Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hacktivists or anti-Russian hackers? 
Some great reporting by Zack Whittaker the other day, pretty much outing the members of New World Hackers:
How many hackers does it take to bring down one of the world’s largest websites?  Turns out, only three — and two of them are still in college.
Several sources have told ZDNet that despite claiming to have dozens of members across the world, the New World Hackers’ consists of just three core members who carry out the bulk of the group’s cyberattacks — the youngest of which is still a teenager.
“Ownz,” the founder of the group, is a student in his early 20s with British and Russian parentage who studies computing at a university in Colorado.
Read more on ZDNet.

Different world views, different conclusions.
FBI and CIA give differing accounts to lawmakers on Russia’s motives in 2016 hacks
   The question the Republicans and Democrats in attendance wanted answered was whether the bureau concurred with the conclusions the CIA had just shared with senators that Russia “quite” clearly intended to help Republican Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton and clinch the White House.
   The FBI official’s remarks to the lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee were, in comparison, “fuzzy” and “ambiguous,” suggesting to those in the room that the bureau and the agency weren’t on the same page, the official said.
   “The FBI briefers think in terms of criminal standards — can we prove this in court,” one of the officials said.  “The CIA briefers weigh the preponderance of intelligence and then make judgment calls to help policymakers make informed decisions.  High confidence for them means ‘we’re pretty damn sure.’  It doesn’t mean they can prove it in court.”

If the phone had fallen out of the pocket of a fleeing suspect, this would be different?
Seen on
Defendant juvenile left a cell phone in a stolen car, and it was password protected.  The password protection “clearly indicating an intention to protect the privacy of all of the digital material on the cell phone or able to be accessed by it” when out of the owners possession.  State v. K.C., 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 18084 (Fla. 4th DCA Dec. 7, 2016)
Read an excerpt from the opinion on

Question: Will I still be able to use the same technique to buy one or two tickets for personal use?  If not, why not?  I would not be “scalping.”  I argue that this is a “feature” of online ticket sales sites, not a “failure.”  If it was a real problem, they would fix it. 
Congress Moves to Curb Ticket Scalping, Banning Bots Used Online
   The bill accomplishes what advocates like Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” have long pushed for. It would make it illegal to circumvent the security measures of ticketing websites, which bots often do, and would give enforcement authority to the Federal Trade Commission.
   Ticketmaster has estimated that bots have been used to buy 60 percent of the most desirable tickets to many shows.
   “There is only one way to stop the scalping industry, and that’s to make it illegal,” said Seth Hurwitz, an independent concert promoter and the owner of the 9:30 Club in Washington.  “Anything else is just Whac-a-Mole, and grandstanding by politicians.”  [The law will not change the technology.  Bob] 

Will they be allowed to leave Trump Tower?  Could be interesting.
Tim Cook, Larry Page, Sheryl Sandberg — and maybe even Jeff Bezos — are going to Trump’s tech summit next week
   Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos was invited, said sources, and he is likely to attend.
Bezos’ presence would be awkward, obviously, given how aggressive his Washington Post has been in its reporting on Trump and how many times the reality show star turned President-elect has attacked Amazon on a number of issues.
Trump has done the same to Apple, dinging it on taxes and the making of its popular products outside of the U.S. He even called for a boycott of Apple after it refused to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
   Those close to the process said that Thiel — who is on the Facebook board with Sandberg — and others helping Trump reach out to the tech community had a hard time convincing them to attend, largely due to his persistent public hostility to one of the U.S. economy’s few bright and innovative arenas.
   But those involved said that tech leaders had little choice in accepting the invitation, even if they wanted to decline, opting to engage now even if they later oppose Trump.
“Look, this is obviously a circus,” said one person close to the situation.  “Everyone in tech just wants to be invisible right now when it comes to this administration, but has to participate since we have done it before.”

It’s hard to convince my grad students that most companies actually do a good job of governance.
New scandal involving Prudential and Wells Fargo
Prudential Financial Inc. is now involved in a serious scandal as it has been accused of a fraudulent cover up of life policies to low income customers through Wells Fargo and Co.  This scandal has led to the departure of Wells Fargo’s CEO, John Stumpf, and the company is struggling to get past the crisis.  Three employees from from the corporate investigations division at the giant lender Prudential are now alleging that executives ignored their reports of fake accounts in order to avoid alienating Wells Fargo as a business partner.
They reported that 7 out of ten MyTerm policies sold during 2014, lapsed.  These policies were sold to clients with predominantly Hispanic names, and sales spiked towards the end of the year.  They also claim that, after reporting their findings to top level executives, they were escorted from the building, placed on administrative leave and are now under an imminent termination threat.

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