Top Story: Sony Hack
The first signs of the Sony Hack happened the Monday of Thanksgiving weekend.
Threats were made, computers were shut down and some 100 terabytes of Sony server data (enough to hold the Library of Congress’s print collection tenfold) are slowly being released to the public.
Leaked data include emails, salaries, medical records, passports, visas, passwords, budgets, contracts, workplace complaints, released and not-yet-released films and even critiques of Adam Sandler movies. Just this Sunday, an early version of the script for the next James Bond film Spectre was leaked.
The hack is a massive violation of privacy of the personal lives of not just executives and talent, but also of the thousands of people whom Sony employs.
Among the most talked about content leaked are the emails from Sony Pictures Co-Chair Amy Pascal and CEO Michael Lynton. The former contained embarrassing commentary on Hollywood celebrities and President Obama. The latter contained the future plans of Snapchat.
With Lynton on the Snapchat’s board, his leaked emails revealed that the company isn’t planning on disappearing any time soon. It’s already acquired a Google Glass competitor and the QR-code scanning service Scan.me, and has plans to integrate with iTunes, allowing users to buy music through the service.
Yesterday, U.S. authorities confirmed North Korea as the source of the cyber-attacks. U.S. investigators believe the attacks originated outside North Korea, but they have determined that the actions were sanctioned by North Korean leaders. The hackers call themselves the Guardians of Peace.
In response, Sony has pulled its comedy The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogan, from the box office.
In today’s digital age, so much of our lives is spent and stored online. As this only becomes more true, security needs to be considered as a priority.
Cyberattacks are nothing new. In fact, they happen every day, but this recent hack goes to show the immense threat an online attack has on physical world.
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel shared a particularly poignant response:
I shared this with our team today and I wanted to share it with our partners and friends bc I think it’s important. pic.twitter.com/eN5HpAhp42
— Evan Spiegel (@evanspiegel) December 17, 2014
We vow to do the same!
Under the Radar: Instagram’s New Filters
It’s been two full years since new filters have been added to Instagram. December 2012 saw the addition of Mayfair, a warm pink tone with a brightened center and thin black border, and Willow, a monochrome filter with subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border.
Now, five new filters are joining the crew:
According to Instagram, these new filters were “inspired by the photography, art, fashion and design of the global Instagram community… They soften and subtly shift colors to achieve the look and feel you want for your each photo.”
You will also be able to manage the filters you see – favoriting the ones you use often, and abandoning the ones you never use (Bye, Kelvin!).
Tool of the Week: GingerbreadBNB
AirBNB lets you book a stay at someone’s house, but what if that house could be made of gingerbread? This holiday season, GingerbreadBNB gives you the chance to do just that.
Okay, you won’t actually be staying in a house made of gingerbread. Rather, GingerbreadBNB gives you the opportunity to book a virtual stay, and all the money from your rental will go to Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, to provide shelter to homeless families.
According to GingerbreadBNB.com:
More than 58,000 people seek shelter every night in NYC. This breaks down to over 12,000 families with over 25,000 children. Every $100 raised on our site gives one of these families a home for a night.
Here’s how it works:
Currently, 358 nights have been booked in GingerbreadBNB’s three offerings: Modern Home, Rustic Cabin and Cozy Camper.
So far, 31 families have been helped through the effort. So why not, “go ahead, take a little candy vacation.”
Around the Hub: UMASS Named Chanceller of USM
Former president of Towson University, now UMASS President Robert Caret is returning to Maryland to take over the role of chancellor of the University System of Maryland (USM), replacing current Chancellor William E. Kirwan who announced his retirement.
In his new role, Caret will oversee USM’s 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; University of Maryland University College; and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies.
I am excited and energized to return to Maryland and the University System of Maryland,” Caret said in a statement. “I have dedicated 29 years of my professional career to the system and the state and to two primary goals: to ensure we provide high-quality, affordable education and that we continue to build a research-based economic engine. I look forward to working to ensure those two goals remain central to all that we do.
As the 26th president of UMASS, Caret made the issues of college affordability and student debt his primary concern. Throughout his 3.5 year tenure, he implemented the 50-50 funding formula, where the state and students contributing equally to the university’s general education program and a 22% increase in the base budget for two years.
He was perhaps best known for securing a $34 billion state budget, allowing UMASS to freeze tuition and fees for in-state undergrads for 2013 and 2014.
USM is in good hands. We wish you success, President Caret!