The Risks Digest

The RISKS Digest

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

Volume 29 Issue 53

Friday 20 May 2016

Contents

Heart monitor disruption
Ars Technica
AV interfering with mission-critical healthcare system
Dan Goodin
Why an Amtrak Train Derailed in Philadelphia
NYTimes
"Arizona may force CIOs to adopt the cloud"
David Linthicum
Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to
WashPost
NTIA: Lack of Trust in Internet Privacy and Security May Deter Economic and Other Online Activities
NNSQUAD
Released Emails Show Use of Unclassified Systems Was Routine
NYTimes
Doing security research on cars could land you in jail for life
GWU
Windows 10 goes full malware
Iamthecheese
It's Trivially Easy To Identify You Based On Records Of Your Calls and Texts
erier2003
Critical Flaw In Symantec Antivirus Engine Makes Hacking Easy
itwbennett
Is the online ad bubble starting to pop?
Harvard
Man charged with hacking United Airlines website, stealing travel vouchers
Pat Reavy
Details Emerge on Global Bank Heists by Hackers
NYTimes
"Google's driverless cars may use human flypaper in road accidents"
Charlie Osborne
The NYPD was systematically ticketing legally parked cars, Open Data put an end to it
Ben Wellington
117M passwords from Linked-in from 2012 are now for sale!
TechCrunch
OkCupid Study Reveals the Perils of Big-Data Science
WiReD
Wendy's Breach Affected 525 of Restaurants
Krebs
Video Exposes Officials' Mistakes but Can't Undo Blown Calls. Yet.
NYT
In Oracle v. Google, a Nerd Subculture Is on Trial
Motherboard
China Quietly Targets U.S. Tech Companies in Security Reviews
NYT
FBI Neither Confirms Nor Denies Wiretapping Amazon Echo
Matt Novak
Theoretical Breakthrough Made in Random Number Generation
msm1267
"Why Uber is watching your smartphone's battery level"
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
Belgian police have asked citizens to shun Facebook's "Reactions" buttons
The Independent
Another Risk of Self-Driving Cars; Clogged Highways?!?
ABC News
Risks of red-light cameras and violation detection
PGN
Computer Science Teachers Need Cybersecurity Education
Evan Koblentz
Anti-tamperproof bottles aren't
Jeremy Epstein
The great ad-blocking arms race
TechDirt via Mark Thorson
Re: Big data breaches NOT found at major email services
John Levine
Re: Whistleblowing is overshadowed when SQL injection gives way to, unauthorized access...
Fred Cohen
Re: The last non-Internet Generation
Chris Drewe
Dan Jacobson
Info on RISKS (comp.risks)

Heart monitor disruption (Ars Technica)

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Mon, 16 May 2016 11:16:56 PDT
http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/05/faulty-av-scan-disrupts-patients-heart-procedure-when-monitor-goes-black/


AV interfering with mission-critical healthcare system (Dan Goodin and FDA report)

Werner U <werneru@gmail.com>
Tue, 17 May 2016 00:19:18 +0200
Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 16 May 2016, and FDA report)
<http://arstechnica.com/author/dan-goodin/>
That time a patient's heart procedure was interrupted by a virus scan
Securing computers has never been easy.  It's especially hard in hospitals.
<http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/05/faulty-av-scan-disrupts-patients-heart-procedure-when-monitor-goes-black/>

A heart patient undergoing a medical procedure earlier this year was put at
risk when misconfigured antivirus software caused a crucial lab device to
hang and require a reboot before doctors could continue.

The incident, described in an alert issued by the Food and Drug
Administration highlights the darker side of using computers and computer
networks in mission-critical environments. While a computer crash is little
more than an annoyance for most people at home or in offices, it can have
far more serious consequences in hospitals, power generation facilities, or
other industrial settings.
<https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfmaude/detail.cfm?mdrfoi__id=5487204>,

The computer system at issue in the FDA alert is known under the brand name
Merge Hemo and is sold by Hartland, Wisconsin-based Merge Healthcare.
<http://www.merge.com/MergeHealthcare/media/documents/datasheets/cardiology/Merge_Hemo.pdf>
It comprises a patient data module and a monitor PC that are connected by a
serial cable.  It's used to provide doctors with real-time diagnostic
information from a patient undergoing a procedure known as a cardiac
catheterization
<http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cardiac-catheterization/details/what-you-can-expect/rec-20202778>,
in which doctors insert a tube into a blood vessel to see how well the
patient's heart is working.

