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 31 Issue 35

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Contents

One reason for the 737 Max disaster? Avoiding software complexity
Thomas Koenig
Warning over auto cyberattacks
Eric D. Lawrence
Tesla hit with another lawsuit over a fatal Autopilot crash
The Verge
This Satellite Image Shows Everything Wrong With Greenland Right Now
Gizmodo
North Korea took $2 billion in cyberattacks to fund weapons program
U.N.
How China Weaponized the Global Supply Chain
National Review
China has started a grand experiment in AI education. It could reshape how the world learns.
MIT Tech Review
44 people in China were injured when a water park wave machine launched a crushing tsunami
WashPost
In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons
NYTimes
Amazon Requires Police to Shill Surveillance Cameras in Secret Agreement
VICE
Apple's Siri overhears your drug deals and sexual activity, whistleblower says
Charlie Osborne
Capital One data breach compromises tens of millions of credit card applications, FBI says
WashPost
California State Bar accidentally leaks details of upcoming exam
NBC News
Russian hackers are infiltrating companies via the office printer
MIT Tech Review
A VxWorks Operating System Bug Exposes 200 Million Critical Devices
WiReD
Capital One Systems Breached by Seattle Woman, U.S. Says
Bloomberg
Another Breach: What Capital One Could Have Learned from Google's "BeyondCorp"
????
Paige Thompson, Capital One Hacking Suspect, Left a Trail Online
NYTimes
Cambridge Analytica's role in Brexit
Ted
The scramble to secure America's voting machines
Politico
The state of our elections security
Web Informant
A lawmaker wants to end social media addiction by killing features that enable mindless scrolling
WashPost
Cisco in Whistleblower Payoff and PR Doublespeak Row
Security Boulevard
Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology, or SMART, Act
Fortune
200-million devices some mission-critical vulnerable to remote takeover
Ars Technica
Siemens contractor pleads guilty to planting logic bomb in company spreadsheets
ZDNet
People forged judges' signatures to trick Google into changing results
Ars Technica
Partial hashes broadcast in Bluetooth can be converted to phone numbers
Ars Technica
Apple suspends human eavesdropping through Siri
Taipei Times
Why People Should Care About Quantum Computing
Fortune
Your Train Is Delayed. Why?
NYTimes
Barr Revives Encryption Debate, Calling on Tech Firms to Allow for Law Enforcement
NYTimes
Dark Web Consequences Increase from Global Rise of Police-Friendly Laws
Channel Futures
The Hidden Costs of Automated Thinking
The New Yorker
We Tested Europe's New Digital Lie Detector. It Failed.
The Intercept
AI Predictive Policing
Daily Mail
Guardian Firewall iOS App Automatically Blocks the Trackers on Your Phone
WiReD
Google researchers disclose vulnerabilities for 'interactionless' iOS attacks
ZDNet
Another Breach: What Capital One Could Have Learned from Google's "BeyondCorp"
Lauren's Blog
"A data breach forced this family to move home and change their names
ZDNet
Brazilian president's cellphone hacked as Car Wash scandal intrigue widens
WashPost
Malicious 'Google' domains used in Magento card card skimmer attacks
ZDNet
MyDoom: The 15-year-old malware that's still being used in phishing attacks in 2019
ZDNet
StockX was hacked, exposing millions ofcustomers'_data
TechCrunch
Ikea says sorry for customer data breach
Straits Times
Refunds for Global Access Technical Support customers
Consumer Information
Business Continuity?: Kyoto Anime recovers digital recordings
Chiaki Ishikawa
Colorado gov't. email account for reporting child abuse goes unchecked for 4 years
WashPost
Re: "Mortgage Provider Tells Savers of Zero Balances"
Chris Drewe
Info on RISKS (comp.risks)

One reason for the 737 Max disaster? Avoiding software complexity

Thomas Koenig <tk@tkoenig.net>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 22:03:34 +0200
The Seattle Times finally offers an explanation of why only one sensor fed
data into the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System on the Boeing
737 Max 8 airplanes.  In both cases, it is presumed that faulty sensors fed
wrong data into the system, which led to miscorrections of the aircraft
attitude, to total loss of control of the aircraft and to 346 deaths.

Boeing wanted to avoid software complexity.

  "Boeing is changing the MAX's automated flight-control system√Ęs software
  so that it will take input from both flight-control computers at once
  instead of using only one on each flight. That might seem simple and
  obvious, but in the architecture that has been in place on the 737 for
  decades, the automated systems take input from only one computer on a
  flight, switching to use the other computer on the next flight."

In all previous reports (that I have read, at least) people were utterly
baffled why only one sensor was being used.  Now it is clear why.

It is also clear now why the "patch" (rather a complete rewrite, using a
different software architecture) takes so long.

Sometimes, "Keep it simple and stupid" is not the right policy...

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/newly-stringent-faa-tests-spur-a-fundamental-software-redesign-of-737-max-flight-controls/


Warning over auto cyberattacks (Eric D. Lawrence)

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Tue, 6 Aug 2019 10:11:44 PDT
Eric D. Lawrence, *The San Francisco Chronicle*, 6 Aug 2019, page D1

  Boxed highlight: "Fiat Chrysler made a software fix in 2015 to prevent
  hacking into Jeep Cherokees but some experts believe many vehicles are
  still vulnerable."

