Friday, May 20, 2016

Gone already.  I wanted this for our Ethical Hacking students and for the Computer Security club.
From the can-the-skids-be-far-behind dept.
Joseph Cox reports that “Phineas Fisher,” the anonymous individual also known as HackBack and GammaGroupPR, and who is reportedly responsible for the hack on Hacking Team, has released a tutorial video showing others how to attack police sites.  I imagine the tutorial will not be up for long, but…
In this case, Phineas Fisher targeted a website of Sindicat De Mossos d’Esquadra (SME), or the Catalan police union.  The data obtained, which was dumped by the hacker, appears to include names, bank details, and more personal details on police officers.
Most of the information, Phineas Fisher writes in the video’s description, is essentially public, but can be used to connect an officer to their badge number.  The hacker also claimed to have temporarily defaced the police union’s Twitter account.
Read more on Motherboard.

I thought the FBI only shared this if police departments denied that it existed. 
Julia Marsh reports:
The New York Civil Liberties Union is suing the NYPD for information because of privacy concerns over portable cell phone tracking devices called “Stingrays.”
In response to a previous request the NYPD has already said that cops have used Stingrays over 1,000 times since 2008 for investigations into robberies, drug cases and other legal matters.
The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday, says the NYPD has no written policy governing the use of the “controversial, military grade [Really?  Bob] technology” that has the “potential to implicate the privacy of countless innocent New Yorkers.”
Read more on NY Post.

If we cut targeted advertising, do we also drop the search for Child Porn?
Lawsuit claims Facebook illegally scanned private messages
Facebook may have violated federal privacy laws by scanning private messages, according to a lawsuit certified for class action yesterday in Northern California District Court.  The allegations center around Facebook's practice of scanning and logging URLs sent through the site's private messaging system.  Those scans serve a number of purposes, including anti-malware protection and industry-standard searches for child pornography, but may also be used for marketing purposes.
The plaintiffs allege that Facebook routinely scans those URLs for advertising and other user-targeting data — and claim that by maintaining those records in a searchable form, Facebook is violating both the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California Invasion of Privacy Act.  Facebook disputes that private messages are scanned in bulk, and maintains the URL data is anonymized and only used in aggregate form.

An impartial record?  Makes sense to me. 
Federal Judge Says Internet Archive's Wayback Machine A Perfectly Legitimate Source Of Evidence
Those of us who dwell on the internet already know the Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine" is a useful source of evidence.  For one, it showed that the bogus non-disparagement clause KlearGear used to go after an unhappy customer wasn't even in place when the customer ordered the product that never arrived.
It's useful to have ways of preserving web pages the way they are when we come across them, rather than the way some people would prefer we remember them, after vanishing away troublesome posts, policies, etc. performs the same function. Screenshots are also useful, although tougher to verify by third parties.
So, it's heartening to see a federal judge arrive at the same conclusion, as Stephen Bykowski of the Trademark and Copyright Law blog reports.
The potential uses of the Wayback Machine in IP litigation are powerful and diverse.  Historical versions of an opposing party’s website could contain useful admissions or, in the case of patent disputes, invalidating prior art.  Date-stamped websites can also contain proof of past infringing use of copyrighted or trademarked content.
The latter example is exactly what happened in the case Marten Transport v. PlatForm Advertising, an ongoing case in the District of Kansas.  The plaintiff, a trucking company, brought a trademark infringement suit against the defendant, a truck driver job posting website, alleging unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s trademark on the defendant’s website.  To prove the defendant’s use of the trademark, the plaintiff intended to introduce at trial screenshots of defendant’s website taken from the Wayback Machine, along with authenticating deposition testimony from an employee of the Internet Archive.
The defendant tried to argue that the Internet Archive's pages weren't admissible because the Wayback Machine doesn't capture everything on the page or update every page from a website on the same date.  The judge, after receiving testimony from an Internet Archive employee, disagreed.  He found the site to a credible source of preserved evidence -- not just because it captures (for the most part) sites as they were on relevant dates but, more importantly, it does nothing to alter the purity of the preserved evidence.
[T]he fact that the Wayback Machine doesn’t capture everything that was on those sites does not bear on whether the things that were captured were in fact on those sites.  There is no suggestion or evidence … that the Wayback Machine ever adds material to sites.
Further, the judge noted that the archived pages were from the defendant's own website and he'd offered no explanation as to why pages from his own site shouldn't be considered as evidence of alleged infringement.
It's nice to know that what many of us have considered an independently-verifiable source of evidence is also acceptable in federal courts.  It's more than just a handy way to preserve idiotic statements and potentially-illegal customer service policies.  It's also a resource for litigants who might find their opponents performing digital cleanups after a visit from a process server.

