Skip to content Skip to navigation

Friday Cyber News, April 8 2016

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 4/2 - 4/8:

1. This week, the Panama Papers were released, though sources vary as to whether they were leaked by an insider or through an external hack; information on approximately 50 million Turkish citizens was released; and information on 55 million voters from the Philippines was stolen from a voting database. The broader question of what we should do about big data leaks includes the question of whether it's worth trying to get them taken down, and whether we should actually make them more accessible and searchable if we know they're going to be available. [Reuters; Financial Times; Lawfare; New Republic]

2. The Defend Trade Secrets Act, intended to allow victims of corporate espionage and IP theft to recover damages, unanimously passed the Senate. The bill intends to make corporate cyber theft more costly, thereby deterring those who were undeterred by ever-escalating cyber defenses and diplomatic promises not to engage in cyber espionage. Another bill approaching the Senate, on encryption, would force companies to provide technical assistance to law enforcement, among other contested provisions. A discussion draft is available at the link. [CSM Passcode; The Hill]

3. Building the personalities of virtual assistants is, it turns out, a job for those humanities majors often shut out of tech. Virtual assistants themselves are a bid for more of your attention, by the apps and platforms that already command a lot of it. Some of that attention--and usually, the kind of attention that matters to advertisers--is positive. But what happens when you turn to your phone to help you deal with sadness or depression? [Washington Post; Medium; Cyber Initiative blog]

4. A report released this week from the Global Commission on Internet Governance outlines how the lack of borders on the internet creates legal problems that inhibit transnational cooperation. [CIGI]

5. The FBI, having determined how to break into iPhones 5c (but not newer models, likely due to their secure enclave chip) sent a letter to other law enforcement agencies indicating it could help them out if they had similar phone troubles. Meanwhile, WhatsApp now provides end-to-end encryption. [9to5mac; Buzzfeed; EFF]

6. Law enforcement agencies including the FBI are using a trove of citizens' biometric data to identify criminals using stolen identities, but that also means they're maintaining a database with pictures of you. Luckily, a recent survey by the Consumer Technology Association indicates that 60% of you are comfortable with this type of surveillance, as long as it's not being used by private companies to target ads. [IB Times; Fedscoop]

7. Digital IP thieves gained a new technique with the publication of a method to determine what a 3D printer is printing by recording the sounds it makes. [Science]

8. GCHQ stepped in to prevent the distribution of new smart meters that failed to meet encryption standards. [Inquirer]

9. DHS is having trouble recruiting cybersecurity experts; with 691 employees in their cyber division, the agency has been cleared by OPM to hire up to 1,000 more. Perhaps part of the problem is that none of the top 10 US computer science departments requires that students take a cybersecurity course.  [NYTimes; Dark Reading]

10. Bug bounty programs with cash rewards are great, but what about free pizza for life? (Note: the bug was fixed, and didn't necessarily guarantee free pizza for life) [Vice]


Stanford Cyber Initiative