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Friday Cyber News, November 6 2015

Cyber technology-related news and links from around the web, for the week of 10/31 - 11/6:

1. Cyber Command plans to spend $460 million on mission support activities, including potentially lethal cyber weapons, such as code that could cause fires or damage physical equipment by running malicious code. [DefenseOne]

2. The US and the UK plan to test the effects of a cyber attack on their financial systems, including how regulators communicate in an emergency. [Reuters]

3. The Army has developed an algorithm that analyzes soldiers' records to predict those at risk of becoming violent. Soldiers identified will be referred to counseling, and a version of the algorithm can also predict those at risk of suicide. [Los Angeles Times]

4. Zerocoin adds privacy protections to the blockchain (the basis of Bitcoin), and is gaining popularity even as Bitcoin's USD exchange price spiked this week. For more on cryptocurrencies, this week's episode of Raw Data examines the systems that power digital currencies. [Wired; CoinBase; Cyber Initiative/Worldview Stanford]

5. Facebook's new virtual assistant, M (currently available only to a subset of Facebook users) combines machine intelligence with on-call human workers to parse difficult queries. The popularity of crowdsourced labor platforms like TaskRabbit in the Bay Area allow M to satisfy requests that it may not be able to on global release. [Buzzfeed]

6. NIST published a guide to application whitelisting for IT managers, easing its way into the role of a software security assessor. []

7. The expansion of Google's Timeline feature means law enforcement can subpoena location information from Android users that goes back years; Google promises to advocate on behalf of users subject to these requests. [Intercept]

8. Post-Snowden's revelations, internet users performed fewer searches for terms that might raise red flags within the government. The frequency of personally-sensitive searches, such as those involving sexuality or body odor, did not change. [Priceonomics]

9. Twitter's growth is stalling because users are concerned with privacy: Tweets expose incomplete thoughts to permanent archival and judgment, while other social media platforms are deploying tunable privacy controls. [Atlantic]

10. Amazon has opened a physical bookstore in Seattle, where workers are paid $18/hour, books are arranged by their star rating, and prices are the same as they are online. Is a physical presence becoming necessary for an e-tailer? Police departments are creating "safe exchange zones" to facilitate Craigslist deals: another example of the online coming back off-line. [New Republic; Washington Post]




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