Warnings about connected vehicle vulnerabilities have been a steady drumbeat
for years.  [RISKS!!!]  Now a consumer advocacy group California's Consumer
Watchdog's 49-page report paints a dire picture and urges automakers to
install a 50-cent kill switch that would allow vehicles to be disconnected
from the Internet.  [PGN-ed]

  "Millions of cars on the Internet running the same software means a single
  exploit can effoect millions of vehicles simultaneously."


Tesla hit with another lawsuit over a fatal Autopilot crash (The Verge)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 17:25:12 -0400
They just get too used to it. That tends to be more of an issue. It's not a
lack of understanding of what Autopilot can do. It's [drivers] thinking they
know more about Autopilot than they do,

https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/2/17313324/tesla-autopilot-safety-statistics-elon-musk-q1-earnings
https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/1/20750715/tesla-autopilot-crash-lawsuit-wrongful-death

Pick one: EITHER it's not a lack of understanding OR they think they know
more than they do.


This Satellite Image Shows Everything Wrong With Greenland Right Now (Gizmodo)

geoff goodfellow <geoff@iconia.com>
Sat, 3 Aug 2019 14:16:53 -1000
EXCERPT:

If you could sum up climate change's impact on the Arctic in one
image, you'ld be hard pressed to find something better than this satellite
view, which shows the meltdown of one of the largest stores of ice on Earth
while a wildfire rages in the distance.

Here it is, below, courtesy of satellite image wizard Pierre Markuse and our
planet, which is quickly becoming a smoke-filled, waterlogged hellscape. ...

https://earther.gizmodo.com/this-satellite-image-shows-everything-wrong-with-greenl-1836919989


North Korea took $2 billion in cyberattacks to fund weapons program (U.N. report)

geoff goodfellow <geoff@iconia.com>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 14:11:00 -1000
North Korea has generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass
destruction programs using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated''
cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, according to
a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday.

Pyongyang also “continued to enhance its nuclear and missile programmes
although it did not conduct a nuclear test or ICBM (Intercontinental
Ballistic Missile) launch,'' said the report to the U.N. Security Council
North Korea sanctions committee by independent experts monitoring compliance
over the past six months.


How China Weaponized the Global Supply Chain (National Review)

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 18:17:12 PDT
https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/07/08/how-china-weaponized-the-global-supply-chain/

... the introduction of Chinese cyber-capabilities, including the
installation of digital networks at Chinese-controlled sites, typically by
Huawei, and a subsea cable network being built by Huawei's marine unit that
will nearly encircle the globe by the end of this year. Chinese state-owned
companies are leading a rapid, digitally enabled consolidation of the
logistics sector—bringing together supply-chain functions that had
previously been performed by separate companies, adopting centralized IT
systems to control distribution from the doors of factories in China to the
doors of consumers in America, and developing a wide array of technologies
that can be used for both commercial and military purposes.

The most threatening aspect of China's commercial triad is that the physical
network of ports, ships, and terminals serves as a force multiplier for
China's cyber-aggression. From drones that monitor operations to
facial-recognition technologies that control access to container yards, port
facilities provide nearly perfect cover for cyber-espionage. There's a lot
going on in a seaport, and all of it is controlled and monitored by
technology that feeds information over digital networks to buyers, sellers,
regulators, financial institutions, and transportation companies. In short,
ports are power. Power over imports and exports, power over
economic-development policies, construction, shipbuilding, land transport,
and electricity grids—and power over the digital information needed to
move goods through global supply chains that originate in China and
Southeast Asia. These critical supply lines have increasingly come under the
influence or control of a handful of Chinese state-owned companies.  [...]

  [Monty Solomon noted this item:
    Official Cybersecurity Review Finds U.S. Military Buying High-Risk
    Chinese Tech (Forbes)
https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/08/02/u-s-military-spends-millions-on-dangerous-chinese-tech-with-known-cyber-risks/
   PGN]


China has started a grand experiment in AI education. It could reshape how the world learns. (MIT Tech Review)

geoff goodfellow <geoff@iconia.com>
Sun, 4 Aug 2019 18:51:25 -1000
In recent years, the country has rushed to pursue *intelligent education*.
Now its billion-dollar ed-tech companies are planning to export their vision
overseas.

Zhou Yi was terrible at math. He risked never getting into college. Then a
company called Squirrel AI came to his middle school in Hangzhou, China,
promising personalized tutoring. He had tried tutoring services before, but
this one was different: instead of a human teacher, an AI algorithm would
curate his lessons. The 13-year-old decided to give it a try. By the end of
the semester, his test scores had risen from 50% to 62.5%. Two years later,
he scored an 85% on his final middle school exam.

“I used to think math was terrifying.  But through tutoring, I realized it
really isn't that hard. It helped me take the first step down a different
path.''

Experts agree AI will be important in 21st-century education—but how?
While academics have puzzled over best practices, China hasn't waited
around. In the last few years, the country's investment in AI-enabled
teaching and learning has exploded. Tech giants, startups, and education
incumbents have all jumped in. Tens of millions of students now use some
form of AI to learn—whether through extracurricular tutoring programs
like Squirrel's, through digital learning platforms like 17ZuoYe, or even in
their main classrooms. It's the world's biggest experiment on AI in
education, and no one can predict the outcome.

