Saturday, July 01, 2017

So, it’s not North Korea.  But I bet North Korea is watching. 
Pavel Polityuk reports:
Ukraine said on Saturday that Russian security services were involved in a recent cyber attack on the country, with the aim of destroying important data and spreading panic.
The SBU, Ukraine’s state security service, said the attack, which started in Ukraine and spread around the world on Tuesday, was by the same hackers who attacked the Ukrainian power grid in December 2016.  Ukrainian politicians were quick to blame Russia for Tuesday’s attack, but a Kremlin spokesman dismissed “unfounded blanket accusations”.
Read more on Reuters.

For my Ethical Hacking students.  A Network Security tool.  (But it also points out weak spots.)  
Eternal Blues
Eternal Blues is a free EternalBlue vulnerability scanner.  It helps finding the blind spots in your network, these endpoints that are still vulnerable to EternalBlue.
Just hit the SCAN button and you will immediately start to get which of your computers are vulnerable and which aren’t.

Something fishy here?
US states overwhelmingly reject Trump voter-fraud panel's request for sensitive voter information
   As of Friday night, at least 27 states, including Arizona, California, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin have denied the commission's request.
   The letter dated June 28 and signed by Kobach asks for registered voters' names, addresses, dates of birth, partial social security numbers, political party, a decade's worth of voter history, information on felony convictions, and whether they have registered in more than one state.
The letter was followed by a separate one from the US Justice Department, which asked states to reveal how they maintain their voter rolls.  The commission said all voter data submitted by the states would be made public.

We don’t really know how to do this, but we “gotta do something!”
Facebook found a new way to identify spam and false news articles in your News Feed
Facebook claims that users who post a lot — meaning 50-plus times per day — are very often sharing posts that the company considers to be spam or false news.  So now Facebook is going to identify the links that these super-posters share, and cut down on their distribution on the network.
   Facebook isn’t actually looking at the content from these links, Mosseri added.  The correlation between these types of users and spammy/false content is strong enough that Facebook doesn’t have to.

A case of “Ready, Fire, Aim?” 
U.S. tech sector lobbied to soften ban on Russia spy agency: report
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration last December outlawed U.S. companies from having relationships with Russia’s spy agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), which presented a dilemma to Western tech companies.
According to the report, the FSB also acts as a regulator that approves the importing of technology to Russia that contains encryption, which is used in products such as cellphones and laptops.
Industry groups such as the U.S.-Russia Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia were worried about the sanctions' potential impact on sales and contacted officials at the Treasury and State departments, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
The campaign began in January and has been successful, according to the report.

With near infinite money comes the ability to explore new technologies – even if it takes years. 
Google On The Verge Of A Major Quantum Computing Breakthrough
   Among the tech companies hard at work building their quantum computer, there’s a clear leader emerging: Google and their quest to achieve what they refer to as ‘quantum supremacy.’  Put simply, achieving ‘quantum supremacy’ means being the first to build a truly functional quantum computer that can perform tasks that no other existing computer can.
A couple of months back, news came out that Google, through the group led by University of California professor John Martinis, was ready to put their 6-qubit quantum chip to the test.  It was also mentioned then that they were already in the process of designing 30 – 50 qubit devices for their ‘quantum supremacy’ experiment which will require a 49-qubit grid.
More recently, at a conference held in Munich, Germany, one of Google’s engineers, Alan Ho, discussed how the company’s work on quantum computing is progressing.  As reported by New Scientist, Ho revealed that he and his team are currently working with a 20-qubit system with a “two-qubit fidelity” of 99.5%.  That percentage is a measure of accuracy, or the other side of it, the probability of making mistakes.  The higher the rating, the more accurate and less error-prone the system is.
   Ho is quick to point out, though, that it will take probably another 10 years before we have error-corrected or coherent systems that will allow quantum computers to function in a practical and scalable way.  That said, however, he stresses that if they as a team will be able to successfully achieve quantum supremacy — proving that the use of qubits is superior to using bits — the achievement should be considered a major breakthrough in the field of quantum computing.  And he is right given that this would be a game changer, in pretty much the same way microprocessors were in their days.

I may try comics this quarter.  Another attempt to get my students communicating. 
Free Webinar - Comics In the Classroom
Having your students create comics can be great way to help them get to know each other and for you to get to know them.  The process of creating a comic is an excellent way for students to practice developing plot lines.  You can learn more about these ideas and others in my free webinar Comics In the Classroom.
Comics In the Classroom is a free webinar that I hosting next week on Thursday at 3pm Eastern Time.  The webinar will feature five ways to use comics in your classroom and a handful of tools for creating comics.  You'll even get to contribute to the creation of a comic during the webinar.
Comics In the Classroom will last for about an hour.  Those who register will receive a special discount code to use on my upcoming back-to-school series of professional development webinars.
Comics In the Classroom will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live session.  You don't need to email me to get the recording.  It will be sent to you if you register for the webinar.   Register here.

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