In March, an unidentified healthcare provider "reported to Merge Healthcare
that, in the middle of a heart catheterization procedure, the Hemo monitor
PC lost communication with the Hemo client and the Hemo monitor went black,"
the FDA alert stated. "Information obtained from the customer indicated that
there was a delay of about 5 minutes while the patient was sedated so that
the application could be rebooted. It was found that anti-malware software
was performing hourly scans. With Merge Hemo not presenting physiological
data during treatment, there is a potential for a delay in care that results
in harm to the patient. However, it was reported that the procedure was
completed successfully once the application was rebooted."....<more>...


Why an Amtrak Train Derailed in Philadelphia

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Tue, 17 May 2016 19:05:56 -0400
http://nyti.ms/1rRDE5Z


"Arizona may force CIOs to adopt the cloud" (David Linthicum)

Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>
Tue, 17 May 2016 09:29:15 -0700
David Linthicum, Cloud Computing, InfoWorld, 17 May 2016
Go cloud or go to jail? A law sent to the governor of Arizona would force
a review every two years of systems not using cloud technology
http://www.infoworld.com/article/3070491/cloud-computing/arizona-may-force-cios-to-adopt-the-cloud.html

selected text:

Move to the cloud—or else! That's the basic thrust of a proposed Arizona
state law, S.B. 1434, now awaiting Governor Doug Ducey's approval or
veto. This law would require state agencies to shift their IT resources and
operations to the cloud (public and/or private).

If adopted, this law would put an end to anticloud foot-dragging by Arizona
state agencies. CIOs could risk jail time for noncompliance.


Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to

Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com>
Sat, 14 May 2016 23:31:25 -0700
*WashPo* Via NNSquad
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/05/13/new-government-data-shows-a-staggering-number-of-americans-have-stopped-basic-online-activities/

  Nearly one in two Internet users say privacy and security concerns have
  now stopped them from doing basic things online—such as posting to
  social networks, expressing opinions in forums or even buying things from
  websites, according to a new government survey released Friday.  This
  chilling effect, pulled out of a survey of 41,000 U.S. households who use
  the Internet, show the insecurity of the Web is beginning to have
  consequences that stretch beyond the direct fall-out of an individual
  losing personal data in breach. The research suggests some consumers are
  reaching a tipping point where they feel they can no longer trust using
  the Internet for everyday activities.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us." - Pogo.

Either we fix this, or nobody does.


NTIA: Lack of Trust in Internet Privacy and Security May Deter Economic and Other Online Activities

Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com>
Sun, 15 May 2016 11:01:20 -0700
NTIA via NNSquad
https://www.ntia.doc.gov/blog/2016/lack-trust-internet-privacy-and-security-may-deter-economic-and-other-online-activities

  Every day, billions of people around the world use the Internet to share
  ideas, conduct financial transactions, and keep in touch with family,
  friends, and colleagues. Users send and store personal medical data,
  business communications, and even intimate conversations over this global
  network. But for the Internet to grow and thrive, users must continue to
  trust that their personal information will be secure and their privacy
  protected.  NTIA's analysis of recent data shows that Americans are
  increasingly concerned about online security and privacy at a time when
  data breaches, cybersecurity incidents, and controversies over the privacy
  of online services have become more prominent. These concerns are
  prompting some Americans to limit their online activity, according to data
  collected for NTIA in July 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau.  This survey
  included several privacy and security questions, which were asked of more
  than 41,000 households that reported having at least one Internet user.

While our security and privacy teams have been doing great work trying
to prevent security and privacy "nuclear wars," we've meanwhile been
standing by while our users sink further and further into the
quicksand bog. Effectively dead either way. Entirely our fault.


Released Emails Show Use of Unclassified Systems Was Routine (NYT)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Wed, 11 May 2016 09:09:48 -0400
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/11/us/clinton-emails-routine-practice.html

A review of tens of thousands of documents reveals that sending sensitive
information on unclassified computer networks was not limited to Hillary
Clinton.


Doing security research on cars could land you in jail for life

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Wed, 11 May 2016 14:37:24 -0400
 From GWU's CSPRI Newsletter:  May 10, 2016:

