Via Molly White, thieves made off with data from LastPass containing the encrypted passwords from 25 million users. They still have to crack the vaults to get at the data, which takes a long time, but Brian Krebs worries they have already succeeded in cracking a few of them:
In November 2022, the password manager service LastPass disclosed a breach in which hackers stole password vaults containing both encrypted and plaintext data for more than 25 million users. Since then, a steady trickle of six-figure cryptocurrency heists targeting security-conscious people throughout the tech industry has led some security experts to conclude that crooks likely have succeeded at cracking open some of the stolen LastPass vaults.
Armed with your secret seed phrase, anyone can instantly access all of the cryptocurrency holdings tied to that cryptographic key, and move the funds to anywhere they like.
Which is why the best practice for many cybersecurity enthusiasts has long been to store their seed phrases either in some type of encrypted container — such as a password manager — or else inside an offline, special-purpose hardware encryption device, such as a Trezor or Ledger wallet.
[Security researcher Nick] Bax said the only obvious commonality between the victims who agreed to be interviewed was that they had stored the seed phrases for their cryptocurrency wallets in LastPass.
If you use LastPass, MetaMask's lead project manager Taylor Monahan urges you to update your credentials now:
According to MetaMask’s Monahan, users who stored any important passwords with LastPass — particularly those related to cryptocurrency accounts — should change those credentials immediately, and migrate any crypto holdings to new offline hardware wallets.
“Really the ONLY thing you need to read is this,” Monahan pleaded to her 70,000 followers on Twitter/X: “PLEASE DON’T KEEP ALL YOUR ASSETS IN A SINGLE KEY OR SECRET PHRASE FOR YEARS. THE END. Split up your assets. Get a hw [hardware] wallet. Migrate. Now.”
If you also had passwords tied to banking or retirement accounts, or even just important email accounts — now would be a good time to change those credentials as well.
Another idea: don't hold your assets in crypto, which, unlike real banking, has no protection against theft and few ways to recover stolen funds.
My 3+-year-old Garmin Venu 2 Plus has about 40 hours of battery life and doesn't have a host of features that Garmin has developed since I got it. So, voilà, a Garmin Venu 3 appeared yesterday:
I'm still testing it out, but so far it's demonstrably better than the 2 Plus. For one thing, it came out of the box last night at 80% battery, and 20 hours later it's at...70%. And overnight, it analyzed a lot more about my sleep than the older watch ever could.
Possibly next I will get a Fenix. I understand there's a new navigation chipset coming out next spring...
This morning, for the first time since the inbound Ravenswood platform opened August 1st (and therefore since mid-2011), I actually got to shelter from the weather while waiting for the train:
Rain was falling, but for a few minutes, none of it fell on me. We could stand under a roof and wait for the train to arrive. Of course, since the platform was designed to accommodate a 3rd mainline track some day in the future, we still had to stand in the rain for a brief moment to get on the train, but still. I stood outside on the train platform not cursing Bruce Rauner and seven generations of his descendants.
Oh, and note to self: bring spare socks to the office.
That's just one of the absurdities that I encountered over the course of the last 24 hours:
- A prankster put up an official-looking sign declaring Loyola Beach on the north side of Chicago clothing-optional. Unfortunately no one was fooled.
- For the 15th or 20th time since its founding, critics accuse the US Navy of adapting too slowly to emerging risks in order to preserve tradition and Mississippi jobs. (Really, this comes up about every 20 years.)
- Of course, it doesn't help that we currently have no Chief of Naval Operations, Army Chief of Staff, or Marine Commandant, thanks to US Senator Tommy "Never Could Beat Alabama" Tuberville (R-AL).
- A working group that didn't include historians has proposed how sweeping changes to Chicago-area transit can help it become more like 1960s Baltimore more quickly: concentrate on "financial viability" at the expense of fast, frequent service. Because we really have learned nothing in the last 75 years.
- Illinois has become the third-largest home of data center space in part because we have a lot of office parks no one wants anymore.
Finally, Arizona continues to allow residential development as if the state has as much available water as Illinois. Because we really have learned nothing in the last 75 years.
