@SarahCortes

InmanTechnologyIT , cambridge ma
Sarah Cortes is a senior technology manager with extensive experience in all aspects of Information Technology for financial services, as well as biotechnology, government and higher education. PMP and CISA-certified, she has a broad background in developing and implementing major application...
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Sarah Cortes

Recently posted by Sarah Cortes

January 29, 2015 - 12:46am by @SarahCortes- Barry Nolan, Communications Director with the US Congress Joint Economic Committee in Washington DC, met today in the Rotunda of the US Congress with Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who represents Cambridge. Nolan, on the Board of Emerge Abuser Education in Cambridge, spoke with Markey about domestic violence and abuser education programs. Emerge, the first abuser education program in the United States, has been a national leader in working to end violence in intimate relationships. Emerge teaches that domestic violence is a learned behavior, not a disease or a sickness. Nolan hosted Boston's version of Evening Magazine for WBZ-TV (Channel 4) from 1980 until 1989. Nolan served as co-host for the Paramount Television magazine series Hard Copy from 1990 to 1998, and then became a senior correspondent for Extra! from 2000 until 2003. He later moved to CN8 as an executive producer and host of Nitebeat. Nolan has appeared in numerous films, including the award-winning documentary No Way Out But One, produced by Garland Waller and Nolan, on the first American woman to be granted asylum by the Netherlands on the grounds of domestic violence. Markey recalled Nolan's early... read more
January 21, 2015 - 12:31am Unfortunately domestic violence and abuse are ever-present problems, but what’s even more disturbing is that even when law enforcement and courts get involved, justice and safety can be hard to come by for the victims. It’s surprisingly common for custody to be awarded to known abusers and even pedophiles. Some mothers, faced with the prospect of sending their children into the care of the abuser, have taken justice into their own hands instead. Genevieve Kelly, who disappeared with her daughter ten years ago under such circumstances, recently returned to face charges in New Hampshire: http://www.people.com/article/fugitive-mom-genevieve-kelly-released-on-bail The award-winning documentary No Way Out But One, by Garland Waller, www.nowayoutbutone.com tells the story of Holly-Ann Collins who fled the US with her children when full custody was awarded to the man who was abusing all of them. Ironically, she was granted asylum in The Netherlands and raised her children to adulthood there. Holly and her children were able to move on with their lives, but the difficult issues surrounding domestic violence remain: issues around how courts decide custody in cases involving abuse, poverty... read more
September 18, 2014 - 11:10am by@SarahCortes Previously in this series: Part One: A Question from the NIST Cybersecurity Working Group on the Smart Grid Part Two: Attack and Defense Part Three: The Attack Part Four: The Defense This concludes the series of articles on some newer online privacy attacks, including canvas fingerprinting, browser fingerprinting, cookie synching, cookie respawning, and evercookies. In previous parts of the series, I explain the attack and the defense in detail. After dissecting the technical aspects, I reflected on the process by which researchers, publishers and journalists have conveyed information on this attack in particular, and online privacy attacks in general, to the public, and how I consume that research. As an information security researcher myself, it's a bit shocking to me that I almost missed an important part of the research due to failure to publicize it: the defense. When I first learned I had missed that the widely-publicized July 21, 2014 canvas fingerprinting attack research included significant positive findings about Tor Browser as a defense, I realized I had read the press, but not the underlying full research paper. I read dozens of research papers, but... read more
September 17, 2014 - 3:35pm by @SarahCortes Previously in this series: Part One: A Question from the NIST Cybersecurity Working Group on the Smart Grid Part Two: Attack and Defense Part Three: The Attack In previous parts of this series, we reviewed some online privacy attacks, including canvas fingerprinting, browser fingerprinting, and online cookie attacks. We now review defenses against these attacks. According to researchers, there is only one defense. Peter Eckersley from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) noted in 2010 that Tor browser topped a very short list of defenses against browser fingerprinting: “Which browsers did well? 1) Those without JavaScript 2) Those with Torbutton enabled Paradox: some “privacy enhancing” technologies are fingerprintable: 1) Flash blockers 2) Some forged User Agents 3) “Privoxy” or “Browzar” Noteworthy exceptions: 1) NoScript 2) TorButton [predecessor to Tor browser]” Researchers Diaz et al likewise offered users a short list of defenses in July 2014, stating, “Tor Browser [was] the only software that we found to successfully protect against canvas fingerprinting. Specifically, the Tor Browser returns an empty image from all the canvas functions that can be used... read more
