Saturday, April 16, 2016

For my Computer Security students.  Sounds like it was written by a “Game of Thrones” fan, but true none the less. 
Paper – OPM Demonstrated that Antiquated Security Practices Harm National Security
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on
“In this digital age, information is secured, coveted, and exfiltrated by nation states, hacktivists, and ambitious actors because, now more than ever, knowledge is power.  Modern needs dictate that only authorized users know information, that authorized users can access information instantaneously, and that the integrity of information is certain.  In opposition to these aspirations, an incessant tide of cybersecurity threats, spread across an unfathomably complex cyber-threat landscape, batter the defenses a round any valuable store of information.  Adversaries seek to discern and exploit any minute vulnerability that could compromise the defenses and expose the wealth of knowledge inside.  Information security professionals often view convenience and security as a tug-o-war over controls and resources.  A fickle balance between convenience and security actually exists for the organizations with the knowledge to pursue it and vigilance to adapt their defenses to emerging changes in the threat landscape.  The increasing annual number of successful breaches indicates that organizations and governments alike are not correctly balancing security with convenience due to antiquated systems and decades of poor security practices.  If information is seen as a treasure hoard, then the cybersecurity infrastructure around it is the great fortress that is built by its people, founded on their technology, and maintained by their security practices.  The employment of reliable technology, superlative security practices, and knowledgeable people culminates in a multilayered, integrated defense that is resilient to threats.  The majority of in bound threats are thereby thwarted against its ramparts and the impact of the few successful breaches is minimized to acceptable losses.  No adversary or persistent attack compromises either the cybersecurity infrastructure or the integrity of the information secured within.”

Government trash talk? 
Ethan Blevins writes:
This morning, Judge Beth Andrus held a hearing to determine whether inspections of Seattle residents’ garbage violates the Washington Constitution’s right to privacy.  We relied on a Washington Supreme Court case that said government agents cannot sift through garbage cans without a warrant.  That includes garbage collectors.  They have an invitation to collect–not to inspect.
The City spent much of the argument trying to backpedal from the clear language of the law being challenged.
[A line from the article: 
Inadvertent discovery of prohibited items that a garbage collector happens upon in the course of their work might not violate the Washington Constitution; a deliberate hunt for pizza crusts and brussel sprouts surely does.

This sounds important.  The next dimension is time.  If security is dropped for months, the implications are clear.  What if security fails for only a few hours? 
As reported on the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, data breach claims involving customer data can present an ever-increasing risk for companies across all industries.  A recent case illustrates efforts to recover the costs associated with such claims.  A panel of the Fourth Circuit confirmed that general liability policies can afford coverage for cyber-related liabilities, and ruled that an insurer had to pay attorneys’ fees to defend the policyholder in class action litigation in Travelers Indemnity Company v. Portal Healthcare Solutions, No. 14-1944Syed Ahmad, a partner in the Hunton & Williams LLP insurance practice, was quoted in a Law360 article concerning the importance of this decision.
Read more on on Hunton & Williams Privacy & Information Security Law Blog.
[From the article:  
In the Portal case, the specific issue was whether the mere online availability of sensitive information constitutes “publication” for purposes of triggering an insurance policy’s personal or advertising injury coverage and its corresponding duty to defend.  The appellate court ruled it does and adopted the district court’s reasoning that “[p]ublication occurs when information is ‘placed before the public,’ not when a member of the public reads the information placed before it.”

What works and why.
The Rise of WhatsApp in Brazil Is About More than Just Messaging
For most people in Brazil, texting was never truly accessible.  The cost of SMS in the country was as much as 55 times more than in North America and far too expensive for most residents.  So when the messaging service WhatsApp entered the market, in 2009, allowing users to send messages to anyone for free and regardless of their mobile carrier, people gravitated toward the platform.  Today, 96% of Brazilians with access to a smartphone use WhatsApp as their primary method of communication.

Interesting.  Imagine the lobbyists who would have apoplexy if we tried this in the US. 
India's Audacious Plan to Bring Digital Banking to 1.2 Billion People
India is trying to yank its cash-based economy into the 21st century.
But how do you get 1.2 billion people, many of whom have never seen a bank or opened an account, to send digital payments to each other?
The government's answer is an effort it has named the Unified Payment Interface.  Debuting Monday, it's a system designed to make transferring and receiving money as easy as exchanging e-mail or text messages.
   India is hoping to replicate the success of a similar digital-payments scheme in Kenya.  Introduced in 2007, Safaricom's M-PESA system lets people send and receive money via mobile phones.  What's impressive is the sheer number of people doing so: 22 million, or half the African country's population.  India's system is designed to work at a more basic level, with payments flowing between mobile, banking and other networks.

Not sure this is the best use of time and treasure, but no doubt someone does.
USDA Local Food Directories: National Farmers Market Directory
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on
Updated April 15, 2016 – The Farmers Market Directory lists markets that feature two or more farm vendors selling agricultural products directly to customers at a common, recurrent physical location.  Maintained by the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Directory is designed to provide customers with convenient access to information about farmers market listings to include: market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, accepted forms of payment, and more.  Visit our Local Food Directories page to find other operations offering locally grown products.  If you are a market manager visit our Local Food Directory Registration & Update page to add or update a market listing.  An API is available for developers to integrate this data into other applications.”

It can’t hurt.
Interest in computer science education is growing rapidly; even the President of the United States has spoken of the importance of giving every student an opportunity to learn computer science.  Google has been a supportive partner in these efforts by developing high-quality learning programs, educational tools and resources to advance new approaches in computer science education.  To make it easier for all students and educators to access this information, today we’re launching a CS EDU website that specifically outlines our initiatives in CS education.

For my collection of tools & techniques.
5+ Best Sites & Apps to Find, Create, or Edit the Perfect GIF

How to Make an Infographic for Free with PowerPoint

Weekly amusement and amazement. 
Hack Education Weekly News
   The Pacific Standard on “The Teen Sexting Overcorrection”: “Last week, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill that would have made sexting among teenagers a misdemeanor crime.  As Colorado law currently stands, minors who sext can technically be charged with felony child pornography, which carries a mandatory sex offender registration, even when the act is consensual.  Lawmakers, it seems, aren’t quite sure how to respond to libidinous teens in the digital age.”
   Via Inside Higher Ed: “Graduates of an online program at George Washington U sue the institution, saying they paid more to receive a worse experience than face-to-face students.”
   Via Salon: “California school district votes to allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom.” What could possibly go wrong?! [California?  Bob] 
   Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Tenured Professor Says Blog Post Cost Him His Job.”
   Via The Wall Street Journal: “States Where Day Care Costs More Than College.” [Yes, Colorado too  Bob] 

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