Friday, July 21, 2017

Social Media Success: Imro's Emo-JI of a Fine Line

What matters in literature in the end is surely the idiosyncratic, the individual, the flavor or the color of a particular human suffering.

Via GM Dark Web Taken Down

Screaming Emojis are Proving a Hot Topic In and Out of the Courtroom ;) The Fashion 

Via Leura and Bullabarra ...

A Few Things You May Not Know About ‘The Scream

Experts: Social Media Is Dumbing Down Our Communication

Experts who look into such things say that while social networking has its benefits — professionally, personally, politically — it’s also dumbing down the ways people communicate with each other. Having so many channels of communication has overwhelmed our ability to thoughtfully interact online, encouraging cheap and easy forms of communication.

Samantha Bradshaw & Philip N. Howard, Troops, Trolls and Troublemakers: A Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation. Samuel Woolley and Philip N. Howard, Eds. Working Paper 2017.12. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. 37 pp.

“Cyber troops are government, military or political party teams committed to manipulating public opinion over social media. In this working paper, we report on specific organizations created, often with public money, to help define and manage what is in the best interest of the public. We compare such organizations across 28 countries, and inventory them according to the kinds of messages, valences and communication strategies used. We catalogue their organizational forms and evaluate their capacities in terms of budgets and staffing. This working paper summarizes the findings of the first comprehensive inventory of the major organizations behind social media manipulation. We find that cyber troops are a pervasive and global phenomenon. Many different countries employ significant numbers of people and resources to manage and manipulate public opinion online, sometimes targeting domestic audiences and sometimes targeting foreign publics. The earliest reports of organized social media manipulation emerged in 2010, and by 2017 there are details on such organizations in 28 countries. Looking across the 28 countries, every authoritarian regime has social media campaigns targeting their own populations, while only a few of them target foreign publics. In contrast, almost every democracy in this sample has organized social media campaigns that target foreign publics, while political-party-supported campaigns target domestic voters. Authoritarian regimes are not the only or even the best at organized social media manipulation. The earliest reports of government involvement in nudging public opinion involve democracies, and new innovations in political communication technologies often come from political parties and arise during high-profile elections. Over time, the primary mode for organizing cyber troops has gone from involving military units that experiment with manipulating public opinion over social media networks to strategic communication firms that take contracts from governments for social media campaigns.”

"It will happen again," Rob Greig warned, just weeks after his 10-strong cybersecurity team thwarted the biggest ever attack on the UK's House of Commons and Lords. The director of the Parliamentary Digital Service, speaking to IBTimes UK about the email breach incident in June, also revealed that a total of 200,000 attempts were made by the hacker(s). But thanks to the fast-thinking of his team, with assistance from GCHQ's new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), fewer than 1% of parliamentary emails (under 90 accounts) were compromised. The NCSC are working with the National Crime Agency (NCA), the nearest thing the UK has to the FBI, to investigate the attack, which came three months after a knife-wielding terrorist launched an assault on the Palace of Westminster in March and a month after the WannaCry ransomware attack on the NHS in May

NetSecurity – “The majority of US-based law firms are not only exposed in a wide variety of areas, but in many cases, unaware of intrusion attempts. These findings were based on Logicforce survey data from over 200 law firms, anonymous system monitoring data and results from their on-site assessments. The degree of preparation and vigilance within the industry at large will continue to place many law firms at unnecessary risk of losing valuable client data such as trade secrets and intellectual property. Such breakdowns in security could result in financial losses for the targeted firms and their clients. Approximately 40% of law firms in the study underwent at least one client data security audit, and Logicforce predicts this will rise to 60% by the end of 2018…” Here are my top 10 cyber security threats for law firms and what you can do about them

Aussie blockchain association launches CIO, 12/7/17. The Blockchain Association of Australia hosts its first event this week

As Elites Switch to Texting, Watchdogs Fear Loss of Transparency, Kevin Roose – “Lawmakers, executives and other leaders are turning to encrypted chat apps to keep their communications under wraps, causing problems in industries where careful record-keeping is standard procedure…Secure messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Confide are making inroads among lawmakers, corporate executives and other prominent communicators. Spooked by surveillance and wary of being exposed by hackers, they are switching from phone calls and emails to apps that allow them to send encrypted and self-destructing texts. 

Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology – “Metadata, or “data about data,” is collected and recorded to describe data, identify trends, administer algorithmic solutions, and model potential scenarios. When one understands how to make sense of seemingly random metadata or how to pair the data with other exfiltrated data pools, there are limitless possibilities for social engineering and cyber exploitation in attacks that weaponize psychographic and demographic Big Data algorithms. In this publication, entitled “Metadata:  The Most Potent Weapon in This Cyber War – The New Cyber-Kinetic-Meta War,” ICIT offers a rich analysis of this underreported threat to our National Security through a comprehensive assessment of how meta-exploits are hyper-evolving an already next-generation adversarial landscape

Two exciting opportunities for investigative journalists and researchers interested in looking at the worlds of finance and corruption.

Firstly, Finance Uncovered have launched their call for applications to attend their four-day financial investigative journalism training course in London.

The course will take place between Tuesday 7 November 2017 – Friday 10 November 2017.

Bursaries are available and the deadline for applications is 9AM UK time on Friday 10 August. Find out more information here:

Civil Forum for Asset Recovery, an organisation based in Berlin has also put out a call for applications for a training programme aimed at young investigative journalists interested in covering corruption.  

Eligible candidates should come from North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) or Europe (Germany, France, UK, Switzerland, Spain) and be under 35 years old. More details are available here: The application deadline is the 31st July.

Robert M. Lee thinks we should start taking infrastructure cybersecurity seriously. For a number of people right now, that may mean calming down. The U.S. is coming off two high-profile cyber threats that were less dangerous than many made them out to be. They included malware that was falsely reported to be capable of tearing down the electrical grid and hacks of business computers at power plants falsely reported to be capable of interrupting electricity. At the same time, the founder and CEO of industrial systems security firm Dragos Inc. feels that when the public does not perceive an apocalyptic threat, the issue of cybersecurity seems to slide out of view.  “It’s worse than people think and far better than people want to imagine,” Lee said in a recent interview with The Hill.

“You’re not only allowed to rob people of their life’s savings and steal their houses.  In fact, the more you rob people of their life’s savings and steal their houses, the bigger your year-end bonus, right? And of course if it all goes pear-shaped, you and your chums in your six-thousand-dollar power suits can just get together with your other chums at the Treasury Department in their six-thousand dollar suits and arrange for an eighty-billion-dollar bailout, paid for of course by the very people you’ve spent the last decade robbing and stealing from.  Right, Charlie?” 

Flaubert, who sometimes took days to compose a single sentence and then tossed it out, has been called a martyr of literary style. Now critics are chipping away at his  reputation

It’s like he has no idea how the law or politics or… anything works. [CNBC]
At 23, Charlotte Brontë became a governess. The experience would inform her later fiction: What better way to learn subordination, exploitation, and humiliation? Latitude Mafia no more God Bess I GOT ;-) 

The allegations about Marc Kasowitz's drinking problem might be salacious, but the issue of alcohol abuse by lawyers is serious. [

Marc Kasowitz has moved to dismiss a sexual harassment suit filed against the president by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, claiming that thanks to the SCOTUS ruling in Bill Clinton's sexual harassment case, presidents cannot be sued in state court for personal conduct while in office. If this flies, will it give rise to more federal filings against the president? [The Hill]

For interested readers, here's the "origin story" of Above the Law, which turns 11 next month. [Yale Alumni Association of New York]  Speaking of abuse and how financial institutions never do anything wrong so people shouldn't have the right to sue them, Wells Fargo tentatively set to pay $142 million to settle claims arising from its fake accounts scandal. [Courthouse News Service]

Unfortunately, the internet is forever -- and it’s not particularly forgiving

“Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash”, Eka Kurniawan's third novel, is not for the faint-hearted

“Life is such a strange thing, he thinks, once he has stopped laughing. Even after certain things have happened to them, no matter how awful the experience, people still go on eating and drinking, going to the toilet, and washing themselves – living in other words. And sometimes they even laugh out loud.”


