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InfoSec News Nuggets 08/11/2020

#DEFCON: How the International Space Station Enables Cybersecurity

Like any other IT environment, there are potential cyber-risks to the International Space Station (ISS), though the station is quite literally like no environment on Earth. In a session on August 9 at the Aerospace Village within the DEFCON virtual security conference, former NASA astronaut Pamela Melroy outlined the cybersecurity lessons learned from human spaceflight and what still remains a risk. Melroy flew on two space shuttle missions during her tenure at NASA and visited ISS. Hurtling high above the Earth, ISS is loaded full of computing systems designed to control the station, conduct experiments and communicate with the ground. “Space is incredibly important in our daily lives,” Melroy said.


ProctorU confirms data breach after database leaked online

Online exam proctoring solution ProctorU has confirmed a data breach after a threat actor released a stolen database of user records on a hacker forum. ProctorU is a proctoring service used by companies and colleges to monitor online tests for cheating. Using installed software, webcams, and the computer’s microphone, ProctorU will monitor a test taker’s for behavior indicative of cheating. If cheating is suspected, the proctor can ask the student to show them parts of their room or desk with their webcam to ensure that cheating is not taking place. Last month, BleepingComputer broke the story that a known data breach seller had leaked 18 company’s databases for free on a hacker forum.


Study: Millennials think they’re ‘too boring’ to get hacked

Over a third of millennials think they’re too boring to be the victim of cybercrime, despite the fact that online security ranks as the top factor in finding their “Digital Comfort Zones” at home, a new study by Kaspersky shows. Kaspersky’s latest global report, titled “More Connected Than Ever Before: How We Build Our Digital Comfort Zones,” explores how we are changing our habits to ensure that we are comfortable with the role of technology in our lives. The study finds that although millennials intend to tighten up their online security, their actions tell a different story. Around 37 percent of millennials think they’re too boring for cybercriminals. Meanwhile, 36 percent say that they nevertheless should be doing more to strengthen their digital security, but the task drops to the bottom of their to-do list.


Former employees claim Talkspace mined therapy transcripts for marketing

According to The New York Times, Talkspace, an iOS and Android app people can use to message a certified therapist, routinely mined the transcripts of its users to give it a competitive edge. The paper interviewed two former employees who claim Talkspace’s data scientists shared phrases patients frequently used with the company’s marketing team. They say the group used that data to better target new customers. In Medium post Talkspace co-founders Roni and Oren Frank published over the weekend, they say The New York Times makes “false and uninformed assertations” about how the company handles patient privacy. 


Python-powered machine-learning tool drives robot farming project

New AI-powered farming machines trained on the PyTorch framework are being developed to help farmers produce more food with fewer resources. Blue River Technology is using the PyTorch machine-learning framework to train robotic crop sprayers to identify and map weeds as they move through a field. Using a high-resolution camera array, the system instructs the machines exactly where to spray herbicide, killing weeds while leaving precious crops unharmed. The technology could provide instrumental in helping farmers meet raising food demand around the world with increasingly fewer land and water resources.


US Cyber Command is using unclassified networks to fight election interference

U.S. Cyber Command is using unclassified networks and publicly available communication platforms as it works to prevent foreign interference in the next presidential election, a CYBERCOM official has revealed. “From a CYBERCOM standpoint, one of the big changes for us is we historically had been focused working inside [sensitive compartmented information facilities] SCIFs. One of the things we’ve done in support of 2020 is we have organizations now that live outside SCIFs,” Brig. Gen. William Hartman, the head of of U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber National Mission Force, said during an Aug. 7 virtual panel hosted by DEFCON. Hartman said forces are now working on unclassified networks, Slack channels and other platforms to communicate with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and private industry.

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