Cyber Saturday—Why I Refuse DNA Testing

Crypto wars redux. A former top Microsoft executive, Ray Ozzie, has unveiled a technical proposal designed to enable law enforcement to gain unencrypted access to the data stored on criminal suspects’ phones. Cryptographers and cybersecurity professionals blasted the schema as being no better than earlier suggestions involving so-called key escrow, which they argue is too hard to secure in practice. As one cybersecurity pro, Rob Graham, put it in a post, “We know how to make backdoors, we just don’t know how to secure them.”

In the penalty box. The Securities and Exchange Commission fined Yahoo—well, the business formerly known as Yahoo—$35 million for failing to promptly disclose a massive 2014 data breach that affected hundreds of millions of user accounts. The penalized company, since renamed Altaba, has agreed to settle the charges and pay the specified amount. Altaba was created amid Yahoo’s sale to Verizon as a vehicle for stakes in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba.

Hotlanta. The city of Atlanta set aside $2.6 million to recover from a recent ransomware attack that crippled its computer systems. Costs included fees for incident response from the security firm Secureworks, advisory services from consulting firm Ernst & Young, and crisis communications from PR agency Edelman. The hackers originally demanded $50,000 in Bitcoin.

Escaping unscathed. Despite Facebook’s data controversies, the company posted profits of $12 billion for its first quarter of the year. The Cambridge Analytica scandal and #DeleteFacebook campaign apparently had minimal impact on the business. Executives at the company said they do not expect to be adversely impacted by the onset of the data privacy regime known as GDPR in Europe either.

To catch a predator. As mentioned in the essay above, an investigation to identify the Golden State Killer, the culprit behind a series of rapes and murders in the ’70s and ’80s, came to a close this week. The cops have arrested and accused Joseph James DeAngelo, 72. The investigators used an open source database of genetic information, GEDmatch, to find a partial DNA match that led them to DeAngelo. The tactic raises privacy concerns about sharing genetic information with genealogical services online.

Speaking of forensic criminology, you can call this suspect Jane “D’oh!”.

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