Risks Digest 33.26

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RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest Tuesday 7 June 2022 Volume 33 : Issue 26

ACM FORUM ON RISKS TO THE PUBLIC IN COMPUTERS AND RELATED SYSTEMS (comp.risks)
Peter G. Neumann, founder and still moderator

***** See last item for further information, disclaimers, caveats, etc. *****
This issue is archived at <http://www.risks.org> as
<http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/33.26>
The current issue can also be found at
<http://www.csl.sri.com/users/risko/risks.txt>

Contents:
A New Kind of Genome Editing Is Here to Fine-Tune DNA (WiReD)
California Regulators Approve First Driverless Taxi Fleet (AP)
Google and Russia's delicate dance (CNN)
Advancing security across Central and Eastern Europe (Google)
Politicians and ulterior motives (Lauren Weinstein)
The Theater of Bitcoin and Data Privacy (Siobhan Roberts)
How Anonymous Is Bitcoin, Really? (NYTimes)
Security News: Google May Owe You a Chunk of $100 Million Over Google Photos
Privacy Violation (WiReD)
Big Tech realities (Lauren Weinstein)
Bolt Loaned Employees Thousands to Buy Stock -- Then Laid Them Off (WiReD)
Actively Exploited Microsoft Zero-Day Flaw Still Has No Patch (WiReD)
Reno Trusting the Blockchain with Building Records (Gizmodo)
Cryptocurrency (The Washington Post)
It's still 2014 in crypto payments, and buying a burrito is now a taxable
event (Davidger)
Banning Lethal Autonomous Weapons (Stuart Russell)
The Coming AI Hackers (Bruce Schneier)
How Axon's plans for Taser drones blindsided its AI ethics board (Protocol)
Axon Halts Plans to Sell Flying Taser Drones to Schools (Vice)
Internal Documents Show Amazon's Dystopian System for Tracking Workers Every
Minute of Their Shifts (Vice)
The Race to Hide Your Voice (WiReD)
Parameter Expansion Considered Dangerous (Cliff Kilby redux)
How the Internet Turned Us Into Content Machines (Mony Solomon0
Re: WashDC stop-sign camera brought in $1.3 million in tickets in 2 years
(Steve Bacher)
Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 18:54:48 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: A New Kind of Genome Editing Is Here to Fine-Tune DNA (WiReD)

Instead of deleting genes, epigenetic editing modulates their activity. A
new paper tests if it's able to undo a genetic effect of early alcohol
exposure.

Yet, as with directly editing genes, there could be unintended consequences
of tweaking their expression. Because Arc is a regulator gene involved in
brain plasticity, modifying its expression could have effects beyond alcohol
addiction. "We don't know what other behaviors are altered by this change,"
says Betsy Ferguson, a professor of genetics at Oregon Health and Science
University who studies epigenetic mechanisms in addiction and other
psychiatric disorders. "It's a balance between finding something that's
effective and something that's not disruptive to everyday life."

Another complicating factor is that the expression of dozens, perhaps
hundreds, of genes are altered by alcohol use over time. In people, it may
not be as simple as turning up the expression of Arc, which is only one of
them. While it may seem like the solution would be to tweak all of those
genes, manipulating the expression of many at once could cause problems.
"Knowing that behaviors, including alcohol use behaviors, are regulated by a
number of genes, it's really a challenging problem to solve," Ferguson says.

https://www.wired.com/story/a-new-kind-of-genome-editing-is-here-to-fine-tune-dna

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 12:06:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: ACM TechNews <technew...@acm.org>
Subject: California Regulators Approve First Driverless Taxi Fleet (AP)

Michael Liedtke, Associated Press, 3 Jun 2022, via ACM TechNews, 6 Jun 2022

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved General
Motors' Cruise's bid to offer a driverless ride-hailing service in San
Francisco. The robotic taxi service will begin with a fleet of 30 electric
vehicles accepting passengers from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in less-congested areas
of the city, giving regulators the opportunity to assess the technology
before allowing expanded service. The driverless service will not operate in
heavy rain or fog, restrictions imposed to reduce the potential for property
damage, injuries, or deaths. Cruise's Gil West said the approval is "a giant
leap for our mission here at Cruise to save lives, help save the planet, and
save people time and money."

https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click?ref=znwrbbrs9_6-2ebdfx234351x069235&

