Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How do you get transactions into a sealed system?
Hackers Divert Funds From Mexico Banks, Amount Unclear: Official
Hackers have stolen an unknown amount of money from banks in Mexico in a series of cyber attacks on the country's interbank payments system, an official said Monday.
At least five attacks on the Mexican central bank's Interbank Electronic Payments System (SPEI) were carried out in April and May, said Lorenza Martinez, director general of the corporate payments and services system at the central bank.
"Some transactions were introduced that were not recognized by the issuing bank," she told Radio Centro.
"In some cases these transfers made it through to the destination bank and were withdrawn in cash."
Some Mexican media outlets have put the amount stolen at 400 million pesos ($20.4 million), but Martinez denied those reports.
"The amount is currently being analyzed . Some of the transfers were stopped, and the funds are currently being returned," she said.
She said the money stolen belonged to the banks themselves and that clients' funds were never affected.
The interbank payments system allows banks to make real-time transfers to each other.
They connect via their own computer systems or an external provider – the point where the attacks appear to have taken place, Martinez said.
After the attacks were detected, banks switched to a slower but more secure method.

A follow-up to yesterday with a bit more detail. Still looks like the actual algorithms are sound, but the process that integrates it into email is flawed.
What You Need to Know About E-Fail and the PGP Flaw
EFF: “…you should stop using PGP for encrypted email and switch to a different secure communications method for now. A group of researchers released a paper today that describes a new class of serious vulnerabilities in PGP (including GPG), the most popular email encryption standard. The new paper includes a proof-of-concept exploit that can allow an attacker to use the victim’s own email client to decrypt previously acquired messages and return the decrypted content to the attacker without alerting the victim. The proof of concept is only one implementation of this new type of attack, and variants may follow in the coming days. Because of the straightforward nature of the proof of concept, the severity of these security vulnerabilities, the range of email clients and plugins affected, and the high level of protection that PGP users need and expect, EFF is advising PGP users to pause in their use of the tool and seek other modes of secure end-to-end communication for now. Because we are awaiting the response from the security community of the flaws highlighted in the paper, we recommend that for now you uninstall or disable your PGP email plug-in. These steps are intended as a temporary, conservative stopgap until the immediate risk of the exploit has passed and been mitigated against by the wider community. There may be simpler mitigations available soon, as vendors and commentators develop narrower solutions, but this is the safest stance to take for now. Because sending PGP-encrypted emails to an unpatched client will create adverse ecosystem incentives to open incoming emails, any of which could be maliciously crafted to expose ciphertext to attackers…”

Should home owners be allowed to share video with police? If not, why not?
Joe Cadillic writes:
When I first heard about ‘Ring’ a smart doorbell with a video camera, I didn’t think much of it.
I mean how could the police state turn what appeared to be an innocuous smart device into another surveillance tool?
Enter Amazon, who recently purchased Ring for $1 billion dollars.
Fast forward a few months and Amazon announces that Ring is on a mission to work with law enforcement across the country.
Read more on MassPrivateI.

Election meddling is a global (and a local) problem.
In India, Facebook’s WhatsApp Plays Central Role in Elections
… Mr. Bhat, a B.J.P. youth leader, said he used WhatsApp to stay in constant touch with the 60 voters he was assigned to track for the party. He sent them critiques of the state government, dark warnings about Hindus being murdered by Muslims — including a debunked B.J.P. claim that 23 activists were killed by jihadists — and jokes ridiculing Congress leaders. His own WhatsApp stream was full of election updates, pro-B.J.P. videos, and false news stories, including a fake poll purportedly commissioned by the BBC that predicted a sweeping B.J.P. win.
… Facebook’s WhatsApp is taking an increasingly central role in elections, especially in developing countries. More than any other social media or messaging app, WhatsApp was used in recent months by India’s political parties, religious activists and others to send messages and distribute news to Karnataka’s 49 million voters. While many messages were ordinary campaign missives, some were intended to inflame sectarian tensions and others were downright false, with no way to trace where they originated.

Facebook closed 583m fake accounts in first three months of 2018
Facebook took moderation action against almost 1.5bn accounts and posts which violated its community standards in the first three months of 2018, the company has revealed.
In its first quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Report, Facebook said the overwhelming majority of moderation action was against spam posts and fake accounts: it took action on 837m pieces of spam, and shut down a further 583m fake accounts on the site in the three months. But Facebook also moderated 2.5m pieces of hate speech, 1.9m pieces of terrorist propaganda, 3.4m pieces of graphic violence and 21m pieces of content featuring adult nudity and sexual activity.

