Archive for November 10, 2022

Twitter Is Imploding As Another Top Executive Leaves And More Chaos Ensues

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Twitter is literally imploding in front of us. The latest person to go is this guy Yoel Roth as per this Tweet sent in by a reader:

This is bad. I am guessing that he’s had to walk the plank so to speak for the Twitter Blue gong show from yesterday….. More on that in a moment…… But it’s actually worse than that. According to the Washington Post, this has gotten the attention of the FTC:

The privacy departures prompted a rare warning from the Federal Trade Commission, which has emerged as the government’s top Silicon Valley watchdog. It marked the second time in two days that a federal official has expressed concern about the chaotic developments at the company, coming less than 24 hours after President Biden said Musk’s relationships with other countries deserved scrutiny. 

The agency said that it was “tracking the developments at Twitter with deep concern” and that it was prepared to take action to ensure the company was complying with a settlement known as a consent order, which requires Twitter to comply with certain privacy and security requirements because of allegations of past data misuse. Three of the resignations Thursday were by members of a data governance committee established in the FTC deal, according to a former employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. 

Twitter was first put under a consent order in 2011, and it agreed to a new order earlier this year. If the FTC finds Twitter is not complying with that order, it could fine the company hundreds of millions of dollars, potentially damaging the company’s already precarious financial state.

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” said Douglas Farrar, the FTC’s director of public affairs. “Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them.”

This validates this story from earlier today were I said that Musk messes with FTC at his own risk.

Oh, by the way, this is the list of people who have left the company today:

This is really bad. In my opinion, this literally means that Twitter is on life support as far as I am concerned. Because you literally cannot have this much talent leave and it not deeply hurt Twitter. Plus it also may mean that Musk is doing stuff that make people say “I don’t want to go to jail or lose my career over this. I’m outta here!” And remember, for every person that you hear about who has quits Twitter, there’s likely five more or ten more that you don’t. That’s not sustainable for Twitter.

But it is actually worse than that. Remember just yesterday people were impersonating major brands and people via Twitter Blue? Well, the fallout for Twitter is really starting to hit:

Thirty minutes later the REAL Eli Lilly Twitter account Tweeted this:

The problem with this if you’re Musk is that companies will not be on Twitter if the platform does nothing to protect the integrity of their brands. And at present Musk is doing nothing on that front. And advertisers are watching stuff like this situation with Eli Lilly and making their decisions accordingly. Until he changes course and proves he’s capable of providing value to advertisers on Twitter, he’s going to see his ad revenue shrink until it is zero. And then what does he do?

Let’s face it, everything that Musk has done publicly so far to Twitter seems like exactly what I’d do if I wanted to ensure the entire platform ran straight into the ground, and fast. His actions and words make it really hard to see how this isn’t actually his plan. Why he would have this plan I have no idea. But the only other reason for this that I can see is that Musk is incompetent and a horrible businessman. Which I suppose is possible too.

You might want to go sign up for that Mastodon account now. I suspect that you’re going to need it.

Elon Emails Twitter Staff…. He Kills Remote Work & Warns Of “Difficult Times Ahead”

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

It took Elon Musk a while, but he’s finally emailed the staff of Twitter on Wednesday. And the news that he shared was not good. The Verge has the details:

In the email sent to Twitter staff late Wednesday evening and obtained by The Verge, Musk warned that a weaker economic environment in the US would mean difficulties for the company’s ads business. “Frankly, the economic picture ahead is dire, especially for a company like ours that is so dependent on advertising in a challenging economic climate,” he wrote. “Moreover, 70% of our advertising is brand, rather than specific performance, which makes us doubly vulnerable!”

Musk said the company’s “top priority” is Twitter Blue, its revamped $8 a month subscription that adds a verified check mark to the user’s profile and unlocks additional features. “Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn,” he wrote. “We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription.”

In a one-sentence follow-up email sent shortly after, simply titled “Top Priority,” Musk said, “Over the next few days, the absolute top priority is finding and suspending any verified bots/trolls/spam.”

He also told employees that, starting November 10th, they are expected to be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours a week and that he would only approve remote work on a case-by-case basis. “Obviously, if you are physically unable to travel to an office or have a critical personal obligation, then your absence is understandable,” he wrote.

I’m going to call it now. None of this is going to go over well with the remaining staff that are left at Twitter. In fact, this will likely send many to the exits. Assuming that everything else that is going on with Twitter hasn’t already sent the remaining staff to the exits. And what kills me about this email is that he’s taken two weeks or so to click send on it. If you’re looking to retain talent, communicating to employees should be job number one. But that’s clearly not how Musk rolls. And that will come back to haunt him.

