Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14 is International Pi Day. 3/14 at 1:59 is the Pi minute. (See the end of this post.)

For my Computer Security students.
Impressions on the rate of incidents based on headlines can be misleading. Because more media outlets now report on incidents doesn’t mean that the actual rate of incidents has increased over years, as Robert Lemos reports:
In April 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy responded to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from USA Today by releasing information on more than 1,100 cyber-security incidents that occurred over four years. While the data was not detailed—only consisting of seven variables, two of which had been redacted—there was enough information for researchers from Stanford University to come to a surprising conclusion: The rate of security incidents decreased over time. In other words, while breaches have regularly made headlines, the DOE as a whole was seeing fewer attacks.
Read more on eWEEK. This wasn’t only the only analysis/study that supports the hypothesis that incidents have not decreased and malware-related incidents are actually decreasing. Lemos mentions some other studies in the article.

Cory Doctorow often gets it right.
Obama: cryptographers who don't believe in magic ponies are "fetishists," "absolutists"
Obama's SXSW appearance included the president's stupidest-ever remarks on cryptography: he characterized cryptographers' insistence that there is no way to make working cryptography that stops working when the government needs it to as "phone fetishizing," as opposed to, you know, reality.
In a rhetorical move that he would have flunked his U Chicago law students for, Obama described a landscape with two edges: "Strong crypto" and "No crypto" and declared that in the middle was a reasonable territory in which crypto could strong sometimes and disappear the rest of the time.
This is like the territory in which you are "Pregnant" or "Not pregnant" where, in between, you are "a little bit pregnant"
… He focused his argument on the desirability of having crypto that worked in this impossible way, another cheap rhetorical trick. Wanting it badly isn't enough.

Another frustration for the FBI.
Andy of TorrentFreak reports on a case in Florida where law enforcement attempted to obtain logs from Private Internet Access vpn, only to be told that no, they really don’t log. The details were incorporated in a criminal complaint (here). Andy quotes the relevant part:
“During the course of the investigation, subpoenas and search warrants have been directed to various companies in an attempt to identify the internet protocol (IP) address from where the email messages are being sent,” the complaint reads.
“All of the responses from [email provider] 1&1, Facebook, Twitter, and Tracfone have been traced by IP address back to a company named London Trust Media [doing business as]”
A subpoena was sent to London Trust Media and the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States,” the FBI’s complaint reads.
Read more on TorrentFreak.
[From the article:
However, some VPN companies carry extensive logs which mean that when put under pressure they are able to link a user’s account to specific online activity.
This kind of setup is clearly self-defeating from a privacy perspective so in recent years it has become common for VPN providers to disclose their logging practices, as detailed in our annual report, for example.
But still, the big question remains: how can a prospective customer be sure that their VPN provider really keeps no logs?

Perspective. “Sometimes a phone is much more than a phone.” Sigmund Freud?
The Second Smartphone Revolution
The first 2.5bn smartphones brought us Instagram, Snapchat, Uber, Whatsapp, Kik, Venmo, Duolingo, and most importantly, drove the big web apps to build world class mobile apps and move their userbases from web to mobile. But, if you stare at the top 200 non-game mobile apps in the US (and most of the western hemisphere) you will see that the list doesn’t look that different than the top 200 websites. The mobile revolution from 2007 to 2015 in the west was more about how we accessed the internet than what apps we used, with some notable and important exceptions.
But the next 2.5bn people to adopt smartphones may turn out to be a different story. They will mostly live outside the developed and wealthy parts of the world and they will look to their smartphones to deliver essential services that they have not been receiving at all – from the web or from the offline world. I am thinking about financial services, healthcare services, educational services, transportation services, and the like. Stuff that matters a bit more than seeing where you friends had a fun time last night or what it looks like when you faceswap with your sister.

I think this infographic is a bit behind the times. My students report many more Apps and processes, but not much penetration (only a few have each new App)
How ‘Smart’ Will Your Home be in the Near Future?

Just in case someone asks.
28 facts about pi that you probably didn't know
… The first million decimal places of pi consist of 99,959 zeros, 99,758 ones, 100,026 twos, 100,229 threes, 100,230 fours, 100,359 fives, 99,548 sixes, 99,800 sevens, 99,985 eights and 100,106 nines.
… The first six digits of pi (314159) appear in order at least six times among the first 10 million decimal places of pi.
… At position 763 there are six nines in a row, which is known as the Feynman Point.

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