Unsupervised Learning

Every week I consume ~20 hours of content about security, technology, and life, and then curate what I learned into a digestible summary.

Security News

The city of Atlanta has been severely disabled for days due to a ransomware attack. Many people have been unable to pay tickets and bills online, report issues in the city, WiFi at the airport was disabled. etc. Maybe this will get them some religion around security hygiene, but based on the law they just passed opposing security research I'm doubtful. Link

Under Amour (MyFitnessPal) has had a breach affecting around 150 million users. There's some discussion around how many of the hashes were protected with Bcrypt vs. SHAx. Link

The parent company for Cambridge Analytica, SCL Elections, claims to have performed various services in 32 different countries around the world. And as mentioned in a previous episode and indicated in the title, SCL Elections is in the business of achieving particular outcomes for their customers during elections. Link

There's a critical bug in Drupal causing serious compromises. Patch immediacy if you're running Drupal. Then switch to a better CMS. Link

Microsoft has had to release a patch to their Meltdown patch. Link

Saks Fifth Avenue has had some card data breached. Link

DARPA wants new ideas for autonomous drone swarms. Link

CloudFlare has released a new privacy-focused DNS service that runs on IP They supposedly rotate logs every 24 hours and don't store anything long-term. Seems cool, but I wish it did security filtering as well. Link

Slack's new policy lets bosses read employees' DMs without their consent. Link

China had to axe two AI bots after they started bashing Communism and promoting Democracy. Link

Georgia has passed a law that could put you in jail for even noticing a vulnerability in a computer system. Every infosec-related company should refuse to do business there. Talk about legislative incompetence. When lawmakers know nothing about the subjects they're making laws for, democracy becomes untenable. Link

MITRE is evaluating APT detection tools. Link

Be careful what VPN service you use; some are leaking IP and other information.  Link

Cops are opening iPhones with dead peoples' fingerprints. Link

There's evidence that Russia is targeting undersea cables. Link

🔥 Someone put together a truly disturbing video showing how Sinclair Broadcasting—which owns around 200 local broadcasting stations around the country—puts out political segments that local news stations are then required to repeat in their own words. Regardless of what ideology you're partial to, this is hard to watchLink Link

The Facebook privacy story has been big, but the data brokering problem is much larger than just them. It's an entire industry. This is a large list of data broker sites and how to opt out of them. Link

Poland just bought $4.75 billion worth of Patriot missiles to defend against Russia. Link

Technology News

Foxconn has purchased Belkin, which includes Linksys, Wemo, and Phyn. Link

It looks like Microsoft is deprioritizing Windows and focusing heavily on Cloud and AI. Link

I'm hearing rumors that RSS could be poised for a comeback. Link

China is building a giant rain generation machine in Tibet, which it hopes will increase rainfall by 7% per year. Link

BMW and Daimler are joining forces to oppose Silicon Valley in the car sharing war. Link

Human News

NASA just received a response from Voyager 1 after 37 years of inactivity. It's 13 billion miles away. Link

A new study has shown that the use of metaphor in our language can powerfully influence how we view challenges and their associated solutions. This seems obvious to me, as beautiful language basically equates to hacking the listener's mind. Think sales, marketing, and/or seduction. Link

China is moving aggressively into Africa, both economically and militarily, and nobody is doing anything but watching. Link

Rich women have more alcoholism related problems than poor women, but the opposite is true for men. Link

Researchers in Japan are finding that spending time in nature has a significant benefit to human wellbeing. Link

Saudi Arabia is busy preparing for the downfall of fossil fuels. They're modernizing socially, and now they're about to build the world's largest solar bank. It's 100X bigger than the next largest, and will cost over $200 billion dollars. Link

Ideas, Trends, & Analysis

DevOps as the Art and Science of Deliberate Practice Link

Why I Switched from Patreon to Memberful. Link

When everything is disposable, luxury items are old and well-worn. Link

A review of the Ready Player One movie that gives larger commentary on our tech-based society. Link

The worst kind of manager is the Absentee Manager. Hollow praise and no leadership. Link

A number of people think Containers (and Kubernetes) are just a temporary stepping stone to Serverless. Link

Steve Jobs talking about the definition of bad consulting being where the consultant doesn't have Skin in The Game—which is the title of Nassim Taleb's new book. Link

The Behavioral Sink. There might be a problem when the number of people drastically exceeds the number of roles that need to be played. Link

For many of the poor, the gig economy is going to become virtually indistinguishable from serfdom. But so will "regular" jobs as well. In fact they already are. Only the highly educated, talented, and/or lucky will reach escape velocity. But even many of them will use the gig infrastructure and influencer ecosystem to magnify their reach. Link

Run less software. Link


😢 A Calvin and Hobbes fan writes a final scene between them. Link

The 21 best documentaries on Netflix. Link

The Facebook privacy story has been big, but the data brokering problem is much larger than just them. It's an entire industry. This is a large list of data broker sites and how to opt out of them. Link

A visual breakout of 96 people being asked to pick a number between 1 and 10. Link

AWS has published a ton of public datasets. Link

Have I Been Pwned v2 Hashes (Will be adding to SecLists soon) Link

A visual analysis of the most common occupations by age. Link

Kaggle Datasets. Link

True Reply — Collect voice responses at scale. Link

Data & Statistics

Presidential approval ratings since Kennedy. Link

Bill Gates has given away over $28 billion dollars since 2007. Link

Black Panther is the highest grossing superhero film of all time in the U.S. Link


Wow! Lots of Security and Ideas this week! Sorry for the high article count—just couldn't figure out what to prune. Hopefully you can get most of the value from the one or two sentences I summarized with, so you only have to read a few full stories that you really care about.

If you're not yet a member then you missed last week's edition of the newsletter (the free version is only bi-monthly), but you can sign up now and get all future versions (every week). Basically, members get every edition, and free subscribers get the odd releases. BECOME A MEMBER

I am now reading everything (5 books) written by Nassim Taleb, of Black Swan fame. Update: I'm now done with the first two books and am currently reading The Black SwanLink

I'm trying not to collect watches anymore (I currently only have a Submariner and an Apple Watch, but I'm hopelessly in love with this NOMOS TANGENTE. It's probably my next piece. And without date. I don't think I'll buy another mechanical that has date. It's too disturbing to have to adjust for months without 31 days. Link


If you like this newsletter you will absolutely love The Bed of Procrustes, by Nassim Taleb. It's a book of aphorisms (little nuggets of wisdom) and it's stellar. Buy it in Kindle or paper form because you're going to want to mark your favorite ones. Link


“Work destroys your soul by stealthily invading your brain during the hours not officially spent working; be selective about professions”.

~ Nassim Taleb

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