Tag Archives: New York Times

Celebrity Cyber Report – Shonda Rhimes Reveals Netflix Shows

Television producer Shonda Rhimes, who joined Netflix last year and for the next 15 years, is finally talking about her projects for the streaming service. The shows will be produced under her Shondaland label. Rhimes has a series of television hits to her credit that include “Scandal“, “How to get Away with Murder” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” 

Rhimes will be producing a show about Anna Delvey best known as the “Socialite Scammer.” Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, pretended to be a German heiress and conned banks and individuals out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her most recent exploit may have been the scam of Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland.

Rhimes’ work for Netflix has been cloaked in mystery until now. In a New York Times profile Rhimes described her upcoming projects under the Shondaland label. In all she has eight projects in the production phase. They include an untitled British Regency era series based on the novel of Julia Quinn and the fictional Bridgerton family. 

“A Warmth of Other Suns” based on the non-fiction book by Isabel Wilkerson portrays the mass exodus of  black Americas from the south to the north and midwest during the era of  Jim Crow. 

“Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change” a memoir written by Ellen Pao about her experience at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Pao filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins.

Rhimes will partner with Grey’s Anatomy star Debbie Allen for a documentary series about her re-imagining of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” entitled “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,” for her Debbie Allen Dance Company.

“Sunshine Scouts” is a post apocalyptic tale of teenage girls who survive while at summer camp and must deal with what remains of the world.

“The Residence” based on a book by Kate Anderson Bower, who writes about the lives of American presidents while they lived in the White House.

These shows are currently under production at Shondaland studios. However neither Rhimes or Netflix has announced when the shows will air…er stream.

Breach Brief – Panera Bread, Saks Fifth Avenue, Orbitz

Panera, a popular bakery-cafe has admitted its website was leaking a data. According to Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity.com Panera allegedly failed to fix issues with its website it knew about for nearly eight months. Panera Bread has  has over 2,100 outlets nationwide. 

Cyber security researcher Dylan Houlihan notified the company of a data leak in early August 2017. Mike Gustavison, Panera director of information security was informed of the flaw and said the company “working on a resolution.” Despite this statement the flaw was not repaired. 

Data records that leaked out contain the names, email and physical addresses, birth dates and the last four digits of the credit card numbers of Panera customers. 

Only after Krebs spoke directly with Panera chief information officer John Meister was the site shut down briefly and the data secured.  The number of customers whose data may have been compromised is estimated at 37 million.

A statement from Panera Bread said; “Panera takes data security very seriously and this issue is resolved. Following reports today of a potential problem on our website, we suspended the functionality to repair the issue. Our investigation is continuing, but there is no evidence of payment card information nor a large number of records being accessed or retrieved.”

The company urges its customers to alert for any fraudulent activity in the bank or credit accounts.

Saks Fifth Avenue/Lord & Taylor

Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor reported a data breach affecting millions of its customers.

According to the company “a well-known ring of cybercriminals” had stolen more than 5 million credit and debit card numbers from customers. According to the New York Times the cyber criminals were able to pull off this massive heist by implanting software into the cash register systems.

Although it is early in the investigation the the hack appears to have only affected card numbers and not social security or driver’s license numbers.

The majority of the affected credit cards appear to have been used at Saks and Lord & Taylor stores between May 2017 and March 2018 and only in the New York-New Jersey areas stores. 

Both Saks 5th Ave. and Lord & Taylor are owned by the Canadian company Hudson’s Bay. The company issued the following statement;“We have become aware of a data security issue involving customer payment card data at certain Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th and Lord & Taylor stores in North America. We have identified the issue, and have taken steps to contain it. Once we have more clarity around the facts, we will notify our customers quickly and will offer those impacted free identity protection services, including credit and web monitoring.”

Orbitz

The popular travel booking site Orbitz announced that its legacy site, Amextravel.com, was compromised due to a data breach.  Data of  880,000 customers was compromised from January 1, 2016 through December 22, 2017.

