This Week in Web #42

From liberal beacon to a prop for Trump: what has happened to WikiLeaks?

David Smith, The Guardian

WikiLeaks has been publishing dump after dump of private emails from Hillary Clinton, her campaign chairman John Podes, and others who have emailed them. The newsworthiness of some of the emails is undeniable, just as the non-newsworthiness of others is undeniable. For this or some other reason, the Ecuadorean embassy that Julian Assange has been living in for the past four years in London has cut off his internet access.

It’s believed that Russia supplied leaks to Assange’s whistleblower service, most likely through a Gmail Phishing scheme, which we’re all more susceptible to than comfortable admitting.

Maybe the four years of confinement have hardened the WikiLeaks’ founder’s views. Maybe he is stir-crazy, worried for his future at the embassy or abroad when Ecuador elects a new president next year. Maybe he’s trying to side with a candidate on the gamble that a win would provide lenience and allow him to avoid extradition to the US after extradition to Sweden. Maybe this is all a poorly timed coincidence with a high-profile scapegoat. Either way, we’ve got 18 days until the woman who (jokingly?) questioned the efficacy of drone attacks against is elected president, and Assange’s future is unknown.

Gangnam Style Galaxy Note 7 via Know Your Meme
Gangnam Style Galaxy Note 7 via Know Your Meme

DOT Bans All Samsung Galaxy Note7 Phones from Airplanes

The saga of the fiery Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s continues. As of 15 October, the phones are banned from air travel to, from, and within the US. This includes checked bags. If you’ve got one of these explosive devices, send it back and get a new phone with your refund.

Enjoy the jokes that have come at the $17Bn expense of Samsung while feeling sorry for them. Fire extinguishers behind a Note 7 display. A Gangnam Style ad. Using the explosive phone as an improvised grenade in GTAV. Just don’t let Samsung sue you if they submit a takedown request to your playthrough with the explosive phone mod.

Attackers Hiding Stolen Credit Card Numbers in Images

Chris Brook, Threat Post

What’s a good way to get stolen credit card information from an eCommerce site? Well after you’ve exploited the site, how about embedding that information in product images on the site? Then you can visit later (or direct a buyer to a link) as you please as if you are just browsing deals.

Sucuri discovered this attack running on some Magento sites due to a separate flaw that allowed attackers to gain access to the site and implant malicious code.

This article was suggested by @lmelegari. If you’ve got any cool story ideas, shoot them over to or suggest them here!

Big-Data Algorithms Are Manipulating Us All

Cathy O’Neil, Wired

O’Neil, a former hedge fund quant, details some of the ways that big data is used to determine things about your future. Things like insurance rates, the likelihood of college acceptance, credit rankings and creditworthiness, and more.

The danger of allowing algorithms to make decisions for us about monumental life milestones is the lack of transparency in the process of selection. You don’t know why you got passed over in favor of someone else, or what the outcome of that personality test that you took at your last job was. But companies that gather your data and match you against trends, detemrining the maximum value that they can wring from you do. They don’t have to tell you what they choose or how, and you have little to no recourse from the decisions made.

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