Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Secret Service Can't Afford The Trump Family's Lifestyle

Secret Service Can't Afford The Trump Family's Lifestyle | The Huffington Post

How do you afford that rock n' roll lifestyle? 

Secret Service Can't Afford The Trump Family's Lifestyle

The agency recently asked for $60 million more, but was told "no."

President Donald Trump's frequent travel, large family and unusual living situation are apparently weighing heavily on the Secret Service's budget.

The agency recently requested an additional $60 million in spending for fiscal year 2018, according to a Washington Post report on Tuesday. Nearly $27 million of that was to be earmarked for security at the president's private residence at Trump Tower in New York, where first lady Melania Trump lives with their 11-year-old son. The Secret Service also said it needed another $33 million to cover travel costs incurred by "the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state."

The Office of Management and Budget rejected the request, a source told the Post, which could potentially force the Secret Service to scale back on other operations, like investigations into cyber hacking, counterfeit currency, financial crimes or missing and exploited minors.

The Post report comes amid questions about the president's regular weekend jaunts to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Trump has made at least five trips to the "Southern White House" since his inauguration, each time costing taxpayers an estimated $3 million or more.

Providing Secret Service details for the first lady and the rest of Trump's family, including his four adult sons and daughters, has also led to mounting costs. Although this level of protection is standard for the first family, the specific needs of Trump's older children have attracted scrutiny.

In February, for example, Eric Trump flew to Uruguay to promote the Trump Organization. The trip ended up costing taxpayers nearly $90,000 in hotel bills for the Secret Service agents who accompanied him, leading to renewed criticism of how the president's business interests intertwine with government functions.

The idea of taxpayers footing higher bills to protect the wealthy Trumps may not sit well with critics of the harsh federal budget the president released last week. Trump's plan proposes eliminating a number of antipoverty programs.

At a press conference this week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there was no hypocrisy here.

"Presidents always travel," said Spicer. "The president, wherever he goes, he carries the apparatus of the White House with us. That is just something that happens."

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Twitter Suspends 376K Accounts Tied to Terrorism | Investopedia

Twitter Suspends 376K Accounts Tied to Terrorism | Investopedia
Do I look like a fucking terrorist? 

Twitter Suspends 376K Accounts Tied to Terrorism

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) disclosed Tuesday it had suspended hundreds of thousands of accounts for violations related to the promotion of terrorism.

According to the social media network, it suspended 376,890 accounts between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, and a total of 636,248 accounts from Aug. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2016. Twitter said of the suspensions, 74% of the accounts were identified by internal, proprietary spam-fighting tools while less than 2% of the suspensions came from requests by a government. Twitter released the information in its transparency report, which it has issued twice a year since 2012. While Twitter had previously given updates about the suspension of accounts associated with terrorism and extremism in blog posts, this marks the first time it included the numbers in the report. Twitter plans to include suspension numbers in future transparency reports, as well.

Stepping Up Policing

While Twitter has previously engaged in suspending accounts that are associated with terrorism, in recent months it's been stepping up its policing of its social media network to weed out abusive and violent behavior. For Twitter, the stakes are high. With advertisers increasingly spending their ad dollars on competing social networks like Facebook Inc. (FB), Twitter has to give companies reasons to want to advertise on its social network. (See also: Twitter: CEO Dorsey Facing Calls to Step Down.)

In February, the embattled social media company quietly started rolling out a feature that temporarily limits a user's Twitter reach if they break the rules such as cursing out a lawmaker or otherwise engaging in abusive or bad behavior. The new feature, which was first reported by BuzzFeed, basically puts the user in a timeout where only people in his or her network can view their tweets for a limited period of time. The feature was put to use in a prominent way shortly after news reports surfaced about it when David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader's Twitter account was suspended for a temporary period of time without Twitter giving a reason for the penalty. Twitter and Facebook have come under attack for not doing enough to prevent abusive behavior on their social networks and have been increasingly taking steps to counter that.


Hacked Twitter Accounts Post Swastikas, Pro-Erdogan Content - Bloomberg

Hacked Twitter Accounts Post Swastikas, Pro-Erdogan Content - Bloomberg

Hacked Twitter Accounts Post Swastikas, Pro-Erdogan Content

As Dutch voters head to the polls on Wednesday, a swath of high-profile Twitter accounts have been hacked, with the attackers posting content supporting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his feud with Germany and the Netherlands.

Turkish-language hashtags reading "NaziGermany" and "NaziHolland" appeared on the verified Twitter accounts of German newspaper Die Welt, Forbes Magazine, BBC North America, and Reuters Japan. Also targeted were the Twitter accounts of the European Parliament, French politicians like Alain Juppé, and Sprint Corp.'s Chief Executive Officer and President Marcelo Claure, among others.

Hi everyone - we temporarily lost control of this account, but normal service has resumed. Thanks.

— BBC North America (@BBCNorthAmerica) · Washington, DC

"We are aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning," said Twitter Inc. company spokeswoman Kaori Saito. "We quickly located the source which was limited to a third party app. We removed its permissions immediately. No additional accounts are impacted." 

