Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Bank of Bangladesh hack showed how this could be done. I wonder if this is the same team of hackers or have they inspired copycats? Did these bank fail to make the security changes SWIFT recommended?
Malicious hackers attempted to steal millions of dollars from banks in Russia and India by abusing the SWIFT global banking network.
A report published last week by Russia’s central bank on the types of attacks that hit financial institutions in 2017 revealed that an unnamed bank was the victim of a successful SWIFT-based attack.
A copy of the report currently posted on the central bank’s website does not specify how much the hackers stole, but Reuters said they had managed to obtain 339.5 million rubles (roughly $6 million).
The news comes after Russia’s Globex bank admitted in December that hackers had attempted to steal roughly $940,000 through the SWIFT system. The attackers reportedly only managed to steal a fraction of the amount they targeted.
In India, City Union Bank issued a statement on Sunday saying that it had identified three fraudulent transfers abusing the SWIFT payments messaging system. One transfer of $500,000 through a Standard Chartered Bank account in New York to a bank in Dubai was blocked and the money was recovered.
The second transfer of €300,000 ($372,000) was made to an account at a bank based in Turkey via a Standard Chartered Bank account in Germany. The funds were blocked at the Turkish bank and City Union hopes to recover the money.
The third transfer was for $1 million and it went to a Chinese bank through a Bank of America account. City Union Bank said the funds were claimed by someone using forged documents.

How close are we to the straw that breaks the camel’s back?
North Korea poised to launch large-scale cyberattacks, says new report
North Korea is quietly expanding both the scope and sophistication of its cyberweaponry, laying the groundwork for more devastating attacks, according to a new report published Tuesday.
… Now it appears that North Korea has also been using previously-unknown holes in the Internet to carry out cyberespionage — the kinds of activities that could easily metamorphose into full-scale attacks, according to a report from FireEye, the California-based cybersecurity company.
… The Worldwide Threat Assessment published by the U.S. intelligence community last week forecast the potential for surprise attacks in the cyber realm would increase over the next year.

Surprise! Someone used your identity to launder money. Have fun explaining that to the Feds.
Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon?
Patrick Reames had no idea why Amazon.com sent him a 1099 form saying he’d made almost $24,000 selling books via Createspace, the company’s on-demand publishing arm. That is, until he searched the site for his name and discovered someone has been using it to peddle a $555 book that’s full of nothing but gibberish.

Biometrics Can do more than identify you by scanning your face. Should we allow it to? This is similar to those driver analyzing dongles insurance companies put in cars. A look into your eyes could increase your health insurance rates?
Google’s new AI algorithm predicts heart disease by looking at your eyes
Scientists from Google and its health-tech subsidiary Verily have discovered a new way to assess a person’s risk of heart disease using machine learning. By analyzing scans of the back of a patient’s eye, the company’s software is able to accurately deduce data, including an individual’s age, blood pressure, and whether or not they smoke. This can then be used to predict their risk of suffering a major cardiac event — such as a heart attack — with roughly the same accuracy as current leading methods.
The algorithm potentially makes it quicker and easier for doctors to analyze a patient’s cardiovascular risk, as it doesn’t require a blood test. But, the method will need to be tested more thoroughly before it can be used in a clinical setting. A paper describing the work was published today in the Nature journal Biomedical Engineering, although the research was also shared before peer review last September.

