Wednesday, July 20, 2016

For my Computer Security class.  Control the panic! 
Pokemon GO is down today: here’s what to do
   Today Pokemon GO is down.  Niantic's servers have been hammered into submission and they're working frantically to return the entire grid back to full power.  One of the places I go to find this information out - one of my confirmation points on the public end of the spectrum, is over at Is Pokemon GO Down or Not.  This is a website run on an engine created by the folks at DataDog.
According to a DataDog representative, they're currently working on an alert system so that people will be able to subscribe to the service to get emails (or something like that) in the near future.

Small, but eventually they could add up to big money.
Data Breach Hits 140 Cicis Restaurants
Texas-based pizza restaurant chain CiCi’s, recently rebranded as Cicis, informed customers on Tuesday that their payment card information may have been stolen by malware installed on point-of-sale systems at some locations.
The company said it launched an investigation in March 2016, after some of its restaurants reported problems with PoS systems.  Cicis’ PoS vendor soon discovered malware at some locations, which led to a forensic analysis conducted by a cybersecurity firm.
   While in most cases the attackers gained access to PoS systems in March 2016, some restaurants in Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas had been breached since mid-2015.
   Earlier this month, fast food restaurant chain Wendy’s informed customers that a recent breach impacted more than 1,000 of its locations.  The company initially reported that only 300 franchised restaurants had been affected.
Fast-casual restaurant chain Noodles & Company has also suffered a data breach.  The company said cybercriminals planted PoS malware at a majority of its 500 restaurants.

(Related)  If you haven’t seen how quickly you can install a skimmer, watch this video for about 30 seconds…
Raw Video: Men Place Card Skimmer on ATM Store Machine!

Remember, “sports” is a business.
Jeremy Kirk reports:
A former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for illegally peeking at a player-drafting database for the Houston Astros – a hefty term for a distinctly unique hacking case.
Christopher Correa, 36, was accused of illegally accessing Ground Control, a cloud-based database that held the Houston team’s most critical observations on potential players, and an Astros email account.  He pleaded guilty in January in federal court in Houston to five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer.
The case is unique because of the stiff sentence Correa received.
Read more on BankInfoSecurity.

For my Computer Security students.
6 Free Cyber Security Courses That’ll Keep You Safe Online
   I’ve compiled a list of 6 free cyber and information security courses you can take, right now, to boost your awareness of your online surroundings.  Each course is designed for self-learning MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses), and come with active communities and lecturers you can direct questions towards.

Easy to do, hard to justify?
Brazil judge briefly blocks WhatsApp over criminal case
A Brazilian judge briefly blocked Facebook Inc's WhatsApp messaging service on Tuesday for failing to cooperate in a criminal investigation, before the nation's top court overturned the measure in the third such incident since December.

Demonstrating the even government can grasp the obvious, they just can’t implement it. 
National Privacy Research Strategy outlines US privacy research agenda
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 19, 2016
Via FTC:  “The White House recently released the first ever United States “National Privacy Research Strategy,” which identifies priorities for privacy research funded by the Federal government.  While focused on government, the strategy is also intended to spur similar private sector efforts.  I participated in the working group that developed the strategy and am excited to see it published.  The NPRS makes the case for why privacy research is important.  It calls for funding for privacy research, coordination across government agencies, and mechanisms to facilitate the alignment of privacy research with real-world requirements.  The NPRS outlines seven national privacy research priorities and provides a set of research questions in support of each priority…”

Someone must have really irritated the powers that be in Washington.  I would have said this was a given, since 501(c)3 status has never been denied before and the Democrats are in power.  Is this a personal shot at Hillary? 
Turned down by the IRS, Philly's DNC host committee goes for Plan B
The IRS has turned down the long-running effort by the Democratic convention's Philadelphia host committee to win a tax exemption.
Word of the decision, a setback for efforts to raise the last of the $60 million needed to help pay for the July 25 to 28 convention, came Friday from its adviser, David L. Cohen.
When the decision came - and why - is less clear.  Cohen would say only that the IRS "recently" turned down the application for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the tax code, which the committee had sought for more than a year.

Once again I missed the boat.  Who knew that “shaving tools by mail” was worth a billion dollars.  
Unilever Purchases Dollar Shave Club For $1 Billion In One Of The Largest Tech Deals Of The Year
   The acquisition of Dollar Shave Club, which was founded by Michael Dubin in 2011, is a standout deal in what has been a quiet year for technology and online commerce companies.  While the company was not profitable, it recorded $152 million in revenue in 2015 and was on track to do more than $200 million in sales this year.
   The company said that it has 3.2 million members who have subscriptions for products including shaving razors, skin care products and daily wipes.

(Related)  Perhaps this explains why it’s worth a billion?
Dollar Shave Club: How Michael Dubin Created A Massively Successful Company and Re-Defined CPG
   I believed (still do!), in the age of social media, brands must become direct-to-consumer in order to know their own customers.
   I knew that subscription is a business model that only actually works for a select few product categories, and that churn rates must be very low (well under 5% monthly) in order for subscription businesses to succeed at scale.  I believed it was possible to use asymmetric marketing to injure existing incumbents who overly depend on broadcast advertising and distribute only through retailers.

(Related)  Anything to help understand the customer. 
Macy's Teams With IBM Watson For AI-Powered Mobile Shopping Assistant
Macy’s is set to launch an in-store shopping assistant powered by artificial intelligence thanks to a new tie-up with IBM Watson via developer partner and intelligent engagement platform, Satisfi.
Macy’s On Call, as it’s called, is a cognitive mobile web tool that will help shoppers get information as they navigate 10 of the retail company’s stores around the US during this pilot stage.
Customers are able to input questions in natural language regarding things like where specific products, departments, and brands are located, to what services and facilities can be found in a particular store.  In return, they receive customised relevant responses.  The initiative is based on the idea that consumers are increasingly likely to turn to their smartphones than they are a store associate for help when out at physical retail.

I hated Assembler back in the mainframe only days, I still hate it.  (But it may be the best tool for the job.) 
IoT spurs surprise surge in assembly language popularity
Assembly language, a reliable staple of low-level programming, has taken a backseat to the multitude of higher-level, easier-to-use languages that have emerged over the years.  But it is making a comeback, thanks to IoT (the internet of things) and embedded computing.
This month's Tiobe index, which gauges language popularity based on a formula examining internet searches, has assembly returning to its top 10 for the second time this year, with a 10th-place slotting.  It also reached the top 10 in January.

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