“The recent attack has gained notoriety for its methods, rather than its size — the hacking group has been prolific in attacking U.S. medical-device companies and drug makers. The chart below shows how the Chinese breach compares with others.
“The ranking provides little solace if you’re one of the people whose personal information was stolen and used for identity theft. Yet, with security-software maker Symantec calling this the era of the “mega-breach” and some attacks hitting the nine digits, it’s worth remembering that hackers have many, many other ways to obtain personal information.”
Daniel Solove, Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School and founder of TeachPrivacy, pulled together a few takeaways from the story including:
The leading causes of data breaches often involve the workforce mistakes Malicious outsiders often get in because they trick people through phishing and social engineering
Organizations are collecting and using data faster than they are able to keep it secure
Educate the workforce! Train them once, train them twice, train them thrice. Repeat, repeat, repeat
The point that most struck home for me was this one:
“If you can’t protect it, don’t collect it.”
Here in New Zealand, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has released a guide for app developers designed to help developers think about what personal details they really need to capture from their users.
“When apps don’t convey basic information about what the business is collecting personal information for, it’s hard for people to feel confident that their information is being looked after. But when an app developer finds a way to be clear about what is happening, people notice. It’s a way to convey to users that you’re trustworthy, that you know the value of their information and you’ll treat it with respect.”
I feel like I’ve always ‘known’ that it’s bad to drink seawater but I can’t remember ever learning why. This excerpt from Rose George’s excellent ‘90% of Everything: Inside Shipping‘ gives a fair idea:
In a lecture to the Royal College of Physicians in 1942, MacDonald Critchley, a physician who had studied survival at sea, said that “seawater poisoning must be accounted, after cold, the commonest cause of death in shipwrecked sailors.”
At first, it wouldn’t seem so: seawater is liquid and it quenches. The relief would be immediate. But seawater has an average salt content of 3 percent. This increases thirst dramatically so that more seawater is drunk, and more, and salt levels go ever more haywire, until the body tries to regulate it by urination, and you expel a quart of urine for every quart of seawater drunk, making matters worse. There are also complicated and intricate effects of seawater on cells, blood, and tissue, but in essence, too much seawater can fry your brain.
Then this happens, in the words of Critchley:
“The victim becomes silent and apathetic, with a peculiar fixed and glassy expression in the eyes. The condition of the lips, mouth, and tongue worsens, and a peculiarly offensive odor has been described in the breath. Within an hour or two, delirium sets in, quiet at first but later violent and unrestrained; consciousness is gradually lost; the color of the face changes and froth appears at the corners of the lips. Death may take place quietly: more often it is a noisy termination, and not infrequently the victim goes over the side in his delirium and is lost.”
This is a spectogram of a dial-up modem handshake sound. Via FlowingData. When I plugged in my first modem for the first time I heard this sound sequence and thought something was broken. Took me a few goes to figure out it was supposed to sound like this. Finally got connected and discovered bulletin boards. #waybackwhen
And Oona Raisanen has shared this image explaining what all those sounds are.
From a Mike O’Donnell column on stuff.co.nz, some sage advice on being careful with browser add-ons and extensions:
1. If you start seeing weird or inappropriate ads on websites there’s a fair chance you’ve been targeted. You should go to your “options” menu in Internet Explorer (or “extensions” in Chrome) and disable recent extensions.
2. If you get an email inviting you to install a browser extension or a new Flash player, be wary.
You should Google the title text from the request to find out if it is associated with a scam before proceeding.
3. You should only install browser extensions from known companies like Google and Mozilla – this means going to the vendor’s website and installing directly from there (and reading reviews first).
4. There is a bunch of good free PC check-up programmes you can run your lappie or desktop computer through – Bellguard Internet Security and Microsoft Security Essentials are a good place to start.
Read more about some of the scams and the rest of Mike’s column here.
One in four US adult internet users has uploaded a video online, according to the Online Video 2013 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. One in five has posted a video that they created themselves.
The top-watched categories are Comedy, Educational and How-to videos, followed by Music.
Forty one per cent of mobile users shoot video on their phone, 40 per cent watch videos on their phone, and 21 per cent use their phone to post videos online.
Over the past four years, the percent of American adult internet users who upload or post videos online has doubled from 14% in 2009 to 31% today. That includes 18% of adult internet users who post videos they have created or recorded themselves—many of whom hope their creations go viral. The share of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown from 69% of internet users in 2009 to 78% today, and mobile phones have become a key part of the video viewing and creating experience.
Find out more about the survey and download the full report on the Pew site.