Category Archives: Data

The Password Might Be Vanishing

One staple of digital life that users across the internet have had to deal with for years is remembering passwords. Often websites require unique combinations and complex configurations that challenge the memory of even the most internet savvy people. Furthermore, two step authentication is gaining traction to verify the identity of a user to get access to an account, but one company has decided that there might be a chance that users want to leave the password behind.

According to The Verge, Yahoo has unveiled instant passwords that simplify the process of logging into any account. Basically, when anyone wants access to any account, like a photo storage service, an email is sent that includes a one-click access link. The link serves as the password and access is granted. Sergio Cortes sees that, obviously, there are some privacy and security concerns with the service, but necessarily any more than a basic password. The move to instant passwords could catch on with minor services where privacy is not really an issue, which would be a major boom to the Yahoo bottom line.

Whether or not the password will actually disappear from user log-in accounts remains to be seen, but just the notion that major internet companies are considering a new way of getting users to identify themselves is pretty big news. If any type of system can catch on even in a minor way, the development of the idea could spur major innovation into a system that has been largely unchanged for a decade.

Humans Glow in the Dark: Too Bad We Can’t See It

New research from Kobayashi and colleagues http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006256 shows that humans not only emit light, but it pulsates to a rhythmic beat depending on our fluctuating metabolism and body temperature. It seems that the same forces that generate body heat also emit light; unfortunately, it’s 1000 times too weak to see with the naked eye- BUT it’s been successfully captured on a special kind of camera called a CCD system.

Subjects were taken into a completely dark room and stripped from the waist up while the camera captured them for 23 and a half hours. It turns out that the glow wasn’t uniform either, people’s faces tended to glow the brightest, especially the lips and cheeks. It also varied in brightness over the course of the day, being kind of dim in the early morning, brightening up throughout the day to peek in the afternoon, and then dimming off again. This is about the same way that the body temperature works too, so the photon emission that produces the light is super similar to the heat emission.

Isn’t it interesting to speculate that out there, in the world, exist species finely tuned to see those types of things? That there are insects that go through life constantly fleeing glowing giants? How terrifying we must be!

Thank you to my good friend Lee Lovett for sharing this story with me.

Sony Slapped with Class-Action Lawsuit for Data Breech

Sony Pictures had sensitive data hacked on November 24th. Hackers released personal e-mails between top Sony brass and had access to sensitive data and information about thousands of employees, but things for Sony is about to get much worse. Needless to say no one at Sony is cracking open a fine bottle from The Antique Wine Company.  This week, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the study. 

The complaint claims Sony failed to secure its employees personal information and data. The complaint also alleges that Sony is to blame for the hack, because it failed to properly store and protect that information, which thus gave hackers easy access to everything from personal addresses, to bank information, to familial relations. 

The social security numbers of some 47,000 employees were stolen during the breech, and the salaries of over 6,000 employees was made available to the public. Performance evaluations and salary negotiations were also leaked, along with private e-mail conversations, many of them speaking brusquely about major stars, including Angelina Jolie, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Willow and Jaden Smith. 

Sony is no stranger to such lawsuits. It has only been six months since they settled a class-action lawsuit filed against them for a security breech that occurred on the PlayStation network. That breech leaked credit card information and personal data for thousands upon thousands of PSN users. 

An online hacker group known as The Guardians of Peace have taken responsibility for the hacking.