Monday, December 28, 2015

We could send everyone an email telling them why they would be fools not to vote for Donald Trump. Let's do it fast, before he does. Read this entire post, it's worth your time.
Personal, public, and some non-public information on 191 million registered voters exposed
– Efforts to identify database’s owner to notify them unsuccessful
– Database still exposed
A misconfigured database leaking the personal information of over 191 million voters was reported to by researcher Chris Vickery. This report includes some of the results of an investigation by Vickery,, and Steve Ragan of Salted Hash.

You probably didn't see this in the major news sources. Why?
Time Warner cable services go down Sunday in national outage
Troubles with its national network toppled Time Warner TV and Internet service Sunday afternoon from the Carolinas to California.

Should provide some amusement for my Computer Security students.
Seeking Anonymity in an Internet Panopticon
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 27, 2015
“The Dissent project is a research collaboration between Yale University and UT Austin to create a powerful, practical anonymous group communication system offering strong, provable security guarantees with reasonable efficiency. Dissent’s technical approach differs in two fundamental ways from the traditional relay-based approaches used by systems such as Tor:
  • Dissent builds on dining cryptographers and verifiable shuffle algorithms to offer provable anonymity guarantees, even in the face of traffic analysis attacks, of the kinds likely to be feasible for authoritarian governments and their state-controlled ISPs for example.
  • Dissent seeks to offer accountable anonymity, giving users strong guarantees of anonymity while also protecting online groups or forums from anonymous abuse such as spam, Sybil attacks, and sockpuppetry. Unlike other systems, Dissent can guarantee that each user of an online forum gets exactly one bandwidth share, one vote, or one pseudonym, which other users can block in the event of misbehavior.
Dissent offers group-oriented anonymous communication best suited for broadcast communication: for example, bulletin boards, wikis, auctions, or voting. Members of a group obtain cryptographic guarantees of sender and receiver anonymity, message integrity, disruption resistance, proportionality, and location hiding. For a high-level overview of Dissent and where it fits among various approaches to anonymous communication, see our article Seeking Anonymity in an Internet Panopticon, to appear in Communications of the ACM. For technical details we recommend starting with our CCS ’10, OSDI ’12, and USENIX Security ’13 papers describing the experimental protocols underlying Dissent. Also feel free to check out the source code at the link to the right, keeping in mind that it is an experimental prototype and not yet ready for widespread deployment by normal users.”

Is this the perfect “Bad Example?”
Inside North Korea's Totalitarian Operating System
The goal of a totalitarian regime is to control everything in a country: information, resources, and power. In the 21st century, that even includes omnipotence over the code that the country's computers use.
Enter RedStar OS: North Korea's own Linux based operating system, designed to monitor its users and remain resilient to any attempts to modify or otherwise exert control over it. On Sunday at Chaos Communication Congress, a security, art, and politics conference held annually in Hamburg, Germany, researchers Niklaus Schiess and Florian Grunow presented their in-depth investigation of the third version of the operating system.
… whenever a USB storage device containing documents, photos or videos is inserted into a RedStar computer, the operating system takes the current hard-disk's serial number, encrypts that number, and then writes that encrypted serial into the file, marking it.
The purpose “is to track who actually has this file, who created this file, and who opened this file,” Schiess said.

Amazon lifts the veil on Prime
… The Prime service, an offering combining free two-day shipping on many items with access to video streaming, had a "record-setting" holiday, an Amazon press release said. More than 3 million members joined the service in the third week of December, bringing its total membership to "tens of millions," it said.
… Amazon also highlighted Monday that 200 million more items received free shipping this year, reaching a record. It added that holiday viewing hours of its Prime service's video-streaming doubled from a year earlier and music streaming globally rose 350 percent on the year.
… Earlier this month, Macquarie Capital analyst Ben Schachter told CNBC that his company estimated that around 25 percent of U.S. homes had already signed up for the Prime service. Macquarie estimates that by year-end, Amazon will capture 51 percent of U.S. e-commerce growth and 24 percent of retail growth.
The company can have a huge influence over online shopping in general. Earlier this month, the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that 40 percent of all adults search Amazon "always" or "most of the time" when shopping online, compared to just 10 percent who say they never include Amazon in an online search.
Other figures from the survey were more striking: The conversion rate, or the number of visits to the website that result in a purchase, is massive. Some 50 percent of those Americans searching Amazon most frequently are actually making a purchase. That compares with the widely cited retail industry average for turning online searches into purchases at a mere 3 percent.

Potentially valuable tools. Add to your RSS feeds?
New on LLRX – Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 27, 2015
Via LLRX.comCompetitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide. Sabrina I. Pacifici’s comprehensive current awareness guide focuses on leveraging a selected but wide range of reliable, topical, predominantly free websites and resources. The goal is to support an effective research process to search, discover, access, monitor, analyze and review current and historical data, news, reports, statistics and profiles on companies, markets, countries, people and issues, from a national and a global perspective. Sabrina’s guide is a “best of the Web” resource that encompasses search engines, portals, government sponsored open source databases, alerts, data archives, publisher specific services and applications. All of her recommendations are accompanied by links to trusted content targeted sources that are produced by top media and publishing companies, business, government, academe, IGOs and NGOs.

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