Thursday, June 30, 2016

When they started using Periscope, I had hopes they might be tech savvy.  Now?  Not so much. 
19 House Democrat Websites Have Been Down For Days, Hacked Following Sit-In
Hackers took over 19 official government websites for Congressman since last Thursday after a major hacking incident compromised the network.
The affected representatives contract their website management with the company DCS Services who works exclusively with House Democrats.  People who visit the official sites of the nineteen affected legislators see a “site under maintenance” message.
   Ferson said that at this point, they have no evidence or specific reasons to believe that the hack was directly related to the day-long protest over gun control, but Gordon Stanton, director of congressional services at DCS, said that “we do not believe it is a coincidence that this happened just as the Democrats started officially wrapping up their sit-in on efforts to prevent gun violence.”
   Politico reported that DCS builds its websites using Joomla, a content management system that has a history of significant security flaws and that, “anger at DCS is so widespread that some aides [from affected offices] asked colleagues on an internal email list for suggestions of other vendors.”
   This latest hack follows a string of security breaches for Democratic Party officials, including a hack of the Democratic National Committee.  

An ethical question for my students to ponder.
Terror-suspect database used by banks, governments, has been leaked
A database described by some as a "terrorism blacklist" has fallen into the hands of a white-hat hacker who may decide to make it accessible to the public online.

The database, called World-Check, belongs to Thomson Reuters and is used by banks, governments and intelligence agencies to screen people for criminal ties and links to terrorism.
Security researcher Chris Vickery claims to have obtained a 2014 copy of the database.  He announced the details on Tuesday in a post on Reddit.
"No hacking was involved in my acquisition of this data," he wrote.  "I would call it more of a leak than anything, although not directly from Thomson Reuters."
   His copy of the World-Check database contains the names of over 2.2 million people and organizations declared "heightened risks."  Only a small part of the data features a terrorism category.  Additional categories include individuals with ties to money laundering, organized crime, corruption and others.
He is asking Reddit users whether he should leak the database to the public.  His concern is that innocent people with no criminal ties may have been placed on the list.
The information isn't really secret either.  Users can buy access to the database from Thomson Reuters.
Leaking the database, however, could create risks and tip off "actual bad guys" that they’ve been placed on the list, Vickery said.

For my Computer Security students.
How To Protect Yourself From These 8 Social Engineering Attacks

For all my students!
New Google tool tracks user behavior across applications
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 29, 2016
The Guardian: “Google has rolled out new tools to let users see what its ad-tracking service has learned about them, and to let users opt in or out of a new personalised ads service.  The addition to Google’s account settings, called My Activity, allows users to review everything that Google has tracked about their behaviour – across search, YouTube, Chrome, Android and everything else – and edit or delete it at each step.  If you use Google for everything you do, you might be surprised by just how much it catalogues about your comings and goings on the internet…”

Japan has always feared foreigners.  I see the US becoming more like them.
Totally forgetting or ignoring the lessons of what happened to Japanese-Americans in the U.S. during World War II, it seems:
Japan’s Supreme Court has approved the government’s blanket surveillance of Muslims in the country.
The country’s top court struck down a second appeal by Japanese Muslim plaintiffs against what they perceive an unconstitutional invasion of their privacy and freedom of religion.  Mohamed Fujita, whose name has been changed to protect his identity is one of the 17 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged extensive monitoring of Japan’s Muslims, Al Jazeera reported.
Fujita and the other plaintiffs sued the government following the leak in 2010 of 114 police files, which revealed religious profiling of Muslims across Japan.
Read more on Pakistan Today.

Isn’t Microsoft making the same argument because the FBI keeps issuing requests for data on their Irish servers?  Will US courts agree with the Appeals Court? 
Facebook wins appeal on Belgian tracking
Originally, the regulator won its case and ordered the social network to stop tracking non-members when they visited publicly available Facebook pages.
The Brussels Appeals Court overturned that, saying the regulator had no jurisdiction over Facebook, which has its European headquarters in Ireland.
   Willem Debeuckelaere, president of the Belgium privacy commission said: "Today's decision means simply that the Belgian citizen cannot obtain privacy protection when it concerns foreign players.  The citizen is thus exposed to massive violations of privacy."
   Initially the court found in favour of the Belgian data authority.  It said that collecting the data on the web-surfing behaviour of millions of people who were not members of the social network was a "manifest" violation of Belgian data protection law, irrespective of what purposes Facebook used the data for.
   The ruling though was ultimately about who has authority over the social network.
"Belgian courts don't have international jurisdiction over Facebook Ireland, where the data concerning Europe is processed," the court said.

