TIME Race

Tamir Rice Attorney: Cleveland Agreement Needs Will Behind Way

Benjamin Crump attorney
Jeff Roberson—AP Attorney Benjamin Crump speaks during a news conference at Greater St. Mark Church on Nov. 25, 2014, in St. Louis County, Mo.

Benjamin Crump is President-Elect of the National Bar Association and represents the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice.

America needs a system-wide change in how it does policing

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had reached an agreement with the City of Cleveland over allegations that the city’s police department engaged in a pattern of using excessive force. Just days before, on Saturday, a judge acquitted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo for his role in the 2012 fatal shooting of two unarmed people in a car, both of them black.

It’s now been more than 20 years since the enactment of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which gave the Department of Justice the legal authority to investigate state and local law enforcement agencies that it believes have unconstitutional policies or engage in unconstitutional patterns or practices of conduct. It’s been 50 years since the violence of Bloody Sunday. Yet the arc of justice has bent until it is no longer visible to those who have lost their loved ones to such fates. I’m disappointed with the Brelo verdict, but I’m hopeful that those in power can bring change from the systemic unjust that has plagued communities of color for far too long.

I applaud the Justice Department’s findings and the efforts of the City of Cleveland to work with the department to bring about change. But I’ve seen this story before, in HD-clarity, and unless there is a strong desire from those in charge to manage the changes that are needed, we will continue to see the uprisings of Ferguson, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland all across the U.S.

America needs a system-wide change in how it polices. This issue should not only be discussed when it rears its ugly head in the next city of unrest; there have to be changes in hearts, minds and laws. It should never be acceptable for a 12-year-old child to be gunned down by police while playing on a playground, and subsequently for that child to be blamed for his own death, rather than the negligence of police, who all too often seem to see African Americans as a threat no matter their age.

It should no longer be acceptable for police to use questionable emotion as a means to justify killing unarmed and oftentimes innocent citizens, without accountability or charges. Brelo’s defense used the modus operandi of “fear” to justify a high-speed chase and the more than 130 bullets shot by officers that night. But his actions reek not of fear, but of someone who disregarded his own training and standards of conduct.

Our police cannot be judges, juries and executioners of our citizens. Cleveland’s new agreement has many changes and rules that will be put in place, but they must be properly administered and then followed. Otherwise it will amount to nothing more than words on paper, leading to another cycle of ineffectiveness and distrust.

Sadly for me, the Cleveland agreement is a hollow victory as we await the ruling on the death of Tamir Rice, and in the wake of the fear and pain that his family continues to deal with from not only his death but from not knowing whether or not those involved will ever be charged for their crimes.

As former Attorney General Eric Holder said, “Accountability and legitimacy are essential for communities to trust their police departments, and for there to be genuine collaboration between police and the citizens they serve.”

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Security

How Bad Bots Are Destroying The Internet

TIME.com stock photos Computer Keyboard Typing Hack
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

The web is at war, and the good guys are losing

The Internet has been described in many different ways over the years. We don’t use the term “information superhighway” much anymore, but a recent report may make you reconsider where and how you cruise around on it, regardless. That’s because a quarter of the cars on this road with you, dear reader, are being driven by mindless bandits looking to steal anything they can. Now, imagine traveling a road like that in the real world. No thanks, I’d rather walk.

Last year was the first time in history that bots outnumbered people on the web. According to research from Distil Networks, almost 60% of 2014’s web traffic consisted of automated bits of code, 23% of which exist to do dirty work for fraudsters and hackers. “It’s getting worse,” says Rami Essaid, Distil’s CEO. “Over the past ten years, they went from just kind of being out there and easy to detect to being really, really sophisticated.”

Computer programs that have been coded to either automate a task or pretend to be a person, bots have probably been on the Internet longer than you have. They can be either good or bad. For instance, Facebook uses bots to grab the headline, first paragraph, and image from a story when you share it on your news feed. Meanwhile, Google uses bots to crawl and catalog the web so when you run a search, the site can deliver appropriate results.

