Friday, September 04, 2015

For my Computer Security students. An article to think about.
Cyber Intelligence: Competitive Intelligence By Any Other Name…
The current environment around cybercrime is quickly becoming a forcing function that’s causing businesses to begin evaluating how they’re doing cybersecurity across the board.
Most importantly of all, it’s forcing companies to start thinking about how to measure and prepare for the real, business impacts of cyber threats lest they be held legally accountable by, say, the fine folks at the FTC. Or any number of voracious civil suit-seeking lawyers [Hee, hee. Bob] closely monitoring their failings and foibles.
But words and phrases like “begin evaluating” and “start thinking about” don’t equate to decision-making or “doing” anything real about it at all.
In fact, despite a cyber and business “pop culture” zeitgeist brimming with signs and indicators that people really are starting to notice cyber insecurity (Mr. Robot’s ratings anyone?), an alarming number of companies put some very considerable roadblocks in front of themselves for not getting started on the same sorts of “competitive intelligence” programs for cyber that have become widely used and benefited from across industry.

(Related) Microsoft gathers data about you to keep itself competitive.
Microsoft Boosts Remote Data Collection in Windows 7 and 8
Following a series of updates meant to prepare Windows 7 and Windows 8 for the impending upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft pushed the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices and began collecting more data on them, as Winaero notes in a recent article.
A quick look at the Windows 8.1 Feature Supplement reveals that Microsoft is already collecting details on how the platform, application, computers, and connected devices, are used, as part of its Windows Customer Experience Improvement Programs (CEIP).

As long as you don't collide with planes, do whatever you want?
FAA Approves Corporation's Use of Drones To Collect Data, Prompting Protest from Privacy Advocates
The August 28 decision allows a Washington, DC-based company, called "Measure," to fly the largest fleet of commercial drones on record, a FAA spokesman told VICE News. The company has produced reports with the American Red Cross and the American Farm Bureau on how bird's eye views could help first responders in a disaster or farmers seeking to maximize their harvests.
… It's important to note that the FAA granted Measure an exemption to fly its drones. That's because, currently, it's technically illegal for businesses to fly unmanned aerial vehicles unless they obtain a FAA waiver. The FAA has granted more than 1,000 exemptions so far as it drafts regulations to govern drones.
But the FAA's proposed rules, as currently written, address only safety. The National Telecommunications & Information Administration, meanwhile, is considering how the federal government might address drones and privacy.
… While the federal government drafts its regulations, state governments are instituting a hodgepodge of rules.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 26 states have enacted laws regulating drones, often with the aim of dissuading peeping toms whose drone use has prompted violent reactions, like the Kentucky father who shot down a drone he thought was spying on his sunbathing daughters. (The pilot claimed he was snapping photos of a friend's nearby house).

For Hillary: An article to think about? (No doubt Hillary will suggest that Snowden isn't an objective observer, but she won't dispute the conclusions.)
Snowden: Clinton's email server 'a problem'
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Thursday that 2016 Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is likely aware her personal email server exposed sensitive national intelligence.
Snowden added that lesser employees would have lost their jobs for copying Clinton’s actions during her tenure as secretary of State.
“This is a problem because anyone who has the clearances that the secretary of State has, or the director of any top level agency has, knows how classified information should be handled,” he said, according to excerpts of an Al Jazeera interview airing Friday.

Sometimes you learn what a tool/technology can do when you see what they promise not to do.
Justice Department Announces Enhanced Policy for Use of Cell-Site Simulators
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Sep 3, 2015
“The policy, which goes into effect immediately and applies department-wide, will provide department components with standard guidance for the use of cell-site simulators in the department’s domestic criminal investigations and will establish new management controls for the use of the technology… Cell-site simulators are just one tool among many traditional law enforcement techniques and are deployed only in the fraction of cases in which the capability is best suited to achieve specific public safety objectives. To enhance privacy protections, the new policy establishes a set of required practices with respect to the treatment of information collected through the use of cell-site simulators. This includes data handling requirements and an agency-level implementation of an auditing program to ensure that data is deleted consistent with this policy. For example, when the equipment is used to locate a known cellular device, all data must be deleted as soon as that device is located, and no less than once daily. Additionally, the policy makes clear that cell-site simulators may not be used to collect the contents of any communication in the course of criminal investigations. This means data contained on the phone itself, such as emails, texts, contact lists and images, may not be collected using this technology. While the department has, in the past, obtained appropriate legal authorizations to use cell-site simulators, law enforcement agents must now obtain a search warrant supported by probable cause before using a cell-site simulator. There are limited exceptions in the policy for exigent circumstances or exceptional circumstances where the law does not require a search warrant and circumstances make obtaining a search warrant impracticable. Department components will be required to track and report the number of times the technology is deployed under these exceptions. To ensure that the use of the technology is well managed and consistent across the department, the policy requires appropriate supervision and approval.”

