No agency left behind. The U.S. government’s security is in a sorry state, per two new reports. In the first, the Department of Homeland Security discovered an abundance of cellphone surveillance devices, called IMSI catchers, outside the White House and other sensitive locations around the nation’s capital, reports The Washington Post. In the other, as Wired reports, the Office of Management and Budget found that three-quarters of 96 surveyed federal agencies are “at-risk” or “high risk” for security breaches. Are we surprised?
Robots on the battlefield. A lucrative, multimillion-dollar contract for Google to provide AI tech to the U.S. military has sparked a heated controversy within the company. On the one hand, defense work presents a potentially big revenue opportunity for the tech giant—and competitors like Amazon and Microsoft have had few qualms about pursuing this line of business. Yet the weapon-related work has exposed a culture rift within Google, whose longtime “Don’t be evil” mantra seems, at least to some employees, philosophically opposed to bolstering military might.
New masters. Verint, a software company based in the U.S., is said to be in talks to buy NSO Group, an Israeli maker of spyware, for about $1 billion, according to an unnamed source who spoke to the Wall Street Journal. If the deal goes through, then private equity firm Francisco Partners, which owns a controlling stake in NSO, will become the largest shareholder of Verint. NSO came under fire last year after reports that the Mexican government had used its Pegasus mobile spyware to surveil citizens.
Data breach roundup. Chinese security researchers discovered an “epic” remote code execution vulnerability in an upcoming blockchain platform, EOS, that could have sunk the system had they not caught it sooner. Hackers are also targeting people looking to participate in EOS’s $4 billion “initial coin offering” with phishing scams, as my colleague Jen Wieczner reports. Plus: A hacker defaced the website of Ticketfly, a ticket-vending website, and claimed to have stolen a database of customer information. A fitness app, PumpUp app, was recently leaking people’s private data through an unsecured, Amazon-hosted server. And someone hijacked Buffalo Wild Wings’ Twitter account and posted nasty messages.
If only we could get rid of spam email this way.
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