According to the company credit or debit card information was stolen along with personal information that includes the customer’s full name, date of birth, phone number, email address, physical and/or billing address and gender.  

Orbitz plans to notify all customers who’s information may have been compromised and  is providing potential victims a free year of credit monitoring services. Customers can contact Orbitz for the free service either online or by calling 855-828-3959 toll-free. 

 

Black Women Enter the Boardroom

Black women are clearly leading the charge to bring diversity to corporate boardrooms. In the past weeks black women have taken positions of leadership at some of America’s biggest and best known tech corporations.

Susan Rice

Netflix announced that, Susan Rice, former national security advisor and ambassador to the U.N. has joined it’s board of directors.

Rice continues to build on a long and distinguished career that includes serving two presidents. Currently Rice is serving in multiple roles as a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times.

In a press release Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote, “We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rice to the Netflix board. For decades, she has tackled difficult, complex global issues with intelligence, integrity and insight and we look forward to benefiting from her experience and wisdom.”

Rice responded by saying, “I am thrilled to be joining the board of directors of Netflix, a cutting-edge company whose leadership, high-quality productions, and unique culture I deeply admire.”

Rice holds a Master’s  and Doctorate in International Relations from New College, Oxford University, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She earned a Bachelors degree in History from Stanford University . In 2017 Rice received the Award of Commander, Legions of Honor of France from French President Francois Hollande for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

Edith Cooper

Edith W. Cooper has joined the board at Etsy.com. Etsy.com is global marketplace for handcrafted goods. Cooper brings to Etsy 30 years of leadership experience in management and sales across the financial services industry. Cooper’s career includes stints as the former Executive Vice President and Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs. Cooper was responsible for the recruitment, development, promotion, and welfare of 35,000 employees around the world. She held positions at Morgan Stanley and Bankers Trust and is a member of the Board of Directors of Slack, the Museum of Modern Art and Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said of Cooper, “With Edith joining the board, we gain significant talent-management expertise, based on years of experience at leading global financial institutions. We are also honored that a person who called Brooklyn her home for many years is now working hand-in-hand with us to make our tech company even more successful. We are looking forward to Edith bringing her wealth of knowledge to Etsy providing guidance as we continue driving growth and empowering the 1.9 million creative entrepreneurs who rely on our marketplace.”

Richelle Parham

Richelle Parham took her seat on Best Buy’s board. Parham was named to Black Enterprise’s 2015 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America.  She is a partner at Baltimore based private equity firm Camden Partners Holdings, a private equity firm that provides growth and seed capital to lower-middle-market companies in technology, business services, education, and healthcare.

Parham brings 25 years of experience in global strategy and marketing to her role at Best Buy. Parham has exhibited her leadership in numerous corporate roles that include vice president and chief marketing officer for eBay before joining Camden Partners Holdings in 2016.  From 2008-2010 she served as chief of Global Marketing Innovation and Initiatives and head of Global Marketing Services of Visa Inc. For 13 years she held a variety of leadership positions at Digitas Inc. including general manager of the company’s  Chicago office. She has been a director of Ranir L.L.C. since September 2017 and was independent director at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings since 2016. She has also held senior leadership roles at Rapp Worldwide and Citibank.

“I am delighted to join the Board and look forward to working with Hubert and the other directors as Best Buy continues to execute on its vision to enrich people’s lives through technology,” Parham said.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Intel Corporation, maker of computer chips has announced Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is joining its board of directors. Lavizzo-Mourey is a public health expert and is currently the PIK Professor of Health Equity and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. She served for more than 14 years as the CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is a board member of manufacturer General Electric Co. and oil and gas company Hess Corp.

