Wednesday, April 12, 2017

“Oh yeah, it’s a really cheap and easy security upgrade.  We just never thought it was worth it before the hack.”  Hacked on Saturday, fixed by Tuesday. 
Hacked Dallas sirens get extra encryption to fend off future attacks
Dallas city officials have added extra encryption and other security measures to the outdoor warning sirens hacked early Saturday.
The hack also prompted the city to evaluate critical systems for potential vulnerabilities, City Manager T.C. Broadnax said in a statement late Monday. City officials are reviewing security for financial systems, a flood warning system, police-fire dispatch and the 911/311 system.

Is it now “cool” to claim you were hacked by Russia?  There is a difference between “We’ve been hacked” and “Russia change the election results.”  
Brexit vote site may have been hacked, MPs say in report
   "There is no evidence to suggest malign intervention.  We conducted a full review into the outage and have applied the lessons learned.  We will ensure these are applied for all future polls and online services."

(Related).  A real response to Russian hacking?  
EU, NATO countries kick off center to counter 'hybrid' threats
Several EU and NATO countries on Tuesday signed up to establish a center in Helsinki to research how to tackle tactics such as cyber attacks, propaganda and disinformation.
The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the membership, and more countries are due to come on board in July.
   Finland last year voiced concern about what it sees as an intensifying propaganda attack against it by the Kremlin. Germany has also reported a rise in Russian disinformation campaigns and targeted cyber attacks.

An interesting legal tactic.
Anthem to data breach victims: Maybe the damages are your own darned fault
Insurance giant Anthem has effectively scared off possible victims of a 2015 data breach by asking to examine their personal computers for evidence that their own shoddy security was to blame for their information falling into the hands of criminals.
Some of the affected Anthem customers sued for damages they say resulted from the breach but then withdrew their suits after Anthem got a court order allowing the exams.
The examiners would be looking only for evidence that their credentials or other personal data had been stolen even before the Anthem hack ever took place, according to a blog by Chad Mandell, an attorney at LeClairRyan.
“If that proved to be true, it would call into question whether the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries had truly been caused by the Anthem hack,” he writes.  

Is this based on the discovery of potential terrorist or a need to be seen “doing something?”  Has anyone asked to see the results of these searches? 
The Steady Rise of Digital Border Searches
New statistics released Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection reveal that the rate of digital border searches is on pace to quadruple since 2015.  That means more and more travelers entering the U.S. are being asked to turn over their electronic devices to be analyzed.
The increase appears to have begun even before President Donald Trump’s promise to scrutinize incoming visitors with “extreme vetting” measures, some of which included stepping up digital surveillance.  And if Trump’s cabinet gets its way, the trend may accelerate further.  Earlier this year, John Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, told a House committee that foreign visitors should have to give up their online passwords and submit to social-media searches if they want to enter the United States.
In the last six months, nearly 15,000 travelers had one of their devices searched at the border.  Compare that to just 8,503 between October 2014 and October 2015, or 19,033 the following year.
   The agency says the steady increase in searches reflects “current threat information,” but a spokesperson wouldn’t elaborate on the specific reasons for the trend.  Asked for an example of the kind of cases that digital border searches help solve, the spokesperson pointed to a Vermont man who was arrested in February for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old girl.  Border agents stopped the pair as they tried to enter the U.S. from Canada, and inspected the girl’s phone.  There, they found texts suggesting a sexual relationship with the 25-year-old man. 

Interesting article.  Devices that monitor an athlete could help extend his career or end it before it begins.
The Upcoming Privacy Battle Over Wearables in the NBA

Ah, does this mean that nonsense about taps on Trumps campaign headquarters might have some basis in fact?
FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page
The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications [Wiretap?  Bob] of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

How many Twits read my Tweets? 
If you’re on Twitter, there’s a good chance you’re trying to get more followers, retweets, and favorites. Maybe you’re the social media marketer at a company.  Maybe you’re trying to a develop a personal brand. Or you just want to get some free stuff.
Whatever the reason, you want to get more traction — and Twitter analytics can help you get it.  Here’s why those analytics are so helpful, what you should look for, and how to find it.

(Related).  Question: Is there a market for Social Media advisors who can boost your following?  Is that a thing? 
These world leaders are killing it on Instagram: India’s Prime Minister, Trump, and the Pope
In recent years, President Obama was the undisputed Instagram champ among world leaders, with 13.9 million followers.  But with Obama shuffling off the stage, which global kingpin reigns supreme on the photo sharing app?
According to a study released today by PR firm Burson-Marsteller, it’s India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with 6.8 million followers as of April 1.  Finishing a close second, but doing his best to Make Instagram Great Again, is President Donald Trump, with 6.3 million followers.  Burson-Marsteller notes that combined, those top two still have fewer followers than Obama.

No doubt I’ll add some of these to my RSS reader.
90 Active Blogs on Analytics, Big Data, Data Mining, Data Science, Machine Learning
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Apr 11, 2017
Thuy T. Pham, U. of Sydney. “This post updates a previous very popular post 100 Active Blogs on Analytics, Big Data, Data Mining, Data Science, Machine Learning as of March 2016 (and 90+ blogs, 2015 version).  This year we removed 26 blog sites from the previous list that does not meet our active criterion: at least one blog in the last 3 months (since Oct 1, 2016).  We also added ten new relevant blogs to the list.  All blogs in this list are categorized into two groups: very active and moderately active.  The former often have several entries each month while the latter may only have one post for a few months recently.  We also separate blogs that do not involve much in technical discussions as in a Others group.  Within each group of blogs, we list in alphabetical order.  Blog overview is based on information as it have appeared on its URL as of 1-1-2017.”

I have a dream: My very own “anti-social” network!  Someplace to go all ‘Don Rickles’ on my students.   
Mastodon—The free software, decentralized Twitter competitor
   along comes Mastodon, which describes itself as the following:
"Mastodon is a free, open-source social network.  A decentralized alternative to commercial platforms, it avoids the risks of a single company monopolizing your communication.  Pick a server that you trust—whichever you choose, you can interact with everyone else.  Anyone can run their own Mastodon instance and participate in the social network seamlessly." 
Open source (and up on GitHub—using the AGPL license)

Something for the toolkit.  I’m so bad at drawing I never even try.  Should I?
Google's AutoDraw turns your clumsy scribbles into art
Google wants to help you get in touch with your inner Picasso.  Today, it's launching AutoDraw, a web-based tool that uses machine learning to turn your hamfisted doodling into art. 
   The app is free and it works on any phone, computer or tablet.  It's pretty straightforward: draw your best version of a cake, for example, and the auto suggestion tool will try to guess what that amorphous blob actually is.  Then, you can choose from a number of better looking cakes made by talented artists.  Or, if amorphous blob is actually what you were striving for, you can turn off the auto suggestions and doodle away.

Not many of my students are interested in chess.
The Sublime Moves Of America’s New Chess Champion

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