Tuesday, December 20, 2016

When Russia is not hacking Hillary…
Ukraine Power Outage Possibly Caused by Cyberattack
A cyberattack may have caused the power outage that occurred in Ukraine late on Saturday, according to the country’s national energy company Ukrenergo.
In a statement published on its website on Sunday, Ukrenergo said the outage occurred on Saturday, near midnight, at the North (Petrivtsi) substation, causing blackouts in the capital city of Kiev and the Kiev region.
Ukrenergo Acting Director Vsevolod Kovalchuk said workers switched to manual mode and started restoring power after 30 minutes.  Power was fully restored after just over an hour, Kovalchuk said.
The statement published by Ukrenergo names equipment malfunction and hacking as the possible causes.  However, in a message posted on Facebook, Kovalchuk said the main suspect was “external interference through the data network.”  The organization’s cybersecurity experts are investigating the incident.
   A report published recently by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the 2015 cyberattacks were likely part of a two-year campaign that targeted several sectors in Ukraine.  Researchers identified 11 attacks aimed at the electricity, railway, media, mining and government sectors.
While experts have not found any hard evidence linking these attacks to Russia, the attackers’ significant resources appear to indicate the involvement of a nation state, and the threat actor’s goals align with Russian political interests.

Another external hacker?  Is this an overreaction or simply Big Brother justifying their actions?
Thailand’s Move to Further Censor Internet Draws Wave of Hacks
Thailand scrambled to ward off a series of a cyberattacks aimed at protesting the ruling junta’s recent moves to more closely police the internet.

Serious hackers require serious Computer Security students.
Mirai Switches to Tor Domains to Improve Resilience
Mirai, the distributed denial of service (DDoS) botnet that leverages the power of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, is improving resilience by switching to .Onion domains, after briefly flirting with its own Domain Generation Algorithm (DGA).
The DGA functionality in Mirai was detailed about a week ago, but security researchers say that the botnet had been using it for a very short period of time.

Sneaky Google?  Will Trump care? 
Consumer Watchdog, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse File Complaint Over Google’s “Deceptive” Privacy Policy Change
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 19, 2016
News release: “Consumer Watchdog and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that Google violated the law and an earlier consent agreement when it forced a change in its privacy policy on users in a highly deceptive manner, without meaningful notice and consent.
   “The FTC must take meaningful action to stop this serial abuser and force it to give up its ill-gotten gains.”  Read the Consumer Watchdog and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse complaint here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ftc_google_complaint_12-5-2016docx.pdf…”

Apply now and avoid the Christmas rush.  I’ll need a license if we start teaching “Drone 101”
The FAA has issued nearly 23,000 drone pilot licenses in just three months
That’s over 300 new drone pilot certifications a day.
   The agency released its rules for commercial drone operators on Aug. 31, requiring pilots who fly for work or business to pass a test and become certified.  The FAA says that, between Aug. 31 and Dec. 9, over 28,000 people applied to become a professional drone pilot and 22,959 licenses were issued.
   Hobbyists — amateaur photographers or those flying for fun who aren’t making money from operating a drone — don’t need to get certified.  But anyone flying an aircraft that weighs more than half a pound does need to register the drone with the FAA, which can be done online.
   The aeronautical knowledge test to become a certified drone pilot does require some studying.  Pilots have to go to a local testing center that offers the drone pilot certification; it usually costs about $150 to take the exam, according to the FAA.

Did Facebook not know that WhatsApp had telephone numbers?  Did the EU not look at data? 
Facebook accused over WhatsApp takeover
Facebook has been accused by the European Commission of misleading it during its investigation of Facebook's 2014 takeover of WhatsApp.
The Commission says Facebook misled it when the company said it was impossible to match users' Facebook and WhatsApp accounts.
But in August, WhatsApp said it would do just that, by linking users' phone numbers with their Facebook identities.
Facebook said it had nothing to hide and had acted in good faith.
The Commission believes the ability to link the accounts of the two services' users must have existed in 2014, though this is vigorously disputed by Facebook.
If the Commission concludes that it was definitely misled, either by accident or design, it could fine Facebook up to 1% of its turnover, which would amount to hundreds of millions of euros

The next “Big Thing?”  A smartphone trend?  Phones with cameras and screens, what else do you need?  (Software and bandwidth)
Kik chat app now makes group video calls
In an update of the chat app Kik, starting today users can now make video calls with up to six people.
Facebook Messenger also added group video chat today.
“Video chat was the number-one feature you requested, and today, we’re really excited to launch it on Kik,” the company said in a blog post.
   The largest of the bunch, WhatsApp, brought video calls to its 1.2 billion users last month.
   With the use of an iMessage app extension, Fam brought group video chat to iPhones earlier this month.
Last week, Slack (not in the 100 million user club, but noteworthy) launched one-to-one video call feature for its paying customers.  Also last week, way ahead of its competitors, Japan-based Line announced that it can now handle video calls with up to 200 people.

For some reason, my students think any company they’ve heard of must be profitable.
Uber's Loss Exceeds $800 Million in Third Quarter on $1.7 Billion in Net Revenue

A government scorecard.  "You can't tell the players without a scorecard"
GovExec – Bios of the Trump Cabinet
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 19, 2016
Government Executive: Meet the Trump Cabinet – Few presidential transitions have been as fraught with uncertainty as the one associated with the incoming Trump Administration.  While candidate Donald Trump pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, build a wall across the Southwest border with Mexico, renegotiate trade deals and redefine international partnerships, it’s not at all clear what President Trump may actually do once he’s in office.  To understand how the man who promised to “fire stupid people” and shake up Washington might actually govern, its useful to consider the men and women he has tapped for his Cabinet.  While the Senate still must confirm Trump’s picks, they offer insight into how he may manage the federal bureaucracy…”

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