A question: Is this bad or merely an evolution similar to the introduction of radio and then TV? Perhaps older forms of journalism need to evolve?
CJS – The Facebook Armageddon
Columbia Journalism Review: The social network’s increasing threat to journalism – “At some point over the past decade, Facebook stopped being a mostly harmless social network filled with baby photos and became one of the most powerful forces in media—with more than 2 billion users every month and a growing lock on the ad revenue that used to underpin most of the media industry. When it comes to threats to journalism, in other words, Facebook qualifies as one, whether it wants to admit it or not… The fact that even Facebook’s closest media partners like BuzzFeed are struggling financially highlights the most obvious threat: Since many media companies still rely on advertising revenue to support their journalism, Facebook’s increasing dominance of that industry poses an existential threat to their business models…”

An interesting question: Can you duplicate an algorithm? Since these algorithms are Trade Secrets (not patented or copyrighted) there is no problem disclosing how they work?
Facebook is a political battleground where Russian operatives work to influence elections, fake news runs rampant, and political hopefuls use ad targeting to reach swing voters. We have no idea what goes on inside Facebook’s insidious black box algorithm, which controls the all-powerful News Feed. Are politicians playing by the rules? Can we trust Facebook to police them? Do we really have any choice?
One emerging way to hold tech companies like Facebook accountable is to use similar technology to figuratively poke at that black box, gathering data and testing hypotheses about what might be going on inside, almost like early astronomers studying the solar system.
It’s a tactic being pioneered at the nonprofit news organization ProPublica by a team of reporters, programmers, and researchers led by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Julia Angwin. Angwin’s team specializes in investigating algorithms that impact people’s lives, from the Facebook News Feed to Amazon’s pricing models to the software determining people’s car insurance payments and even who goes to prison and for how long. To investigate these algorithms, they’ve had to develop a new approach to investigative reporting that uses technology like machine learning and chatbots.

(Related) If Russia was not bringing its “A” game last time, will we be ready for it this time?
Russia's Troll Operation Was Not That Sophisticated
It might be nice for Democrats and #NeverTrumpers to believe that Russia’s troll factory brought Donald Trump the 2016 Presidential Election.
But no.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians associated with the Internet Research Agency definitively shows, given current evidence, that while a small team in St. Petersburg ran a successful audience-development campaign mostly on behalf of Trump, that campaign was neither targeted nor sizable enough to change the election’s result.
Make no mistake: This was self-described and actual “information warfare.” The point was to sow discord and distrust in the American electorate. And with a few dozen people—around 80 at the peak—they managed to reach 150 million people through Facebook and Instagram. In September 2016, the indictment states that the monthly budget of the unit that contained the U.S. election-interference operation was $1.25 million. That’s pretty good bang for the buck.

(Related) Clearly, Russia is poised to take any advantage we offer…
After Florida School Shooting, Russian ‘Bot’ Army Pounced
One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.
The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. “The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.”

Perspective. Rather clunky infographic, but the voice trend is important.
20% of All Searches are Made with Voice (INFOGRAPHIC)
A new and very interactive infographic by Adzooma takes a look at how online advertising will be trending in 2018. And one of the data points is the growth of voice search, which now makes up 20 percent of inquiries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices.

A very interesting tool.
Tetra’s call recorder and AI-powered transcription app now works for inbound calls
… what if there was a way for you to record a call through your mobile phone and have a full transcription of the discussion delivered to you within minutes? That’s exactly what San Francisco-based Tetra is setting out to enable with its AI-powered iPhone app that not only records your calls but converts the conversations into written form using deep learning and natural language processing (NLP).
… So far, Tetra has only worked with outbound calls, but now subscribers will be able to enjoy the full benefits of Tetra for incoming calls, too.
By way of a quick recap, Tetra is basically a VoIP app that works similarly to Google Voice, insofar as it allocates you a dedicated Tetra number that must be used for all outgoing/incoming calls. Once a call is complete, Tetra will spend a short period of time generating the notes.
… In terms of pricing, everyone can get 60 free minutes per month as part of a trial. Then you’ll have to sign up to the Plus, Pro, or Business plans, which offer varying amounts of call-time per month and range from $9 to $99.
… Then there are the legal and ethical angles to consider. By default, Tetra automatically tells the people on the other end of the call that they are being recorded, however it’s possible for the Tetra subscriber to disable this announcement with the proviso that you “stay compliant with local law or get recording consent yourself,” according to Tetra.

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