September 16, 2014 - 1:27pm by@SarahCortes Previously: Part One: A Question from the NIST Cybersecurity Working Group on the Smart Grid Part Two: Attack and Defense In this part, we review how canvas fingerprinting, browser fingerprinting, and some online "cookie-"related privacy attacks work to de-anonymize you, identify you and reveal information about you on the internet that you might have thought was private. Who’s doing it? Who figured it out? When did they find it, and when was it reported? Six researchers from KU Leuven in the Netherlands and Princeton University in the US teamed up to locate the canvas fingerprinting online browser attack “in the wild,” meaning, in actual websites. Researchers included Gunes Acar, Christian Eubank, Steven Englehardt, Marc Juarez, Arvind Narayanan, and Claudia Diaz. They wrote a paper, The Web Never Forgets: Persistent Tracking Mechanisms in the Wild, that technically has yet to be “published,” (forthcoming November, 2014 in the academic journal In Proceedings of CCS 2014, Nov. 2014. Yet, as of July 21, 2014, it’s already published on the web, the latest version dated August 10, 2014. Confusing? Yes.) They built on the work first presented in 2012, as theory, in a... read more
September 15, 2014 - 10:30am by@SarahCortes Previously: Part One: A Question from the NIST Cybersecurity Working Group on the Smart Grid “Canvas fingerprinting,” “browser fingerprinting,” respawning, evercookies, cookie synching. As quickly as researchers discover online privacy attacks, new ones abound. Advertisers and marketers have created a hidden world, abetted by invisible technology, that spies and reports on you in order to sell you, presumably as a prospective buyer. Another hidden world of government surveillance grabs from the same toolbox, we learned from the Snowden revelations. Researchers and computer developers at Cambridge, MA-based nonprofit The Tor Project have devoted their talents and time specifically to protect privacy online. Tor is cited in the canvas fingerprinting research reported July 22, 2014, for producing tools forming some of the only lines of defense, among dozens of browser and defense options investigated. Diaz et al concluded, “As for more traditional fingerprinting techniques, the Tor browser again appears to be the only effective tool. With the exception of a recent Mozilla effort to limit plugin enumeration, browser manufacturers have not attempted to build in... read more
September 13, 2014 - 11:28am by @SarahCortes-I had a question recently from members of a NIST technical working group to which I belong, asking me to help explain “canvas fingerprinting.” This privacy-invading online technique received attention in late July in the press, when researchers revealed the extent to which your browser text formatting and other settings can invisibly reveal your identity and activities online. Evil spawn of “browser fingerprinting,” a set of online privacy attacks first widely reported starting in 2010, “canvas fingerprinting” uses seemingly harmless information from your browser to create a kind of online DNA that identifies individuals with statistical certainly. I was curious about how canvas fingerprinting related in general to “browser fingerprinting,” cookie respawning, evercookies, cookie synching, and other hidden privacy attacks, and how to defend against them. Rebecca Herold, a privacy expert who leads our NIST working group, invited me to review the topic with the group at an upcoming meeting. When I got to the attack defenses, I found the answer, an old friend: Tor Browser. I was not surprised, yet...surprised. Not surprised, yes, as millions of users all over the... read more
September 11, 2014 - 11:11am Munroe Center for the Arts's next event: "Break the Silence" September 27, 2014 7:30 pm Jonas Clarke Middle School, 17 Stedman Road, Lexington Relationship violence goes by many names – including dating violence, breakup violence, date rape, spousal abuse, domestic violence – and it takes a toll on people of all ages. For many reasons, teenagers and young adults are particularly susceptible. That reality was brought home by the July 2011 murder of Wayland's Lauren Dunne Astley by her former boyfriend. Her death was a visible and tragic example of a challenge confronting many of our daughters and sons. And it was not a unique instance: across the country, three to four young women lose their lives each day in similar situations. Relationship violence is too-little discussed in our communities: too many people believe that it can't happen to them or their loved ones; and when they see or experience it, they often don't recognize it and don't know how to act to end it. Silence – and the ignorance it breeds – makes young women and men more vulnerable to relationship violence. The arts can help break the silence about relationship violence – and teach our children where to turn... read more
May 28, 2014 - 5:39pm by @SarahCortes-Over 400 internet freedom activists invited from 90 countries shone a spotlight on internet-related issues from gender equity to surveillance at Sweden's Stockholm Internet Forum (SIF) last week. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt addressed forum invitees, explaining that SIF "aims to deepen the discussions on how freedom and openness on the Internet promote economic and social development worldwide." Anna Karin-Hatt, Sweden's Minister for Information Technology and Energy, stated, regarding the US's role: "We do need to improve the way internet is managed today. The only way to build global confidence in internet governance is to ensure global participation and global responsibility. Therefore, we need participation and responsibility that is shared between all stakeholders and all countries." Karin-Hatt, one of the women making up Sweden's 54% of key cabinet-level positions, added, "One important step to achieve this was taken on March 14 this year, when the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration (USNTIA) proposed to hand over the US management of certain internet-functions. This is a move that is at the same time good,... read more