Doing security research on cars could land you in jail for life. That is, if
Michigan lawmakers get their way. "While some Canadian officials are worried
about distracted driving in the future
<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0014LrTI0ZeXoy72xDDR8wBU4S06urBkIhej1AhdQSNxuo_urpfJzW31lN7apiWvy6K7xeBit34RMWRjv6R0gGIbLCjO629lFxxU9tGIMdK8Ue0Casm6uFYCaCj0MlwCFNSsM5Yr6NLYp0WknsKAPw3SrVrRi0wcqImN3Cpk9sCPXEOv4tmAWdXhT_ZhWG43kmSw1QEYMVhhie69J12lfD1KZNgDFo9eR66gZLH5_MhX5U=&c=Qjq4FcU9J0Ai5Oktl3tBjgL8w4CQYAuW1mLSYC6z1VKAt_aii9Y5FQ==&ch=bm9u9_-sgbaJTnXGMPtw9sNdagIChAPUK3TQZJxYeKVCqg_72uzrVQ==>,
such as drivers being too busy having sex in self-driving cars to be
attentive to the vehicle's 'take over' command, Michigan lawmakers are so
worried about car hacking that they've proposed making it punishable by life
in prison," writes
<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0014LrTI0ZeXoy72xDDR8wBU4S06urBkIhej1AhdQSNxuo_urpfJzW31lN7apiWvy6KbUJf0L3h2XsyAxuQtCirnoXswCAl6Rb5nl2NZNfZoD2OQnfMpd-iGd33E0sa4JA1nnmjgwRPRksMPM5lmTyITSEZRFwDmAV1mMKT6pLMo9S_hZHyHGpo0D55rzT5biM3WvU0469u6UJ229SHCtp0cf7Umqrsz_wBjlWnxjLGfJCQWrXUKI3vo-CJZbJJWihehGEJrUEB96AtjalHN29-OOHUZw49qnYcnjtSKJaGBUr82POm5XVSi1eZ_iWm-zgt&c=Qjq4FcU9J0Ai5Oktl3tBjgL8w4CQYAuW1mLSYC6z1VKAt_aii9Y5FQ==&ch=bm9u9_-sgbaJTnXGMPtw9sNdagIChAPUK3TQZJxYeKVCqg_72uzrVQ==>
Darlene Storm for Computerworld. "Michigan Senators Ken Horn and Mike Kowall
have proposed a cybersecurity bill aimed at hackers and connected and
autonomous cars," Storm wrote.

Someone should research consequences of distracted legislating.

Gabriel Goldberg, Computers and Publishing, Inc.       gabe@gabegold.com
3401 Silver Maple Place, Falls Church, VA 22042           (703) 204-0433


Windows 10 goes full malware

Werner U <werneru@gmail.com>
Thu, 19 May 2016 02:02:37 +0200
Iamthecheese <https://slashdot.org/%7EIamthecheese>, SlashDot, 18 May 2016
<https://slashdot.org/submission/5878755/windows-10-goes-full-malware>

*Microsoft is adding another chapter to the long and sordid story of its
latest OS.
<http://www.networkworld.com/article/2956574/microsoft-subnet/windows-10-privacy-spyware-settings-user-agreement.html>
<https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/30/windows-10-automatic-download-windows-7-8-pc-computers>

As reported <http://archive.is/o2MFC> by Windows Magazine, closing the
upgrade permission window by clicking the familiar red X
<https://az623152.vo.msecnd.net/library/images/3163284.png> results in
"approval" of the installation.  Per this
<https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3095675> Microsoft support document,
"If you click on OK or on the red X, you're all set for the upgrade and
there is nothing further to do."


It's Trivially Easy To Identify You Based On Records Of Your Calls and Texts

Werner U <werneru@gmail.com>
Thu, 19 May 2016 02:14:06 +0200
erier2003 <https://slashdot.org/%7Eerier2003>, Slashdot, 17 May 2016
<https://slashdot.org/submission/5874905/its-trivially-easy-to-identify-you-based-on-records-of-your-calls-and-texts>

Contrary to the claims of America's top spies, the details of your phone
calls and text messages—including when they took place and whom they
involved—are no less revealing than the actual contents of those
communications.

In a study published online Monday
<http://www.dailydot.com/politics/surveillance-phone-metadata-identifiable-stanford-study/>
in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford
University researchers demonstrated how they used publicly available sources
-- like Google searches and the paid background-check service Intelius—to
identify "the overwhelming majority" of their 823 volunteers based only on
their anonymized call and SMS metadata.*


Critical Flaw In Symantec Antivirus Engine Makes Hacking Easy

Werner U <werneru@gmail.com>
Thu, 19 May 2016 02:20:04 +0200
itwbennett <https://slashdot.org/%7Eitwbennett>, Slashdot, 16 May 2016
Critical Flaw In Symantec Antivirus Engine Makes Hacking Easy
<https://slashdot.org/submission/5874807/critical-flaw-in-symantec-antivirus-engine-makes-hacking-easy>

Symantec on Monday released a fix for a flaw in its Anti-Virus Engine (AVE)
that could allow hackers to remotely compromise computers
<http://www.csoonline.com/article/3071390/security/a-critical-flaw-in-symantec-antivirus-engine-puts-computers-at-risk-of-easy-hacking.html>.
All it takes is for the attacker to send an email with the exploit file as
attachment or to convince the user to visit a malicious link. 'On Linux, Mac
and other UNIX platforms, this results in a remote heap overflow as root in
the Symantec or Norton process,' Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy,
who found the flaw, said in an advisory
<https://bugs.chromium.org/p/project-zero/issues/detail?id=820>. 'On
Windows, this results in kernel memory corruption, as the scan engine is
loaded into the kernel, making this a remote ring0 memory corruption
vulnerability—this is about as bad as it can possibly get.'