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2022 09:41:47 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lau...@vortex.com>
Subject: Google and Russia's delicate dance (CNN)

This is an important article, because it helps to crystalize the complexity
of these policy decisions. I think that this part is particularly
noteworthy, and I agree with it 100%:

But some Internet governance experts argue Google's choice to keep
services running in the country may have more of a moral imperative than
a business one. "I think the moral side is a bigger deal," said Daphne
Keller, director of the program on platform regulation at Stanford
University's Cyber Policy Center. "Keeping information flowing to
dissidents in Russia, or people who want information from a source other
than state media, is incredibly important."

https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/03/tech/google-russia-youtube/index.html

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2022 12:40:30 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lau...@vortex.com>
Subject: Advancing security across Central and Eastern Europe (Google)

https://blog.google/technology/safety-security/advancing-security-across-central-and-eastern-europe/

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2022 08:47:37 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lau...@vortex.com>
Subject: Politicians and ulterior motives

It's ironic, sad, and scary that after Google has spent so many years
building world class systems to protect the security of users,
politicians are so anxious to throw it all away and put users at
massive risk, mostly for their own ulterior political motives.

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2022 11:25:34 PDT
From: Peter Neumann <neu...@csl.sri.com>
Subject: The Theater of Bitcoin and Data Privacy (Siobhan Roberts)

In myth, the cryptocurrency is decentralized and anonymous. Data scientists
find a different reality.

*The New York Times* Science Times National Edition front page, continued on
the entire page D5. In my printed hardcopy, the black ink on the front page
is imprinted on a mysteriously dark green background with extremely dark
borders. This makes it *really hard to read*. BTW, The "and Data Privacy"
appears only as the title of the continuation page D5, not on the front
page. There is a self-standing quote from Alyssa Blackburn (Rice
University): "Drip by drip. information leakage erodes the once-impenetrable
blocks." The caption of a photo of Alyssa and Erez Lieberman Aiden says
they tested Bitcoin's identity protections and claims of decentralization.
[and found to the contrary]... PGN

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 21:44:27 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <mo...@roscom.com>
Subject: How Anonymous Is Bitcoin, Really?

In myth, the cryptocurrency is egalitarian, decentralized and all but
anonymous. The reality is very different, scientists have found.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/06/science/bitcoin-nakamoto-blackburn-crypto.html

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2022 21:35:25 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: Security News: Google May Owe You a Chunk of $100 Million Over
Google Photos Privacy Violation (WiReD)

Plus: The U.S. admits to cyber operations supporting Ukraine, SCOTUS
investigates its own, and a Michael Flynn surveillance mystery is solved.

https://www.wired.com/story/google-photos-settlement-us-ukraine-hacks-michael-flynn-unmasking

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2022 12:32:39 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lau...@vortex.com>
Subject: Big Tech realities

I feel that much of the increasing animosity against Big Tech, fueling the
ulterior motives of some notable critics, is that social media and other Big
Tech firms have been deficient for many years, even decades, at educating
the public about the realities of these systems.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 18:50:08 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: Bolt Loaned Employees Thousands to Buy Stock -- Then Laid Them Off
(WiReD)

Even before May's layoffs, industry veterans warned that taking out loans to
buy company stock was a mistake. "It's a significant risk that I don't think
most employees can afford," says Oren Barzilai, the cofounder and CEO of
Equity Bee, a platform that helps startup employees exercise their stock
options. "If the company fails -- and obviously, many startups fail -- they
would need to pay out of pocket to pay back that loan."

https://www.wired.com/story/bolt-stock-loans

Ya think?

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 12:06:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: ACM TechNews <technew...@acm.org>
Subject: Actively Exploited Microsoft Zero-Day Flaw Still Has No Patch
(WiReD)

Lily Hay Newman, *WiReD*, 3 Jun 2022, via ACM TechNews, 6 Jun 2022

A zero-day flaw in Microsoft's Support Diagnostic Tool that researchers said
could be exploited to remotely hijack targeted devices remains unpatched.
Hackers can pass malicious Word documents through the Follina vulnerability
using a remote template that retrieves a malicious HTML file and enables
execution of Powershell commands within Windows. Tom Hegel at security
company SentinelOne said, "After public knowledge of the exploit grew, we
began seeing an immediate response from a variety of attackers beginning to
use it." Hackers have been seen exploiting Follina through malicious
documents, but Hegel warned less-documented exploits, including manipulating
HTML content in network traffic, also remain unpatched. Microsoft proposed
disabling a protocol within Support Diagnostic Tool and using Microsoft
Defender Antivirus to monitor for and block the flaw's exploitation;
incident responders are urging more action.
https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click?ref=znwrbbrs9_6-2ebdfx234353x069235&

