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Friday Cyber News, April 1 2016

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 3/26 - 4/1:

1. Amid a tense climate around encryption, where lawmakers and technologists frequently disagree over what is fear-mongering and what is warranted caution, the NY Times reports that ISIS members who attacked Paris were using TrueCrypt as part of their communication strategy. Security researchers also point out the flaws in the NY Times story, including a misunderstanding of how TrueCrypt works. A profile of the creator of TrueCrypt reveals some interesting drug-trafficking connections. [NYTimes; ErrataSec; New Yorker]

2. On Monday, the FBI revealed that its anonymous helper had successfully opened Syed Farook's iPhone, and that it was withdrawing its legal case to compel Apple to help. Apparently the undisclosed method worked so well that the FBI is now jumping in to help unlock iPhones in other cases, a downstream effect of unlocking one phone that Apple correctly predicted. [NYTimes; LATimes]

3. Hackers breached a few large US law firms, whose clients include Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies, as revealed this week; the firms are a high-value target for hackers because they hold confidential information on many clients who could in turn be targeted, or the subject of insider trading. [WSJ]

4. Obama and Xi Jinping are discussing intellectual property and cybersecurity again this week, after uncertainty over whether their previous agreement not to engage in digital espionage was actually observed. The US and China are also working to jointly define cyber warfare. [The Hill]

5. Political hacker Andrés Sepúlveda confesses to digitally altering election results and processes in Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Venezuela. [Bloomberg]

6. Theory: as cybersecurity concerns bleed into all of our daily behaviors and transactions, are we headed for a singularity of crime? [Danaher]

7. Cyber insurers are cutting rates, supposedly due to a lack of recent high-profile hacks like Sony or Target. For a look at the evolution of the cyber insurance industry, join us May 9th for a conference bringing together lawyers, insurers, clients, and academics. [Reuters; Stanford Cyber Initiative]

8. Despite worries about the app-based gig economy changing the face of work, the majority of the increase in contract and on-call workers (up 5.7% since 2005, as compared to a 0.7% increase in other forms of work) is driven by offline jobs. Only 0.5% of the increase is attributed to app-based jobs, and the vast majority of those are Uber drivers. The shift away from conventional jobs has implications for insurance markets, as well as the employer-employee relationship, but a shift to online labor is a backdrop, not a primary instigator. [NY Times]

9. Basically, you put the Google Maps camera on a police car: China has launched a police vehicle with facial recognition software that can scan and identify people while driving past at up to 75mph. It can also recognize license plate numbers and car makes and models, meaning that all police cars can "be on the lookout" for every suspect, all the time. [WSJ]

10. Google's April Fool's email addition--adding a gif of a minion dropping a microphone--gets many accidental clicks from business emailers, leading to its removal and Google's apology. Try VNC Roulette, instead, a chat-roulette interface for hackable computers. [TechCrunch; Vice]


Stanford Cyber Initiative

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