Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Something for an Ethical Hacking background? 
WikiLeaks Releases Trove of Alleged C.I.A. Hacking Documents
In what appears to be the largest leak of C.I.A documents in history, WikiLeaks released on Tuesday thousands of pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the agency to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions.
The documents amount to a detailed, highly technical catalog of tools. [Not the actual tools.  Bob]  They include instructions for compromising a wide range of common computer tools for use in spying: the online calling service Skype; Wi-Fi networks; documents in PDF format; and even commercial antivirus programs of the kind used by millions of people to protect their computers.
The initial release, which WikiLeaks said was only the first installment in a larger collection of secret C.I.A. material, included 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments, many of them partly redacted by WikiLeaks editors to avoid disclosing the actual code for cyberweapons.  The entire archive of C.I.A. material consists of several hundred million lines of computer code, the group claimed.
   In some regard, the C.I.A. documents confirmed and filled in the details on abilities that have long been suspected in technical circles.

I thought I had reported this earlier. 
Jason Meisner and Steve Schmadeke report:
In the latest skirmish over privacy in the cellphone age, a federal judge in Chicago has rejected a law enforcement request to force potential targets in an ongoing investigation to provide fingerprints to unlock any iPhones or other Apple devices.
The order by U.S. Magistrate Judge David Weisman concerned a request for a warrant to search a residence where investigators believed someone was using the internet to traffic images of child pornography, court records show.
The prosecution filing seeking the search warrant on the FBI’s behalf remains under seal, but the judge’s opinion said the government requested “the authority to compel any individual who is present at the subject premises at the time of the search” to provide a fingerprint or thumbprint needed to unlock an Apple device.
Read more on Chicago Tribune

I know some IP lawyers who will be watching this like hawks.  Did this AI turn criminal on its own or was it programmed that way? 
Microsoft’s AI Is Now Writing Its Own Code by Looting Other Programs (MSFT)
Thou Shall Not Steal. [Unless thou hast a good lawyer?  Bob]  It’s a guiding principle that applies to everything.  But not anymore.  Not after a team of researchers from software giant Microsoft and Cambridge University built DeepCoder — a highly intelligent and sophisticated computer system that makes it possible for machines to write their own programs, by stealing code from other people (or other machines).  And if you forget the stealing part, its intentions are actually good.
With DeepCoder, it will now be possible for people who can’t code very well or don’t know how to code at all to write their own programs.  All they have to do is describe what it is they want done, and the computer will write the appropriate code to get it done.  Even better, it can create programs in a matter of seconds, unlike its older predecessors which needed several minutes to do the job.  Ideally, this means that people will have more time to spend on productive, rather than trivial stuff. [Rather insulting to us programmers!  Bob]
   “The potential for automation that this kind of technology offers could really signify an enormous [reduction] in the amount of effort it takes to develop code.  Generating a really big piece of code in one shot is hard, and potentially unrealistic.  But really big pieces of code are built by putting together lots of little pieces of code.”

Just another thing on that Internet of Things.  No doubt they will phone or text if anything changes. 
Pirelli, Goodyear Look to Gain Grip With Smart Tires
Companies show concept tires that send data including pressure, wear and temperature to a mobile app

Interesting to me, because they had to succeed at least 2,000 times to make $6,000,000
It’s finally over: Mastermind behind Prenda Law porn trolls pleads guilty
   After years of denial, John Steele admitted Monday that he and co-defendant Paul Hansmeier made more than $6 million by threatening Internet users with copyright lawsuits.
It's perfectly legal to sue Internet pirates—but not the way Steele did it.  Steele and Hansmeier set up "sham entities" to get copyrights to pornographic movies, "some of which they filmed themselves," according to the Department of Justice's statement on the plea.  Steele and Hansmeier then uploaded those movies to file-sharing websites such as The Pirate Bay and then sued the people who downloaded the content.

Perspective.  We are moving toward an ‘all mobile’ society. 
Android Poised To Topple Windows As World’s Most Used Operating System
It looks as though Google’s Android operating system is on the verge of making history.  According to analytics firm StatCounter, the current trending shows Android quickly approaching parity with Windows as the world’s most popular operating system among all computing devices.
What more striking, however, is the fact that Microsoft has been losing overall market share at a rapid pace since 2012.  At that time, Microsoft was riding high with 82 percent share of all global OS traffic.  But it has been a steady march downward, and today Microsoft’s Windows-based operating systems have a collective 38.6 percent share of the global OS market according to StatCounter.
   “The idea of Android almost matching Windows would have been unthinkable five years ago,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen.  “Windows has won the desktop war but the battlefield has moved on.”
The changing of the guard can no doubt be attributed to the declining importance of PCs in the everyday lives of consumers, and the increasing ubiquity of smartphones as our “go to” tool for communications.

Perspective.  We do need broadcast TV or cable TV.
CTA – Number of Streaming Video Viewers Now Equal To Paid TV Subscribers
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Mar 7, 2017
“For the first time ever, the percentage of free or paid streaming video subscribers in the U.S. (68 percent) has caught up to the number of paid TV subscribers (67 percent), according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) ™.  The new study, The Changing Landscape for Video and Content, also shows the time consumers spend watching video content on TVs (51 percent in 2016, down 11 points since 2012) is now equaled by – within the sampling margin of error – time spent watching video content on all other consumer technology devices (49 percent) including laptops, tablets and smartphones.  “More and more consumers are embracing the freedom of connectivity – in this case, the anytime/anywhere access to video content,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA.  “This is one of the driving trends of our time.  Today’s advancement of technology delivers ‘content convenience’ that results in cultural changes such as binge watching, second screen behavior, content recommendations and the screens consumers use to consume video.  And we expect streaming subscribers to surpass paid TV services – and by a fair margin – in the next year or so.”

Perspective.  Groceries is a very low margin business.  I wondered how delivery services would make an money without pricing themselves out of business. 
Instacart raises $400 million at a $3.4 billion valuation to deliver groceries on-demand
   As TechCrunch has previously reported, Instacart has multiple revenue streams.  The company charges customers a markup on groceries, plus a fee for delivering items to their doors.  In addition, consumer packaged goods brands pay Instacart to advertise on its platform.  And the startup strikes revenue share agreements with partners including grocery chains like Whole Foods.

Imagine what this company would be worth if it was capable of making a profit!
Digital Financial Startup BankMobile to Be Sold for $175 Million
BankMobile, a two-year-old digital-banking upstart founded by a veteran executive of financial firms, announced Wednesday that it is being sold for $175 million after its parent company said it wouldn’t be able to operate the business profitably.

Something for the toolkit?  This could be handy!
   Markticle, available for Web, Chrome, and Android, is the solution.
It helps you mark your reading progress in articles so that you can come back to the exact spot on the webpage later.  In brief, it is a read-it-later bookmark tool that homes in not only to the article but also the particular line you want saved for later.

A warning for gamers?  Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.  Do we need an App that monitors your health and stops the game (or calls the ambulance) when you get over-stimulated?
Man suffers fatal heart attack after catching one of the rarest creatures in ‘Pokemon Go’
Pokemon Go has gotten countless players up off of the couch and on their feet in search of the endlessly charming creatures, and it’s been hailed as a great fitness tool for that very reason.  Unfortunately, it seems the pure joy of snatching a particularly elusive monster was a bit too much for one Singaporean man who, after nabbing a prized catch, suffered a fatal heart attack.

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