Author Archives: Kestrel

Oh goodie – just what I was waiting for.

Deflation comes to America

Bug bounty.

At the other end of the scale, the limit on Facebook’s maximum payout is pretty generous: there isn’t one.

So you can do quite nicely out of a reponsible vulnerablity report, as Facebook’s recently-released 2014 Bounty Statistics reveal.

The company paid out a total of $1,300,000 in 2014, which is actually slightly down from 2013’s total of $1.5M.

The average payout (we’re assuming this is a mean average) was $1788, meaning that just over 700 people submitted bugs that were new, relevant and responsibly disclosed.

Interestingly, that means most bug submitters came away empty handed, because Facebook reported a grand total of 17,011 reports.

Of course, that’s one of the downsides of a bug bounty programme: the need to sort the 96% of bug chaff from the 4% of exploitable wheat.

For that reason, we recommend taking a careful look at what does and doesn’t count for any bug bounty programme in which you are thinking of participating.

Facebook, for example, has published a handy list of “These Do Not Qualify” examples to help you avoid disappointment.

All because of a movie that wasn’t even mentioned at the Oscar’s.

Hillary Clinton takes fire from Democrats as Libya chaos creates terrorist safe haven

Another disaster we shouldn’t forget.

Writer killed in Bangladesh.

Attackers Kill American Writer at Bangladesh Book Fair

A Bangladeshi-American writer who endured threats from Islamists over his secular views was hacked to death in Dhaka late Thursday, reports say.

Avijit Roy, 42, was a naturalized American living in Georgia. He was a frequent critic of radical Islamic doctrine. At least two attackers descended on Roy and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna, near Dhaka University. She was hospitalized with several stab wounds and a severed finger.

No arrests have been made and no suspects identified. But police reportedly found two machetes and a finger at the scene. The couple was in Dhaka to attend an annual national book fair where two of Roy’s works were being promoted.

Marathon stopped in Tel Aviv

Two of the runners in the Tel Aviv Marathon on Friday morning collapsed from the unseasonable heat and were rushed to a hospital in critical condition. Four others were hurt less severely. Overall, about 90 runners needed some degree of medical treatment. Due to the rough weather conditions, the marathon was stopped by its organizers shortly before the original ending time.

What could go wrong?

An investigation into fraudulent applications for Vermont’s driver’s privilege cards has spread to multiple states and Department of Motor Vehicle branches, according to the department’s chief investigator.

When the Department of Motor Vehicles first reported receiving a rash of driver’s license applications from out-of-state illegal immigrants, it appeared the problem might be limited to a single license branch and involve one other state.

But the investigation’s chief inspector on Tuesday told Vermont Watchdog the scope of the investigation has widened to multiple states and to all DMV branches.

“It’s a blend of states. It’s been New York, it’s been Massachusetts, and there was New Jersey in there, as well,” said captain Drew Bloom, chief inspector at the Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division.

“There’s no one particular branch that’s being investigated. It’s primarily been our branches in the southern part of the state, but there have been numerous branches where people have gone.”

‘Home Grown’ arrests.

Three men were arrested Wednesday on charges of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group and wage war against the United States, and federal officials said one of them spoke of shooting President Barack Obama or planting a bomb on Coney Island.

Akhror Saidakhmetov was arrested at Kennedy Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, authorities said. Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors said. The two were held without bail after a brief court appearance.

A third defendant, Abror Habibov, is accused of helping fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts and was ordered held without bail in Florida.

The three are charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. If convicted, each faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The connections are endless.

A mysterious Ohio nonprofit that attacked GOP opponents of Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner last year has been linked to a network of political operatives with close ties to Rauner’s own campaign. This is not the first time a shadowy outside group targeting Rauner’s opponents has been shown to have ties to the actual campaign, and the pattern is strikingly similar.

The Ohio group in question this time, the Mid America Fund, was formed in January 2014 as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Run by a former political aide turned university staffer named Roberta J. Mertz, within days it began lobbing sharp attacks at every Republican candidate for Illinois governor — except Rauner. The attacks immediately raised eyebrows because of their similarity to another mysterious Ohio nonprofit that attacked another potential GOP rival to Rauner a year earlier. In that case, as OpenSecrets Blog reported last summer, the nonprofit had very close ties to one of Rauner’s top campaign operatives.

So how is your qi energy today?

