Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New management means people might think procedures have changed. Good time to try phishing.
Bryan Clark reports:
A finance executive fell victim to a phishing scam that saw the Los Angeles-based maker of children’s toys wire a cool $3 million to Chinese hackers.
Expertly timed during a period of corporate change, the email hit the inbox of the unnamed executive and requested a new vendor payment in the amount of $3 million to a vendor in China. Mattel, of late, has been in a period of change as new CEO Christopher Sinclair had only officially taken over after Mattel had fired his predecessor — a move that aided the con artists.
Read more on TheNextWeb.

Security is important, but not (yet) a law school class. So lawyers can tell clients their data is confidential and extremely well protected, and still admit they are “not aware” of the data stolen.
Hackers Breach Law Firms, Including Cravath Swaine and Weil Gotshal
Hackers broke into the computer networks at some of the country’s most prestigious law firms, and federal investigators are exploring whether they stole confidential information for the purpose of insider trading, according to people familiar with the matter.
… Other law firms also were breached, the people said, and hackers, in postings on the Internet, are threatening to attack more.
… Cravath said the incident, which occurred last summer, involved a “limited breach” of its systems and that the firm is “not aware that any of the information that may have been accessed has been used improperly.” The firm said its client confidentiality is sacrosanct and that it is working with law enforcement as well as outside consultants to assess its security.
… The attacks on law firms appear to show thieves scouring the digital landscape for more sophisticated types of information. Law firms are attractive targets because they hold trade secrets and other sensitive information about corporate clients, including details about undisclosed mergers and acquisitions that could be stolen for insider trading.

Clear implications for Apple? I wonder if (back when telephones were new) anyone tried to keep wiretap information away from defense lawyers?
FBI Is Pushing Back Against Judge's Order to Reveal Tor Browser Exploit
Last month, the FBI was ordered to reveal the full malware code used to hack visitors of a dark web child pornography site. The judge behind that decision, Robert J. Bryan, said it was a “fair question” to ask how exactly the FBI caught the defendant.
But the agency is pushing back. On Monday, lawyers for the Department of Justice filed a sealed motion asking the judge to reconsider, and also provided a public declaration from an FBI agent involved in the investigation.
In short, the FBI agent says that revealing the exploit used to bypass the protections offered by the Tor Browser is not necessary for the defense and their case. The defense, in previous filings, has said they want to determine whether the network investigative technique (NIT)—the FBI's term for a hacking tool—carried out additional functions beyond those authorised in the warrant.

Ignorance is bliss just ignorance. Are we looking an another political “campaign” meme?
Dark Web’s Got a Bad Rep: 7 in 10 People Want It Shut Down, Study Shows
Speculation—no matter how baseless—that online black markets for weapons helped make the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels possible hasn’t helped the reputation of the dark web’s anonymous corner of the internet. But one new study shows that even before that dubious link between online anonymity and terror attacks, global opinion on the dark web was already overwhelmingly negative.
On Tuesday, the Canadian think tank the Center for International Governance Innovation released the results of a survey of more than 24,000 individuals in 24 countries, asking their opinion of the dark web—the collection of anonymous web sites that can only be accessed via tools like the anonymity software Tor. In total, 71 percent of the respondents—and 72 percent of Americans in particular—said they believed the “dark net” should be shut down.

Perspective. Google, the phone company. Soon, the “anything digital” company?
Google Fiber Completes Triple Play By Adding Phone Service
People in cities where Google’s high-speed Fiber Internet service is available will soon be able to add another Google product to their homes: Fiber Phone.
Google announced the upcoming Internet phone service on Tuesday in a blog post. For an extra $10 per month on top of their Internet bills, Fiber Phone subscribers will get unlimited local and nationwide calling. For international calls, Google will use the same rates charged by its Google Voice Internet phone service.
Current Fiber customer plans range from free for basic service (in a limited number of cities) to $130 for TV service and a gigabit-speed Internet connection.
… Further piggybacking off of Google Voice, Fiber Phone will transcribe voicemails and send the text via email or as a text message. Users will also have the option to forward incoming calls from a Fiber Phone number to their cellphones when away from home.

Will the next government in China eventually look back at this as a really bad move?
China Seeks More Legal Muscle to Block Foreign Websites
China is considering new Internet rules that would pressure service providers to cut off access to foreign websites, adding to the government’s growing legal framework bolstering its control of cyberspace.
… If fully implemented, the regulations would effectively wall off the world’s most populous country from vast swaths of the Internet. Other, similar rules have been weakly enforced in the past, but with Chinese President Xi Jinping dramatically tightening political controls, it is unclear how meaningful the changes would be, analysts said.

Perspective. It should be interesting to see if my students agree.
What’s trending in the IoT space
… we decided to create an easy to read overview for others to get up to speed on this trending space of IoT. Here is our full report; the following is a summary of what we learned.
Our view is that there are five major battlegrounds for IoT and hardware innovation and market growth in the consumer space: connected homes, wearables, healthcare, robotics and drones and transportation.

