Security communicators can learn some lessons from national disaster communication. Motherboard interviewed Eli Jacks, chief of the National Weather Service’s Fire and Public Weather Services branch in The National Weather Service Wants You to Be Scared of This Blizzard, and Jacks shared many important elements of their communication strategy.
In honor of #NCSAM, here are some tips for keeping your accounts and devices safe on the web.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released hundreds of pages (soon available as a book) detailing acts of torture committed by the CIA.
- The New York Times calls out 7 key points from the report.
- The Atlantic takes to task leadership proclaiming that “this is not who we are”, by reminding us that torture is who we are.
- Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande tweeted about the role of medical professionals in the torture, and it is truly appalling.
- Senator John McCain, a survivor of torture as a POW in the Vietnam War, released a statement condemning the torture committed by the CIA:
Americans are still reading books, Internet and all! Younger Americans are actually reading more than older generations, which could be partially due to the fact that with the rise of texting and social media, so much of our communication is text-based, so everyone is doing a lot more reading (and writing) in order to communicate with their friends. The original study is linked in that article and in this graph:
What are some other ways to get people to read books?
Well it helps a lot if your college library not only tells you the call numbers of the book, but it gives you precise directions to the location of the book, which is pretty awesome. Much more useful when navigating a giant library, like I have access to at the university I work at, as opposed to the smaller library at the university I actually attended.
HEARTBLEED heartbleed my heart is bleeding about heartbleed….
How soon until someone writes a country ballad about heartbleed? Knowing the Internet, probably before all the currently vulnerable sites are patched. Researchers at University of Michigan previously produced a tool which was capable of scanning large swaths of the Internet at incredibly fast speeds. They took advantage of this tool to regularly scan the top 1 million sites on the Internet (as categorized by Alexa)(who is not a person) and determine what portion of the sites are vulnerable. Mashable, meanwhile, has compiled a list of the big websites that were vulnerable (but now are not). This bug is the latest and greatest of them….yet (as XKCD points out)
As the NYT points out, as the web gets larger it also gets less secure (and thus, harder to defend):
“If you fix one Internet security bug, you can be sure that attackers will just find another, potentially more dangerous one. “Over all, attackers have the competitive advantage,” said Jen Weedon, who works on the threat intelligence team at the security company Mandiant. “Defenders need to defend everything. All attackers need to find is one vulnerability.””
Here’s what was important this week…
A discovery was made at the South Pole BICEP2 research lab that, if accurate, confirms the theory of cosmic inflation. Cosmic inflation explains the big bang, as an article in Symmetry Magazine details: “Almost 14 billion years ago, the universe we inhabit burst into existence in an extraordinary event that initiated the big bang. In the first fleeting fraction of a second, the universe expanded exponentially, stretching far beyond the view of today’s best telescopes. All this, of course, has just been theory.”Cosmic inflation and the big bang are neatly explained in more detail in this PHD comic.
My favorite part of the discovery is a video released by Stanford of one of the scientists in the BICEP2 project going to visit one of the lead theorists of cosmic inflation to tell him that his 30 years of work had just been confirmed. Much more footage was taken, but they edited the video for emotional impact–and it worked (I teared up). Such a video turned out to be an easy way to make the discovery go much more viral and affect many more people than it otherwise might have. Wired details how the scientists involved manage to keep their discovery quiet until the announcement.
Here’s what was important this week…
Former University of Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons has been expelled from U-M for a sexual misconduct case dating back to 2009. The Michigan Daily has more information about the expulsion, while Washtenaw Watchdogs posted about the entire case in 2011. Both The Michigan Daily and the Ann Arbor News are attempting to gain more information about both the disciplinary action and why Gibbons is only being expelled now, after having spent the last few years playing on U-M’s football team.
In more unfortunate higher education news, the Chancellor of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Phyllis Wise, made the decision not to cancel classes on Monday. Run of the mill, except for the outcry from students who stormed social media, expressing their anger about the decision with #FuckPhyllis. From there it spiralled into sexist and racist comments about the Chancellor herself. The Chancellor responded to the comments, taking them not as personal offense but as a sign that the university has work to do, especially given the diverse community at UIUC. Now UIUC is sponsoring an event open to the campus and the public where they aim to “move beyond digital hate”, which seems to me like an effort to promote feel-good feelings rather than acknowledge and handle endemic issues that allow racism, sexism, and harassment to exist and proliferate on campus. We’ll see how their event goes.