Home Depot did not encrypt card data say former IT staff

The former managers say they were troubled by the lack of encryption for credit-card data at Home Depot stores. Data were sent from the stores to central servers in clear text, according to two of the former managers.

via Home Depot Didn’t Encrypt Credit-Card Data, Former Workers Say – Businessweek.

If true, wow. Home Depot is a huge retailer that should have resources to secure its customer data. If a big retailer did not secure its data, what does this imply for the safe use of credit and debit cards at any retailer, most of which are smaller and have fewer IT staff for managing critical infrastructure?

We’ve replaced all of our credit and debit cards, once or twice depending on the cards, in the past few months due to security breaches. Our banks have informed us they are sending us all new cards – again – due to the Home Depot data theft.

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UPDATE: Bloglines.com has apparently [NOT] shut down

Update:  After Bloglines had been down a couple of days, with no feedback from them about what happened, I posted the item below.  After that, I was traveling and offline for and during that time, the Bloglines web site was restored. I have not had time to find out what caused their long outage or why they did not provide updates of their system status.

Reading blogs was made easier, long ago, through RSS (really simple syndication) that enabled the quick scanning of many blog updates using an RSS “newsreader”.

Stand alone reader apps gave way to online, cloud-based readers, like Google Reader. But Google shut down Reader, as people seem to follow things mostly using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (But there are some really good blogs that are not on those platforms.)

Bloglines.com, another cloud-based RSS Reader was about to shut down in 2010 but was then acquired by MerchantCircle.com. Many of us migrated from Google Reader to Bloglines.

On Monday of this week, Bloglines.com went off the air. I posted inquiries to MerchantCircle on their Facebook and Twitter pages and they have had no response. Others have also sent inquiries to MerchantCircle with no response. The Bloglines.com servers no longer exist.

It appears that Blogline.com is dead. They did not give users an opportunity to download their news feed lists (mine had over 200 blogs in tech, economics, science, photography, that I follow).

Fortunately, most of my news feeds were backed up anyway. I am now leaving the cloud and going back to using RSSOwl, a great standalone RSS newsreader application. Yeah, retro, offline, application that runs on my own computer.

The big question: Can we continue to rely on cloud-based services? Between security threats, NSA spying, and cloud-based services shutting down and users losing their own data, is the cloud safe for anyone? Actions like these cause many of us to not trust public clouds at all.

Posted in Business, Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FAA searches Internet for evidence of commercial UAS (drone) operations

Copy of FAA Cease and Desist Letters mailed concerning unauthorized UAS (drone) operation.

The FAA has banned use of radio controlled aircraft of any type or size, for hire, except those primarily used by government agencies and some experimental applications.

The first letter at the above link has confused Universal Hovercraft with a drone operation, citing an alleged review of “hovercraft.com” and alleges it finds inappropriate commercial still and video photography. The FAA actually meant to reference hovereffect.com, not hovercraft.com.

I have and operate a hovercraft, licensed as a boat. I hold an FAA pilot’s license but it is not needed for operating the hovercraft!

The letters include a meaningless statement regarding R/C hobbyist rules: “This generally applies to operations in remotely populated areas away from airports, persons and buildings, below 400 feet AGL and within visual line of sight.”

Which means hobbyists are restricted not to “remote, unpopulated areas” but to areas that have been populated remotely (by remote control?) and R/C aircraft should only be used in populated areas, provided they are populated remotely. Boggles the mind!

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WordPress 4.0 update

This appears to be fixed now with an update to a database component.


The new WordPress 4.0 update broke the user interface “theme” used on this blog, even though it is the most recent release/update.

For now, I am using a different theme until we understand the problem better – or the broken theme gets updated.

Comments may or may not be working!

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JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, Apple, Goodwill Industries all hacked

Another big announcement about hacked systems: Computers for Hire Send JPMorgan Data to Russia – Bloomberg.

Having done business with all 4 of these organizations, and Target last summer, I guess we will soon be getting all new credit and ATM cards. Again.

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Criminals in Apple iCloud hack likely used police state tools for cracking iPhones

The Police Tool That Pervs Use to Steal Nude Pics From Apple’s iCloud | Threat Level | WIRED. Well, none of us know for sure what happened but this is a plausible concept.

The cloud is a very scary place to store any sort of confidential business, personal, financial or health-related information.  Until these security problems get addressed, the cloud is not a safe place to store important data.

Posted in Business, Cloud, Corruption, Spying | Leave a comment

The 2nd most widely used OS is … Windows XP!

Microsoft’s Operating System Strategy Isn’t Going According to Plan – Yahoo News.

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GM to put spy tech in cars, to spy on drivers behavior

GM cars will monitor your head and eye position to determine if you meet their appropriate profile for safe driving. Once the cameras are in place, GM hints at future opportunities to spy on your behavior:

“Safety doesn’t sell cars – sexy sells cars,” said Ken Kroeger, Seeing Machines’ chief executive. “But once cameras are there, they can be expanded for other features and purposes.”

via GM to launch cars that can pick up on distracted driving – FT.com.

The car companies want to make money. Duh. This data will likely be collected, partially to potentially reduce GM liability when they mess up the ignition switches, but also sold to insurance companies who will adjust your insurance premium based on how often your eyes are looking at the hypothetically ideal spots. They claim the technology can even determine how much thinking you are doing. (Well, if you bought a GM product, you probably were not thinking, speaking from personal experience :) )

Posted in Business, Cameras, Emerging Technology, Spying | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“3 Million Teens Leave Facebook In 3 Years: The 2014 Facebook Demographic Report”

Top Insights:

1 Teens 13-17 on Facebook have declined -25.3% over the last 3 years.

2 Over the same period of time, 55+ has exploded with +80.4% growth in the last 3 years.

via 3 Million Teens Leave Facebook In 3 Years: The 2014 Facebook Demographic Report | iStrategyLabs – A Digital Agency That Invents Solutions Online and Off.

FB is no longer cool. A novel (and unproven) model created by researchers at Princeton University suggests 80% of FB users may quit the service by the end of 2017. FB says their own model indicates Princeton will lose all of their students by 2021 :)

Two of my adult children have mostly stopped using FB and a 3rd  uses FB only occasionally. Two of my own siblings and one cousin have deleted their FB accounts in recent months. Several months ago, I deleted the FB app from all mobile devices – I had zero need to be alerted to someone posting or liking something, in real time. Perhaps we are on the leading edge!

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