Silicon Valley is also keenly interested. In a report in March, the
Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
identified AI as an educational tool worthy of investment. In his 2018 book
Rewiring Education, John Couch, Apple's vice president of education, lauded
Squirrel AI. (A Chinese version of the book is coauthored by Squirrel's
founder, Derek Li.) Squirrel also opened a joint research lab with Carnegie
Mellon University this year to study personalized learning at scale, then
export it globally.

But experts worry about the direction this rush to AI in education is
taking. At best, they say, AI can help teachers foster their students'
interests and strengths. At worst, it could further entrench a global trend
toward standardized learning and testing, leaving the next generation ill
prepared to adapt in a rapidly changing world of work...

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614057/china-squirrel-has-started-a-grand-experiment-in-ai-education-it-could-reshape-how-the/


44 people in China were injured when a water park wave machine launched a crushing tsunami (WashPost)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Thu, 1 Aug 2019 11:19:33 -0400
44 people in China were injured when a water park wave machine launched a
crushing tsunami

The operator was not drunk, as originally reported.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/07/31/people-were-injured-after-waterpark-wave-machine-launched-crushing-tsunami/


In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons (NYTimes)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Mon, 29 Jul 2019 18:59:50 -0400
A quest to identify protesters and police officers has people in both groups
desperate to protect their anonymity. Some fear a turn toward China-style
surveillance.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/technology/hong-kong-protests-facial-recognition-surveillance.html


Amazon Requires Police to Shill Surveillance Cameras in Secret Agreement (VICE)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Sun, 28 Jul 2019 14:04:05 -0400
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mb88za/amazon-requires-police-to-shill-surveillance-cameras-in-secret-agreement


Apple's Siri overhears your drug deals and sexual activity, whistleblower says (Charlie Osborne)

Gene Wirchenko <gene@shaw.ca>
Wed, 31 Jul 2019 10:40:06 -0700
Charlie Osborne for Zero Day | 30 Jul 2019

Apple's Siri overhears your drug deals and sexual activity, whistleblower
says Quality control frequently comes across recordings which should not
have existed in the first place.
https://www.zdnet.com/article/apples-siri-overhears-your-drug-deals-and-sexual-activity-whistleblower-says/

selected text:

Apple's Siri records private and confidential conversations and activities
on a regular basis including talk relating to medical conditions, drug
deals, and sex acts.

Staff members tasked with grading how Siri responds to commands and whether
or not the correct wake word "Hey Siri" was used before a recording occurred
often hear explicit recordings, which are accidentally saved when the
assistant mistakenly associates a sound as the wake word.

The publication's source notes, for example, that the sound of a zipper can
be misconstrued as a demand to wake up. In what the whistleblower says are
"countless instances," conversations between doctors and patients, business
deals, and both criminal and sexual activity have been captured by the smart
assistant.

The Apple Watch, in particular, has come under fire. While many recordings
captured by Siri may only be a few seconds in length, The Guardian says that
the watch—with Siri enabled—may record up to 30 seconds.


Capital One data breach compromises tens of millions of credit card applications, FBI says (WashPost)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Mon, 29 Jul 2019 19:14:10 -0400
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2019/07/29/capital-one-data-breach-compromises-tens-of-millions-of-credit-card-applications-fbi-says/


California State Bar accidentally leaks details of upcoming exam (NBC News)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Mon, 29 Jul 2019 18:49:37 -0400
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-state-bar-accidentally-leaks-details-upcoming-exam-n1035681


Russian hackers are infiltrating companies via the office printer (MIT Tech Review)

geoff goodfellow <geoff@iconia.com>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 14:12:00 -1000
*A group of hackers linked to Russian spy agencies are using "Internet of
things" devices like internet-connected phones and printers to break into
corporate networks, Microsoft announced on Monday.*

EXCERPT:

*Fancy Bear never hibernates*: The Russian hackers, who go by names like
Strontium, Fancy Bear, and APT28, are linked to the military intelligence
agency GRU.

The group has been active since at least 2007. They are credited with a long
list of infamous work including breaking into the Democratic National
Committee in 2016, the crippling NotPetya attacks against Ukraine in 2017,
and targeting political groups in Europe and North America throughout 2018.

*Insecurity of Things*: The new campaign from GRU compromised popular
internet of things devices including a VOIP (voice over internet protocol)
phone, a connected office printer, and a video decoder in order to gain
access to corporate networks. Microsoft has some of the best visibility into
corporate networks on earth because so many organizations are using Windows
machines. Microsoft's Threat Intelligence Center spotted Fancy Bear's new
work starting in April 2019.

*The password is password*: Although things like smartphones and desktop
computers are often top of mind when it comes to security, it's often the
printer, camera, or decoder that leaves a door open for a hacker to
exploit. [...]

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614062/russian-hackers-fancy-bear-strontium-infiltrate-iot-networks-microsoft-report/


A VxWorks Operating System Bug Exposes 200 Million Critical Devices (WiReD)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Mon, 29 Jul 2019 19:08:01 -0400
When major vulnerabilities show up in ubiquitous operating systems like
Microsoft Windows, they can be weaponized and exploited, the fallout
potentially impacting millions of devices. Today, researchers from the
enterprise security firm Armis are detailing just such a group of
vulnerabilities in a popular operating system that runs on more than 2
billion devices worldwide. But unlike Windows, iOS, or Android, this OS is
one you've likely never heard of. It's called VxWorks.

