A global education technology company based in Boston has signed a $191M deal to buy the cybersecurity training platform, Infosec.
Cengage Groupannounced the planned addition to its ed2Go business on Monday. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.
“The online, employer-paid cybersecurity training segment is currently a $1bn market, with expectations that it will grow to $10bn annually by 2027,” said Cengage CEO Michael Hansen.
He added: “Combining Infosec with our already-successful Workforce Skills business will provide top-line growth, expand our base of recurring revenue and accelerate our opportunity within the space.”
Infosec was founded in 2004 by its current chief executive Jack Koziol who will remain at the helm to manage the transition. The company is based in Wisconsin and provides skills development and certification programs for the cybersecurity industry.
“Cengage Group has the same level of passion for making learning accessible, affordable and applicable to today’s cybersecurity professionals,” said Jack Koziol, CEO and Founder of Infosec.
He added: “Building on ed2go’s history in online training, Infosec will benefit from Cengage Group’s scale and expertise, which means we can reach more cybersecurity professionals and employers that are looking to not only grow their careers but to keep businesses, governments and people safe from cyber threats.”
Infosec employs around 100 people and offers more than 1,400 online cybersecurity courses. Nearly all Infosec’s current employees will reportedly be joining Cengage’s workforce of 4,500 people.
According to Cyber Seek, there are just under 600,000 vacant cybersecurity roles in the United States. Research by Burning Glass Technologies suggests that around half of these positions require at least one certification.
“We can’t hire people fast enough,” Hansen told The Boston Globe. “Right now, the demand for workforce skills courses is just exploding, and it’s exploding in very specific job categories,” he said.
Hansen continued: “There is such a labor shortage. Every CEO tells me that…the labor shortage is really a skills shortage.”
News of Cengage’s planned purchase comes as rival British publishing house Pearson announced its acquisition of Credly, a digital workforce credentialing service provider, for around $200m.
Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard’s podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.
One of the world’s largest publishers of academic papers said it adds a unique fingerprint to every PDF users download in an attempt to prevent ransomware, not to prevent piracy.
Elsevier defended the practice after an independent researcher discovered the existence of the unique fingerprints and shared their findings on Twitter last week.
“The identifier in the PDF helps to prevent cybersecurity risks to our systems and to those of our customers—there is no metadata, PII [Personal Identifying Information] or personal data captured by these,” an Elsevier spokesperson said in an email to Motherboard. “Fingerprinting in PDFs allows us to identify potential sources of threats so we can inform our customers for them to act upon. This approach is commonly used across the academic publishing industry.”
When asked what risks he was referring to, the spokesperson sent a list of links to news articles about ransomware.
It’s unclear exactly how fingerprinting every PDF downloaded could actually prevent ransomware. Jonny Saunders, a neuroscience PhD candidate at University of Oregon, who discovered the practice, said he believes Elsevier is trying to surveil its users and prevent people from sharing research without paying the company.
“The subtext there is pretty loud to me,” Saunders told Motherboard in an online chat. “Those breaches/ransoms are really a pretext for saying ‘universities need to lock down accounts so people can’t skim PDFs.’”
“When you have stuff that you don’t want other people to give away for free, you want some way of finding out who is giving it away, right?” they added.
Do you know of any other companies or organizations doing this type of tracking? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, Wickr/Telegram/Wire @lorenzofb, or email [email protected]
Moreover, Saunders said, Elsevier’s claim that there is no metadata or personal data captured is disingenuous, given that the company itself admits it uses this system to identify whose accounts have been breached.
“Saying that the unique identifiers *themselves* don’t contain PII is a semantic dodge: the way identifiers like these work is to be able to match them later with other identifying information stored at the time of download like browser fingerprint, institutional credentials, etc,” Saunders said. “Justifying them as a tool to protect against ransomware is a straightforward admission that these codes are intended to identify the downloader: how would they help if not by identifying the compromised account or system?”
