Monday, October 24, 2016

“Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult.” Carl von Clausewitz  And that pretty much describes operating systems too. 
Linux exploit gives any user full access in five seconds
If you need another reason to be paranoid about network security, a serious exploit that attacks a nine-year-old Linux kernel flaw is now in the wild.  The researcher who found it, Phil Oester, told V3 that the attack is "trivial to execute, never fails and has probably been around for years."  Because of its complexity, he was only able to detect it because he had been "capturing all inbound HTTP traffic and was able to extract the exploit and test it out in a sandbox," Oester said.

A follow-up on the OPM breach.
Inside the Cyberattack That Shocked the U.S. Government

What is that saw about not being able to cheat an honest man?  (and I learned a new word: spruiked)
Kelly Burke reports:
A government employee who duped some of Sydney’s leading law firms by selling the personal details of 130 injured paramedics pocketed more than $200,000 before walking out of court with a good behaviour bond.
NSW Ambulance’s former injury management co-ordinator Waqar Ahmad Malik gained access to a list of injured paramedics the NSW Government feared might sue for compensation.  The list included medical records and psychiatric assessments.
Malik then spruiked the data to legal firms who could access the potentially money making list via paid membership to an “advisory panel”.
Read more on Daily Telegraph.

Has blockchain arrived? 
Major banks trade cotton using blockchain in a move that could transform a major industry
Wells Fargo and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have used blockchain – the technology that drives bitcoin – to process and execute a shipment of cotton from the U.S. to China, in a move that could provide a big breakthrough for the future of international trade.
   Typically this process would require large amounts of paper work, back-and-forth communication between all parties via email or fax, and the need to ensure everybody's records are up-to-date and the same.
Blockchain and so-called "smart contracts" can remove the need for all of this.  When the bales of cotton arrive at the port and are scanned, this automatically triggers the smart contract to execute the terms, which would involve transferring the ownership of goods and authorizing payment.  This happens because there is a single document agreed on by all parties and that is only completed once a certain action has taken place.

Perspective.  Convergence seems to require every technology to try to be everything to everyone.
Facebook lets you make voice and video calls with Windows 10 app update
Don’t just send text messages and stickers to your Facebook friends and family — voice and video call them, too.  A long awaited update to the Facebook Windows 10 app now allows users to go beyond the basic Messenger functionality, and it works just like Messenger on Android and iOS.  There’s a phone icon in the top right corner of your screen within a chat, and when the person you’re trying to reach is active, you can call them.
This means you no longer have to go to or on your Windows device in order to make a voice or video call via Facebook.

Messaging apps are now bigger than social networks
Users around the world are logging in to messaging apps to not only chat with friends but also to connect with brands, browse merchandise, and watch content.  What were once simple services for exchanging messages, pictures, videos, and GIFs have evolved into expansive ecosystems with their own developers, apps, and APIs.
Chat apps boast a number of distinct characteristics that make their audiences particularly appealing to businesses and marketers, including their size, retention and usage rates, and user demographics.  The combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks.  Chat apps also have higher retention and usage rates than most mobile apps.  Finally, the majority of their users are young, an extremely important demographic for brands, advertisers and publishers.

This could be useful. is making 8,255 CRS reports available to the general public
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Oct 23, 2016
“Congressional Research Service reports are the best way for anyone to quickly get up to speed on major political issues without having to worry about spin — from the same source Congress uses.  CRS is Congress’ think tank, and its reports are relied upon by academics, businesses, judges, policy advocates, students, librarians, journalists, and policymakers for accurate and timely analysis of important policy issues.  The reports are not classified and do not contain individualized advice to any specific member of Congress.  (More: What is a CRS report?)  Until today, CRS reports were generally available only to the well-connected.  Now, in partnership with a Republican and Democratic member of Congress, we are making these reports available to everyone for free online.  A coalition of public interest groups, journalists, academics, students, some Members of Congress, and former CRS employees have been advocating for greater access to CRS reports for over twenty years.  Two bills in Congress to make these reports widely available already have 10 sponsors (S. 2639 and H.R. 4702, 114th Congress) and we urge Congress to finish the job.  This website shows Congress one vision of how it could be done.  What does include? includes 8,255 CRS reports.  The number changes regularly.  It’s every CRS report that’s available on Congress’s internal website.  We redact the phone number, email address, and names of virtually all the analysts from the reports.  We add disclaimer language regarding copyright and the role CRS reports are intended to play.  That’s it. If you’re looking for older reports, our good friends at may have them.”

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