An Amsterdam-based startup said it's investigating if it's the source of the postings. Twitter Counter, a marketing tool that allows people and companies to track their popularity on Twitter, said it's now blocking people from postings through its system while it studies the issue. The company says it has more than 2 million users and tracks more than 350 million Twitter accounts.

"Our app has been used. It's pending further investigation," said Twitter Counter CEO Omer Ginor. "We are aware of the situation and have started an investigation into the matter." 

Twitter shares fell 2 percent to $15.01 at 10:11 a.m. in New York. They have declined 6 percent so far this year.

"Individual hacks like this one, in isolation, are unlikely to have much impact on Twitter," said Cyrus Mewawalla, managing director at CM Research. "But the sheer volume of these kind of events will have a damaging impact. Twitter and other social media sites are on the verge of a regulatory backlash that could ultimately impact their business model."

Twitter Counter, founded in 2008, reported an attack in November in which accounts from Sony Corp., Viacom Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others were compromised and posting spam messages. Twitter Counter apologized and said it had fixed the problem. 

Ginor said the company had reached "95 percent certainty" that it had fixed the problem after being hacked in November. The company couldn't be sure a hacker was "still lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the opportunity." 

The incidents show the indirect ways hackers can take over a company's Twitter feed. Twitter Counter is one of many companies that plug into Twitter to provide marketing and analytics tools for people, businesses and other groups. Companies including Time Inc., Netflix Inc., Chevron Corp. and YouTube use Twitter Counter, according to its website.

"With the current political conflict between The Netherlands and Turkey, we have observed an increase in takeovers of high profile social media accounts," said Jens Monrad, senior intelligence analyst at cybersecurity company FireEye Inc.

The attack comes just a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government increased the pressure on social networks, including Facebook Inc. and Twitter, to curb the spread of fake news and malicious posts, weighing fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million) for companies that fail to delete illegal content in a timely manner. Her government is taking malicious posts on social media increasingly seriously ahead of the Sept. 24 election in Europe's biggest economy.

The tweets Wednesday included a swastika and described the attack as a "little Ottoman slap." "See you on April 16," they read, referring to the date of Turkey's referendum to grant more powers to Erdogan, and finish with: "What did I write? Learn Turkish."

A four-minute video attached to the tweets begins with an Erdogan speech in which he says: "If we're going to die, let's die like men." It then features scenes from various Erdogan speeches, starting with his showdown with then-Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009, as a campaign song chanting his name, "Recep Tayyip Erdogan," plays in the background.

BBC North America has since tweeted that it "temporarily lost control" of its account, but normal service has resumed. Some of the tweets have been deleted.

"Attackers always look for the weakest link of the chain," said Matt Suiche, founder of United Arab Emirates-based cyber-security startup Comae Technologies. "Third party platforms are perfect targets. It makes lots of sense."


Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president

Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president
And I'm the one who gets suspended? 

Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president

Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president

Hackers took control of several prominent Twitter accounts today, posting swastikas and slogans supporting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda (NaziGermany and NaziHolland) were used in tweets, reported Bloomberg.

According to the report, the tweets said the attack was a "little Ottoman slap." Followed by, "See you on April 16," referring to the date of Turkey's referendum to grant more powers to Erdogan.

Tweets end with, "What did I write? Learn Turkish."

Twitter Counter said hackers used a flaw in its application to gain access to several high-profile accounts.

"Assuming this abuse is indeed done using our system, we've blocked all ability to post tweets and changed our Twitter app key," said Twitter Counter.

An hour later it said: "The Twitter Counter application is blocked on Twitter. If this activity continues, then we strongly believe it's not just through us."

Tweets containing a swastika and pro-Erdogan sentiments appeared on the Twitter accounts of Unicef, Amnesty International, Die Welt, Forbes Magazine, BBC North America, and Reuters Japan.

Bloomberg reported that attackers also targeted the accounts of the European Parliament, French politician Alain Juppé, and CEO of Sprint Marcelo Claure.

NaziGermany and NaziHolland Twitter hack - Amnesty International

Now read: WikiLeaks to share CIA hacking tools with tech firms


Build digital DNA: Leveraging M&A to reshape the IT workforce | CIO

Build digital DNA: Leveraging M&A to reshape the IT workforce | CIO

Build digital DNA: Leveraging M&A to reshape the IT workforce

Authors: Seth Van Winkle, McCree Lake, Daniel McCarthy

As organizations going through M&A transactions begin to emerge from the massive surge of work, CIOs must consider how they can pivot toward an operating model that drives digital value. We have already explored the areas of the IT workforce to assess before M&A activity, and how to seize the value of the surge to reconfigure IT. Mapping the digital journey from the surge to a longer-term vision is a significant challenge for every business, because over half of IT leaders do not even have a digital transformation plan. For IT, this means having a road map that addresses the technological changes like cloud, modular applications and data management, as well as the cultural changes required to shift the way people learn and work. Given the massive level of disruption, it is not enough for tech leaders to just navigate the transaction and then hope for the best — there has to be a clear and actionable road map for building digital DNA.  

