Weekly Axis Of Easy #66
This week’s quote: “In the end, they wanted security more than they wanted freedom.” By ????
Last Week’s Quote was “The only permanent truth in finance is that people will get bullish at the top and bearish at the bottom.” It was James Grant. Multiple people guessed Warren Buffet, which was in the ballpark. Buffet is often attributed with “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”, however that was originally Jesse Livermore. What Buffet famously said is “the best time to buy snow shovels is during summer”.
THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the comments below.
The Prize: First person to post get their next domain or hosting renewal is on us.
easyDNS was incorporated 20 years ago yesterday. Thanks for being an easyDNS client and sticking with us all these years.
In this issue:
- EU passes new copyright rules
- Introducing Dragonfly: Google’s search engine prototype that helps China track user queries
- Robinhood investment app is free, but sells user data to HFT firms
- DOJ to consider anti-trust action against social media behemoths
- US mobile incumbents aim to provide your identity online
- Decade old bug still exposes encrypted data in nearly all computers
- On Thursday, the president will send you a text message
- Lessons learned from the Namejuice/DROA/DROC outage
Hot on the heels of of the GDPR, the EU passed controversial new copyright and digital rights legislation last week. With hot button provisions such as mandatory content filtering for ISPs and so-called “link taxes” that could hamstring social media platforms; we find ourselves wondering out loud again, why non-EU companies should be expected to adhere to these rules? This is exactly the scenario we posited when we said any non-Euro company voluntarily subjecting themselves to GDPR basically signs up by default for any whacky law any other jurisdiction in the world passes. Absent treaties between the EU and one’s home jurisdiction, this really should be a non-issue. And if you are a Euro-based company, good luck with all that.
We previously reported in #AxisOfEasy that Google was building a special version of their search engine for use in China. A prototype, code named “Dragonfly” has emerged. As reported by The Intercept, this one links users’ search queries with their phone numbers making it easier for the Chinese government to know who is searching for what. Human rights advocates fear that Dragonfly will be especially useful for targeting citizens “seeking out information banned by the government”. The Intercept previously revealed that a Google compiled “blacklist” of search terms included the phrases “human rights”, “student protest”, and “Nobel Prize”. (Google has duly updated their slogan to “Only be evil to Chinese people”).
Another proof of that old adage “if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product”. A researcher sifting through SEC filings has come to the conclusion that the commission free stock trading app Robin Hood, who is ostensibly out “to disrupt the brokerage industry by offering commission-free trading.”, is making a fsck-tonne of money on the backend, selling their customer order flow to High Frequency Trading firms. He thinks that’s a problem, that it lacks transparency and ultimately harms the customers.
Jeff Sessions has invited various Attorney Generals to a meeting September 25th to discuss whether to pursue anti-trust cases against Google, Facebook and Twitter. To which my reply is “yes”, “yes”, “yes” and “don’t forget Amazon”. As a Libertarian I’m aware of the cognitive dissonance within that sentiment. Reports are that at least one attendee will be advocating a break-up of the platforms.
If you wonder why I’m leaning in favour of this idea, read Bruce Sterling’s The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things. Available via kindle… (*Irony*)
The big 4 telcos in the US are putting forward a proposal to replace web logins using passwords, and replace it with a mechanism tied to your mobile phone “leveraging data elements unique to each customer’s phone and mobile subscriber account, such as location, customer reputation, and physical attributes of the device”. (Emphasis added). Why not bar codes on the hand or forehead?
Lost your laptop? But you encrypted the drive so everything’s cool, right? Wrong. Apparently this 10-year old vulnerability that enables an attacker to bypass drive encryption by snagging the decryption keys out of memory still exists on pretty near every desktop and laptop available today. Thought to be mitigated ages ago, researchers at F-Secure figured out a way to bring the vector back, and it still works. F-Secure further elaborated that it’s so easy to do that they’d be surprised if hackers didn’t already know about it and are using it in the wild.
Originally scheduled for this Thursday, FEMA is going to conduct the first-ever Presidential Level system wide Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system to every mobile device in America. It’s been postponed to the Oct 3rd backup date because of Hurricane Florence. But when the day comes, you’re gonna get a text from Trump. It’s unknown what the contents of the message will be. I just can’t imagine any outcome from this not being a complete debacle.
It was last week when the registrar Namejuice, a.k.a “Domain Registry of America”, a.k.a “Domain Registry of Canada” went off the air entirely for the better part of a day, stranding numerous websites and businesses for the better of part of an entire day.
Outages happen to everyone, but what are the lessons we can learn from this one to protect ourselves in the future?
easyBackup is here. Protect yourself, your servers and your data from ransomware, malware and other disasters. If you already do backup, then backup for your backups. Seriously.