Skip to content Skip to navigation

Friday Cyber News, June 17, 2016

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 6/11 - 6/17:

1. A Federal court of appeals upheld the FCC's declaration that broadband internet is a public utility, meaning that net neutrality holds and internet providers are not allowed to change the speed at which certain types of content are delivered. [NY Times]

2. "Every technological revolution coincides with changes in what it means to be a human being, in the kinds of psychological borders that divide the inner life from the world outside. Those changes in sensibility and consciousness never correspond exactly with changes in technology, and many aspects of today’s digital world were already taking shape before the age of the personal computer and the smartphone. But the digital revolution suddenly increased the rate and scale of change in almost everyone’s lives." [NYRB]

3. Apple's WWDC conference on Monday hit on the familiar privacy talking points, and introduced a new one: Apple is using differential privacy to protect user information. Pioneered by Cynthia Dwork and Aaron Roth, differential privacy mathematically determines how much information about an individual can be obtained from a (fully or partially) de-identified dataset. Here's an explanation of what that means for Apple products. The encryption debate continues to rope in Apple; the latest is an encrypted Apple hard drive owned by a former police sergeant charged with possession of child pornography. [Wired; Cryptography Engineering blog; NY Times]

4. We just talked about the DAO last week--a kind of decentralized digital currency venture funding organization--and now hackers have stolen $50M from it in Ethereum, the price of which immediately dropped. Ethereum is tied to the idea of smart contracts--or smart contract code, as the contracts are often substantially different from legal contracts--but vulnerable to some of the same scams used to steal Bitcoins. [MarketWatch; Coindesk; Coingecko]

5. DHS and DOJ clarify that CISA allows companies to share cyber threat information with industry partners as well as with government. The guidance documents also clarify how threat information can be shared (such as through webform or email), how privacy of user information in that data must be protected, and how the government will store shared information. [The Hill; Inside Privacy]

6. Journalists attending the Hoover- and Cyber Initiative-sponsored cyber boot camp learn, through talks and simulations, how companies respond to data breaches. Putting that experience into practice, they can assess how South Korean companies have responded to North Korean hackers aiming to steal fighter jet plans and other sensitive data. [LA Times; Reuters]

7. Inside a Russian hacking ring, get paid in Bitcoin to distribute ransomware. [Atlantic]

8. A "smart" object--whether a smart thermostat, a smartphone, or a smart bomb--is a surveilling object, and an object that you don't fully own. [NY Times]

9.Facebook's AI can map the earth very quickly--possibly in less than a week--using satellite photos to help plan how to deliver internet access to unconnected areas. [New Scientist]

10. Online Chinese lenders accept nude photos as collateral--if a debt is not repaid, the photos are sent to family and friends. Meanwhile, Rhode Island and others are specifically trying to deter the practice of using nude photos for online extortion. [; The Eagle]

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative

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