets from big banks to brokerages in the financial sector, have received distributed denial of service threats since about April, says Richard Jacobs, assistant special agency in charge of the cyber branch at the FBI’s New York office. With these types of attacks, known as DDoS, criminals jam websites by flooding them with useless traffic.
The ransom requests typically run in the tens of thousands of dollars and in some cases, the companies have paid up, Jacobs said. If firms have already traced the ultimatums to identify likely culprits, they can determine whether those criminals have historically followed through with threats or backed off if a target doesn’t pay up. In some cases, when companies fork over cash, they end up facing further attacks because they proved they’re willing to engage.
… A distributed denial of service outage could mean losses of more than $100,000 an hour for financial companies, according to Neustar, a Sterling, Va.-based information services and analytics company.
Banks faced an onslaught of DDoS attacks in 2012 and 2013. Last year, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, which includes five U.S. banking regulators, issued a six-step requirement that institutions must follow to fight these cyberattacks, including monitoring Internet traffic to detect assaults and building incident-response plans to communicate with the sector, Internet providers and customers.

Why is it taking so long?
United Airlines Hack Highlights Need for Improved Information Sharing
The same cyber-attackers who breached the Office of Personnel Management and healthcare giant Anthem appear to have also stolen flight manifests containing passenger information from United Airlines earlier this year, according to reports.
Sharing details of the breach would help other organizations identify if they have also been targeted by this group, security experts said.
"It would be naive to think that we have found the only three compromised," Paul Kurtz, former cybersecurity advisor to the White House and current CEO of TruSTAR Technology, told SecurityWeek.
The airline detected the attack in May or early June, but there are signs the attackers were in the networks as far back as April 2014, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the investigation. The system outages which grounded flights for two hours in early July were not related to this attack, according to the report.
United Airlines has yet to confirm the breach, and says the report is based on speculation.

This will be a blast to hack! Change “No Parking Any Time” to “Free Parking Today,” then change it back. He He He.
World's first solar-powered E Ink traffic signs deployed in Australia
In some respects, E Ink displays are a bit of a marvel, with their low power consumption, easy readability, and minimal glare making them both sustainable and practical. No wonder, then, that the Australian Road and Maritime Services (RMS) has decided to try out the technology in a new domain: the world of signage.

Perspective. Not what I would have thought.
Overnight Tech: GAO probes facial recognition technology
Google and Facebook are the only two major social media, retail or casino companies that the Government Accountability Office could identify as using facial recognition technology in a new report.
… Both companies, which were not explicitly named in the report released Thursday, told GAO investigators that neither had any plans to share their facial recognition data with a third-party without user consent.
… Six other unnamed social media companies said they do not employ the technology. The five largest retail stores and the four largest casinos did not mention facial recognition in their privacy policies either. But the GAO said that does not necessarily mean the companies do not employ the technology. The National Retail Federation told investigators that its members' privacy policies are "written broadly enough" to address the technology.
No federal laws explicitly govern the use of facial recognition technology, but the GAO found that the Federal Trade Commission might have some limited power if the technology violated a privacy policy or caused consumers substantial injury. The report also highlighted some laws that could cover the sharing and distribution of data collected.

Good news and bad news for Microsoft?
Microsoft announces 14 million Windows 10 installs since launch

(Related) Is there no one at Microsoft to whom this sounds familiar?
Firefox cubs HATE Microsoft and Windows 10 -- déjà vu!
Firefox head honcho castigates Microsoft chief: Chris Beard, the Mozilla CEO is lambasting his opposite number at Microsoft for Windows 10's inability to remember browser choice settings.
His complaint centers around the user experience upgrading to the new OS. It appears that Satya's crew decided -- in their infinite wisdom -- that all users should have the new Edge browser as their default.

