Tuesday, June 26, 2018

For my Computer Security students.
The Biggest Digital Heist in History Isn’t Over Yet
As night fell in Taipei on July 10, 2016, most people in the city were hunkered down to ride out the end of a typhoon. Not Sergey Berezovsky and Vladimir Berkman. The two Russians made their way through the rain to an ATM at First Commercial Bank, one of Taiwan’s top lenders. Wearing hats and antipollution masks, they loitered at the machine for a moment. Then, as the astonished couple in line behind them later told the police, the ATM started disgorging cash without either man touching it. The men shoved the bills into a satchel and brushed past them. As the Russians drove off in a black sedan, the couple spotted something on the ground: One of the guys had dropped his bank card.
By the time detectives traced Berezovsky and Berkman to the nearby Grand Hyatt the next day, the Russians had already jetted off to Moscow by way of Hong Kong. And they were just two of 15 “money mules” who’d hit 41 ATMs at 22 branches of First Commercial over that stormy weekend, the cops learned, taking 83 million New Taiwan dollars (NT$), or about $2.6 million. Hackers, investigators discovered, had forced the machines to spit out cash.
The Carbanak gang had struck again.
… Since late 2013, this band of cybercriminals has penetrated the digital inner sanctums of more than 100 banks in 40 nations, including Germany, Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S., and stolen about $1.2 billion, according to Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency.

Is this really helpful?
Top Tech Companies Met With Intelligence Officials to Discuss Midterms
Eight of the tech industry’s most influential companies, in anticipation of a repeat of the Russian meddling that occurred during the 2016 presidential campaign, met with United States intelligence officials last month to discuss preparations for this year’s midterm elections.
The meeting, which took place May 23 at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., was also attended by representatives from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Oath, Snap and Twitter, according to three attendees of the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity because of its sensitive nature.
… But the people who attended described a tense atmosphere in which the tech companies repeatedly pressed federal officials for information, only to be told — repeatedly — that no specific intelligence would be shared.
The tech companies shared details about disinformation campaigns they were witnessing on their platforms, but neither the F.B.I. nor the Department of Homeland Security was willing or able to share specific information about threats the tech companies should anticipate, the people said.
One attendee of the meeting said the encounter led the tech companies to believe they would be on their own to counter election interference.

Time to upgrade.
WiFi's tougher WPA3 security is ready
WiFi security is finally getting an upgrade after 14 years. The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially launched WPA3, the next-generation standard that promises to tackle many of the vulnerabilities that have persisted in wireless networking. Most notably, it brings individualized data encryption that should protect your data against eavesdropping from within the WiFi network. You'll also get tougher password-based sign-ins through Simultaneous Authentication of Equals, a key establishment protocol that reduces the chances of someone guessing your password -- even if it's lousy.
If you're using professional-grade WPA3-Enterprise security, you'll get the "equivalent" to 192-bit encryption strength that should make it tougher to crack secure data. There's also easier setup for smart home devices through Easy Connect, which lets you use your phone to set up WiFi on devices that have either a tiny display or no display at all.

“Well, you don’t want us to tap individual phones, do you?”
… Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

Valuing personal data?
Personal Data v. Big Data: Challenges of Commodification of Personal Data
Canellopoulou-Bottis, Maria and Bouchagiar, George, Personal Data v. Big Data: Challenges of Commodification of Personal Data (May 11, 2018). Open Journal of Philosophy, 2018, 8, pp. 206-215. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3186347
“Any firm today may, at little or no cost, build its own infrastructure to process personal data for commercial, economic, political, technological or any other purposes. Society has, therefore, turned into a privacy-unfriendly environment. The processing of personal data is essential for multiple economically and socially useful purposes, such as health care, education or terrorism prevention. But firms view personal data as a commodity, as a valuable asset, and heavily invest in processing for private gains. This article studies the potential to subject personal data to trade secret rules, so as to ensure the users’ control over their data without limiting the data’s free movement, and examines some positive scenarios of attributing commercial value to personal data.”

