The database included details from many of the most popular social networks
More than two million stolen passwords used for sites such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo and other web services have been posted online.
The details had probably been uploaded by a criminal gang, security experts said.
It is suspected the data was taken from computers infected with malicious software that logged key presses.
It is not known how old the details are – but the experts warned that even out-dated information posed a risk.
“We don’t know how many of these details still work,” said security researcher Graham Cluley. “But we know that 30-40% of people use the same passwords on different websites.
“That’s certainly something people shouldn’t do.”
The site containing the passwords was discovered by researchers working for security firm Trustwave.
In a blog post outlining its findings, the team said it believed the passwords had been harvested by a large botnet – dubbed Pony – that had scooped up information from thousands of infected computers worldwide.
Some people might say that Google abandons and starts projects on a whim. In the past, the search giant makes provided explanations for projects that could not be completed and promises they were unable to keep. But has the abandonment mentality and prideful hot hair stopped this habit? Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan further explores this question in, “Google’s Broken Promises And Who’s Running The Search Engine?”
What promises has Google broken? Google Shopping was supposed to index prices of items across the Web, but it only displays results from paying vendors. Google once fought against shopping search engines that only included shopping results, but not the company claims that is the only way to get viable information.
Google also promised it would keep its searches banner free. Guess what they are doing now? Google stated that they are only conducting a US banner tests to allow advertisers to add images to relevant search queries.
Why Google is doing this may be that the company has had to adapt, but it goes against Google’s original philosophy:
“You’d think they caused some internal debate. Was there anyone at Google saying that if giant graphical units at the top of search results are useful to searchers, then maybe Google should be offering those for free, to ensure a consistent experience for those searchers? Was there anyone at Google saying that maybe a shift to paid inclusion was a bad move for shopping and other search products, because it opens up every search product to that possibility?”
Google is not sharing explanations with the public, however. In my opinion, the root of the problem is that no one is officially assigned to run search products. The company is instead focusing on other areas and neglecting its star. What is even worse is that the fuzzy management holds no one accountable for the broken promises. Google’s main search focus is making money and not providing accurate results.
Since Google is the biggest search player, what does this mean for other search components like SEO? Will paid results dwarf SEO? It also begs the question if SEO focuses on search? Money makes the world go around I guess.
Whitney Grace, December 01, 2013
Amazon has aspirations beyond being the world’s largest retailer. The online retail giant also aspires to be a mega force in computing, says The New York Times Bits Blog in: “Amazon Bares Its Computers.” Amazon has announced that it is taking its Amazon Web Services beyond simple cloud-computing to include specialized computers, data storage systems, networking systems, optical transmissions systems, and power substations. The overall goal is make computer cheaper and run more efficiently.
Amazon rarely discusses its AWS plans, but the recent discussion about how it plans to annually spend one billion comes as big news.
Amazon is prepping to boosts its web services by hiring power engineers to work on substations and remove power redundancies in cloud-computing. Hardware is purchased directly to reduce costs and the company created original statistical methods to limit damage from catastrophic failures. Amazon also owns its own optical fiber systems and take AWS global.
Amazon is hardly keeping their information under wraps this time, though. They are sharing their advances via open source in a direct challenge to Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Microsoft will never share its secrets and Google does share some of its toys, but it keeps the bigger stuff locked away. What about Facebook?
The article explains:
“The notable outrider among the giant computers is Facebook, which isn’t selling its own system. Instead, Facebook is focused on pure cost-cutting, and spearheads the Open Compute Project, a kind of open-source, cloud-computing architecture. Open Compute is far enough along that companies like Hewlett-Packard, which came late to cloud computing, use aspects of it in their public clouds.”
Amazon is not directly asserting it is better than its competitors, but its openness and cost-cutting procedures certainly make it look better in the consumers’ eyes.
Whitney Grace, November 30, 2013
Evolving Hostilities in the Global Cyber Commons
Sunday, November 24, 2013
“In evaluating open-source documents, collectors and analysts must be careful to determine the origin of the document and the possibilities of inherent biases contained within the document.”
- FM2-22.3: Human Intelligence Collector Operations, p. I-10
“Source and information evaluation is identified as being a critical element of the analytical process and production of intelligence products. However there is concern that in reality evaluation is being carried out in a cursory fashion involving limited intellectual rigour. Poor evaluation is also thought to be a causal factor in the failure of intelligence.”
- John Joseph and Jeff Corkill “Information Evaluation: How one group of Intelligence Analysts go about the Task”
The field of cyber intelligence is fairly new and fortunately, thanks to the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon and the work of Jay McAllister and Troy Townsend, we can take a credible look at the state of the practice of this field:
“Overall, the key ﬁndings indicate that organizations use a diverse array of approaches to perform cyber intelligence. They do not adhere to any universal standard for establishing and running a cyber intelligence program, gathering data, or training analysts to interpret the data and communicate ﬁndings and performance measures to leadership.”
- McAllister and Townsend, The Cyber Intelligence Tradecraft Project
The one thing that isn’t covered in their report is the issue of source validation and how that contributes to the validity or value of the intelligence data received. However they did write a follow-up white paper with Troy Mattern entitled “Implementation Framework – Collection Management (.pdf)”
Chuck Spinney: Patrick Cockburn Interviews Muqtada al-Sadr on Iraq — Toxic Mix of Sectarianism, Incompetent and Corrupt Government, and Interference by US, UK, and Iran
The United States bears a moral responsibility for the murderous state of affairs in Iraq, but contemporary American grand strategy has become a self-referencing mix of arrogance, narcissism, and exceptionalism; so it is not surprising that most Americans have dismissed Iraq their minds (as they are now dismissing Afghanistan). Below is an excellent reminder of the situation in Iraq.
