Monday, January 02, 2017

I thought this was a bit odd, but I didn’t expect the Post to fall for the “Russia did it” hysteria. 
Vermont Utility Refutes Reports of Russia Hacking U.S. Electric Grid
   The Washington Post has rewritten its story, clarifying that authorities had not actually found any evidence that the grid had been breached.  However, experts say even the new headline, “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security,” is FUD.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me.  My Computer Security students will likely agree.  Why all the pushback?
New York State Imposes New Cybersecurity Regulation for Financial Services
New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has published its revised proposal for what it calls a 'first-in-the-nation cybersecurity regulation' for New York regulated financial services.  Publication was delayed by approximately one week following significant pushback from affected organizations on Dec. 22 2016.
"This updated proposal (PDF)," announced Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo, Dec. 28, "allows an appropriate period of time for regulated entities to review the rule before it becomes final and make certain that their systems can effectively and efficiently meet the risks associated with cyber threats."
   The new 14-page DFS regulation is effectively a very detailed high level security policy document.  It states what is required from financial services rather than how the requirements should be implemented.  As such it is yet another set of compliance regulations that relevant companies need to meet.
   In this instance, two of the main new requirements for New York financial institutions would be the need to employ a CISO; and the need for annual reports, effectively signed-off by the board with a certification document to be sent to the DFS.

Not sure my students are ready for this.  Interesting paper but I can’t find a link to the web App, so it may not be available yet. 
Paper – The legal macroscope: Experimenting with visual legal analytics
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jan 1, 2017
The legal macroscope: Experimenting with visual legal analytics, Nicola Lettieri, Antonio Altamura, Delfina Malandrino First Published December 28, 2016.
“This work presents Knowlex, a web application designed for visualization, exploration, and analysis of legal documents coming from different sources.  Understanding the legal framework relating to a given issue often requires the analysis of complex legal corpora.  When a legal professional or a citizen tries to understand how a given phenomenon is disciplined, his attention cannot be limited to a single source of law but has to be directed on the bigger picture resulting from all the legal sources related to the theme under investigation.  Knowlex exploits data visualization to support this activity by means of interactive maps making sense out of heterogeneous documents (norms, case law, legal literature, etc.).  Starting from a legislative measure (what we define as Root) given as input by the user, the application implements two visual analytics functionalities aiming to offer new insights on the legal corpus under investigation.  The first one is an interactive node graph depicting relations and properties of the documents.  The second one is a zoomable treemap showing the topics, the evolution, and the dimension of the legal literature settled over the years around the norm of interest.  The article gives an overview of the research so far conducted presenting the results of a preliminary evaluation study aiming at evaluating the effectiveness of visualization in supporting legal activities as well as the effectiveness of Knowlex, the usability of the proposed system, and the overall user satisfaction when interacting with its applications.”

My students do this, weather they mean to or not.
Think Like a Futurist to Be Prepared for the Totally Unexpected
   Predicting the future, it turns out, isn’t what futurists do.  And in a funny way, that’s what makes their work so vital.  Many futurists are convinced that, now more than ever, everyone needs to start thinking the way they do.
What futurists actually do is facilitate as groups of people work through a highly structured, sometimes months-long process of coming up with as many hypothetical futures as they can, in order to prepare for more or less anything.
   In the current moment, with political and economic uncertainty combining with rapid technological change, “it’s clear we’re not going to make it through this as passengers,” says Scott Smith, a futurist for 20 years and creator of the educational resource How To Future.

Perspective.  Clear charts if you want to grab them.
Facebook & Google dominate the list of 2016’s top apps
   Not surprisingly, Facebook again grabbed the number one spot on the list, with more than 146 million average unique users per month, and 14 percent growth over last year.  In fact, Facebook scored several spots on the top 10 chart, thanks to Messenger (#2) and Instagram (#8) – the latter which also showed some of the highest year-over-year growth, up 36 percent from 2015.
Messenger came in second place this year, with over 129 million average unique monthly users, followed by YouTube with over 113 monthly uniques.
However, it was Google, not Facebook, that grabbed the most spots on the year-end chart.
According to Nielsen, Google’s apps YouTube (#3), Google Maps (#4), Google Search (#5), Google Play (#6) and Gmail (#7) were among those people used the most throughout the year.
   Nielsen also took a brief glimpse into the state of smartphone penetration in the U.S., noting that 88 percent of mobile subscribers now use a smartphone, up from 86 percent at the beginning of the year.
Over half (53%) are on Android, with 45 percent on iOS, and just 2 percent on Windows Phone.  Blackberry is somehow still on the charts with a 1 percent share.

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