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Friday Cyber News, March 4 2016

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 2/27 - 3/4:

1. The State Department has agreed to renegotiate parts of the Wassenaar agreement dealing with security software exports. Researchers have argued the current language in the agreement is too broad, sweeping in legitimate research and security products. [CSM Passcode]

2. To help you keep up with Apple's All Writs case, here's a primer on all the similar cases and relevant briefs. One case, involving a phone seized in NY as part of a drug case, was recently decided in favor of Apple, throwing a wrench into the FBI's argument in the San Bernardino case. Possibly another dig by Apple at the circumstances of their recent court case: work-owned iPhones will soon alert you to the fact that your activity on the phone is monitored. [Just Security; Ars Technica; FastCo]

3. The VP of Facebook in Latin America was arrested in Brazil this week, after Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp failed to provide messages between suspected drug traffickers. WhatsApp argues they do not have access to the messages the government is requesting. [CSM Passcode]

4. Some tech solutions have grown popular because they distance the middle class from service workers unlike themselves: Uber so you don't have to talk to taxi drivers, automated grocery checkout lanes (and entire grocery stores) to avoid clerks, AirBnB so you don't have to worry about whether to tip the hotel maid. In that latter category, you can now stay at a hotel staffed entirely by robots--some of them dinosaurs--but should we still pay the service workers whose jobs are being automated? And what do the tiers of the "sharing" (asset-rich) vs. the "gig" (asset-poor) economy mean for widening income inequality in the US? [AP; Wired; NY Times; Quartz]

5. Google searches correlate well with primary voting results; similar to your searches for make and model information when about to buy a car, voters will query their choices ahead of time. [NY Times]

6. Security researcher Patrick Gray calls it "just-in-time piracy": Somali pirates hacked into shipping company systems to monitor where high-value cargo was--both in the ocean, and on the vessel. Physical crime abetted by cyber crime demonstrates the sophistication of at-sea piracy operations. [Popular Mechanics]

7. Online tutoring platforms are creating an online cheating economy, where students ask "tutors" to bid on a commission for completing the students' homework assignments. [Medium]

8. How will self-driving cars affect greenhouse gas emissions? They could help, by being powered efficiently and using driving techniques that reduce overall drag on cars in a line, but they could hurt by increasing the number and speed of overall miles driven. An Oak Ridge National Lab study investigates how we can automate responsibly. Another worry for self-driving vehicles: what happens when they kill someone? [Vox; Atlantic]

9. You have to send in your taxes next month, but the IRS just can't keep your information safe: the PIN system they set up after massive tax refund fraud (724,000 records) last year is also very vulnerable to attacks. Another notoriously smooth-running government agency is investigating a "virtual PO box" allowing you more control of where your mail is delivered--but also more opportunity for criminal misuse? [Krebs; Quartz; USPS]

10. The DROWN attack imperils HTTPS websites and TLS email servers; also has its own snazzy website and logo. Are exploits now ecommerce commodities? The Pentagon has a bug bounty program now, but you need to be pre-approved. [Ars Technica; DrownAttack.com; Reuters] 

Thanks,

Allison
Stanford Cyber Initiative

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