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Friday Cyber News, January 1 2016

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 12/26 - 1/1 (Happy new year!):

1. A Ukrainian power outage was the result of a cyber attack on the country's electrical grid, and may have been the work of Russia. [SANS]

2. On Sunday, China passed an anti-terrorism law giving the government new capabilities to hunt criminals, and also to spy on citizens. Part of the law requires that ISPs and telecommunications providers help the government with decryption of communications and provide backdoors for government surveillance. [Quartz]

3. Mark Zuckerberg has offered India Internet.org--a service that offers free internet to sites accessed through Facebook's platform, a "walled garden" of content--and is upset that their reaction has been to debate the issues of net neutrality that Internet.org raises. On the one hand, some free internet is better than none, for those in India who otherwise wouldn't have access to any websites, whether Facebook-provided or not. On the other hand, the introduction of such a service would allow other services to price access with respect to content. [Quartz]

4. Predictions for cybersecurity stories in 2016: everything will be targeted, smartphones and smart watches will pose the biggest risks, lawmakers will address infrastructure security, and social engineering will expand. [USA Today; CNBC; Inc; Cipher Brief]

5. Adding technology to hospitals streamlines patient experiences, shortening stay times and ensuring that no one is left too long in a waiting room--or lost--and that nurses and doctors can track patients' physical activity while in the hospital. The challenge is communicating the benefits of technological changes to patients, as the flow of data means doctors may be asking patients fewer questions, or providing less in-the-room supervision. [NYTimes; h/t Melissa]

6. China's drones look a lot like the US's drones--and why re-invent the wheel--but is their design the result of further cyber espionage against defense contractors? [Asia Times]

7. This week, the Nasdaq used a blockchain to transfer shares for the first time. Although not all investors have signed on to use Nasdaq's Linq chain, a central clearinghouse is no longer required for those trades recorded on the blockchain. [Telegraph]

8. Wyndham's recent settlement with the FTC over the latter's jurisdiction to charge businesses that fail to protect consumer data means ten years of oversight and mandatory reporting to all changes in the way consumer data is stored. It could also strengthen the role of the FTC in assessing the suitability of companies' data security. [ECommerce Times]

9. A Master's thesis from a student in Denmark demonstrates that a smartwatch's motion sensors can be used to determine what is being typed, particularly on a standard keyboard like a numerical pad. Another elegant override announced this week affects Linux: pressing the backspace key "17 to 20 times" causes a reboot.  [Arxiv.org; LinuxInsider]

10. As Peter Thiel's refrain has it, we were promised flying cars and instead we got...well, Uber for snowplows is coming to Canada, at least. [BBC]

Thanks,

Allison
Stanford Cyber Initiative

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