But hackers also use bots for all sorts of nefarious reasons, from lifting credit card numbers from an online store to scraping the text off an article and posting it on some random blog. (The nerve!) In fact, digital publishers get hit hardest by bad bots, with almost one-third of the traffic crawling on sites like this being malicious programs. (Sorry about that.) Travel sites, online stores, and real estate pages also abound with compu-critters.

Surprisingly, smaller websites are more vulnerable to bots than larger ones. Hackers target them more often in order to get usernames, passwords, and other credentials because these sites are less secure.”They don’t really care about actually stealing the money from small businesses,” says Essaid. “They care about stealing the information, because at the end of the day, people use the same usernames and passwords all over the place.”

While websites large and small should do more to battle bad bots, Distil’s report tosses blame at some surprising sources — like Amazon, China, and T-Mobile. Bad bots make up 78% of the traffic put out by Amazon, whose simple-to-setup cloud services power much of the web. “They’ve also made it real easy for bad guys to spin up servers, create bots, and do all sorts of bad things — and they don’t police it,” says Essaid.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom are being overrun by bad bots on the mobile web. This is a huge problem because there isn’t yet a lot of virus protection for mobile Internet devices, and last year there were more mobile than desktop web users for the first time in history. As a result, hackers are racing to exploit smartphones and tablets. In 2013, less than a percentage point of mobile traffic was bad bots. In 2014, that figure skyrocketed to between 6-8%. That’s a scary number because there are many more mobile devices than there are computers, so a vast majority of handhelds haven’t encountered a bot — yet.

“It’s like an unharvested field of potential bots and the bad guys are now moving towards harvesting,” says Essaid.

So until the Internet cleans up its own act, bot-dodging users like you and I will need to take an “every man for himself” approach. For mobile users, that means not jailbreaking devices, making sure to research apps before you install them and closing programs that you’re not running. On the desktop, it means never using the same username and password combination twice, only entering your credit card information on secure sites, keeping your software (including browser plugins) up to date, and actually installing virus software. “You might be a zombie bot that’s ending up hurting somebody else,” says Essaid.

Zombies? Bots? Things were a lot better back when the Internet was overflowing with cats.

MONEY

Facebook’s New Tool Will Help Keep Your Account Secure

527558155
traffic_analyzer—Getty Images

Introducing "Security Checkup"

Keeping your Facebook account safe just got a whole lot easier.

Starting today, the social networking giant will start introducing a new feature called Security Checkup. The new tool, which will roll out gradually, will guide users through a number of steps meant to improve account security.

Those steps include upgrading passwords, turning on login alerts, and the ability to log out of any active Facebook session—like one you accidentally left open on a public computer or your friend’s phone.

The entire process closely resembles the company’s current Privacy Checkup, which lumps current Facebook features into an easier-to-use interface. Facebook says the Security Checkup, which is supposed to be an improvement, is still in the testing phase. The company plans to make the feature available to more people based on user feedback.

Facebook

 

 

TIME Security

Silk Road Mastermind Pleads For Light Sentence

The homepage to alleged Silk Road 2.0 website is seen in a screenshot after it was closed by U.S. authorities
© Reuters Staff / Reuters—Reuters The homepage to Silk Road 2.0, allegedly an underground drug market, is seen in a screenshot after it was closed by U.S. authorities November 6, 2014. U.S. authorities said Thursday they have shut down the successor website to Silk Road, an underground online drug marketplace, and charged its alleged operator with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering and other crimes. REUTERS/Staff (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) - RTR4D53P

He wants 20 years, but faces the possibility of life behind bars

The convicted founder of Silk Road, the shuttered online black market, is pleading for a lighter sentence.

Ross Ulbricht’s plea came in a letter to the judge who is set to make a decision Friday. Ulbricht, 31 faces the possibility of life in prison. The letter is the first time Ulbricht has spoken out for himself, according to Business Insider. He did not testify during the trial.

“When I created Silk Road I wasn’t seeking financial gain,” he wrote in the letter.. “I created Silk Road because… I believed at the time that people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else.”

He’s hoping to receive the least amount of time in prison possible, 20 years; 97 of Ulbricht’s friends and family have written letters in his defense.

“Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness,” Ulbricht said in the letter.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Management

Why Monitoring Employees’ Social Media Is a Bad Idea

Quote tweet feature
Nick Ansell—PA Wire/Press Association Images Quote tweet feature. File photo dated 10/02/15 of the Twitter bird logo. Twitter has overhauled its "frustrating" quote tweet feature to allow people to say more about text they want to comment on. Issue date: Tuesday April 7, 2015. The social media giant had faced criticism that users barely had any characters left to add a comment when they quoted a tweet because of the 140-character limit. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Twitter. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire URN:22671665

there is a vast difference between asking for employees to exercise good judgment and hovering over their Tweets like Big Brother

People today live in a virtual online aquarium, and chances are good that one of the people watching you is probably your current or potential employer. According to job site CareerBuilder, 52% of companies now check job applicants’ social media profiles before hiring them, up from 43% just a year ago.

On one hand, it’s understandable. After all, it can be embarrassing for a business if one of its representatives posts offensive content or does something illegal via social media. Employers can even get into legal trouble for their workers’ actions. Advocates of the practice say that it’s necessary to protect companies’ reputations, confidential information, and is an inevitable byproduct of the Internet age, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But does monitoring of employees’ social media really protect a company or can it do more harm than good?

First, the argument that companies need to keep tabs online to ensure that their employees refrain from inappropriate or illegal behavior doesn’t really hold. While it’s conceivable that some low level silliness, such as posting a picture of yourself dancing on a table, could be prevented by employer monitoring, more serious infractions are unlikely to be shared on social media and therefore never appear on the radar of the company anyway.

In addition, when job candidates or employees know that they are being watched, they can restrict access to certain posts, set up dummy profiles to fool companies, or otherwise throw up smokescreens. This is particularly true of millennials, who are technologically adept at controlling and manipulating their online avatars. The point is, the limited preventative effect of social media monitoring may not be worth the time and expense required for companies to do it.

There is also the problem of bias. Americans today are arguably more socially and politically conscious than previous generations and actively use social media to convey their thoughts, debate important topics, and fight for causes. In some cases, employers may even be supportive, such as if a job candidate works tirelessly to raise money for breast cancer research, but in other cases, there is a real danger of people being penalized for their personal views on things like politics, race, or religion.

Even if a company itself is neutral, the subjective feelings of the person tasked with monitoring employees’ social media could easily lead to discrimination, especially in the highly polarized environment of the U.S. People should be able to share their views on gay marriage, for example, with their friends on social media, without running afoul of an employer who disagrees with them. Recognizing that in essence this is an inadvertent violation of laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, political preference, gender etc, employers should at the very least factor this into their social media policies and put safeguards in place to prevent against it. The harm caused by bias to workers is immense but so are the potential legal consequences for companies.

Finally, by looking over workers’ shoulders, companies could stifle the most important trait that can benefit a business: creativity. As innovation becomes increasingly necessary in a hyper-competitive business landscape, this factor can be crucial for a company’s success.

Social media, for those who use it avidly at least, can be a medium to express our personality – for who we are – which is naturally linked to our creativity. Companies that foster creativity are more profitable and 50% more likely to be market leaders than their peers, according to the Harvard Business Review. Yet some businesses fail to make the connection between suppressing their employees’ online freedom and restricting their creativity.

There is no doubt that companies are within their rights to expect compliance with some common-sense social media etiquette. However, there is a vast difference between asking for employees to exercise good judgment and hovering over their Tweets like Big Brother. The latter can erode a necessary sense of trust between companies and their workers and undermine loyalty. Just as an employee or a job candidate needs to trust that a company has integrity and is worth working for, the company needs to show its people that it trusts them to behave like responsible adults.

By allowing workers to live their personal lives without intrusion, smart businesses can make a powerful statement; namely, that they accept them for who they are, treasure their professional contributions to the company, and want them to be happy and fulfilled outside as well as inside the office. This, in turn, would inspire loyalty and boost productivity in the workforce, and make those companies more profitable.

Kumar has worked in technology, media, and telecom investment banking. He has evaluated mergers and acquisitions in these sectors and provided strategic consulting to media companies and hedge funds.

TIME Security

Adult Website Adultfriendfinder Confirms Massive Data Breach

Nearly 4 million users' data is at risk

Adult website AdultFriendFinder has confirmed it’s working with law enforcement and data security experts following a data breach, USA Today reports.