Is the online ad bubble starting to pop? (Harvard)

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Tue, 10 May 2016 16:25:42 PDT
http://blogs.harvard.edu/doc/2016/05/09/is-the-online-advertising-bubble-finally-starting-to-pop/


Man charged with hacking United Airlines website, stealing travel vouchers (Pat Reavy)

Jim Reisert AD1C <jjreisert@alum.mit.edu>
Wed, 11 May 2016 14:10:29 -0600
Pat Reavy, Deseret News, 10 May 2016

SALT LAKE CITY ” A Saratoga Springs man was charged Tuesday with
hacking into the United Airlines website, stealing airline vouchers
and selling them to other people.

Ammon Cunningham, 28, was charged in 3rd District Court with computer
crimes, theft, communications fraud and engaging in a pattern of
unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies.

From about July 2012 to September 2012, Cunningham "unlawfully
accessed (hacked) the United Airlines website and obtained Personal
Identification Numbers (PIN) codes for Electronic Travel Certificates
that had been assigned to United customers but had not yet been
redeemed by those customers," according to charging documents.

After obtaining the travel vouchers, Cunningham would either use them
for himself or sell them on Craigslist and KSL.com, the charges state.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865653957/


Details Emerge on Global Bank Heists by Hackers

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Sat, 14 May 2016 05:19:48 -0400
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/14/business/dealbook/details-emerge-on-global-bank-heists-by-hackers.html

The latest target appears to have been in Vietnam, and the intruders used
tools similar to those used in a Sony Pictures hacking in 2014.


"Google's driverless cars may use human flypaper in road accidents"

Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>
Thu, 19 May 2016 10:03:43 -0700
Charlie Osborne, ZDNet, 19 May 2016
Google's driverless cars may use human flypaper in road accidents
Can sticky cars prevent fatal injuries to pedestrians?
http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-plans-to-stick-you-to-driverless-cars-in-accidents/

selected text:

Google has filed a patent for a "sticky" adhesive coating which would take
pedestrians along with a car in the case of an accident.

You have to wonder what would happen in scenarios in which the car is
heading into another obstacle, such as a wall or another car—and the
pedestrian cannot escape—but the idea is still an interesting one to
explore.

   [Another use for this would be kidnapping.]
      [Another unusual nontechnological solution!  PGN]


The NYPD was systematically ticketing legally parked cars, Open Data put an end to it (Ben Wellington)

Jim Reisert AD1C <jjreisert@alum.mit.edu>
Thu, 12 May 2016 16:42:53 -0600
http://iquantny.tumblr.com/post/144197004989/the-nypd-was-systematically-ticketing-legally

About the blog:

I Quant NY is meant to give a glimpse at the possibilities of a future with
truly open data.  I've picked at the limited number of data sets that have
become public, and have shown that opening up data leads to a world where
government and citizens become partners in making our City better.

Along the way, it's my hope that some of the work here can be a catalyst for
better policy decisions in New York City.  However, this is not a left or
right leaning political blog.  It's a blog about transparency.  I do my very
best to let the data tell its own story and get more people talking about
data.

I'm a Visiting Assistant Professor in the City & Regional Planning program
at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where I teach a statistics course.
But unlike other stats courses, this one is based on real NYC open
data. That makes the class a lot more fun, both for our future urban
planners and for me.  That class, and the great conversations I'd had with
the students at Pratt, inspired this blog.


117M passwords from Linked-in from 2012 are now for sale!

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Wed, 18 May 2016 18:59:56 PDT
http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/18/117-million-linkedin-emails-and-passwords-from-a-2012-hack-just-got-posted-online/

This certainly reminds us of the advice that we have seen in RISKS regarding
multiple use a password, believing that sites are properly protecting yours,
Simplistic work-around strategies are probably inadequate.


OkCupid Study Reveals the Perils of Big-Data Science (WiReD)

Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com>
Sat, 14 May 2016 17:18:39 -0700
https://www.wired.com/2016/05/okcupid-study-reveals-perils-big-data-science/

  On 8 May 2016, a group of Danish researchers publicly released a dataset
  of nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid, including
  usernames, age, gender, location, what kind of relationship (or sex)
  they're interested in, personality traits, and answers to thousands of
  profiling questions used by the site. When asked whether the researchers
  attempted to anonymize the dataset, Aarhus University graduate student
  Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, who was lead on the work, replied bluntly:
  "No. Data is already public." This sentiment is repeated in the
  accompanying draft paper

It's arrogant jerks like the asses behind this data scraping "study" --
completely lacking any sense of ethics or responsibility—who give
technologists everywhere a bad name and enormously set back the important
work of genuine data science and responsible scientists.  Small wonder that
politicians hate us and ordinary people don't trust us.  Incredibly
depressing.


