Thursday, October 13, 2016

Because the fashionistas will never notice?
Vera Bradley Is The Latest Retailer To Have Payment Systems Hacked
   Vera Bradley announced this morning that, between July 25 and Sept. 23, hackers gained access to the payment systems in its 112 stores and 44 outlets.
The breach was first discovered on Sept. 15, the company says, when they were notified by police of a “potential data security issue” with the retailer’s store network.
After learning of the breach, Vera Bradley says it notified payment card networks and launched an investigation into the hack.
The probe found unauthorized access to Vera Bradley’s payment processing system and the installation of a program that looked for payment card data.  The program was specifically designed to find data in the magnetic strip on a payment card that may contain the card number, cardholder name, expiration date, and internal verification code – as the data was being routed through the affected payment systems.

My students would not have been as generous.  (I train them well!)
Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf Steps Down
Wells Fargo & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf, under fire for the bank’s sales-tactics scandal and his own handling of its fallout, is stepping down from both roles, effective immediately, the bank said Wednesday.
   Mr. Stumpf won’t receive a severance package, the bank said.  The board, at Mr. Stumpf’s own recommendation, had previously decided he should relinquish $41 million in unvested equity, one of the biggest-ever forfeitures of pay by a bank chief.  He still retires with tens of millions of dollars earned during roughly 35 years at the bank.
   Mr. Stumpf will walk away with total compensation during his years at Wells Fargo valued at about $120 million, according to an estimate by Mark Reilly, a managing director at human-resources consultancy Overture Group LLC.  This estimate reflects the value of stock and stock options as well as retirement benefits and deducts the $41 million Mr. Stumpf has already forfeited. It is based on the bank’s Wednesday share price.

“Tis a puzzlement!”  User ids and passwords match.  How do you know if it came from you?
Catalin Cimpanu reports:
The company says that nobody breached its servers, but that it took this step after its security staff discovered a set of customer details posted online as part of another breach at another company.
Amazon says those details matched the details of Amazon accounts, and since it had no way of knowing if those customers reused the same passwords for their Amazon accounts, it decided to air on the safe side of things and reset those customers’ passwords, just in case.
Password reset emails started going out last week, when several users posted screenshots on Twitter, and have continued to reach users this week.
Read more on Softpedia.

Could we use the same tools to defeat the hackers? 
Akamai Says Hackers Use ’Smart’ Devices to Test Stolen Usernames, Passwords
Attackers are hijacking DVRs, satellite antennas and networking devices to conduct mass tests of stolen login credentials, according to research from Akamai Technologies Inc., the latest sign that common household gadgets are being remotely marshaled for malicious activity.
The network security provider on Wednesday said it has new evidence that hackers spent several months or more manipulating as many as two million “smart” devices in homes and businesses to test whether stolen usernames and passwords were able to access others’ websites, known as “credential stuffing campaigns.”

Ah, the power of social media!
Facebook Helped Drive a Voter Registration Surge, Election Officials Say
A 17-word Facebook reminder contributed to substantial increases in online voter registration across the country, according to top election officials.
At least nine secretaries of state have credited the social network’s voter registration reminder, displayed for four days in September, with boosting sign-ups, in some cases by considerable amounts.  Data from nine other states show that registrations rose drastically on the first day of the campaign compared with the day before.

(Related) Ah, the curse of social media!
Facebook has repeatedly trended fake news since firing its human editors
   As part of a larger audit of Facebook’s Trending topics, the Intersect logged every news story that trended across four accounts during the workdays from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22.  During that time, we uncovered five trending stories that were indisputably fake and three that were profoundly inaccurate.
   This is the second in the series; read the first here.

Amazon leads, everyone else scrambles?
Wal-Mart, Kroger Strive to Counter Amazon’s Grocery Challenge

More than mere disruption.  Was this any way to run a business (or industry)?
Uber and Lyft are demolishing New York City taxi drivers
The price of taxi-cab medallions in New York seem to have hit a new low.
Early this month, a medallion — basically the right to operate a yellow cab in New York — was listed for $250,000 on
(We first spotted this detail on DonutShorts' twitter feed.  It was originally tweeted by @tavit87.)
That's a stark contrast from 2014, when the value of a medallion was listed around $1.3 million.
Medallions are tightly regulated, and you cannot operate a taxi in New York without one.  They're losing value with the cab business taking a hit amid the rise of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft.   

I hope my students have the natural kind…
The Administration’s Report on the Future of Artificial Intelligence
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Oct 12, 2016
   . This Thursday, President Obama will host the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh to imagine the Nation and the world in 50 years and beyond, and to explore America’s potential to advance towards the frontiers that will make the world healthier, more prosperous, more equitable, and more secure.  Today, to ready the United States for a future in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a growing role, the White House is releasing a report on future directions and considerations for AI called Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence.
   A companion National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan is also being released, laying out a strategic plan for Federally-funded research and development in AI.

(Related) Or not.
Artificial Intelligence Systems Manage More Complex Tasks
Artificial-intelligence systems can do increasingly complex tasks but they can’t yet figure much out on their own without help from humans.
In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers at Alphabet Inc.’s Google DeepMind describe experimental software that they say gets closer to that goal and could be more accurate and less costly than current systems.

Similar, but different.
As businesses enter the unchartered waters of machine intelligence – where machines learn by experience and improve their performance over time – researchers are trying to predict its impact on jobs and work.  Optimists suggest that by taking over cognitive but labor-intensive chores the intelligent machines will free human workers to do more “creative” tasks, and that by working side by side with us they will boost our imagination to achieve more.  Experience with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) seems to confirm this prediction.  Pessimists predict huge levels of unemployment, as nearly half of existing jobs appear prone to automation and, therefore, extinction.
More nuanced analysis points to a less dystopian future where a great number of activities within jobs will be undertaken by intelligent systems rather than humans.  This view, in effect, calls for a re-examination of what a “job” actually is: how it is structured, and how it should be reconfigured, or perhaps redefined, in the age of intelligent automation.

As a longtime fan, I did vote for beSpacific.  I will also look at some new-to-me blogs I found in the list of nominees. 
beSpacific nominated as one of top Legal Tech Blogs – please vote
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Oct 12, 2016
Dear Colleagues/Readers – beSpacific has been nominated in the The Expert Institute’sBest Legal Tech Blogs category.  I appreciate your taking a minute to vote for beSpacific – thank you very much.

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