Sunday, January 08, 2017

Something for my Ethical Hacking students? 
Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Is A Security Disaster Waiting To Happen
The most powerful publication in the world today is Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account.  In the past six weeks, it has moved markets, conducted shadow foreign policy, and reshaped the focus of media around the world.  Just today, it caused Toyota’s stock to drop.  It is also shockingly insecure.
   That’s especially true because there is a large fortune that could be made in a single 140-character message.  If someone were able to gain access to Trump’s Twitter, they could tweet approvingly or disapprovingly about a company (as Trump has done) and play the stock market accordingly — or cause others to do so.  A market-tracking app called Trigger has already set up an alert that responds whenever Trump tweets about publicly traded companies.
If the hacker were geopolitically motivated, they could tweet favorably or unfavorably about a country or a leader (as Trump has done) and alter foreign affairs.  Or if the hacker had a grudge, they could call their enemy out in a tweet (as Trump has done) and unleash the rage of Trump’s nearly 19 million followers.  Plus, who knows what’s in Trump’s DMs?  [Direct Message (I had to look it up.)  Bob]
   This is not a far-fetched scenario.  Putting aside the specter of state-sponsored Russian hacking, in the past year alone, the Twitter accounts of Kylie Jenner, Mark Zuckerberg, Keith Richards, Sundar Pichai, Drake, Travis Kalanick, the National Football League, and the foreign minister of Belgium (to name a few) were hacked or accessed by someone who wasn’t supposed to have access.

We’re starting to figure out “what could possibly go wrong?”  I can see TV ads ending with, “Be sure to say, “Alexa, order a ______!”   
San Diego News Anchor Mistakenly Triggers Amazon Alexa To Order Dollhouses For TV Watchers
San Diego channel CW6 was reporting about a child who “accidentally” bought a dollhouse and four pounds of cookies through their Amazon Echo.  News anchor Jim Patton remarked, “I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse’”.  Viewers soon started calling into the station complaining that Patton’s statement made their devices try to order a dollhouse.
Accidental orders happen surprisingly often.  Alexa does adapt to speech patterns and vocabulary, but is unable to completely differentiate between users.
   For those concerned about accidental purchases, shopping settings can be managed through the Alexa app. Users can turn off voice purchasing and create a confirmation before every order.

Would this reduce the liability of self-driving software enough to offset the increase in remote-driver liability?  What if the car (owner or software) failed to ask for help?  (Or got a message that, “all of our agents are currently busy, please hold and the next available agent will take you call.) 
Nissan’s Path to Self-Driving Cars? Humans in Call Centers
   Even a system that could handle 99 percent of driving situations will cause trouble for the company trying to promote, and make money off, the technology.  “We will always need the human in the loop,” Sierhuis says.
But Nissan has a solution: a call center with human meatbags ready to take command via remote control.

Would this model also work for other business data?
   Google’s public mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.  Many, but not all, of the company’s present-day projects focus on this mission — a mission reliant on gathering, organizing, and interpreting millions of gigabytes of data.
...   At a very basic level, Google Maps has taken a huge amount of offline information and published it online.  We’re talking things like highway networks, road signs, street names, and business names.  But as I hint below, Google hopes that Maps will be able to do a lot more in the future.
   But what actually goes into making sense of all that data?
This largely boils down to the kinds of algorithms that make up the bedrock of Google as a company.  These algorithms, which happen to be extremely complex and secretive, work to clean the data, spot inconsistencies, and link it all together to make it more useful.

What clearer indication of a corporate “death spiral” could there possibly be. 
Sears sells Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for about $900 million
   The deal will provide another cash infusion for Sears, but it comes at a cost – broadening distribution of the well-known brand gives consumers one less reason to choose to shop at the struggling retailer.

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