Category Archives: Newspapers

Research to reduce spam emails and increase online security

The U. Texas campus newspaper pretty much gets it. I’ve added a few links and images.

Julia Brouillette wrote for the Daily Texan today, UT researchers work to reduce spam emails, increase online security,

A group of UT faculty members and graduate students have teamed up with UT’s Center for Research on Economic Commerce (CREC) to expose the companies that send out millions of spam emails every day., a website launched by the University’s Center for Research on Economic Commerce, displays rankings of companies by number of outgoing spam messages generated from roughly 18,000 U.S. and international organizations. The project creates models for email providers to reduce spam and is funded by two grants from the National Science Foundation, totaling approximately $1 million.

Head researcher John Quarterman said UT students, in particular, are at a high risk for identity theft because of spam.

“UT has had a big problem with student information being leaked to the outside world because of bad security,” Quarterman said. “Spam is getting out that may contain private information, like your identity.”

Quarterman said the easiest way for students to prevent spam from entering their inboxes is to maintain up-to-date software.

“Make sure you have all the updates to your operating system,” Quarterman said. “Antivirus software is worth running as well.”

According to Andrew Whinston, the center’s director and a management information systems professor, students are susceptible to deceptive links as they surf the Internet. Once the link is clicked, malicious software enters the computer system and new spam is generated.

“You have to be careful and not go to websites on the Internet that you are not really familiar with, or websites that are not authenticated in some way,” Whinston said.

Whinston said preventing spam starts Continue reading

An Eerie Silence on Cybersecurity

Apparently it takes an alleged Chinese threat to get the New York Times to notice Internet security problems. The Times has escalated from a recent article to an editorial.

NYTimes Editorial 26 February 2013, An Eerie Silence on Cybersecurity, notes a few exceptions, and then remarks:

American companies have been disturbingly silent about cyberattacks on their computer systems — apparently in fear that this disclosure will unnerve customers and shareholders and invite lawsuits and unwanted scrutiny from the government.

In some cases, such silence might violate the legal obligations of publicly traded companies to share material information about their businesses. Most companies would tell investors if an important factory burned to the ground or thieves made off with hundreds of millions of dollars in cash.

Maybe it’s better to have a prescribed burn of released breach information than to have a factory fire of unprescribed released information.

Why don’t companies do this?

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Companies fear reputation for bad security

As more companies come out of the closet about their Internet security being compromised, still more start to admit it. But many (perhaps most) don’t even know. Fortunately, there is a way the public can get a clue even about those companies.

Nicole Perlroth wrote for the NYTimes 20 February 2013 that corporations try to hide successful cracking of their Internet security:

Most treat online attacks as a dirty secret best kept from customers, shareholders and competitors, lest the disclosure sink their stock price and tarnish them as hapless.

However, as some companies come out of the closet about this (Twitter, Facebook, Apple, etc.) and such

revelations become more common, the threat of looking foolish fades and more companies are seizing the opportunity to take the leap in a crowd.

“There is a ‘hide in the noise’ effect right now,” said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a nonprofit security research and education organization. “This is a particularly good time to get out the fact that you got hacked, because if you are one of many, it discounts the starkness of the announcement.”

Now here’s the interesting part:

Continue reading

Disruptive Innovation Viewed as Good Risk Management

Costa_Rica_Surfing_650.jpg As expected, the FCC approved more media consolidation, this time of newspapers and TV stations. That’s one approach to disruptions in a market: game the regulatory apparatus to permit consolidation of two failing industries (even though one of them, the one being bought, newspapers, is still hugely profitable).

There’s another approach, from the wilds of south Georgia:

The statewide papers from Atlanta and Jacksonville have pulled out of this market back to their own communities leaving a void of state and national news from a print media. When I was growing up, The Atlanta Journal “covered Dixie like the dew” and the Atlanta Constitution covered Atlanta. Today the “dew” stops in Macon and the Journal is now just the Constitution. The Florida Times-Union several years ago started the Georgia Times-Union with distribution across the bottom third of our state. Now, with the pullback coming soon, their distribution will be limited to Southeast Georgia or east of Waycross.