The breach was first reported by U.K. news outlet Channel 4, which said information from nearly 4 million AdultFriendFinder users was lost in the incident. Hackers reportedly stole data about users’ sexual preferences, email addresses, usernames, dates of birth and zip codes.

AdultFriendFinder told USA Today that it has “begun working closely with law enforcement and launched a comprehensive investigation with the help of leading third-party forensics expert, Mandiant.” Channel 4 reports that some of the data was linked to users who had attempted to delete their profiles on the site.

AdultFriendFinder can best be described as an adult-themed social network meant to connect individuals for short-term encounters.

TIME cybersecurity

Edward Snowden Answered the Question We’ve All Been Wondering

The New Yorker Festival 2014 - Edward Snowden Interviewed by Jane Mayer
Bryan Bedder—Getty Images for The New Yorker General view of atmosphre at Edward Snowden Interviewed by Jane Mayer at the MasterCard stage at SVA Theatre during The New Yorker Festival 2014 on October 11, 2014 in New York City.

He talked about Rand Paul, too

In case you were curious, Edward Snowden still enjoys pizza in Russia.

“Do you miss pizza? Favorite thing about Russia so far? If you could be an insect, which would you be and why?” a Reddit user asked Snowden in a recent AMA, or “Ask Me Anything.” Snowden’s response was short and sweet: “This guy gets it. Russia has Papa John’s. For real.”

But Snowden also took the opportunity to answer questions on more serious subjects. After all, the conversation was centered around Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That’s one section Snowden brought to the public’s attention in 2013 when he leaked information about the NSA’s telephone records collection program.

Snowden took the AMA opportunity to respond to a question about Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster against the Patriot Act. Snowden wrote:

It represents a sea change from a few years ago, when intrusive new surveillance laws were passed without any kind of meaningful opposition or debate. Whatever you think about Rand Paul or his politics, it’s important to remember that when he took the floor to say “No” to any length of reauthorization of the Patriot Act, he was speaking for the majority of Americans — more than 60% of whom want to see this kind of mass surveillance reformed or ended.

Snowden conducted the Reddit conversation along with Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the ACLU.

TIME

Stop Using This Painfully Obvious Answer For Your Security Questions

In fact, stop using security questions at all

We all love pizza, but that doesn’t mean you should be using it as a way to keep your data safe online.

In a new research paper, Google staffers found that those pesky security questions which are often used to help users recover passwords are one of the worst ways to protect online accounts. The company studied hundreds of millions of actual question-and-answer combos used by real Google users, and discovered people often choose obvious answers that are easy to remember — but also easy for hackers to guess.

For example, an attacker would have a 20% chance of guessing an English speaker’s answer to the question, “What is your favorite food?” by guessing “pizza” on the first try.

Even when users have hard-to-guess answers that are effective at keeping hackers out, it can be challenging for people to get into their own accounts. 40% of English-speaking U.S. users have failed to recall their answers to security questions, according to Google. When the questions are very difficult, such as asking for a person’s frequent flyer number, recall rate drops to 9%.

Some users try to be clever and make up fake answers to questions in hopes of boosting security, but that plan can also backfire. Google found 37% of people have given bogus answers to security questions, but these fake responses end up being so similar to each other in aggregate that they make it easier for hackers to guess the answers, not harder.

So, what’s the solution? Google advocates using authentication through SMS texting or alternate email addresses to boost security and help users recover lost passwords. These methods don’t rely on faulty human memory or our undying love of pizza. When using SMS as a recovery method, people are able to get back into their accounts more than 80% of the time, Google found.

MONEY

5 Easy Ways to Avoid Getting Hacked at ATMs

A customer uses an automated teller machine (ATM) outside a Lloyds Bank branch, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc, in London, U.K., on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. The U.K. government sold about 634 million pounds ($987 million) of shares in Lloyds Banking Group Plc, cutting its stake to less than 20 percent a week after elections. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Jason Alden—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP. A customer uses an automated teller machine (ATM) outside a Lloyds Bank branch, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc, in London, U.K., on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

Scammers are having a heyday. Here's how to stay safe.

That ATM you’re using may not be safe.