Lavizzo-Mourey is the fifth director to join Intel as an independent director with no material relationship to the company.  Intel has pursed such members since 2016. The chip maker is rapidly expanding into data heavy computing fields such as the data center, which handles information coming from connected devices and services such as autonomous vehicles, and health care. Lavizzo-Mourey will join other black female executives at Intel that include Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Aicha S. Evans and Barbara Whye, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer

In an email Whye wrote; “We know she will bring a unique and important perspective to our board as we continue to drive diversity and inclusion within Intel and the technology industry.”

 

Facebook’s Dirty Scandal – Now You Know!

Image courtesy of Arztsamui

The world’s greatest social media network! The greatest collector of personal information in history of mankind! The greatest surveillance machine ever created! All this can be said of Facebook. But when you screw up it quickly becomes equally great. 

Facebook knew its security was weak.

 Facebook’s Chief Information Security Officer, Alex Stamos  argued that the amount of data Facebook was collecting made it a target for hackers, spies and hostile state actors. 

In an audio recording leaked to ZDNet, Stamos was heard telling his security team that he had warned management “that we have the threat profile of a Northrop Grumman or a Raytheon or another defense contractor, but we run our corporate network, for example, like a college campus, almost.” Executives inside Facebook were not happy.

Stamos argued for more openness about how Russian agents used Facebook to influence the 2016 presidential election and beyond. From the inside Stamos fought for organizational changes that would at least minimize the use of misinformation. Again, Facebook executives resisted his efforts. As a result Stamos is planning to depart Facebook by August.

Between 2011 and 2012 former Facebook platform operations manager, Sandy Parakilas, was  responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers. According to the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that poor data security measures were a major vulnerability.

“My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook,” said Parakilas, “so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data.”

Parakilas went on to say that Facebook had terms of service and settings that “people didn’t read or understand.” Parakilas went on to accuse Facebook of failing to use any enforcement mechanisms at its disposal, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused. Basically Facebook was warned by its own employees of the coming danger.

What happened?

Facebook basically lost control of the personal data of over 50 million users. The data was then used to target American voters with misinformation, fake news and other highly manipulated information by Cambridge Analytica.

Professor Aleksandr Kogan a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge, requested user data from Facebook. Kogan created a research app to be used by psychologist entitled “thisisyourdigitallife.”  

Some 270,000 Facebook users downloaded the app. Each user consented to allow Kogan’s app access to their personal information provided by Facebook. The data included their “Likes,” the city they live in, etc. But what users were not consenting to was giving up the same information on their friends.

According to Facebook Kogan assured the company that the data would be cleansed of identifying information and only used for research purposes. This turned out not to be the case. Kogan shared the dataset with Christopher Wylie of Euonia Technologies and possibly others. Wylie is the whistleblower who blew up the whole scam. More on him later. The two men formed a third company, Global Science Research that, once again, assured Facebook that the data would be anonymized. Global Science Research then proceeded to build out SCL and Cambridge Analytica’s (CA) voter profiles using the data.

Kogan has spoken out claiming that he is being scapegoated. Kogan told BBC Radio 4 Today program of an environment of permissive data-gathering and lax privacy policies. “We thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was really normal,” said Kogan. “My view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.”

Cambridge Analytica

Lets get one thing straight before we go any further, CA could easily take the title of Department of Dirty Tricks. They are not the innocent data analysis firm they would have you believe.

According to the TheGuardian.com CA was caught bragging about using honey traps, fake news campaigns and operations with ex-spies to swing election campaigns around the world. CA executives were recorded on hidden camera by British news reporters talking about the dirty tricks they used to help clients.

CA CEO Alexander Nix was recorded telling reporters: “It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed.” In addition Nix was known to refer to black clients as “niggers” in internal emails. Emails that were encrypted and programmed to self-destruct.

Nixon has since been suspended from the company and is under investigation.

Now if you want to know how dirty this whole thing gets a former employee of CA told CNN  former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon presided over a program at CA who’s purpose was collecting Facebook data to create voter profiles. CA was a prime data provider to the campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.  Trump political appointee, Kelly Rzendzian, also worked at Cambridge Analytica.

