Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Important only because it points to pipelines as a target. This did not disrupt the flow of gas and oil, just the automated paperwork.
`Cyber attack' shuts Energy Transfer's pipeline data system
A system that digitally processes customer transactions for a major pipeline network in the U.S. was shut down Monday after a cyber attack.
The electronic data interchange provided by third-party Energy Services Group LLC for Energy Transfer Partners's natural gas pipeline system was attacked Monday and will be hobbled until "further notice," Energy Transfer said in a notice to shippers.
… The EDI system, designed to cut costs and boost speed, is used to conduct business through a computer-to-computer exchange of documents.

That’s pretty much all of them.
Edward McAndrew of Ballard Spahr LLP writes:
Alabama has officially joined the data breach notification party. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed Act No. 2018-396 into law on March 28, 2018. The law will take effect on May 1, 2018. Although it was last in the country to enact such a data security law, Alabama’s new law will immediately take its place among the most stringent in the nation.
Read more of this Ballard Spahr article, courtesy of JDSupra, below:

Strange that DHS didn’t look for devices like this as soon as they became aware that the capability existed. Did they think no one else was technically advanced enough to build their own? I wonder how many governments were listening to Hillary Clinton’s cell phone conversations? (Good image of a StingRay)
Homeland Security finds suspected phone surveillance devices in Washington
The U.S. government has acknowledged the existence in Washington D.C. of what appear to be devices that could be used by foreign spies and criminals to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
In a March 26 letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the Department of Homeland Security admitted that it "has observed anomalous activity in the [Washington D.C. area] that appears to be consistent with International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers." DHS added that it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them, nor did it say how many it detected or where.
However, a DHS official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agency's reply to Wyden has not been publicly released told AP that the devices were detected in a 90-day trial that began in January 2017 ...
… The devices work by tricking mobile devices into locking onto them instead of legitimate cell towers, revealing the exact location of a particular cellphone. More sophisticated versions can eavesdrop on calls by forcing phones to step down to older, unencrypted 2G wireless technology. Some attempt to plant malware.
… Christopher Krebs, the top official in the department's National Protection and Programs Directorate, noted in the letter that DHS lacks the equipment and funding to detect Stingrays even though their use by foreign governments "may threaten U.S. national and economic security."
Legislators have been raising alarms about the use of Stingrays in the capital since at least 2014, when Goldsmith and other security-company researchers conducted public sweeps that located suspected unauthorized devices near the White House, the Supreme Court, the Commerce Department and the Pentagon, among other locations.

Interesting how long it takes Facebook to find out what is happening on its own servers.
Facebook shuts down additional accounts tied to Russia’s Internet Research Agency
Facebook head of security Alex Stamos today announced that roughly 140 Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as 138 Facebook Pages controlled by the Internet Research Agency (IRA) have been removed from its platforms. IRA is best known as a state-sponsored propaganda machine that has disseminated Russian propaganda for years and employs hundreds of so-called trolls.
In February, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen current or former IRA employees, as well as IRA funder Evgeny Prigozhin, for their roles in spreading misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms from 2014 to 2016. The Facebook and Instagram accounts shut down today were aimed primarily at Russian-speaking populations within Russia and other parts of the world, with one Page garnering more than 1 million followers.

(Related) Except when it wants to…
Trump’s Campaign Said It Was Better at Facebook. Facebook Agrees
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has boasted often that it made better use of Facebook Inc.’s advertising tools than Hillary Clinton’s campaign did. An internal Facebook white paper, published days after the election, shows the company’s data scientists agree.
… The paper, obtained by Bloomberg and discussed here for the first time, describes in granular detail the difference between Trump’s campaign, which was focused on finding new donors, and Clinton’s campaign, which concentrated on ensuring Clinton had broad appeal. The data scientist says 84 percent of Trump’s budget asked people on Facebook to take an action, like donating, compared with 56 percent of Clinton’s.
… Trump ran 5.9 million different versions of ads during the presidential campaign and rapidly tested them to spread those that generated the most Facebook engagement, according to the paper. Clinton ran 66,000 different kinds of ads in the same period.

This could be amusing, and expensive!
Amazon May Start a Bidding War With Walmart Over a Huge International Retailer
Amazon may put in a rival bid to acquire Bangalore-based Flipkart Online Services even as the Indian e-commerce market leader is in talks with Walmart for a majority stake sale, according to the Mint newspaper.
Amazon has held early exploratory discussions to buy Flipkart, the newspaper reported citing unidentified people, who said a deal with Walmart is more likely to go through. The world’s biggest retailer is closing in on acquiring 55% of Flipkart through a mix of primary and secondary share purchases that could value the Indian company at $21 billion, according to the report.

Perspectives (and opinions) vary.
Trump is hitting Amazon where it hurts

(Related) Some interesting points here.
Trump Can't Hurt Amazon. It's Dumb to Try.
… For all of Trump's huffing and puffing, there is little he can do to inflict pain on Amazon and its chief executive, Jeff Bezos. It's amazing that he can't see it.

Perspective. Clearly not reacting to new highs or other imminent threat.
Trump's call to militarize border comes as illegal crossings last year were lowest since 1971
… He seized on reports of a caravan of over a thousand migrants who have been dispersing in Oaxaca, Mexico. According to the Mexican government, the caravan has taken place every year at this time since 2010.
… While presidents have in the past sent the National Guard to the border to assist Customs and Border Patrol, they did not act as law enforcement personnel.

Something for the University’s computers?
ReCall Study Time - An Extension to Get You Back on Task
ReCall Study Time is a Chrome extension that is designed to help you stop wasting time on social media sites and get back on task. With the extension installed and enabled you'll see a big reminder to get back on task whenever you try to open Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, or Instagram in a new browser tab. You can ReCall Study Time to block you from those sites for two hours or for 24 hours.
Stay Focusd is a similar Chrome extension. Stay Focusd works by setting daily time limits for viewing social media sites.

Who knew?
National Burrito Day is observed annually on the first Thursday in April.

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