The temperature has crept up towards 34°C all day after staying at a comfortable 28°C yesterday and 25°C Friday. It's officially 33°C at O'Hare but just a scoshe above 31°C at IDTWHQ. Also, I still feel...uncomfortable in certain places closely associated with walking. All of which explains why I'm jotting down a bunch of news stories to read instead of walking Cassie.
- First, if you have tomorrow off for Labor Day, you can thank Chicago workers. (Of course, if you have May 1st off for Labor Day, you can also thank us on the actual day that they intended.)
- A new study suggests 84% of the general population want to experience an orchestral concert, though it didn't get into how much they want to pay for such a thing. (You can hear Händel's complete Messiah on December 9th at Holy Name Cathedral or December 10th at Millar Chapel for just $50!)
- An FBI whistleblower claims Russian intelligence co-opted Rudy Giuliani in the run-up to the 2020 election—not as a Russian agent, mind you, just as a "useful idiot."
- Rapper Eminem has told Republican presidential (*cough*) candidate Vivek Ramaswamy—who Michelle Goldberg calls "very annoying"—to stop using his music in his political campaign.
- The government of Chile has promised to investigate the 3000 or so disappearances that happened under dictator Agosto Pinochet, though they acknowledge that it might be hard to find the ones thrown out of helicopters into the sea, or dropped down mine shafts. And with most of the murderers already dead of old age, it's about time.
- Julia Ioffe wonders when the next putsch attempt will get close to Moscow, now that Prigozhin seems to be dead.
- About 70,000 people continue to squelch through ankle-deep mud at Black Rock City after torrential rains at Burning Man this weekend. (I can't wait to see the moop map...)
- University of Michigan Law Professor Nicholas Bagley had a cogent explanation of why pharmaceutical companies don't want to negotiate drug prices with Medicare. (Hint: record profits.)
- Switching Chicago's pre-World War II bungalows from gas to electric heating could cut the city's GHG emissions by 14%.
- Molly White's weekly newsletter starts off with some truly clueless and entitled behavior from Sam Bankman-Fried and gets weirder.
- Zoning laws, plus the inability of the Portland, Ore., government to allow variances in any useful fashion, has condemned an entire high school to send its kids an hour away by bus while the building gets repaired, rather than just across the street to the community college many of them attend in the evenings. (Guess what skin color the kids have. Go on, guess.)
- A group of hackers compromised a Portuguese-language "stalkerware" company and deleted all the data the company's spyware had downloaded, as well as the keys to the compromised phones it came from, then posted the company's customer data online. "Because fuck stalkerware," they said.
- Traffic engineers, please don't confuse people by turning their small-town streets into stroads. It causes accidents. Which you, not they, have caused.
- Illinois had a mild and dry summer, ending just before our ferociously hot Labor Day weekend.
- James Fallows talks about college rankings, "which are marginally more encouraging than the current chaos of College Football."
Finally, I'll just leave this Tweet from former labor secretary Robert Reich as its own little monument to the New Gilded Age we now inhabit:
Even though the United States Constitution prohibits the US or the States from issuing titles of nobility, the longing for lifetime honors still exists in certain status-conscious professions. Politicians, probably more than any other group of people, fit that description.
Despite the desire of every SES2 to retain his or her title long after being fired by the under-secretary just above in rank, really only three offices of the United States confer a lifetime title, and only by custom, not by statute:
- President of the United States
- Flag or General Officer in the Armed Forces
I'm prompted to post this reminder because some news stories about the death of Ambassador and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today have omitted the adjective phrase "former New Mexico" from his identification. Since he won US Senate confirmation to become the US Ambassador to the United Nations in 1997, writers could refer to him as Ambassador Richardson or call him Mr Ambassador for the rest of time. But he wasn't properly addressed as "Mr Governor" at any time after leaving that office in 2011, or "Mr Secratary" after stepping down in 1998.
Addressing him as Mr Secretary, Mr Governor, or Mr Congressman when he no longer held office was not appropriate. Governor is a higher rank than Ambassador, so while governing New Mexico, he would have been referred to as Governor Richardson. (Oddly, though, leaving the UN for the Energy Deptartment demoted him a step.)