The claim is a straightforward one: That under the so-called Affordable Care Act, the federal government will recognize and subsidize a great deal of hokum, things like naturopathic medicine and acupuncture that have no scientific basis, that have been clinically shown to be useless or worse, and that are rooted in rank mysticism, from the “qi” energy that acupuncturists claim to manipulate—and which does not, technically speaking, exist—to the “innate intelligence” underpinning chiropractic theory—which does not, in fact, exist, either.

One to watch.

More info here:

Good idea.

Scientists hope an AIDS vaccine lies in llamas

Where’s SEean Penn when you really need him?

Venezuelan teen dies after being shot at anti-government protest

If someone from the NSA rats him out, I’m going to be really hot.

FBI: $3M Bounty for ZeuS Trojan Author

The one honest guy in the entire operation …

… I read this and promptly cracked up.

Under pressure from Gov. Charlie Baker, four gubernatorial appointees on the Health Connector Board resigned today — including Jonathan Gruber.

George Gonser, Jr., John M. Bertko, Gruber and Rick Jakious all resigned from the board today, according to the Governor’s Office.

All four members were appointed by former Gov. Deval Patrick. The resignations give Baker control of the 11-member board, which also includes two Baker administration bosses. Board chairwoman Marylou Sudders is Baker’s secretary of health and human services and board member Kristen Lepore is the secretary of administration and finance.

Say it isn’t so.

MLB Trade RUMORS: Troy Tulowitzki to be Dealt by Colorado Rockies if Healthy? Shortstop Hopes to Stay on Field

Slide show.

Over the years there have been so many questions surrounding this guy …

UN climate head Rajendra Pachauri resigns

Interesting protests in … Turkey …

The movement towards gender equality may be led by women, but male allies continue to make invaluable contributions to the cause. Some of these contributions are a bit more visible when the men in question put on women’s clothing, like the Turkish men who donned skirts in the streets and on social media to protest the brutal murder of a young woman last week. This trend in feminist protest has been going on for years now, most recently sweeping France, India, and Iran. While the results can often look funny, the intention is anything but humorous.

Arrests in Tunisia.

Tunisia arrested about 100 suspected militants in the last three days, some of whom were preparing attacks, officials claimed on Tuesday. The Tunisian government also published video footage showing evidence of an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) influence on some of those detained.

Tunisia is waging a campaign against hardline Islamist groups who emerged in the country during its transition to democracy after the 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

News of the arrests came one week after four Tunisian policemen were killed by militants in the central region of Kasserine, close to the Algerian border.

“In the past three days we foiled terrorist operations and arrested about 100 jihadist elements,” Mohammed Ali Aroui, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

I’m guessing that their political knoowledge is more importan than their technical knowledge.

Former employees of the National Security Agency are becoming a hot commodity in Silicon Valley amid the tech industry’s battle against government surveillance.

Investors looking to ride the boom in cybersecurity are dangling big paydays in front of former NSA staffers, seeking to secure access to the insider knowledge they gained while working for the world’s most elite surveillance agency.

Strange situation but I am in favor of freedom of the press.

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ to hit German bookstores for first time since WWII

For the first time since the end of World War II, Germans will be able to buy copies of Adolf Hitler’s memoir Mein Kampf.

According to TIME magazine, a state-funded research center will be reissuing the book in December, when the German copyright, which is owned by the state of Bavaria, expires.

Since the end of the war, the German authorities have banned reprinting the book.

Big players getting in line.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) will run for Senate in 2016, setting up a heavyweight fight between himself and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Geez …

A senior State Department official was arrested yesterday for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor, Fox News is reporting.

Fairfax County Police officials say Daniel Rosen was arrested by a county detective about noon at his Washington, D.C. home after he allegedly sought to arrange sex with a minor. The detective, a female officer working in the county’s Child Exploitation Unit, had been posing as the minor in online exchanges with Rosen, police said.

Rosen is the director of counterterrorism programs at the State Department.

He was arrested and charged with one count of Use of a Communications Device to Solicit a Juvenile.

Bad reporting on bad science.

The Toronto Star’s front-page feature on the “dark side” of a widely-used HPV vaccine had all the makings of a blockbuster: a grim, gripping headline, vivid accounts from teenagers who died or were debilitated, a wrenching image of a woman holding a framed photo of her dead daughter.

But it lacked a crucial component of any scientific investigation: good data.

“It’s too bad there isn’t a vaccination to prevent journalistic misstep,” wrote the paper’s public editor, Kathy English, who called the story “alarmist.” “I suspect we’d all line up for that shot about now.”

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