Your smartwatch knows your ATM and phone PIN

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Because a PIN-pad is so constrained and predictable, the accelerometer in your smartwatch is able to guess with a high degree of confidence (73%) what you enter into it -- it can also serve as a general-purpose keylogger, though with less accuracy (59%), thanks to the complexity of the keyboard. Read the rest

Sympathetic Bernie Sanders profile in Bloomberg Businessweek

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Joel Stein paints an incredibly sympathetic portrait of Sanders, painting him as a genuine true believer whose political tenures have been marked by equitable successes that benefited all his constituents, not just the rich and powerful. Read the rest

Bank of America uses copyright to censor business reporter's tweets

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Business Insider's Jim Edwards got a letter from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch informing him that they'd instructed Twitter to remove two of his tweets on the grounds that they violated B of A's copyright. Read the rest

Martin Shkreli is right: fraud charges only arose because of pharma scumbaggery

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli is led to a waiting police car by federal agents following his arrest in the Manhattan borough of New York December 17, 2015.     REUTERS/Nate Raymond

Martin Shkreli, the notorious, most-hated-man-on-the-Internet pharma douchebro who was arrested last week for securities fraud, told the FBI that the only reason they bothered busting him for financial corruption is that he had made a spectacle out of himself with his pharma shenanigans. Read the rest

Cybercrime 3.0: stealing whole houses

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Articles in the UK and US press describe fraudsters who used public document registries to steal entire houses, using forged documents to list the houses for sale, transferring title to them, and disappearing (or attempting to) with a lot of money in their pockets.

Hacker dumps United Arab Emirates Invest Bank's customer data

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A hacker broke into the United Arab Emirates's Invest Bank., stole its customer data and started dribbling it out over Twitter, one account at a time, demanding $3 million to stop. The bank didn't pay for it, so the hacker dumped the bank's financial databases. Read the rest

US credit union regulator crushed Internet Archive's non-predatory, game-changing bank

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The Internet Archive's Brewster Kahle writes, "We founded a credit union to build a new path after the banking debacle of 2008 and it's been crushed by federal regulators. The regulators close 200-300 credit unions every year, and have been since their founding of the NCUA in 1970. Only a couple are allowed to start each year. We were one of four in our year." Read the rest

Private funding of public services is bankrupting the UK

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The right-wing Telegraph can't deny what critics have been saying since the Tony Blair years: when you use private to fund public services, the only people who benefit are the shareholders. Read the rest

America's CEOs and hedge funds are starving the nation's corporations to death

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Stock buybacks (previously) allow CEOs to drive up the company's share-price by using profits to buy shares back from investors, rather than investing the money in wages, R&D, capital or expansion. Read the rest

House GOP defends the right of racist car-dealers to overcharge people of color

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House Bill HR1737 will create penalties for auto-lenders who substantially overcharge black and latino customers through gouging on dealer markups. Read the rest

TPP will let banks write their own regulations and stick taxpayers with the bill

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One of the most controversial aspects of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership is its inclusion of investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) -- a procedure that allows a corporation to sue governments to get rid of laws that undermine its profitability. ISDSs epitomize everything that's messed up in "trade" agreements, have resulted in corporations being given billions of dollars in tax-payer money in "compensation" for environmental, safety and labor laws; and, most notoriously, were used by Philip Morris to attack countries that passed laws aimed at reducing smoking. Read the rest

Elite "wealth managers": Renfields to the one percent bloodsuckers

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Lorq writes, "This brilliant piece of investigative research shines a light on one of the mechanisms of wealth inequality -- the secretive field of wealth management for the one percent. It's one thing to hand-wave vaguely about wealth disparity; it's quite another to become a certified expert in its procedures and institutions and then report back to the rest of us -- which is what Brooke Harrington does here. An audacious study of the enablers of the rich." Read the rest

Investing in David v Goliath: hundreds of millions slosh into litigation finance funds

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Litigation finance (AKA champerty) is the practice of investing in other peoples' lawsuits, with the expectation that you will share in any court awards or settlements should your side win the case. Read the rest

Complexity of financial crimes makes crooks unconvictable

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Following a mistrial in the Dewey & LeBoeuf case -- a complex financial fraud involving a tony white-shoe law firm -- Bloomberg tries to analyze what happened to the jury, who were unable to convict despite four months of hearings and 22 days' worth of deliberations. Read the rest

Solder a 0.3mm chip onto a credit card and Chip-and-PIN is yours to pwn

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No one's exactly sure how fraudsters stole over $680,000 from hijacked chip-and-PIN credit cards in Belgium, because the cards are still evidence and can't be subjected to a full tear-down but based on the X-rays of the tampered cards, it's a good bet that the thieves glued a 0.3mm hobbyist FUN chip over the card's own chip, and programmed it to bypass all PIN entries. Read the rest

Eric Holder: I didn't prosecute bankers for reasons unrelated to my $3M/year law firm salary

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The Intercept's Dan Froomkin played turd-in-the-punchbowl at outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder's victory lap party at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reception on Wednesday, asking why Holder had declined to put one single banker in jail for the monumental frauds that collapsed the world's economy in 2007-9. Read the rest

Bankers' "Vulnerability Index": scoring employees' desperation

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Back in 2009, SF author Peter Watts had dinner with a retired investment banker from TD who described the bank's "vulnerability index" -- a numeric score that expresses how desperate you are for your paycheck and thus the extent to which you can be reliably expected to forego your dignity and principles to keep your check intact. Read the rest

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