VxWorks is designed as a secure "real-time" operating system for
continuously functioning devices, like medical equipment, elevator
controllers, or satellite modems. That makes it a popular choice for
Internet of Things and industrial control products. But Armis researchers
found a cluster of 11 vulnerabilities in the platform's networking
protocols, six of which could conceivably give an attacker remote device
access, and allow a worm to spread the malware to other VxWorks devices
around the world. Roughly 200 million devices appear to be vulnerable; the
bugs have been present in most versions of VxWorks going back to version
6.5, released in 2006.

https://www.wired.com/story/vxworks-vulnerabilities-urgent11/


Capital One Systems Breached by Seattle Woman, U.S. Says (Bloomberg)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Mon, 29 Jul 2019 19:14:52 -0400
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-29/capital-one-data-systems-breached-by-seattle-woman-u-s-says


Another Breach: What Capital One Could Have Learned from Google's "BeyondCorp"

Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 14:11:10 -0700
Updating this blog post with info that non-customers of Capital One were
also affected by the breach, etc.

https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/07/30/another-breach-what-capital-one-could-have-learned-from-googles-beyondcorp


Paige Thompson, Capital One Hacking Suspect, Left a Trail Online (NYTimes)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 12:27:01 -0400
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/business/paige-thompson-capital-one-hack.html

Ms. Thompson, a 33-year-old software developer, made a habit of oversharing
online. Those posts led the authorities to her door.


Cambridge Analytica's role in Brexit (Ted)

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Sun, 4 Aug 2019 6:17:10 PDT
  [Thanks to Paul Vixie.  PGN]

https://www.ted.com/talks/carole_cadwalladr_facebook_s_role_in_brexit_and_the_threat_to_democracy


The scramble to secure America's voting machines (Politico)

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Sun, 4 Aug 2019 12:12:06 PDT
The U.S. faces a voting security crisis.

Eric Geller, Beatrice Jin, Jordyn Hermani and Michael B. Farrell
Politico, 4 Aug 2019

Tens of millions of Americans across 14 states cast ballots last year on
paperless voting machines—devices that security experts say can be
undetectably hacked and that offer no way to audit results when tampering or
errors occur. Many voters will still be using paperless machines in 2020,
despite warnings from intelligence leaders and cybersecurity experts that
Russia will try to reprise its interference in the 2016 presidential
campaign.

Click here to read the results of POLITICO's survey and see our interactive
presentation on the nationwide, state-by-state and county-by-county picture
of U.S. voting security as 2020 approaches.
<http://go.politicoemail.com/?qs=fd655ae1233a06b1b7f1752972e43eea46a05288d2617d3f24aa2617ab812f0bdae6d83d692c4e703f1488e207a56d87>

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2019/election-security-americas-voting-machines/index.html


The state of our elections security (Web Informant)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 13:46:18 -0400
Web Informant, 30 Jul 2019

The past week has seen a lot of news stories about hacking our
elections. Today in this edition of Inside Security I take a careful look at
what we know and the various security implications, which I cover in the
last paragraph. It is hard to write about this without getting into
politics, but I will try to summarize the facts. Here are two of them:

” Russians have penetrated election authorities in every statehouse and
  continue to try to compromise those networks. We have evidence that has
  been published in the Mueller report and more recently the Senate
  Intelligence Committee report from last week.

” A second and more troublesome collection of election compromises is
  described in a report from the San Mateo County grand jury that was also
  posted last week. I will get to this report in a moment.

For infosec professionals, the events described in these documents have been
well known for many years. The reports talk about spear-phishing attacks on
election officials, phony posts on social media or posts that originate from
sock puppet organizations (such as Russian state-sponsored intelligence
agencies), or from consultants to political campaigns that misrepresent
themselves to influence an election.

https://blog.strom.com/wp/?p=7291


A lawmaker wants to end social media addiction by killing features that enable mindless scrolling (WashPost)

Richard Stein <rmstein@ieee.org>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 13:38:16 -0700
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/07/30/lawmaker-wants-end-social-media-addiction-by-killing-features-that-enable-mindless-scrolling/

"Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction," Hawley, a Missouri
Republican, said in a statement announcing the bill. "Too much of the
'innovation' in this space is designed not to create better products, but to
capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult
to look away. This legislation will put an end to that and encourage true
innovation by tech companies."

iDisorder (http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/30/89#subj18.1) constitutes an
acute public health and safety risk.

Apple's opposition to 'gaze-blocker' application sales suggest they merit
pursuit as a public health benefit. See
https://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/31/21#subj16.1.


Cisco in Whistleblower Payoff and PR Doublespeak Row (Security Boulevard)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Fri, 2 Aug 2019 12:49:45 -0400
Cisco Systems has settled a longstanding lawsuit in which federal and state
agencies alleged a product was badly insecure and that the company knew
about it for at least four years before it did anything. Not a good look.

Not only that, but Cisco will compensate a whistleblowing contractor who
says he was fired for rocking the boat. Although Cisco maintains his job was
no longer needed.

And the PR statement is, well, let's just say nuanced.

https://securityboulevard.com/2019/08/cisco-in-whistleblower-payoff-and-pr-doublespeak-row/


Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology, or SMART, Act (Fortune)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Fri, 2 Aug 2019 16:44:32 -0400
*Can't look away*. Speaking of new rules, a bill proposed by Sen. Josh
Hawley dubbed the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology, or SMART, Act
would ban techniques used to hook people in to social media *Facebook's*
(and many other sites) infinite scroll would be illegal, as would autoplay
videos.  “Big Tech has embraced addiction as a business model,'' Hawley
tweeted. The bill obviously has along way to go before becoming a law.

