Hackers Steal Millions in Cryptocurrency from Cryptopia

June 15, 2019

As the use of cryptocurrency continues to grow, more hackers are inspired to rob the digital vaults.

Medium reveals, “Hackers Allegedly Steal Millions from Cryptopia, a Cryptocurrency Exchange in New Zealand.” Naturally, local authorities and New Zealand’s high-tech crimes unit are on the case, but have not named a suspect. Writer Asgardia.space tells us:

“On January 13th, 19,391 ETH (Ethereum) worth around $2.5 million and 48,029,306 CENNZ tokens (Centrality) worth about $1.18 million were transferred from Cryptopia exchange to unknown wallets. As of now, the owner of the wallet is not yet confirmed. It could be the exchange itself or the hackers. The growing number of exchange hackings has caused a negative reputation to spread with cryptocurrencies. In 2018, CoinCheck, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, was hacked, and approximately $500 million of funds were stolen. If these crimes continue to happen then newcomers in the crypto space will lose trust in cryptocurrencies and in turn, the whole cryptocurrency market will suffer.”

Gee, who could have foreseen that digital currency would be vulnerable to cyber criminals? Industry leaders now advise that anyone brave enough to continue using cryptocurrency choose decentralized exchanges, which are considered safer than centralized exchanges. For its part, Cryptopia remains shuttered until the problem is resolved.

Cynthia Murrell, June 15, 2019

Google Translate: Refactored via India and Fixed via SEO Expert

June 14, 2019

Navigate to Republic World, produced in India. The article “Google Translation of I Am Sad to See Hong Kong Become Part of China Converted the Word Sad to Happy.” DarkCyber does not know the source of this translation, nor does DarkCyber know if the information in the story is accurate. We noted this passage in the Republic World story:

Google users discovered that when people entered the phrase “I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China” the suggested translation in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese converted the word “sad” to “happy”.

Here’s the kicker. Search engine optimization expert and now low profile Google “search” expert was allowed to state:

It was not immediately clear what caused the blunder but Danny Sullivan, an official at Google, said in a tweet “we’re looking into why we had this translation and expect to have a fix to resolve it soon”.

Yep, a fix. According to the next paragraph in the story, “The error has now been fixed.”

Fast action from the Google.

It is amazing what search engine optimization experts can accomplish.

Stephen E Arnold, June 14, 2019

Google and Bungle: Math Meets PR

June 14, 2019

i read “Announcements Made Carlos Maza’s Harassment Worse” written by a student. I found the write up interesting but probably not for the reasons the editors of Vice did. The main point of the write up strikes me as:

In the hours following YouTube’s announcement, a range of far-right users received notices from the platform indicating that they could no longer convert their viewership into ad revenue. This is not the first time YouTube has enacted sweeping changes that affect content creators: in the past year or so, users have come to expect so-called “Adpocalypses” as YouTube attempts to stay advertiser-friendly.  This time, however, users weren’t only blaming YouTube—they were blaming a Vox journalist and YouTube creator who was now facing a torrent of abuse thanks in part to YouTube’s fumbling and poorly-timed announcements.

Online harassment may be like explaining the Mona Lisa. Is the figure smiling? Do the eyes follow a viewer? Is Mona Leonardo is a “get up”? Art history students are not likely to reach agreement. Google has discovered that it has its Mona Lisa smile moment.

For DarkCyber, the student essay is interesting and valuable because it reveals the disconnect between the scrambling Alphabet and the clown car of YouTube content. Now the clown car is displaying ads which explain what’s going on with filtering.

Why the disconnect the student captures in the essay?

The answer is that management precepts based on “we know better” and “sell ads” does not translate well. The Alphabet Google approach grates on the sensibilities of its “creators.”

When a person younger than I captures the consequences of high school wizards making decisions for the entire school, the message is, “Alphabet Google is not communicating effectively across the board.”

Thus, the student’s write up captures a moment in management history. If there were viable MBA programs, perhaps a bright student would study the “bungle” and Google management processes with a critical eye.

For now, we have student essays explaining how the world’s smartest “bungle” and with public relations no less. Where are the math wizards, the computer scientists, the engineers? Right, right. In management.

