Unsupervised Learning No. 232

News & Analysis

MEMBER EDITION | EP. 232 | June 8, 2020

THIS WEEK’S TOPICS: COVID-19 Trends, New Zoom Trouble, Facebook Blocking, Chrome Incognito Suit, Retail Rents, Nuclear Contractor Hack, Technology News, Human News, Ideas Trends & Analysis, Discovery, Recommendations, and the Weekly Aphorism…


Worldwide COVID-19 cases are rising faster than ever right now, and yet we seem to have reached a point of Concern Exhaustion—at least in the US. Between the stress of constant fear from COVID, the fact that people are anxious to get communities up and running again, and then the US protests and riots—many are just kind of over it. This is potentially going to be a real problem because the only reason we were able to keep the numbers so low in the US was because of the lockdown. With that lifting in many states, combined with so many people coming together during the protests, we're likely to see some significant surges in 2-4 weeks. The US is currently at around 2 million cases and 110K deaths. More

Britain has launched its first cyberwar regiment, called the 13th Signals Regiment. It's around 250 people in size and its mission is to combat threats to the Army domestically and abroad. More

Zoom is in another controversy due to an article stating that they only offer e2e encryption for paying customers, leaving free users out in the cold. Well, first off, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, et al don't have e2e on by default either. So it's not like you're losing something you get with other players. And second, there are actually tradeoffs to doing full e2e that many might not want. For example, when you use e2e you lose PSTN phone access, SIP rooms, cloud recordings and transcription, streaming to other services, etc. And many of those are things that they want to be in the regular product. In my opinion, the worst part of this story is that Zoom once again didn't get out in front of the messaging around this. They should have a very clear one-pager that shows the tradeoffs of free vs. enterprise, e2e vs. normal, etc. The narrative that's currently in peoples' minds is that every other product on the planet already has e2e, that Zoom was the only product without it, and then when they finally did roll it out—they only offered that protection to paying customers. That's a horrific narrative, and it isn't true. So in addition to hiring Alex for security, they should also hire a top-tier PR outfit. They clearly need it as much as they need security. More

Facebook says it'll start blocking state-controlled media entities from buying ads this summer. The move comes as the company continues to receive criticism regarding its control over mis/disinformation. More

Chrome is facing a $5 billion dollar lawsuit over tracking people even when they're in incognito mode. More

Some Russian-speaking hackers hit a US defense contractor with MAZE ransomware that works with the Minuteman III nuclear missile system. More

More than half of American retailers didn't pay their rent in April and May. More

Hangzhou province in China is looking to assign every citizen a 0-100, colored health rating based on their sleep, diet, and exercise. More

There's a large botnet-powered campaign going on that's pulling Wordpress config files (wp-config.php) from Wordpress installations. Basically, if this file downloads instead of displaying due to a server misconfiguration, you get the database creds among other possible credentials. More

Russia is trying to aggravate racial tensions in the US before the 2020 election. This includes not just previous techniques of propagating memes and creating fake advocacy groups, but also prodding and supporting white supremacy organizations. Quote of the article: “To put it simply, in this space, Russia wants to watch us tear ourselves apart." More

US President Trump is trying to get Putin brought back into the G7, which is strongly opposed by other members, and Canada's Trudeau says he'd veto the move. More

The US is pulling 9,500 troops out of Germany, which will further damage the US/German relationship and further isolate the US from Europe. It seems that many of the US's recent international moves have benefitted Russia and Putin while harming the US longterm. Inviting Putin to the G7? Relaxing sanctions against Russia? Giving Syria over to Russia? Withdrawing troops from Germany? This is precisely what I predicted Trump would do back in 2016 before he was elected, and we're seeing the world turn against us now because of it. Merkel said she's not coming to the G7 meeting. Trudeau and Trump are fighting. We're treating our dictatorship enemies better than our long-term partners that formed a coalition to contain Russia. I'm sure Putin is extremely pleased with all this. More

The US Air Force is going to have a combat drone go up against a human pilot in 2021. More


  • Cisco patched dozens of vulns in their industrial routers. More

  • SAP ASE flaw could allow database access. More

  • Google has addressed two critical vulns that allow RCE on Android. More

  • India continues to have a problem with leaving medical images exposed online. More

  • Zoom patched two new high-severity path traversal vulnerabilities found by researchers. More