So, rest in peace, Ambassador Richardson. You were a statesman.
One quick addendum: In some cases it may be appropriate to address a retired military officer by his or her title. Note this does not apply to people who muster out before retirement. Generally, people who remain on active duty long enough to reach O6 (Navy, Coast Guard, or Public Health Service Captain; Army, Marine, or Space Force Colonel) will retire rather than quit. It's very unusual for people to retire as O3 or O4 unless they were prior-enlisted and served 10 years or more before commissioning, which is why you will probably never call a retired officer "Lieutenant Jones." A retired captain may be addressed as "Captain Smith;" the guy who signed his DD-214 after two contracts is just "Mr Smith."
I did it again:
Of my three attempts to do this (2020, 2021, and 2022), this was 3rd best. Considering that last year I didn't even make it out of Evanston, it wasn't really that bad:
So even though yesterday's marathon time was 21 minutes longer than 2020 and 25 minutes longer than 2021, at least I finished. But why so slow (other than I'm getting older)?
Some clues: in 2020 and 2021, I got about 8¼ hours of sleep the night before; yesterday I woke up after only 7¼ hours of sleep. In 2020 and 2021, I started the day with Garmin Body Battery scores of 93 and 84 respectively; in 2022, it was 49, and yesterday, 67. More relevantly, as my walking partner (who does Ironman races and so never crested a heart rate of 125) pointed out, in 2020 and 2021 I actually trained for it.
Another trivium. I have a 3-year-old Garmin Venu 2, and my walking partner wore an newer Garmin Forerunner 265S and an older Forerunner 935. The 935 uses GPS only. The 265 has a dual-band chip that "intelligently" switches between GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS. My Venu 2 can use any of the three navigation satellite systems, but I had it set to GPS+GLONASS. We walked the same course at the same pace, and except for a few minutes when our watches were all paused, we were never more than 2 meters from each other, and we recorded total course times within a few seconds entirely attributable to imprecision in starting the timers.
Yet somehow, my Venu 2 logged 44.45 km (27.63 mi) for the entire walk, while hers got 43.80 km (27.22 mi) and 43.73 km (27.18 mi) respectively. There is no possibility that I walked 725 meters—almost four Chicago city blocks—farther than she did. So later this weekend, we're going to dig into the track files to figure out where I got the extra half-mile.
Regardless, the weather was about the same this year as in 2020, meaning really gorgeous:
Yes, I'm going to do it again next September. But I'll also do a few other walks next summer to prepare. And my walking partner and I plan a hike on the North Branch Trail in Ocotober that ends not with a brewery but with pizza.
Meteorological autumn begins at midnight local time, even though today's autumn-like temperatures will give way to summer heat for a few days starting Saturday. Tomorrow I will once again attempt the 42-kilometer walk from Cassie's daycare to Lake Bluff. Will I go 3-for-4 or .500? Tune in Saturday morning to find out.
- Quinta Jurecic foresees some problems with the overlapping XPOTUS criminal trials next year, not least of which is looking for a judicial solution to a political problem.
- Even though I prefer them to rabbits, even I can see that Chicago has a rat problem.
- Pilot Patrick Smith laments the endless noise in most airport terminals, but praises Schiphol for its quiet. (Yet another reason to emigrate?)
Finally, it seems like anyone with a valid credit card number (their own or someone else's) can track the owner of that credit card on the New York City subway. I wonder how the MTA will plug that particular hole?
The Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) has signed off on rescheduling THC as a Schedule III drug, the first of three steps required for marijuana to become just another medication:
A top official at the Department of Health and Human Services wrote Drug Enforcement Agency administrator Anne Milgram calling for marijuana to be reclassified as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act, according to a letter dated Aug. 29 seen by Bloomberg News. This would mark a critical shift from its current status as a Schedule I substance, which includes drugs with a high abuse risk like heroin.
Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine said in the letter that her recommendation was based on a Food and Drug Administration review of marijuana’s classification. The Controlled Substances Act places substances regulated under federal law into one of five schedules based on its medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability.
