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Shadow Politics: Meet the Digital Sleuth Exposing Fake News

When we met in early March, Jonathan Albright was still shrugging off a sleepless weekend. It was a few weeks after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had killed 17 people, most of them teenagers, and promptly turned the internet into a cesspool of finger pointing and conspiracy slinging. Within days, ultraconservative YouTube stars like Alex Jones had rallied their supporters behind the bogus claim that the students who survived and took to the press to call for gun control were merely actors. Within a week, one of…

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Facebook Gave a Russian Internet Giant a Special Data Extension

Since March, when news broke that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used a Facebook app to amass data on as many as 87 million people without their consent, the social networking giant has been forced to repeatedly answer for how it has given away user data and who it's given that data to. In the immediate wake of the scandal, Facebook rushed to defend itself in a blog post, saying that in 2014, it changed an element of its API to prevent apps from collecting data on their users'…

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All the Ways iOS 12 Will Make Your iPhone More Secure

The annual iOS refresh is on the way—Apple has previewed it, beta testers have installed it, and the rest of us should get iOS 12 when iPhones arrive in September. While features such as winking 3-D emoji and screen-time limits for your apps might take much of the attention when the software arrives, iOS 12 is a major step forward in one other crucial area: smartphone security. It's something Apple has always prided itself on, with its tightly locked App Store and full device encryption, but iOS 12 is going…

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Security News This Week: Mapping the NSA’s Secret Spy Hubs

It has been, to be quite honest, a fairly bad week, as far as weeks go. But despite the sustained downbeat news, a few good things managed to happen as well. So we'll start with those. California has passed the strongest digital privacy law in the United States, for starters, which as of 2020 will give customers the right to know what data companies use, and to disallow those companies from selling it. It's just the latest in a string of uncommonly good bits of privacy news, which included last…

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How An Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar

The clocks read zero when the lights went out. It was a Saturday night last December, and Oleksii Yasinsky was sitting on the couch with his wife and teenage son in the living room of their Kiev apartment. The 40-year-old Ukrainian cybersecurity researcher and his family were an hour into Oliver Stone’s film Snowden when their building abruptly lost power. “The hackers don’t want us to finish the movie,” Yasinsky’s wife joked. She was referring to an event that had occurred a year earlier, a cyberattack that had cut electricity…

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The Elite Microsoft Hacker Team That Keeps Windows PCs Safe

“Windows is still the central repository of malware and exploits. Practically, there’s so much business done around the world on Windows. The attacker mentality is to get the biggest return on investment in what you develop in terms of code and exploits,” says Aaron Lint, who regularly works with red teams in his role as chief scientist at application protection provider Arxan. “Windows is the obvious target.” “In most browser attacks, you first need to compromise what’s called the browser sandbox, and then you need a way out of that…

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How NATO Defends Against the Dark Side of the Web

"Oops, your files have been encrypted!" This was the chilling message that greeted hundreds of thousands of computer users last summer. The WannaCry ransomware attack brought production to a standstill at Renault factories across France, put lives at risk by attacking hospitals in the UK, and cost companies around the world billions of dollars in lost revenue. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) is NATO secretary general and the former prime minister of Norway. The digital revolution has transformed our lives for the better. But this revolution has a dark…

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Facebook Bug Made Up to 14 Million Users’ Posts Public for Days

Facebook has found itself the subject of another privacy scandal, this time involving users' privacy settings. A glitch caused up to 14 million Facebook users to have their new posts inadvertently set to public, the company revealed Thursday. The bug, which reportedly occurred while Facebook was testing a new feature, went live on May 18. Facebook told CNN, which first reported the issue, that it began rolling out a fix on May 22. The bug was fully corrected by May 27. If some of your posts have been affected by…

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Encyclopdia Britannica Wants to Fix False Google Results

In January 2014, Google made a fundamental change to its search product: It started showing answers to user queries directly in so-called snippets, no further clicks required. But what started out as a time-saver has morphed into a repeated source of misleading and outright false information, thanks to Google's frequent reliance on untrusted sources. The product has, among other things, declared that Barack Obama is the "king" of the United States and reported that dinosaurs are being used to trick people into thinking the world is millions of years old.…

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Apple Just Made Safari the Good Privacy Browser

Apple announced a slew of new software features at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, including an augmented reality upgrade and animojis that can stick out their tongues when you do. But the company's latest desktop and mobile operating systems contain a more subtle, yet more radical, innovation. The newest version of Apple's Safari browser will push back hard against the ad-tracking methods and device fingerprinting techniques that marketers and data brokers use to monitor web users as they browse. Starting with Facebook. The next version of Safari will explicitly…

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How the LAPD Uses Data to Predict Crime

If you’ve ever been incarcerated, it’s never easy to escape your past. In Los Angeles, it may be even harder. The Los Angeles Police Department is one of dozens of cities across the country that’s trying to predict where crime will happen—and who those future criminals will be—based on past crime and arrest data. One effort, known as Operation LASER, which began in 2011, crunches information about past offenders over a two-year period, using technology developed by the shadowy data analysis firm Palantir, and scores individuals based on their rap…

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A Location-Sharing Disaster Shows How Exposed You Really Are

There are plenty of guides available on how to protect your data, how to secure yourself online, and how to stop digital snoops from tracking you across the web and then profiting from that intrusion. (Sorry, “monetization”.) You should do these things. But if a cascading series of revelations this past week has taught us anything, it's that all of those steps amount to triage. The things you can control add up to very little next to the things you can’t. It’s an obvious point, especially if you follow the…

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4 Key Takeaways From Muellers First Yearand Whats Next

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in the investigation of the Trump campaign’s contact and relationships with Russia. For all the talk of the president’s lawyers and the vice president about how it’s time to “wrap it up,” the truth is that for a federal investigation, Mueller’s probe has moved with impressive rapidity—and, contrary to the president’s repeated assertions of a “witch hunt,” the validity of the investigation has gotten more solid with every passing month. Today, the first person sentenced to prison in…

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The Untold Story of Robert Mueller’s Time in Combat

One day in the summer of 1969, a young Marine lieutenant named Bob Mueller arrived in Hawaii for a rendezvous with his wife, Ann. She was flying in from the East Coast with the couple’s infant daughter, Cynthia, a child Mueller had never met. Mueller had taken a plane from Vietnam. After nine months at war, he was finally due for a few short days of R&R outside the battle zone. Mueller had seen intense combat since he last said goodbye to his wife. He’d received the Bronze Star with…

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The Iran Nuclear Deal’s Unraveling Raises Fears of Cyberattacks

When the US last tightened its sanctions against Iran in 2012, then-president Barack Obama boasted that they were "virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt." Iran fired back with one of the broadest series of cyberattacks ever to target the US, bombarding practically every major American bank with months of intermittent distributed denial of service attacks that pummeled their websites with junk traffic, knocking them offline. Three years later, the Obama administration lifted many of those sanctions in exchange for Iran's promise to halt its nuclear development; Tehran has…

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