Thursday, June 16, 2016

Instead of Russia or in addition to?  Probably the latter.
Hacker claims credit for DNC breach, posts stolen files online
A hacker claiming responsibility for the recent data breach of the Democractic National Committee apparently has posted the stolen files online.

The hacker, who goes by the name Guccifer 2.0, leaked the files on Wednesday following a breach of DNC computers that has been blamed on Russian hackers.  
The posted files include a 231-page dossier containing opposition research on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.  They also include documents concerning expected Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s election strategy, items on U.S. foreign policy, and donor lists.
   Guccifer 2.0 said the rest of the files have been sent to Wikileaks for posting.
   CrowdStrike still stands by its findings that Russian government hackers were involved.  The company is working to verify the documents' authenticity and origin and said the Guccifer 2.0 postings could be part of a disinformation campaign.

This just sounds wrong.  And apparently someone panicked.  (Maybe a reporter?)
Marcus Weisgerber reports:
The U.S. Air Force has lost records concerning 100,000 investigations into everything from workplace disputes to fraud.
A database that hosts files from the Air Force’s inspector general and legislative liaison divisions became corrupted last month, destroying data created between 2004 and now, service officials said.  Neither the Air Force nor Lockheed Martin, the defense firm that runs the database, could say why it became corrupted or whether they’ll be able to recover the information.
Read more on DefenseOne.
So you’re probably wondering, as I was, “Wait. Isn’t there a backup somewhere?”  The answer seems to be that there is no one complete backup.  Why, I have no damned idea, but they report:
It’s possible that some data is backed up at local bases where investigations originated.
Update: Data recovered.
[From the update:
After aggressively leveraging all vendor and department capabilities, the Air Force made a full recovery of the Automated Case Tracking System database, the Air Force inspector general system of record for all records related to IG complaints, investigations and appeals.
Although the brief data loss caused some delays in processing IG inquiries, the recovery allows the service to move forward with minimal impact.
The Air Force has no technical indicators to believe that the loss was the result of any malicious activity.

I’m gonna dig out my Phantom of the Opera mask.
FBI has 411 million photos in its facial recognition system, and a federal watchdog isn't happy
The FBI has amassed more than 411 million photos as part of its vast facial recognition database, according to a government watchdog -- which in a new report criticized the system for its lack of safeguards and protections.
That includes millions of individuals' driving license photos, as well as photos of foreigners applying for visas, and criminal mugshots.
But the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized the FBI in a new report, published Wednesday, saying that the agency had not properly tested the system or balanced civil liberties and privacy.

This should be great for my students who can’t write worth a darn!
5 Steps You Should Take to Prepare for Facebook's 'All Video' Future
The written word is on its deathbed, croaking its last breath in outmoded syllables and syntax, or so Facebook would have us think.
The social media giant’s vice president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) inspired grunts, groans, sad faces and sighs throughout the publishing industry when she boldly predicted that the site would be “probably all video” within the next five years.
   five basic steps businesses can take when creating video for Facebook and the web:
1. Accept that video is the future and act accordingly.
2. Know what makes compelling video.
3. Get the right tools.
4. Make it fast and informative.
5. Track your impact.

This is how Walmart “negotiates” with their product vendors, why not use the same tactics with their service vendors?  Any opportunity here?  Write a credit App for local banks? 
Walmart using customers as ‘leverage,’ Visa says as battle over credit card fees heats up
Visa is ratcheting up a battle with Walmart over credit card fees by exposing elements of private negotiations between the pair, a move the credit card company says was prompted by Walmart’s announcement that it will stop accepting Visa cards at its Canadian stores beginning next month.
In an open letter to cardholders and other merchants to be published Thursday, including in the National Post, Visa says the retail giant has demanded rates that are even lower than what the credit card company charges charities and schools.

Who needs this much info?  Amusement parks?  Police & Fire Departments? 
IBM, The Weather Company use machine learning to predict impact of weather
The Weather Company on Wednesday announced it's launching a hyper-local, short-term custom forecaster called Deep Thunder. The new predictive model will use historical weather data to train machine learning models, which will help businesses better predict the real-world effects of weather.
   Already, The Weather Company analyzes more than 100 terabytes of third-party data daily, and businesses around the world use its regional models to get new guidance every three hours.  The new models, developed by IBM Research, are highly customized for business clients and have zeroed in on hyper-local forecasts, at a 0.2 to 1.2 mile resolution.  They also take into account other environmental data like vegetation and soil conditions.
   Deep Thunder will also use machine learning-based weather impact models to help businesses predict the impact of even modest variations in temperature.  For instance, a retailer could more accurately determine how it should stock shelves in anticipation of changed consumer behavior, insurance companies could more accurately assess the validity of insurance claims, or a utility company could better manage its repair crews.

I gotta learn more.
Microsoft Launches Blockchain Fabric to Help Enterprises Form Consortia
Microsoft today unveiled a new project designed to make it easier for businesses across a wide range of industries to build consortiums that better take advantage of blockchain technology.
Since a distributed ledger technology is only as powerful as the number people or companies that use it, Microsoft intends this new suite of tools to help build those networks.
To date, a number of blockchain consortiums have been formed to test the technology, with the most notable including banking consortium R3CEV, the Post-Trade Distributed Ledger Group (PTDL) and Dubai's Global Blockchain Council (GBC).
   The entire white paper is available here and more information about Project Bletchley will be disclosed at Microsoft's World Wide Partner Conference from 12th to 16th July in Toronto, Canada. Pilots of the service are expected to be ready later this summer.

Better tools mean better research?
LLSDC announces new sources and tools to research the Federal Register and CRF
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on
Via Rick McKinney – “The Legislative Research Special Interest Section of the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. is pleased to announce the availability of two new items on its Legislative Source Book entitled “Sources and Tools to the Federal Register and Sources and Tools to the Code of Federal Regulations.  The new websites attempt to show and link to nearly all the sources and research tools available, both free and commercial, for these primary U.S. regulatory publications.  The new websites also indicate the years available for each source as well how well accessible the source is in terms of its capabilities to search, browse, and cite retrieve specific documents or groups of documents.”

Worth repeating on occasion.
How to Legally Download Office 2016 & 2013 Free From Microsoft

A carrot for my students.
Computer science salaries rise with demand for new graduates
   “Not only does computer science provide every student foundational knowledge, it also leads to the highest-paying, fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. economy.  There are currently over 500,000 open computing jobs, in every sector, from manufacturing to banking, from agriculture to healthcare, but only 50,000 computer science graduates a year,” reads an open letter released by the nonprofit Computer Science Education Coalition in partnership with
   The overall average salary for bachelor's degree graduates earning computer science degrees is projected to be $61,321 this year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).  That’s the second-highest starting salary, behind only engineering graduates, who are projected to earn $64,891. Additionally, NACE reports that among the 2015 crop of new graduates, those majoring in computer science enjoyed the highest full-time employment rate (76%) within six months of their graduation.

For my students who (for some strange reason) call it football.
How to play Facebook Messenger's hidden soccer minigame

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