Monday, July 20, 2015

Think of it as “War Flying” and it's not a new concept at all.
Hacking Team built drone-based Wi-Fi hacking hardware

Another case of guards being bought by crooks! Any Mexican drug cartel members in that prison?
Rebekah Cavanagh reports:
Corrections Victoria is investigating after private files of prisoners became available to a jail’s inmates in an alarming computer security breach.
The breach has raised concerns that the information — including some prisoners’ bank details and names and addresses of family contacts — could be used to stand over or threaten inmates and their families.
The details were contained in a back-up folder on the desktop of communal computers at the Beechworth Correctional Centre’s library, which are available for prisoners’ use.
[From the article:
After the Herald Sun contacted the Justice Department about the breach, the prisoner who raised the alarm was put in solitary confinement, and has since been moved to another prison.
His wife has told the Herald Sun she is concerned for his welfare and fears the prison is trying to cover up the breach.
She said there were growing concerns the placing of the folder on the desktop was no accident but rather the brainchild of prison officers colluding with high-profile prisoners for profit and to gain influence.
… Corrections Victoria played down the breach.
It would not answer Herald Sun questions about how many inmates were believed to have gained access to the folder, how long it had been accessible and what was being done to ensure safety.
Lucy Huppatz, on behalf of the department, provided a two-line statement: “Upon receiving notification of the complaint, prison management shut down the computer system. An independent IT auditor was engaged to investigate the computer system and found no evidence that a privacy breach had occurred.”

I agree this is stupid. Can anyone point to an example of sharing with any government that worked as the FBI thinks this will work?
This may be the stupidest editorial by a major news outlet that I’ve seen on this issue.
Read the Washington Post editorial, but not if you’re at risk of spilling any beverage on the keyboard.
As a taste of the editorial, consider this gem:
All freedoms come with limits; it seems only proper that the vast freedoms of the Internet be subject to the same rule of law and protections that we accept for the rest of society.
What is there about “You can’t have a “golden key” without putting ALL data at risk?” that they don’t get?
If we want hospitals, government, and businesses to adequately secure our information against hackers/foreign actors, you’d have to be a damned idiot to create a backdoor or key to the data that government can get, because if the government can get it, the bad guys can get it.
The Washington Post editorial board has seriously embarrassed itself and should go sit in the corner.

Hacktivism! Do you suppose this will get the attention of politicians? (Are they among the 37 million?)
Hackers threaten to leak Ashley Madison's 37 million clients
Hackers claim to have personal details of more than 37 million cheating spouses on dating website Ashley Madison and have threatened to release nude photos and sexual fantasies of the site's clients unless it is shut down, blog KrebsOnSecurity reported.
Ashley Madison's Canadian parent, Avid Life Media, confirmed the breach on its systems and said it had since secured its site and was working with law enforcement agencies to try to trace those behind the attack.
The hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, leaked snippets of the compromised data online and warned they would release customers' real names, profiles, nude photos, credit card details and "secret sexual fantasies" unless their demands were met, Krebs said. (

If they were under 400 feet, they may have thought they were operating their drones legally. The firefighting planes get much lower than 400 feet. Looks like we do need mandatory “Do Not Fly” software built into the drones – except for the homemade or home-hacked ones of course.
Clueless Drone Operators Delayed Firefighter Response Times In California Wild Fire Outbreak
… In southern California, a fire broke out along Interstate 15, and ultimately, it consumed five homes and more than a dozen cars. The sickening thing is this: the damage could have been lessened if not for the fact that a handful of drones impeded the firefighting process. Yes, "drones".
With stories like this, it's easy to imagine that it was just a lone wolf getting in the way, but not here. Instead, five drones were hovering over the fire. This prohibited firefighters from tackling the blaze from above -- in fact, the drones delayed the response of firefighting aircraft by 26 minutes.

Perspective. What us geeks find geeky?
MIT – 50 Smartest Companies 2015
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 19, 2015
This year, when the editors of MIT Technology Review began our annual search for the smartest companies, we did not have trouble finding big ideas. To make the list, a company must have truly innovative technology and a business model that is both practical and ambitious, with the result that it has set the agenda in its field over the past 12 months. No. 1, Tesla Motors, has added another audacious idea to go with its electric cars. In April, it announced it would be spinning off a line of batteries in service of a big goal: remaking the energy grid for industry, utilities, and residences. Of all the sectors we cover, biomedicine has had the biggest year. Companies have turned research breakthroughs, many powered by genomic analysis, into products that treat challenging diseases. Gilead Sciences, No. 15, sells the first pill that can cure most cases of hepatitis C. Bristol-Myers Squibb, No. 26, is selling an immunotherapy drug that is saving the lives of people with skin and lung cancer…” Nanette Byrnes