<https://click.newsletters.fortune.com/?qs=3d78e25a4a015e4f81ef8aa570ded719ff100f5c5c1fad1c69075643289ea7346c4d3f2108608cab99cc61c36ecf80db896e780d98394df0>

  [Next to be outlawed, human nature.]


200-million devices some mission-critical vulnerable to remote takeover (Ars Technica)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 19:13:24 -0400
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/07/200-million-devices-some-mission-critical-vulnerable-to-remote-takeover/


Siemens contractor pleads guilty to planting logic bomb in company spreadsheets (ZDNet)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Sun, 28 Jul 2019 14:05:35 -0400
https://www.zdnet.com/article/siemens-contractor-pleads-guilty-to-planting-logic-bomb-in-company-spreadsheets/


People forged judges' signatures to trick Google into changing results (Ars Technica)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 19:59:18 -0400
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/07/people-forged-judges-signatures-to-trick-google-into-changing-results/


Partial hashes broadcast in Bluetooth can be converted to phone numbers (Ars Technica)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Fri, 2 Aug 2019 12:37:19 -0400
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/08/apples-airdrop-and-password-sharing-features-can-leak-iphone-numbers/


Apple suspends human eavesdropping through Siri (Taipei Times)

Mark Thorson <eee@dialup4less.com>
Sat, 3 Aug 2019 16:40:17 -0700
A prudent move, in the wake of Amazon and Google bad PR from their
eavesdropping activities.  The putative motive of having human listeners was
to improve Siri's ability to respond to queries.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2019/08/03/2003719808

Someone must have gotten around to asking "What could go wrong?.


Why People Should Care About Quantum Computing (Fortune)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Mon, 29 Jul 2019 00:56:23 -0400
Essentially, workable quantum computing could, in theory, help solve some of
humanity's most pressing problems like capturing "carbon from the atmosphere
to save the planet" and improving clean and energy and food production,
Svore said.

It's not as if conventional computers can't handle the calculations
underpinning the feats Svore mentioned. It's just that it would take a
person's lifetime, as opposed to the "matter of weeks or months" it would
take a quantum computer to process the information related to the problems.

https://fortune.com/2019/07/15/quantum-computing-brainstorm-tech/

More vague blather, I think. There's NEVER discussion about quantum apps,
programming, algorithms, specific applications.

It's never beyond:

Quantum, however, relies on mysterious so-called qbits, which can represent
data in multiple states like a "0" or "1" at the same time; it's a
head-scratching idea to wrap one's brain around, but its crucial to
harnessing the power of quantum computing. Designing algorithms that take
advantage of the mysterious properties of qbits can bring "billions of years
of compute time to seconds or hours or days," Svore said.

...so let's see the algorithms—they should be available before quantum
hardware is built, yes?


Your Train Is Delayed. Why? (NYTimes)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Sun, 28 Jul 2019 14:41:40 -0400
Video
https://www.nytimes.com/video/nyregion/100000005550602/subway-status-emergency.html


Barr Revives Encryption Debate, Calling on Tech Firms to Allow for Law Enforcement (NYTimes)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Sun, 28 Jul 2019 14:18:58 -0400
The attorney general, reopening the conversation on security vs. privacy,
said that encryption and other measures effectively turned devices into
"law-free zones."

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/23/us/politics/william-barr-encryption-security.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

  [Unfortunately, law-enforcement-only backdoors are likely to be
  subvertible by many unauthorized folks.  Emphatic assertion keeps
  resurfacing, despite the wisdom of the Keys Under Doormats report, by
  folks who reject the risks of misusing systems that are likely to be
  already unsecure, despite the desire for backdoors.  The RISKS motto seems
  to be: Everything is likely to be compromised, if not already broken.  By
  the way, it is not `security vs privacy'.  It is `insecurity and
  nonprivacy'.  PGN]


Dark Web Consequences Increase from Global Rise of Police-Friendly Laws (Channel Futures)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Sun, 28 Jul 2019 14:04:46 -0400
https://www.channelfutures.com/mssp-insider/dark-web-consequences-increase-from-global-rise-of-police-friendly-laws


The Hidden Costs of Automated Thinking (The New Yorker)

Dave Farber <farber@gmail.com>
Sat, 27 Jul 2019 17:49:36 -0400
https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-hidden-costs-of-automated-thinking


We Tested Europe's New Digital Lie Detector. It Failed. (The Intercept)

Dave Farber <farber@gmail.com>
Sat, 27 Jul 2019 09:17:40 -0400
https://theintercept.com/2019/07/26/europe-border-control-ai-lie-detector/


AI Predictive Policing (Daily Mail)

"Peter G. Neumann" <neumann@csl.sri.com>
Sun, 28 Jul 2019 10:19:53 PDT
  [From Geoff Goodfellow]

AI experts from top universities SLAM `predictive policing' tools in new
statement and warn technology could 'fuel misconceptions and fears that
drive mass incarceration'.

   - AI experts say pre-crime algorithms are more magic than reality
   - Algorithms designed to predict violent crime may come with
   consequences
   - Experts say they may vastly overstate the likelihood of pretrial
   crime
   - They warn its use could fuel mass incarceration and lead to harsher
   sentences

EXCERPT:

Prominent thinkers in the fields of artificial intelligence say that
predictive policing tools are not only 'useless,' but may be helping to
drive mass incarceration.

