Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This could be huge.  Why are some franchise owners refusing to have their systems examined? 
Brian Krebs reports:
In December 2016, KrebsOnSecurity broke the news that fraud experts at various banks were seeing a pattern suggesting a widespread credit card breach across some 5,000 hotels worldwide owned by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).  In February, IHG acknowledged a breach but said it appeared to involve only a dozen properties.  Now, IHG has released data showing that cash registers at more than 1,000 of its properties were compromised with malicious software designed to siphon customer debit and credit card data.

New rules!  Better?
Michael B. Katz and Cynthia J. Larose of  Mintz Levin write:
After a quiet winter there has been significant activity in state legislatures to enact, strengthen or clarify their data breach notification statutes.  The latest happenings are summarized below and we have updated our “Mintz Matrix” to reflect these new and pending laws.
Read more on Privacy & Security Matters Blog.  The authors also link to the full text of the new statutes.

Why Can’t We End Spam? Ask An Economist
Last week, Russian hacker Pyotr Levashov was arrested in Barcelona in an operation jointly undertaken by Spain and the US FBI.  Levashov is allegedly the hacker behind the Kelihos botnet, a network of up to 100,000 compromised computers that have been used to run a giant, distributed spam operation (all unknownst to the owners of the computers in the network.)
   Security expert Brian Krebs estimated that Levashov’s botnet was capable of sending 1.5 billion emails a day, and attributes more than $438,000 in revenue from online pharmacy spam sent through that botnet over a 3-year period.  Economics research suggest that the scale and the profitability of spam are inseparable: in their article on “The Economics of Online Crime,” Moore et al. cite the results of a research project that
infiltrated a large botnet and altered the spam e-mails sent out so that they linked to a benign duplicate website under the researchers’ control.  They were able to provide the first independent answer to a long-standing question: how many people respond to spam?  It turns out that 28 sales resulted from 350 million spam e-mails advertising pharmaceuticals—a conversion rate of 0.00001 percent.

Now that is quotable!
Artificial intelligence is a hot topic right now.  Driven by a fear of losing out, companies in many industries have announced AI-focused initiatives.  Unfortunately, most of these efforts will fail.  They will fail not because AI is all hype, but because companies are approaching AI-driven innovation incorrectly.  And this isn’t the first time companies have made this kind of mistake.

Today exit, tomorrow entry and eventually at every embassy and consulate? 
Facial recognition is coming to US airports, fast-tracked by Trump
   Called Biometric Exit, the project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country.  Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application.  If there’s no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally.  The system is currently being tested on a single flight from Atlanta to Tokyo, but after being expedited by the Trump administration, it’s expected to expand to more airports this summer, eventually rolling out to every international flight and border crossing in the US.
   “We currently have everyone’s photo, so we don’t need to do any sort of enrollment.  We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of US Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the US and their biometrics are captured into [DHS biometric database] IDENT.”
   Homeland Security estimates that roughly half a million visitors to the US overstay their visas each year — but without a verifiable exit process, the government has no way to determine how many visitors are actually overstaying or who they are.
   Those systems also raise serious civil rights questions that agencies still haven’t answered.  Under the FBI, facial recognition has become a powerful and controversial tool for tracking criminals.  If that tool extends to face photos taken at airports, it could mean a subtle but profound change in law enforcement’s powers at the airport.
“Right now, other than the no-fly list, you do not have law enforcement checks on who can fly,” says Alvaro Bedoya, who studies facial recognition at Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology.  “But once you take that high-quality photograph, why not run it against the FBI database?  Why not run it against state databases of people with outstanding warrants?  Suddenly you’re moving from this world in which you’re just verifying identity to another world where the act of flying is cause for a law enforcement search.”

Perspective.  Is the Internet going to the dogs?
PetSmart is acquiring for $3.35 billion in the largest e-commerce acquisition ever
   The deal is a huge one by any standard — bigger than Walmart’s $3.3 billion deal for last year — and especially for a retail company like PetSmart, which was itself valued at only $8.7 billion when private equity investors took it over in 2015.
But has been one of the fastest-growing e-commerce sites on the planet, registering nearly $900 million in revenue last year, in what was only its fifth year in operation.  The company had been a potential IPO candidate for this year or next, but was taken out by its brick-and-mortar competitor before that.  It was not profitable last year. [My students always find this amazing.  Bob]

Yet another opportunity to expand the intellect of my students.
Starcraft and Starcraft: Brood War Free Download for Windows PC and macOS

Free is good!
Apple Makes iMovie, GarageBand, and iWork Apps for Mac and iOS Free for All Users

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