Archive for August, 2015

The 22 Amendments That Could Determine the Fate of the Senate’s Cybersecurity Bill

From: National Journal

These amendments will get a vote if and when CISA comes up after recess.

After a brief but heated battle, senators packed up for summer recess early this month without voting on a key cybersecurity bill. In announcing that the bill’s consideration would be delayed, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lined up 22 amendments that will get a vote when the bill comes up again in the fall, a product of intense negotiations over the bill’s fate.

How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election

From: Politico Magazine

Google has the ability to drive millions of votes to a candidate with no one the wiser.

America’s next president could be eased into office not just by TV ads or speeches, but by Google’s secret decisions, and no one—except for me and perhaps a few other obscure researchers—would know how this was accomplished.

Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections—indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs—than any company in history has ever had. Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more—up to 80 percent in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated, according to experiments I conducted recently with Ronald E. Robertson.

Federal workers’ personal devices pose security risk

From: USA Today

Erin Kelly

ASHINGTON – Half of federal employees access government email and documents from their personal smartphones and mobile devices, creating potential cybersecurity risks for agencies already under siege from hackers, a new study found.

In a survey of 1,000 workers from 20 civilian, intelligence and military agencies, 60% of employees said they are aware of some of the risks of using their personal devices for work, but 85% of those respondents said they do it anyway. The study was commissioned by Lookout, Inc., a cybersecurity company. About 40% of employees who work at agencies that prohibit the use of personal smartphones for work said the rules have little to no impact on their behavior.

Saudi group hacks government websites ‘as a cyber-security warning’

From: al-Araby

By: Al-Araby al-Jadeed staff

A Saudi Arabian group has hacked at least 23 government websites, saying it was to draw attention to the kingdom’s vulnerability to cyber-attack.

At least 23 Saudi Arabian government websites have been hacked within a two-hour period.

The massive attack was carried out by a Saudi Arabian hacker group named “Cyber of Emotion“, purportedly to highlight the websites’ vulnerability to potentially malicious cyber-attack.

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Russian antivirus firm faked malware to harm rivals – Ex-employees

From: Reuters


Beginning more than a decade ago, one of the largest security companies in the world, Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, tried to damage rivals in the marketplace by tricking their antivirus software programs into classifying benign files as malicious, according to two former employees.

They said the secret campaign targeted Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), AVG Technologies NV (AVG.N), Avast Software and other rivals, fooling some of them into deleting or disabling important files on their customers’ PCs.

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Will This New Report Help Agencies Get Their Cyber Act Together?

From: Nextgov

By Mohana Ravindranath

The National Institute for Standards and Technology wants federal agencies to get their act together on cybersecurity standards.

In a new publication, the group calls on agencies to coordinate with each other, with the private sector and with international governments to draw up, and abide by, cybersecurity benchmarks. NIST is collecting comments on its recommendations until Sep. 24.

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Facebook Cancels Internship of Indian-Origin Harvard Student After He Exposes Flaw in App

From: NDTV

Washington:  Facebook cancelled an Indian-origin student’s internship after he exposed a serious privacy flaw in the social media giant’s messenger service, a media report said.

Aran Khanna’s application, Marauder’s Map, used data from Facebook Messenger to map users’ location when they sent messages, reported on Wednesday.

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Court Skeptical Trade Body Has Oversight of Digital Transmissions

From: The Wall Street Journal

Closely watched patent case on teeth aligners could have broad business impact

By Jess Bravin

WASHINGTON—A federal appeals court appeared skeptical Tuesday of claims by a government trade panel that it can block Internet communications it finds infringe U.S. patents.

The U.S. International Trade Commission last year took the unprecedented step of ordering ClearCorrect LLC of Round Rock, Texas, to cease receiving digital models and data from Pakistan to manufacture dental aligners, plastic orthodontic devices used to straighten teeth.

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Data Protection in Mexico: Is Consent Mandatory for the Processing of Personal Data in the Employment Context?

From: BNA/Bloomberg Law

By Rosa Maria Franco Velázquez

Rosa Maria Franco Velázquez is an intellectual property, privacy and data protection attorney, as well as a certified information privacy professional (CIPP/US). She has worked in different specialized firms, including Basham, Ringe y Correa SC in Mexico City, where she established, developed and led the firm’s privacy and data protection practice; currently she has her own practice in Mexico City. She has advised national and international clients on privacy and data protection issues and has participated as a speaker in different conferences and seminars in Mexico and abroad.

Why ‘Smart’ Objects May Be a Dumb Idea

From: New York Times


No company wants to be the first to bear the costs of updating the insecure computer systems that run most cars. We need federal safety regulations to push automakers to move, as a whole industry. Last month, a bill with privacy and cybersecurity standards for cars was introduced in the Senate. That’s good, but it’s only a start. We need a new understanding of car safety, and of the safety of any object running software or connecting to the Internet.