May 1, 2014 - 10:23pm by @SarahCortes- Massachusetts Attorney General candidate Maura Healey spent the week with leaders across Cambridge, defining herself, discussing issues, demonstrating her public speaking ability and setting herself apart from others in the field. "I am the only candidate who has served in the Attorney General's office," she noted. Tonight a crowd gathered to meet with Healey and hear her speak, including artist and former Skadden Arps lawyer and Amnesty International Legal Support Network founder Lori Lander, and former longtime Executive Director of the Cambridge Women’s Commission and former President of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts Nancy Ryan. "As a 5'4" pro basketball player, you know I'm scrappy," said the former Miss New Hampshire Basketball and Olympic trial contender, referring to her athletic career. Healey captained Harvard's women's basketball team to an Ivy Championship and played pro basketball in Austria before starting a legal career where she became a top aide to Attorney General Martha Coakley. Healey noted, "I'm a product of Title IX and a beneficiary of Title IX," referring to the federal law that... read more
April 8, 2014 - 12:58am by @SarahCortes-121 human rights defenders from some of the world’s most repressive societies came together this weekend in Stockholm, Sweden to share their stories and participate in training. Cambridge internet freedom advocates trained these international democracy activists at the Civil Rights Defenders Conference in Sweden's capital. The Swedish NGO Civil Rights Defenders supports activists in countries around the world. CRD brought representatives from 31 countries for training from legal, security and technology specialists. Andrew Lewman from Cambridge-based Tor provided training in internet and digital security to help activists who may be under surveillance from governments whose policies and activities they protest. Defenders from activist groups representing repression based on race, gender, ethnicity, or opposition to government policies spent five days by the Swedish waterfront learning techniques governments use to target activists for surveillance. "Activists may not realize the extent to which their governments may monitor their computers, cellphones and other devices," said Lewman. "Learning to improve digital security may save their life, in some cases," he... read more
March 6, 2014 - 2:22am by @SarahCortes-Lining up more than two hours in advance in the freezing cold, college students and community members estimated at more than a thousand strong at this North Adams college queued around the block and down a steep hill for a chance to hear feminist author, journalist, and activist feminist Gloria Steinem speak last night. Squeezing into the main hall of the Church Street Center at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) as well as overflow rooms, hallways and even vestibules, the audience packed into every available space for her address. Steinem, 80, who has worked for women's rights and gender and racial equality for over 50 years, stood at the podium for almost two hours, speaking and taking questions from the audience. Energetically urging the men and women in the audience to continue to engage in "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions", also the title of one of her books, she drew a standing ovation at the end of her remarks. Afterwards, she remained standing and greeted a mob of well-wishers and petitioners. Steinem recalled her Cambridge connection when discussing Emerge, the first Abuser Education Program in the country, headquartered on... read more
October 16, 2013 - 8:28pm by @SarahCortes - Cambridge computer security expert Andrew Lewman provided training to technologists in Warsaw, Poland last Thursday. Executive Director of the Cambridge-based nonprofit anonymous communication technology organization, the Tor Project, Lewman traveled over 4,000 miles at the invitation of the Secure Poland 2013 conference to address computer security experts, among others. Poland's NASK Research Institute and the Polish CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) organized the conference. Lewman spoke to the audience of over two hundred, advising attendees from around the world on topics in privacy, anonymous communications and other technology. "Over the past few years, I have worked with many victims of stalking and abuse, who need to protect their online identity," said Lewman. "There's a book that's very popular in the US, by George Orwell, called 1984, about a dystopian future where the government records and controls everything. You, as a citizen, have no rights. George Orwell was an optimist," he told the audience, referring to recent revelations by Edward Snowden that the US NSA secretly conducts pevasive surveillance of US citizens, as well as non-citizens... read more
May 21, 2013 - 1:34am Michael Dukakis and Cambridge resident Shanti Fry received awards at last tonight's The Massachusetts Democratic Party's annual Roosevelt Awards event. Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts, exhorted the crowd not to let up before the June 25 special election. Fry, who helped raise a record amount of cash for Elizabeth Warren's campaign, reminded attendees the next 30 days would be the hardest. read more
May 19, 2013 - 8:30pm By Sarah Cortes-80 boys and 20 girls gathered at MIT media lab today to create computer projects, practice their programming skills and learn new skills. Using a programming language developed specifically for kids by Mitch Resnick at MIT, participants had an opportunity to have fun. Along the way they develop and sharpen skills that America desperately needs in its workforce, and that may one day provide the ultimate edge in today's job market. Once a skill reserved for a few specialists, programming, or "coding" as it is called, is now a skill expected in significant numbers by employers worldwide. Americans have lagged behind in adapting their education system to reflect this economic and employment reality, While children with elite educations in other countries like India and China have access to many coding learning programs and countless competitions read more