Stephen E Arnold, June 14, 2019

Google: The Ad Innovator Trying to Fend Off Amazon

June 14, 2019

Google earns the majority of its revenue from advertisements. The search engine giant is always searching for new ways to improve its users’ and customers’ service, especially for those who line its profit margins. The Media Online shares how Google has improved its advertising features: “Five New Google Features That Will Change The Digital Marketing Landscape.” All of these new features could change how advertisers approach digital marketing.

Google is releasing new types of ads respectfully called Discovery Ads and Galley Ads. Discovery will allow advertisers to promote brands through attractive native ads that change based on its target audience. The advertiser creates variations of an ad with images and copy, then based on the audience’s feed Google’s algorithm will deliver original ads. Galley ads are Google’s first ads that include a graphic element. The galley ads will feature images that can expand into a full-page experience and allow potential customers to interact with the products.

Google will also make four changes to its conversion and ad bidding process. Advertisers will be able to make seasonal adjustments to their bidding campaigns, set conversions at a campaign level, and there will be a new smart bidding strategy to maximize conversion values and their rules. There will be brand new video ads called “bumper ads” that will automatically generate six-second bides from longer videos.

Sentimental analysis comes into play for targeting audiences:

“The search giant is developing a more enhanced automatic targeting function in their display advertising and will publish it as a new tool on the audience side. Rather than just being able to choose between conservative and aggressive, Audience Expansion allows you to select degrees of specificity. There is even a special forecasting mechanism that predicts the change in ad spend, clicks, and conversions. This allows brands to focus on audience segments that work for the brand and incrementally increase the reach while still being able to control campaign performance.”

Google shopping is about to become smarter too. No longer with Google Shopping solely focus on searching for products. It will instead curate a personalized page based on past shopping history, similar to Amazon. Also there is more support for Google Shopping Ads, where brands can share budgets based on local retailers. This means shoppers can purchase directly from their search results using payment options stored in Google. It eliminates a step in shopping.

Will these ad innovations prevent Amazon from encroaching? Privacy? Regulators? Interesting questions.

Whitney Grace, June 14, 2019

Google Rivets: Strong or Brittle?

June 14, 2019

An app that helps kids learn to read sounds like a great Googley idea. And (concerns about potential advertising to or tracking of minors aside) it would be—if only it were easy to access. One frustrated father at Ausdroid reports, “Google’s New Kid-Focused Reading App Revit is Incompatible with Their Kid-Focused Family Link Accounts.” After checking out the app for himself, writer Duncan Jaffrey decided it was worthy of setting up for his daughter. He had no problems using the parent-side setup from his Google account. But when he got to the tablet’s Family Link account, things went awry. He writes:

“Surely this app – an educational app for kids – should be able to work nicely with Family Link. Well, no, it doesn’t. It appears there’s no way for me to sign into Rivet using my Google account, using its authorization process on an Android device running a kids Family Link profile, unless I happen to have a Google for Education account myself. Which I don’t.

We noted this statement:

“So, I figure it’s a reading app, it’s not that bad if I just allow complete access for this app, so I try to sign into Rivet with my daughter’s Google Family Link account … you guessed it a child’s Family Link account is not allowed to be used to sign into Rivet. Agrahhhhhhh.

The article added:

“So, what was I left with? I had to run the app not signed in, which means you’re not getting the progress and usage tracking, it also means that when your child accidentally hits the persistent LOG IN button that’s always on screen it pulls them out of the story their reading with the resulting tech-inspired outrage you’d expect from a child.”

Jaffrey does note that Rivet was created by one of Google’s labs, Area 120, which operates more or less independently. Perhaps, he grants, that is why the apps do not play well together. Whatever the reason, the author has asked Google about a work-around; there are no updates, though, as of this writing.

Cynthia Murrell, June 14, 2019

Google: Does That Clown Car Have a License Plate Which Reads Credibility000?

June 13, 2019

I am not going to write about the YouTube clown car regarding hate speech. Vice News makes the issue clear: High school science club management (HSSCM) does not deliver what practitioners hope and dream. I am not going to write about the pain Google caused. The Verge provides plenty of information on that angle.

