Ransomware, Facebook Groups, Password Managers, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, September 28, 2017


From ZDNet (not just linking to the headline because it’s about 4000 characters long), a story on a new tool for identifying ransomware and available decryptors, if any. “The Bitdefender Ransomware Recognition Tool analyses the ransom note and the encrypted file samples to identify the strain of ransomware and suggest a decryption tool based on indicators of confidence. If the ransomware has an associated decryption tool, the platform provides a link to it in order to allow the victim to retrieve the files for free.”


My Ancestors and Me: Using Facebook Groups for Genealogy Help. “I’ve had a Facebook account for a while but didn’t bother with it much (a little too public for introvert me) until recently when I discovered its rich source of genealogy and family history groups. I think it’s safe to say that no matter your location or area of interest in family history there will be a Facebook group for it. From location, to translating from one language to another, to reading old documents, to dating old photographs, to learning about your genealogy program, to so much more, you can find information and/or help on Facebook.”

Digital Trends: Password Manager Face Off – LastPass Vs 1Password, Who You Got?. “Using a password manager can be one of the most important steps you take in securing yourself online (and being ‘internet awesome’), but picking the right one for you isn’t always easy. To that end, we’ve pitted two of the most popular managers against one another in a battle to see which is better: LastPass vs. 1Password.”


Gizmodo: Twitter, Google And Facebook Called To Testify Before US Congress Over Russian Campaign Ads. “The US House and Senate Intelligence Committees have asked executives from major tech companies to appear in open hearings tied to the committees’ Russia investigations. The requests follow a week in which Facebook, Google and Twitter have faced intense scrutiny over foreign ad campaigns that sought to influence US voters prior to the 2016 US presidential election.”

New York Times: As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm. “When David North, the editorial chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, noticed a drop in the site’s traffic in April, he initially chalked it up to news fatigue over President Trump or a shift in political consciousness. But when he dug into the numbers, Mr. North said, he found a clearer explanation: Google had stopped redirecting search queries to the site. He discovered that the top search terms that once brought people to the World Socialist Web Site were now coming up empty.”

Library Journal: Middle Schoolers Help Transcribe, Digitize Rare Historical Newspapers. “Working with two Wilmington-based writers, John Jeremiah Sullivan and Joel Finsel, the students spent part of their spring semester transcribing what may be the only three surviving original issues of the Wilmington Daily Record, as well as working with four copies on microfilm. They then traveled to the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (DHC) at the University of North Carolina (UNC)–Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library to watch staff make high-resolution scans of the papers for archival preservation. All seven digitized copies of the paper, along with the students’ transcriptions, are now hosted by DHC’s Digital North Carolina archive, and will eventually be available through the Library of Congress’s ‘Chronicling America’ archives.”


Ars Technica: Internet Explorer bug leaks whatever you type in the address bar. “There’s a bug in the latest version of Internet Explorer that leaks the addresses, search terms, or any other text typed into the address bar. The bug allows any currently visited website to view any text entered into the address bar as soon as the user hits enter. The technique can expose sensitive information a user didn’t intend to be viewed by remote websites, including the Web address the user is about to visit. The hack can also expose search queries, since IE allows them to be typed into the address bar and then retrieved from Bing or other search services.”

Bloomberg: Russia Threatens to Shut Facebook Over Local Data Storage Laws. “Facebook Inc. will by shut down in Russia next year if it fails to comply with requirements to store user data locally, according to the head of Russia’s state communications watchdog. ‘The law is mandatory for everyone,’ Alexander Zharov told reporters Tuesday. Roskomnadzor will be forcing foreign internet companies to comply or shut down in the country.”


University of Colorado Boulder: Twitter a hotbed of anti-vaccine sentiment, finds CU Boulder study. “Anti-vaccine sentiment is alive and growing in social media, with California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania showing the most negative tweets of any states, according to a new five-year CU Boulder study. In Colorado, Fort Collins ranked particularly high for the prevalence of anti-vaccine tweets. Regions around the country with high affluence and/or a large number of new moms were most likely to be hotbeds of anti-vaccine Twitter users, the study found.”

A Doctor of Philosophy dissertation from the University of Texas at Austin: Tugging at the heartstrings? : examining discrete emotion in nonprofit Twitter messages and its effect on pass along behavior. “The inclusion of emotional content is important in message virality, however, only very limited research exists on the types of emotional content that is included in nonprofit Twitter messages. Therefore, relevant data and descriptive frameworks are essential to helping us understand how nonprofit organizations are using microblogging sites to engage with their target audiences. This research takes a first step in this regard to investigate the effect that emotion can have on pass along behavior. Using Social Sharing of Emotion (Rime Finkenauer, Luminet, Zech, and Philippot, 1998, Rime 2009) as the theoretical foundation, this dissertation specifically examines nonprofit usage of discrete emotion and its effect on pass along behavior.” In this case I admit I did not read the entire dissertation (it’s 150 pages) but I read enough that I wanted to share. Good morning, Internet…

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