Is this the “Ping” or the “Pong?”  I seem to have lost count. 
Senators introduce bill to block expansion of FBI hacking authority
A small group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill Thursday that would block a pending judicial rule change allowing U.S. judges to issue search warrants for remote access to computers in any jurisdiction, even overseas, arguing the change would expand the FBI’s hacking authority.
The one-page legislation from Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Republican Senator Rand Paul would undo the change, adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in a private vote last month and without congressional involvement, to procedural rules governing the court system.

Tech Savvy: $127 Billion in Drone-Powered Business Applications
The commercial applications of drones: Big consulting firms don’t invest in little markets.  So when a major player, like PwC, establishes a new global center of excellence around an emerging technology, like drones, it’s probably worth swooping in for a look.
If you do, you’ll find a new PwC report that pegs the commercial applications of “drone powered solutions” at more than $127 billion.  That’s the current value of the business and labor — in sectors including infrastructure, transport, insurance, media and entertainment, telecommunication, agriculture, security, and mining — that could be supplanted by drone technology in the coming years.

Perspective.  Engineering is the way to world domination?
Google's Tensor Processing Unit could advance Moore's Law 7 years into the future
   “TPUs deliver an order of magnitude higher performance per watt than all commercially available GPUs and FPGA,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai during the company’s I/O developer conference on Wednesday.
TPUs have been a closely guarded secret of Google, but Pichai said the chips powered the AlphaGo computer that beat Lee Sedol, the world champion in the incredibly complicated game called Go.
Pichai didn’t go into details of the Tensor Processing Unit but the company did disclose a little more information in a blog posted on the same day as Pichai’s revelation. 

For the first time, Google beat Apple in PC sales — and that's really bad news for Microsoft
Today, two very important things happened for the future of the PC as we know it. 
First: For the first time ever, low-cost Google Chromebook laptops outsold Apple's Macs during the most recent quarter, analyst firm IDC tells The Verge.
   Second: those same Google Chromebooks are getting full access to Android's Google Play store, opening the door for those laptops to run a significant portion of the 1.5 million Android apps out in the wild.

I may make my students create videos.
theLearnia Offers a Good Way to Create Video Lessons
theLearnia is a free service that I reviewed about four years ago when it was primarily a social network built around video lessons.  This week I took another look at theLearnia and learned that the site is now focused on helping teachers create video-based lessons.
On theLearnia you can create video lessons up to fifteen minutes in length.  Your video lessons can be simple whiteboard style instructional videos or they can be videos based on slides that you either create on theLearnia or upload as PowerPoint files.  I gave the service a try this afternoon.  I simply uploaded a set of PowerPoint slides then hit the record button to narrate what was shown on my slides.  theLearnia also provides tools for drawing on top of your slides and or writing additional text.  Videos created on theLearnia are hosted for free and you can share your videos through typical social media channels and or by embedding your video into your blog or website.  You can see my test video here.
theLearnia could be a good way for teachers who already have a bunch of PowerPoint slides to turn those slides into flipped video lessons.

Perhaps, instead of a university Blog…
How to Easily Start an Internet Radio Station – for Free!
   While you can start your own TV channel with YouTube, or launch a podcast and make it available on platforms like iTunes or Audioboom, setting up an actual Internet radio station is a bit tougher.
In fact, it could be argued that it might be slightly easier to turn a Raspberry Pi into an FM transmitter and broadcast that way (although be aware it may be illegal to do so in your territory).

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