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Schneier: Basaaly Moalin: The One "Terrorist" Caught by Section 215 Surveillance->

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Remember back in 2013 when the then-director of the NSA Keith Alexander claimed that Section 215 bulk telephone metadata surveillance stopped "fifty-four different terrorist-related activities"? Remember when that number was backtracked several times, until all that was left was a single Somali taxi driver who was convicted of sending some money back home? This is the story of Basaaly Moalin....
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Schneier: When Thinking Machines Break the Law->

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Last year, two Swiss artists programmed a Random Botnot Shopper, which every week would spend $100 in bitcoin to buy a random item from an anonymous Internet black market...all for an art project on display in Switzerland. It was a clever concept, except there was a problem. Most of the stuff the bot purchased was benignfake Diesel jeans, a baseball...
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Schneier: Defending Against Liar Buyer Fraud->

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It's a common fraud on sites like eBay: buyers falsely claim that they never received a purchased item in the mail. Here's a paper on defending against this fraud through basic psychological security measures. It's preliminary research, but probably worth experimental research. We have tested a collection of possible user-interface enhancements aimed at reducing liar buyer fraud. We have found...
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Schneier: Accountability as a Security System->

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At a CATO surveillance event last month, Ben Wittes talked about inherent presidential powers of surveillance with this hypothetical: "What should Congress have to say about the rules when Barack Obama wants to know what Vladimir Putin is talking about?" His answer was basically that Congress should have no say: "I think most people, going back to my Vladimir Putin...
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Schneier: US Law Enforcement Also Conducting Mass Telephone Surveillance->

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Late last year, in a criminal case involving export violations, the US government disclosed a mysterious database of telephone call records that it had queried in the case. The defendant argued that the database was the NSA's, and that the query was unconditional and the evidence should be suppressed. The government said that the database was not the NSA's. As...
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Schneier: New NSA Documents on Offensive Cyberoperations->

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Appelbaum, Poitras, and others have another NSA article with an enormous Snowden document dump on Der Spiegel, giving details on a variety of offensive NSA cyberoperations to infiltrate and exploit networks around the world. There's a lot here: 199 pages. (Here they are in one compressed archive.) Paired with the 666 pages released in conjunction with the December 28 Spiegel...
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Schneier: My Superpower->

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For its "Top Influencers in Security You Should Be Following in 2015" blog post, TripWire asked me: "If you could have one infosec-related superpower, what would it be?" I answered: Most superpowers are pretty lame: super strength, super speed, super sight, super stretchiness. Teleportation would probably be the most useful given my schedule, but for subverting security systems, you can't...
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Schneier: Further Evidence Pointing to North Korea as Sony Hacker->

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The FBI has provided more evidence: Speaking at a Fordham Law School cybersecurity conference Wednesday, Comey said that he has "very high confidence" in the FBI's attribution of the attack to North Korea. And he named several of the sources of his evidence, including a "behavioral analysis unit" of FBI experts trained to psychologically analyze foes based on their writings...
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Schneier: Hacking Attack Causes Physical Damage at German Steel Mill->

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This sort of thing is still very rare, but I fear it will become more common: ...hackers had struck an unnamed steel mill in Germany. They did so by manipulating and disrupting control systems to such a degree that a blast furnace could not be properly shut down, resulting in "massive" -- though unspecified -- damage....
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