Sunday, September 25, 2016

Why some of us won’t buy Chinese computers? 
I don’t think that basically saying, “Gosh, Your Honor, we had no idea spyware was on the systems we sold” will inspire confidence in potential consumers, but in the meantime, there’s that pesky Article III standing issue Lenovo can use.  Matthew Renda reports:
Computer manufacturer Lenovo insisted it did not know malware was installed on computers it sold to consumers, and that no one was harmed by the presence of the malicious software during a hearing in federal court Friday.
Daniel Stephenson, attorney for Lenovo, asked U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte to refrain from certifying a class in the case, arguing none of the four people who bought Lenovo computers infected with faulty software was harmed and therefore lack sufficient reason to sue.
Read more on Courthouse News.

For my IT Governance students?  When is it worth spending the time and money to make this happen?
Hacker-Proof Code Confirmed
   When the project started, a “Red Team” of hackers could have taken over the helicopter almost as easily as it could break into your home Wi-Fi.  But in the intervening months, engineers from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had implemented a new kind of security mechanism — a software system that couldn’t be commandeered.  Key parts of Little Bird’s computer system were unhackable with existing technology, its code as trustworthy as a mathematical proof.  Even though the Red Team was given six weeks with the drone and more access to its computing network than genuine bad actors could ever expect to attain, they failed to crack Little Bird’s defenses.
   The technology that repelled the hackers was a style of software programming known as formal verification.  Unlike most computer code, which is written informally and evaluated based mainly on whether it works, formally verified software reads like a mathematical proof:  Each statement follows logically from the preceding one.  An entire program can be tested with the same certainty that mathematicians prove theorems.

(Related) Where’s the fun in that?  I want mini Stinger missiles! 
The Anti-Drone Arms Race Is Taking Off
   as sales of drones have increased, so too have other more worrying numbers.  The FAA also says it receives more than 100 reports per month of drones flying around airports and other forbidden places, where they could damage infrastructure or accidentally collide with the engine of a landing airplane.
   Beeri is cofounder and chief technology officer of Palo Alto-based ApolloShield, one of a number of startups and defense companies selling ways to take down drones behaving badly.
Unlike physical options for taking down a drone—which have included nets, guns, and birds of prey—ApolloShield’s handheld device leaves drones intact and functional, sending them back to their pilots nearby, Beeri says.

Perspective.  Encryption will replace bank vaults.  Has SWIFT become untrustworthy since Bangladesh?
Global Banks Partner to Form Blockchain Payments Network
Bank of America, Santander and the Royal Bank of Canada have today announced they’ve joined forces to create a global blockchain payments network using Ripple’s distributed ledger technology.
UniCredit, Standard Chartered and the Westpac Banking Corporation have also joined the effort, which seeks to form the foundation of a global network that performs a similar service as SWIFT inter-bank messaging but with near-instant settlement times.
   Right now, the banks involved are focused on hammering out the rules of play, according to Treacher.
The first step is a standardized agreement that establishes the terms and conditions which a bank must agree to in order to join, detailing how transactions will be processed and what kinds of information will be exchanged.
The second step involves creating a “functional standards document” that will allow the various banks to interact across currencies and jurisdictions.

All my students should take this course or something similar.
Investigating Cybersecurity Incidents — a free course
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when responding to a cybersecurity incident is taking well-meaning steps to “clean up the mess” that actually ruin the digital evidence needed to investigate and prosecute the case.
Learning to securely preserve that forensic evidence is key to a successful legal case. In partnership with IDG Enterprise, training company Logical Operations Inc. presents a free online course on this timely topic: Investigating Cybersecurity Incidents
   It’s a follow-up to the free course Responding to Cybersecurity Incidents, which continues to be available. Both classes are part of the company’s full CyberSec First Responder certification course.
Sign up now for the free course “Investigating Cybersecurity Incidents,” presented by Logical Operations and IDG Enterprise.
To take these online courses, you’ll need to create an account at the Logical Operations website, but there is no obligation or fee

For my next Spreadsheet class.
Microsoft Garage’s Project Córdoba is an Excel add-in for working with IoT data
The Microsoft Garage group, which regularly releases experimental applications for Android, iOS, and other platforms, has developed a new Microsoft Excel add-in called Project Córdoba that’s designed to help students easily import data from Internet-connected devices, so that they can then make real-time dashboards with the data.
“When combined with a collection of worksheets customized for middle school students, Excel brings to life the data behind scientific principles.  It also opens the emerging world of IoT to the classroom and helps educators meet the NGSS and ISTE requirements for data science,” Microsoft says on a page dedicated to the new project.
Unlike some other Microsoft Garage apps, Project Córdoba is currently only available after you’ve submitted an application for access.  And at least initially Microsoft is interested in seeing people use this in the classroom — one of the mandatory questions in the application asks applicants what grades they teach — even though it could have broader applications.  This is Excel, after all.
At the moment the add-in will only work with Microsoft Excel 2016 on Windows 10.

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