Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It certainly appeals to my love of “conspiracy theories.”  
Latest WannaCry Theory: Currency Manipulation
The recent WannaCry outbreak is still a mystery.  We know what (ransomware), and how (a Windows vulnerability on unsupported or unpatched systems); but we don't know who or why.  We're not short of theories: Lazarus, North Korea, some other nation-state actor, Chinese or Russian actors -- but none of these has gained general acceptance.
The basic problem is that elements of Wannacry just don't make sense.  The scale and rapidity of its spread, although not unprecedented, points to expertise and resources.  This together with some code similarities has led to suggestions that it was a nation-state attack emanating from North Korea.
But inefficiencies in collecting the ransom is not likely from a group as experienced as Lazarus; and the absence of any visible political motive throws doubt on the idea that any nation-state actor was involved.
Thycotic's cyber security and digital forensics expert, Joseph Carson, has an alternative theory: the motive behind Wannacry was effectively insider trading following currency manipulation. Bitcoin was the real target.
If he is right, it explains the efficiency of the attack (the primary motive) and the inefficiency of the ransom collection (which was neither part of nor important to the plan).

About time! 
DNC advertises for new chief technology officer
The Democratic National Committee is searching for an executive to lead its IT modernization, cybersecurity and technology efforts.

Why not, everything else can.
   It turns out that picking the wrong emoji might land you a date in court, at least if we take a recent case in Israel as an example.

Now this is interesting!
US Supreme Court Protects Consumers' Right To Refill Ink Cartridges In Precedent-Setting Lexmark vs Impression Case
Score one for the little guys.  In a precedent-setting decision handed down this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a company’s patent rights are forfeited once they sell an item to a consumer under the “first sale” doctrine.  This idea was central to Impression Products, Inc. v Lexmark Int’l, Inc. and is a major blow to companies that sell their printers for (relatively) low prices and then recoup any losses on the sale of expensive ink and toner cartridges.
   "Extending the patent rights beyond the first sale would clog the channels of commerce, with little benefit from the extra control that the patentees retain," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.  In his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts contended that Lexmark’s heavy-handed approach to discouraging cartridge remanufacturers only emboldened them to find new and innovative ways to circumvent the company’s defenses.
“Many kept acquiring empty Return Program cartridges and developed methods to counteract the effect of the microchips.  With that technological obstacle out of the way, there was little to prevent the remanufacturers from using the Return Program cartridges in their resale business,” said Chief Justice Roberts.  After all, Lexmark’s contractual single-use/no-resale agreements were with the initial customers, not with downstream purchasers like the remanufacturers.

Will this flourish in a Trump world?
CrowdJustice, the crowdfunding platform for public interest litigation, raises $2M and heads to U.S.
CrowdJustice, a startup that brings crowdfunding to “public interest” litigation, has raised $2 million in seed funding for U.S. expansion.
   High profile cases that have utilised the platform to date include the “People’s Challenge” to Brexit that won in the Supreme Court, which said that Parliament had a say in triggering Article 50, and the first federal case challenging the Trump immigration ban.
To coincide with today’s U.S. seed funding announcement, a new campaign is launching on CrowdJustice.  It’s seeing Mike Hallatt (“Pirate Joe”) attempt to raise money to defend a lawsuit being brought by corporate giant Trader Joe’s against Hallatt’s small Canadian startup Pirate Joe’s.

You might as well start practicing.  The Chatbots will soon be everywhere!
   The official Alexa Skill Testing Tool, intended for people who are building skills that you can use with the Echo, can be used by anyone.  You don’t have to be a developer working on an app.  All you need is an Amazon account.
After logging into the site using your Amazon credentials and granting the site access to your account (and to your computer mic), you can start asking all the questions you would of Alexa.  Use Spacebar or click on the microphone button and be sure to keep holding down until you’ve finished asking your question.

Something for my geeks to try.  SE specializing in 3D printing, source code, etc.

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