All I have to say at this point is that anyone left in Twitter should assume the worst and make plans to be working someplace else when it happens. Because it will happen.

Threat Analyst Finds Cybercriminals Defrauding E-Commerce Vendors Around Holiday Season

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Cybersixgill has published a new report analyzing how scammers commit refund fraud to steal from retailers on the heels of the RH-ISAC releasing its cyber threat trends, which highlights return fraud as a key area of concern that’s trending in the retail and hospitality industry during this holiday season. 

Threat Intelligence Researcher at Cybersixgill, Adi Bleih, examines refunding tactics increasingly growing in popularity on underground forums, where scammers share how they make cash by defrauding retailers, including a breakdown of the top 10 most mentioned brands on the dark web for retail fraud in 2022.

The report is worth your time to read. Especially if you’re selling online this holiday season.

Elon Musk’s Incompetence And Ego May Be Putting Twitter In The Crosshairs Of The FTC

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

A reader pointed me to this story on The Verge where it illustrates that the chaos within Twitter is worse than what we think it is. Let’s start with this:

Twitter’s privacy and security team is in turmoil after Elon Musk’s changes to the service bypassed the company’s standard data governance processes. The company’s chief privacy officer Damien Kieran, chief information security officer Lea Kissner, and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty have all resigned, according to two sources and an internal message seen by The Verge. Kissner confirmed their departure in a tweet.

In a note posted to Twitter’s Slack and viewable to all staff, an attorney on the company’s privacy team wrote that “Elon has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them. I do not believe he cares about the human rights activists. the dissidents, our users in un-monetizable regions, and all the other users who have made Twitter the global town square you have all spent so long building, and we all love.”

Well, I’ve been saying that for a while now. Thus it’s not a shock that this sentiment is starting to become more and more visible in the public sphere. But that’s not the worst of it. This is:

One of the main issues appears to be the FTC settlement Twitter agreed to in May after getting caught using personal user info to target ads. If Twitter doesn’t comply with that agreement, the FTC can issue fines reaching into the billions of dollars, according to the note. The note goes on to say that the writer has “heard Alex Spiro (current head of Legal) say that Elon is willing to take on a huge amount of risk in relation to this company and its users, because ‘Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC.’”

Musk’s new legal department is also apparently asking engineers to “self-certify” compliance with FTC rules and other privacy laws. “I anticipate that all of you will de pressured by management into pushing out changes that will likely lead to major incidents,” the lawyer wrote in the message to colleagues, which you can read below.

Here’s part of the internal Slack message sent by a leader on Twitter’s legal team:

Over the last two weeks. Elon has shown that he cares only about recouping the losses he’s incurring as a result of failing to get out of his binding obligation to buy Twitter. He chose to enter into that agreement! All of us are being put through this as a result of the choices he made. 

Elon has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them. I do not believe he cares about the human rights activists. the dissidents, our users in un-monetizable regions, and all the other users who have made Twitter the global town square you have all spent so long building, and we all love.

I have heard Alex Spiro (current head of Legal) say that Elon is willing to take on a huge amount of risk in relation to this company and its users, because “Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC.” I have heard another leader in the Legal department say that because of the tight SLA’s (of two weeks?!) between product inception > launch, Legal will “have to shift the burden to engineers” to self-certify compliance with FTC requirements and other laws. This will put huge amount of personal, professional and legal risk onto engineers: I anticipate that all of you will de pressured by management into pushing out changes that will likely lead to major incidents. 

All of this is extremely dangerous for our users. Also, given that the FTC can (and will!) fine Twitter BILLIONS of dollars pursuant to the FTC Consent Order, extremely detrimental to Twitter’s longevity as a platform. Our users deserve so much better than this.

If you feel uncomfortable about anything you’re being asked to do, you can call Twitter’s Ethics Hotline at (800) 275-4843 or submit a report at ethicshelpline.twitter.com. Please also note the FTC’s number is: 1-877-FTC-HELP. You may also remember that Mudge reached out to httos://whistlebloweraid.org

I wish you all luck. It’s been such an honor to work with all of you. And I’ll be taking a day of PTO today.

To be frank, this is far worse that I imagined as taking on the FTC is not a good idea as they have a great track record of winning against people who think that they are above the law. Musk thinks he’s above the law and will likely find out the hard way that he’s not. In the meantime Twitter users will lose and the platform will burn to the ground. And the person holding the matches and the the can of gas will be Elon Musk.

Walmart Canada and TELUS Health Join Forces To Provide Walmart Associates With Comprehensive Virtual Health And Wellbeing Services

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Walmart Canada and TELUS Health announced today a new strategic initiative to bring TELUS Health’s full suite of total health and wellbeing solutions to all Walmart associates in Canada. This robust suite of health services will provide Walmart Canada associates and their families with confidential access to hundreds of health professionals from a variety of disciplines to support every step of their healthcare journey.

