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DNA Data, Ransomware, and Twitter Ads Round out This Week's Headlines

DNA Data, Ransomware, and Twitter Ads Round out This Week's Headlines

"A private DNA ancestry database that’s been used by police to catch criminals is a security risk from which a nation-state could steal DNA data on a million Americans, according to security researchers. Security flaws in the service, called GEDmatch, not only risk exposing people’s genetic health information but could let an adversary such as China or Russia create a powerful biometric database useful for identifying nearly any American from a DNA sample."

"Check the oil, fill the gas tank, wash the exterior and floor mats -- and factory-reset the infotainment system? Rental-car-agency employees may soon have to add a new item to their returned-car checklist, now that a man who rented a Ford Expedition from Enterprise Rent-A-Car says he still can lock, unlock and start the vehicle through the FordPass app on his iPhone."

"Twitter is banning all political ads globally, starting November 22nd, according to tweets by the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday. The changes will affect both candidate ads and issue ads, although ads encouraging voter registration will still be allowed, along with other exceptions. Dorsey said a full policy will be made available to the public on November 15th. 'Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents,' Dorsey said. 'But we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising.'"

"Insurers face challenges in keeping the lid on growing ransomware demands, and in some cases they are forced to bypass internal processes to pay large sums on short notice. Claims managers are now regularly dealing with ransoms that are over $1 million, said executives at an insurance-industry conference hosted by Advisen Ltd. last week. Even two or three years ago, the amounts were so small as to be 'completely irrelevant,' said Jeremy Gittler, practice leader and head of cyber claims Americas in France-based insurer AXA SA’s AXA XL division. Adding to the pressure, criminals often demand that the sums be paid within 24 hours."

"Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of a milestone event that helped shape the modern Internet -- the first-ever computer linkup and the first electronic message sent over the U.S. Defense Department system, known then as ARPANET. On Oct. 29, 1969, student programmers Charley Kline at the University of California-Los Angeles and Bill Duval at Stanford Research Institute transmitted the letters "LO" over an early network funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency -- its acronym lending to the network's name."

"Ransomware has steadily become one of the most pervasive cyberattacks in the world. And while high-profile global meltdowns like 2017’s NotPetya strain garner the most attention, localized attacks have devastating consequences as well. Look no further than the cities of Atlanta and Baltimore, whose online operations ground to a halt after ransomware takeovers. Or more recently, Alabama’s DCH Health Systems, which had to turn away all but the most critical patients from its three hospitals after hackers seized control of their networks."

"About 10 years ago, Michael Gillespie and several classmates at Pekin Community High School in central Illinois were clicking on links on the school’s website when they discovered a weakness that exposed sensitive information such as students’ Social Security numbers. They quickly alerted their computer repair and networking teacher, Eric McCann. 'It was a vulnerability that nobody even knew about,' McCann said. 'They did a quick search on passwords and student accounts, and lo and behold, that file is sitting out there.'"

"Facebook, which owns the popular messaging application WhatsApp, has sued software surveillance vendor NSO Group, alleging that the Israeli company violated a federal anti-hacking law. The lawsuit filed in a federal court Tuesday alleges that NSO Group violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act when NSO’s custom malware was deployed on some 1,400 mobile devices with WhatsApp installed during a sweeping attack in April and May. At least 100 human rights advocates, journalists, and other members of civil society around the world were targeted in the attack, according to WhatsApp."

"Microsoft has emerged victorious in a dramatic competition for public cloud resources for the U.S. Defense Department, beating out market leader Amazon Web Services, the Pentagon said on Friday. The contract could be worth as much as $10 billion over a decade, according to a statement. Microsoft stock rose as much as 3% in extended trading after the announcement, and Amazon stock dipped less than 1%."

"In Dan Roth's dream world, members of LinkedIn, where he has served as editor in chief since 2011, would habitually read the LinkedIn Daily Rundown with their morning cup of coffee. They'd then turn their attention to the site's podcast or newsletter during their commute to work. When they get to their desks, they'd open on their browsers, where they can read from a carefully curated feed of professional and business news throughout their work day. Users who felt inspired by the content would share links on their own timeline. They'd check their notifications tab to see if others have engaged with the content they share."


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