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Kaspersky Lab Security Software Implicated in Russian NSA Breach


Many know the name Kaspersky well. Others may only dimly recognize the brand name. Its anti-virus and Internet security software has been around for years in computer stores and OEM’d with computer systems. More than a year ago, I became concerned about what I was learning about Kaspersky Lab and its headquarters in Moscow, I began asking myself hypothetical rhetorical questions. What if Kaspersky was quietly working with the Russian FSB? What if Kaspersky had installed a sleeping Trojan Horse in millions of copies of its consumer computer security software? I was a user of Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity software myself. I knew that it was rated very highly by the tech journals. I liked its elegance and simplicity compared with other competitor products from U.S. based companies like Symantec and McAffee.  Nevertheless, as the Russian hacking of the 2016 election became an ever-larger issue, I decided to pull the plug on Kaspersky because of my fears, though there was no direct evidence of collusion between Kaspersky and the Kremlin at that time, wiped my system clean, and installed another competitor product. 

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How to write to the Electoral College


Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election has evolved into a genuine and unprecedented national crisis. The Electoral College meets December 19th. Over the years, the Electoral College has deteriorated into a quant rubber-stamp of each state’s elector outcome. Some states have even passed laws that prohibit electors from changing their votes. However, this is patently un-Constitutional and not the intent of The Founders. Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers that the intent was for the Electoral College to be a check on exactly the situation we are facing. Meanwhile, a group of electors has demanded that the CIA share its evidence with the Electoral College.

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Ecuador cuts Julian Assange’s internet access: Reuters


Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said on Monday that its founder Julian Assange’s internet was shut down by the government of Ecuador, deflecting blame from the U.S. or British governments which have sparred with Assange for releasing sensitive material. My earlier predictions that Assange has worn out his welcome at the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, appears to be playing out. Assange and Wikileaks, originally portrayed themselves as an “international, non-profit, journalistic organization” with no political bias, that releases confidential information form anonymous sources for the benefit of the public. This image has been severely tarnished by Assange’s own statements, and numerous allegations of bias favoring Russia going back to 2011, and Assange’s own statements of a bias against the United States for seeking his prosecution.

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What Happens Now That Julian Assange is Implicated in Russian Espionage?


Lost today in the extraordinary news frenzy surrounding the release of a video tape of Donald Trump making unprecedented lewd and obscene comments about women, was Barak Obama’s announcement that the United States officially and publicly accuses Russia of espionage in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and stealing documents, now in the possession of Wikileaks. Some may recall Julian Assange’s video interview with Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher about a month ago on this topic. It seems clear from the Bill Maher interview that Assange is on a jihad against the DNC because Clinton wanted to prosecute him. Assange has no altruistic motives — it is personal. We have a foreigner trying to influence U.S elections using documents stolen by Russia.

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Anonymous, Chinese Hackers, RickRolling and ISIS


Anonymous, the murky global and leaderless hacking group has struck out on a campaign to disrupt ISIS’ sophisticated use of the Internet and social media. It claims to have disabled over 11,000 identified ISIS Twitter accounts with looped Rick Astley videos. For those of you not familiar with Rick Astley, he was a 1980’s British pop star of limited talent, whose videos are sometimes painful to watch. For unknown reasons, Astley’s videos have been used in a variety of online pranks and hacking incidents. So Anonymous did the convenient thing and used old Astley videos, a tactic now known as “RickRolling”, to disrupt and confound ISIS Twitter and other social media accounts. I like it. Striking back in this way is probably causing smiles in the French Intelligence Service, U.S. Defense Department, NSA, and GCHQ in the UK.

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A breakthrough in quantum cryptography could make financial markets of the future cheat-proof


As I wrote in an earlier post the world of quantum computing and cryptography shows great promise for the future, particularly in overcoming the current problems with encryption and Internet privacy. Read more: Quantum encryption takes center stage in wake of NSA encryption cracking

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Integrated Big Data, Cloud, and Smart Mobile: One Big Deal or Not?


This IEEE Talk discusses the three biggest trends in online technology and proposes that in fact, they represent one huge integrated trend that is already having a major impact on the way we live, work and think. The 2012 Obama Campaign’s Dashboard mobile application, integrating Big Data, The Cloud, and Smart Mobile is perhaps the most significant example of this trend, combining all three technologies into one big thing. A major shakeout and industry consolidation seems inevitable. Additional developments as diverse as the Internet of Things, Smart Grid, near field communication, mobile payment processing, and location based services are also considered as linked to this overall trend.

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Online Privacy Policy? What Online Privacy…?


A number of my students have asked me about online privacy. Many of us, not only students, have not spent the necessary time to read and research the privacy policies of the major online social media and e-commerce websites, much less to understand the implications they face with the current state of online privacy.  It […]

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Largest Cyber Attack In History Slows The Internet


The last two days have seen one of the most interesting and disturbing examples of the ongoing problems with Internet security, and the potential of contending with anonymous groups and aggressive governments who use the Internet for hostile purposes. We have just experienced the largest Internet cyber attack in history. The New York Times, The Guardian and host of other global media and technology news sources, and blogs have seized on this story. Internet experts are pessemistic that anything can be done to defend against this situation, or any other similar attack, other than to find and prosecute the perpetrators. Some experts have speculated that another attack on this scale could have grave consequences for global banking and investment trading systems.

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Silicon Valley’s Misguided Love Affair With An “App” For Everything


The knee jerk joke of “There’s an app for that!” isn’t really that funny. Many experienced Silicon Valley veterans have complained loudly about the current malaise of misplaced infatuation with mobile apps, as the apparent end all and be all of Silicon Valley. Vinod Khosla, Marc Andreeson, Max Marmer and a laundry list of others have asked rhetorically how Silicon Valley could have lost its way so badly? Silicon Valley was founded on Big Ideas.

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