Wednesday, May 18, 2016

“Well of course I locked the barn door.  Then I carefully hung the key right there next to the lock.  And yet, someone stole all my horses!”
Blue Ridge Surgery Center, an affiliate of Surgical Care Affiliates, has posted a breach notification to patients:
On March 17, 2016, BRSC learned that an employee’s encrypted work laptop had been stolen during a break-in at the employee’s residence that same day.  The employee reported the theft to law enforcement and we immediately began our own investigation.  Our investigation determined that the password was with the laptop at the time of the theft, and the laptop contained email files that may have included patients’ names, addresses, treatment information and health insurers’ names, identification numbers and in some instances, Social Security numbers.
We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our patients.  To help prevent something like this from happening in the future, we have re-enforced training with all of our employees regarding securing passwords.
The incident is not yet up on HHS’s public breach tool and the total number affected has not yet been disclosed.
But how frustrating – to remember to deploy encryption and then to leave the password with the device.  Of course, we don’t know if the level of encryption was sufficient to offer any safe harbor under state laws or HITECH (and a risk assessment would still need to be conducted), but yeah, re-train employees regularly….

What really happen here?  Was the teacher “hacked” or did the student find or guess her password?  
AP reports:
A junior high school student reportedly hacked into the email system of Gilbert Public Schools and sent inappropriate messages to other students.
District officials said the Highland Junior High student got access to the teacher’s login information and emailed messages to other students over the weekend.
Read more on The Arizona Republic.
And the FBI was called in…… why?  Well, it turns out that the student reportedly sent x-rated images (aka porn).
[From the Arizona Republic article: 
I have reported the crime to the Mesa Police Department and also the FBI since they are the ones who handle all internet fraud.

Have you been using LinkedIn for four or five years?  
Lorenzo Franceschai-Bicchierai reports:
A hacker is trying to sell the account information, including emails and passwords, of 117 million LinkedIn users.
The hacker, who goes by the name “Peace,” told Motherboard that the data was stolen during the LinkedIn breach of 2012.  At the time, only around 6.5 million encrypted passwords were posted online, and LinkedIn never clarified how many users were affected by that breach.
Turns out it was much worse than anybody thought.
Both Peace and the one of the people behind LeakedSource said that there are 167 million accounts in the hacked database.  Of those, around 117 million have both emails and encrypted passwords.
Read more on Motherboard.

…for targeting missiles? 
MIT and Oxford researchers document availability of Twitter user location data
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on
Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office May 17, 2016: “Researchers at MIT and Oxford University have shown that the location stamps on just a handful of Twitter posts — as few as eight over the course of a single day — can be enough to disclose the addresses of the poster’s home and workplace to a relatively low-tech snooper.  The tweets themselves might be otherwise innocuous — links to funny videos, say, or comments on the news.  The location information comes from geographic coordinates automatically associated with the tweets.  Twitter’s location-reporting service is off by default, but many Twitter users choose to activate it.  The new study is part of a more general project at MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative to help raise awareness about just how much privacy people may be giving up when they use social media.”
·         Note – please see to manage settings and privacy.

Speaking of targeting missiles…
When to Trust Robots with Decisions, and When Not To

Because we need more devices listening to everything we say? 
Google to Introduce Its Voice-Activated Home Device
Google will introduce its much-anticipated entry into the voice-activated home device market on Wednesday, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Named Google Home, the device is a virtual agent that answers simple questions and carries out basic tasks.  It is to be announced at Google’s annual developers’ conference in Silicon Valley.