The company’s spokesperson did not respond to Saunders’ allegations.
bleepingcomputer.com – The Russia-linked hackers known as ‘Gamaredon’ (aka Armageddon or Shuckworm) were spotted deploying eight custom binaries in cyber-espionage operations against Ukrainian entities.
Disclaimer: FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY! The contributors do not assume any responsibility for the use of this tool.
Warning: It is advisable to not use your own/primary account when using this tool.
Osintgram offers an interactive shell to perform analysis on Instagram account of any users by its nickname. You can get:
- addrs Get all registered addressed by target photos
- captions Get user's photos captions
- comments Get total comments of target's posts
- followers Get target followers
- followings Get users followed by target
- fwersemail Get email of target followers
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- fwersnumber Get phone number of target followers
- fwingsnumber Get phone number of users followed by target
- hashtags Get hashtags used by target
- info Get target info
- likes Get total likes of target's posts
- mediatype Get user's posts type (photo or video)
- photodes Get description of target's photos
- photos Download user's photos in output folder
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- stories Download user's stories
- tagged Get list of users tagged by target
- wcommented Get a list of user who commented target's photos
- wtagged Get a list of user who tagged target
Typefaces can be a tricky business, both technically and legally.
Before word processors, laser printers and digital publishing, printed materials were quite literally “set in metal” (or wood), with typesetters laying out lines and pages by hand, using mirror-image letters cast on metal stalks (or carved into wooden blocks) that could be arranged to create a back-to front image of the final page.
The laid-out page was effectively a giant stamp; when inked up and pressed against a paper sheet, a right-way-round image of the printing surface would be transferred to the page.
For books printed in Roman script, typesetters kept multiple copies of each letter in separate pigeonholes in a handy tray, or printer’s case, making them easy to find at speed. The capital letters were kept in their own case, which was placed by convention above the case containg the small letters, presumably so that the more commonly-used small letters were closer to hand. Thus capital letters came from the upper case, and small letters from the lower case, with the result that the terms upper case and lower case became metaphorical phrases used to refer to the letters themselves – names that have outlived both printers’ cases and movable type.
Getting the right look
Designing a typeface (or “font”, as we somewhat inexactly refer to it today) that is both visually appealing and easy to read, and that retains a unique and attractive look across a range of different sizes, weights and styles, is an astonishingly complex task.
Indeed, although the digital age has made it easy to create new fonts from scratch, and cheap to ship them as computer files (another physical document metaphor that has survived into the computer era), designing a good typeface is harder than ever.
Users expect the font to look good not only when scaled up or down to any size, including fractions of a millimetre, but also when displayed or printed as a collection of separate pixels at a variety of resolutions using a range of different technologies.
As a result, good typefaces can be expensive, especially if you want to adopt a font collection as a company standard for your corporate identity, and you want to license it correctly for all possible uses, including on the web, in print, for editorial, in advertising, on posters, in films and videos, for redistribution embedded in presentations and documents, and more.
“Free” font collections abound online, but – as with videos, music, games and other artistic content – many of these downloads may leave you with dubiously licensed or even outright pirated fonts installed on your computer or used in your work.
Nevertheless, many distinguished font creators provide open source fonts available for personal and commercial use, and numerous free-and-properly-licensed font collections do exist, including the well-known Google Fonts.
In fact, the Google Fonts site not only allows you to download font files to use in your own documents or to copy onto your own web servers to embed into your web pages…
…but also allows you to link back to a Google Font server so you don’t even need to host the file yourself.
For boutique websites, that’s convenient because it means you get font updates automatically, and you don’t have to pay any bandwidth fees to your hosting provider for sending the font file to every visitor.
Local or cloudy?
On the Naked Security website, for example, our body text [2022-01-31] is set in a typeface called Flama, which isn’t open source.
So, we host the font file ourselves and serve it up as part of the web page, from the same domain as the rest of the site, using an @font-face style setting, in the fashion you see here:
This means that even though you are unlikely to have Flama installed yourself, our website should render with it in your browser just as it does in ours, using the WOFF (Web Open Font Format) version of the font file.