Now remember that the original number is still only 270,000 users. Cambridge Analytica took it to the next level by hiring workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT). This platform allows gig workers, known as turkers, to complete small online tasks for near minimum wage or less. Turkers have been described as “volunteer slave labor.” CA hired these people to complete an online survey. According to the The Intercept’s investigation last year this system worked for Cambridge Analytica. Basically, Cambridge Analytica tricked turkers into a downloading a tool on Facebook that exposed both the worker, and their friends, in exchange for $1 or $2 to complete an online survey. According to the New York Times this trick was a massive success exposing over 50 million Facebook users to data collection.

Now back to Facebook. Andrew Zuckerberg’s company knew about this activity in 2015.  The Guardian reported in 2015 on Cambridge Analytica’s work on U.S. election campaigns. It revealed that the company drew on research “spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission.” Kogan denied this was happening.

This was not a great concern for Facebook until 2015. That year Facebook updated its third-party API.  An API or application programming interface is just a piece of software that allows two software programs to talk to each other. Facebook moved to block access to the kind of massive data sets that Cambridge Analytica was collecting.  Although it drastically limited the data third party apps could access Facebook said nothing to users about the API misuse. Facebook also clamped down on any third-party app requesting more than the usual amount of data like public profile, list of friends, and email addresses from its users. But it all came too late.

After The Guardian published its article, Facebook demanded Global Science Research delete the data taken from Facebook users. Facebook has the right to delete data gathered by any app deemed to be “negatively impacting the platform.” Facebook believed that Kogan and SCL complied. They had not and no one from Facebook followed up.

Christopher Wylie

Christopher Wylie blew the lid off the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Wylie is being cheered for revealing how CA, according to the New York Times and the The Observer of London, of  improperly using and manipulating the Facebook data to influence elections. Wylie told the Observer “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons.” According to Wylie himself he was the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool”.

Now you know.

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Quincy Jones

Music legend Quincy Jones is working with a French TV producer to launch Qwest TV. Calling itself the “Netflix of Jazz” the  specialty streaming channel for jazz lovers will offer jazz, concerts and music centric documentaries.

Music Legend Quincy Jones

According to the New York Times Jones will personally select the first round of videos. Each video will be accompanied by an essay from either a journalist or a jazz expert. Jones’ goal of launching the channel is to help preserve and present jazz in a way that’s particularly suited for modern audiences. “I know I won’t convert the world to jazz,” said Jones. “If I serve high quality programs in HD, with good curation and have a good, close relationship with my audience, I’ll be fine.”

Qwest TV kicked off on December 15th and offered 50 videos from 30 to 90 minutes long. The launch featured a documentary on the late Al Jarreau, concert films featuring the pianist Jason Moran and his trio, European jazz-rock fusion band Kneebody and the Malian vocalist Oumou Sangaré.  Another feature for subscribers includes “The Sound of New York,” a 10-part series originally serialized in Italy. The series features half-hour portraits of musicians like Damion Reid, Mark Turner and Bilal.

Prices for Qwest TV will run between $8.83 – $11.68. The price will be slightly higher for HD/4K streaming. Qwest TV will also offer yearly subscriptions.

 

 

WannaCry Ransomware – So Whats Happening?

WannaCry notice

A worldwide ransomware attack launched this past weekend hit computers in over 150 countries. The United States was less affected than other countries. Security experts estimated that the cyber attack crippled 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. But that number could be low. Scarce reports have Russia and China as being especially hard hit by the malware.

The global attack was carried out by hackers who exploited a flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system first discovered by the National Security Agency (NSA).  In April of this year the flaw and a hacked NSA cyber tool to exploit it became public when they were posted on the Internet by a hacker group known as Shadow Brokers.

In Great Britain the loss of computing systems prevented doctors from accessing patient files and caused emergency rooms to divert patients. According to Prime Minister Theresa May there is no evidence that patient data had been stolen. British officials stated 48 of Britain’s 248 public health trusts had come under attack. All but six are back to normal.

