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Friday Cyber News, November 23 2018

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 11/17 - 11/23:

1. Years of delayed infrastructure improvements mean that many public transportation systems are simultaneously considering adopting connected or "smart" railway cars; coordinated investment in the cybersecurity of these systems throughout the supply chain should be encouraged by government funders, argues Stanford's Andy Grotto. (See also: water utilities). [War on the Rocks; NY Times]

2. Operation Shaheen is the code name for a year-long cyberespionage effort directed at the Pakistani military, identified and catalogued in detail by Cylance. The company attributes the attack to a nation-state-level actor, but doesn't name the nation. [Cylance]

3. Under new agreements with Indonesia and Singapore, cybersecurity training and information sharing will facilitate cooperation between US and local law enforcement, perhaps leading to easier extradition of cyber criminals. [Cyberscoop]

4. Cozy Bear and his ursine brethren are awakening early from their hibernation, as new spearphishing campaigns have been identified and linked to the techniques of the Russian government-backed hacking groups. [Cyberscoop]

5. AI continues to be scrutinized by ethicists, but now with more concern paid to the ripple effects of small initial conditions and the potential for advanced and insidious emotional manipulation, rather than the existential question of a singularity. [Shorenstein Center]

6.​ News of recent media manipulation and privacy violations on social media platforms have led to calls to strictly regulate and to disaggregate Facebook (and Google). [The Hill; The Guardian]

7. Saudi dissidents were targeted with malware authored by the Israeli NSO Group prior to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. [Forbes]

8. The lessons of a 1973 essay on "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" are returning to relevance for Silicon Valley, where the "rhetoric of openness"--whether the decentralization of currency, the unsupervised nature of ad-driven platforms, or the open-office informality of startup culture--"becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others." [Jo Freeman; Wired]

9. Analyzing the 2017 Catalan reform as a case study, researchers from the Fondazione Bruno Kessler and USC find that bots on social networks increase exposure to negative and inflammatory content. [PNAS]

10. Yeats spoke of the danger of being a man whom Sorrow names a friend, but according to the Florida Supreme Court (a segue that makes sense inasmuch as there is no topic the Florida Supreme Court will not authoritatively consider), there is no danger of being named a friend on Facebook, because those friendships are not real. [Quartz]

Thanks for reading,

Stanford Cyber Initiative

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