Monday, July 27, 2015

So the hackers got audit reports? Do the report provide details on weak security of state and local systems? If so, guess who they'll hack next.
U.S. Census Bureau Confirms Data Breach
Representatives of the United States Census Bureau have confirmed that hacktivists of the Anonymous movement have breached part of the organization’s systems.
The attackers have leaked thousands of usernames, passwords, email addresses, and other data obtained from a subdomain. The hackers said the attack was a form of protest against the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreements.
The Census Bureau said the hackers gained access to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse (FAC), hosted on, which is used to collect single audit reporting packages from state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations.
According to the Census Bureau, the FAC is hosted on an externally facing IT system that stores non-confidential data, such as the details of individuals submitting information. The investigation into this incident is ongoing, but the Census Bureau says it hasn’t found any evidence that other databases have been breached, or that the personal details of people who responded to censuses and surveys have been exposed.
It appears the database was compromised through a configuration setting that allowed the attacker to gain access to the four files posted to the hacker’s site.

Interesting. Even countries with repressive regimes have real enemies – sometimes they grow out of vocal but non-violent opposition. Should intelligence services ignore them?
  1. Lawsuit reveals extent of Ethiopian hacking amid Obama visit

Jack Gillum of AP reports:
As President Barack Obama faces pressure to discuss human rights in his first official visit to Ethiopia this weekend, a unique lawsuit back home is challenging whether the African country can spy on an American by turning his computer into a giant recording device.
The federal case alleges Ethiopian government agents gobbled up months of a Maryland man’s Skype calls and his family’s Internet activities. But the man, born in Ethiopia and now a U.S. citizen, isn’t wanted for a crime. Instead, he helps out a political opposition group outlawed in his home country.
Read more on KSL.

“We'll give you free software to manage your pharmacy, you give us all your patient data?” Were the pharmacies that naïve?
From an editorial in today’s Korea Herald:
Medical information on nearly 90 percent of Korean population was sold as big data to a multination firm, raising concerns about safekeeping of the highly confidential information.
A company specializing in developing medical fees settlement programs used by hospitals and the Korea Pharmaceutical Information Center — which distributed free pharmacy management software to nearly half of the country’s pharmacies — were caught having sold a vast amount of data to a multinational firm, IMS Health Korea, whose U.S. headquarters, in turn, processed the big data and sold information on pharmaceuticals usage to companies in Korea.
The 2011 law on personal information protection law forbids the usage of personal information and medical information without consent. The Korea Pharmaceutical Information Center, in fact, is currently being tried for illegally collecting and distributing medical information in 2013.
Read more on The Korea Herald.

For my Ethical Hacking students.
Researchers claim they’ve developed a better, faster Tor
… A group of researchers—Chen Chen, Daniele Enrico Asoni, David Barrera, and Adrian Perrig of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich and George Danezis of University College London—may have found a new balance between privacy and performance. In a paper published this week, the group described an anonymizing network called HORNET (High-speed Onion Routing at the NETwork layer), an onion-routing network that could become the next generation of Tor. According to the researchers, HORNET moves anonymized Internet traffic at speeds of up to 93 gigabits per second. And because it sheds parts of Tor's network routing management, it can be scaled to support large numbers of users with minimal overhead, they claim.

Surveillance: There's a whole bunch of Apps for that!
Creepy but Fun Surveillance Ideas with SmartThings
… With a set of Smart Home devices like the SmartThings suite, you can spy and snoop to your heart’s content. Here are some fun ways to use a SmartThings Hub with a SmartThings Presence to keep a watchful eye over your surroundings.

This happens when you are more interested in results than truth. (The end justifies the means?) Have you seen this reported in the main stream media?
Smoking Gun: MPAA Emails Reveal Plan To Run Anti-Google Smear Campaign Via Today Show And WSJ
… Earlier this month, we noted that the Hollywood studios were all resisting subpoenas from Google concerning their super cozy relationship with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, whose highly questionable "investigation" of Google appeared to actually be run by the MPAA and the studios themselves. The entire "investigation" seemed to clearly be an attempt to mislead the public into believing that it was somehow illegal for Google's search engine to find stuff that people didn't like online. A court has already ruled that Hood pretty clearly acted in bad faith to deprive Google of its First Amendment rights. As the case has continued, Google has sought much more detail on just how much of the investigation was run by the MPAA and the studios -- and Hollywood has vigorously resisted, claiming that they really had nothing to do with all of this, which was a laughable assertion.

Did China just toss investors to the wolves?
Chinese shares tumble 8.5 percent in biggest one-day drop since 2007
Chinese shares tumbled more than 8 percent on Monday as an unprecedented government rescue plan to prop up valuations abruptly ran out of steam, throwing the viability of Beijing's efforts to stave off a deeper crash into doubt.

Who says minimum wage workers can't calculate the best deal?
Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Law Just Came Back To Bite Them In A Totally Unexpected Way
… Seattle became the first city in the nation to implement the $15 per hour minimum wage this past spring. Fox News reports that one unintended effect is that workers who are earning the higher wage are asking for fewer hours, so they can remain eligible for low income government benefits like childcare and tax credits.

For our Homeland Security students.

For my business intelligence students.
Northern Light Launches Competitive Intelligence Portal
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 26, 2015
Remember Northern Light web search engine – going back to the time I launched – see this News release: “Northern Light® today launched Millie™ (, the first market and competitive intelligence portal available free on the web. Millie is structured as a series of industry-specific dashboards, making it easy to find useful information in a self-service environment. Each dashboard presents news headlines about major companies and industry topics, and graphics depicting significant industry trends. Millie will appeal to marketing professionals, strategic planners, corporate librarians, and business students in colleges and graduate schools. Industries covered by Millie include information technology, life sciences, healthcare, financial services, energy, agribusiness, chemical, and food and beverage. Information about each industry covered by Millie is updated continuously, drawing content from Northern Light Business News™, a business news repository comprising 40,000 stories per day from 6,300 business- and technology-focused online news sources. Millie also features Northern Light’s text analytics application, MI Analyst™, which enables users to drill down into all content linked within a dashboard to identify critical business concepts, such as competitors and business strategies. Northern Light’s robust search technology optimized for strategic business analysis is also embedded within Millie…”

If I asked my Math students to create a music video for the class would they start with the these from Jaws? (Digest Item #4)
Triller Makes Music Videos
Triller is a new iOS app that lets ordinary people like you and me make music videos. You simply choose a song — either from Triller’s featured selection or your own collection — and record footage you think will play nicely alongside the audio. You can shoot as many takes as you like, and Triller will automagically edit them with cuts similar to those used by directors.
This is a fantastic idea, especially at a time when more and more people are creatively expressing themselves online. However, the developers may have made a mistake calling the app Triller, as its similarity to “Thriller” means Google auto-corrects its search results to display the Michael Jackson song. Oops

This strikes me as strange, but it ain't crazy if it works!
Why I Write in PowerPoint
When writing business documents (aside from emails), most people turn to word-processing software. That’s not the only option. You can do everything — outlines, drafts, revisions, and even layouts, if you’d like — in PowerPoint or similar presentation programs.
That’s what I’ve used to write my books, internal documents, sales collateral, and web copy, for several reasons:

For my students.
The New Networking: 5 LinkedIn Alternatives for Job Seekers

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