Design an IT workforce road map

Assuming that talent strategy and management are the responsibility of HR alone is a mistake for IT leaders, especially in the aftermath of a complex M&A transformation — success after this level of extensive change requires more than just a scale-up or a scale-down of the existing operating model. During these major inflection points, there are often significant cultural changes and shifts in responsibilities. CIOs should not allow the "chips to fall where they may" but should instead take time to think strategically about the IT workforce and design a flagship set of activities to build the future labor force. Specifically, this means redefining the way that IT sources talent, redefining the way people are managed, measured and trained, and shifting how IT roles fit into the broader enterprise. Developing a road map is typically done by considering the maturity of specific areas associated with managing the IT workforce — recruiting, performance and engagement, skilling and development, and organizational positions and structure. For example, when considering jobs and structure, is the IT organization adapting to roles that may live within technology and business domains? Additionally, are there plans for how to classify people aligned more to projects than traditional fixed positions? Activities should consider the strategic goals the company is expecting to achieve, both broadly and as a result of the M&A activity, and take into account opportunities presented by emerging technologies and new ways of working. IT leaders should focus on shifting delivery models and better "selling" people-related investments from a technology perspective. A workforce plan is one of the tools to ensure that IT is well positioned to support the business in creating value in a systematic way.

Build a "digital-as-a-service" workforce

M&A and divestiture transactions bring tremendous complexity and demand to IT organizations, but this inflection point allows the IT workforce to flex from a rigid, role-based hierarchy into a collaborative, project-based organization. Shifting towards a "digital-as-a-service" workforce during M&A allows the leadership to break down existing silos and hierarchies and accelerates the evolution of the IT organization into a more fluid and networked form. Organizations can even begin to experiment with talent marketplaces, crowdsourcing and collaboration technologies to enable this transformation. According to Accenture research, 79% of executives agree the workforce of the future will be structured more by projects than by job functions. For example, as large IT groups move to multispeed delivery to support both legacy and new investment, emerging delivery methodologies such as agile and DevOps embrace the adoption of a digital teaming model over traditional job roles. Leaders use digital teams to plug and play as needed on innovative projects as they also pivot legacy platforms to the new over time. Focusing on a project-based model is particularly relevant as leaders begin to look past the immediate impacts of M&A and try to figure out how to recognize synergies as well as continue to innovate. As major technology programs are initiated for M&A transactions, they present a phenomenal opportunity for organizations to build the new ways of working as well as new processes and organizational structures that drive long-term change.

Reskill around a digital competency model

As IT leaders look to build a digital identity as part of an M&A integration or divestiture, they first need to refresh traditional competency models around IT strategy and service delivery to focus on digital transformation, collaboration and innovation. Identifying and prioritizing these new digital skill sets is foundational to the reskilling of a digital labor force. Successfully operating in a more fluid workplace combined with the continued emergence of new digital technologies means that every person in the IT organization will need to strike a balance between people skills, cross-cultural competency, and design and technical expertise. As an example, the World Economic Forum suggests that the hot skills in 2020 will be people-oriented (e.g. EQ) and focused on collaboration, but there will also be a need for emerging technical competencies like using statistical frameworks to support decision-making.

To establish the competencies and skills needed in the organization, leaders must assess the existing workforce to identify digital skills that already exist in the current environment. Leverage this assessment to build off what the organization already has from a competency perspective and prioritize development of high-demand skills that are in low supply.

Finally, utilize digital to learn digital. Collaborative tools, such as interactive portals, virtual classrooms and even wearables, allow individuals with different learning styles and environments to build proficiency in these new skills. Embedding this digital DNA as part of M&A activity will help enable IT leaders to collaboratively align "skill-based" work with the aptest members of the workforce.

Change the way people work in IT

It is a mistake to carry over every part of existing IT operating models and traditional job frameworks to a new organization post-M&A or divestiture. IT leaders need to recraft their thinking about the role of IT and subsequently the way that IT works to be fit for purpose in the new environment. When architecting a future IT workforce, leaders must give considerable thought to emerging workforce concepts such as liquid workforce and crowdsourcing — plug-and-play frameworks allowing the workforce to scale across capacity, skill sets and geographies — to change the way IT works. One example, crowdcoding, promotes the ability to take a large-scale effort and break it down into microtasks that can be accomplished by many individuals in a short period. The flexibility of these adaptable workforces affords IT organizations the ability to gain significant advantages of digital skills, quickly ramp capacity and tap into capabilities that were not before possible — all with the intent of being more agile and flexible, and of getting to market faster.

Technology leaders essentially have two choices as they navigate M&A activities — they can focus on simply meeting the demand of the day or they can focus on using the change to establish their organizations as the digital leaders of the enterprise. While business leadership may tolerate IT simply meeting demands during the "height" of work associated with a transaction, that is not likely a viable solution in the long term. Building digital DNA into the workforce is a crucial step in navigating the market demands and expectations of the near-term synergy expectations of the transaction. It also helps position IT for longer-term success.

This article is the third in a series of four that will explore the IT workforce implications and opportunities of M&A. Stay tuned for the final post on "How Every CEO Should Use M&A for a Fresh Start to IT Leadership, Culture and Brand."

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Elyssa D. D. Durant 
Research &  Policy Analyst