Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Just in time for Cryptography week. Many IoT devices are too small to run elaborate software.
NIST Issues Call for "Lightweight Cryptography" Algorithms
This is interesting:
Creating these defenses is the goal of NIST's lightweight cryptography initiative, which aims to develop cryptographic algorithm standards that can work within the confines of a simple electronic device. Many of the sensors, actuators and other micromachines that will function as eyes, ears and hands in IoT networks will work on scant electrical power and use circuitry far more limited than the chips found in even the simplest cell phone. Similar small electronics exist in the keyless entry fobs to newer-model cars and the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags used to locate boxes in vast warehouses.
All of these gadgets are inexpensive to make and will fit nearly anywhere, but common encryption methods may demand more electronic resources than they possess.
The NSA's SIMON and SPECK would certainly qualify.

Not what I expected. Is it all in the questions?
Creepy or Not? Your Privacy Concerns Probably Reflect Your Politics
A new poll on surveillance from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found that Americans are deeply divided over tracking, both online and in real life. And political affiliation is a main predictor of Americans’ emotional reactions to surveillance, the researchers found.
Among people who identified themselves as Democrats, for instance, 62 percent said they felt “creeped out” by the idea of companies checking job applicants’ credit history before hiring them. By contrast, half of independents and just 29 percent of Republicans felt creeped out.
The study, published on Monday, focused specifically on Americans’ emotional responses to snooping techniques that could disproportionately affect low-income populations. Among other things, the survey asked participants about practices like police profiling and landlords subscribing to profiling databases to screen potential tenants. Professor Turow said the report was the first national study of its kind.

The problem with using a technique pioneered by the bad guys.
Telegram has been putting up an impressive fight against the governments of Russia and Iran in high-profile efforts to censor the messaging service over the last few weeks. But we’ve heard little about its fellow encrypted messaging app Signal. Both services have used an anti-censorship technique called “domain fronting” to get around tyrants—and now, Google and Amazon say that’s no longer an option.
Amazon officially announced it’s increased focus on stamping out domain fronting on Friday. The statement followed closely behind a similar move by Google.
… “The idea behind domain fronting was that to block a single site, you’d have to block the rest of the internet as well. In the end, the rest of the internet didn’t like that plan.”
In simple terms, domain fronting allows a service like Signal to hide the endpoint of internet traffic behind a domain that’s permitted by a censor. In this case, Amazon specifically pointed to Signal’s use of, a domain owned by the online retail giant. A country that’s blocking Signal would see traffic going to and allow it. On the other side of Amazon’s clean SSL certificate, the traffic would be routed to Signal. You can read more about how it all works here.
The big thing is, the technique has been effective because governments haven’t been willing to block tons of IP addresses and break crucial parts of the internet just to stamp out a single banned site using domain fronting. But the clash between Telegram and Russia is different. The Russian government has been all too willing to block millions of IPs in its quest to destroy Telegram founder Pavel Durov’s service

Because my students had better be are interested in this topic.
CRS Report – Artificial Intelligence and National Security
CRS report via FAS – Artificial Intelligence and National Security – Daniel S. Hoadley, US Air Force Fellow; Nathan J. Lucas, Section Research Manager, April 26, 2018.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field of technological development with potentially significant implications for national security. As such, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is developing AI applications for a range of military functions. AI research is underway in the fields of intelligence collection and analysis, logistics, cyberspace operations, command and control, and a variety of military autonomous vehicles. AI applications are already playing a role in operations in Iraq and Syria, with algorithms designed to speed up the target identification process. Congressional action has the potential to shape the technology’s trajectory, with fiscal and regulatory decisions potentially influencing growth of national security applications and the standing of military AI development versus international competitors. AI technology presents unique challenges for military acquisitions, especially since the bulk of AI development is happening in the commercial sector. Although AI is not unique in this regard, the Defense Acquisition Process (DAP) may potentially need to be adapted for acquiring systems like AI. In addition, many commercial AI applications must undergo significant modification prior to being functional for the military. A number of cultural issues challenge AI acquisition, leading to discord with AI companies and potential military aversion to adapting weapons systems and processes to this disruptive technology.”

Not sure I believe this. Surely some manager will come up with a more efficient process by the 2020 Presidential election? Or perhaps they could charge more for “first time” ad purchasers?
Facebook will spend so much reviewing political ads this year that it will lose money on them
Facebook is spending so much money hiring moderators to review political ads that it will cancel out the revenue those ads generate in this year’s election cycle, says CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“We’re essentially going to be losing money on running political ads,” because the company is hiring “thousands” in advance of the 2018 elections, Zuckerberg said in an interview today. “That cost is going to be greater than the money that we make.”

Cute and simple. This could freak someone out if they didn’t know it was coming.

I haven’t noticed this, yet.
In abid to gain market share publishers have slashed the cost of digital textbooks
Inside Higher Ed: “New print textbooks can still cost students hundreds of dollars, but the cost of etextbooks is falling fast, according to data from etextbook distribution platforms VitalSource and RedShelf — both of which work with all major publishers. Since 2016, the average price of etextbooks on VitalSource has fallen by 31 percent, from $56.36 in 2016 to $38.65 in 2018. Some areas, such as mathematics, have seen more drastic change, said VitalSource. In 2016, the average math etextbook cost $79. Now it’s $39 — a decrease of almost 50 percent. RedShelf confirmed a similar price drop. In 2015, the average etextbook cost $53.11, the company said. Now it’s $39.24. Mike Hale, VitalSource vice president of education for North America, described the price change as “dramatic.” Since January 2016, prices have fallen every month, he said. “Prices on textbooks were, everybody agrees, way too high,” said Hale. “Publishers have finally responded with pricing that is rational.” Tom Scotty, chief operating officer at RedShelf, said the reason the publishers were dropping prices was to capture market share…”

Dilbert explains bad Software Architecture.

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