Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It seems that this should be a simple fix – just check for a valid “Installer.”  But that may be impossible.
Hundreds of Thousands of Android Trojans Installed from Unknown Sources Daily
Tens of millions of applications are being installed on users’ smartphones daily, but nearly one third of them come from sources that cannot be tracked, and most of the mobile Trojans are installed via these unknown sources, researchers say.  However, some malicious apps also slip into Google Play, while other malware might come pre-installed on mobile devices right out of the box, Cheetah Mobile says.
[From the Cheetah report:
According to the statistics, about 1/3 applications are downloaded and installed to users’ phones without setting ‘installer’, meaning that the sources of these apps cannot be tracked.

Now that they acknowledge their crime it’s no longer a crime? 
Privacy International challenge of UK hacking operations
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Oct 17, 2016
PCWorld: “The U.K.’s spy agencies breached the European Convention on Human Rights for years by secretly collecting almost everything about British citizens’ communications except their content, a U.K. court has ruled.  However, now that the U.K. government has admitted what it is doing, the collection is legal, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled Monday.  It has yet to rule on the issue of proportionality, or whether the agencies’ actions were reasonable given the threat they sought to counter.  Responding to a June 2015 complaint by campaign group Privacy International, the tribunal said the secret intelligence agencies had breached the ECHR for years because of the way they gathered bulk communications data (BCD) and bulk personal data (BPD)…”

I think I posted this before, but I have a new class of IT Governance students who probably haven’t seen it yet.
The OPM breach report: A long time coming
   Hackers, said to be from China, were inside the OPM system starting in 2012, but were not detected until March 20, 2014.  A second hacker, or group, gained access to OPM through a third-party contractor in May 2014, but was not discovered until nearly a year later.
These and dozens of other depressing details are in a timeline that is part of a 241-page report released last month by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, bluntly titled, “The OPM Data Breach: How the Government Jeopardized Our National Security for More than a Generation.”

Kinda like a “Get out of jail free” card!  
FTC says it may be unable to regulate Comcast, Google, and Verizon
The Federal Trade Commission is worried that it may no longer be able to regulate companies such as Comcast, Google, and Verizon unless a recent court ruling is overturned.
The FTC on Thursday petitioned the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing in a case involving AT&T’s throttling of unlimited data plans.  A 9th Circuit panel previously ruled that the FTC cannot punish AT&T, and the decision raises questions about the FTC’s ability to regulate any company that operates a common carrier business such as telephone or Internet service.
While the FTC's charter from Congress prohibits it from regulating common carriers, the agency has previously exercised authority to regulate these companies when they offer non-common carrier services.  But the recent court ruling said that AT&T is immune from FTC oversight entirely, even when it’s not acting as a common carrier.

Why didn’t I think of this?  So simple even a cave man can do it? 
Voyager and Microsoft Ventures invest $9M in business text messaging platform Zipwhip
   Zipwhip’s technology lets companies text their customers from the web, desktop computers and smartphones, working across the U.S. wireless carriers.  Founded in 2007, the company originally targeted consumers and set out to be the “Facebook of text messaging.”  But it pivoted around 2013, taking a different approach by enabling hundreds of millions of landlines to receive and send text messages for the first time.  This allowed companies to text with their customers from landline phones and toll-free numbers.
   “Businesses are late adopters,” Zipwhip CEO John Lauer told GeekWire.  “They don’t want the new thing and they don’t want to What’s App-enable or Facebook Messenger-enable their business.  They just want to text-enable because everyone has texting.”
   Zipwhip describes itself as a software-as-a-service company, versus a text messaging API — “a car dealership or dentist’s office has no idea what to do with an API,” Lauer noted.  Its platform lets customers log into a web portal to read and send text messages.

Next time I teach spreadsheets, promise!
Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the Microsoft Office programming language that allows you to create macros and userforms, add a message box, execute code inside a document in response to a trigger, and much more. With VBA you can supercharge your Excel spreadsheets. And you just have to learn a little bit about coding.


I wonder if my niece is ready for this.
Pandora Unveils Promotional Tools for Artists, Labels
   Pandora is now making a new tool kit available to any artist or label that could help solve one of the biggest conundrums of releasing music in the digital age: fans tend to prefer music they’ve heard before, and online services make it easier than ever to skip the unfamiliar.  FM radio stations have long established familiarity by repeatedly bombarding listeners with a small number of songs.  But digital services that allow users to choose, skip or thumb up and down their music don’t offer the same ability to create hits.
Now, though, artists and labels who use Pandora’s two-year-old “Amp” platform can record audio messages on their smartphones asking their fans to give new songs a chance, while instructing the service to play a certain song more often for a given period.  The automated system also prompts artists to take these and other actions based on how listeners are responding to their music.

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