Thinking about IT Architecture
Smartphones Rule the Internet
   In 2014, by several measures, total mobile Internet usage outpaced desktop Internet access.  In Africa and Asia, people of all ages call smartphones—not laptops—the most important device they use to go online, according to a GlobalWebIndex survey last year.  Worldwide, most people under age 34 say the same thing.
A look at the web’s most popular sites is similarly telling.  More than half of Facebook’s roughly 1.7 billion monthly users visit the site exclusively from their smartphones—that’s 894 million mobile-only users each month, up from 581 million such users last year and 341 million mobile-only users in 2014, according to the company’s latest earnings report.
Google confirmed last year that more searches come from mobile devices than computers in 10 countries, including the United States.  Over the holiday season, Amazon said more than 60 percent of shoppers used mobile.  And Wikipedia, which recently revamped the way it tracks site traffic, says it’s getting more mobile than desktop visits to its English language site.
   Last month, the audience-tracking firm Nielsen found that smartphones are the most-used medium in the United States—beating out television, radio, and desktops, even though more Americans own TVs and radios than smartphones.
“Consumers carry their phones everywhere,” said Glenn Enoch, a vice president at Nielsen, in a statement about the findings.  “High penetration plus portability and customized functionality have made them a staple of consumers’ media diet.”

(Related)  Not “feature phones”
Microsoft is selling its feature phone business to Foxconn for $350 million
Microsoft is selling its feature phone business to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn, for $350 million.
   Nokia is now planning to license its brand to a newly created company called HMD global, which will produce and sell a range of Android smartphones and tablets.
This deal will only affect Microsoft's feature phone business, which is currently still using the Nokia brand for basic phones.  Microsoft says it will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones and Windows Phone devices from partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.

Telling my students where to go?
Cyberstates 2016 Report
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on
CompTIA’s 17th annual Cyberstates is the definitive source for state-by-state analysis of the U.S. information technology industry and the tech workforce.  The report quantifies the size and scope of the tech sector and tech occupations across multiple vectors, while providing context with time-series trending, economic impact, average wages, business establishment analysis, IT jobs postings, career opportunities, gender ratios, tech patents, and more.  Moreover, Cyberstates helps to connect the dots with emerging trends.  Cloud computing, big data, automation, IoT, cybersecurity, and social technologies will continue to reshape businesses large and small, driving innovation and digital business transformation across the U.S. economy.  As with any sector-level report, there are varying interpretations of what constitutes the tech sector and the tech workforce.  Some of this variance may be attributed to the objectives of the author.  Is the goal to depict the broadest possible representation of STEM and digital economy fields, or a more narrowly defined technology subset?  Is the goal to capture all possible knowledge workers, or a more narrowly defined technology subset?  For the purposes of this report, CompTIA focuses on the more narrowly defined technology subset.  See the methodology section for details of the specific NAICS codes and SOC codes CompTIA uses in its definitions of the tech sector and the tech workforce.”

I suspect we could build a non-profit here that gave free training to the survivors of the initial challenge.  Would graduates of a program like that be just what employers want?
Coding school 42 plans to educate 10,000 students in Silicon Valley for free
   42 welcomes all students between 18 and 30. After filling out your online application, the real challenge starts.  The 42 team has created a computer science version of the Hunger Games.  They call it the swimming pool because they want to see if you can swim by throwing you into the figurative pool.  You and 1,000 others students face the same coding and logic challenges.
You only have 4 weeks, and you can code from Monday to Sunday, day and night.  After these insanely intensive 4 weeks, the best students get to study at 42.

Not sure why I should run out and buy one.
Researchers Unveil Phone That Morphs Like a Rubix Cube
   a team made up of researchers from Purdue and three English universities may have just developed the world's first Rubix Cube smartphone.  Dubbed "Cubimorph," the device has OLED touchscreens on each of its six faces and uses a hinge-mounted turntable mechanism to self-reconfigure in the user's hand.
Like a Rubix Cube, its faces are permanently connected so you can't lose one.  The reconfiguration process is automatic thanks to the motorized turntables, which receive instructions from a computer running algorithms to determine how best to configure the faces based on what the user wants to do.
The idea behind the morphable prototype is to create what its designers call "programmable matter."  The concept is similar to 3D printing, except instead of printing what you need, you shape your existing device into a form factor that can accomplish the task.

Perhaps an 8X10 foot poster in the library? 
Learn How to Use The Confusing Apostrophe With this Quick Guide
In English, theres no more confusing (and useful) punctuation mark than the apostrophe.  It let’s us shorten words.  It let’s us show ownership . It even let’s us look stupid.  Wait what?
Perhaps I should have looked at the guide below before I wrote this post, as a matter of fact…  How many incorrect (or missing) apostrophe’s can you spot in this post?

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