Unemployment Rates….. Vote with your Comments on which is Believable and Not?
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/05/why-he-hacked-university-of-maryland-contractor-turned-hacker-tells-all/ By Sean Gallagher Ars Technica May 6, 2014 David Helkowski stood waiting outside a restaurant in Towson, Maryland, fresh from a visit to the unemployment office. Recently let go from his computer consulting job after engaging in some “freelance hacking” of a client’s network, Helkowski was still insistent on one point: his hack, designed to draw attention to security flaws, had been a noble act. The FBI had a slightly different take on what happened, raiding Helkowski’s home and seizing his gear. Helkowski described the event on reddit in a thread he titled, “IamA Hacker who was Raided by the FBI and Secret Service AMAA!” Recently Ars sat down with him, hoping to get a better understanding of how this whitehat entered a world of gray. Helkowski was willing to tell practically everything—even in the middle of an ongoing investigation. Until recently, Helkowski worked for The Canton Group, a Baltimore-based computer consulting firm serving, among other clients, the University of Maryland. Helkowski’s job title at The Canton Group was “team lead of open source solutions,” but he began to shift his concerns toward security after identifying problems on a University of Maryland server. That transformation from developer to hacker came to a head when Helkowski decided that the vulnerabilities had gone unfixed for too long. He set out to prove a point about computer security both to the University of Maryland and to his employers. In early March 2014, working from a computer in his Parkville, Maryland home, Helkowski said that he exploited a misconfigured Web server and some poor database security in order to duplicate the results of a recent data breach that exposed the Social Security numbers and personal information for more than 300,000 current and former University of Maryland students and staff. […]
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/jpmorgan-warns-465-000-card-users-data-loss-after-hacker-2D11701157 By David Henry and Jim Finkle Reuters December 5, 2013 JPMorgan Chase & Co. is warning some 465,000 holders of prepaid cash cards issued by the bank that their personal information may have been accessed by hackers who attacked its network in July. The cards were issued for corporations to pay employees and for government agencies to issue tax refunds, unemployment compensation and other benefits. JPMorgan said Wednesday it had detected that the web servers used by its site www.ucard.chase.com had been breached in the middle of September. It then fixed the issue and reported it to law enforcement. Bank spokesman Michael Fusco said that since the breach was discovered, the bank has been trying to find out exactly which accounts were involved and what information may have been compromised. He declined to discuss how the attackers breached the bank’s network. […]
A recent article published by Vanity Fair explored how this practice negatively affected Microsoft, Forbes further explored the history at GE. I am curious how many individual companies have adopted this practice and how much is affecting the unemployment number. If we truly have a systemic use of a stack ranking system across the entire economy we could surely see a larger long-term elevated unemployment level simply because companies are churning their employees. The original rank and yank program at General Electric systematically cut the bottom 10% of employees. I am curious if this is a systemic practice that laws should be enacted to prevent its use as it has broad reaching effects against the economy and some call and unfair business practice. In research studies I’ve read, researchers found that in the first three years there were benefits to running a rank and yank program for a company in need of a turn-around but that after year three the companies that employ this type of program started cutting their valuable employees.
The security practitioner side of me wonders how much this mandatory churning in employment at some large organizations leads to intellectual property leaking in an automated way towards competitor organizations. In my opinion the intellectual property leakage costs might outweigh the benefits of having an automated stack ranking program. What organizations really ought to do is have managers manage appropriately and provide appropriate training so that they understand when and if they need to terminate an employee rather than force them into some sort of systemic ranking scheme that has them terminate employees in an un-fair way.
As many of us already know corporations and banks have changed the way they provide printed information to customers (at least for the most part). Corporations over the last 10 years have increasingly adopted policies against using social security numbers and personally identifiable information (PII) in their mailed reports, bills or customer invoices. This was primarily chartered by privacy advocates to reduce the exposure of customer data and prevent it from being used as a data source for identity theft. The increase of dumpster diving and drive by mailbox raids made it clear that we had to do something about what we disclose. Our governments don’t always seem to adopt the same protections that we’d expect of our public and private corporations so I’m hopeful my article will entice the citizenry to contact their government agencies and demand some changes.
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