In a letter published earlier this month the experts, from MIT, Harvard,
Princeton, NYU, UC Berkeley and Columbia spoke out on the topic in an
unprecedented showing of skepticism toward the technology.
<https://dam-prod.media.mit.edu/x/2019/07/16/TechnicalFlawsOfPretrial_ML>

'When it comes to predicting violence, risk assessments offer more magical
thinking than helpful forecasting,' wrote AI experts Chelsea Barabas,
Karthik Dinakar and Colin Doyle in a New York Times op-ed.
<https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/17/opinion/pretrial-ai.html?utm_source=The+Appeal>

Predictive policing tools, or risk assessment tools, are algorithms designed
to predict the likelihood of someone committing crime in the future.

With rapid advances in artificial intelligence, the tools have begun to find
their way into the everyday processes of judges, who deploy them to
determine sentencing, and police departments, who use them to allot
resources and more.

While the technology has been positioned as a way to combat crime
preemptively, experts say its capabilities have been vastly overstated.

Among the arenas most affected by the tools they say, are pretrial
sentencing, during which people undergoing a trial may be detained based on
their risk of committing a crime.

'Algorithmic risk assessments are touted as being more objective and
accurate than judges in predicting future violence,' write the
researchers...

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-7287341/AI-experts-release-statement-slamming-predictive-policing-digitizing-stop-frisk.html


Guardian Firewall iOS App Automatically Blocks the Trackers on Your Phone (WiReD)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Sun, 4 Aug 2019 16:50:27 -0400
The data economy has too often betrayed its customers, whether it's Facebook
sharing data you didn't even realize it had, or invisible trackers that
follow you around the web without your knowledge. But a new app launching in
the iOS App Store today wants to help you take back some control”without
making your life harder.

The Guardian Firewall app runs in the background of an iOS device, and
stymies data and location trackers while compiling a list of all the times
your apps attempt to deploy them. It does so without breaking functionality
in your apps or making them unusable. Plus, the blow by blow list gives you
much deeper insight than you would normally have into what your phone is
doing behind the scenes. Guardian Firewall also takes pains to avoid
becoming another cog in the data machine itself.  You don't need to make an
account to run the firewall, and the app is architected to box its
developers out of user data completely.

https://www.wired.com/story/guardian-firewall-ios-app/

Was tempting until $100/year cost.


Google researchers disclose vulnerabilities for 'interactionless' iOS attacks (ZDNet)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 13:36:01 -0400
While it is always a good idea to install security updates as soon as they
become available, the availability of proof-of-concept code means users
should install the iOS 12.4 release with no further delay.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-researchers-disclose-vulnerabilities-for-interactionless-ios-attacks/


Another Breach: What Capital One Could Have Learned from Google's "BeyondCorp" (Lauren's Blog)

Lauren Weinstein <lauren@vortex.com>
Tue, 30 Jul 2019 10:40:55 -0700
https://lauren.vortex.com/2019/07/30/another-breach-what-capital-one-could-have-learned-from-googles-beyondcorp

Another day, another massive data breach. This time some 100 million people
in the U.S., and more millions in Canada. Reportedly the criminal hacker
gained access to data stored on Amazon's AWS systems. The fault was
apparently not with AWS, but with a misconfigured firewall associated with a
Capital One app, the bank whose customers were the victims of this attack.

Firewalls can be notoriously and fiendishly difficult to configure
correctly, and often present a target-rich environment for successful
attacks. The thing is, firewall vulnerabilities are not headline news --
they're an old story, and better solutions to providing network security
already exist.

In particular, Google's "BeyondCorp" approach
( https://cloud.google.com/beyondcorp ) is something that every enterprise
involved in computing should make itself familiar with. Right now!

BeyondCorp techniques are how Google protects its own internal networks and
systems from attack, with enormous success. In a nutshell, BeyondCorp is a
set of practices that effectively puts "zero trust" in the networks
themselves, moving access control and other authentication elements to
individual devices and users. This eliminates the need for traditional
firewalls (and in most instances, VPNs) because there is no longer a
conventional firewall which, once breached, gives an attacker access to all
the goodies.

If Capital One had been following BeyondCorp principles, there would be 100+
million less of their customers who wouldn't be in a panic today.


"A data breach forced this family to move home and change their names (ZDNet)

Gene Wirchenko <gene@shaw.ca>
Wed, 31 Jul 2019 10:30:36 -0700
Charlie Osborne for Zero Day | 26 Jul 2019

A data breach forced this family to move home and change their names
Sometimes a free credit report in recompense is nowhere near enough.
https://www.zdnet.com/article/a-data-breach-forced-this-family-to-move-home-and-change-their-names/

selected text:

In the London Borough of Hackney, a recent case emerged when a data breach
had far more devastating consequences than most of us would ever experience.

As reported by the Hackney Gazette, a family in the area adopted a child and
the details of who they were and where they lived were meant to be withheld
from the birth parents.

However, during the adoption process in 2016, a solicitor appointed by
Hackney Council mistakenly included an unredacted copy of the application
form. The publication says that the exposed, sensitive data included the
couple's names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and occupations.

The scope of the breach was serious enough that the couple spoke to both the
council and police, and ultimately decided that moving home and changing
their names was the safest option for their adopted child.