Another biometric tool.
Last week, Interpol held a final project review of its speaker identification system, a four-year, 10 million euro project that has recently come to completion. The Speaker Identification Integrated Project, what they call SiiP, marks a major development in the international expansion of voice biometrics for law enforcement uses — and raises red flags when it comes to privacy.
Speaker identification works by taking samples of a known voice, capturing its unique and behavioral features, and then turning these features into an algorithmic template that’s known as a voice print or voice model. With enough voice prints and samples collected in its global audio database, Interpol’s speaker identification system will be able to upload an unknown voice and, regardless of the language it is speaking, match it to a list of likely candidates. SiiP’s database allow uploads and downloads of samples from 192 law enforcement agencies across the world.

Perspective. Worth reading.
OpenAI cofounder Greg Brockman on the transformative potential of artificial general intelligence
… Ahead of a Capitol Hill hearing on artificial general intelligence this week (which will be streamed here at 10:30 a.m. Eastern), Brockman spoke with VentureBeat about recent advances in deep learning, the need for discussion and debate about AI, and ways researchers and policymakers might solve the “AI bias problem.”
… I think it all boils down to one core idea: artificial general intelligence has the potential to cause extremely rapid change. And when you have rapid change, it’s hard for the policy machinery and social norms — how people relate and fit into the system — to keep up.

Perspective. The trend continues…
Employees Of Another Major Tech Company Are Petitioning Government Contracts
Employees at Salesforce follow those at Microsoft, Amazon, and Google in pushing back against their companies' contracts with military and government agencies.

Perspective. Facebook is only a small part of “Facebook”
Buying Instagram is probably the smartest thing Facebook has ever done
In 2012, Facebook bought the 13-person photo-sharing app Instagram. Six years later, it seems safe to say it was the company’s smartest purchase ever, with the app now estimated to be worth $100 billion.
… The new price tag comes from a Bloomberg Intelligence report shared with Quartz. Its author, analyst Jitendra Waral, also estimates that Instagram should reach 2 billion users—catching up to Facebook itself—in the next five years. Instagram recently announced it reached 1 billion monthly users.
… Users are spending nearly as much time on Instagram as they are on Facebook. According to a recent report, that’s about 53 minutes per day for Android users. Market analysis firm eMarketer also recently estimated that Instagram now accounts for nearly 30% of Facebook’s net mobile ad revenue, with that share potentially growing to 40% by 2020.

A Big Data tool. Might be useful in my Statistics class.
Visualizing Data Without Coding
Center for Data Innovation: “MIT Media Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published a free data visualization and exploration tool called DIVE that allows users to create visualizations without knowing how to code. Users can select fields in their data they want to visualize and DIVE recommends visualizations relevant to their dataset, which users can aggregate to create visual narratives. Additionally, users can do statistical analysis, such as regressions, in DIVE to explore relationships between variables.”

For my geeks.
Google's free class teaches you how to create AR experiences
If you have an Android phone, of course.
If you've ever wanted to create augmented reality experiences but had no idea where to start, Google might have your back. It's releasing a free Introduction to Augmented Reality and ARCore class on Coursera that teaches you how to develop AR content, even if you have no knowledge of the format. Walk through the 15-hour program and you should know how to use both ARCore as well as resources like Google's own Poly object library.

A new way to punish educate my students!
How to Use Flipgrid to Publish Instructional Videos
In Sunday's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week I mentioned three ways to use Flipgrid now that all features are free for all users. One of those ways is to have students record and publish instructional videos. They can do this is a few ways. They can record themselves in front of a whiteboard, they can upload a video made with a tool like Screencast-o-matic, or they can record a video with the Flipgrid mobile app. In the following video I demonstrate how to publish an instructional video on Flipgrid.

If you must PowerPoint…
Beautiful AI - Create Better Slideshows
Beautiful.AI is a neat service that helps you design better PowerPoint presentations. Beautiful.AI provides more than fifty slideshow templates that automatically adjust when you type or add media to them. Beautiful.AI suggests color schemes, fonts, and media placement to make your slides easier to view. When your slideshow is complete you can share it online and or export it as a PowerPoint file to play from your desktop.

My students will recognize my methods!

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