Chicago FBI Files, Malwarebytes, Google, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, September 14, 2019


Chicago Sun-Times: The FBI Files . “The Chicago Sun-Times has compiled FBI records on people and groups with ties to, or of particular interest to, the Chicago region and Illinois. They can be viewed through this portal, with new ones to be added regularly. Beside shining a light on historical events and people and giving a glimpse of how law enforcement operates, some of the files, as you’ll see, are just plain entertaining.”


BetaNews: Malwarebytes launches free safe browsing extension for Chrome and Firefox. “In order to make using the internet safer, Malwarebytes is launching Browser Guard, a free browser extension aimed at safeguarding consumers from scammers, and allowing them to browse up to four times faster.”

CNET: Google is now prioritizing ‘original reporting’. “Google has tweaked its search engine to make sure users searching for news are served more varieties across news for a longer amount of time.”


BBC: YouTube advertises big brands alongside fake cancer cure videos. “YouTube’s algorithm promotes fake cancer cures in a number of languages and the site runs adverts for major brands and universities next to misleading videos, a BBC investigation has found. Searching YouTube across 10 languages, the BBC found more than 80 videos containing health misinformation – mainly bogus cancer cures. Ten of the videos found had more than a million views. Many were accompanied by adverts.”

iAfrikan: Meet the ‘varakashi’ – Zimbabwe’s online army. “The avatar might be a cockerel, a razor or, most likely, a beautiful Eastern European or Latino woman. Behind the avatar, there might be a human, a bot or some combination of the two. With Zimbabwe’s ‘varakashi’ it is hard to be sure of much. Their job, at least, is clear cut: disrupt online debates and stymie criticism of President Emerson Mnangagwa and his government.”

KARK: $2.25 million gift to UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture to help secure Rockefeller legacy in Arkansas. “The Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust has gifted $2.25 million to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture to preserve and educate the public about the history of Arkansas, including the notable contributions of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller.”


InfoSecurity: Marketer Exposes 198 Million Car Buyer Records. “Another unprotected Elasticsearch database has been discovered by researchers, this time exposing personally identifiable information (PII) linked to 198 million car buying records…. The non-password protected database contained a massive 413GB of data on potential car buyers, including names, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses and more stored in plain text.”

Ars Technica: 18 months after indictment, Iranian phishers are still targeting universities. “In March 2018, nine Iranians were criminally charged for their involvement with the Mabna Institute, a company federal prosecutors said was created in 2013 for the express purpose of using coordinated cyber intrusions to steal terabytes of academic data from universities, academic journal publishers, tech companies, and government organizations. Almost 18 months later, the group’s hacking activities are still going strong, Secureworks, a Dell-owned security company, said on Wednesday.”

International Business Times: Hacker destroys Hungarian Development Center’s digital database. “As per the cybersecurity experts, educational institutions and government organizations have become major targets of the hackers, mostly in the cases of ransomware attacks. Recently a Hungarian government organization also became the victim of a massive cyberattack which destroyed its digital database.”


Keene State College: A Look at the ‘Chaos Monsters’ of Social Media. “Trolls and memes: they overlap with politics in ways that are sometimes weird, sometimes creepy, and sometimes riveting. What’s really cool is that these social media spectacles are a subject of academic research. Meet Amber Davisson, associate professor of communication at Keene State, who likes to joke that she studies the bad things people do online – and one of her favorite things is involving students in her research. She’s one of four co-authors of a new book, Poaching Politics: Online Communication During the 2016 US Presidential Election.”

Nieman Lab: Researchers analyzed more than 300,000 local news stories on Facebook. Here’s what they found.. “The nuts and bolts of Facebook’s local news efforts have largely remained within a black box. In an effort to open that black box, Facebook made a month’s worth of data collected for the Today In feature available to us so that we could analyze the local news available on Facebook. We combined these data with user interaction data from Facebook’s CrowdTangle platform and U.S. Census data in order to get a sense of how Facebook users engage with the different types of local news stories that are available to them, and how the availability of local news differs across different types of communities.”

BT: Scanners employed to catalogue knife wounds. “High-tech scanners are being used to create a ‘catalogue’ of knife wounds that can be matched to different blades. Detectives say the database will mean they can identify what kind of knife has been used in a stabbing, making it easier to catch criminals. The method involves using state of the art CT scanning technology like that seen in hospitals, to create an image of the injury which can then be saved and stored.” Good morning, Internet…

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