Unsupervised Learning is my weekly show where I spend 5-20 hours finding the most interesting stories in security, technology, and humans, which I then curate into a 30-minute podcast & companion newsletter.
The goal is to catch you up on current events, show you the best content from around the web, and hopefully give you something to think about as well.
?️ Security NewsA Chinese cyber operation being called Cloudhopper saw China hacking multiple large companies, e.g., HP, IBM, etc., and then going after their customers. This is just another thread in the quilt that I talked about in last week’s member edition of the show. China is playing a very organized long-game when it comes to gathering and exploiting information. I’ve always thought this was a smart play, i.e., going after vendors, MSPs, and other providers that already have links to many of the top companies they want to target. Link Attackers are phishing for 2FA codes as well as the initial password. This is an obvious risk, which now seems to be paying off for some, but the solution isn’t obvious and simple. One option might be using systems like Okta where you get prompted and you simply accept (rather than passing a code), but that can be scripted through good narrative attacks or social engineering as well. This isn’t so much a technical problem as it is people not realizing that they’re being manipulated. The trick is to make people immune to their own ignorance, which is a long ways from a solution. LinkA couple of people have been arrested for flying drones near Gatwick airport in the U.K. It’s fascinating to me that we’ve not seen more havoc caused by drones—especially in regards to airports. It seems trivially easy to cause disruption this way, and fairly easy to fly explosives near a plane or to try to fly into the engines or something. It just feels like the remote nature of drones make them an ideal platform for all sorts of high-impact attacks. LinkAdvisories: Cisco, Internet ExplorerBreaches: Caribou Coffee⚙️ Technology NewsScientists at Stanford applied an ML algorithm to around a billion satellite images and found nearly every solar panel in the U.S. LinkKroger is starting completely autonomous grocery delivery in Scottsdale, Arizona. LinkSamsung is performing many of the functions traditionally done by governments in their country, like providing healthcare, housing, education, etc. It also represents around 15% of South Korea’s economy. LinkThis new Japanese robot called Lovot is designed to be loved, not useful. Link?? Human NewsWe appear to have an extremely promising new treatment for Alzheimer’s, which has seen ultrasound being used to remove proteins on mouse brains to restore memory. Human trials are starting soon. Unfortunately, it could still be another 10 years before treatments are generally available. Hopefully they can speed that up if the trials go well. LinkThat “gut feeling” we get is caused by actual neurons in our stomachs. LinkAs it turns out, making something harder to read does actually force you to pay attention—which helps with retention. This must be why so many insufferable people and publications use a microscopic font. I still don’t like it. LinkIt’s getting dramatically more expensive to go to the ER, and someone did an analysis of over 1,000 bills to see where the big items are. It turns out to be things like walking in the door, getting over the counter pain-killer, etc. Insurance companies and hospitals are making increasing sums of money, while people can no longer afford to get sick. Same story. Link? Ideas, Trends, & AnalysisEverything is a Sensor Now — How the combination of sensors and algorithms will dramatically alter society. LinkThe Difference Between a Penetration Test and a Red Team Engagement LinkJapan has a serious population crisis, and it continues to worsen. LinkConscious Thought is an Illusion Link? DiscoveryTrueSize.com — Drag and drop countries to see their relative sizes. LinkHow to Win LinkDeep Learning to Solve Challenging Problems Link? NotesLight edition this week given the slower news during the holidays…Currently Reading: Strangers to OurselvesRecently Finished: This Idea is Brilliant, The Four, Uncle Vanya , Hello WorldJust Purchased: Elements of a Life, Astrophysics For People in a Hurry, Alibaba—The House That Jack Built?️ RecommendationsEveryday Espionage — A podcast by a former CIA agent that teaches you the basics of tradecraft. LinkHow to Delete Facebook Link? Aphorism“A person is what they think about all day long”.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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