DataDownload: Billionaire Gucci Master’s rise and fall

DataDownload: Billionaire Gucci Master’s rise and fall A weekly summary of all things Media, Data, Emerging Tech View this email in your browser

The news never sleeps — but on the 4th of July weekend, it comes darn close.

But for those of you avid DataDownload readers, this week’s newsletter is worth stepping away from the grill for a few moments.

If you haven’t heard of “business email compromise” (BEC) attacks yet, you won’t want to miss this Bloomberg read. And as the world’s weather becomes more dangerous, a disaster bot may be the thing that saves your life. The New York Times is evolving its storytelling to use new tools and platforms, including Instagram slides and Twitter Cards.

And, the Future of Shopping is worth a view.

So enjoy, ponder, and celebrate our complicated, and occasionally infuriating democracy. I, for one, love fireworks. So there is that.

As always, your feedback, suggestions, and ideas are always welcome


Steven Rosenbaum
Executive Director
The NYC Media Lab Must-Read The Fall of the Billionaire Gucci Master

How does one become the Billionaire Gucci Master? According to the FBI, by initiating “business email compromise” (BEC) attacks. Since first appearing roughly six years ago, BEC attacks now surpass all other forms of internet fraud. The FBI reports there were almost 20,000 such scams against American businesses in 2020 alone, accounting for $1.8B in losses. When Nigerian Insta influencer Hushpuppi (Ramon Olorunwa Abbas) wasn’t busy flexing next to a giant sculpture of a Rolls Royce hood ornament or flying in private helicopters in the Greek isles, he was allegedly the mastermind behind at least one $1M BEC scam.

BEC attacks typically begin with someone hacking a corporate email account using phishing or other social engineering tactics. The hacker then gathers information on legitimate payments and falsifies invoices, making themselves the beneficiary. According to Crane Hassold, Senior Director of Threat Research at Agari and a former FBI analyst: “These attacks are so realistic-looking, most people don’t give it a second thought. One would expect that when you get into larger and larger and larger amounts of money that are exchanging hands, that there would be some process that requires secondary authorization. But in many cases, that’s not what actually happens.”

Bloomberg / 42 min read Read More How a ‘Disaster Bot’ in Indonesia Maps Crises in Realtime

In flood-prone Indonesia, a new “disaster-bot” named PetaBancana (disaster map) prompts Twitter users who tweet “banjir” (flood) to “locate the flood on a map, report how high the water is, and submit a photo of the damage.”

PetaBencana then produces “real-time, crowdsourced maps of emerging disasters from social media users, who can also report earthquakes, forest fires, smog, strong winds, and volcanic activity.” According to PetaBancana developer Tomas Holderness, “we started to see that during extreme weather events, people are talking about these things. That was kind of the beginning of the conversation of ‘Hey, how can we use that information in real time?’” The open-source technology behind PetaBancana, CogniCity, has been adopted in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the Phillipines to help manage urban disasters.

Rest of World / 14 min read

Read more Tech+Media The New York Times Is Using Instagram Slides and Twitter Cards to Make Stories More Digestible

The New York Times continues to make visual storytelling a crucial part of its journalism — from long-form documentaries like this recent crowdsourced exposé of the January 6th insurrection to Instagram slides and Twitter cards. One recent Insta slide laid out the salient facts of the Delta Covid-19 variant and how to protect against it. According to off-platform NY Times editor Jake Grovum: “When there’s either an important, complicated news story or something that [would benefit from] context, there’s a real good journalistic reason to do this kind of thing.”

Nieman Journalism Lab / 4 min read Read More “I Kissed a Girl” to “Call Me by Your Name”

How many explicitly same-gender love songs have hit Billboard’s Hot 100 since 2008? According to a gorgeously-designed deep dive by Jan Diehm, in the 13 years between Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl and Lil Nas X’s MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name), a paltry eight: “That’s 0.7%, not even one a year, out of 1,170 unique hits.” As someone “firmly planted in [their] queer identity,” Diehm recalls what Perry’s hit meant to her growing up in Nashville, the Buckle of the Bible Belt.

“At 3 minutes long, I could listen to it about 16 times on the 50-minute drive it took to get to the ‘second-closest’ Best Buy two towns over. Driving those extra minutes and that extra town ensured that I could snag the equally inconspicuous flaming pink-boxed first season of The L Word without waving a giant rainbow flag and raising any questions about my sexuality.”

The Pudding / 3 min read Read More The Pandemic Showed Why Product and Brand Design Need to Sit Together

Product and brand design “often sit in different parts of a company’s org structure,” according to Scott Tong, a startup design expert. But “to users, brand and product are lumped together and they each represent the other.” With many startups considering a return to the office, Tong isn’t convinced it’s a necessity for good design work: “I think it’s entirely possible to establish a high-functioning team in a remote environment.”

TechCrunch / 5 min read

Read More What We’re Watching In China, The Future of Shopping Is Already Happening

“Livestream shopping on social media is disrupting traditional e-commerce in China. At the heart of this online craze are the top influencers who sell millions of dollars worth of products every night.”

Bloomberg Quicktake (YouTube) / 10 min watch

Watch Now What We’re Listening To Podcast: A New Model for Local Journalism?

“A year and a half ago, a small group of concerned community members gathered to try to address [the] dearth of local journalism. The result? A new, non-profit news outlet called The New Bedford Light. [Host] Brooke talks to Barbara Roessner, the founding editor of The New Bedford Light, about the challenges facing the fledgling outlet and the benefits that local journalism brings to the civic health of a community.”

Spotify / 16 min listen

Listen Now Virtual Events Free Event: Live Chat with PayPal Sr Product Manager
Date: July 5, 1:30PM-2PM EDT
Ever wondered what it’s like to work as a Product Manager? This is an exclusive Ask Me Anything session with Manickkam Pandian, Senior Product Manager at PayPal. Register Here.

Free Event: Disruptive Technologists — Why is Cyber Security So Elusive?
Date: July 7, 6PM-7PM EDT
In these advanced times, why is Cyber Security still an Issue? Join three free, “super casual,” one-hour webinars on the topic. Register Here. A Deeper Look He Inherited a Devastating Disease. A CRISPR Gene-Editing Breakthrough Stopped It

65-year-old Patrick Doherty and five other patients received a CRISPR-based treatment from Intellia for a rare but devastating inherited disease that destroys vital tissue in the body, showing significant improvement after just two doses. Is this a big deal? Sam Fazeli, head of EMEA research at Bloomberg Intelligence, gave an emphatic “yes”.

“This new data, even though from just a handful of patients, shows not only that this new technology works in humans, but that it is also very safe, at least at the two doses that were tested in this trial. It’s important because it’s the first time that scientists have been able to modify DNA in a patient’s cells in a very specific way,” said Fazeli.

CRISPR gene editing pioneer Jennifer Doudna (above) called it a “major milestone for patients.” CRISPR-Cas9 has already been used to treat blood disorders like sickle cell disease, cancer, and blindness due to a rare genetic disorder — but these treatments involved “taking cells out of the body, editing them in the lab, and infusing them back in.” This time, CRISPR-Cas9 was injected straight into the bloodstream to reach tissue far from injection sites.

NPR / 5 min read

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