As my colleague Daniel Roberts points out, citing a report in the Wall Street Journal: “withdrawing money from an ATM is more dangerous than it’s been in a long time—specifically, the worst it has been in two decades.”

The story features some alarming statistics from credit-scoring company FICO. Security compromises of debit card data that have been traced to ATMs on-site at banks rose 174% from the beginning of the year to April compared to the same time last year. And off-site ATM fraud spiked 317% in that time versus the same period last year.

In other words, criminals are having a heyday. So how can you remain safe when banking on the go? Here are Fortune’s top tips to keep you from getting ripped off:

1. Cover up your personal identification number

Shielding the ATM keypad as you type in your security code will help prevent onlookers from glimpsing your PIN. It’s a simple solution but one of the best ways to thwart so-called shoulder surfers from stealing your passcode. (Be careful of video cameras, too.)

2. Check for compromised machines

One of the most popular means by which criminals steal payment card data is through a device known as a “skimmer.” A crook will plant one of these gadgets on the “swipe” or “dip” port on an ATM, where it may read the magnetic strip on your card and rip its data. The thief can then create counterfeit cards, or use the card information to make purchases online.

3. Use ATMs on bank premises

ATMs that are on-site at your bank are less easily tampered with than ones outside. Just look at the numbers provided by FICO, as mentioned above: 174% increase in compromises for bank-based ATMs versus 317% increase for the rest.

4. Limit your exposure

Using ATMs less frequently will lessen the risk that you’ll encounter a bad machine. Try taking out larger sums of cash less often, or conducting more business at the counter or via mobile apps.

5. Promptly notify your bank of any bad transactions

If you suspect that something is amiss, call your card-issuing bank immediately. Many of them require that you notify them of unauthorized transactions within a 60-day period after you receive your banking statement.

Heed this advice, and stay safe out there, friends.

TIME Security

5 Easy Ways to Avoid Getting Hacked at ATMs

A customer uses an automated teller machine (ATM) outside a Lloyds Bank branch, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc, in London, U.K., on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. The U.K. government sold about 634 million pounds ($987 million) of shares in Lloyds Banking Group Plc, cutting its stake to less than 20 percent a week after elections. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Jason Alden—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP. A customer uses an automated teller machine (ATM) outside a Lloyds Bank branch, a unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc, in London, U.K., on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

That ATM you’re using may not be safe.

As my colleague Daniel Roberts points out, citing a report in the Wall Street Journal: “withdrawing money from an ATM is more dangerous than it’s been in a long time—specifically, the worst it has been in two decades.”

The story features some alarming statistics from credit-scoring company FICO. Security compromises of debit card data that have been traced to ATMs on-site at banks rose 174% from the beginning of the year to April compared to the same time last year. And off-site ATM fraud spiked 317% in that time versus the same period last year.

In other words, criminals are having a heyday. So how can you remain safe when banking on the go? Here are Fortune’s top tips to keep you from getting ripped off:

1. Cover up your personal identification number

Shielding the ATM keypad as you type in your security code will help prevent onlookers from glimpsing your PIN. It’s a simple solution but one of the best ways to thwart so-called shoulder surfers from stealing your passcode. (Be careful of video cameras, too.)

2. Check for compromised machines

One of the most popular means by which criminals steal payment card data is through a device known as a “skimmer.” A crook will plant one of these gadgets on the “swipe” or “dip” port on an ATM, where it may read the magnetic strip on your card and rip its data. The thief can then create counterfeit cards, or use the card information to make purchases online.

3. Use ATMs on bank premises

ATMs that are on-site at your bank are less easily tampered with than ones outside. Just look at the numbers provided by FICO, as mentioned above: 174% increase in compromises for bank-based ATMs versus 317% increase for the rest.

4. Limit your exposure

Using ATMs less frequently will lessen the risk that you’ll encounter a bad machine. Try taking out larger sums of cash less often, or conducting more business at the counter or via mobile apps.

5. Promptly notify your bank of any bad transactions

If you suspect that something is amiss, call your card-issuing bank immediately. Many of them require that you notify them of unauthorized transactions within a 60-day period after you receive your banking statement.

Heed this advice, and stay safe out there, friends.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com