The Stroz Friedberg Cyber Brief


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MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2016
FBI TO HELP POLICE BREAK ENCRYPTION
In a letter last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly told police departments nationwide that it will help them unlock mobile devices like iPhones involved in investigations. “As has been our longstanding policy, the FBI will of course consider any tool that might be helpful to our partners," the Bureau said. “Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to help you consistent with our legal and policy constraints.”

Legal and technology experts say that the FBI's method for breaking into a terrorism suspect’s encrypted iPhone 5c is unlikely to stay secret for long, perhaps a few months, especially if the Bureau shares the information with state and local criminal investigations. Indeed, the FBI has reportedly agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple. (Reuters, WaPo, AP)
Hospitals: A non-profit healthcare group is warning U.S. hospitals to prepare for a surge in ransomware attacks in which cyber criminals may be able to lock up their computer networks indefinitely. Last month, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles paid a ransom of $17,000 to regain access to its systems. (Reuters)

Tax Scam: Businesses are on high alert for a seasonal phishing scam that attempts to obtain the personal tax information about current and former employees. Several hundred workers for Weight Watchers reportedly fell victim to the scam. (WSJ)

Anonymous: The Portuguese branch of the hacking collective says it shut down more than a dozen Angolan government websites in response to the jailing of youth activists. (BBC)
Cell Tracking: A Maryland appeals court issued what civil liberties groups called the first appellate opinion in the country stating that police must obtain a warrant before using covert cellphone-tracking devices often referred to as Stingrays. (WaPo)

Energy Website: FBI agents in New York arrested David Kent, the founder of an oil and gas networking website, on charges that he hacked and sold private professional information. (Reuters)

NYC Drug Case: The Department of Justice is expected to disclose in the next two weeks whether it will pursue its bid to force Apple to unlock the iPhone of a convicted drug trafficker in Brooklyn. Analysts note that the technology in the case differs from that of the one in San Bernardino. The dealer’s phone in the New York case uses iOS 7, an older form of operating system that Apple had routinely been able to hack using a secret process. (The Hill, Bloomberg)
Nuke Safety: Official sources said that Britain and the U.S. will stage a wargame later this year to simulate a cyberattack on a nuclear power plant. Many experts say the threat to nuclear facilities and other critical infrastructure is growing. (Guardian, VOA)

Visas: Cybersecurity experts reportedly found security flaws in a State Department system that may allow hackers to doctor visa applications or steal sensitive data from a half-billion records. (ABC)
Google: The tech company has received at least nine orders under the All Writs Act, the catch-all law that has been used to force tech companies to circumvent password protections and other defenses on phones so data can be recovered for investigations.The number is far lower than the 67 orders the ACLU identified that had been served on Apple. (FT)

Wells Fargo: The world’s biggest bank by market capitalization has been testing eye-scanning technology, and, in the coming months, plans to offer the service to thousands of clients. EyeVerify, which supplied the software that Wells has embedded in its mobile app, says it can confirm a customer’s identity in less than a second. (FT)

Dell: SecureWorks Corp., owned by Dell’s parent, Denali Holding Inc., is seeking to launch its initial public offering in April, becoming the first tech company to debut on a U.S. exchange in 2016. (WSJ)
Bangladesh: A Chinese casino junket operator, Kam Sin Wong, returned more than $4 million of the $81 million that hackers recently stole from the Bangladesh central bank. Wong has denied involvement in the cyberheist. (AP)

UK: British authorities are attempting to force a man, Lauri Love, who stands accused of hacking the U.S. government, to hand over his encryption keys in a case that some believe could have major consequences for journalists and activists. (Intercept)

India: Hackers from some of India’s smallest towns are earning millions by helping uncover security flaws in Facebook and Google sites. (Guardian)

China: Research done by the Boston Consulting Group suggests that within 15 years China will be the largest market for autonomous vehicles. Some say that conditions in the country are actually more favorable for quick adoption of driverless cars in part because of more aggressive support from the national and local governments. (NYC)

Must Reads
The Online Fight Against ISIS: “The entry barriers to cyber warfare are remarkably low, even for non-state actors. Even if ISIS does not currently have the capability to carry out cyber-attacks, it is unlikely to find it difficult to recruit followers with the requisite expertise; in the past, other terrorist and insurgent organizations, including Al Qaeda, have done just that. There are bound to be cyber mercenaries, sympathizers, and freelancers available if the price is right,” write Colin P. Clarke and Isaac R. Porche III on Project Syndicate.

Hackers Can Be Our Allies: “Let’s embrace hacking as a skill vital to protecting digital security. Some states are already considering allowing K-12 students to study coding instead of a foreign language. That’s a good start, but the U.S. needs a deeper understanding of cyberawareness—to avoid being left behind in the digital race, and to defend better against cyberattack,” writes David Brumley in the Wall Street Journal.

Let’s Rein In the Internet of Things: “As the Internet of Things makes the collection and storage of personal information near universal, there will be little we do that isn't tracked and analyzed by industry. In many cases, companies will make more money from the collection of data than from the provision of goods. The sale of a product will no longer mark the conclusion of a transaction. It will mark the beginning of a surveillance regimen,” writes Nicholas Carr in the LA Times.
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, KAREN J. GREENBERG, DIRECTOR, CENTER ON NATIONAL SECURITY, FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL
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