This enhanced offering will provide associates and their eligible dependents with a single source to access a full suite of services to improve their overall wellness, whether they need counseling on a variety of topics, including mental health, nutrition advice and more, a virtual consultation with a clinician, or want to improve their lifestyle habits through weight loss, more exercise or better eating. Programs include:

  • Virtual Care: associates and their family will have access to primary care from trusted clinicians, 24/7 and on-demand for text and video consultations. Drawing from diverse backgrounds, these healthcare professionals are trained to deliver inclusive care in a variety of languages, including occupational awareness, gender and sexual identity, ethnocultural diversity and faith, allowing associates to be matched with a compatible clinician.
  • Employee Enablement: This next generation platform transforms traditional Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) into a single convenient and collaborative access point so that associates can more easily manage their physical and mental health, wellbeing, and work/life integration. Unique to this platform are dedicated care advocates who develop compassionate and guided care plans that support associates on their path towards improved health, mindfulness, performance and self-esteem. 
  • Wellbeing: associates in Canada will be able to embrace wellbeing and improve their overall health by engaging with like-minded communities and taking part in friendly challenges with colleagues to help build healthier habits, with the resources and goal-setting support they need to sustain newly-gleaned habits.

Associates can access the TELUS Health suite of solutions in French and English 24/7 via a single smartphone app or direct telephone number. associates will also be able to access the services in 220 other languages and dialects through specialized translation services, the first client to do so.

TELUS Health has more than a decade of experience in virtual care services delivering a national, employer-focused suite of programs that make health and wellness more accessible for associates and their families.

DH2i Launches DxEnterprise (DxE) Container Sidecar

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

DH2i today announced the general availability (GA) launch of DxEnterprise (DxE) version 22 (v22) featuring a new container sidecar to enable application-level high availability (HA) clustering for stateful containers in Kubernetes (K8s). 

Today, Kubernetes is one of the world’s leading open-source systems for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications. The DxE v22 sidecar delivers a separate container that can run alongside an application container in a Kubernetes pod. For database architects and developers the DxE sidecar delivers three key deployment benefits: 

  1. Isolation: The primary application can run independently in one container while the DxE sidecar hosts complementary HA clustering services. This independence can help isolate failures.
  2. Quick deployment: It’s easy to deploy a DxE sidecar container — certainly easier to build and maintain a combined primary application/DxE container image.
  3. Scalability: Once you have the DxE sidecar containers in place, it’s easy to scale up to support as many pods as needed.

DxEnterprise support for containers accelerates an enterprise’s digital transformation by speeding the adoption of highly available stateful containers. DxEnterprise provides SQL Server Availability Group (AG) support for SQL Server containers, including for Kubernetes clusters. It enables customers to deploy stateful containers to create new and innovative applications while also improving operations with near-zero RTO to more efficiently deliver better products and services at a lower cost. Additionally, it helps organizations generate new revenue streams by enabling them to build distributed Kubernetes AG clusters across availability zones/regions, resulting in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments which can rapidly adapt to changes in market conditions and consumer preferences.

For those attending this week’s 2022 PASS Data Community Summit, taking place at the Seattle Convention Center, November 15-18, please visit the DH2i Booth 119.

In addition, please join Jeff Estes, Senior Director, Systems Engineering, Software AG Government Solutions for his 2022 PASS Data Community Summit presentation:

Deploying SQL Server AGs in EKS for Secure Federal Government Cloud Services

November 16, 6:45 am – 7:55 am; Room 608-609

The use of containers in the Federal Government is exploding as it looks for better ways to improve the performance, scalability, and portability of their applications in secure cloud environments. Despite the promise of containers, deploying SQL Server AGs in Kubernetes remains a hurdle that organizations struggle to overcome. Join Jeff Estes of Software AG Government Solutions for breakfast to learn how he used DH2i’s DxEnterprise to jump the hurdle and deploy highly available SQL Server Availability Groups (AGs) in EKS certified for FedRAMP. (Reserve your spot here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/deploy-ha-sql-server-ags-in-eks-certified-for-fedramp-tickets-439683534287)

TSN Available Today on Roku Streaming Players and Roku TV Models

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Roku, Inc. and Bell Media have announced the launch of TSN on Roku® streaming players and Roku TV models, in a continued partnership with Bell Media. As the #1 TV streaming platform in Canada, Roku continues to expand its content library for Canadians across the country. Canadian Roku users will now have access to live and on demand programming from TSN, Canada’s Sports Leader.

