Saturday, May 14, 2016

A most interesting question.  It may be a country sponsoring or executing these attacks, or it may be a criminal organization.  Would that make a difference?  Why would SWIFT be special? 
Are Attacks Against SWIFT Acts of Cyberwar?
   In a report posted today, BAE Systems warns of the difficulty in making positive attribution to cyber attacks.  Nevertheless, it gives enough clues for any reader to point the finger ultimately at North Korea.  For example, BAE Systems first suggests a very strong likelihood that the same group is behind both the Bangladeshi and Vietnam breaches using malware based on msoutc.exe.  This it then links to 'a larger toolkit described in US-CERT Alert TA14-353A.'

(Related) Is this more or less critical than a bank?
German Spy Service Says Russia Behind Major Cyber Attacks
Germany's domestic secret service said Friday it had evidence that Russia was behind a series of cyber attacks, including one that targeted the German parliament last year.
The operations cited by the BfV intelligence agency ranged from an aggressive attack called Sofacy or APT 28 that hit NATO members and knocked French TV station TV5Monde off air, to a hacking campaign called Sandstorm that brought down part of Ukraine's power grid last year.  

This could get strange.  I don’t have to give them my password or tell them which of the hundreds of social media tools I use.  How will they determine which are mine and which belong to students who create a post in my name? 
The government has released a first-ever social media policy for background investigations, which will scan what applicants have posted on Facebook, Twitter and other sites to determine their trustworthiness.  Read the full story on the Washington Post, and see the policy document.

Why would they need to do this?  Does it make them feel more James Bond-like? 
Philly Police Admit They Disguised a Spy Truck as a Google Streetview Car
The Philadelphia Police Department admitted today that a mysterious unmarked license plate surveillance truck disguised as a Google Maps vehicle, which Motherboard first reported on this morning, is its own.
In an emailed statement, a department spokesperson confirmed:
“We have been informed that this unmarked vehicle belongs to the police department; however, the placing of any particular decal on the vehicle was not approved through any chain of command.  With that being said, once this was brought to our attention, it was ordered that the decals be removed immediately.”
   “For one, I would think it's highly illegal to have Google's markings on there, but that's another issue entirely,” Worf said.  “But it boils down to the fact that most people at first glance wouldn't recognize an ALPR system if they saw it, and for those that do, they likely wouldn't know what Google would be doing with one.
“Frankly, what I don't get is why they felt a need to hide something like this. It certainly makes one question the motive for doing so," he added.
“It’s certainly concerning if the city of Philadelphia is running mass surveillance and going out of its way to mislead people,” said Dave Maass, a former journalist and researcher at the nonprofit advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Will this give them a significant ‘competitive advantage?’
Large law firm licenses IBM Watson technology
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on
[Note – not affiliations whatsoever – just interesting announcement] – “ROSS Intelligence is proud to announce that AmLaw100 law firm BakerHostetler has agreed to retain use of ROSS Intelligence’s artificial intelligence legal research product, ROSS Intelligence Co-Founder Andrew Arruda officially announced the partnership at Vanderbilt Law School’s “Watson, Esq.” conference in Nashville, Tennessee in April.  BakerHostetler will license ROSS for use in its Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights team.  The ROSS platform is built upon Watson, IBM’s cognitive computer.  With the support of Watson’s cognitive computing and natural language processing capabilities, lawyers ask ROSS their research question in natural language, as they would a person, then ROSS reads through the law, gathers evidence, draws inferences and returns highly relevant, evidence-based candidate answers.  ROSS also monitors the law around the clock to notify users of new court decisions that can affect a case.  The program continually learns from the lawyers who use it to bring back better results each time…”

Obama will need to send in the Army.  Imagine all the government agencies that could be replaced by contractors doing their job better and cheaper!  Government would become a Libertarian dream. 
Phoenix airport mulling use of contractor instead of TSA
Phoenix’s busiest airport could cut ties with the TSA in the wake of a baggage-screening system breakdown that caused travelers a massive luggage delay, city officials said Friday.
Deborah Ostreicher, the city’s assistant aviation director, said Thursday’s chaos at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was the latest in a growing list of frustrations with the Transportation Security Administration.
She also cited long wait times and a lack of a TSA PreCheck process.
   Calling the current level of service “unacceptable,” Ostreicher said officials are reviewing several options to improve things for travelers.
“One of those options is to utilize a contractor to provide security as some other airports have done,” Ostreicher said in a statement.
Phoenix is not alone.  The world’s busiest airport in Atlanta and the New York/New Jersey region’s airports are also scrutinizing their relationship with TSA.

This is actually for my Architecture class.  If they can’t build it secure, no one will trust it.
Privacy fears 'deterring' US web users from online shopping
Almost half of American households with at least one internet user have been "deterred" from online activity recently because of privacy or security concerns, a survey has said.
Their concerns had stopped them either using online banking or shopping or posting on social media, the survey by a Department of Commerce agency said.
The study asked 41,000 households about their activity in the past 12 months.
A US official said mistrust about privacy was causing "chilling effects".
The agency that carried out the study, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), called for encryption and security to be improved.
[You might find it here, I couldn’t: 

If I program this right, I can flunk all my students at the push of a button!
Amazon Rolls Out $20 Programmable Dash Button For IoT Tinkering, Promptly Sells Out
We’ve all seen Amazon’s Dash buttons; the little Wi-Fi connected devices that allow you to quickly reorder products without even having to visit Amazon’s website.
   The AWS IoT Button isn’t meant for restocking your pantry, bathroom or laundry room — instead, it’s destined to integrate into your digital life to automate tasks.
   If you’d like to learn more about AWS IoT Button, Amazon has a handy step-by-step tutorial that walks you through setting up the device and integrating it into your workflow.  But first of all, you’ll have to get your hands on one, which at this time is unfortunately a bit hard to do.  Amazon has already sold out of the $20 device after less than a day on the market.
Amazon likely didn’t realize what a hot commodity it had on its hands and is going to need to crank up the production numbers pronto to appease tech fiends that are quickly embracing the IoT movement.

Just in time for our 3D Printing class.  (Includes “Build Your Own Printer” links)
5 of the Coolest 3D Printed Arduino Projects

Another silly Saturday.
Hack Education Weekly News
   Trump’s presidential campaign co-chair describes The Donald’s higher education platform: “getting government out of student lending, requiring colleges to share in risk of loans, discouraging borrowing by liberal arts majors and moving OCR to Justice Department.”
   “Frustrated with how colleges have handled their claims of sexual abuse, more students are turning to social media to publicize their cases,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
   Famed tech startup accelerator program Y Combinator is launching HARC, the Human Advancement Research Community.  The mission is to copy the old Xerox PARC model and to “ensure human wisdom exceeds human power, by inventing and freely sharing ideas and technology that allow all humans to see further and understand more deeply.”
   Dropbox’s new education tier has most of its business features for a third of the price,” says The Next Web.

Wally illustrates perfect (circular) logic.

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