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Banks are watching…

May 17th, 2018

This article [newyorker.com] in the New Yorker is depressing in third world corruption stench of the whole thing, but there is some silver lining: The fact that banks are submitting such detailed reports about possible fraudulent activities, and beyond just money movement they are paying attention to the context. This is heartening, if a bit Big Brother scary.

Banks are legally mandated to file suspicious-activity reports with the government in order to call attention to activity that resembles money laundering, fraud, and other criminal conduct

In paperwork filed with the bank, [Cohen] said that the company would be devoted to using “his experience in real estate to consult on commercial and residential” deals. Cohen told the bank that his transactions would be modest, and based within the United States. In fact, the compliance officers wrote, “a significant portion of the target account deposits continue to originate from entities that have no apparent connection to real estate or apparent need to engage Cohen as a real estate consultant.” Likewise, “a significant portion of the deposits continues to be derived from foreign entities.”

Ronan Farrow, in Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records [newyorker.com]

Money-humping

May 10th, 2018

New favorite term: Money-Humping. Ah Gizmodo:

“When the rich and ethically disinclined are busy money-humping each other, all kinds of weird connections are bound to pop up.”

Tom McKay, in It’s Sure Weird That the Russian-Linked Firm That Paid Michael Cohen $500,000 Also Registered Alt-Right Websites [gizmodo.com]

Don’t they breed well enough on their own?

April 23rd, 2018

In the city of Xichang, located in the southwestern Sichuan province, there is a massive, artificial intelligence-powered roach breeding farm that is producing more than six billion cockroaches per year.

AJ Dellinger, in This AI-Controlled Roach Breeding Site Is a Nightmare Factory [gizmodo.com].

Read the article. Really, read it. This is the setup for a horror or armageddon movie plot. Six billion AI raised cockroaches escape and take over Southern China… Armageddon. Or Horror. Actually, horror-armageddon.

Must be a meme for that…

April 16th, 2018

In the mid-`90s, public use of the internet boomed, and it’s been downhill ever since.

Sam Rutherford, in “Samsung’s Smartphone That Can’t Connect to the Internet Is Actually a Great Idea” on Gizmodo.

That computes.

Xi internet never forgets

March 20th, 2018

President’s Xi Jinping’s plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted”

Reuters, from China to bar people with bad ‘social credit’ from planes, trains [reuters.com].

This is worse than the The Internet Never Forgets [confusion.cc].

Penis Facial

March 19th, 2018

It’s not really called a “penis facial”. On the company website, it goes by a far more palatable name: the Hollywood EGF facial. It involves a cleanse, an intensive TCA peel, micro-needling, an electrifying mask, and, finally, FDA-approved Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) serum.

“EGF is derived from the progenitor cells of the human fibroblast taken from Korean newborn baby foreskin – which helps to generate collagen and elastin,” Louise explains. So the EGF used in the treatment comes from skin cells produced in a lab.

Rosie McCall, in “Penis Facials” Are Hollywood’s Favorite New Beauty Trend, Yes Really [iflscience.com]We are literally one step short of bathing in the blood of virgins… thank you Hollywood.

I have been pwned

February 28th, 2018

Today I was pwned… again.

This time it was my Netflix account. My daughter messaged me: “Papa my Netflix became Spanish!!!!!!!! Help me.”

Turns out someone got into the account, deleted all my secondary users — including my daughter — and then changed everything to Spanish and renamed my main user. Whoever it is has a liking for teen horror shows:

Netflix Hacker Viewing Habits

So I changed the password… I was way to simple because when I have to login on my Daughters or wife’s devices or the AppleTV I am lazy and don’t want to type 30 or 60 random characters. Lesson learned again. Silly random 30+ character password created. Unfortunately Netflix cannot recover the history for the deleted profiles so everyone but me started from scratch. Relatively minor I guess.

As for the lesson learned. I have already learned it and should know better. That password is know to be associated with my email account (I verified this again for the post on Have I been pwned [haveibeenpwned.com]). If you have never checked if your password, or email address or personal info is for sale on the Dark web [wikipedia.org] you should head over to Have I been pwned [haveibeenpwned.com] and check for yourself. ASAP. I’ll wait.

Done? Scared? I have been pawned a few times:
Pwned

I’ve been using the same email address since the ’90s and have signed up to a ton of online services over the years so maybe it should not be a surprise.

If you want to know how leaked passwords are cracked or just how easy it is to crack passwords most people think are “secure” watch this video:

Crazy how easy it is.

So, like I said it was a lesson I should have learned. In January 2017 my Apple account was hacked. Long story short, someone got in, changed the Credit Card on file to someone else’s — I assume stolen —l; card and proceeded to purchase US$200 worth of in-game credits and gift cards. I noticed when I got three receipts from Apple in my email in rapid succession over night and couldn’t think why. Had it only been one I would most likely have ignored it as a delayed receipt for something. So I had to go through the trouble or resetting my account, not once but twice because I got locked out again at the end of the month, best I can figure the second issue was the stolen credit card owner reporting it stolen when they got their bill so my account got locked. The second time I had to reset all my Apple devices – 2 iPads, my iPhone and AppleTV I setup family accounts for my kids and then I went out and purchased a 1password [1password.com] family account.

It was painful to go through and reset and store all my passwords for all the hundreds of services I use. But I highly recommend you go out and get a professional password manager and get on with it. Things will only get worse and you will get pwned. So I’ve been pwned twice and luckily I have not lost any money or had any other serious issues. Knock on wood, the internet is scary place full of bad people.

Beef and a Chief

January 27th, 2018

“Whenever Trump wanted, he would command “Beef and a chief!” in his bathrobe, and his staff would have to get him a little bit of meat.”

Botnik AI rewrite of Fire and Fury [botnik.org]

Personal Data Law

January 19th, 2018

The Economist cover story this week is on Taming the Titans, by which they mean the new titans of Google, Facebook and Amazon. They talk about how these players could be regulated to avoid the abuse of monopolies and they make a nice comparison between how we deal with Intellectual Property and how we could deal with Personal Data:

Just as America drew up sophisticated rules about intellectual property in the 19th century, so it needs a new set of laws to govern the ownership and exchange of data, with the aim of giving solid rights to individuals.

The Economist, How to Tame the Tech Titans [economist.com]

We have personal data laws in many places but the comparison to IP is a good one (despite the myriad problems with out-of-date IP law…)

R.I.P. Dad

October 28th, 2017

Goodbye and thanks for everything, I would not be here and I would not be who I am without you.