From the publisher: Disruptions are opportunities, By Sandy Sanders, Valdosta Daily Times, Published December 09, 2007 01:28 am –

So what does this small city newspaper do? Run to Congress or the state legislature to let it merge with a TV station? Nope: Continue reading

Media Security: Consolidation or Diversity?

Despite unanimous vote of the Senate Commerce Committee to delay, and direct question from one of its members, (not to mention overwhelming opposition in meetings across the country), FCC Chairman Kevin Martin plans to go ahead with the media consolidation vote scheduled for tomorrow, 18 December, which, given the 3-2 Republican-Democrat makeup of the Commission, will almost certainly result in more media consolidation.
Not only John Kerry, but even Trent Lott and Ted Stevens spoke against Martin’s plan. Martin, pretending not to know that newspapers are one of the most profitable industries (and nobody on the Commerce Committee thought to ask him directly whether he knew that; they only asked him if he had seen a specific report that said that), claims that the only way to save newspapers is to let them buy television stations. The New York Times published Martin’s op-ed to this effect. (Today the Times did at least publish their own editorial criticizing his position.)

Meanwhile, three members of the House Judiciary Committee have written an op-ed calling for the impeachment of vice-president Cheney, and no major newspaper will carry it, even though one of them, Wexler of Florida, collected more than 50,000 names for it over one weekend (up to 77,000 as of this writing).

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

Letter to Nathaniel Macon, Thomas Jefferson, January 12, 1819

What would Jefferson have thought about newspapers that wouldn’t publish a call for impeachment by members of the committee that is supposed to bring such charges? And why, given such a press, is anyone even considering more media consolidation? Which is better for the security of the Republic: more media consolidation or less?



I’ve often wondered if this was happening:
A ROW IS BREWING between a bunch of bloggers who took cash from Microsoft marketing outfit and stodgy old media types who take their bribes in less obvious ways.

The row started on Friday when the ValleyWag revealed how some “star boggers” had taken some cash from Federated Media to repeat some Microsoft sloganeering in copy on their websites.

Michael Arrington tells all how his Techcrunch site became “people-ready”. Gigaom’s Om Malik talks about when a business becomes “people ready”. Others named and shamed include Paul Kedrosky and Matt Marshall of Venture Beat, as well as Fred Wilson, the blogger-investor. Ads with the Volish motto appear on the blogger’s site.

Boggers embroiled in Volish bribery kerfuffle, Old media lecture the new, By Nick Farrell, The Inquirer, Monday 25 June 2007, 14:02

Well, wonder no more.


Newsroom Flees to the Net

Doc Searls, commenting on the newsroom of the Santa Barbara News Press setting up shop online as the Santa Barbara Newsroom:

It’s also odd to see this paper-in-pixels as a Teamsters operation. Yes, I know that what the Teamsters are doing here is a Good Thing. But my hope for the SB Newsroom was to see a new online paper that would carry forward as its own operation, with its own publishing as well as editorial ambitions. What we have here is a new breed that isn’t built to reproduce. Meaning nobody else can use it. It’s unique to Santa Barbara’s bizarre dispute between the owner of a paper and pretty much everyone else — especially its growing diaspora of cast-off employees.

I’m also not sure that the News-Press is a "public trust." It’s a private business, and always has been. Even if the Teamsters succeed in getting these reporters reinstated at the News-Press, I doubt the result will be a better newspaper than they could create fresh on their own. Especially with Wendy McCaw continuing to own the paper.

News-Press-onward, Doc Searls, 4 April 2007

Seems to me it would make more sense for the reporters to start their own newspaper. Meanwhile, the odd conflations of public trust, private business, unions running exile newsroom websites, etc., are more eddies in the storm of confusion caused by the Internet moving like a tornado through the traditional business of newspapers. The biggest risk is pretending that the old business will remain unchanged.