Perspective. TV is an obsolete technology?
Survey – TV is Now the 2nd Screen for Kids
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 19, 2015
Robert Miner, CEO and Founder—Miner & Co. Studio: In our latest study on kids’ preferences in viewing TV content across devices and platforms, we find that in a majority of family households with tablets and smartphones, TV is no longer the first choice for entertainment, with 57% of parents saying their child prefers a device other than the TV to watch video content. Mobile devices offer versatility, simple user interface and a ‘personal’ viewing experience.
As such, in households where tablets and smartphones are accessible, they’ve now taken the lead with kids as the preferred way to enjoy, explore and discover video content. In fact, 58% of kids in households with tablets have their own, making it even easier for them to watch the video content they want to watch, whenever and wherever they want… TV has become the ‘second’ or even third screen of choice for many of these kids – so much so that nearly 50% of parents say that when their kids misbehave, to punish them, they take away their tablet and make them just ‘watch TV instead’– creating a generation of kids for whom ‘TV is punishment.’ Additionally, when given the choice between dessert or more time on their tablet, 41% of parents say their child would choose the tablet over dessert, compared to just 33% choosing dessert over the table.”

Would a Professional Employee Organization be a better choice? How can we make employees cheap enough to enable more jobs? Should we?
This Is How Instacart Is Reclassifying Contract Workers as Part-Time Employees
Earlier this week, on-demand grocery delivery service Instacart announced that its in-store workers in Atlanta, Miami and Washington, D.C. can apply to become part-time employees (instead of independent contractors), an option that is already available for workers in Boston and Chicago. The company says it plans on expanding this program to more of the 16 cities in which it currently operates, a list that includes New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Austin and Boulder.
Instacart's new policy comes at a pivotal time for the sharing economy, as a slew of recent lawsuits against Uber, Handy and yes, Instacart, has brought the legality of these companies classifying workers as contractors not employees into question.
Reclassifying its workers is going to cost Instacart. More than 75 percent of eligible in-store workers are expected to apply for part-time employee positions, according to company spokesperson Andrea Saul, and Instacart will be responsible for their workers compensation and payroll taxes, including unemployment, social security, and Medicare.

Just for lawyers who create PDFs?
Adobe Legal Department Legal Style Guide Now Open Source
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 19, 2015
“The Legal team at Adobe is constantly seeking creative new ways to better serve our customers and employees. Part of this effort has been the development of the Adobe Legal Department Style Guide. We use it as the foundation for the way we create and revise our agreements and policy and training materials to ensure that they are as clear and concise as possible, and that we communicate with a common voice. These efforts have already paid off by making our document processes more efficient and reducing translation and other costs. What’s more, less jargon makes everyone happy by making our internal and external communications easier to understand. Now we’d like to help others in the legal profession do the same. The Adobe Legal Department Style Guide is available to anyone free of charge under a Creative Commons license. We hope that you’ll find it of value to you and your organization.”

I stand ready to buy all your gold for $1 per ounce! (No thanks necessary)
China dumped a huge amount of gold on the market and investors are spooked
Gold had a “mini flash-crash” in Asian trade on Monday, with the price falling almost 4% in a matter of seconds.
A huge dump of bullion, equivalent to one-fifth of a whole day’s trade in a normal session, came on the market in China this morning in a two-minute window.
ANZ Bank analyst Victor Thianpiriya said in a note at the close of the Asia trading session that the “nature, size and timing of the heavy selling” suggests someone “was taking advantage of low liquidity or some sort of forced selling had taken place.”
If it is "forced selling" then we could be in for plenty more trouble. Forced selling generally means leveraged investors who have used borrowed money to buy gold are being forced to sell to pay back the borrowed cash. A big dip is likely to trigger more "margin calls", industry slang for people selling to pay back borrowed money, and that will exacerbate the problem.

Google must see money (increased revenue from Ads?) in this service.
New Google Hotel Finder
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 19, 2015
“Google Hotel Finder makes it easier to compare and book hotels that are found across the web. Try it out at Here’s what you can do with Google Hotel Finder:
  • Find hotels according to what is important to you, such as price, location, amenities, and user ratings.
  • Review accurate and detailed information about those hotels, including photos and amenities.
  • View location information to help you decide where to stay.
  • Keep track of your top choices with the Save button.
  • Connect with hotels and vendors to reserve a room or ask for more information.”

For my IT Governance students. A tool to measure compliance.
FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool June 2015
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 19, 2015
“In light of the increasing volume and sophistication of cyber threats, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) developed the Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (Assessment), on behalf of its members, to help institutions identify their risks and determine their cybersecurity maturity. The content of the Assessment is consistent with the principles of the FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbook (IT Handbook) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, as well as industry accepted cybersecurity practices. The Assessment provides institutions with a repeatable and measureable process to inform management of their institution’s risks and cybersecurity preparedness. The Assessment consists of two parts: Inherent Risk Profile and Cybersecurity Maturity. The Inherent Risk Profile identifies the institution’s inherent risk before implementing controls. The Cybersecurity Maturity includes domains, assessment factors, components, and individual declarative statements across five maturity levels to identify specific controls and practices that are in place. While management can determine the institution’s maturity level in each domain, the Assessment is not designed to identify an overall cybersecurity maturity level.”

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