Geography does not guarantee trust, but apparently it can generate distrust. Probably huge profits waiting for any firm that can prove software does only what the vendor claims it does.
Kaspersky Lab to open Swiss data center to combat spying allegations
Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab plans to open a data center in Switzerland by the end of next year to help address Western government concerns that Russia exploits its anti-virus software to spy on customers.
… Kaspersky Lab said part of the new facility would be based in Zurich, and the company had chosen Switzerland for its “policy of neutrality” and strong data protection laws.

Wishing won’t make it so.
AI-4-Good in War
The United Nations campaign entitled #AI4good highlights positive ways artificial intelligence (AI) can be used for the good of humanity. The #AI4Good Summit in Geneva this week highlights many ways AI can have positive uses – both now and in the future. From the agenda, some areas of positive applications of AI include medicine, education, economic, and law enforcement applications.

...and doesn’t electrocute the chicken trying to cross.
Sweden tests roads that charge electric vehicles as they drive
An electrified road in Sweden that is the first in the world to charge vehicles as they drive along is showing promise and could potentially help cut the high cost of electric cars, project backers Vattenfall and Elways told Reuters.
The state-funded project, named eRoadArlanda and costing about 50 million crowns ($5.82 million), uses a modified electric truck that moves cargo from Stockholm’s Arlanda airport to Postnord’s nearby logistics hub to test the technology.
A electrified rail embedded in the tarmac of the 2-km-long (1.24 miles) road charges the truck automatically as it travels above it. A movable arm attached to the truck detects the rail’s location in the road, and charging stops when the vehicle is overtaking or coming to a halt.
The system also calculates the vehicle’s energy consumption, which enables electricity costs to be debited per vehicle and user.
Elways’ chief executive Gunnar Asplund said the charging while driving would mean electric cars no longer need big batteries — which can be half the cost of an electric car — to ensure they have enough power to travel a useful distance.

Perspective. Facebook is unlikely to collapse, but I expect it to try new methods of revenue generation. Perhaps add-free subscriptions? (What is the average Facebook user worth as an Ad recipient?)

Perspective. Are you ready for an i-car?
Apple Now Boasts Second Largest Self-Driving Vehicle Fleet In California
… Apple currently has 55 vehicles cruising the roads (along with 83 trained drivers), GM Cruise has the largest fleet at 104 vehicles and the third largest fleet is Waymo with 51 vehicles.

Didi Chuxing receives permit to test self-driving cars in California
… Didi is getting its permit just weeks after California introduced new rules around self-driving permits, the brunt of which focused on completely driverless vehicles. A total of 53 companies were part of this new permit batch, though many of them are no strangers to the technology.

Well, I find it interesting.
Where’s the Value? An Inside Look at Walmart’s Flipkart Deal
… In the medium term, Walmart may be able to do some smart moves with Flipkart. I am sure it has built these factors into its valuation — and if it has not, it should have. Walmart and Flipkart will have better bargaining power with suppliers (imagine the global might of both U.S. and India volumes while negotiating rates with Chinese suppliers). Walmart could also apply its e-commerce lessons from Flipkart and implement them in the U.S and other global plays (Jet.com, etc). I imagine this would have a much greater bearing on Walmart’s thinking than a pure India play. After all, few companies globally have been able to withstand Amazon’s onslaught, as Walmart knows from previous experience. Walmart’s sourcing might, combined with Flipkart’s e-commerce prowess, can and should be a global play, not just an India play.

A (literally) dying market?
An iPad for 80-year-olds: Senior-citizen carrier Consumer Cellular bets on tablets
Consumer Cellular has spent years carving out a lucrative niche in the wireless industry: selling mobile phones to senior citizens.
Now the closely held Portland company looks to apply that formula to tablets and smart-home equipment. The idea is to offer technology that’s simpler to use, both for non-savvy consumers and those who are physically challenged.
The company’s expansion begins this month with the addition of the GrandPad to its lineup. The touch-screen tablet was designed for older customers — people who may be intimidated by an iPad. The interface lets users hold video chats with family members, view photos or check up on news.

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