1. Global Antivirus Software Firm Is a Platform for Russian Intelligence

    As first reported over two years ago by Israeli intelligence, the popular Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, relied on by over 400 million people globally, including U.S. government agencies, has been a “Google search [engine] for sensitive information.” Included in the Kaspersky network were hacking tools that appear to have been created by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The New York Times reported in one case an NSA employee had improperly stored classified documents on his home computer that was running Kaspersky antivirus software. After investigating, the NSA confirmed those sensitive hacking tools were in the possession of the Russian government.

    After over two years, the U.S. government just last month finally ordered the removal of Kaspersky software from government computers. But before you roll your eyes at the irony of NSA employees and U.S. government agencies trusting Russian security software, you might be surprised to learn how often you are falling into the same trap with your reliance on “secure” encryption and communications platforms sponsored by U.S. intelligence agencies. Click here for a disturbing read.


     

  2. Lofti Zadeh, R.I.P.


    This past week, I lost a dear friend and colleague, Professor Lotfi Zadeh of UC Berkeley, who was the “father” of a branch of mathematics and engineering called fuzzy logic.  I encourage you to read his obituary, which appeared in the NY Times.

    Lotfi is one of two men to have a major research institute named after him while still alive, the other being the physicist Max Planck.  He was a true visionary, yet very humble and approachable.  I first met him as a graduate student at UC San Diego, when he gave a seminar on fuzzy logic during its early years.  I recall one occasion at a conference in NY on fuzzy logic, where Lotfi walked up to the white board and wrote a simple sentence to begin his talk: “If T is a theory, then T can be fuzzified.”  Indeed, I have successfully applied this principle to many technical problems and system designs, going back to the early 1980’s.

    Lotfi developed this theory out of a desire to make computers able to reason more like humans do.  His theory is arguably the most successful and general approach to what we now call artificial intelligence.  Fuzzy logic has found applications in many real-world products.  A new automobile today has well over 100 individual fuzzy logic components in its electronics.  Video cameras use fuzzy logic to control the image jitter resulting from being hand-held.  Washing machines use it to determine when and how much detergent to release into the basket.  I am currently using it in systems for automated trading and for predictive analytics in macro-economic domains.

    In science, we stand on the shoulders of giants.  Despite his diminutive appearance, Lotfi was one of these giants.  R.I.P.

    Dr. Terry Rickard

    Chief Data Scientist, Meraglim Holdings