Pete Recommends – weekly highlights on cyber security issues – April 15 2018

Subject: Facebook’s plan to let users ‘unsend’ messages could boost harassment and bullying, experts warn
[the original Subject: Facebook letting users delete sent message will boost harassment: experts]
Source: Business Insider

Facebook plans to let users delete messages they have sent from the inboxes of other users.This feature carries the big risk of enabling abuse: Experts told Business Insider it could be used to hide evidence of harassment and to gaslight victims.
The feature was announced shortly after it was revealed that some of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s sent messages had been secretly deleted.

“But this kind of thing can become insidious and dangerous, which is where gaslighting comes in. If someone is harassing you, for example, or being abusive, and they can go back and modify or delete your conversations and then say they never behaved the way you accuse them of behaving, that’s pretty awful!”

Subject: Homeland Security To Compile A Database Of Journalists, Bloggers And Influencers
Source: HuffPost via Yahoo

The Department of Homeland Security sparked concerns among media circles after news spread that the agency was creating an online database to monitor journalists, bloggers, social media influencers and others. Word got out after Bloomberg Law surfaced a job posting from DHS seeking a contractor for a “media monitoring services” project. The job entails creating a searchable database that has the ability to track about 290,000 news sources, both foreign and domestic, according to the DHS’s statement of work. The contractor will help DHS monitor “traditional news sources as well as social media, identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event,” the job description reads.

NB Big Law Business RSS feed:

Subject: European grid dispute resolved, lost 6 minutes returned to oven clocks
Source: Ars Technica

This week, Europe’s electric transmission lobby announced that oven, microwave, and alarm clocks across the continent were no longer six minutes slow. How did they get back the lost time? By resolving a grid dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, and running the continental grid at a slightly higher frequency than normal.

Last month, the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) publicly admonished Serbia and Kosovo for not properly balancing their grids according to previous agreements. “This average frequency deviation, that has never happened in any similar way in the CE [Continental Europe] Power system, must cease,” the group wrote. “ENTSO-E is urging European and national governments and policymakers to take swift action.”

Subject: China social credit system, punishments and rewards explained
Source: Business Insider

[sorta like a credit score 🙁 /pmw1]

The Chinese state is setting up a vast ranking system system that will monitor the behaviour of its enormous population, and rank them all based on their “social credit.” The “social credit system,” first announced in 2014, aims to reinforce the idea that “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful,” according to a government document. The program is due to be fully operational by 2020, but is being piloted for millions of people already. The scheme is mandatory. At the moment the system is piecemeal — some are run by city councils, others are scored by private tech platforms which hold personal data. Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behaviour. The exact methodology is a secret — but examples infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.

Subject: The dots do matter: how to scam a Gmail user
Source: Jim Fisher’s blog

I finally realized that this email is to [email protected]. I normally use [email protected], with no dots. You might think this email should have bounced, but instead it reached my inbox, because “dots don’t matter in Gmail addresses”: Netflix does not know about this Gmail “feature”. Externally, [email protected] and [email protected] are different identities, and should have their own Netflix accounts. I signed up for Netflix account N1 backed by [email protected] in 2013. But in September 2017, someone, let’s call her “Eve”, created a new Netflix account N2, backed by [email protected].

[NB and of course it is not just a Netflix issue /pmw1]

Subject: It’s 10 PM – Do You Know Where Your Financial Data Is?
Source: GAO Today’s Reports & Testimonies

It’s 10 PM–Do You Know Where Your Financial Data Is? Advancements in technology like the Internet and smartphones are changing how we pay, borrow, and invest. Financial technology (a.k.a. fintech) products—including payments, lending, wealth management, and others—generally provide benefits to consumers, such as convenience and lower costs. But there are risks involved with using any new financial product. So, how can you be a savvier consumer? For April’s Financial Literacy Month, today’s Watchblog explores our recent report on benefits, risks, and protections for fintech users. Listen to our podcast and read on for more.

Subject: Generator Safety Tips
Source: Consumer Reports

Surviving a storm is about more than simply making it through the worst of the weather. It can also require making a plan to live for days or weeks with closed roads, long gas lines, and widespread power outages. As utility crews work to get the lights back on, a generator is an invaluable piece of equipment that can help your life start to feel normal again. But since you probably rarely rely on a generator, it’s easy to overlook the basic safety measures that should be routine with such equipment. It’s also easy to get preoccupied by the cleanup work that lies ahead, so you may even be tempted to run a generator in a living space if most of your house is severely water damaged and cannot be saved. That is never an option.

More on Weather Emergencies

Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the October 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

See also:

Posted in: Email, Government Resources, Privacy, RSS Newsfeeds, Social Media