For history geeks? Try searching for “computer”
A Mapped & Searchable Archive of American Newspapers
The U.S. News Map is a great resource produced by Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. The U.S. New Map is an archive of American newspapers printed between 1836 and 1925. You can search the archive by entering a keyword or phrase. The results of your search will be displayed on an interactive map. Click on any of the markers on the map and you'll be shown a list of newspaper articles related to your search term. Click on a listed article to read it on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website.
The U.S. News Map has a neat playback feature that you can use to see the frequency with which a term or topic appeared in newspapers between 1836 and 1925. That playback feature could be a nice way to show students developments in technology. For example, search the term "telephone" and you'll see peaks and valleys in the frequency with which articles were written about telephones.

Shakespeare 2.0?
An AI's Novella Passes First Round of Japanese Literary Contest
… The novella, The Day a Computer Writes a Novel, was co-written and edited by a team of humans. The story itself follows a computer program as it recognizes its talent for writing and leaves behind its preprogrammed duties.

Perhaps the university could become more “social?”
The Social Intranet Insights on Managing and Sharing Knowledge Internally
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Mar 29, 2016
IBM Center for the Business of Government – The Social Intranet: Insights on Managing and Sharing Knowledge Internally, March 2016: “Corporate America increasingly relies on social intranets to leverage employees’ knowledge and foster collaboration in ways that speed up work and reduce costs. While much of the federal government lags behind, some agencies are pioneers in the internal use of social media tools. What lessons and effective practices do they have to offer other agencies? “Social intranets,” Dr. Mergel writes, “are in-house social networks that use technologies—such as automated newsfeeds, wikis, chats, or blogs—to create engagement opportunities among employees.” They also include the use of internal profile pages that help people identify expertise and interest (similar to Facebook or LinkedIn profiles), and those that are used in combination with other social intranet tools such as online communities or newsfeeds. The report documents four case studies of government use of social intranets—two federal government agencies (the Department of State and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and two cross-agency networks (the U.S. Intelligence Community and the Government of Canada.”

Smarter than the cellphone that looks like a gun.
Man invents gun that looks exactly like a cell phone
Kirk Kjellberg from Minnesota says he came up with the "Ideal Conceal" pocket gun, designed to look identical to a smartphone, after a little boy pointed out Kjellberg's own larger, not-so-concealed gun at a restaurant.
… It hasn't even hit the market yet, and already the double barrelled .380 derringer-style cell phone look-alike is triggering a lot of debate on social media.
While Kjellberg says he already has 4,000 orders for "Ideal Conceal," a lot of people are calling the smartphone weapon a dumb idea.

Could be something I'll sic my students on.
Zaption Expands Free Options for Creating Flipped Lessons
Zaption is a popular tool for creating video-based lessons and quizzes. The service operates on a freemium model in which they offer a mix of free and paid options. Last week Zaption announced that the free options have been expanded. Teachers can now utilize all of the video lesson creation tools that Zaption offers. Those tools include adding required questions that students must answer before moving forward in a video lesson. The other enhancement to the free version of Zaption is the removal of the limitation on the number of viewers your lessons can have.
To create a quiz on Zaption you start by creating a "tour" in your account. A tour is a combination of videos, images, and text arranged into a sequence. To add a video to a tour you can search and select one within Zaption. Zaption pulls videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. After choosing your video, start watching it then pause it when you want to add a question. You can add questions in the form of multiple choice, open response, or check box response. When students watch the video they will see your questions appear in the context in which you set them.
Zaption can be a great tool for creating flipped lessons to share with your students. Students do not have to have Zaption accounts in order to use the tours that you create. The free version of the service used to only allow only one video per tour/ lesson, but it now allows you to include multiple videos within a lesson/ tour.

My students need something to help with citations.
By Search Request - Bibliography Tools for Students
Over the weekend I was looking at the Google Analytics for and noticed that last week one of the most frequently searched terms that directed people to this blog is "bibliography generators." I took that as a clue that more than a few people are interested in that topic. To that end, here are the tools that I frequently recommend for creating bibliographies. As with any tool that automates a process, teach your students to check the accuracy of the citations created by any of these tools.
For Google Docs users the EasyBib Bibliography Creator is my go-to tool for creating bibliographies. The EasyBib Bibliography Creator makes it easy to properly cite resources and format a bibliography in APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Click here for directions for the process of using this add-on.
RefMe is currently my favorite tool for creating bibliographies outside of the Google Docs environment. RefMe offers browser extensions, a free Android, and a free iPad app for saving resources and generating bibliographies from your collection of resources. Watch my video embedded below to learn more about how to use RefMe in your web browser.

Also for my students.
Tap to Learn Grammar
Tap to Learn produces a bunch of educational apps for Android and iOS. The Tap to Learn Grammar app for Android offers more than 200 self-paced grammar lessons. The lessons don't have videos embedded in them, but there are links to external videos hosted on YouTube. After working through a lesson students can test their new skills in a series of quizzes. Instant feedback is provided in the skills quizzes within Tap to Learn Grammar. The free app records and tracks students' progress for them.

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