Starting today, Roku users can stream sports content including: the CFL season, culminating with the Grey Cup; IIHF Women’s and Men’s World Championships and the World Juniors; comprehensive coverage of the Toronto Raptors and the NBA; regional NHL broadcasts; FIFA World Cup™; extensive live coverage of the NFL; golf Majors and tennis Grand Slams; plus MLS, F1, NASCAR, UFC, NCAA March Madness, and much more.

To access, users can sign in to TSN on the Roku platform using their existing TSN login credentials, and new users can sign up directly via Roku Pay.

Availability

Roku users can add the TSN apps to their home screen directly from the Channel Store on the Roku platform. For more information about Roku, please visit www.roku.com

Nuspire Releases Its Q3 Threat Report… And The Threat Landscape Is As Dangerous As Its Ever Been

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Nuspire is just launched its latest threat report. Here’s the highlights of what the threat landscape looks like at present.

Notable findings from Nuspire’s quarterly report include: 

  • A 236.22% jump in Kryptik variants, which are a type of trojan malware distributed to victims through phishing campaigns. Their goal is to steal information, including cryptocurrency wallets, files and SSH keys. 
  • An increase of 35.39% in botnet activity, mostly attributed to Torpig Mebroot, a banking trojan designed to scrape and collect credit card and payment information from infected devices.  
  • Remote access trojans (RATs) are popular with threat actors, with the report indicating increased activity from RATs like ZeroAccess and Xtreme RAT. 
  • Vulnerabilities, particularly those containing a remote code execution, continue to be a go-to target for cyber criminals. In Q3, VMware Workspace ONE Access and Identity Manager as well as the Zimbra Collaboration Suite saw heightened activity. 

You can read the full threat report here and is very much worth your time to read.

New Hackers Target Gov Sectors In Nation Attack; Emails Contain Malicious Trojans Disguised as Voicemails

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Avanan, a Check Point Software Company, discusses how hackers target the government sector in the Western Hemisphere. 

This country, on average, sees 34,000 phishing attacks a year, most of which are financial-based attacks targeting government departments such as the Bureau of Standards, Foreign Affairs, and the Attorney General Office.

In this attack, victims are presented with an email containing a .htm file claiming that there is a voicemail transcription. In hopes that end-users would click on the file, the link contains a trojan that, when opened, would take over the users’ computers. 

The full report can be viewed here.

The Gong Show That Is Twitter Blue Gets Even Worse With The Blue Checkmark Being Put On Hold…. And There’s More

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 10, 2022 by itnerd

Within 24 hours of Twitter Blue launching, it became a train wreck next to a dumpster fire with high profile brands being impersonated on Twitter. Take this example:

There was other mayhem that you can read about here. Some of it is funny. Some not so much. And for the record, all these fake accounts got suspended pretty quickly.

With stuff like this, it’s no shock that advertisers are pulling their marketing dollars from Twitter. After all it’s clearly not a safe place for their brands to be. Yes this behaviour violates the Twitter terms of service. But that’s not the point. The point is that literally anyone can do this or worse because Twitter Blue requires zero verification as to who you are. That opens the doors for pretty much anything to happen. And not just brand impersonation. How about misinformation by a foreign government? Or how about misinformation about health related matters?

I guess either Elon Musk figured that out finally, or is simply embarrassed because this has blown up in his face in such a spectacular manner. Either way, you will now not be able to sign up for Twitter Blue if your Twitter account was created after November 9th based on this:

One thing that puzzles me about this is that according to the above, Twitter Blue is only available to iOS users. What happened Elon? did you lay off all your Android developers and now you’re stuck because they won’t return your phone calls when you asked them to return to work?

Stopping new accounts from getting the blue check is a temporary solution at best. This doesn’t stop existing Twitter accounts from pulling the same stunt. And it isn’t clear how Elon is going to stop any of this long term. Likely because he has no clue as he’s flying by the seat of his pants making stuff up on the fly out of desperation to make money as quickly as possible.

That makes this post on Mastodon timely:

In any case, if you really want that blue checkmark, and you are a new Twitter user on any platform, Dbrand can help you with that:

I’m predicting that this will get the attention of Elon and he will lose it on Twitter. That will give Dbrand attention and they will make lots of money from the noise that is created by Elon losing his mind. If you want an example of how Dbrand has made a situation like this work for them in the past, this is worth your time to read. Even if that doesn’t happen, this drop by Dbrand will likely make more money than Musk will. Plus the fact that it’s simply out there really puts into perspective how half baked Musk’s Twitter Blue idea is. And take it from me, it won’t get easier for Musk as it becomes increasingly clearer that he’s out of his league when it comes to Twitter.