Saturday, October 22, 2016
The future I’m trying to prepare my IT Governance students for.
When the Entire Internet Seems to Break at Once
For more than two hours on Friday morning, much of the web seemed to grind to a halt—or at least slow to dial-up speed—for many users in the United States.
More than a dozen major websites experienced outages and other technical problems, according to user reports and the web-tracking site downdetector.com. They included The New York Times, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, GitHub, Etsy, Tumblr, Spotify, PayPal, Verizon, Comcast, EA, the Playstation network, and others.
How was it possible to take down all those sites at once?
Someone attacked the architecture that held them together—the domain-name system, or DNS, the technical network that redirects users from easy-to-remember addresses like theatlantic.com to a company’s actual web servers. The assault took the form of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) on one of the major companies that provides other companies access to DNS. A DDoS attack is one in which an attacker floods sites “with so much junk traffic that it can no longer serve legitimate visitors,” as the security researcher Brian Krebs put it in a blog post Friday morning.
How Much Will Today’s Internet Outage Cost?
… For more than one-third of companies, a single hour of a DDoS attack can cost up to $20,000, according to a 2014 report by the security firm Imperva Incapsula. (For some companies, the cost of an attack can exceed $100,000 per hour.) Given that the majority of attacks continue for more than six hours, these losses add up quickly. In a particularly stark example, the airline Virgin Blue lost $20 million in period of IT outages that spanned 11 days in 2010.
Other estimates have been even more dramatic. One 2012 study, by the Ponemon Institute, a security and data protection researcher, found the average company’s cost for every minute of downtime during a DDoS attack was $22,000. (“However, the cost can range from as little as $1 to more than $100,000 per minute of downtime,” the report said.)
Another one bites the dust.
Lisa Vaas reports:
We already know that if you threaten to shoot up a school on the ostensibly anonymous social media messaging platform Yik Yak, the law will come knocking, and that gossamer veil of not-really privacy will be shredded.
Now, researchers have found that Yik Yak anonymity can be erased even without a warrant or Yik Yak’s compliance with US laws that force it to turn over user information. The researchers did it by relying on publicly available location data from the app, mixed with location-spoofing and message-recording on a device outfitted with simple machine learning.
Read more on Naked Security.
For my Architecture and Governance students. Would you have a way to prevent this?
Sulina Gabale and Jason Gordon of Reed Smith write:
This month, the Indianapolis Colts, app developer Yinzcam, Inc., and ultrasonic technology provider Lisnr, Inc., were hit with a federal class action lawsuit in Pennsylvania for violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by allegedly allowing the Colts fan app to listen in on users’ personal phone conversations, and use that information for advertising purposes without obtaining adequate consent.
The app provides Colts fans with team stats, scores, and other relevant news. The app also uses Lisnr, a service that utilizes web beacons, ultrasonic frequencies and audio signals in order to allegedly track how users interact with advertisements. The complaint alleges that Lisnr’s software determines a user’s precise location by activating the user’s built-in microphone, and listening for nearby Lisnr audio beacons in order to allow the Colts app to target specific consumers and send them tailored content, promotions and advertisements based on their location.
Read more on Technology Law Dispatch.
A cost/benefit analysis.
Gigabites: An Unexpected Gig Gift
… Who needs a gigabit anyway? Well it turns out that even if you're not planning to buy up every virtual reality application coming to market, there's still a very good reason to hope gigabit broadband makes it to your neighborhood. A new study by the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council finds that when a city gets gigabit service, the cost for other broadband speed tiers goes down.
In the top 100 US markets, the FTTH Council reports that the price for broadband speed tiers of 100 Mbit/s or more drops by about 25% when there's also a gigabit service on offer. That percentage equates to about $27 per month, and it goes even higher when more than one gigabit service is available. According to the Council, when there are two gigabit providers in a region, the average price of secondary speed tiers drops in the range of 34% to 37%, or $57 to $62 per month.
Something to amuse my student geeks.
2017 will be the year of interactive email
… Virtually no one knows interactive emails are even technically possible
If you think this, you are completely wrong.
The following GIF shows interaction within a shopping cart inside the email client.
The “buy now” button takes the user directly to online payment. This is a really big deal. There’s no need to download and install a separate app. No need to sign-in to an account. All you need to distribute this simple application is an email address.
Is it just me or are we seeing a lot of mergers nearing the $100 billion dollar mark?
That Was Quick: AT&T to Buy Time Warner for $85B
Late Friday, AT&T and Time Warner were reported to have entered an agreement in principle for the former to take over the latter for $85 billion.
Thomson Reuters cited unnamed sources who said AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is set to pay $110 a share. With some legal jots and tittles left to take care of, the deal could be finalized as early as Sunday.
Interesting how they can cling to (huge) profitability.
The real reason Big Tobacco is getting even bigger
British American Tobacco said on Friday that it has offered to buy U.S. tobacco giant Reynolds American in a $47 billion deal that would create the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company.
… The new company would enjoy a “leading position in the US tobacco market” and “significant presence in high growth emerging markets across South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” the company wrote.
… Vivian Azer, an analyst with the Cowen Group, said that tobacco companies are currently in a strong position. In the US, “tobacco profits have accelerated for three consecutive years,” she said. She attributes that primarily to the ability of tobacco companies to raise prices in order to compensate for a diminishing number of customers.
The deal also would help the combined company capitalize on a growing customer base. British American Tobacco said that the merger would also create “a world class pipeline of vapour and tobacco heating products,” such as e-cigarettes.
Ah, it must be Saturday!
Hack Education Weekly News
… Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Closer Look at Income-Based Repayment, the Centerpiece of Donald Trump’s Unexpected Higher-Ed Speech.”
… Via The New York Times: “The New Jersey State Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill requiring the state’s student loan agency to forgive the debts of borrowers who die or become permanently disabled.”
… Anne Trubek writes in the JSTOR Daily about “Student Writing in the Digital Age,” drawing on a study by Andrea and Karen Lunsford. Among the findings: “Students in first-year composition classes are, on average, writing longer essays (from an average of 162 words in 1917, to 422 words in 1986, to 1,038 words in 2006), using more complex rhetorical techniques, and making no more errors than those committed by freshman in 1917.”
… Via Edsurge: “The Top Skills Employers Need in 2016, According to LinkedIn.”