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Technology 21 May 2018

The Week in Internet News: Email Encryption Has Efail Moment

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossGuest AuthorTechnology Reporter

Encryption fails: A couple of stories in the news this past week demonstrated problems with encryption, or at least, problems with deployment of encryption. One researcher demonstrated an exploitable loophole he called Efail in PGP/GPG and S/Mime software used by email clients, reports Engadget. Efail abuses the active content of HTML emails to access plain text. In addition, a malware called Telegrab is targeting the encrypted Telegram messaging service. Telegrab steals encryption keys and cache data from Telegram running on the desktop, Tom’s Hardware says.

Artificial investment: The Chinese city of Tianjin is getting serious about funding artificial intelligence projects, with an investment of about US$16 billion, reports Reuters via the Straits Times. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” It’s part of a Chinese push to be the leading nation in AI development.

AI knows nudes: In other AI news, Facebook has released stats on the numbers of hate speech posts and posts containing nudity that its technology removed in the first quarter of 2018. In short, the social media provider’s AI is much better at flagging nudity than hate speech, reports CNBC. About 60 percent of hate speech taken down on Facebook required human intervention.

DNS attacks on the rise: The cost and number of DNS-based attacks are both rising at a significant rate, according to The average cost of a DNS attack has risen to US$715,000, a 57 percent increase from 2017. Organizations surveyed faced an average of seven DNS attacks in the previous year.

NIST eyes IoT security: The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has started down the road toward defining Internet of Things encryption standards, reports The agency is seeking comments on the best way to evaluate new encryption standards for small computing devices.

Blockchain goes to the weeds: Blockchain payments platform Alt Thirty Six wants to help the fledgling cannabis industry in the United States process electronic payments. The company thinks it can assist marijuana retailers accept payments when many banks have refused to do business with them, Forbes says.

A tiny, little blockchain in your phone: HTC is planning to sell a blockchain-enabled smartphone that would feature a built-in cryptocurrency wallet, reports The Android device would come with a universal wallet and hardware support for major cyrptocurrencies, including Bitcon.

The future of IoT is one of possibility, but only if we secure it. Here’s what you can do.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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