Wendy's Breach Affected 525 of Restaurants

Jim Reisert AD1C <jjreisert@alum.mit.edu>
Wed, 11 May 2016 14:07:41 -0600
Wendy's said today that an investigation into a credit card breach at the
nationwide fast-food chain uncovered malicious software on point-of-sale
systems at fewer than 300 of the company's 5,500 franchised stores. The
company says the investigation into the breach is continuing, but that the
malware has been removed from all affected locations.

"Based on the preliminary findings of the investigation and other
information, the Company believes that malware, installed through the use of
compromised third-party vendor credentials, affected one particular point of
sale system at fewer than 300 of approximately 5,500 franchised North
America Wendy's restaurants, starting in the fall of 2015," Wendy's disclosed
in their first quarter financial statement today.

The findings come as many banks and credit unions feeling card fraud pain
because of the breach have been grumbling about the extent and duration of
the breach. Sources at multiple financial institutions say their data
indicates that some of the breached Wendy's locations were still leaking
customer card data as late as the end of March 2016 and into early
April. The breach was first disclosed on this blog on January 27, 2016.

http://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/05/wendys-breach-affected-5-of-restaurants/


Video Exposes Officials' Mistakes but Can't Undo Blown Calls. Yet.

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Sun, 15 May 2016 20:11:53 -0400
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/sports/hockey/brian-boyle-video-exposes-officials-mistakes.html

Instant replay is increasingly putting pressure on officials in all sports
to get calls correct.


In Oracle v. Google, a Nerd Subculture Is on Trial (Motherboard)

Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com>
Sat, 14 May 2016 19:03:33 -0700
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/in-google-v-oracle-the-nerds-are-getting-owned

  The problem with Oracle v. Google is that everyone actually affected by
  the case knows what an API is, but the whole affair is being decided by
  people who don't, from the normals in the jury box to the normals at the
  Supreme Court--which declined to hear the case in 2015, on the advice of
  the normals at the Solicitor General's office, who perhaps did not grasp
  exactly how software works. In a world where Silicon Valley is coming into
  dominance, Oracle v. Google is an unusual instance in which the nerds are
  getting totally owned by the normals. Their judgment on the technologies
  they have birthed is being overridden by old people in black robes; their
  beloved traditions and mythologies around free and open source software
  are being scoffed at by corporate stiffs in suits as inconsistent hippie
  nonsense.

Three points: (1) I think Oracle's case sucks. (2) A disclaimer: My name
came up extremely peripherally in the original Oracle/Google trial, and I'm
assuming it won't come up in this one.

And now, (3) It's mostly our own fault that we have so much trouble being
understood and paid attention to in situations like this. We've raised
technical lingo to the status of cliquish religious liturgies.  Our user
interfaces are all too frequently dismissive of ordinary user needs, much
less the needs of the rapidly expanding segments of the population with
special visual or other requirements. Our documentation in general is still
written way above the heads of large percentages of our users. Overall, our
industry's attitude is cavalier and disdainful at best—contemptuous at
worst. What are users called behind their backs in the lingo of our
industry?

You know the answer: LUSERS. I rest my case.


China Quietly Targets U.S. Tech Companies in Security Reviews (NYT)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Mon, 16 May 2016 23:25:22 -0400
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/17/technology/china-quietly-targets-us-tech-companies-in-security-reviews.html

A committee with ties to the country's military and security agencies is
requiring foreign tech giants like Apple to answer questions about
encryption and data storage.


FBI Neither Confirms Nor Denies Wiretapping Amazon Echo (Matt Novak)

Henry Baker <hbaker1@pipeline.com>
Sat, 14 May 2016 09:29:27 -0700
  FYI—"the Echo is a law enforcement dream.  Imagine if you could go back
  in time and tell police that one day people would willingly put
  microphones in their own homes that, with a little hacking, could be heard
  from anywhere in the world 24/7."

Matt Novak, Paleo Future, 11 May
http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/the-fbi-can-neither-confirm-nor-deny-wiretapping-your-a-1776092971

Back in March, I filed a Freedom of Information request with the FBI asking
if the agency had ever wiretapped an Amazon Echo.  This week I got a
response: "We can neither confirm nor deny..."