What assumptions are behind this?  US students can’t learn STEM?  All foreign students want jobs in the US?  Voters might like it?
Clinton wants to ‘staple’ green cards on STEM grads' diplomas
As president, Hillary Clinton would support the automatic granting of green cards, or permanent residency, to foreign students who earn advanced STEM degrees in the U.S.

(Related)  Another indication of the Democrat platform? 
Warren targets Amazon, Apple, Google in anti-monopoly speech

Modern IT Architecture.
5 steps to turning your company into a platform
We can all see the future around us. Uber, Airbnb and Alibaba have all seemed to come out of nowhere to take commanding positions in their respective sectors of local transportation, hospitality and retail.  Together, they and other companies that are basically network orchestrators with a digital platform are leading a revolution in business model design.
You, as an IT leader in a traditional sector of the economy, might wonder what this revolution has to do with you and your company.  Everything.  The benefits of this new model are so compelling, and the underlying premise is so basic, that it will inevitably take root in virtually every sector.  And as an IT leader, it is your responsibility to help your company adapt as soon as possible.

(Related) A brick and mortar business turning into and online marketplace.  Amazon is building distribution centers; Walmart already has them. 
Wal-Mart Expands Free Two-Day Shipping
   On Wednesday the retailer said it would open its free two-day shipping program to any U.S. customer, an expansion of the $49 per-year service designed to grab shoppers from Amazon’s popular $99 a year Prime program.  Until now Wal-Mart allowed only a limited and undisclosed number of shoppers to sign up.
   The move shows Wal-Mart believes the steps it has taken to improve its fulfillment capabilities have prepared it to compete head on with Amazon Prime for the growing slice of retail sales that take place online.  Wal-Mart, which has been struggling with sluggish U.S. sales growth, has made bolstering its e-commerce operation a priority and is investing $2 billion to that business.

(Related)  A whole new dimension to architect.
Companies Are Turning Drones into a Competitive Advantage
Armed with an array of sensors, commercial drones are about to become a new source for digital information.  We expect the drone market to surge to nearly $7 billion by 2020 globally, driven by regulatory clarification, continuously decreasing component costs, and – most important– ongoing innovation that connects drone capabilities to big-data analytics.
   For many companies, drones are quickly becoming another component that must be considered in developing digitalization strategies.  Backed by cloud services and big-data techniques, the unprecedented data gathering capabilities of drones have the potential to radically alter the competitive dynamics of the information landscape.

For my Enterprise Data Management students.
Report: Security teams plagued by poorly managed identity data
Security teams handling Identity and access management (IAM) are hampered by dirty data and need management help from a chief data officer, according to a new report by TechVision Research.
IAM is typically defined as a “security discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons.”  But identity data is riddled with errors, which ultimately raise security and privacy risks, the report says.
The problems include multiple versions of employee names and titles in various systems — and even “ghost” employees.  “We find a plethora of identity data challenges, including multiple authoritative sources of data, inconsistent data, redundant data, old data and misclassification of data,” the report says.

Well, I find it interesting.
How to Write a History of Writing Software
It’s hard to believe, but one of the most important changes in the way people write in the last 50 years has been largely overlooked by historians of literature.  The word processor—that is, any computer software or hardware used for writing, a nearly ubiquitous technology adopted by poets, novelists, graduate students, foreign correspondents, and CEOs—has never gotten its own literary history.
Perhaps it was just too much under our noses—or, I suppose, in front of them.
Now it finally has one.  Five years ago, Matthew Kirschenbaum, an English professor at the University of Maryland, realized that no one seemed to know who wrote the first novel with the help of a word processor.  He’s just published the fruit of his efforts: Track Changes, the first book-length story of word processing.

I’d ask my students how I was doing, but they might tell me. 
6 Speaking Tips That Will Make People Want to Listen to You
Have you run into situations where you’re talking but nobody seems to care?  Over time, maybe you’ve even noticed that people just don’t like listening to you for some reason.
This 10-minute talk by Julian Treasure explains why that might be the case and what you can do to make yourself more pleasant to the ears of others:

It’s not looking good for The Donald. 
Who will win the presidency?
We'll be updating our forecasts every time new data is available, every day through Nov. 8.

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