The Flama WOFF font you see below is modestly sized at just 26KBytes, but is our responsibility to serve up as needed:
Licensing and serving in one place
So, Google Fonts not only “solves” your licensing issues by offering open source fonts that you are allowed to use commercially, it can also solve your “how to serve it” hassles, too.
You simply link to a Google-hosted web stylesheet (CSS) page that sets up the necessary @font-family specifications for you, and fetched the desired font files from the Google Fonts service, like this:
Of course, that means that Google’s servers get a visit from your browser, and thus Google unavoidably gets your IP number (or an IP number provided by your ISP or VPN provider, which loosely amounts to the same thing).
If you have some sort of tracking protection turned on, your browser might not fetch the requested CSS and font data, in which case you’ll see the text in the closest available font your browser has available.
But if you haven’t set your browser to block these downloads, you’ll get the font and Google will get your IP number.
Is that private enough?
Apparently, not always.
A District Court in Munich, Germany, recently heard a legal complaint in which the plaintiff argued that a website that had linked across to Google Fonts, instead of downloading and hosting a copy of the free font on its own site, had violated their privacy.
The court agreed, demanded that the website operator start hosting fonts locally, and awarded the complainant damages of €100 (about $110).
The court’s argument doesn’t seem to be suggesting any and all other third party “widget linking” is now considered illegal in Germany (or, more particularly, in the region where this court holds sway), but only that websites are expected to host content locally if that’s easily possible:
Google Fonts kann durch die Beklagte auch genutzt werden, ohne dass beim Aufruf der Webseite eine Verbindung zu einem Google-Server hergestellt wird und eine Übertragung der IP-Adresse der Webseitennutzer an Google stattfindet.
(The defendant [i.e. the website operator] can make use of Google Fonts without establishing a connection to a Google server, and without the IP address of the website user being transmitted to Google.)
If you’ve ever had rogue adverts – what’s known as malvertising – thrust into your browser when you’ve visited an otherwise unexceptionable and trustworthy website, you might be thinking, “This is a great decision, because if everyone who monetised ads served them up from their own domains, it would be much easier to keep track of who was responsible for what, and ad filtering would become a whole lot simpler.”
There’s also the problem that this judgement has penalised a website provider for linking to a Google service that has (or at least claims to have) a pretty liberal privacy and tracking policy:
The Google Fonts API is designed to limit the collection, storage, and use of end-user data to only what is needed to serve fonts efficiently.
Use of Google Fonts API is unauthenticated. No cookies are sent by website visitors to the Google Fonts API. Requests to the Google Fonts API are made to resource-specific domains, such as fonts.googleapis.com or fonts.gstatic.com. This means your font requests are separate from and don’t contain any credentials you send to google.com while using other Google services that are authenticated, such as Gmail.
Yet the judgement is of necessity mute about embedded links that track users as part of their service, such as web analytics tools, because those services are almost always cloud-based by design, and therefore cannot be hosted locally.
Are those to be made illegal in Bavaria, too? Or will the cloud-centric nature of web analytics effectively exempt analytics services from this sort of judgement simply because the expectation is that they’re rarely, if ever, hosted locally?
And what about so-called “live content” from other sites?
Twitter, for example, requires that if you want to show a complete tweet in your web page, you need to embed it directly, rather than locally hosting a screenshot and providing a link that a user can optionally click later on.
From a traffic point of view, that makes sense for Twitter, because “live” links not only display current tweet statistics, but also make it really easy for readers to engage frictionlessly with the tweet.
But it also makes sense from a legal and cybersecurity point of view, because Twitter itself can adapt data that’s embedded via links to its site (such as deleting offensive, illegal or misleading content as desired or required), instead of relying on every website that ever took a screenshot of a tweet to go back and update or remove the content if common sense or a court order demands it.
Have your say
Where do you stand on this?
Do you think this is an overreach by the court?
Do rulings like this suggest we’re heading towards the end of the era of third-party adverts (after all, adverts don’t have to be served via the cloud; they all could be served locally, even if most services don’t yet support that way of working, and even if it’s a lot less convenient)?
Let us know below… you many remain anonymous if you like.