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Friday Cyber News, January 27 2017

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 1/21 - 1/27:

1. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have launched investigations into Russia's hacking of the election, with the Senate Armed Services Committee set to begin its own investigation, into how to deter and counteract cyber threats, in the next two weeks. The investigations are expected to last for months. [Washington Post]

2. The Department of Commerce released a "green paper" with suggestions for how to support the development and use of IoT devices. The recommendations include promoting standards of use, encouraging the development of markets for IoT devices, promoting norms and practices that protect IoT users, and making infrastructure available to scale the number of IoT devices in use. Can't wait for the new PatrIoT Act (Promoting Access, Trade, and Regulation of IoT? Not to give them any ideas). Also relevant: The FTC's report this week on cross-device tracking (associating multiple devices with one person) focuses on privacy and security, including a recommendation not to track data across devices that pertains to sensitive topics (e.g., health; children) unless the user provides express consent. [Inside Privacy x2]

3. A federal appeals court refused to reconsider a decision that Microsoft was legally able to refuse a US government order to turn over data stored on a server in Ireland. While the decision could still be overruled by Congress--likely by updating the underlying rule, the Stored Communications Act--in the meantime, I'd invest in European data storage providers. [Reuters]

4. Will ad blocking break the internet? Each percentage point increase in the number of site visitors blocking ads correlates to worsened rankings and decreased revenues for the sites in question. The decline is also steeper than you might expect; when 12% of visitors block ads, for example, revenues decrease by 20%. [NBER]

5. FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) published a white paper on how blockchain technologies will affect the securities industry, and is soliciting public comment until the end of March. [Cyber Scoop]

6. The SEC is investigating whether Yahoo's massive data breaches, revealed late last year, were deliberately withheld from investors to maintain its stock price during negotiations of Yahoo's sale to Verizon. [Fortune]

7. China has announced new rules, effective immediately, that require the use of VPNs to be approved by the government. The Chinese government's strict stance on information access means it is unlikely to approve the use of VPNs for many. [Engadget]

8. In a legal environment in which fingerprint unlocking of devices can be compelled, security developers may want to build in deniability--for example, a "duress" mode of unlocking that would wipe a device when presented with a certain pre-selected finger. [MIT]

9. Take a deep dive into the history of Uber and AirBnB, and the rise of the sharing economy. Last week we posted a story about Uber's penalty for inflating the average income of its drivers, but this week's story on the tedious process scammers use to defraud Uber with fake driver and rider accounts does indicate there's money in those cars. [Bloomberg Businessweek; Motherboard]

10. A Fox News poll of registered voters nationwide found that 84% of respondents are very or somewhat concerned that fake news is hurting the country, while 79% are confident in their ability to identify fake news. If those numbers seem contradictory, keep in mind it that .056%--less than six hundredths of one percent--of registered voters determined the election. [Fox News]

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative

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