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An Administrator’s Guide to Internet Password Research

November 7, 2014 Comments off

An Administrator’s Guide to Internet Password Research
Source: Microsoft Research

The research literature on passwords is rich but little of it directly aids those charged with securing web-facing services or setting policies. With a view to improving this situation we examine questions of implementation choices, policy and administration using a combination of literature survey and first-principles reasoning to identify what works, what does not work, and what remains unknown. Some of our results are surprising. We find that offline attacks, the justification for great demands of user effort, occur in much more limited circumstances than is generally believed (and in only a minority of recently-reported breaches). We find that an enormous gap exists between the effort needed to withstand online and offline attacks, with probable safety occurring when a password can survive 106 and 1014 guesses respectively. In this gap, eight orders of magnitude wide, there is little return on user effort: exceeding the online threshold but falling short of the offline one represents wasted effort. We find that guessing resistance above the online threshold is also wasted at sites that store passwords in plaintext or reversibly encrypted: there is no attack scenario where the extra effort protects the account.

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CRS — Sexual Violence at Institutions of Higher Education (October 23, 2014)

November 6, 2014 Comments off

Sexual Violence at Institutions of Higher Education (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In recent years, a number of high-profile incidents of sexual violence at institutions of higher education (IHEs) have heightened congressional and administration scrutiny of the policies and procedures that IHEs currently have in place to address campus sexual violence and how these policies and procedures can be improved. Campus sexual violence is widely acknowledged to be a problem. However, reported data on the extent of sexual violence at IHEs varies considerably across studies for a variety of methodological and other reasons. Victims of sexual violence may suffer from a range of physical and mental health conditions including injuries, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, suicidality, and substance abuse. College students who are the victims of sexual violence may experience a decline in academic performance, and they may drop out, leave school, or transfer.

Currently, there are two federal laws that address sexual violence on college campuses: the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act, P.L. 101-542) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX, P.L. 92-318). These two statutes differ in significant respects, including in their purpose, coverage, enforcement, and remedies.

CRS — Cities Try, and Fail (So Far), to Prevent Federal Marijuana Enforcement, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 24, 2014)

November 6, 2014 Comments off

Cities Try, and Fail (So Far), to Prevent Federal Marijuana Enforcement, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of federal marijuana enforcement appear to have been exaggerated. While federal authorities have created a perceived safe harbor for the operation of marijuana businesses in states that have legalized the drug, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is still punishing violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) when a business’s activities threaten certain core federal interests, such as preventing the distribution of marijuana to children and combating the involvement of criminal enterprise. One tool the DOJ has used to close down offending dispensaries, grow facilities, and retail shops is civil forfeiture—a legal process by which the government may seize and liquidate a wide array of property “used or intended to be used to facilitate a violation of the CSA.” Once a decision to initiate a forfeiture proceeding has been made, there appears to be very little that states or localities, that actively support the operation of marijuana businesses, can do to prevent federal authorities from enforcing federal law.

CA — 2013-14 Privacy Act Annual Report to Parliament

November 4, 2014 Comments off

2013-14 Privacy Act Annual Report to Parliament
Source: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The year in particular was marked by the continuation of a long-running debate in Canada about lawful access to subscriber information along with a series of ongoing revelations about state surveillance activities that had impact globally as well as within our borders.

As another indicator, statistics show there was a continued rise in the number of complaints. Also continuing are complaints from a large number of individuals that arise from a single event. For example, the Office is currently investigating 339 complaints over a mass mailing by Health Canada which allegedly exposed the names and mailing addresses of some 40,000 people involved in the marijuana medical access program.

In a year where perhaps unprecedented attention was paid to public sector data breaches, the 228 separate data breaches voluntarily reported across the federal government in 2013-2014 were more than double those from the previous fiscal year. This marked the third consecutive year where a record high was reached for such reports. Accidental disclosure was provided as the reason indicated by reporting organizations behind more than two-thirds of the breaches.

Juvenile Court Statistics 2011

November 4, 2014 Comments off

Juvenile Court Statistics 2011 (PDF)
Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Juvenile Court Statistics 2011, which the National Juvenile Court Data Archive compiled and produced, chronicles the progress that has been made over the years and highlights the challenges that remain. This report profiles approximately 1.2 million delinquency cases that U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled in 2011. It also describes trends in delinquency cases that juvenile courts processed between 1985 and 2011 and the status offense cases they handled between 1995 and 2011. One challenge that remains is producing credible estimates that include details on cases involving youth of Hispanic ethnicity and that will be a focus of the project moving forward.

Bankruptcy for Marijuana Businesses?, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 29, 2014)

November 3, 2014 Comments off

Bankruptcy for Marijuana Businesses?, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Much ink has been spilled about the disparity between state and federal marijuana laws and the resulting risks to individuals and companies in—or providing services to—medical and recreational marijuana businesses that operate legally under the laws of more than 20 states even while such activities remain unlawful under federal law. Recent bankruptcy court cases suggest that one such risk may be the ultimate unavailability to both debtors and creditors of the protections, benefits, and predictability of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code when state-regulated marijuana businesses fail.

Office for Victims of Crime — OVC is pleased to announce new resources available to assist those who serve victims of human trafficking

November 3, 2014 Comments off

OVC is pleased to announce new resources available to assist those who serve victims of human trafficking
Source: Office for Victims of Crime (USDoJ)

OVC is excited to announce the launch of new resources available to assist those who serve victims of human trafficking. In his remarks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual conference on October 27, 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that OVC and the Bureau of Justice Assistance have released a newly expanded and enhanced Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide. The expanded e-Guide, redesigned to help navigate content more easily and locate information faster, provides practical information on the creation and day-to-day operations of human trafficking task forces.

Access the e-Guide to view new sections and strategies to –

  • strengthen multidisciplinary collaboration,
  • increase victim identification,
  • enhance victim-centered investigation, and
  • build stronger prosecution strategies.

OVC is also pleased to announce the launch of a new mobile friendly human trafficking Web site, which contains a wide range of information including resources and research from the Federal Government, publications and products from OVC, local and national direct assistance information, and related funding opportunities for victims and survivors of human trafficking, victim service providers, law enforcement, and allied professionals. Visit the Web site to –

  • learn about human trafficking,
  • find resources based on the type of services you provide,
  • watch, download, and share public service announcements,
  • read about OVC’s efforts to combat human trafficking.

Both resources have been prepared to help strengthen the knowledge and skills needed to assist victims of human trafficking. Take advantage of both today! (Posted 10/27/14)

See also: Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (National Institute of Justice)

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