Hacking

Myspace Crowned King of Mega Breaches, With More Likely to Come

Myspace and Tumblr this week emerged as the latest in a string of mega breaches that resulted in the theft of millions of user IDs — not just recently but years ago.
“Over the period of this month, we’ve seen an interesting trend of data breaches,” wrote security researcher Troy Hunt, operator of the Have I Been Pwned website. “To see a cluster of them appear together is quite intriguing.”

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Business and financeButtonwood's notebook

Risk and the stockmarket

RISK is linked to reward; it is virtually the first lesson one learns about finance. Safe assets pay low returns; if you want higher returns, you have to risk your capital. Academics have been examining these issues for decades, and have come up with such insights as the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and the efficient market hypothesis. In turn, investors have applied their insights to the market. The techniques they have adopted may have changed the nature of the market. Risk and reward may not be as securely linked as they used to be.

Two papers in the spring Journal of Portfolio Management bring these issues to light. The first—“Risk Neglect in Equity Markets” by Malcolm Baker of the Harvard Business School—looks at an obvious flaw in the CAPM. The model suggests that stocks which are more volatile than the overall market (high beta in the jargon) should display higher returns while stocks that are more stable (low beta) should deliver lower returns. More risk means more reward.

But that is not what has happened. Mr Baker assembles two portfolios from 1967; one consists of the 30% of US stocks with…Continue reading

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Business and financeGulliver

America issues a travel alert covering Europe

YESTERDAY, the United States issued a travel alert aimed at those thinking of visiting Europe, warning them of the risk of potential terrorist attacks “throughout” the continent. On the face of it this seems odd. No one denies that the threat of terrorism this side of the pond is real. France is still operating under a state of emergency following the attacks in Paris earlier this year. It will soon host the European football championship, the world’s third-biggest sporting event after the World Cup and the Olympics. Few doubt that terror groups have a beady eye on the event—least of all France itself, which is deploying 90,000 police, soldiers and security guards to watch over the tournament.

It seems reasonable, therefore, for the State Department to point out such specific concerns. But how useful is it to apply an alert to an entire continent? Shamila Chaudhary, a counter-terrorism expert and former official with the Obama administration, told the…Continue reading

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