Patrick Cockburn, one of the very best journalists now covering conflicts in the Arab World and Central Asia interviews Muqtada al-Sadr, one of the most influential Shia clerics in Iraq and leader of the Mehdi Army, a powerful Shia faction. Sadr is now a member of the Shia dominated Iraqi government, but he is becoming increasingly alienated from its leader, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Al-Sadr argues that a toxic mix of (1) sectarianism, (2) governmental incompetence and corruption, and (3) external interference by the U.S. and U.K. and Iran is plunging Iraq into an ever-deepening state of chaos, with no light at the end of the tunnel. (Note: I inserted a few clarifying comments in red.)
In a rare interview at his headquarters in Najaf, he tells Patrick Cockburn of his fears for a nation growing ever more divided on sectarian lines.
The future of Iraq as a united and independent country is endangered by sectarian Shia-Sunni hostility says Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia religious leader whose Mehdi Army militia fought the US and British armies and who remains a powerful figure in Iraqi politics. He warns of the danger that “the Iraqi people will disintegrate,  its government will disintegrate, and  it will be easy for external powers to control the country”.
In an interview with The Independent in the holy city of Najaf, 100 miles south-west of Baghdad – the first interview Mr Sadr has given face-to-face with a Western journalist for almost 10 years – he expressed pessimism about the immediate prospects for Iraq, saying: “The near future is dark.”
Stephen E. Arnold: LinkedIn Pulse Takes Professional News Aggregation & Precision Showcasing to Next Level
Ever since Google left a void by discontinuing Google Reader, other RSS feeds programs have attempted to fill it. Pulse is one of the top replacements and now “LinkedIn Integrates With Pulse For Professional News Aggregation. Social Sharing.” LinkedIn purchased Pulse earlier this year and now they are offering their users professional news for both desktop and mobile platforms. LinkedIn and Pulse are now synced and sharing articles and social media interactions are as simple as a few mouse clicks.
There have been some changes made to how LinkedIn works and improvements to Pulse:
“This means that LinkedIn Today, which gathered top news related to your profession—one of the cool, little-known features in LinkedIn—has now been made defunct. Instead, even if you visit the web app, you will be taken to LinkedIn Pulse. Under the hood, the search feature has been enhanced and Pulse will now offer better autocomplete suggestions.”
It is a great idea to have all of your professional content and social interactions in one place. It makes it easier to stay on top of current events and network, but as any new venture starts this question must be asked: will the news be relevant to the individual users, advertisers, and LinkedIn’s professional standards? LinkedIn probably does not want “News of the Weird” or the latest prescription drug advertised on their Web site. Pulse already has high standards, so doubt is low but who knows.
Whitney Grace, November 29, 2013
Last Christmas I was ready to annihilate my regular radio stations, because they kept playing the same carol mix over and over again. There was not one new song introduced within a twenty-four hour period. Looking for some relief, I surfed the FM waves in hopes of finding a new station. My efforts were rewarded with a station I had never heard before and I was filled with new musical glee. While I never found the station again, Michael Robertson can help me avoid WHAM’s cover of “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart” by “Introducing the World’s First Radio Search Engine.” Robertson recently launched his beta version of RadioSearchEngine.com.
The article explains:
“There are other directories of A-Z lists of radio stations, but this is the first search engine where any song or artist can be located on stations playing from anywhere in the world. A universal web player for the first time connects to and plays nearly every station offering immediate audio satisfaction and unprecedented user control.
The search engine updates in real-time, so users will be able to track a song and instantly play it. The search engine indexes all the songs every three-five minutes for an instantaneous searchable music. Robertson’s creation also makes recommendations to the user based on the song selection, allows users to skip songs, and view popularity rankings.”
Before finishing the article, I was about to say that YouTube is just as easy, but the ability to fast forward, skip songs, and add new content is the search engine’s major selling point. Robertson might have just launched the newest music trend.
Whitney Grace, November 29, 2013
The article on MakeUseOf titled SayHi Translate Is Quite Possibly The Closest Thing To Star Trek’s Universal Translator promotes the Iphone app SayHi as the best translation app available. At one $1.99, the app provides translations between some 40 languages (more are available with the premium version). The user says their phrase slowly and clearly into the phone, hits done and waits a few seconds for the phrase to appear in the original and translated languages. At the same time the app reads out the translation so that the person you are attempting to communicate with can hear it as well.
The article explains:
“The star allows you to create a list of favourite phrases (accessible from the star icon at the very top of the screen). The arrow is the usual iOS sharing options (email, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, etc), the arrow pointing right enables you to play the phrase back again if you need to hear it again, and the trash-can deletes the phrase from the screen.”
The author even claims that SayHi beats out the Google Translate app, although that may become an issue of personal preference. Ultimately, these resources are a must-have for people traveling in foreign countries where they don’t speak the language. (And in galaxies far far away?)
Chelsea Kerwin, November 29, 2013
Marcus Aurelius: SSI Monograph on Known Unknowns – Unconventional “Strategic Shocks” in Defense Strategy Development
Ladies and Gentlemen:
You may want to check out US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute paper at link below and attached:
Read with a view to some of the strange things that have been ascribed to FEMA.
Strategic Studies Institute, November 2008