  • QNAP NAS devices are being targeted by ransomware again. More


  • Joomla had an S3 bucket breach of 2,700 records. More

  • Zoomcar had a breach of around 3.5 million accounts. More

  • San Francisco Employees' Retirement System was compromised. More


  • VMware has acquired network security firm Lastline. More

  • RiskIQ has raised $15 million to focus on critical industries. More


CES is trying to hold its January 2021 event in person in Vegas. More

Many are listening to police scanner apps during the recent protests. More

Boxabl is a company that builds tiny little homes that can be stacked together. More


  • Zoom grew 169% in the last year, and made $328M in Q1. More


In just April, more than 469,000 public school employees lost their jobs, including many teachers. That's more than the 300,000 that were lost in the 2008 recession. More

Kids now spend almost as much time watching TikTok as YouTube in US, UK, and Spain. More

UC Berkeley sleep scientists have linked chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease with difficulty sleeping. Yet another malady tied to inflammation. I honestly think this will come to be considered a major underlying cause of many other illnesses in the near future. More

China has reclassified dogs from food to pets as part of their numerous moves to make its food safer after the Coronavirus pandemic. More

It looks like the remote learning experiment forced by COVID-19 has been largely unsuccessful. This doesn't mean it'll always be the case, but we can't ignore the fact that so many have had bad experiences. More

A man just recently came out of a 75-day meditation retreat, and asked, "Did I miss anything?" More

Archaeologists just found the largest and oldest Mayan monument ever discovered. It's around 1.4 kilometers long and around 15 meters high. More


I have been studying the bifurcation of class in America for several years now, and while I'm not anything like a stock market expert, one thing that's stood out to me in the last six months or so is the impression that the stock market has broken its tie from the wellbeing of everyday America. In other words, I used to feel that if America were suffering, the stock market would crash, and if Americans were doing well, we'd see gains in the stock market as well. That link seems to be broken right now. It's as if the rich (companies and shareholders) have broken away from normal people, and now it's possible to have 80% of the country get crushed with unemployment while the top 10% does better than ever. If this is true, which I believe it is, it would be extremely dangerous to our union.

NPR reports on a study in PNAS that says white officers are not more likely to shoot black suspects than black officers. This interestingly doesn't say whether cops are or aren't biased against minority suspects, but rather that white cops aren't any more biased than black cops. Fascinating. More

Seeing Mental Health as Mental Wealth More

How French Intellectuals Ruined the West More


I finished The Meritocracy Trap, and I'm now reading Complex PTSD, which is about different personality types and how they can be caused by neglect and abuse at early ages.

I have quite a few books queued up right now:

I desperately need to do an update to my Goodreads to catch myself up.


50 Ideas That Changed My Life More

How to become a hacker. More

How to create an SSH bastion on AWS using Terraform. More

A glorious project that tracks and visualizes the stock holdings of US senators. More

Do Simple Things More

NCC put out a history of game cheats and game security. More

Fuzzing a video game with CERT's Basic Fuzzing Framework More

The psychology behind why some people think 5G makes them sick. More

An Active Directory Security Checklist More

Why Your Website Should Be Using HSTS More

The Best Code is No Code More

Cloudflare TV More

OWASP's List of Static Code Analysis Tools More

Shodan Dojo — Learn Shodan through katas. More

Git Scanner — A tool for scanning sites with public .git directories. More

Words Scraper — A Selenium-based words scraper for creating password lists. More


Make an ordered list—from one through five—of how you would like to be remembered by your loved ones and the world. Be brutally honest with yourself when you do so. This is what you would want people to think and say about you at your funeral. David Brooks calls these Eulogy Goals.

Mine are something like (just writing them now for this entry):

  1. Was kind and helpful to everyone

  2. Was fiercely loyal and giving to his friends and loved ones

  3. Was wise and insightful about the things that matter

  4. Provided value to others through thinking, writing, and speaking

  5. Helped advance how humans view and pursue their happiness and meaning

The things on top should be infinitely more important than things below, so you should be happy if you only had #1 from your list, for example.

Now—once you have your list—evaluate what you've done in the last week, month, and year. Ask yourself how your choices of activities have lead to the results in your list, or not.

If you see gaps, make adjustments to your daily and weekly routine so that you are more aligned with your goals as a person.


“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

~ George Eliot