A spokesman for FedEx said:  “Like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware. We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible.”

One reason the U.S. seems to have been spared from this global attack may have been the work of a British researcher.

The unknown attackers included a “kill switch” in the form of a URL in the malicious code. Experts believe it was a way to control the malware. The kill switch would shut down the attack when the virus sent an online request to a specific website. 

A 22-year-old British researcher whose Twitter handle is @MalwareTechBlog discovered the kill switch’s domain name had not been registered. Thinking quickly he purchased the domain name for about $11.00. According to security experts the researcher shut down the malware before the it could reach the U.S. The cyber hero probably stopped a catastrophic malware attack from taking place on U.S. soil. The researcher has confirmed his involvement in a blog post but has insisted on anonymity.

Matthieu Suiche founder of Comae Technologies a cyber security company located in the United Arab Emirates said, “That kill switch is why the U.S. has not been touched so far. But it’s only temporary. All the attackers would have to do is create a variant of the hack with a different domain name.” These variants have sense been discovered on the Internet.

The hackers who launched the attack asked for $300US or $600 in bitcoins to unlock computers but experts advise not paying the hackers. According to security experts victims are left waiting and hoping WannaCry’s hackers will remotely free the hostage computer. The process is done manually over the Internet. That means hackers may have the near impossible task of unlocking thousands of computers one at a time. But the real issues is the payment method, usually in bitcoins. The hackers have no way to know who paid the ransom.

Owners of the locked computer may become desperate and pay the ransom. “But don’t count on getting your files back,”said Matthew Hickey, director of security provider Hacker House.

“The culprits can only restore user’s systems by manually sending the decryption key to each affected computer, which will amount to a time-consuming process,” he said.

“You’re really at the mercy of the human operator. Someone at the other end of the connection,” Hickey said.

Was the malware attack the work of inexperienced cyber criminals or so called script kiddies? Evidence indicates that this could be the case. 

First of all the perpetrators included an obvious kill switch in the code but failed to register the domain name. Perhaps they were afraid it could lead back to them.

According to some reports the hackers did manage to rake in about $56,000 in bitcoin payments. But according to Hickey the inefficiency of the payment model may indicate the hackers were not after money at all. “If it was done for money, it wasn’t the smartest way to get it,” he said.

Hickey pointed out that because of the large number of computers infected the asking price could have been much lower and still brought in a nice pay off.

But these hackers do not appear to be experienced or ambitious cyber criminals. They demanded a large ransom and used, at best, a sloppy payment method leaving victims wondering if they were paying for nothing.

According to Hickey, “It removes the incentive to send any money to the attacker.”

But some experts see the fingerprints of North Korea on the malware attack. A New York Times report revealed that intelligence officials and private security experts have found digital evidence pointing to North Korean connected hackers.

The evidence is not definitive but security experts at Symantec believe they have found the same tools used in previous hacks of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Bangladesh central bank last year and Polish banks in February in the WannaCry malware attack.

Regardless of who carried out the attack make no mistake WannaCry did indeed work and encrypted any machine unlucky enough to encounter it. Security experts and cyber sleuths are working to rescue computers already infected.

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Beyonce

beyonce-lemonade-stream-1It’s always big news when Beyonce is involved. The mega star and wife of Jay-Z released her new album, Lemonade, originally thought to be exclusively on Tidal. That didn’t last long.

Lemonade hit the Internet minutes after Beyonce’s HBO special of the same name  aired.  It’s her sixth studio album and first since 2013’s celebrated, Beyonce. Exclusive streaming releases are normally a week long venture for most artists.  The question was; does Tidal have the power to sell her album to her millions of fans?  Let’s not forget that she and hubby own the lion’s share of Tidal. She also had the option of selling it on Beyonce.com or on Tidal’s direct competitor, iTunes.