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 12:06:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: ACM TechNews <technew...@acm.org>
Subject: Reno Trusting the Blockchain with Building Records (Gizmodo)

Lucas Ropek, Gizmodo, 2 Jun 2022, via ACM TechNews, 6 Jun 2022

Reno, NV, has launched a blockchain-based program for storing records in
order to improve "clarity and transparency" in record-keeping. The Web
portal will let residents more easily engage with the city's government, and
the site records interactions using blockchain software. The platform
initially will be used to enhance access to Reno's Historic Registry records
system, so users can file requests for repairs or modifications to historic
buildings; the portal will record and validate the requests, along with the
government's responses. The program is built on the STRATO application from
the BlockApps software company. The city said in a press release that STRATO
is "purpose-built for permanent record-keeping and is not a significant
source of energy usage or greenhouse gas emissions."

https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click?ref=znwrbbrs9_6-2ebdfx234352x069235&

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2022 21:09:27 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>]
Subject: Cryptocurrency (The Washington Post)

Useful reading before Post talk:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/06/03/crypto-skeptics-growing/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/05/29/molly-white-crypto/

Interested in digital currency? this program from WaPo looks at the
regulation of bitcoins: The Evolution of Money:orypto Currency Regulation.

https://cryptojune8livestream.splashthat.com/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=retention&utm_campaign=wp_pw_ret_WPLive_060522&wpisrc=pw_ret_WPLive_060522

https://foxtrot.com/2022/06/05/when-life-gives-you-lemon-jpegs/

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2022 21:53:12 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: It's still 2014 in crypto payments, and buying a burrito is now
a taxable event (Davidger)

Chipotle is using a platform called Flexa, which is connected in some
unclear manner to the Gemini crypto-exchange.

You put your cryptos into your Flexa wallet, which is called Spedn -- a
registered typo-mark, in the finest dot-com manner. Then you use the Spedn
app on your phone to generate a "flexcode" barcode, which presents to
Chipotle as a gift card. Then they hand you a burrito!

Flexa sells the crypto, and sends the dollars to Chipotle. You're topping up
a prepaid gift card with crypto.

If you put your cryptos into Flexa, you can't ever take them out again.
This is for (checks Crypto Excuse Calendar) anti-money-laundering. But Flexa
is sure they'll work out how to let you get your money out in some
non-burrito form within the next (rolls dice) several months. [Flexa]
https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2022/06/05/its-still-2014-in-crypto-payments-and-buying-a-burrito-is-now-a-taxable-event/

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2022 12:47:18 PDT
From: Peter Neumann <neu...@csl.sri.com>
Subject: Banning Lethal Autonomous Weapons (Stuart Russell)

Stuart Russell
Banning Lethal Autonomous Weapons: An Education
Issues in Science and Technology (Spring 2022)
https://issues.org/banning-lethal-autonomous-weapons-stuart-russell/

Lethal autonomous weapons systems-commonly but misleadingly known as "killer
robots" are weapons systems that, once activated, can attack objects and
people without further human intervention. With more than a dozen nations
working to develop highly capable versions of them for use in the air, at
sea, and on land, these weapons are not science fiction: they exist now, and
they are already being used in some current conflicts.

Since 2014, the United Nations has held discussions around a treaty to ban
autonomous weapons systems (AWS). So far, in addition to the UN
secretary-general and the International Committee of the Red Cross, 30
countries have declared support for such a treaty. But the United States and
Russia have combined forces to prevent any discussion of a legally binding
instrument. Instead, in 2021 the United States called for a "non-binding
code of conduct."

My involvement in the AWS policy discussion began in February 2013 when a
puzzling email arrived from Human Rights Watch (HRW). I have studied
artificial intelligence (AI) topics for 45 years and spent more than a
decade working on verification for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
Treaty. And I have been a member of HRW's Northern California committee for
some time. For more than four decades, the organization had investigated
atrocities around the world-atrocities committed by humans. [...]