We live in a world awash in microphones.  They're in our smartphones,
they're in our computers, and they're in our TVs.  We used to expect that
they were only listening when we asked them to listen.  But increasingly
we've invited our Internet-connected gadgets to be "always listening."
There's no better example of this than the Amazon Echo.

In many ways the Echo is a law enforcement dream.  Imagine if you could go
back in time and tell police that one day people would willingly put
microphones in their own homes that, with a little hacking, could be heard
from anywhere in the world 24/7.  First, you'd need to explain what hacking
was, but then they'd be like, "Nah bruh, yer pullin' my leg."  Or whatever
the 1970s version of that wasn't, don't ask me I was born in the 80s.

Years ago agencies like the FBI would need to wiretap a phone conversation
or place bugs inside homes, practices that can be cost prohibitive and labor
intensive.  Today, you just need some software to tap into a device's
microphone.  And if that device is "always listening" for a command, all the
better for someone who wants to hear what's going on.

In 2016, creepy perverts are hacking computer cameras and baby monitors all
the time just to get their sick little rocks off.  And we know that the NSA
can still wiretap your phone even when it's not turned on.  So why wouldn't
law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies hack your Echo (presumably
with a court order) to catch the baddies?

The letter I received in response to my FOIA request to the FBI about the
Amazon Echo (2016)

https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--DB9eaBD8--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/txbjqbrpqj7xrafneuyz.jpg

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog


Theoretical Breakthrough Made in Random Number Generation

Werner U <werneru@gmail.com>
Thu, 19 May 2016 02:29:38 +0200
[...(depending on which side you're on) this should actually turn out to
lower certain RISKS...  ;-]

msm1267, Theoretical Breakthrough Made in Random Number Generation
<https://slashdot.org/submission/5874667/theoretical-breakthrough-made-in-random-number-generation>

Two University of Texas academics have made what some experts believe is a
breakthrough in random number generation that could have longstanding
implications for cryptography and computer security.
<https://threatpost.com/academics-make-theoretical-breakthrough-in-random-number-generation/118150/>

David Zuckerman, a computer science professor, and Eshan Chattopadhyay, a
graduate student, published a paper in March that will be presented in June
at the Symposium on Theory of Computing. The paper describes how the
academics devised a method for the generation of high quality random
numbers. The work is theoretical, but Zuckerman said down the road it could
lead to a number of practical advances in cryptography, scientific polling,
and the study of other complex environments such as the climate.

"We show that if you have two low-quality random sources—lower quality
sources are much easier to come by—two sources that are independent and
have no correlations between them, you can combine them in a way to produce
a high-quality random number.  People have been trying to do this for quite
some time. Previous methods required the low-quality sources to be not that
low, but more moderately high quality. We improved it dramatically."


"Why Uber is watching your smartphone's battery level" (Adrian Kingsley-Hughes)

Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>
Fri, 20 May 2016 10:54:05 -0700
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for Hardware 2.0, ZDnet, 20 May 2016
http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-uber-is-watching-your-smartphones-battery-level/

Yes, ride-sharing firm Uber is collecting information about your
smartphone's battery life, but it promises it's not using that information
to make you pay higher fares, despite the fact that it knows you probably
would.

GMT (06:04 PDT) | Topic: Smartphones

selected text:

Did you know that ride-sharing firm Uber is collecting information about
your smartphone's battery life?
Computer Science Teachers Need Cybersecurity Education
Uber's head of economic research, Keith Chen, told NPR's Shankar Vedantam
during an episode of The Hidden Brain podcast that users of the service are
willing to accept surge pricing increases of as much as 9.9 times if their
smartphone's battery is close to flat.

Oh, but don't worry, Chen promises that the company doesn't use this
information to set fares.

Want to block apps from being able to see your battery's charge level?  You
can't.


Belgian police have asked citizens to shun Facebook's "Reactions" buttons (The Independent via SlashDot)

Werner U <werneru@gmail.com>
Mon, 16 May 2016 17:52:46 +0200
  [Belgian Thought Police - how confounding!  Many, many years ago, I
  complained, repeatedly, to Facebook about having to push a LIKE-button to
  keep informed about someone's utterances.... that I might want to correct,
  contradict or counteract (use your imagination)... or when I simply was
  worried about someone...  after that (observing the direction Facebook
  took for a couple of months), I decided to shun ALL of Facebook - and
  similar pathetic 'business models' !!]