Brazilian president's cellphone hacked as Car Wash scandal intrigue widens (WashPost)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Thu, 25 Jul 2019 19:51:11 -0400
Four men have been arrested on suspicion of breaking into cellphones of
hundreds of officials.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/brazilian-president-bolsonaros-cellphone-hacked-as-carwash-scandal-intrigue-widens/2019/07/25/faab2b86-aee5-11e9-9411-a608f9d0c2d3_story.html


Malicious 'Google' domains used in Magento card card skimmer attacks (ZDNet)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Fri, 26 Jul 2019 10:12:53 -0400
https://www.zdnet.com/article/malicious-google-domains-used-in-magento-data-skimmer/


MyDoom: The 15-year-old malware that's still being used in phishing attacks in 2019 (ZDNet)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Fri, 26 Jul 2019 10:15:08 -0400
https://www.zdnet.com/article/mydoom-the-15-year-old-malware-thats-still-being-used-in-phishing-attacks-in-2019/


StockX was hacked, exposing millions ofcustomers'_data (TechCrunch)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 08:18:19 -0400
https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/03/stockx-hacked-millions-records/


Ikea says sorry for customer data breach (Straits Times)

Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com>
Mon, 5 Aug 2019 10:48:58 -0400
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/ikea-says-sorry-for-customer-data-breach


Refunds for Global Access Technical Support customers (Consumer Information)

Gabe Goldberg <gabe@gabegold.com>
Thu, 1 Aug 2019 11:47:57 -0400
If you paid for technical support services from Global Access Technical
Support (GATS), you'll be getting a letter or an email from the Federal
Trade Commission about a refund. You might have known the company as Global
SConnect, Global sMind, Yubdata Tech, or Technolive.

The FTC sued GATS, alleging that the company lied about partnering with
well-known tech companies and tricked people into paying for unnecessary
computer repairs. GATS has now paid $860,000 to settle the lawsuit.

The FTC is sending refunds to people who paid money to GATS. If you get a
check from us, cash it within 60 days. We will send refunds via PayPal to
customers for whom we do not have a mailing address.

Here's how the PayPal refunds work: the FTC will send the customer an email
from subscribe@subscribe.ftc.gov. Then, within 24 hours, that customer will
also get an email directly from PayPal about the refund.  If you get those
emails, all you have to do is type www.paypal.com into your browser, log in
to your account (or create one), and review and accept the payment. Or
accept payment by logging into the PayPal app.

To avoid scammers who might pretend to be from the FTC or PayPal, follow
these simple steps:

 * If you get a refund email that claims to be from the FTC or PayPal, don't
   click on any links in the email. Instead, visit the website by typing the
   right URL into your browser: www.ftc.gov/refunds and www.paypal.com.

 * Check out FTC refunds at ftc.gov/refunds. Each case on that page has a
   phone number you can call to check on refund payments.

 * Know that the FTC never asks people to pay money or give sensitive
   financial information to get a refund. People who say they are with the
   FTC and ask for money are scammers.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/08/refunds-global-access-technical-support-customers


Business Continuity?: Kyoto Anime recovers digital recordings

"ISHIKAWA,chiaki" <ishikawa@yk.rim.or.jp>
Wed, 31 Jul 2019 02:09:55 +0900F
I have been a Japanese animation fan since I was a kid growing up in
Japan.  So this is a very prejudiced post in that direction.

The arson of  Kyoto Animation company (Kyoto Anime or KyoAni for short),
almost a terrorist attack, which killed 35 people by now has had Kyoto Anime
scrambling to recover what remains in the server computer in the building
which burned down.

The arson is now detailed in Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Animation_arson_attack

Since the night of July 29, it has been reported that Kyoto Anime, with the
help of experts, could salvage the digital data from the server(s) that
remained intact in the building that burned down. (In Japanese:
https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASM7Y6H8ZM7YPTIL03K.html )

Luckily the server(s) was on the first floor and was housed in a small space
surrounded by concrete walls in the four directions (CI's comment: I wonder
where the door was...) and withstood the fire and the water sprayed by
firefighters.

cf. Due to the nature of the Japanese languages, I am not sure if the
server referred to is actually a collection of servers (plural).

An earlier Japan Times article in English mentioned that there *was* a
server and the management hoped to recover the data *IFF* the server did not
get wet during the firefighting effort.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/07/29/national/kyoto-animation-hopes-recover-drawing-storyboard-data-server-arson-attack/

But to me it is hard to believe that 70+ people working on a few animation
projects could work with only a single server, but it is not the major
contention here.

First of all, I am not sure if all the digital data of anime (animation,
that is) held by that branch was recovered or not. The article mentioned
digital data only, and inferred some animation digital drawings were
recovered.  An inquiry mind wants to know the answer to "Were all the
relevant data transferred from individual PCs to the server each day?".
Individual PCs went up in smoke literally. No hope of recovering data from
them.

One thing is crystal clear: ALL THE PAPER-BASED DRAWINGS IN THE BRANCH ARE
GONE. PERIOD.  (Except for a piece of paper with a hand-drawn illustration
on it: it was n the backside of a whiteboard that remained in the
building. I saw it in a news article.)

When I read the article and some earlier articles, some computer-related
risk keywords popped up in my mind: - off-site backup, - business
continuity, and - human resources.

