IRS electronic filing system breaks down hours before midnight deadline

Found on Washington Post on Tuesday, 17 April 2018
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The IRS has more than 60 different IT systems for managing the cases of individual taxpayers, according to a report submitted to Congress by an internal IRS watchdog. Many of them have not been updated in decades, and two of them are nearly six decades old — the oldest anywhere in the entire federal government, the report said.

“The IRS is crashing?” he said, repeating a reporter’s question. “It sounds horrible. It sounds really bad. Hope it gets fixed.”

It's about time to make a clean cut; maintaining such a mess is a job for Sisyphus.

Why the Canadian music industry’s secret copyright protection plan is off key

Found on The Globe And Mail on Friday, 13 April 2018
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The proposal, titled Sounding Like a Broken Record: Principled Copyright Recommendations from the Music Industry, calls for radical changes that would spark significant new consumer fees and internet regulation. The plan features new levies on smartphones and tablets, internet service provider tracking of subscribers and content blocking, longer copyright terms, and even the industry’s ability to cancel commercial agreements with internet companies if the benefits from the deal become “disproportionate.”

Read it, laugh about it, put the proposal into the shredder and ask for the real proposal.

Cyber-Espionage Groups Are Increasingly Leveraging Routers in Their Attacks

Found on Bleeping Computer on Thursday, 12 April 2018
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"We've seen a bunch of router attack throughout the years. A very good example is SYNful Knock, a malicious implant for Cisco [routers] that was discovered by FireEye but also threat actors such as Regin and CloudAtlas. Both APTs have been known to have and own proprietary router implants."

Currently, Kaspersky classifies routers as a "growing areas of risk" for APT operations, next to the recent wave of newly-disclosed CPU vulnerabilities, such as Meltdown, Spectre, Chimera, RyzenFall, Fallout, and MasterKey, which fellow Kaspersky researcher Vicente Diaz sees as a threat as threat actors will learn to weaponize for attacks.

Routers are just computers anyway; and they don't get the same attention as servers.

Zuckerberg likely to testify to Congress over Cambridge Analytica

Found on CNet News on Tuesday, 27 March 2018
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A Facebook spokesperson said the company received the invite, but declined to discuss whether Zuckerberg would attend. Spokespeople for Grassley's office and the Judiciary committee didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zuckerberg, meanwhile, shifted from days of deafening silence last week to a full-on media blitz, complete with interviews with national and industry publications, television appearances and full-page newspaper ads.

At first he thought he could just ignore it, but now realized that things could get out of hand. There's nothing to expect from that Congress hearing though; he'll just wiggle around, blame Cambridge Analytica and promise to do better. Doing better would reduce revenue, so it won't happen.

Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

Found on The Guardian on Saturday, 17 March 2018
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The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

The discovery of the unprecedented data harvesting, and the use to which it was put, raises urgent new questions about Facebook’s role in targeting voters in the US presidential election.

There's not much difference between harvesting personal information from Facebook, or Facebook selling that information.

Thursday briefing: Novichok and the case against Russia

Found on The Guardian on Thursday, 15 March 2018
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Russia has been condemned at the UN security council for the Salisbury nerve agent attack, with allies lining up to back Britain’s assessment that Moscow bears responsibility.

Nikki Haley, striking a contrast to her strangely equivocal president, told the UN security council: “The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent … The credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable.”

The United States also once believed that Saddam Hussein was mass-producing biological weapons to justify a first strike that brought chaos to the middle east. Russia is by far not innocent, but in those spy vs spy games, truth and honesty is always left outside.

This Common And Preventable Factor Could Be Increasing Your Risk Of Depression

Found on IFL Science on Tuesday, 13 March 2018
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Japanese scientists have found that even the slightest slither of light when trying to sleep could be linked to a heightened risk of depression, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology.

The modern world is beaming with almost constant exposure to artificial light. Light at night (LAN) in a bedroom – even a flash of a digital clock or streetlight creeping in from a crack in the curtains – could screw with our natural sleep/wake cycle.

Fun news for those who love to sleep with ambient light effects that turn your room into some sort of disco.

China eyes 'black tech' to boost security as parliament meets

Found on Reuters on Sunday, 11 March 2018
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At a highway check point on the outskirts of Beijing, local police are this week testing out a new security tool: smart glasses that can pick up facial features and car registration plates, and match them in real-time with a database of suspects.

Wu Fei, chief executive of LLVision, said people should not be worried about privacy concerns because China’s authorities were using the equipment for “noble causes”, catching suspects and fugitives from the law.

That's exactly why you should be worried.

Oracle UK's profits have more than halved

Found on The Register on Thursday, 08 March 2018
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This was "due to a number of factors including a reduction in the commission income in relation to the hardware and hardware support liens of the business," Oracle stated in a strategic report accompanying the results.

This top line slip contributed to a 25 per cent reduction in Big Red's profit before tax to £26.9m, and net profit shrank 54 per cent to £11.58m, as Oracle coughed up £14.7m in corporation tax compared to £5.93m in the prior fiscal year.

I don't think you will find a lot of people who are shedding a tear over this.

Fresh docs detail 10-year link between Geek Squad informers and Feds

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 07 March 2018
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US tech retailer Best Buy has always denied having a relationship with the Feds, but the documents reveal frequent contact between them, including a 2008 guided tour of the companies largest repair facility in Kentucky.

EFF obtained the files because it is concerned that having computer repair people conduct searches for evidence could violate Fourth Amendment rights on unwarranted search and seizure.

Even if you do not have anything illegal on your PC, it should still make you feel uncomfortable to know that strangers look through all your personal data, including images, videos, documents and whatever else they can find. Who knows how much of that gets copied into "personal collections".