In my opinion, Google’s after-the-fact explanations are unlikely to work like a dentist’s temporary anesthetic. I am getting tired of wading through reports about these types of HSSCM missteps.

I do want to call attention to Google’s explanation that “Chrome isn’t killing ad blockers.” The company is making “them” safer. The “them” are the developers trying to strip out obnoxious, never ending ads which are enhancing one’s experience when trying to read a one page article of interest. You can read the Googley words in “Improving Security and Privacy for Extensions Users.”

Here’s an example of the argument:

The Chrome Extensions ecosystem has seen incredible advancement, adoption, and growth since its launch over ten years ago. Extensions are a great way for users to customize their experience in Chrome and on the web. As this system grows and expands in both reach and power, user safety and protection remains a core focus of the Chromium project.

Here in Harrod’s Creek, some of Google’s innovations appear to be created to provide two things:

  1. More control over what users can do and see; e.g., ad blocker blocking
  2. Keeping users within Google’s version of the Internet; e.g., AMP.

We understand why a commercial enterprise, so far unregulated, takes these actions: Revenue. That’s the “law of the land” in the Wild West of Silicon Valley bro capitalism. Google needs cash because it costs the company more and more to get and keep users, to fight Facebook and Microsoft, and to fund the out-of-coontrol overhead the high school wizards put in place and have expanded. There’s none of the Amazon rip-and-replace thinking that hit Oracle in the chops earlier this year.

DarkCyber thinks that Google might have a bit more credibility if the company were to say: “We need ads to survive. If you use Chrome, you are going to get ads, lots of ads. We’ve relaxed our semantic fence to make sure more of these valuable messages are likely to be irrelevant to you.”

Some might find this type of clarity distasteful, but directness without inventing crazy rationales might restore some of the pre-IPO and pre-Overture/GoTo.com luster to the online ad giant. Calling itself a “search” engine doesn’t do it for a couple of the people I know in Harrod’s Creek.

Directness, clarity, and even a touch of honesty? That’s a stupid idea I assert. Making stuff up as the clown car rolls down the Information Highway may blaze trails the Bezos bulldozer will convert into monetization opportunities sooner rather than later.

Stephen E Arnold, June 13, 2019

Windows and Search: A Work in Progress, Slow Progress

June 13, 2019

Unless you know a file’s specific name, trying to find it using the Windows search function sucks. The Windows search function is notoriously bad in each version from 1995 to the latest Windows 10. Searching on a Windows PC is so bad that Apple makes a point of stating how fast and accurate its Spotlight Search function is. In June 2019, Microsoft debuted its latest Windows version dubbed 1903. MS Power User explores how Windows’ 1903 has changed search (or so Microsoft claims) in the article, “How To Use The Enhanced Windows 10 Search in 1903.”

It is hard to understand how a company that revolutionized how people interact with computers cannot get a simple function correct. Yes, search has its own complexities that require well written code, but it remains one of the simplest machine learning functions compared to language translation, photo editing, and processing audio files. MS Power User agrees that Microsoft let the ball drop when it comes to search, but 1903 might be software patch it needs:

“Microsoft’s Windows 10 has had search as one of its pain points ever since it debuted. Search was often panned for being slow, inaccurate and sometimes just for not finding anything at all. With Windows 10 1903, Microsoft has tackled that. First. Cortana and Search were split apart so the Windows team could tackle both individually. This means that Cortana gets better at Cortana things, while search gets better at Search things. With 1903, those seeds have already borne some fruit.”

To improve search with 1903, users have to adjust the search settings. Windows 1903 has two options: “classic search” and “enhanced search.” By selecting the enhanced search option, the full power of Windows search is projected over a computer’s entire hard drive. Windows classic search sucks. Why is Microsoft still including it in their OS when there is a better option? In fact, why are they even forcing users to choose between the classic and the enhanced search?

A good OS should not make its user work harder. A good OS is a tool that is supposed to easily organize and communicate information. Windows, you are letting me down.

Whitney Grace, June 13, 2019

Bing and Ad Revenue: Fake News or Cash Money?

