Friday, December 04, 2015

To pay, or not to pay – that is the question
Whether 'tis cheaper in the long run to suffer
The slings and arrows of outraged customers
Or to take arms against a sea of hackers
And by opposing end them.
Kevin Collier reports that “Hacker Buba,” the individual who allegedly hacked InvestBank in the UAE, has made good on his threat to dump customer bank data if the bank didn’t pay his extortion demand.
The means by which that information was posted is striking. Hacker Buba initially tweeted from accounts like @investbank_2, though those were quickly deleted. But late Tuesday night and then again on Wednesday, approximately 50 seemingly unrelated Twitter accounts began tweeting the same message, which included both the name Invest Bank and a link to a site, signed Hacker Buba, that had six zip files purporting to obtain that vast bank information.
Read more on Daily Dot.

This is very good news for my video game playing students. It will allow them to indulge their wildest fantasy without fear. But, I guess we'll need to re-think Acceptable Use policies… We can still fire employees who don't play well with others.
Jamie Williams writes:
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion rejecting the government’s attempt to hold an employee criminally liable under the federal hacking statute—the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”)—for violating his employer-imposed computer use restrictions. The decision is important because it ensures that employers and website owners don’t have the power to criminalize a broad range of innocuous everyday behaviors, like checking personal email or the score of a baseball game, through simply adopting use restrictions in their corporate policies or terms of use.
Read more on EFF.
[From the Article:
The case, United States v. Gilberto Valle, received a lot of attention in the press because it involved the so-called “cannibal cop”—a New York City police officer who was charged with conspiracy to kidnap for posts he wrote on fetish websites about cannibalism. Valle was also charged with violating the CFAA for accessing a police database to look up information about people without a valid law enforcement purpose, in violation of NYPD policy. [This is very common! Bob] The jury convicted Valle on all counts, but the trial court reversed the jury’s conspiracy verdict, stating that “the nearly yearlong kidnapping conspiracy alleged by the government is one in which no one was ever kidnapped, no attempted kidnapping ever took place, and no real-world, non-Internet-based steps were ever taken to kidnap anyone.” The trial court ultimately found that holding Valle guilty of conspiracy to kidnap would make him guilty of thoughtcrime.
… The Second Circuit also upheld the trial court’s decision to throw out the conspiracy conviction, as we had urged in a second amicus brief filed in the case, holding that “[t]he mere indulgence of fantasy, even of the repugnant and unsettling kind here, is not, without more, criminal.”

Let's see how well this goes. Who did they learn this from? Oh, yeah, Russia.
Kazakhstan will force its citizens to install internet backdoors
In less than a month, Kazakhstan will begin enforcing a new law that requires every internet user in the country to install a backdoor, allowing the government to conduct surveillance.
In a brief statement (translated), KazakhTelecom, the country's largest telecom, said citizens are "obliged" to install a "national security certificate" on every device, including desktops and mobile devices.
This allows the government to conduct a so-called "man-in-the-middle" attack, which allows the government to intercept every secure connection in the country and snoop on web browsing history, usernames and passwords, and even secure and HTTPS-encrypted traffic.

This is the “Serve” part of the job.
Bellingham police create an Internet exchange zone for online buyers, sellers
There's no doubt that buying and selling goods on the Internet can be sketchy, especially when you have to meet that seller on Craigslist to make the transaction in person. But a lot of people do it anyway — at the bank, the local Starbucks, you name it. In some areas, however, you can make exchanges at a police station.
Police departments across the country are setting up designated locations where buyers and sellers can meet. The latest to do this is the Bellingham Police Department in Bellingham, Mass., which posted a sign outside its facility on Nov. 30.
… Bellingham PD also wanted to follow suit with nearby police departments that have started creating exchange points during the past few months. Bellingham PD's spot is just outside the department where video cameras are monitoring the area 24/7.

This is what we're pointing out that ISIS does so well. Is there no counter measure?
Using Social Media in Business Disputes
Large companies frequently exploit their vastly superior legal resources and capabilities to the disadvantage of smaller competitors. Frequently, the mere threat of litigation and the prospect of an expensive, prolonged lawsuit is all that is necessary to persuade a smaller business to acquiesce to the larger competitor’s legal demands. However, I have recently studied an emergent defensive strategy that turns the tables on large companies when they legally threaten smaller enterprises. The approach involves soliciting public support, typically through social media and public relations, in hopes of achieving a favorable outcome. I call this technique “lawsourcing.”1

The future or now? The book is already in my local library so no waiting.
Digital Immortality and the Future of Humanity
A new book by Martine Rothblatt, Co-CEO and Chair of United Therapeutics, envisions a mind clone — a digital copy of your mind outside your body — that can go on living after you are gone. But the book is not science fiction; it is a nonfiction book by someone who has been a technological innovator. … Today, United Therapeutics is focused on developing an endless supply of manufactured organs.

Google's Chromebooks make up half of US classroom devices
Google, Microsoft and Apple have been competing for years in the very lucrative education technology market. For the first time, Google has taken a huge lead over its rivals.
Chromebooks now make up more than half of all devices in U.S. classrooms, up from less than 1 percent in 2012, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting. To analysts, this comes as a big surprise.

Apple's Swift programming language is now open-source
At WWDC in June, Apple announced it would be open-sourcing its Swift programming language by the end of the year. Well, it's the first week of December and Apple kept is promise: Swift is now open source.
… Apple has set up as the main hub for the Swift open-source community. This website will contain the mailing lists, reporting tools, tutorials, documentation, blogs and binary downloads for OS X and Linux.
But what's an open-source project without a Github profile? Nothing, so Apple is putting its public source-code repositories for Swift on Github at

Could be very useful and probably very contentious in some areas.
Project to Annotate All Knowledge
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 3, 2015
“As accessing information becomes less challenging for most of the world, new problems emerge. Discovering, evaluating, and most importantly, connecting relevant knowledge is overwhelming. There hasn’t been a way to bridge the chasm between isolated communities with their specific knowledge base and the rest of us – until now! launched a mission driven coalition: “annotating all knowledge” and SSRN is proud to be one of the founding members. Their recent blog post states the coalition members “realize that a robust and interoperable conversation layer can transform scholarship, enabling personal note taking, peer review, copy editing, post publication discussion, journal clubs, classroom uses, automated classification, deep linking, and much more… was created to build a layer of conversation over any online content. They are only one of the players in this movement (and very intentionally so). The conversations can be broad or extremely granular but they focus on the content itself instead of the system or tool being used to view and manipulate it. This means and other platform users are not limited by the functionality, resources, or breadth of a single provider.”

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