I would not have been surprised if the US had paid France for these carriers. Will China still buy them if their economy is in the tank?
Russia says it's getting a refund for the warships France won't hand over to them
Russia's order of two Mistral helicopter carrier ships has been a constant headache for the French government.
The sale of the ships was agreed in 2010, then put on hold in 2014 when Russian military forces annexed Crimea, which had until then been a part of Ukraine.
… Now Vladimir Kozhin, one of Putin's aides, says that Russia and France have agreed a refund for the ships, according to AP.
Nothing's yet come from the French side to suggest that a refund is coming yet, and no figure has been released.
Hollande confirmed in April that if the ships weren't supplied, there would be some sort of refund.
A month later a report suggested that France could sell the warships to China instead.

At last! Someone needs to tell the French they are not a global power.
Google to defy French 'right to be forgotten' ruling
Last month, the French privacy watchdog, CNIL, ordered the firm to extend people's right to have posts removed from its websites worldwide, including
Google said it "respectfully" disagreed with CNIL's authority to make such an order.
... Google is believed to have processed more than one million requests to remove data since the ruling came into effect. It reviews all requests and refuses those it judges have no merit.
However, those that are deleted are removed on its European websites such as or They are not removed from
The company points out that more than 95% of searches in Europe are made on the firm's local websites.

Google is launching balloons in Sri Lanka, Facebook will have drones. Big ones, from the pictures.
Behind the scenes with Facebook's new solar-powered Internet drone and laser technology

Interesting article. If it works in emerging nations, why is it ignored here?
How Innovation Is Helping Emerging Multinationals to Race Ahead
… Increasingly, companies from developing countries such as Brazil, India, China and Mexico are becoming global leaders and eclipsing familiar brands in the developed world. Take Alibaba, the e-commerce giant from China. It has a market value greater than Yahoo, Netflix, eBay, Yelp, LinkedIn, Twitter and Groupon put together. Alibaba’s cloud service Aliyun is giving Amazon Web Services a run for its money. South Korea’s Samsung is the world’s largest consumer electronics firm, outselling Sony, Panasonic and Philips. Bimbo of Mexico is the largest bakery company; in 2010, Bimbo purchased Sara Lee’s North American bakery business. And on this year’s Forbes Global 2000 list, although the U.S. still claims the maximum spots, the top four are occupied by Chinese banking firms.

Perspective. The “gig economy” seems to pay off.
Uber to plough $1bn into India investment drive
Uber is set to plough $1bn into a major expansion in India, placing its investment in the country on a par with China and signalling an escalation of its rivalry with domestic ride-sharing Ola.
… In June, it was revealed that Uber planned to spend $1bn in China in 2015 to catch up with Didi Kuaidi, the market leader backed by internet groups Alibaba and Tencent. At the time, Uber's Chinese drivers were making close to 1m daily trips, a far higher level than most analysts expected.

Tools for my student researchers.
The Powerful Benefits of Web Annotations for Research & Recall
Taking notes has long been a widely embraced way of improving your retention of information — it’s one of the reasons why we take notes during class and meetings. Not only does the act of taking notes better embed the information in your brain, but reviewing those annotations later can be helpful in a number of ways.

Find something useful here...
Best of the Web - Summer 2015 Update
On Wednesday morning in Mooresville, North Carolina I presented an updated version of my popular best of the web slides. Those slides are embedded below. I try to provide something for everyone in the slides.

I can use this one right now.
Vibby - Break YouTube Videos Into Segments With Commentary
Vibby is a new service for breaking YouTube videos into segments and inserting comments into those segments. To segment a YouTube video on Vibby simply grab the URL for the video and paste into the Vibby editor. Once inserted into Vibby you can highlight a segment on the video timeline. Vibby then play only the sections you've highlighted. Click on a highlighted section to add a comment to it. Videos edited through Vibby can be shared via email, social media, or embedded into a blog or website.
Vibby could be a good tool to use when you want to share with your students just a few pieces of a larger video. Using the comments in highlighted sections could be a good way to call attention to important parts of a video or to add further explanation to a section.

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