HHS approval is one step in the process to rescheduling. The Drug Enforcement Administration also must sign off. The timeline is uncertain. But HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra recently said he hoped to have a decision for President Biden “this year.”
Cannabis companies and shareholders chortled with joy:
Cannabis stocks jumped more than 10% on news that the federal government is moving closer to reclassifying marijuana, which would cut taxes on companies at a time when they desperately need the cash.
Verano Holdings stock jumped 20% to $3.20 per share Green Thumb Industries shares rose 18% to $8.15 and Cresco Labs stock climbed 13% to $1.15.
Verano CEO George Archos said in a statement: “It’s about damn time.”
“We at Verano are incredibly excited to hear the news that the Department of Health & Human Services is calling for the rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III,” the statement said. “For far too long, cannabis prohibition and its outdated status as a Schedule I substance have unduly harmed countless individuals affected by the failed war on drugs."
Rescheduling cannabis to a Schedule III drug would allow marijuana companies to claim the same types of normal deductions as other businesses, which would dramatically improve their financials at a time when even the largest companies are hurting.
It is about damn time. Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD; Schedule III drugs include Tylenol with codeine, testosterone, and ketamine.
Not to mention, rescheduling cannabis would result in the cessation of Federal drug enforcement efforts against marijuana users and sellers, regardless of what party controls Congress or the White House. (Unfortunately for servicemembers, marijuana has its own special place in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Article 112a will still enable the JAG corps to recommend dishonorable discharge for servicemembers caught with up to 30 grams of pot.)
Disclosure: I own shares of Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries.
The religious right's endless struggle to steal billions of dollars from American taxpayers to fund their own religious schools dovetails nicely with the penchant for right-wingers to steal millions of dollars from their own kind:
In recent years, [conservative Christianist lawyer Michael Farris] has reached the pinnacle of the conservative legal establishment. From 2017 to 2022, he was the president and chief executive of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a powerhouse Christian legal group that helped draft and defend the restrictive Mississippi abortion law that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. ADF and its allies have filed a flurry of state and federal lawsuits over the past two years alleging that public schools are violating parental and religious rights.
Yet it is outside the courtroom that Farris’s influence has arguably been most profound. No single figure has been more instrumental in transforming the parental rights cause from an obscure concern of Christian home-schoolers into a GOP rallying cry.
When former president Donald Trump called for a federal parental bill of rights in a 2023 campaign video, saying secular public school instruction had become a “new religion,” he was invoking arguments Farris first made 40 years ago. The executive order targeting school mask mandates that Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed on his first day in office cited a 2013 state law guaranteeing “fundamental” parental rights that Farris helped write.
his most famous confrontation with public school officials came during a 1986 trial in Tennessee. His clients were born-again Christians who argued their children should not be required to read “Rumpelstiltskin,” “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and other material that they said undermined their religious beliefs.
A federal judge agreed, ordering that the children could opt out of the school’s reading lessons. But the decision in the case, Mozert v. Hawkins, was reversed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that merely exposing children to ideas did not violate their rights.
“We are simply clarifying a right that exists — a right which comes from God,” Farris said.
Make no mistake: Farris wants you to pay for Christian education. The whole "parents rights" angle is nonsense when you think about it. As one wag on Facebook put it, "I don't want my kids playing with those kids at a public park, so you should give me my share of the park district budget to build my own." And hey, it turns out, the ones making the argument usually have a sideline in private park development.
Even without the religious aspect, when natural monopolies emerge from civil society, the only thing that privatization accomplishes is to funnel money into people's pockets without improving the overall good. Health care in the US is the best example of this, but spending public money for private education is the same basic pattern.
It's yet another example of the religious right's continuing pattern of conflating their right to opt out of consuming public goods, which they certainly have, with a belief that they're somehow owed the equivalent value of the public good as their own private property. But that's not how civil society works. And I'll bet you all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that Farris makes a great deal off the religious people he's convinced to follow him down this anti-social and destructive path.
I'm so tired of private interests taking public money for things that public organizations can do just as well, particularly if they stop having to fight for table scraps.