Skip to content Skip to navigation

Friday Cyber News, August 28 2015

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 8/22 - 8/28:

1. Police departments are enjoying the help of stingrays, which collect cell phone metadata by posing as cell towers, and automatic license plate scanners used to facilitate manhunts, and see who's going through toll plazas. The use of these tools is increasingly under scrutiny by the courts, one of which overturned a ruling that NSA metadata collection was unconstitutional, although changes have already been made to collection practices. The California supreme court is also looking at a case on the use of license plate scanners in Oakland, and how much data police are allowed to collect and store without a warrant. [CityLab; Newsweek; NPR; Allgov]

2. Researchers at the Universities of Maryland and Pennsylvania have developed "alibi routing" that allows a user control over the routing pathway their information takes across the internet, allowing them to avoid countries with more active surveillance. [CSM Passcode]

3. A Pentagon drone strike killed a top ISIS hacker and online recruiter, indicating that targeting profiles are putting more weight on online activity. [Foreign Policy]

4. Contrary to popular belief, data breaches are not getting larger over time. By modeling negligent and malicious breach frequency, researchers determine that breach frequency has also remained roughly constant. [EconInfoSec]

5. The US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld a ruling that the FTC has the authority to regulate corporate cybersecurity. The FTC originally filed a lawsuit against Wyndham, arguing they did not sufficiently protect the information of 619,000 customers that was breached in 2012. Some industry groups are worried about overregulation, and the magnitude of fines. [Cyber Risk Network, h/t Joe; CSM Passcode]

6. Uber's latest offering, "Smart Routes" that give you a discount for walking a few blocks to a more popular pick-up point, are making the tech company look a lot like public transit. [The Awl]

7. This Monday, one billion people used Facebook, a new record for the company. Facebook is also developing a virtual assistant to rival Siri, that can suggest gifts and make dinner reservations, while here at Stanford, Michal Kosinski can use the types of stories you "like" on Facebook to predict whether your parents are divorced. It may be an odd piece of information for Facebook to have about you, but at least you can tell your virtual assistant not to set up a Parent Trap dinner. [Quartz; Quartz; Stanford News]

8. Driverless cars are using a former naval base to learn the rules of the road and iron out any safety problems. The market for increased safety--in automated or standard cars--could use the data generated by these testing programs to offer incentives to manufacturers whose cars perform better on more sophisticated metrics than crash test dummy acceleration. [Time; New America]

9. An independent online service that provides medical second opinions can benefit both patients and doctors who live and work in medically underserved areas, by bringing the best of the Cleveland Clinic to your iPad. [Wall Street Journal]

10. Didn't like CSI: Cyber? The USA program Mr. Robot provides a much better depiction of hacking tools, explained in this overview of btscanner and metasploit. [Hackertarget]




(To suggest an item for this list, subscribe, or unsubscribe, please email This email contains links that may not work if HTML is not supported in your mailbox. You can also subscribe or view news from past weeks at