Here, human resources *IS* actually the most valuable one in this case, and
the loss is felt throughout the media industry all over the world. No amount
of off-site backup or business continuity planning that is created for
earthquakes or typhoons (Japan's two biggest natural disasters) will be
enough to counter the type of human-resource damage sustained by Kyoto Anime
this time.

Nevertheless, some business schools may create a case study of
disaster-recover planning for business continuity based on the incident.

Yes, to my surprise and many others', Kyoto Animation obviously failed to
perform off-site backup (and for that matter, distributed backup of
paper-based illustrations).  That is something to think about for the media
company management types in the future.  (So this post *IS* computer
risk-related after all.)

At the same time, I personally feel it is a tough time for the management
indeed for recovering the business operation especially when I read the
comments from the surviving members of the victims such as the one I quote
later in this post.

The impact of human toll is really devastating psychologically.  Recovering
from a crime-initiated disaster is not a purely a computer-risk issue, but
wetware (people) issue too, especially so once the hardware, software and
data are recovered.

The following news contains comments regarding the color coordinator,
Ms. Naomi Ishida, who has worked at Kyoto Anime for more than 20 years. A
victim of the arson. The article is in Japanese:
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/kyoto/20190725/2010004159.html (Ms. Ishida's
background is explained in detail in English in the following URL:)
https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2019-07-25/kyoto-animation-colorist-naomi-ishida-passed-away-in-studio-fire/.149318

Since such Japanese news comments are unlikely to be translated into English
any time soon, here is my rough translation of that part of the news
article. (I searched for English article that may refer to the comments of
Ms. Ishida's parent, but only ended up with the animenewsnetwork article
above.)

My rough translation:

  Ms. Naomi Ishida's mother mentioned "The police got in contact with us
  because the DNA identification has been over and they wanted to explain
  the result to us. When I looked at the remains, I noticed that only a
  piece of metal of my daughter's hair accessory remained and all else
  melted away. The fire was so severe. The whole ordeal could have been over
  in a short while. But it is a real pity she must have suffered a lot
  during that time."  and she added "I have not known her whereabouts after
  the arson. The only consolation now is that I can bring her back home
  finally..."

  Her father said "I have tough time sleeping thinking about how she must
  have suffered in pain at the last moment.  But now I am a bit relieved
  when I learned that so many anime fans placed flowers in many places in
  appreciation of works to which my daughter contributed.  I am now very
  proud of her. I hope she will be drawing pictures together with her
  colleagues in the Heaven."

  Parents of other victims would have similar comments.  Surviving victims
  need months or even years to heal from the wounds.  The psychological
  damage is definitely large although hard to estimate.  How can a company
  restart business operation amid such mental hardship?

Personal comment: Ms. Ishida worked on animations such as Suzumiya Haruhi TV
series and others which produced some interesting songs including the
following one that has been played ALMOST 100 MILLION TIMES on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWB01IuMvzA

This particular song is in my favorite list and I play the list from time to
time in random order during desk work. Next time the song comes up and I
watch the animation images on PC screen whose color coordination Ms. Ishida
produced, I would recall the words of her parents. What a pity.  Not just an
interesting BGM song anymore...


Colorado gov't. email account for reporting child abuse goes unchecked for 4 years (WashPost)

George Mannes <gmannes@gmail.com>
Fri, 26 Jul 2019 10:15:41 -0400
>From The Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/07/15/colorado-didnt-check-an-email-account-child-abuse-neglect-reports-years-five-cases-were-never-investigated/

Colorado didn't check an email account for child abuse reports for
years.  Five cases weren't investigated.

By Hannah Knowles July 15
An email account set up by the Colorado government for reports of child
abuse and neglect went unchecked for four years, leaving more than 100
messages about mistreatment concerns unanswered and allowing five cases
that needed follow-up to go without investigation.

The email account was set up in 2015 to support a phone hotline and then
forgotten, allowing reports to slip through at a time when the state worked
to increase reporting of child abuse and emphasized a speedy response to
concerns through a 24/7 hotline. That phone number received a record number
of calls last year, four years into a public awareness campaign aimed at
teaching more Coloradans about the state's resources....

...A May 15 internal audit discovered the problem. By the time the
department looked at the neglected email account, 321 messages had piled
up, including 104 about concerns that children were being abused or
neglected, department spokeswoman Madlynn Ruble told The Washington Post.
Many of those emails were duplicates or had already been addressed through
other channels, Ruble said....


Re: "Mortgage Provider Tells Savers of Zero Balances"

Chris Drewe <e767pmk@yahoo.co.uk>
Sun, 04 Aug 2019 19:16:33 +0100
Item about a UK building society (mortgage provider) from this weekend's
newspaper—summary follows with my comments.

  Sally Hamilton, The Mail On Sunday, 3 Aug 2019
  Panic as Nationwide BS emails 1.3m customers to tell them they have no
  money!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/saving/article-7317645/Panic-Nationwide-BS-emails-1-3m-customers-tell-no-money.html

Nationwide Building Society has come under fire for emailing 1.3million
savers with a 'summary' of their accounts showing they all had balances of
zero.  ... data security rules meant it was unable to provide balances by
email 'because it isn't 100 per cent secure'.  The new summary simply shows
the types of accounts savers hold along with the interest rates paid—and
what balance is required to receive it. This showed... ISA accounts pay 1.1
per cent and 1.2 per cent—on balances of '0+ pounds'.

  [Looks like another casualty of data-protection laws, but more
  likely a case of a badly-worded message.  CD]

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