Facebook Monitoring Your Reactions To Serve You Ads, Warn Belgian Police
<https://tech.slashdot.org/story/16/05/16/1411221/facebook-monitoring-your-reactions-to-serve-you-ads-warn-belgian-police>

Belgian police have asked citizens to shun Facebook's "Reactions" buttons to
protect their privacy. In February, five new "Reaction" buttons were added
next to the "Like" button to allow people to display responses such as sad,
wow, angry, love and haha. According to reports, police said Facebook is
able to use the tool to tell when people are likely to be in a good mood --
and then decide when is the best time to show them ads
<http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/facebook-reactions-belgian-police-warn-citizens-not-to-react-to-posts-on-social-media-a7027786.html>.
"The icons help not only express your feelings, they also help Facebook
assess the effectiveness of the ads on your profile," a post on Belgian's
official police website read.

The Independent reports:

*"By limiting the number of icons to six, Facebook is counting on you to
express your thoughts more easily so that the algorithms that run in the
background are more effective," the post continues. "By mouse clicks you can
let them know what makes you happy. "So that will help Facebook find the
perfect location, on your profile, allowing it to display content that will
arouse your curiosity but also to choose the time you present it. If it
appears that you are in a good mood, it can deduce that you are more
receptive and able to sell spaces explaining advertisers that they will have
more chance to see you react."*


Another Risk of Self-Driving Cars; Clogged Highways?!? (ABCnews via SlashDot)

Werner U <werneru@gmail.com>
Mon, 16 May 2016 18:20:12 +0200
[ ...clog them worse than when *B.I.s *drive?  hmmm, let's see <reaching
for the simulator>... Nope!  ]

Will Self-Driving Cars Clog Our Highways?

<https://tech.slashdot.org/story/16/05/15/223239/will-self-driving-cars-clog-our-highways>

While self-driving cars may be safer and cheaper, the Associated Press
warns they could also create massive traffic congestion
<http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/robot-cars-drive-traffic-congestion-off-cliff-39124254>.
"The problem, say transportation researchers, is that people will use them
too much." One auto industry expert predicts that self-driving cars will
increase travel by those over 65, as well as those between 16 and 24,
resulting in at least 2 trillion extra miles being driven each year. In
addition, "Airlines also may face new competition as people choose to travel
by car at speeds well over 100 mph between cities a few hundred miles apart
instead of flying," and faster commute times could mean more urban sprawl as
workers may spread into cheaper neighborhoods that are further from the city
center.


Risks of red-light cameras and violation detection

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Fri, 13 May 2016 14:27:01 PDT
Have you ever wondered how much revenue these automated red-light violation
camera systems generate?  Here's an interesting case in point, namely, the
San Mateo City Council trying to decide whether to renew their contract with
Redflex.  It also indicates that the entire scheme can be challenged if the
yellow-light cycle is too short.

  For the calendar year 2015:
    Income from fines and penalties: $598,048
    Reported revenue                 $229,508
    Cost of the program:
      Redflex contractual fee:       $239,040
      Cost of refunding 1000 tickets
        because the yellow lights at
        two intersections were set
        too short:                unspecified

    Note: Fines and court costs averaged $490 per case.
          The city gets only $135.05 of the fine.
    Note: Comparing four years before and after --
      63% reduction in red-light related collisions
      26% reduction in related injuries

    So, on balance it seems worth it.  Let's see whether
    the city council renews the contract.


Computer Science Teachers Need Cybersecurity Education (Evan Koblentz)

"ACM TechNews" <technews-editor@acm.org>
Wed, 11 May 2016 12:29:56 -0400 (EDT)
via ACM TechNews, Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Computer Science Teachers Need Cybersecurity Education, Says CSTA Industry
Group, Evan Koblentz, *TechRepublic* 10 May 2016

ACM's Computer Science Teachers Association (CTSA) is crafting a
cybersecurity certification program for computer science teachers to provide
tomorrow's workforce with vital knowledge and training.  CSTA executive
director Mark Nelson says nearly 90 percent of middle school and high school
educators who teach computer science lack computer science degrees.  This
month, the group announced an eight-hour cybersecurity education certificate
course, with a curriculum co-developed by CompTIA that covers
authentication, best practices, compliance, encryption, governance,
penetration testing, risk management, and security architecture.  Teachers
also must complete online cybersecurity career simulations and lead students
in real-life mentoring before receiving the certificate.  In addition,
Nelson says CTSA will team with instructional video maker LifeJourney on
further cybersecurity education.  Another goal is teaching gender,
geographic, and industry diversity.  Similar educational initiatives are
underway via the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Initiative
for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies and the National Institute of
Standards and Technology's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.
However, the CSTA program stands out by being developed directly by K-12
teachers themselves.
http://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click?ref=znwrbbrs9_6-f0a6x2e34dx065450&


Anti-tamperproof bottles aren't

Jeremy Epstein <jeremy.j.epstein@gmail.com>
Fri, 13 May 2016 07:15:45 -0400
RISKS is usually about the risks of computing, but we frequently have a
stated or unstated assumption about physical tampering (e.g., the images on
police cameras are real, voting machines haven't had totals adjusted).
Here's a reminder that given appropriate financial (and perhaps
nationalistic) incentives, real-world anti-tamper methods aren't much use.

