PRIVACY & DATA SECURITY

“Oh, for Christ’s sake! Can’t a guy get a bit of privacy?!?” – what I imagine the Benedictine Monk sprung sunbathing on a wind turbine by a drone in 2016 was thinking when it happened.

Why messaging bots are a looming security threat

From Mashable:

 

 

[U]nlike the web, which often provides at least a few signals that an interaction is secure (for instance, the lock icon in your browser, the security certificate, or even simply the URL), there’s no obvious way to tell a good bot from a bad bot.

What’s more, bots haven’t been around long enough for users to be savvy enough to distinguish between those from legitimate sources and potential bad actors. Think of email phishing scams: While it’s not uncommon for a scammer to send an email purporting to be from, say, your financial institution, most email software has gotten pretty good at flagging these types of messages so they’re accompanied by a warning or go straight to your junk folder.

But there’s no analogous mechanism for bots. Hypothetically, you could begin interacting with, say, a shopping bot and have no idea that it’s a fake meant to steal your credit card info or other personal information.

 

Source: Why messaging bots are a looming security threat

Pokemon Go T&Cs strip users of legal rights

From TechCrunch:

 

Players of Pokemon Go are not only giving up their right to act like sane human beings in public, as they walk around, zombie-esque, reaching into the phones held in front of their faces, they are also likely to be waiving legal rights if they don’t take a very close look at Niantic Labs’ Terms of Service for the game.

 

Source: Pokemon Go T&Cs strip users of legal rights | TechCrunch

Ransomware and the new economics of cybercrime

From The Atlantic:

Cybersecurity is often framed as a matter of keeping up with the rapid evolution of online attacks—patching software vulnerabilities and identifying new malware programs. But cybercriminals’ most crucial adaptation in recent years has little to do with their technical tools and everything to do with their business model: They have started selling stolen data back to its original owners. To keep cybercrime profitable, criminals needed to find a new cohort of potential buyers, and they did: all of us.

Source: Ransomware and the New Economics of Cybercrime – The Atlantic

Not just another discussion about whether AI is going to destroy us

 

An interesting article summarising some particular points of interest that arose from a panel discussion about artificial intelligence that was held in London late 2015. 

 

From TechCrunch:

“Machines may well be moral beings at some point but at the moment it’s not about ethics, it’s about safety. It’s about making sure that as AIs get more and more powerful that they are safe for humans. They don’t care about us, they don’t care about anything. They don’t know they exist. But they can do us damage, or they can provide benefits and we need to thinking about how to make them safe.”

Read full article: Not Just Another Discussion About Whether AI Is Going To Destroy Us | TechCrunch

Mark Zuckerberg tapes over his webcam. Should you?

 

Yes, you probably should.

 

From The Guardian:

Photo: Facebook

While Zuckerberg probably does have any number of advanced persistent threats trying to break his digital security, normal people shouldn’t be too complacent either. Installing backdoors on compromised computers is a common way for some hackers to occupy their time.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg tapes over his webcam. Should you? | Technology | The Guardian

Machine bias: software used to predict future criminals biased against blacks

From ProPublica:

In 2014, then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned that the risk scores might be injecting bias into the courts. He called for the U.S. Sentencing Commission to study their use. “Although these measures were crafted with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal justice,” he said, adding, “they may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society.”

Read full article: Machine Bias: There’s Software Used Across the Country to Predict Future Criminals. And it’s Biased Against Blacks. – ProPublica

Examining the cybersecurity landscape of utilities and control systems

From TechCrunch:

According to government officials’ disclosure, the attacker was able to obtain information about the dam’s operations … and could have sent water pouring into the city of Rye if the gate had not been disconnected for maintenance when the intrusion occurred …

The … dam incident illustrates a growing and disturbing reality: while online breaches such as Target, Home Depot, the IRS … have grabbed the spotlight the last few years, and understandably so, attackers are extending the threat from the online and virtual to the physical world, in which damage could be even more severe.

Source: Examining the cybersecurity landscape of utilities and control systems | TechCrunch

FBI has 411 million photos in its facial recognition system, and a federal watchdog isn’t happy

From ZDNet:

Image: GAO; Screenshot: ZDNet

The watchdog said it had “concerns regarding both the effectiveness of the technology” and the “protection of privacy and individual civil liberties.”

Source: FBI has 411 million photos in its facial recognition system, and a federal watchdog isn’t happy | ZDNet

How technology hijacks people’s minds

 

A reasonably long but interesting read about how technology is designed to exploit our weaknesses, and the effect that has on our attention, behaviour and well-being.

 

From Tristan Harris at Medium:

Medium3

The ultimate freedom is a free mind, and we need technology that’s on our team to help us live, feel, think and act freely.

Read full article: How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist — The Startup — Medium

Facial recognition tech will soon end your anonymity in public

From Singularity Hub:

Nearly 250 million video surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the world, and chances are you’ve been seen by several of them today. Most people barely notice their presence anymore … We accept the fact that we are constantly being recorded because we expect this to have virtually no impact on our lives.

But this balance may soon be upended by advancements in facial recognition technology.
Soon anybody with a high-resolution camera and the right software will be able to determine your identity …

… we leave our “faceprints” everywhere we go, which means our movements can be tracked and stored on an unprecedented scale. We’d be wise to start preparing for the consequences now.

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Read more: Facial Recognition Tech Will Soon End Your Anonymity in Public