Target’s problems are not getting any smaller … In The National Journal, Brendan Sasso writes: “Senate investigators accused Target on Tuesday of making serious missteps that allowed hackers to steal millions of credit card numbers from its system. Target ‘missed a number of opportunities… to stop the attackers and prevent the massive data breach,’ the Senate Commerce Committee aides wrote in a report. The findings could expose Target to a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, which has sued dozens of companies in recent years for failing to adequately protect customer data from hackers.”
In Jim Spencer’s Strib story, he says: “The Senate report also raises questions about the alleged sophistication of the hackers. Target has claimed from the time it made the data breach public that it was victimized by a highly sophisticated network of cyberthieves. But subsequent analysis by Brian Krebs, the tech blogger who broke the story of the breach, characterized the malware used in the attack as easily available on the black market for $1,800 to $2,300. Bloomberg Businessweek cited an independent cyber-security expert who called the attack ‘absolutely unsophisticated and uninteresting.’ ”
On his blog, locally based security expert Bruce Schneier is inclined to agree. He writes: “All of those next-generation endpoint detection systems, threat intelligence feeds, and so on only matter if you do something in response to them. If Target had had incident response procedures in place, and a system in place to ensure they followed those procedures, it would have been much more likely to have responded to the alerts it received from FireEye. This is why I believe that incident response is the most underserved area of IT security right now.”
Good luck getting the smell out of the clothes … The KMSP-TV story, by Scott Wasserman, says: “A Minnesota family is warning others to secure septic tank lids after a 7-year-old boy tumbled inside one while playing in the yard of his home near Blue Earth, Minn., early Monday evening. The boy’s aunt, Chelsey Hledik, told Fox 9 News her nephew, Noah Laehn, was outside at about 5 p.m. when he hopped on the lid of the septic tank and fell through. ‘I was running and hopping on the rocks like it was an adventure and a stream filled with sharks,’ Noah Laehn explained.”
“Relatively” is a key word … Patrick Springer of the Forum News Service writes: “North Dakota and Minnesota rank among the states with relatively low percentages of adult smokers, but smoking rates vary widely among counties … In North Dakota, 18 percent of adults smoke, and the smoking rate ranges from 8 percent in Hettinger County to 44 percent in Sioux County, which makes up a portion of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. In Minnesota, 16 percent of adults smoke, ranging from 7 percent in Nicollet County to 35 percent in Mahnomen County, which includes part of the White Earth Indian Reservation.”
This would, of course, cost … money. Says Don Davis of the Forum folks:“Today, the Senate transportation committee plans to take action on a trio of bills to improve railroad and pipeline oil safety. Issues in the bills include increasing the number of state rail inspectors from one to three or four, funding railroad crossing improvements, providing better training for first responders such as firefighters, improving communications and requiring pipeline companies and railroads to do more to prepare local officials for oil emergencies.”
A vision of slacker youth … In the Minnesota Daily, Derek Olson describes his perspective vis a vis the lack of Sunday liquor in Minnesota: “On a typical autumn Sunday, I turn on the TV and watch more hours of NFL previews, games and highlights than I care to admit. At some point during the first game, I open my refrigerator to complement my viewing experience with an adult beverage when, to my great dismay, I have none left. Wouldn’t it be great if I could make a quick trip to one of the multiple liquor stores within a mile from my house? Unfortunately, because of Minnesota’s ban on Sunday liquor sales, I have to drive all the way to Wisconsin. And I’ve done it — and more than once.” So the carbon footprint for those six-packs is … ?
Speaking of getting in a car … Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “In this post-9/11 era of air travel, the rule of thumb has been to arrive at MSP and other domestic airports at least two hours before flight departure. Now add another 30 minutes to be assured of catching that plane. Quite simply, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said Wednesday, there are more people flying lately and there are fewer security checkpoints operating at the more heavily used Lindbergh Terminal 1 to push them through and on their way.” Maybe electric cattle prods would be of some use.
Also good reading is John Gilmore’s latest on his blog Minnesota Conservatives. The topic? What’s up with so few women in any position of significance in his party? “Recently the DFL hosted a DFL Hall of Fame for Women. Yes, cheesy, everyone got a participation ribbon. But the event itself reveals an underlying appreciation of women that is simply missing in Minnesota republican politics. Some women thrive but mostly on their own and are cut adrift when it suits men … ‘A-list’ republican women consultants in Minnesota? Name one outside of fundraising.” Is it possible it’s the “A-list” quality women who are keeping the distance from the GOP?