According to the Guardian, Wolfram will be opening its curated data to be queried via an application programming interface, or API. Currently, you can view results in a browser, export them as a PDF, or "play" them using a Mathematica plug-in. The ability to use the data on other sites and for other means, such as computations in spreadsheets, is appealing, if not earth-shattering.
Albert Gonzalez, the alleged ringleader of one of the largest known identity theft cases in U.S. history, has agreed to plead guilty to all 19 counts of related charges against him, according to court documents filed Friday.
Gonzalez, 28, of Miami, was accused in August 2008 of helping steal millions of credit card and debit card numbers from major U.S. retail chains. Among the retailers hacked were TJX Companies (owner of T.J.Maxx), BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever21, and DSW.
Under the plea agreement filed with the U.S. … Read more
Avignon Concept provides is a fantastic tool for organizing practically every aspect of life. With simple layout and fantastic results, users will love having their entire lives coordinated into one program.
The program's interface was surprisingly simple, considering all of the elements it attempts to combine. With large icons for organizing media, contacts, and calendars, users can easily navigate through the program. Customization was equally simple, with intuitive fields to fill in and easily retrievable data. Users can most likely skip the Help file. The program divides itself into categories for books, music, movies, contacts, finance, documents, to-do, and … Read more
Cisco Systems wireless local area network equipment used by many corporations around the world is at risk of being used in denial-of-service attacks and data theft, according to a company that offers protection for WLANs.
Researchers at AirMagnet, which makes intrusion-detection systems for WLANs, discovered the vulnerability, which affects all lightweight Cisco wireless access points, as well as the exploit that could be used against networks that have the Over-the-Air-Provisioning (OTAP) feature turned on.
"We found it in our labs," Wade Williamson, director of product management at AirMagnet, said on Monday. "We don't know about it … Read more
Unnamed intelligence agencies and certain academics have yet to give up on data mining to identify terrorists and predict attacks, despite a 352-page tome published last year pronouncing the practice a waste of time.
The U.S. is spending "hundreds of millions of dollars" to develop techniques to mine the mountains of information gleaned from e-mails, telephone calls, interviews with suspects, and now social networks to build-up Facebook-style databanks on international terrorists, according to a recent piece in the British newspaper, The Independent.
The result has been the arrest and interrogation of "many thousands of innocent people&… Read more
AT&T customers buying or upgrading to a smartphone must subscribe to a data plan starting September 6, according to reports.
Existing smartphone customers sans a data plan will be grandfathered in.
Boy Genius Report first noted the change Friday, citing internal e-mails. BusinessWeek and Information Week later confirmed the change with AT&T.
According to Information Week, here is AT&T's statement:
Smartphone users tend to consume a higher amount of data services, like advanced e-mail, mobile Web, applications and more. Being able to take full advantage of these features without having to worry about … Read more
Keeping an inventory of what's in your home is a good idea that many people don't think of until it's too late. Even those who do make an effort to inventory their possessions are often put off by the size of the task, the necessity of keeping up with it, and results that leave a lot to be desired. Frostbow Home Inventory 5 Lite makes it easy to record an ongoing inventory of your possessions, what shape they're in, what they cost, and what they're worth. Everything about Frostbow Home Inventory will help ease the … Read more
Two Russians and a Florida man were charged on Monday with hacking into Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, and the Hannaford Brothers supermarket chain, and stealing data related to more than 130 million credit and debit cards.
The indictment names 28-year-old Albert Gonzalez of Miami, who already has been charged with stealing data related to 40 million credit cards from eight major retailers, including TJ Maxx, and two unnamed co-conspirators based in Russia.
The breach involving Heartland and the others is believed to be the largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. In … Read more
Editors' note: This is a guest column. See Ari Juels' bio below.
Internet denizens and urban dwellers alike need to recognize that an era of anonymity is ending.
The population of the world stands at about 7 billion. So it takes only 10 digits to label each human being on the planet uniquely.
This simple arithmetic observation offers powerful insight into the limits of privacy. It dictates something we might call the 10-Digit Rule: just 10 digits or so of distinctive personal information are enough to identify you uniquely. They're enough to strip away your anonymity on the Internet or call out your name as you walk down the street. The 10-Digit Rule means that as our electronic gadgets grow chattier, and databases swell, we must accept that in most walks of life, we'll soon be wearing our names on our foreheads.
A study of 1990 U.S. Census data revealed that 87 percent of the people in the United States were uniquely identifiable with just three pieces of information (PDF): five-digit ZIP code, gender, and date of birth. Internet surfers today spew considerably more information than that. Web sites can pinpoint our geographical locations, computer models, and browser types, and they can silently track us using cookies. Banking sites even confirm our identities by verifying that our log-ins take place at consistent times of day.
Database dossiers, too, carry surprising amounts of identifying information, even when specifically anonymized for privacy. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin last year studied a set of movie-rating profiles from about 500,000 unnamed Netflix subscribers (PDF).
Knowing just a little about a subscriber--say, six to eight movie preferences, the type of thing you might post on a social-networking site--the researchers found that they could pick out your anonymous Netflix profile, if you had one in the set. The Netflix study shows that those 10 deanonymizing digits can hide in surprising places.
Our physical belongings also betray our anonymity by silently calling out identity-betraying digits. Small wireless microchips--often called radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags--reside inkeys, credit cards, passports, building entrance badges, and transit passes. They emit unique serial numbers.
Once linked to our names--when we make credit card purchases, for instance--these microchips enable us to be tracked without our realizing it. One popular book inflames imaginations with the lurid title, "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every Move with RFID."
But wireless microchips also highlight the futility of anonymity protections. To begin with, concerns about RFID tracking miss the forest for the trees. After all, mobile phones are ubiquitous and can be tracked at much longer ranges than standalone chips. Many people have GPS receivers in their phones and are signing up for location-based services, voluntarily (if selectively) disclosing their movements. There's little point in hiding the serial numbers of chips when your mobile phone squeals on you.
Many scientists (including me) have developed antitracking techniques for mobile phones and microchips. Instead of fixed serial numbers, wireless devices can call out changing pseudonyms, such as the rotating license plate numbers on spies' cars in the movies. The problem is that the plates may change, but the car always looks the same. In this regard, chips are like cars. … Read more
You don't have to rely on a statistician or SAS to analyze data for projects thanks to this handy app. AcaStat Plus provides the most common tools for performing statistical processes.
It launches a nice-size interface with a large pane taking up most of the window, and a vertical row of displays on the right side of the window that changes based on the procedure chosen in the top display. The large pane is tabbed for manipulating the data: Output, Charts, and Decision Tools, along with Glossary and Handbook. This app performed very satisfactorily in our tests, responding quickly … Read more