Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Every now and then, a noteworthy (and praiseworthy) success! 
Ankit Misra posts:
In a major international anti-cybercrime crackdown, the Agra police has recovered Rs 28 lakh from England-based hackers, an amount they looted by phishing a footwear exporter from the city.
Working in collaboration with the British police, the Agra police achieved this breakthrough in a record two days’ time.
Talking to India Today, Deepak Kundra, owner of Foot Components, said, “My company’s email ID had been hacked a few days ago and the hackers got my contact list from there.  Our firm deals with a China-based footwear component supplier and an order for supply of leather had been placed with the supplier by us.” 
Read more on India Today.

North Korea or just ordinary crooks? 
Luke Parker reports:
The largest bitcoin and ether exchange in South Korea by volume, Bithumb, was recently hacked.  Monetary losses from compromised accounts have started to surface, and are quickly reaching into the billions of won.
Hackers succeeded in grabbing the personal information of 31,800 Bithumb website users, including their names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses.  The exchange claims that this number represents approximately three percent of customers.
The breach was discovered by Bithumb on June 29 and reported to the authorities on June 30.  More than 100 Bithumb customers have since filed a complaint with the National Police Agency’s cybercrime report center.
Read more on Brave New Coin.

Another consideration for Computer Security Managers.
Official: firm at center of cyberattack knew of problems
The small Ukrainian tax software company that is accused of being the patient zero of a damaging global cyberepidemic is under investigation and will face charges, the head of Ukraine’s CyberPolice suggested Monday.
Col. Serhiy Demydiuk, the head of Ukraine’s national Cyberpolice unit, said in an interview with The Associated Press that Kiev-based M.E. Doc’s employees had blown off repeated warnings about the security of their information technology infrastructure.
“They knew about it,” he told the AP at his office.  “They were told many times by various anti-virus firms. ...  For this neglect, the people in this case will face criminal responsibility.”
Demydiuk and other officials say last week’s unusually disruptive cyberattack was mainly spread through a malicious update to M.E. Doc’s eponymous tax software program, which is widely used by accountants and businesses across Ukraine.
The malicious update, likely planted on M.E. Doc’s update server by a hacker, was then disseminated across the country before exploding into an epidemic of data-scrambling software that Ukrainian and several other multinational firms are still recovering from.

Another reason to celebrate the 4th? 
China's bloggers, filmmakers feel chill of internet crackdown
   On Friday, an industry association circulated new regulations that at least two "auditors" will, with immediate effect, be required to check all audiovisual content posted online - from films to "micro" movies, documentaries, sports, educational material and animation - to ensure they adhere to "core socialist values".

Some notes on the retail ecosystem. 
Alibaba: Building a retail ecosystem on data science, machine learning, and cloud
   Amazon may be the undisputed leader both in terms of its market share in retail and its cloud offering, but that does not mean the competition just sits around watching.  Alibaba, which some see as a Chinese counterpart of Amazon, is inspired by Amazon's success.  However, its strategy both in retail and in cloud is diversified, with the two converging on one focal point: data science and machine learning (ML).

Business idea: Convert client-owned CDs and DVDs to one-off vinyl for audio geeks. 
   This resurgence in vinyl has led Sony to open a new pressing plant in a factory southwest of Tokyo.  According to Nikkei, Sony will start making vinyl records again in March 2018, and the company has already retrofitted a recording studio with the equipment needed to make masters.

Tools for lawyers?  Or, tools for consultants supporting law firms. 
Open Sourcing ContraxSuite and Legal Tech and the Modern Information Economy
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2017
News release – July 3, 2017: “Over the last decade, we’ve spent many thousands of effort-­‐hours developing the contract analytics and document analytics tools that we use with clients.  These tools, based on enterprise-­‐ quality open source frameworks for natural language processing, machine learning, and optical character recognition, have allowed us to quickly and easily attack many problems, from securities filings and court opinions to articles of incorporation and lease agreements.  Today, we are proud to announce that we plan to open source the development of our core platform for contract analytics and document analytics -­‐ ContraxSuite. Starting on August 1 [2017], this code base and our public development roadmap will be hosted on Github under a permissive open-­‐source licensing model that will allow most organizations to quickly and freely implement and customize their own contract and document analytics.  Like Redhat does for Linux, we will provide support, customization, and data services to “cover the last mile” for those organizations who need it.  We believe that a very important future for law lies in its central role in facilitating and regulating the modern information economy.  But unless we start treating law itself like the production of information, we’ll never get there.  Before we can solve big problems with smart contracts, we need to start by structuring existing legacy contracts.  We hope our actions today will help lawyers, companies, and other LegalTech providers accelerate the pace of improvement and innovation through more open collaboration…”

I’ve tried it and it works quite well.
   Install this handy program and it goes to work from its own tab in the Ribbon.
·         Reveal the Dictation tab on the Ribbon.  Click on the Mic icon to start the voice to text speech recognition.
·         Quickly shift to the language options if you want to spell out something in a different language.  Dictate supports more than 20 languages for dictation and can handle real-time translation of 60 languages.
·         Nine specific voice commands help you create new lines, delete, add punctuation and more to format the text.
·         Microsoft Dictate is supported on Windows 8.1 or later, Office 2013 or later, using .NET Framework 4.5.0 or later.

Get to know the players… 
Baidu’s Apollo platform becomes the ‘Android of the autonomous driving industry’
Baidu now claims one of the largest partner ecosystems for an autonomous driving platform in the world: Its Apollo autonomous driving program now counts over 50 partners, including FAW Group, one of the major Chinese carmakers that will work with Baidu on commercialization of the tech.  Other partners include Chinese auto companies Chery, Changan and Great Wall Motors, as well as Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, Microsoft Cloud, Velodyne, TomTom, UCAR and Grab Taxi.
   Baidu, as an Internet company with business similar to Google’s, seems to believe that the data and services business resulting from use of its platform will be worth making it more broadly available (the Android model).

Perhaps my students could use this.
Sqoop – free data journalism site makes it easier to find and track public records
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2017
Data Driven Journalism: “Just because there’s a duty to disclose, doesn’t mean there’s a duty to make it easy.  This seems to be a universally true when it comes to public records, regardless of the country or government making them available.  The consequences for journalists can be profound: hours of time spent digging through messy data, missing stories that go untold, and the opportunity costs that come with these, just to name a few.  This is a problem we set out to improve a couple of years ago in the US with the introduction of Sqoop, a free data journalism site intended to make it easier for reporters to find and track public records, starting with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Patent Office, and the federal court system, otherwise known as PACER (public access to court automated records).  Think of it as a search box across all of these public records sites (and we’re working to add others) as well as a rapid alerting service.  If a journalist has saved searches for “Facebook”, “Jeffrey P. Bezos”, or “Internet of Things”, she will receive email alerts every time these search terms show up in new public filings.  Journalists can refine search results based on data source, form type, and geographic factors, and then save those searches as alerts…”

A fourth of July treat, or a source of Tweets for President Trump? 
National Archives Database – Founders Online
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2017
Correspondence and Other Writings of Six Major Shapers of the United States: “George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.  Over 178,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the authoritative Founding Fathers Papers projects.”

I definitely, positively need to share this with my students!

I wish I knew what interested the Russians.  I don’t plan to hold elections anytime soon.  

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