Found and liberated 2,151 missing DHS files

On January 18, 2017 the US Department of Homeland Security discontinued its Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report service which it had run since October 2006. To enable researchers to study the content of these reports, I collected as many as I could find (2,151 PDF files) and released them to the Internet Archive. You can find them here: DHS Daily Open Source Infrastructure Reports 2006-2017

The PDF files came from the following URLs:

  • https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/
  • https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/nppd/ip/daily-report/
  • https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/

And when these yielded 404 errors (which they did for most pre-2013 files) I used the Internet Archive itself, with the following URL base:

http://web.archive.org/web/20061101153326/https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/[filename]

Files are named as they were upon download, in one of the following patterns:

  • DHS_Daily_Report_2006-10-11.pdf (most 2006-2012 files have this format)
  • DHS-Daily-Report-2012-12-06.pdf (a single December 2012 file has this format)
  • dhs-daily-report-2013-01-09 (most 2013-2017 files have this format)

If you are interested in missing dates (for example Archive.org was missing some dates and a few files were corrupted), this blog might be able to help fill in the gaps.

 

Get rid of the Quizzstar 2016 “words of the year” app

Many friends are posting results of the Quizzstar “words of the year” app on Facebook. It generates a 2010-style word cloud of the words you used on Facebook posts most frequently. To make the image, the user gives Quizzstar permission to view all their old posts, download them to Quizzstar, at which point Quizzstar generates the image. Below is a screenshot of the Quizzstar web site, showing that this app is currently their #1 most popular. (They also have other apps that harvest your friends list and so on.)

Quizzstar “most used words” app, 2016

What users might not be aware of is that by installing this app in your Facebook account, you are agreeing to have your profile and posts mined in order to change and influence the advertisements that you are subsequently shown.

It’s a little hard to follow, but the relevant parts of Quizzstar’s Privacy Policy are sections 8-18 where they describe all the different ways they mash up your data with other data in order to do the advertisement dance. Third party mashups include: Google services (Youtube, Maps, Google Ad Words, Clicky, Admob, AdSense), Facebook (Social and Remarketing), StatCounter, Criteo, and Taboola.

An example of how they use your FB wall posts are mixed with this third party data is as follows (section 18),

We use the remarketing and ad technology provided by Taboola… in order to improve the relevance of the advertising presented to consumers. [This]… includes technical browser and system information, details of how you used our service, such as your navigation paths the referring site, application, or service as well as might be combined with such data collected on other sources. Taboola might also use “Web Beacons” (small invisible images) to collect information. Through the use of “Web Beacons” simple actions such as the visitor traffic to the website can be pseudonymously recorded and collected.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

If you regret installing this app, here’s how to get rid of it.

On a regular device, such as a laptop or desktop machine (i.e. full screen browser):

  1. Go into privacy, and click “See more settings”

2. On the left, click “Apps”

3. Click “Show All” and hover your mouse over the errant app. Use the “X” to remove it (the Cartwheel app is shown, because I had forgotten to remove this one after an experiment last month! whoops)

Removing it on a mobile device

If you’re using a mobile device, you can remove apps by finding your profile page and click through as shown. Sorry Android users, this is an iPhone – I hope FB mobile is similar on your device!

Removing Data from Quizzstar

Go to their user history page on their site, scroll to the bottom.

See if it shows any history for you. (Mine didn’t because I never had the app, but maybe this works for you?)

 

Wikileaks releases 60k emails from security company HBGary

Today Wikileaks released a searchable interface for 60k HB Gary emails. HBGary is infamous for claiming that it had developed social media-based techniques that allowed it to track down members of Anonymous back in 2011, and for collaborating with the federal government to discredit certain liberal groups, including unions. The earliest are from 2008, the latest from 2011.

An example from the dump:

Wikileaks HBGary email 2574
Wikileaks HBGary email 2574