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Friday Cyber News, November 11 2016

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 11/5 - 11/11:

1. There is no good news this week. A resurgence of the encryption debate is predicted. Suggestions for journalists: Signal, Tor, 2FA. Speaking of Signal, it passed a security audit with flying colors. Here's a summary of internet surveillance measures in place worldwide. Rules for survival. [CyberScoop; The Atlantic; CyberScoop; Boingboing; NYRB]

2. China passed a cybersecurity law that requires, among other provisions, that data on Chinese tech users be stored on servers in China, and that censorship remain part of the Chinese information security strategy. Many suspect the new law will make the decision to operate in China as a foreign tech company more difficult. [Reuters]

3. Globalization and trade aren't taking jobs away from US blue-collar workers: automation is. [Cato]

4. Stanford's Andrew Ng suggests a rule of thumb for what AI is capable of: "If a typical person can do a mental task with less than one second of thought, we can probably automate it using AI either now or in the near future." An example: AI chatbots are being trained to recognize online shoppers' moods in the way that a good salesperson can. [HBR; Entrepreneur]

5. Two of Russia's largest banks have been hit by DDoS attacks this week. While an anonymous US official claims that the US has penetrated Russia's electric grid, telecommunications system, and Kremlin networks, this is not likely to be the cyber retaliation that Biden promised. [Reuters; News.Au]

6. Zuckerberg claims that Facebook's malfunctioning news algorithm spreading fake stories did not influence the election--despite the fact that millions saw fake news stories, and 800K+ saw a story claiming falsely that the Pope had endorsed the Republican candidate--and also contradicting the basis of its advertising business model by implying that information seen on Facebook doesn't influence real-world decisions. [Daily Beast]

7. Pointing out mistakes sometimes works: Facebook to stop allowing ads that exclude certain races, after a ProPublica report highlighted the ethical and legal issues with doing that. And the Mirai botnet has weakened, after remediation efforts. [USA Today; ProPublica; CyberScoop]

8. Stanford's Robert Sapolsky examines Facebook's facial recognition algorithms within the framework of neurological and psychological afflictions that affect the process in humans, including Capgras delusions and prosopagnosia. Researchers can fool facial recognition algorithms by printing and wearing colorful eyeglass frames. [Nautilus; CMU]

9. Microsoft patched a critical Windows vulnerability that Google published last week (before it had been fixed), adding anecdotal fuel to the debate over the value of public vulnerability disclosure. (Would they have fixed it as quickly if it hadn't been disclosed? On the other hand, is the fix that was released the best fix?) [The Verge]

10. This week in cyber dystopia: The Internet of Things now includes sensors that transmit information about bovine fertility, stomach pH, activity, and more. Orders are up for "USB condoms" that permit charging but no data transfer (waiting for security researchers to point out attacks on this setup in 3...2...1...) [Quartz x2]

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative

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