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Friday Cyber News, June 1 2018

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 5/26 - 6/1:

1. Papua New Guinea has made the decision to shut down access to Facebook for a month, to conduct an analysis of its use in their nation, the type of large-scale experiment most researchers can only dream of. Meanwhile, Uganda has passed a law that will tax mobile users of WhatsApp and Facebook, providing another country-wide study of market incentives, while drawing criticism over limiting free speech. This law and others designed to restrict electronic communication is driven in part by the rise in cyber crime in African countries, and the associated cost to African businesses. [Post Courier; Buzzfeed News; Brookings]

2. The US State Department's cyber deterrence recommendations suggest that sanctions, indictments, public attribution, and offensive operations are all acceptable strategies, but the US needs to clearly delineate what constitutes unacceptable conduct. US offensive operations may also need to get tougher; FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia says that an analysis of malware shows that the US's efforts are "nicer" than those of North Korea and Russia, in terms of how they treat collateral damage to systems and hardware. [Cyberscoop x2]

3. New America's analysis of state cybersecurity programs found that effective programs (like New Jersey's) formalized a trust-based relationship with the private sector, codified roles, responsibilities, and authorities in law and/or executive order, and established cross-bureaucratic agreements or structures. ​[New America]

4. It's increasingly difficult to hide your identity online and off--a newly developed AI can identify individuals by their gaits, without even having to see a face or fingerprints, and CSS, the 'design layer' of many websites, can be used to deanonymize Facebook users--and the history of cryptography, told by Dan Boneh, Martin Hellman, and Whit Diffie in this week's episode of Raw Data, shows how the conflict over control of encryption technology evolved. [Gizmodo; Bleeping Computer; Soundcloud] 

5. The California State Senate passed a bill to reinstate net neutrality rules repealed by the FCC last year, despite a provision in the repeal that prevents states from instituting their own net neutrality rules. [The Hill]

6.​ A lack of security in the SS7 cellular network has led to a breach of customer data from a major American cell carrier, and surveillance networks that target roaming phones and can monitor "dozens for people for ours at a time." [Washington Post]

7. US Army General Townsend claimed that cyber operations against ISIS last year were successful at driving personnel away from command posts, leaving them exposed to missile strikes, but offered no details on the actual tactics used. [Cyberscoop] 

8. Police in Spain are using an algorithm to flag suspicious wording in victims' statements and identify false claims. [Nature]

9. A newly passed law in South Carolina requires insurance providers to adhere to cybersecurity standards, report breaches, and establish a breach response plan. [Insurance Journal]

10. The world's first Initial Corn Offering turns cryptocurrency into food bank donations of corn. []

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative

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