Saturday, June 03, 2017
This is blog post 4000. I’ll keep practicing until I get it right.
Today it’s commissions, tomorrow the world!
Chinese Company Behind Adware That Infected Over 250 Million Computers
A Chinese digital marketing company named Rafotech is behind a wave of inter-connected adware families that found their way onto the computers of millions of users, says Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point.
According to an extensive investigation, Check Point claims Rafotech has designed a very intrusive adware that hijacks people's browsers with the primary purpose of redirecting traffic to fake search engines.
These fake search engines do nothing more than divert search queries through Google and Yahoo's affiliate programs, earning the Chinese company a commission.
… The adware's reach inside corporate networks is a big issue because adware, in general, has evolved in the past year. As Bleeping Computer's malware expert Lawrence Abrams wrote numerous times in our adware removal guides, most of today's adware contains the same features found in banking or backdoor trojans.
Fireball is one of those adware families. Check Point experts said yesterday in a report that Fireball contains features that allow the Chinese company to push and execute any file (malware) to the victim's computer.
Because the adware is so intrusive at the browser level, experts fear that its maintainers would have no technical impediment from switching from a revenue model that's based on traffic redirection and ad injection to something that involves stealing user credentials.
For my students.
'Tallinn Manual 2.0' - the Rulebook for Cyberwar
Tallinn - With ransomware like "WannaCry" sowing chaos worldwide and global powers accusing rivals of using cyberattacks to interfere in domestic politics, the latest edition of the world's only book laying down the law in cyberspace could not be more timely.
The Tallinn Manual 2.0 is a unique collection of law on cyber-conflict, says Professor Michael Schmitt from the UK's University of Exeter, who led work on the tome.
Published by Cambridge University Press and first compiled by a team of 19 experts in 2013, the latest updated edition aims to pin down the rules that governments should follow when doing battle in virtual reality.
Toward WiFi as a right?
Digital Single Market: EU negotiators agree on the WiFi4EU initiative
… The political agreement includes a commitment by the three institutions to ensure that an overall amount of €120 million shall be assigned to fund equipment for public free Wi-Fi services in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities in all Member States.
…and then we’ll send our virtual auditors to review your books!
Massachusetts Tries Something New To Claim Taxes From Online Sales
… Massachusetts is one of the latest states to step up the fight for tax dollars, issuing a new directive for out-of-state online retailers to begin collecting the 6.25 percent state sales tax starting July 1.
As a trigger, the state is adopting a hyperliteral definition of physical presence — one that relies on any downloaded apps as well as "cookies," the little bits of data that websites store on users' computers or phones to track their visits. Massachusetts is now considering them a physical in-state operation for a company.
"Massachusetts is arguing that these vendors with no property and no people and no offices in this state, they still have physical presence because of Internet cookies," Jones says.
… Steve DelBianco is on the shameless-tax-grab side. He leads NetChoice, a national trade association representing e-commerce sites. He says under this strange Massachusetts theory, "your business is subject to the taxation [and] regulation in any state where a user simply enters their website address. That can't hold up to legal scrutiny, because it certainly doesn't hold up to common sense."
… Today tech is the new oil, and it’s changing the game for producers of major commodities such as oil, coal, iron ore, natural gas, and copper. In this new commodity landscape, incumbents and attackers will race to develop viable business models, and not everyone will win.
Consider how the dynamics of demand are changing. The adoption of robotics, internet-of-things technology, and data analytics — along with macroeconomic trends and changing consumer behavior — are fundamentally transforming the way resources are consumed. Technology is enabling people to use energy more efficiently in their homes, offices, and factories. At the same time, technological innovation in transportation, the largest single user of oil, is helping to lower energy consumption as engines become more fuel efficient and the use of autonomous and electric vehicles grows.
As a result, demand for resources is flattening out. (Copper, often used in consumer electronics, is the exception.) At the McKinsey Global Institute, we modeled these trends and found that peak demand for major commodities like oil, thermal coal, and iron ore is in sight and may occur as soon as 2020 for coal and 2025 for oil. At the same time, renewable energies including solar and wind will continue to become cheaper and will play a much larger role in the global economy’s energy mix. We estimated that renewables could jump from 4% of global power generation today to as much as 36% by 2035 in our accelerated technology scenario.
For the toolkit. (I use Notepad++ myself.)
Something my gamers might want. Not free.
Pixar veteran creates A.I. tool for automating 2D animations
Artificial intelligence is going to change just about everything — like animating video games, for example.
Animation-technology startup Midas Touch Interactive has a new tool called Midas Creature, which the company claims can automate the process of creating complicated animations for two-dimensional characters.
Something my gamers might want. Cheap?
Regardless of what storyline you’re into (or looking to try), it’s probably on sale right now. Want to read about Wolverine as an old man struggling to get by (like the plot of the recent movie)? You can get 224 pages of comics for $3 on just that! That particular book normally sells for $15 in digital form, so it’s quite a steal.
Of course, that’s just one example of what’s on sale. You’ll find deals on X-Men, Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Deadpool, Star Wars, and much more. Have a look, and we’re sure you’ll find something that interests you!