June 13, 2019

No one ever thought it would happen, but Bing is actually making more money via ads than Google. Cue the double take and head scratching. How is this possible? Bloomberg explores how in the article, “Bing’s Not The Laughing Stock Of Technology Anymore.”

Microsoft’s search engine is ten years old and was build upon the company’s first effort to rival Google. Bing was advertised as a “decision engine” compared to Google that only found things. Bing has been a joke for the past decade, but under current CEO Satya Nadella’s guidance Bing makes Microsoft a tidy profit.

CEO Nadella’s approach to Microsoft has been less about taking on giants, but rather being pragmatic about products and their purpose. Bing stopped hemorrhaging money when Nadella stopped tossing funds at it and cut down on costs. Bing was placed at the forefront of Microsoft products, where users would see and be persuaded to use it. Bing’s ad revenue grew twelve percent last year, which did not trail far behind Google’s seventeen percent growth.

Microsoft does not concentrate all of its energy on Bing, instead its search engine is more of a side hustle that brings in money that is directly injected into other areas. Bing has also forced Google and Microsoft to stop bullying one another for ad revenues. Apparently the two companies accept that they each exist and work around one another. Bing meanwhile continues on:

“Bing may remain a side gig for Microsoft, and certainly it failed as the strategic counter strike to Google. But birthdays are best if you don’t think about what might have been and instead appreciate what you have. So happy birthday, Bing. You’re not the laughingstock of technology anymore.”

Bing might be doing well, but Google continues to pull more accurate results. Has Bing’s results accuracy improved? Not really.

Whitney Grace, June 12, 2019

Restaurant AI Has A Lot of Security Baggage

June 13, 2019

It might sound harmless, when we hear news of the food industry getting involved in AI to dial in dishes and accommodate our palettes. But if you are a bad guy, that looks a lot different. It looks like a buffet. We learned more about the odd risks that could crop up from such AI use from a recent Venture Beat story, “Ex-Googler Alon Chen’s Tastewise Uses AI to Identify and Predict Food Trends.”

According to the story:

“Using AI to predict food trends and stir up new recipes is nothing new, of course. IBM recently announced that it’s teaming up with McCormick & Company to create new flavors and foods with machine learning. IBM’s Chef Watson, a research project that sought to create new recipes by analyzing the chemical composition of hundreds of different ingredients, produced more than 10,000 novel recipes.”

Believe it or not, security agencies are using the same logic that the above organizations are using to predict eating patterns to predict criminal patterns. However, if you fear this is veering us closer to “Minority Report” status, you are not alone. Many experts are thinking about how to use this technology to fight crime, but still maintain human rights. A tricky proposition.

Patrick Roland, June 13, 2019

Factualities for June 12, 2019

June 12, 2019

Lots of crazy, mostly mushy numbers last week. Fascinating what one can accomplish with Excel, RedBull, and an incentive plan which requires outputs.

$38.2 billion. Projected size of the cyber security market by 2026. Source: ReportLinker, an award winning number producer.

$2.85 billion in 2019. The size of the global cognitive security market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 36.7% the forecast period of 2018 to 2025, which works out to about $20 billion. It is that “point 7” which adds precision. Source: Data Bridge

2.3 billion. Number of files exposed online since GDPR. Source: IT Pro Portal

67%. Percentage of Facebook shareholders who want Mr. Zuckerberg to exit his chairperson role. Mr. Zuckerberg votes no. He stays. Reason? He planned ahead. Source: Marketwatch

73%. Percentage of organizations failing to meet users’ demands. Source: IT News Africa

15. Range of the buzzing Amazon delivery drone. Source: Techcrunch

$18 million. Cost of the Baltimore malware incident. Source: Ars Technica

440 million. Number of Google Play apps installed which can impair Android mobile devices. Source: Arts Technica

4 percent. Average increase in ad effectiveness when using whiz bang personal information for ad targeting. Source: Boing Boing

$1,000. Cost to subscribe to a Hertz rental car. Source: Verge

$19 million. Value of iPhones stolen from Apple retail stores. Source: Apple Insider

1.2 million. The number of birds allegedly killed to stop a virus. Source: Los Angeles Times

Stephen E Arnold, June 12, 2019





Stephen E Arnold, June 12, 2019

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