Wednesday, December 3, 2014

An Art Movement Where Art and Science Collide

Science Friday is one of my favorite podcasts. Filled with tons of interesting interviews, comments and reports, this is my weekend "radio station."

In last Friday's, one of the topics was "An Art Movement Where Art and Science Collide". The part that totally baffled me was the two tunes: one is from Johann Sebastian Bach, the other was generated by an algorithm written by David Cope (here are some other references: 1, 2 and 3). While I had no difficulties identifying the "real" Bach (I know that piece for having played it), I was really impressed by the likeliness to the real works composed by JS Bach.

I do remember, in the olden days of the 3DO, a program by Sid Meyer called "CPU Bach" that composed works "in the style of" Johann Sebastian Bach. This one goes a step further. I wonder if we should create a "Music Turing Test"

There is another piece on David Cope's page on the USCS website. Though I think that some parts would not have been written that way by Johann Sebastian Bach, the end result is truly amazing.

Monday, December 1, 2014

PoS malware found targeting mass transit systems

The security company InterCrawler has found a new malware strain that targets the mass transit systems

In the report, a sentence had both my eyebrows raise and my jaw drops at the same time:
"During ongoing POS investigations it was determined that some operators of Point-of-Sale terminals have violated their own internal security policies and have used their terminal for gaming and WEB-surfing, checking e-mail from it, sending messages, and viewing social networks. These cases have a common denominator of weak passwords and logins, many of which were found in large 3rd party credential exposures."
This is almost 2015 and still people operating Point of Sale terminals are still incapable of realizing that their actions can result in huge dramas. 

To the casual reader, this seems bad. To the security-minded, this is even worse: it means that these machines had, at the time of the breach, access to the Internet. This is in direct violation of the PCI standard

Last Friday was Black Friday in the US, I am curious to discover how many retailers were compromised and how much money cybercriminals have amassed.