I don't typically read about sports, but happened to read this article in
the NYT, and was fascinated by the anti-tampering methods on the bottles
used to hold urine samples, and the effort the Russians went to so they
could undetectably replace the samples with "clean" urine.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/13/sports/russia-doping-sochi-olympics-2014.html


The great ad-blocking arms race

Mark Thorson <eee@sonic.net>
Thu, 12 May 2016 22:49:30 -0700
Some people use ad blockers.  Some free websites like Wired and Forbes use
software to detect use of ad blockers and block content being served to
them.  So, some people are using software that blocks the detection
software.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160509/07311734387/reddits-technology-subreddit-ponders-banning-wired-forbes-blocking-adblock-users.shtml


Re: Big data breaches NOT found at major email services

"John Levine" <johnl@iecc.com>
11 May 2016 00:09:11 -0000
Not so exclusive!

Then again. not everyone who claims that he's a security expert actually
*is* a security expert:

http://www.techinsider.io/russian-hack-email-2016-5

PS: In case you can't read the story, it reports that Yahoo and Mail.ru both
claim that the dumps are fake and Mail.ru says it's a publicity stunt by the
"expert".


Re: Whistleblowing is overshadowed when SQL injection gives way to, unauthorized access...

Fred Cohen <fc@all.net>
Wed, 11 May 2016 07:31:29 -0500
Consider a story that goes:

Whistle-blowing is overshadowed when bump key gives way to unauthorized
access.

A woman arrested for breaking into the county election offices and copying
voting records is arrested - felony charge.

The woman (a security researcher) posted a video of using a bump key to
break in to what was, at the time, the official ballot box storage facility
for ballots being counted during the election.

At no time did anyone at the county authorize her to break into the election
office.

THEN imagine the story says:

Unsettling concerns

As ill-advised as it was for the woman to break into the election office
when it had ballots yet uncounted, this raises some serious concerns about
election security. She was able to use a bump key within a few seconds and
cause the tumblers in the lock to align while applying slight pressure to
the rotational aspect of the lock cylinder, resulting in the lock
turning. She also indicated that she could have broken the window and
bypassed the alarm using a clip lead.

The county supervisor indicated that despite the brags of the woman, the
ballots were never at risk as they are kept in a safe within the office and
she did not access the safe.

Ultimately the affair is a bad on all parties - the election building should
have unpickable locks and unbreakable windows - but the woman shouldn't be
breaking in to show that she can, and most certainly shouldn't be filming
here felony actions and posting them to the Internet.

My view of how this story would play would be - "felon videos break-in -
posts to Internet - claims to be a "security researcher".

When will we stop acting like 5-year-olds and grow up?

Fred Cohen - 831-200-4006 - All.Net & Affiliated Companies
http://all.net/ PO Box 811 Pebble Beach, CA 93953


Re: The last non-Internet Generation (RISKS-29.50-52)

Chris Drewe <e767pmk@yahoo.co.uk>
Wed, 11 May 2016 22:11:37 +0100
In the UK there's a major fuss right now—some have claimed high-speed
Internet access as a basic human right, while the Government has proposed a
legal-minimum 10Mb/s soon.  At risk of stating the obvious: regular
telephone copper wires can handle moderately-high broadband Internet over
short distances (few miles/km) so using this in densely-populated urban
areas is no big deal, and for faster speeds, it's easy to run optic fibre to
neighbourhood roadside cabinets (quite probably without back-up power
supplies, as previously noted in RISKS), with the "last mile" still with
copper, or run fibre right to individual users.

As the previous poster says, providing high-speed data links to handfuls of
customers in remote areas is a whole other headache; as other RISKS readers
will know better than me, there are various ways of doing this, such as
satellites, radio from towers in flat terrain, etc., all mighty expensive on
a per-user basis, and the major fuss is about who pays.  Central or local
government grants from taxpayers, or a phone company levy on customers'
bills, or..?

There's the same problem with providing cellphone coverage in remote areas,
with not enough traffic for competing companies to put up masts (towers),
while joint ventures could violate anti-cartel laws, and a single company
doesn't want to be forced to provide a facility which may benefit other
companies.


Re: The last non-Internet Generation (Robinson, RISKS-29.52)

Dan Jacobson <jidanni@jidanni.org>
Wed, 18 May 2016 00:22:09 +0800
Full coverage... but not in areas of hilly land, where pockets of no
coverage persist.

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