Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 7, 2019

Subject: Insulin Pumps Recalled Due To Concerns They Could Be Hacked
Source: CBS Pittsburgh

WASHINGTON (KDKA/CBS NEWS) — Meditronic has recalled thousands of insulin pumps because the FDA says they could be hacked. The recall includes certain MiniMed insulin pumps.  According to the FDA, someone nearby could wirelessly connect to the pumps and potentially hack into the device and change the settings.

So far there have been no reports of a pump being hacked, but there is potential for them to be.  For more information and a list of pumps recalled, go to CBS News.

Subject: All the countries where someone shut down the entire internet
Source: Business Insider

  • Taking down an entire country’s internet service is easier than you think. It happens hundreds of times each year.
  • Many shutdowns occur at the behest of dictators in corrupt developing countries.
  • But the largest takedowns have been in the US (by hackers) and in India (by the police).
  • Here’s a list of all the most recent occasions on which the internet has been removed on a national or regional basis.

Last year, there were 196 large-scale internet shutdowns in 25 countries, according to Access Now. India was the worst offender. It shut down the internet 134 times.

Here are all the recent occasions where someone has taken an entire country offline (or a major section of one), and why it happened.

Here’s a summary of all internet shutdowns in 2018.

Access Now – 24-page PDF: Read Access Now’s full report into internet freedom here.

Follow Netblocks’ internet shutdown observatory for real-time updates here.

Subject: Trump consultant reportedly made fake websites for Biden, Democrats
Source: Business Insider

  • A consultant for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, has made several dupes of prominent 2020 Democratic candidates’ campaign websites, the New York Times reported Saturday.
  • The fake websites are similar in appearance to real ones, but paint the candidates in an unflattering light with images, videos, and quotes taken out of context alongside negative write-ups.
  • The fake Joe Biden campaign website, for instance, has received more visitors than Biden’s real website, partially thanks to search engine boosts from news media and Reddit.

The consultant, Patrick Mauldin, runs a Republican political consulting firm called Vici Media Group, which the Trump campaign hired for the 2016 election and currently has on retainer for 2020.

Subject: Agencies dinged for cyber failures
Source: FCW via GCN

Federal agencies are coming under increasing criticism for their inability to remedy known cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The Government Accountability Office released a report on June 26 that found that as of June 2019, federal agencies had fully implemented 60% of GAO’s  1,277 IT management-related recommendations and   78% percent of the 3,058 security-related recommendations made since 2010.

Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations issued a June 25 report citing agencies’ overall failure to keep pace with even basic federal cybersecurity standards.

The subcommittee staff dug through a decade of inspector general reports for eight federal agencies that rated lowest for compliance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework in 2017: the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Health and Human Services and Education as well as the Social Security Administration.

A longer version of this article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

Subject: U.S. Congress expands probe of White House personal email use
Source: Reuters via Yahoo

WASHINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) – Top aides in President Donald Trump’s White House, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will come under increased scrutiny for their use of personal emails and other unofficial messaging to conduct government affairs, a congressional oversight chairman said on Monday.

“The purpose of this investigation is to determine why White House officials used non-official email accounts, texting services and encrypted applications for official business,” Cummings wrote to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

Lawmakers will look at why records sent or received by non-official accounts were not forwarded to official accounts within 20 days as legally required, as well as whether there was a topic White House officials wanted to conceal, he said.

Subject: The Strange Politics of Facial Recognition
Source: The Atlantic via beSpacific

The Atlantic – Everyone seems to have found common ground on the emerging technology. That’s exactly what its makers want: “Your face is no longer just your face—it’s been augmented. At a football game, your face is currency, used to buy food at the stadium. At the mall, it is a ledger, used to alert salespeople to your past purchases, both online and offline, and shopping preferences. At a protest, it is your arrest history. At the morgue, it is how authorities will identify your body. Facial-recognition technology stands to transform social life, tracking our every move for companies, law enforcement, and anyone else with the right tools. Lawmakers are weighing the risks versus rewards, with a recent wave of proposed regulation in Washington State, Massachusetts, Oakland, and the U.S. legislature. In May, Republicans and Democrats in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform heard hours of testimony about how unregulated facial recognition already tracks protesters, impacts the criminal-justice system, and exacerbates racial biases. Surprisingly, they agreed to work together to regulate it…”

beSpacific Subjects: Civil Liberties, Congress, E-Records, Privacy

sample RSS feed:

RSS feed for Technology in The Atantic:

From the article footer: We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to [email protected].

Subject: Outages Hit Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Users Worldwide
Source:  CBS SFvia CBS Pittsburgh

MENLO PARK (CBS) – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users reported issues on all three services Wednesday morning, ahead of the July 4th holiday. According to, which tracks website issues, the problems started around 5 a.m. Pacific Time and appeared to impact users across the globe, particularly in the United States and in Europe.

Menlo Park-based Facebook, which owns all the impacted social media platforms, posted a message on competing social media platform Twitter about the issues. “We’re aware that some people are having trouble uploading or sending images, videos and other files on our apps. We’re sorry for the trouble and are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible,” Facebook tweeted.

Subject: Took away our identity’: Google Maps puzzles residents with new neighbourhood names
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation via Yahoo

Since Google Maps first launched in 2005 and grew its user base, puzzled and angry residents in cities around the world have increasingly reported finding neighbourhoods with incorrect or unfamiliar names, geography and data researchers said.

Names chosen by Google, with more than one billion people using its mapping service every month, often end up sticking as they influence how real-estate agencies, travel websites and home-sharing apps refer to an area.

“In many ways, Google is defining the world,” said Matthew Zook, a professor of geography at the University of Kentucky, adding the tech giant has set itself out as the world’s leading map-maker.

“You’ll see Airbnb and others … referring to these neighbourhoods on the map in ways that are reflecting Google’s view of the world rather than maybe the local view of the world,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Google said that the company gets its data on neighbourhoods from a combination of third-party providers and public sources and stressed that it encourages everyone to report any errors.

Subject: Over 80% of facial recognition suspects flagged by London’s Met Police were innocent, report says
Source: ABC News via Yahoo–abc-news-topstories.html

A new independent report claims that 81% of suspects flagged by facial recognition technology used by London’s Metropolitan Police were innocent. The study was commissioned by Scotland Yard and researchers from the University of Essex.

Live Facial Recognition (LFR) has been used by the police in various trials to monitor crowds since 2016. This is the first independent report into the use of the technology, which suggests there are “significant operational shortcomings in the trials which could affect the viability of any future use of LFR technology.”

The authors of the report, Peter Fussey and Daragh Murray, were given access to six of the 10 trials that have taken place between June 2018 and February 2019. Only eight of the 42 matches that the LFR technology made were deemed correct with “absolute confidence,” according to the report.

Fussey and Murray also found that the criteria for registering people on an LFR “watchlist” was not clearly defined, which raises significant concerns for privacy law and the protection of human rights.

“The report demonstrates a need to reform how certain issues regarding the trialing or incorporation of new technology and policing practices are approached and underlines the need to effectively incorporate human rights considerations into all stages of the Metropolitan Police’s decision making processes,” he said in a statement.

Posted in: AI, Big Data, Congress, Cybercrime, Cyberlaw, Email Security, Gadgets/Gizmos, Government Resources, Health, Legal Research, Privacy, Social Media