Russia is causing cyberspace mayhem and should face retaliation if it continues to undermine democratic institutions in the West, the former head of Britain's GCHQ spy agency said on Monday. Russia denies allegations from governments and intelligence services that it is behind a growing number of cyber attacks on commercial and political targets around the world, including the hackings of recent U.S. and French presidential election campaigns. Asked if the Russian authorities were a threat to the democratic process, Robert Hannigan, who stepped down as head of the UK's intelligence service in March, said: "Yes ... There is a disproportionate amount of mayhem in cyberspace coming from Russia from state activity." In his first interview since leaving GCHQ, Hannigan told BBC radio that it was positive that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had publicly "called this out recently".

Computer Weekly

In a poll of Infosecurity Europe 2017 attendees, almost half said the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is stifling innovation by making companies nervous about cloud services. This could be due to the lack of expertise, with more than a quarter of respondents describing their organisations’ level of cloud security expertise as either “novice” or “not very competent”, according to the survey report.

Fast Company – This New Site Sells Food And Household Essentials–All For $3 Or Less “Brandless wants to do away with corporate markups on everyday products, from corkscrews to organic maple syrup…Sharkey and Leffler set out to create a new landing point for a consumer who’s looking for quality and transparency, and eschews brand loyalty and the resulting choice overload familiar to anyone who’s ever stepped into a grocery store aisle. Their resulting venture is appropriately called Brandless, and it launched on July 11 with a curated selection of around 115 essential products (which will balloon to 300 by December)–from condiments to kitchen appliances to cleaning products–all for $3 or less..” Note – the site sells products that are Certified Organic, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Vegan, No Added Sugar, Certified Kosher. The company is “Partnering with Feeding America the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief organization, the monetary equivalent of a meal is donated every time you shop on Brandless…”

Information existed before Claude Shannon, but there was little sense of it as an idea, an object of hard science. His insight made our world possible Information 

Robots can already rig selection criteria in government jobs. Joining the junior ranks of the public service can be a painful exercise in repetitious selection criteria writing ... for humans anyway. Bots, however, can write better applications, faster, and also sound more human. Researcher Joshua Krook explores how some jobseekers have automated their applications.

New challenge for public servants who take on their employer. It's David and Goliath in the Fair Work Commission. The new Gibbens decision gives the government an unfair advantage against its employees, writes employment lawyer John Wilson.

Guests at 14 Trump properties, including hotels in Washington, New York and Vancouver, have had their credit card information exposed, marking the third time in as many years that a months-long security breach has affected customers of the chain of luxury hotels. The latest instance occurred between August 2016 and March 2017, according to a notice on the company’s website, and included guest names, addresses and phone numbers, as well as credit card numbers and expiration dates. The breach took place on the systems of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, a reservation booking service used by Trump Hotels, but did not compromise the Trump Hotels’ systems. “The privacy and protection of our guests’ information is a matter we take very seriously,” the notice said, adding that Trump Hotels was notified of the breach on June 5. Trump Hotels declined to comment beyond what was posted in the notice.

On Tuesday morning, a hacker going by the name Johnnie Walker sent a group email to an unknown number of recipients claiming to have a trove of emails from the private account of a U.S. intelligence official. “The U.S. State Department officer’s email has been hacked,” the email announced, and included at least two years’ worth of personal emails from the private Gmail account of a State Department official working in the secretive intelligence arm of the State Department focusing on Russia. The sender said the archive included exchanges between the official and “CIA officers and other intelligence agencies, mainstream media, NGOs, and international funds” that would “give you evidence of who is responsible for agenda formation in many countries worldwide, especially where the situation is insecure.” The official involved is in a senior position in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, according to a 2017 department directory. Even though the official’s name is public, Foreign Policy is not identifying him at the department’s request, citing security concerns.

The future is here and is a little scary

Researchers have revived an extinct horsepox virus using synthetic DNA strands ordered for about $100,000. This opens up new possibilities for researchers looking to make better vaccines, but also the potential for these viruses to become bioweapons.


If that was a bit scary here is some light relief from YouTube with robots coming along in leaps and bounds