[PGN-truncated. However, this is really worth reading in its entirety.
It raises and discusses many of our RISKS issues, especially with respect
to autonomous AI. PGN]

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2022 16:35:14 -0400
From: Tom Van Vleck <th...@multicians.org>
Subject: The Coming AI Hackers (Bruce Schneier)

Bruce Schneier, April 2021
https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/coming-ai-hackers

Workshop on Security and Human Behaviour (SHB 2022), 30-31 May, Cambridge UK.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2022 13:07:22 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lau...@vortex.com>
Subject: How Axon's plans for Taser drones blindsided its AI ethics board
(Protocol.com)

https://www.protocol.com/policy/axon-taser-drone-ethics

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 08:22:48 -0700
From: Lauren Weinstein <lau...@vortex.com>
Subject: Axon Halts Plans to Sell Flying Taser Drones to Schools (Vice)

https://www.vice.com/en/article/88q4gk/axon-halts-plans-to-sell-flying-taser-drones-to-schools

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 16:54:30 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: Internal Documents Show Amazon's Dystopian System for Tracking
Workers Every Minute of Their Shifts (Vice)

The documents provide new clarity about a much-talked-about but until now
opaque process Amazon uses to punish associates it believes are wasting
time.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dgn73/internal-documents-show-amazons-dystopian-system-for-tracking-workers-every-minute-of-their-shifts

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2022 16:50:03 -0400
From: Gabe Goldberg <ga...@gabegold.com>
Subject: The Race to Hide Your Voice (WiReD)

Voice recognition -- and data collection -- have boomed in recent years.
Researchers are figuring out how to protect your privacy.

https://www.wired.com/story/voice-recognition-privacy-speech-changer/

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2022 13:30:15 -0400
From: Cliff Kilby <cliff...@gmail.com>
Subject: Parameter Expansion Considered Dangerous

[I am rerunning this item its entirety. Due to an emacs deletion
fiasco that was caught too late to back up, this item got accidentally
truncated when i manually had to recapture what had been lost. Sorry.
See our previous items on Log4j in RISKS-33.11, 13, and 14. PGN]

After the Log4j issue came to light
<https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/apache-log4j-vulnerability-guidance>, I would
have expected the industry to realize the problem wasn't just with Log4j, or
even Java. It's unguarded user submitted parameter expansion.

https://thehackernews.com/2022/06/hackers-exploiting-unpatched-critical.html
Seems to indicate I was overly optimistic.

Several templating engines exist with several parameter formats. Offhand,
there is jsp with <jsp, <%, <c, ${, asp(x) with <%, smarty and freemarker
with {$, Django, Mustache and Jinja with {{.

Apache's Velocity templates have a list worthy of a BNF rule, but I don't
know BNF, so how about "dollar-sign or hash optional bang optional bracket
optional sq-bracket optional paren optional text".

Your application should be sanitizing all user input, but if your framework
won't, start adding blocks to your WAF for parameter wrappers. This is only
going to get worse.

Also, I am not Dijkstra. A grain of salt may be needed here.

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2022 17:25:00 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <mo...@roscom.com>
Subject: How the Internet Turned Us Into Content Machines

Two new books examine how social media traps users in a brutal race to the
bottom.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/infinite-scroll/how-the-internet-turned-us-into-content-machines

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2022 09:15:47 -0700
From: Steve Bacher <seb...@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: WashDC stop-sign camera brought in $1.3 million in tickets in 2
years (RISKS-33:25)

This is yet another instance that violates a basic principle of mine: A
government should not make a law that is at cross-purposes with itself.
"Sin" taxes on things like tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks are common
examples of the same thing.

You cannot attempt to reduce or eliminate a practice while at the same time
benefiting from infractions of that practice. That produces a conflict of
interest with the inevitable result of hoping more people will violate the
law in order to keep the funds flowing from the source. A common
rationalization is that society benefits either way:either fewer people die
or there's more money for education. But ultimately one result wins out over
the other; you don't get both.

It's better if the revenues are earmarked for something that won't be needed
if the practice being discouraged gets reduced. For example, tobacco tax
revenue can be restricted to funding anti-smoking programs. But we've seen
too often how municipalities fund basic services through speed traps, not to
mention the Constitutional questions of being charged in absentia et al.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2020 11:11:11 -0800
From: RISKS-...@csl.sri.com
Subject: Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)

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End of RISKS-FORUM Digest 33.26
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