Monday, June 19, 2017

Steal ‘em while they’re young! 
Kyra Gurney reports:
Two months before the U.S. presidential election, international hackers slipped into the computer systems of at least four Florida school district networks in the hopes of stealing the personal data of hundreds of thousands of students.
They infected the systems with malware — malicious software — that turned off the logs recording who accessed the systems, according to United Data Technologies, the Doral-based cybersecurity company that investigated the incidents.  For three months, the hackers probed the systems, mapping them out and testing their defenses.  At one point, they even posted photos of someone dressed as an ISIS fighter on two school district websites.
Read more on Sacramento Bee.
[From the article: 
A large school district like Miami-Dade, which was one of the districts targeted in the attempted hack last fall, handles the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of hundreds of thousands of current and former students, along with data on thousands of employees and parents.
   “High school kids, almost all of them have a very clean slate when it comes to credit scoring.  So they’re trying to gain access to a large volume of teenagers’ [information] that can help them down the road,” he said.  “These guys have time. They’re willing to wait a year, two years before they can actually monetize that data.”

Apparently, Russian hackers are redundant.  Note that only about 60 million people actually voted in the last Presidential election. 
It’s somewhat unbelievable how this keeps happening and Congress continues to sit on its hands when it comes to voter registration data.  The Russians don’t need to hack anything.  They just need to look for leaky servers or buckets.
Joe UChill reports:
A data analytics contractor employed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) left databases containing information on nearly 200 million potential voters exposed to the internet without security, allowing anyone who knew where to look to download it without a password.
“We take full responsibility for this situation,” said the contractor, Deep Root Analytics, in a statement.
The databases were part of 25 terabytes of files contained in an Amazon cloud account that could be browsed without logging in.  The leaky account was discovered by researcher Chris Vickery of the security firm UpGuard.  The files have since been secured.
Read more on The Hill.

A nice crossover between my Computer Security and Spreadsheet classes.
Deep Mukherjee reports:
Confidential information of customers who booked flats in Noida, postpaid mobile customers, credit card holders and insurance policy subscribers were in possession of the gang that was running a fake call centre in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, police said.
Such was the gang’s methodical approach that it had a detailed list of people who own luxury cars in the National Capital Region which covers the territorial jurisdictions of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
“The gang maintained a precise database of crores of people across India. We found personal information of 6 lakh people in just one Excel sheet from the laptops that we seized,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Vikas Pathak told Hindustan Times.
Read more on Hindustan Times.

I find it amusing that one vendor (Ross) claims they can help you, “Do more than humanly possible.”  Sounds like real, human lawyers are on the way out,
Innovations in legal technology leverage search and discovery
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 18, 2017
If you had to pick the most staid area of legal technology, you might choose legal research.  After all, Westlaw and LexisNexis pretty much set the standard for online legal research long ago, and many of the smaller research services that have come along since are essentially less-comprehensive variations on the same theme.  Yet within a few days of each other earlier this month, there were three major developments pertaining to legal research, each of which suggests interesting new directions for legal research.  In fact, after I wrote about the three developments on my Lawsites blog, it prompted Ed Walters, the CEO of legal research service Fastcase, to tweet, “Might we be entering a golden age of legal research innovation?  Sure feels like it.”  Of course, innovation in legal research has been going on for a while now.  Middle-tier services such as Fastcase and Casemaker are frequently refining their platforms and adding new features.  Startups such as Casetext and Ravel Law have introduced innovations that even the big players have emulated.  Startup ROSS is bringing IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence to legal research.  Still, all three of these recent developments signal possible new directions in legal research.  Let me review them briefly…”

Perspective.  Rather than pay for 199 channels when you only watch three or four, pay for the content (even single events) you want to watch.  
Nearly Half of Broadband Consumers Subscribe to a Video OTT Service: Study
Reflecting the surge in consumer adoption and volume of subscription VOD services, almost half of U.S. broadband customers pay for at least one OTT video service, according to a survey from IBB Consulting.
The study, based on a survey of 2,007 U.S. online consumers, found that about one-third subscribe to two OTT services and 18% take three or more.
Millennials are the group most likely to take more than three paid OTT services.  Notably, some 63% of paid OTT subscribers also get a traditional pay TV service. 

“Because I don’t understand technology…”  More likely, because parents can’t say “no.” 
Colorado man seeks smartphone ban for kids
   The proposal would require retailers to submit reports to the state government verifying that they had inquired about who each sold smartphone was intended to be used by, and fine those that repeatedly sell phones to be used by young children and preteens. 
   Farnum said he was inspired to make the push after watching his own kids struggle with the psychological effects of always having device in hand.

President Trump likes walls.  Suppose we tell him the Mexicans hacked the election…
Germany Builds an Election Firewall to Fight Russian Hackers
In March and April hackers tried to infiltrate computers of think tanks associated with Germany’s top two political parties.  A year earlier, scammers set up a fake server in Latvia to flood German lawmakers with phishing emails.  And in 2015 criminals breached the network of the German Parliament, stealing 16 gigabytes of data.  Although there’s no definitive proof, the attacks have been linked to Pawn Storm, a shadowy group with ties to Russian intelligence agencies—raising the possibility that the Kremlin might disrupt a September vote in which Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strongest critic in Europe, is seeking a fourth term.
   Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is calling for a law that would allow the country to “hack back” and wipe out attacking servers.
   Germany’s education ministry is backing a new cybersecurity school where politicians and IT officials are taught to spot and react to hacking.

As long as you are in the neighborhood…
Historical Marker Database
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 18, 2017
“This website, The Historical Marker Database, is an illustrated searchable online catalog of historical information viewed through the filter of roadside and other permanent outdoor markers, monuments, and plaques.  It contains photographs, inscription transcriptions, marker locations, maps, additional information and commentary, and links to more information.  Anyone can add new markers to the database and update existing marker pages with new photographs, links, information and commentary.”

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