Well now it seems that the exclusive sales of Lemonade on Tidal is open to all not just Tidal subscribers. Tidal announced the record and the HBO film are now available for download worldwide for $17.99. Those who pick up the album also get 90 days of free streaming from Tidal.  This deal should appeal to Beyonce fans who are understandably hesitant about signing up for Tidal.

However,  according to a  New York Times reports  the album quickly became available on iTunes just 24 hours later. Tidal’s exclusive rights quickly expired but only for the sale of the album. Tidal is still the only place to stream the album. So, back to that question, is Tidal powerful enough to distribute the music of Beyonce exclusively? It does not seem so and Beyonce knows it.

Lets face it; Beyonce is as much a businesswoman as a performer. Tidal’s brief exclusive deal is a direct reflection of the complex, fragmented, tumultuous and generally disliked digital music business.   Beyonce’s power and presence in the music industry is the guide for many in the business. Her decision to offer the release to Tidal makes it possible to satisfy her business interests there and then quickly expand her reach to other fans in the market. It was delicate balancing act but she pulled it off beautifully.

Things are not so smooth at Tidal nor have they ever been. Since Jay-Z acquired the service it has seen numerous departures of top executives, bad business decisions and even lawsuits.  Right now Kanye West, one of Tidal’s biggest stars, is facing a class action lawsuit. A fan launched the suit claiming that a Kanye  tweet deceived millions into buying subscriptions to Tidal.

The rapper and part owner of Tidal tweeted “My album will never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale … You can only get it on Tidal.” The announcement doubled subscriptions to Tidal. But it appears West flipped the script and “The Life Of Pablo” became available on Spotify and Apple Music.

According to the lawsuit West’s tweet tricked millions of users into signing up for Tidal. By signing up for the service users surrendered important personal information including email addresses and credit card details. In addition others paid the $9.99 per month subscription fee to access the album. The lawsuit charges that Tidal unfairly benefited to the tune of  $84 million dollars as a result of the deceptive tweet.

Celebrity Cyber Report – Dr. Dre, Kanye West

Dr. Dre

Dre


Word on the street is that
Apple and Dr. Dre are collaborating on a new television series starring the rich and famous NWA alum. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Apple is financing a scripted series starring Dr. Dre. and an Apple executive. Entitled “Vital Signs” the series to be released by Apple Music has been described as a “dark semi-autobiographical drama.” THR insiders have revealed that Sam Rockwell and Mo McCrae are among the additional cast.

“Vital Signs” has been described as a dark drama filled with its fair share of with violence and sex. Filming has begun and according to the THR naked extras simulated sex in a mansion in the Bird Streets neighborhood of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills.

Apple, known mostly for its computers and iPhones has reportedly been interested in producing original programming for a few years. This interest is sparked by the success of streaming media giants Netflix and Amazon. The original concept for the show is the brainchild of Dre himself and he pitched it to his partner  Jimmy Iovine ‘Vital Signs’ marks Apple’s first serious investment in scripted television and the first season is slated for six episodes produced by Dre.

Dre, who’s government name is Andre Young, is rollin’!  His recent successes include his bio-pic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ which blasted onto the big screen to the tune of $200 million and some how got Suge Knight charged with murder.  In 2015 he also dropped his first album  in 15 years entitled ‘Compton’ As of January it had sold 502,000 copies in the U.S. Oh! And don’t forget Beats by Dr. Dre headphones sold to Apple for $3 billion!

Kanye keeps busy. As if launching a clothing line, a magazine and a new album was not enough it appears he in another dust up relating to Taylor Swift.

Kanye’ s Madison Square Garden concert celebrating the release of his new album ‘The Life of Pablo’ or  T.L.O.P. ignited the controversy.  The album is only available from the Jay-Z’s Tidal music service. One particular cut entitled ‘Famous’ included the line, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous.”  Some believe it’s a reference to Taylor Swift. Kanye interrupted her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, remember that? Thank Beyonce for cleaning that mess up. It was thought the two had made peace. But maybe not.

