Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trademark infringement is one thing.  Could Microsoft act as an agent of US Cyber Command?  Can a corporation successfully battle a state-sponsored hacker group?  I shudder to think of the downside.  ALSO: This process will have to speed up.  These domains were used for at least a year. 
Microsoft Goes After Russian Election Hacker Group Fancy Bear Seizing Control Of 70 Domains
   To make their attacks seem as normal as possible, Fancy Bear uses a control center that heavily utilizes URLs meant to mimic Microsoft's own; eg: "".  Often, control centers will use explicit IPs to avoid issue, but because Fancy Bear decided to infringe on Microsoft's trademarks, it screwed itself over.  Microsoft ordinarily wouldn't have had much control here, but when the domains use its trademarks, that changes everything.
   Ultimately, Microsoft severely disrupted [??? Bob] Fancy Bear's network by ceasing over 70 domains.  Microsoft will now be able to reconfigure these domains to route elsewhere, while at the same time gaining insight into the people or organizations Fancy Bear has been targeting.
Even with its trademarks being infringed upon, Microsoft's journey here has not been easy.  In total, it had to submit 52 subpoenas, 46 informal inquiries abroad, and had to go through the effort of tracking down domain names that are hugely obfuscated through the use of Tor and even Bitcoin.
The best part in all of this is how much it disrupts Fancy Bear's work.  The group will have to work around this severing, which won't happen quickly (or easily).  Microsoft is being proactive, too, seeking approval to seize 9,000 domain names that its algorithms believe Fancy Bear will register next.

For my Computer Security (and many other) students.
From the Federal Trade Commission:
As part of its ongoing efforts to help businesses ensure they are taking reasonable steps to protect and secure consumer data, the Federal Trade Commission is publishing a series of blog posts using hypothetical examples based on lessons from closed investigations, FTC law enforcement actions, and questions from businesses.  These new posts will build on the FTC’s Start with Security guide for businesses.
FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen pledged earlier this year to be more transparent about the lessons learned from the FTC’s closed data security investigations and to provide additional information for businesses about practices that contribute to reasonable data security, culminating in this “Stick with Security” Initiative.
In the first blog post published today, the FTC highlights some of the themes that have emerged from an examination of closed FTC data security investigations.  For example, while news reports might call attention to a data breach, they might not focus on the fact that the company that suffered the breach had encrypted the data, which substantially reduces the risk of consumer injury.  Another lesson gleaned is that security researchers’ valuable work can alert us to new vulnerabilities, but sometimes the risk of a vulnerability being exploited to cause consumer injury is more theoretical than likely.  Another key lesson is that in almost every closed case, the entities involved used the same common-sense security fundamentals outlined in the FTC’s Start with Security guide for businesses.
The FTC’s Business Blog will publish an additional post each Friday.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers.  You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).  Like the FTC on Facebook(link is external), follow us on Twitter(link is external), read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

It’s a grey area and this doesn’t really clear this up, but they do offer some tips.
   if you want to keep their eyes off of your data, it’s a good idea to not have much data on your phone when you travel.  Switching your SIM over to a burner phone is easy, and keeps all of your private information elsewhere.  You can also backup and wipe your phone before you travel.  Fully encrypting your device will make copies less useful, and keeping sensitive documents and photos in the cloud instead of on your device makes them harder to get to.
Again, remember that these actions might raise the suspicions of border agents.  And that could cause you a lot of inconvenience.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing — just remember that you’re making a trade-off.

If not new law, at least new questions. 
Lawmakers push regulators on how Amazon's Whole Foods deal could affect 'food deserts'
   In a letter spearheaded by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) following her meeting Amazon, the lawmakers said the DOJ and FTC should look at the acquisition “beyond the normal antitrust process that only examines competitive impact.”
Lawmakers said the deals impacts could be far reaching and potentially affect “food deserts” or underserved communities that don’t have access to fresh, affordable groceries.  They want to know if the deal would contribute to this problem
Fudge and the other lawmakers clarified that they’re not opposed to the deal, but that they are concerned with its impacts on African-American communities across the country that are disproportionately affected by food deserts.  
   Many antitrust experts expect the acquisition won't run afoul of antitrust regulators.  Whole Foods and Amazon generally operate in different retail spaces, with Amazon dominating the digital market and Whole Foods serving mainly as a brick-and-mortar, high-end grocer.

Perspective.  How to predict the jobs AI (or other technology) will (and maybe should) replace?
When Jobs Become Commodities
We don’t typically think of the jobs that we perform as commodities.  The Merriam-Webster entry on commodity describes it as “a mass-produced unspecialized product.”  But most of us view our jobs as specialized or somehow differentiated.  We typically believe that we do them differently, and often better, than anyone else with the same job.  In fact, we’d probably argue that no one does exactly the same job we do — that we perform at least a slightly different set of tasks, or perform them in a slightly different way, than any coworker.  
We may well be right about that, but the world of business and management increasingly feels otherwise.  Jobs are increasingly viewed as undifferentiated and interchangeable across humans and machines — the very definition of a commodity.
   A recent Bloomberg Businessweek visual analytic suggests that jobs that disappeared in the first four months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016 were not lost to automation, but were lost because fewer customers wanted to buy the products and services they produce.  They include jobs in wired telecommunications, department stores, and coal mining.
For many organizations today, the next big driver of job commoditization is automation driven by smart machines.  Simply put, if a job is viewed as a commodity, it won’t be long before it is automated.  My research on automation through artificial intelligence (AI) or cognitive technologies suggests that if a job can be outsourced, many of the tasks typically performed by the jobholder can probably be automated — even by relatively “dumb” technologies like robotic process automation.

I wonder how many of my students (all of whom have smartphones) know this?
   your smartphone probably has an FM radio receiver built right into it.  You just need to activate it, and we’re here to help you do just that.

Tools for my students.
   Reading the news today isn’t as simple as it used to be.  There is an information overload that you need to counter.  Plenty of sites have their own biases that you have to manoeuvre.  And lots of smaller news outlets have the most interesting articles.
So change how you read news: take small bites, track a single subject, or read the most trending articles. These sites and apps will give you an interesting way to consume news.
4. Gong

For my Software Architecture students. 

I wish Amit posted to his blog more often.
How to Write a Twitter Bot in 5 Minutes
Twitter Bots can do interesting things.  For instance, a grammar bot can monitors tweets containing misspellings and tweet the correct spelling.  You can tweet questions to @DearAssistant and the Twitter bot  responds like Siri.  The @HundredZeros bot tweets links to eBooks that are free on Amazon.  @WhatTheFare will tell you the Uber fare between any two locations.
   Writing a Twitter bot is easy, you do not need any coding skills and you can make one live in under 5 minutes.  While most Twitter bots on the Internet require some understanding in Python, Node.js or Ruby, our bots are hosted on Google servers and require “zero” programming.
Visit to get started.  The Twitter Bots are internally written using Google Scripts.

Things all our students should know?
Survey says Python is tops with developers
Python … is used by nearly 20 percent of respondents, giving it the top spot.  The report echoes Python’s high rankings in language popularity indexes from Tiobe, PyPL, and RedMonk, which all have the language finishing in their recent top five rankings.
   The top 10 ranking tools according to the report were as follows:
  1. Python programming language
  2. The Git software version control system
  3. Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE
  4. Eclipse IDE
  5. Java programming language
  6. The Notepad++ code editor
  7. Linux
  8. R statistical language.
  9. Docker container system
  10. Microsoft Excel 

Just an observation.  Note how many of these stories are about financial technology start-ups.  That seems to be the new “hot market.” 
These were the 10 biggest European tech stories this week

No comments: