Friday, October 07, 2016

Starting on a cheerful note…
The Global Economic Damage of Internet Blackouts
Last weekend, cellphones across Iraq lit up with the same text message.  “Dear subscriber,” the message read in Arabic.  “On instructions from the Ministry of Communications, internet access will be cut off every day between October 1 and 8,  from 6 to 9 a.m.  These instructions were issued to every internet service provider.”
The scheduled blackouts coincided with the third round of national placement exams for sixth graders in Iraq; the blackouts are intended to keep students from cheating.  The country has made a habit of interrupting internet access nationwide during the exams: I wrote about another episode in detail earlier this year.
Intentional, government-instigated internet blackouts are becoming more and more common.  And when governments choose to shut off the internet—if not to prevent cheating, then to stifle political protests, as in Egypt in 2011 or in Gabon just this month, or ostensibly to fight terrorism, as in Iraq in 2014—the downtime can have far-ranging consequences.  It prevents citizens connecting with the rest of the world.  It can make it difficult to request emergency services.  If a country’s already experiencing unrest, it can give cover to serious human-rights abuses.
The type of government that’s willing to darken the internet for hours or even days on end may not be particularly moved by the free-speech or human-rights implications of a blackout.  But it’s difficult to ignore the side effects detailed in a new report from Brookings, which studies the widespread damage even a short hiccup in connectivity can deal to a country’s economy.

A technique hackers could use to increase the impact of data they release.  In this case they might change the result of some drug tests.  If they release huge volumes of the private emails of presidential candidates, what might they change? 
Russian Hackers May Have Manipulated Leaked WADA Data
In a statement published Wednesday, October 5, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) provided an update on investigations into the August Fancy Bear hack and data leak in September.  FireEye/Mandiant has been employed to do the forensic investigation.  As of Oct. 5, the investigation is 90% complete and has found no evidence of any additional compromise.
The statement also suggests that some of the leaked data may have been manipulated by the hackers before public release.  "It should also be noted," says WADA, "that in the course of its investigation, WADA has determined that not all data released by Fancy Bear (in its PDF documents) accurately reflects ADAMS data.

A starting point.
Online or on paper, get the latest FTC identity theft info
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Oct 6, 2016
“Looking for information on dealing with identity theft?  The FTC has new and revised identity theft publications that reflect features of that make it easier to report and recover from identity theft.  Here’s what’s hot off the presses:

My students had a couple of interesting questions on Wednesday.  Did Yahoo know about the hack or not?  Would it make a difference to Verizon?
Verizon is pushing for a $1 billion discount off its pending $4.8 billion agreement to buy Yahoo, several sources told The Post exclusively.
The request comes on the heels of the web giant getting bludgeoned by bad news in the past few days.
Yahoo revealed two weeks ago that it had been hacked in 2014 and that users names and passwords for 500 million accounts were swiped.
Then, earlier this week, it was learned that Yahoo had been ordered by a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to scan emails for terrorist signatures.
“In the last day we’ve heard that Tim [Armstong] is getting cold feet.  He’s pretty upset about the lack of disclosure and he’s saying can we get out of this or can we reduce the price?” said a source familiar with Verizon’s thinking.

Surely all my students know how to do this already?
How to Create Google Alerts
In one of yesterday's posts I mentioned using Google Alerts to track a topic on the web.  A few hours after I published that post I was asked for clarification about how to create a Google Alert.  In the following video I demonstrate how to create a Google Alert.

(Related) Do they know about all of these?
The internet is the go-to destination for students desperate to get ahead on their homework.  However, many students aren’t using some of the best resources that the internet has to offer.

Something for my nephew?
Duolingo’s chatbots help you learn a new language

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