The controversy surrounds the idea that Swift actually had a chance to read the lyrics before Kanye released the song. At least that is what  TMZ is reporting and that she approved it.

According to Kanye  he called Taylor and had a long talk with her about the offending lyric. ” …and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings.” On Twitter Kanye said he can’t take credit for the line. Kanye insists Swift had dinner with a friend of his during which she is supposed to have said; “I can’t be mad at Kanye because he made me famous!”

New York Times’ music critic Jon Caramanica is telling a different story.  According to Caramanica who shared a statement  from Swift’s spokesperson condemning the track. In the statement the representative wrote;  “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.'”

This just the latest ugly skirmish surrounding Kanye’s latest release. He has also been caught up in a  Twitter spat with Wiz Khalifa . West criticized his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose, the model and activist who has a child with Khalifa. In addition he went on the record defending Bill Cosby’s innocence also on Twitter.

Now with all that going on Kanye has also been working on  video game. No, I’m not kidding. According to Thenextweb.com  Kanye showed off a video game he had worked on with the title  ‘Only One.’ According to West, “The idea of the game is, my mom traveling through the gates of heaven.” Told you he was busy and he better stay that way. Kanye tweeted that he is $53 million in debt and pleaded for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to come to his rescue. Really Kanye? Don’t you have Dre’s number?

Racist Attack Obama on Twitter and Google Maps

obama-potus-smartphoneIn what has become almost common for racist Americans President Obama has come under attack on his new Twitter account. The president was bombarded by racist and threatening tweets in the first days of his opening his Twitter account.

President uses the Twitter handle @POTUS the acronym for President of the United States. It didn’t take long for the racists to attack him personally using racial slurs and calling for his lynching.

The images and language directed at the President reflect the deep racial hatred that some people feel toward the first African-American president.

One post had a doctored image of President Obama’s famous “Hope” campaign poster. The image showed the president with his head in a noose, his eyes closed and his neck twisted as if broken. It was meant to appear as if he had been lynched. The word “HOPE” was replaced with “Rope.”

The picture was accompanied by the message “#arrestobama, #treason we need ‘ROPE FOR CHANGE.’ ” The message came from a user using the handle @jeffgully49. This was not @jeffgulley49’s first posted image of the president in a noose. His Twitter image shows President Obama behind Bars.  “We still hang for treason, don’t we?” his post said.

@jeffgully49 is Jeff Gullickson of Minneapolis, MN. His posting got him a visit from the Secret Service on Thursday. When reached by the New York Times for comment Gullickson reponded with an email asking how much The New York Times would pay him for an interview.

Another Twitter user posted to the president with just two words: “Black monkey.” another person wrote “Get back in your cage monkey.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the language directed at the president is “all too common on the Internet.” Earnest said that officials would not spend much time trying to block abusive commenters from the president’s account.

Another Twitter account, @BarackObama, owned by the Organization for Action, a liberal activist group, is regularly targeted by racist attacks.

President Obama is the first president to use the technology of the Internet to communicate his messages effectively. Top advisers to the president consider such hate filled speech as a small price to pay. Twitter, Facebook and other platforms provide the White House the opportunity to target the president’s message directly to the voters.

Dan Pfeiffer, President Obama’s former long time aide and advisor said, “The potential for anonymity allows people to say offensive, horrible things on Twitter that they would never say anywhere else, but we’re talking about a tiny fraction of the community.” Pfeiffer urged the president to engage on social media, including urging White House officials to create Twitter accounts.

Twitter has been criticized for not cracking down on so-called trolls. These are sometimes anonymous people who post abusive or inappropriate comments on the social networking site. Twitter does not police individual users or initiate action against them. But that appears to be changing.

In a note to his employees earlier this year Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wrote that he intended to start kicking trolls off of the platform “right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.”