Legal arguments are fun!
With less than a week before the Second Circuit considers the dispute between Microsoft and the government over emails stored in Ireland (an issue I have blogged about here, here, and here), I thought it worth responding to Orin Kerr’s novel suggestions as to how to understand the case. Over at the Washington Post, Kerr explains why both parties have the analysis all wrong. He then suggests that, under the (erroneous) theory being pursued, the government ought to win. I disagree with both points.

Is Google automating doctors? (auto-diagnosis?)
Google increases health information available via search
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Sep 3, 2015
Google Inside Search: “In early August, New York City saw an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a very rare and sometimes deadly form of pneumonia. As more outbreaks came to light, Google searches for Legionnaires’ disease spiked over 1,000%. People wanted to know what this disease is, why it’s spreading, and how to prevent it. So we quickly updated our health conditions feature (first launched last February) to provide information on Legionnaires’ right up front, from a simple search. Indeed, health conditions continue to be among the most important things people ask Google about, and one of our most popular features. So today we’re announcing broader updates—over the next few weeks, you’ll notice:
  • Hundreds more health conditions (soon over 900 total, more than double the number we started with) where you’ll get quick at-a-glance info on symptoms, treatments, prevalence, and more
  • Visual design improvements and some more specific triggering so it’s quicker and easier to get the info you need (for example, you can now search for “pink eye symptoms” and you’ll get straight to the symptoms tab)
  • A ‘Download PDF’ link so you can easily print this information for a doctor’s visit—this has been a top request from doctors.”

This is not an explanation.
SAT Scores Fall to Lowest Level in 10 Years
There's no obvious reason why average SAT scores continue to fall, but continue to fall they do.
… Across all three sections, scores slumped slightly from last year's averages. For math, the mean was 511, down from 513 last year. For reading, it was 495 (down from 497) and for writing it was 484 (down from 487).
Unfortunately, this year's decrease isn't a one-off: Overall, SAT scores have been falling slightly but steadily since 2010, when students averaged 515 in math, 500 in reading and 491 in writing.
… This percentage varied drastically across racial groups, however. While only 16 and 23 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics, respectively, hit the benchmark, 61 percent of Asians and 53 percent of white test-takers did so. In general, students' scores have been shown to consistently rise with family income.

(Related) Can Facebook help educate students?
Facebook working with charter schools on software
Facebook is developing software, which it hopes to one day make available to any school that wants it, that helps teachers run personalized lesson plans for students, the company said Thursday.
The company is helping to further develop the software used by charter school operator Summit Public Schools, which says it tailors lessons to each student.
“They told us that while this model was changing the way kids learn, the technology just wasn’t good enough,” said Chris Cox, the company’s product head, in a blog post. “So what if we could build this together and then give it away for free?”
The product appears to allow teachers to craft curriculums for students and for students to track their progress, according to screenshots offered by Facebook. Cox said that the technology gives teachers more time to work one-on-one with students in the classroom.
… Cox looked to calm potential fears about the privacy of students who use the software. He said that it does not require students to have Facebook accounts, and that the team developing the program is separate from the social giant’s main operations.

For my entrepreneurial students.
… A 15-feature “travel jacket,” which launched two months ago, just made a killing in a Kickstarter campaign that ended at 1 p.m. this afternoon. Originally aiming for a $20,000 goal, a total of 44,949 project backers pledged a whopping $9.19 million for the garment, which makes it the crowd-funding website’s most successful clothing campaign, according to reports. The $20,000 goal was met in a matter of hours, when the original intent was to raise the sum in a 58-day period.

Perspective. Some interesting App stats. Compare “most downloaded” to “most revenue”
Facebook, Google, Apple Dominate Top Apps Of All Time Lists; Candy Crush And Clash Of Clans Are Top Games
A new report from app store analytics firm App Annie this morning offers insight into the most popular – and profitable! – iOS applications of all time. Not surprisingly, the most downloaded app to date is Facebook, which also places elsewhere in the top 10 list thanks to its other mobile properties like Facebook Messenger (#2), Instagram (#4) and WhatsApp Messenger (#6).
Meanwhile, King’s Candy Crush Saga is the world’s most downloaded game, but Supercell’s Clash of Clans edged it out in terms of revenue.

Prepackaged App tools?
Plyfe Brings Interactive Tools to Small Business
You've seen all the great interactive Web tools that big companies use—trivia games, polls, and image carousels that keep site visitors engaged. It's difficult for small businesses to offer those same experiences, because the coding requirements often lie outside their reach. Unless your core business relates to technology or Web design, you probably don’t have that kind of expertise in-house.
The Plyfe platform changes all that by offering ready-to-use interactive cards for websites, social media channels, and mobile devices—all without any coding needed and all for free.

Dilbert shows us what females think is a defect.

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