April 28, 2013 - 9:52pm by @SarahCortes-Over 120 technologists gathered at host Microsoft Cambridge this weekend to volunteer 48 consecutive hours of help for 24 nonprofits. Over 30 projects were accomplished for free for for organizations that otherwise cold not afford them. Projects included website implementations, database reverse engineering, and porting nonprofits' applications to more stable platforms. Jim O'Neil of Microsoft, who organized the event, said, "this is our fourth year, and we have seen that flexibility is the key to successful implementations and a fun, smooth weekend for volunteers." Paul Grenier was one of the coders who travelled from the land of Connecticut and camped overnight at Microsoft, which provided shower facilities and space for tents and sleeping bags, where volunteers caught a few hours of sleep over the weekend. @AutoSponge Grenier, worked on http://www.fuerza.is, an online application to help combat cyberstalking, a project inspired by a consortium that includes Emerge, http://www.emergedv.com, a Cambridge Abuser Education program, Transition House, http://www.transitionhouse.org, which provides shelter and services for victims of Domestic Violence, and https://www.... read more
April 14, 2013 - 4:34pm by Sarah Cortes-On Tuesday, the White House invited technologists from all over the world to brief senior staff on the use of technology to combat human trafficking. The White House conducted the briefing as part of its Human Trafficking Task Force. Human trafficking is described as modern day slavery. Dr. Steven Chan, a Chief Technology Officer/Research Fellow within the Department of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of the Tor Project were among the invited technologists. Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the Task Force first on Tuesday morning in the White House briefing room. He noted an estimate of 27 million individuals believed held in modern day slavery due to Human Trafficking, a White House and Obama priority, Holder stated. Janet Napolitano next requested feedback on the draft action plan from those attending. Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of Tor, participated in the briefing Tuesday at the White House's invitation. He accepted the request to join the White House in 2012 during the White House's effort to enlist technology and technologists to combat human trafficking in order to "better understand the role of technology in... read more
April 10, 2013 - 7:12pm by Sarah Cortes-On Tuesday, the White House invited technologists from all over the world to brief senior staff on the use of technology to combat human trafficking. The White House conducted the briefing as part of its Human Trafficking Task Force. Human trafficking is described as modern day slavery. Dr. Steven Chan, a Chief Technology Officer/Research Fellow within the Department of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of the Tor Project were among the invited technologists. Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the Task Force first on Tuesday morning in the White House briefing room. He noted an estimate of 27 million individuals believed held in modern day slavery due to Human Trafficking, a White House and Obama priority, Holder stated. Janet Napolitano next requested feedback on the draft action plan from those attending. read more
September 30, 2012 - 10:16pm By Sarah Cortes-Ever since Chinese computer hackers reportedly brought down the entire power grid of northeastern New York State, utilities and the US government have collaborated to strengthen the US energy infrastructure to prevent similar occurrences. Smart Grid technology, including computerized Smart Meters, have been rolled out around the US, and there are plans to install more, including in Cambridge and the entire state of Massachusetts. New Smart Grid technology can make your energy consumption data much more interesting, creating benefits- and problems. Collected at intervals as low as every hour or 15 minutes, increased granularity of your energy consumption paints a distinct picture of your activities in your home. And, the activities of others in your home while you are away. Each person may create a unique "digital energy usage signature" that can be used to identify who is in your home doing what, when. This is helpful when you want to understand how to cut down your energy usage. It also interests businesses that want to sell you things, other individuals who want to track your activities, and law enforcement and related government agencies, when they wants to... read more
September 6, 2012 - 7:45pm by @SarahCortes-As over 30 press outlets filed an amicus brief to protest secrecy surrounding PVC Bradley Manning's trial, protestors in Cambridge, Boston and 33 Obama campaign headquarters around the US joined yesterday in the demand to free Manning. Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents and media, including the video www.CollateralMurder.com, to Wikileaks. Many view Wikileaks as a news outlet similar to the New York Times, and Manning as a whistleblower similar to Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers. Documents and media allegedly leaked by Manning to Wikileaks portray misconduct by the US military, such as that in the Collateral Murder video. Wikileaks director Julian Assange is currently in refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, under threat of arrest and deportation to Sweden. Four US congressional representatives have called for Assange's death. The US seeks his extradition for publishing the classified material. Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, unauthorized disclosure of national security information and violating orders. The maximum punishment for these crimes includes life imprisonment. The government has... read more

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