In April, Twitter updated its abuse policy making it tougher for trolls to flood Twitter with threats and harassment. Twitter’s changes expand the definition of violent threats to include indirect threats and tweets that promote violence. The social messaging giant has gone a step farther and created a tool that automatically flags tweets that seem likely to be abusive based on triggers including the age of the account and content that fits the pattern of previous tweets identified as abuse.

Twitter’s changes  signal a shift in the company’s approach not only to abuse, but to growth. Twitter shareholders are applying pressure on the company to grow its monthly active user base. This left Twitter reluctant to stand up to abuse out of fear of jeopardizing its already declining user base. However over the last year Twitter’s management realized that the company stands to lose a lot more if it continues to let trolls post openly. Management has decided that it’s better to alienate destructive users if it means holding onto the good ones.

Costolo said problems with trolls are driving away the company’s users. “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Costolo wrote in an internal memo. “It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”

Google is also taking a stand against the racist activity that infects their Google Maps website.  Google has apologized after it was discovered that searches in the Washington, DC area containing the word “nigger” directed users to the White House. Another search of the words “nigger house” or “nigger king”  directed the user to the home of President Barack Obama. Global searches for terms including “niggahouse” also return the White House as the number one search result.

Google explained in a blog post apologizing for the “mess up,”  that the situation was caused because its Maps service uses content from across the web. Most of which isn’t vetted to match searches to locations.  This model explains why a search for ‘failure’ used to serve U.S. President Geoge W. Bush as the top result, before the company implemented a change.  Google said: “Our team has been working hard to fix this issue. Building upon a key algorithmic change we developed for Google Search, we’ve started to update our ranking system to address the majority of these searches—this will gradually roll out globally and we’ll continue to refine our systems over time. Simply put, you shouldn’t see these kinds of results in Google Maps, and we’re taking steps to make sure you don’t.”

 

 

 

 

ALERT! JP Morgan Suffers MASSIVE Breach ALERT!

110804064152_jpmorgan_chase_logo_640x360_16x9JP Morgan has set yet another record for data breaches. The financial services and banking giant reveled that 76 million households and 7 million small businesses have potentially had their private data stolen in a record setting cyber attack.

According to a new  SEC filing JP Morgan  said, “User contact information — name, address, phone number and email address – and internal JPMorgan Chase information relating to such users has been compromised.” 

JP Morgan pointed out that “…there is no evidence that account information for such affected customers — account numbers, passwords, user IDs, dates of birth or Social Security numbers — was compromised during this attack.” There has been no fraud connected to this data breach.

JP Morgan denies that this data breach was a second attack but instead was connected to a previous attack.  The company has rejected the reports from the New York Times that this previous attack resulted in the loss of checking and savings account information.

Breaking it down

In comparison, Target’s data breach affected 40 million credit and debit card accounts. This was followed by Home Depot’s breach of 56 million accounts. Now JP Morgan has set the bar with 76 million records lost. How much more do we need to experience before something is done. What you are looking at is an escalating trend of warning shots of what is bound to come.

Even if no account information was lost the loss of names, email addresses and other contact information is the exact information needed for phishing attacks. And JP Morgan knows it. That’s why this breach is so dangerous. 

As a nation we are flirting with a financial catastrophe that could bring down an empire! The ability of hackers and thieves to impact the financial sector at this level indicates a hack could bring America to its knees and possibly even ignite a global financial crisis. Am I the only one seeing that Wall Street is the next big target? Or maybe the world banking system?  If you think otherwise then you are fooling yourself. I am not so sure that its not time to take your money out of the bank and put it in your mattress. 

Some might think this is a dire prediction; possibly even a doomsday vision. But look at the numbers again and ask yourself; is it really not possible?

For more information please see 

JP Morgan Discloses Data Breach Affected Millions

JP Morgan Data Reveals Data Breach Affected 76 Million Households

JP Morgan Says Data Breach Hit 76 Million Households