iAfrikan Daily Brief - Google Analytics, South Africa's Department Of Basic Education, Google And Amazon re:Invent 2016
Friday, 09 December 2016
The Russian Hacker Who Is Spamming Everyone's Google Analytics In Support Of Donald Trump
As early as November we, iAfrikan.com, started noticing a lot of traffic referrals on our Google Analytics dashboard from lifehacĸer.com. A bit of excitement brewed for a few minutes thinking we had been featured, but, wait, look closely, lifehacĸer.com is not lifehacker.com. Upon a bit of investigation and tracking down, we came across the name Vitaly Popov via WHOIS. It turns out Popov went on to register websites that use the Cyrillic version of letters like he did with C and K in lifehacker.com, swapped out for с and к, which may appear the same, but which direct visitors elsewhere. In our case, Popov is using these domains to spam almost everyone's Google Analytics with "fake traffic" which registers as legitimate traffic on Google Analytics by exploiting a "Language setting" variable on Google Analytics and including pro-Trump messages when you dig further on your Analytics dashboard. This spam traffic can be filtered out luckily but it has us asking if it is possible for digital media websites to create a similar exploit to "spoof" traffic and boost their numbers to impress advertisers? 🤔
South Africa's Department Of Basic Education Says It Will Allow Pupils To Pass Mathematics With 20% Exam Scores
Credit: South Africa's Department Of Education
In an announcement that has left many South Africans perplexed and angry, the country's Department of Basic Education announced that the pass mark for Grades 7 to 9 in mathematics has been lowered to 20%. The decision comes into effect immediately and continues into 2017. In elaborating on why the decision was made to drop the pass mark to such a low level the Department of Basic Education explained that there were concerns that learners were passing other subjects but failing mathematics, specifically those in Grades 7 to 9 and this meant they couldn't be promoted to another level because mathematics is a compulsory pass subject. So, given this scenario, the department issued a directive that pupils who passed other subjects but failed mathematics (20% minimum) must be allowed to progress to the next grade. Shouldn't the next step be enhancing mathematics education at the lower Grades instead of just dealing with the "symptoms"?
Some Notable Highlights From Amazon's AWS re:Invent 2016
Credit: Amazon AWS re:Invent 2016
Every year dating back 2011 Amazon a conference for Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud division customers. In just five years the conference has turned into one of the notable conferences on tech calendar with not only AWS paying attention but the most of the technology industry. Notable announcements from the event include: Amazon Lightsail (a service which will include a virtual machine, SSD-based storage, data transfer, DNS management, and a static IP – for a low, predictable price), Amazon AI (includes Lex, the technology underlying Alexa; Rekognition image recognition service; Polly text-to-speech (TTS) ), Snowmobile Truck (full-size truck containing 45-foot shipping container in which customers can load up exabytes of data to move to AWS) and AWS Shield Standard (free f charge DDoS mitigation service).
You Can Now Perform Location Based Google Searches On Twitter Using Emojis
You can now tweet at the @Google twitter account using an emoji, and the search engine will reply to your tweet with the relevant location based results of where to eat or hang out depending on the emoji you used. For example, you can tweet an ice cream emoji like we did and it responded with all the close by ice cream shops. Nifty. Fun. Gimmick?
It almost feels like the way innovation hubs are currently set up signals a much deeper imposition, an evolved way of privatising societal failures, and ensuring this is internalised and reproduced. It’s a lovely thought to believe that all it takes to make it is discipline, ambition and positive thinking, but the reality is these aren’t going to undo deeply embedded structural injustices. The innovation hype is not going anywhere, anytime soon, especially not with a push for the formation of innovation districts in major cities across the globe.