Wednesday Morning: Adulting is Hard

While looking for Wednesday, I discovered there’s a video short series based on a grownup version of Wednesday Addams character. Cute, though from Wednesday’s POV becoming an adult isn’t all the fun one might expect.

So much for those carefree days when one could leave all the bad news and difficult choices to parental figures. It was all an illusion there were ever any grownups in charge.

Playstation moves to U.S. as Sony melds and migrates interactive entertainment divisions
What’s this really all about? Does this consolidation of Sony Computer Entertainment with Sony Network Entertainment and their move to California as Sony Interactive Entertainment allow better collaboration with Sony Pictures? Or does this allow for easy access by U.S. government entities suspicious of Playstation Network as a potential terrorist communications platform? Or is this a means to secure a leaky business by pulling more of Sony Group inside a single network? Sony explained SIE will “retain and expand PlayStation user engagement, increase Average Revenue Per Paying Users and drive ancillary revenue” — but that sounds like fuzzy vapor to me.

Bent spear? Oh, THAT bent spear…” Air Force review omits report of damage to nuke
I hope like hell President Obama has already called someone on the carpet and asked for heads to roll. Not reporting a “bent spear” event in a review of U.S. nuclear force isn’t exactly a little boo-boo. A “bent spear” in 2007 spawned a rigorous investigation resulting in a large number of disciplinary actions including resignations and removals from duty.

Zika virus: risk to U.S. mounting
There have been more non-locally transmitted cases of Zika virus here in the U.S. as another Latin American country warns women against pregnancy. Not to worry, it’s not like Ebola, relax, we’ve been told…except that we’ve seen this playbook before, where there were casualties as a pandemic began before either federal or state agencies took effective action. In the case of Zika, we may not see mortalities; casualties may be serious birth defects following a rapid spread with mosquito season. Fortunately President Obama has now asked for more accelerated research into Zika, though we may not see results before Aedes mosquito season hits its stride this year. For more information about this virus, see the CDC’s Zika website.

EU seeks hefty fines in draft law to overhaul auto industry regulations
At fines of €30,000 (£22,600) per vehicle found in violation, the EU might get some results out of proposed regulations governing automotive emissions standards. But the problem hasn’t been the lack of EU standards — it’s the inability to validate and extract compliance when so many member states are willing to turn a blind eye to their constituent manufacturers’ failings in order to preserve employment. Can the EU make these fines stick once new regulations are passed?

By the way, Consumer Reports published a really snappy overview of the VW emissions scandal. Worth a read.

Con Edison’s creaky website leaves online customers exposed
You’d think by now after all of the successful hacks on business and government websites that companies would catch a clue. But no, not in the case of Con Edison. Read the article here so you know what to watch for at other websites; all of ConEd’s site’s links do not open fully encrypted connections. This is a really easy thing to fix, should be the very first thing every single business allowing customers to log in or pay online should check.

Heading out to act like an adult for the next eight hours. Maybe less.

10 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    As to ConEd: Can we prioritize these four possible ways of paying my electric bill, in order of safety? (1) Using my bank account’s online bill pay feature. (2) Online at the utility’s web site. (3) Over the phone with their pay by phone system. (4) Paper check. Number (1) strikes me as riskiest, because I’m opening up my bank account online. Number (2) seems less risky than 1, but still, I am online. And (3) is even less risky because I am not online, and it’s only the vendor playing directly with my bank. And I’m guessing (4) is safest because everyone already has my routing number and account number once I write any check, and there is no electronic access involved except at the check clearing (Fed) level. Hmm. So much for the digital age and its conveniences.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    Michele Fiore, a Republican assemblywoman in Nevada who is close to the occupiers, though, tweeted that Finicum was “murdered with his hands up.” I doubt that. FBI will have plenty of video to clear themselves. (by the way, did the FBI know that the guys were traveling, by cell phone surveillance?

  3. Jim White says:

    bloopie2: As to the question in number 1, paying bills through online banking is a bit more secure than you think. Bank sites have made moderately impressive strides on securing the interface for their customers (probably because that lets them save a shit-ton of money with fewer live tellers). And you can pay ConEd or any other bill through the single interface. The bank either makes a direct transfer to your ConEd account or cuts a check and mails it if the payee isn’t set up for online.
    As to number 2: It was public knowledge that the Radical Snackers were having a meeting in a nearby town to recruit more losers to their cause. Several members of the press were already at the meeting site when the traffic stop and arrests went down so at least in this case, the operation could have been planned with publicly available knowledge and simple observation of when the convoy left the refuge.

  4. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (9:24) — I think you meant in order of risk, with riskiest first, safest last. So hard to say anymore which is safest between 1 and 4. There’s an enormous history of mailbox fraud to show number 4 is still pretty risky. And using one’s bank’s online payment system could be pretty safe *IF* the bank is top-notch about end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and the network you use is clean. Awful lot of business transactions happen that way every day without problems.

    Biggest challenge wrt risk: awareness. So easy for Con Ed folks to miss the lack of encryption because they didn’t pay attention, simply assumed the bank was safe. I’ve seen it on Fortune 100 companies’ websites, where the businesses attach to 3rd parties, including human resource partners processing job apps.

    bloopie2 (10:25) — wrt surveillance: Given the location, it’d be pretty easy to note vehicles moving without using more than binoculars, don’t you think? Though these guys did warrant use of electronic monitoring given their occupation of federal property and likelihood of firearms.

    • bloopie2 says:

      “There’s an enormous history of mailbox fraud to show number 4 is still pretty risky. ” How so? Everyone I’ve ever written a check to already has my routing number and account number. Are you thinking in terms of someone modifying the actual piece of paper to a different payee/amount?

  5. Rayne says:

    lefty665 — You out there? Thanks for the Con Ed tip, much appreciated. Only ZDNet had picked that up when I looked last night. ;-)

  6. JohnT says:

    Michele Fire is a psycho nutjob
    She had her entire family pose with guns for their Christmas photo
    And then she openly advocated for someone to be killed. I think it was the Syrian refugees

  7. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (11:24) — U.S. Mail Fraud Statute dates to 1872. That’s how old mailbox theft is. There were 493 arrests *internal* to USPS on mail fraud alone in a year’s time. Dwarfed by crime reported by US Postal Inspection Service annually, though. Interesting report, worth reading several years worth.

    In re (11:26) — Yeah, some switch needs to be adjusted on comments. Important to watch timestamp on comments in the meantime, as well as the “In Reply To.” Bear with us, thanks.

  8. lefty665 says:

    Hi Rayne, Yeah, just off tilting at other windmills:) My pleasure on the ConEd piece, thanks for the tip of the hat.
    On transfers, once someone has your routing and account numbers, ACH is pretty easy. While there is some other security on actually executing an ACH transaction you have not authorized, the electronic process is very straight forward. The exciting part is that ACH Debits can empty your account, and anything else linked to roll over to prevent overdrafts. I expect we’re in for a future of cat and mouse with safe payment methods evolving in response to, but seldom ahead of, hacks.
    Curiously I’ve now found that all the banks we’ve used for “bill pay” cut and mail paper checks. Seems silly and a lot more work, but on reflection it gives them several days float. It must be that average float is more than the half buck or so cutting and mailing a check costs.
    My experience with the Sony imaging (camera) division has been that they’re pretty bright and well organized. Without knowing more than casually I wouldn’t be surprised to find that consolidation in the Entertainment arena is to give them better control of a loosey goosey and embarrassing US acquisition.
    Got a link to “THAT bent spear”?
    Again, thanks for the daily dose. It’s a good way to start the day.

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