Friday, October 30, 2015

This does not sound good. Replacing cards suggests the breached information has been used to extract cash. Why is everyone else claiming ignorance?
Cole Epley reports:
A large data breach at an unidentified, national business has prompted First National Bank of Omaha to issue new debit cards to customers in seven states.
The Omaha-based bank with operations in Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Texas recently sent new cards to customers with a letter explaining that its routine fraud-monitoring efforts had determined those customers’ cards were at risk of being compromised due to that breach.
[From the article:
“The company affected, the card networks and investigators are still working to determine the extent of the exposure,” Langin said.
Citing the ongoing investigation, he wouldn’t say exactly how many customers were affected. Only debit cards are being reissued, not credit cards.
… Langin said he expects the issue also will affect other banks. Large metro-area institutions, including Mutual of Omaha Bank, SAC Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo, Pinnacle Bank and Great Western Bank, all said they were not yet aware of any such breaches. [Very strange. Bob]

Update. If this breach was caused by a couple of kids poking at their security, imagine what a serious player could do.
There’s been a second arrest in the TalkTalk data breach case. And again, it’s a teenager that’s been arrested. Police confirmed that an unnamed male 16-year old from Feltham, West London, was arrested on charges under the Computer Misuse Act. He’s out on bail now.
Read more on Bit-Tech.
If TalkTalk wants to argue its data security is appropriate and they had no obligation to encrypt data, how will they respond to those who would point out that they’re getting hacked by kids?

No doubt the FBI will view this as a tool for uncatchable criminals. Everyone else may view it as a tool to avoid the minions of the surveillance state.
Tor Messenger Beta: Chat over Tor, Easily
Today we are releasing a new, beta version of Tor Messenger, based on Instantbird, an instant messaging client developed in the Mozilla community.

What is it?

Tor Messenger is a cross-platform chat program that aims to be secure by default and sends all of its traffic over Tor. It supports a wide variety of transport networks, including Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter, Yahoo, and others; enables Off-the-Record (OTR) Messaging automatically; and has an easy-to-use graphical user interface localized into multiple languages.

Tin foil hat time! Imagine Big Brother giving everyone a surveillance device cleverly disguised as a tool to connect your laptop to the Internet…
From Daily Mail:
Using a wireless transmitter fitted behind a wall, computer scientists have developed a device that can map a nearby room in 3D while scanning for human bodies. Using the signals that reflect off these people, the device creates an accurate silhouette (pictured) and can even use this silhouette to identify who that person is.
The device is called RF Capture and it was developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).
Read more on Daily Mail.

I'll add this to my collection.
Guiding Principles on Privacy and Security of Personal Wellness Data
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Oct 29, 2015
Consumer Electronics Association: “Wellness-related wearable devices represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the Internet of Things. Consumers now harness data about themselves — calories, steps, heart rate, and more — to improve their well-being. In the future, these devices will tell consumers even more about themselves, providing analytics and insights that will empower them to lead richer and healthier lives. Society also will benefit as we develop sophisticated tools to research health and wellness on an aggregated basis. All of these benefits depend on the collection and use of data, some of which can be considered personal or sensitive. Companies in the health and fitness ecosystem understand that they must be good stewards of that data to maintain consumer trust. With trust in mind, these Guiding Principles (“Principles”) articulate the Consumer Electronics Association’s (“CEA”) recommendations for voluntary best practices that mitigate risks that consumers may perceive with respect to personal wellness data. These Principles articulate practices that can be followed by a broad variety of companies in the health and fitness wearable ecosystem. If adopted, they may help companies obtain and maintain consumer trust. Since the Principles are baseline recommendations, companies following them will retain flexibility on how to implement them, accounting for each company’s unique combination of products, services, and users..”

A most formidable task. Consider drones created on a 3D printer or those stuffed in Christmas stockings. If junior is orbiting his drone around the Christmas tree, will SWAT teams break down doors to put a stop to his criminal activity? Will it be a crime to interfere with drones delivering your purchases?
Google, Amazon and Wal-Mart join FAA drone task force
… At a NASA-run conference in Silicon Valley in July, Vos proposed that every drone, including those flown by hobbyists for pleasure, constantly transmit its identification and location so airspace access and collision avoidance can be managed by computer.
He envisioned drone users entering a flight plan and getting approval before any flight took place. It's a self-serving proposal, because Google wants a high degree of computer control so it can efficiently and quickly deliver packages via drone.

Perspective. The world is taking all the computing power they want in their back pocket.
Technology Device Ownership: 2015
Today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and tablet computer ownership has edged up to 45% among adults, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center.1 Smartphone ownership is nearing the saturation point with some groups: 86% of those ages 18-29 have a smartphone, as do 83% of those ages 30-49 and 87% of those living in households earning $75,000 and up annually.
At the same time, the surveys suggest the adoption of some digital devices has slowed and even declined in recent years.

McKinsey Quarterly 2015 Number 3
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Oct 29, 2015
“Introduces McKinsey’s metric for a company’s digital maturity: the Digital Quotient. Also examines a new approach to business-model innovation, simple rules for breakthrough ideas, and a guide to machine learning.” Issue contents:
Digital Quotient
• Raising your Digital Quotient
• An executive’s guide to machine learning
• Repelling the cyberattackers
• Getting a sharper picture of social media’s influence

Something I'll add to my Math classes. Not too simple nor too complex for my students, I hope.
An Illustrated Mathematics Dictionary
Math is Fun is a free website that offers math games, puzzles, and tutorials. One of the tutorial resources that they offer is an illustrated mathematics dictionary. The Math is Fun dictionary offers more than 700 definitions of mathematics terms. All of the definitions include an illustration. Nearly 200 of the definitions include an animation. Some of the animations are interactive tutorials.

I love it! A tool to hone my rudeness!
How Rude Are Your Emails? Get Rated From 0 to 100 Now
… Using the Politeness Checker by FoxType Labs, you can check the “politeness rating” of any particular phrase, which can be instrumental in maintaining good relationships with your friends, family, and coworkers. For now, it only works in English.
Of course, this tool can be used for more than just email, but they provide a free Gmail plugin that can quickly scan and rate your emails before you send them out. The tool provides suggestions on rewriting sentences to have a better tone.

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