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Friday Cyber News, August 25 2017

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 8/19 - 8/25:

1. Cyber Initiative researchers Melissa Valentine and Michael Bernstein are at the forefront of research on how AI will provide new types of work, including more remote or crowd-based work in flash organizations reminiscent of the rapidly assembled teams that work on film sets or festivals. Current gig workers on platforms like Amazon's Mechanical Turk understand all too well that their efforts are helping to train machine learning algorithms to one day replace them, and want a say in how their work is used, leading to the development of Daemo, a self-governed crowdsourcing marketplace. [Economist; Wired]

2. The US Justice Department charged a Chinese national this week with conspiring to hack three unnamed US companies, and using and selling malware later tied to the OPM and Anthem hacks. [NY Times]

3. If Google and Facebook are regulated like monopolies, they could be forced to license their patents, as AT&T was (leading to the widespread use of the transistor); would this enable more, smaller players to create music-streaming and news-serving platforms? Cyber Initiative researcher Eileen Donahoe argues that protecting democracy from disinformation requires better algorithms, not censorship, lending support to the idea that more widespread innovation rather than monopolistic control will help us preserve democratic values online. [New Yorker; Council on Foreign Relations]

4. US-CERT issued a report this week on analysis of North Korean botnet-driven DDoS activity. Other analysts have taken issue with recording every connection to an IP address under suspicion of being part of a botnet as malicious. The tools used by North Korean hackers point to a more focused process of development than Mirai. [US-CERT]

5. There's nothing cyber policy experts enjoy more than speculating about how the law of the sea relates to the internet, and here's a hypothetical explanation of how a cyber attack on a US naval ship--like the USS John McCain, recently involved in the second major naval collision in as many months--would violate international law. [Council on Foreign Relations]

6.​ Is the ability to analyze data from military operations in near-real-time, including tweets, radar signals, satellite images, and flight-tracking data, helping or hurting those operations? Activists, researchers, and intelligence analysts come to different conclusions, but are using the same data sources. [Nautilus]

7. The National Infrastructure Advisory Council--holdouts from the recent wave of National Council resignations and disbandings--released a report this week urging the US to set aside physically separate fiber systems and communications spectrum regions for critical infrastructure providers to use in an emergency. Other recommendations include more and faster threat information sharing, more SCIFs, and an expansion of the NCCIC. [Cyberscoop]

8. A Chinese state-sponsored hacking group is sending a large volume of phishing 'lures' to Vietnamese businesspeople in sectors where Vietnam and China compete, like oil and natural gas. The phishing emails target a vulnerability in Microsoft Word. [Buzzfeed]

9. Elon Musk and Mustafa Suleyman are calling on the UN to ban the development and use of lethal autonomous weapons--killer AI robots--but would an actor capable of developing a truly game-changing autonomous weapon also heed such a ban? [The Guardian]

10. The UK is still facing a cat food shortage after Royal Canin suffered a cyber attack that slowed its distribution pipeline. Now that cybersecurity is a cat problem, I expect much better solutions to be developed shortly. [Metro UK]

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative

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