Best Long-Reads of the Week, 6/18/22

Best Long-Reads of the Week, 6/18/22

What did Nakasone mean by offensive U.S. operations in Ukraine?, How cybersecurity pros can avoid nihilism, How state surveillance of women might emerge after Roe v. Wade is overturned, more

Metacurity is pleased to offer our free and paid subscribers this weekly digest of some long-form infosec pieces and related articles that we think cybersecurity professionals might appreciate that we couldn’t properly fit into our daily crush of news.

Let us know what you think, and feel free to let us know if we missed something important by sending us a note to Happy reading!

woman in white top holding book
  • Kim Zetter walks through a detailed analysis of what General Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, could have meant when he said the U.S. had engaged in offensive cyber operations against Russia in support of Ukraine, a statement that caused Russia to talk tough about retaliation. Zetter says it’s not clear if Nakasone meant offensive operations, reconnaissance, or assisting Ukraine with its cyber operations, or even what Russia might do in response.
  • Italian security researcher Federico, a.k.a. last, wrote this piece about how cybersecurity professionals can avoid what he calls the trap of nihilism. “Cybersecurity professionals, often end up showing toxic behaviour, distrust others, and generally have unhealthy relationships with people both inside and outside our field of expertise,” he writes.
  • Jolynn Dellinger and Stephanie Pell offer this deep dive in Lawfare about the type of surveillance and investigation of women’s private health and reproductive decisions that might follow after the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. They argue that “criminal investigations into women’s reproductive decisions enabled by modern technologies and the sensitive, intimate data these technologies capture would constitute an unique extension of the state’s powers of observation and coercion.”
  • Google’s Maddie Stone tells the tale of a “zombie” Safari 0-day and how it came back from the dead to be exploited in the wild in 2022. Most variants come back to life due to incomplete patching. But in this case, the variant had been completely patched but came back three years later primarily due to refactoring efforts.
  • Nitasha Tiku has this piece in the Washington Post about Blake Lemoine, an engineer at Google’s Responsible AI organization who thinks that Google’s artificially intelligent chatbot generator LaMDA, short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, has come to life. Lemoine and a collaborator presented evidence to Google that LaMDA was sentient. But Google vice president Blaise Aguera y Arcas and Jen Gennai, head of Responsible Innovation, looked into his claims and dismissed them. After being placed on administrative leave, Lemoine went public with his case.
  • The New Yorker’s Sheelah Kolhatkar has this piece on how non-consensual porn videos featuring minor children flourish on Pornhub and other websites such as RedTube, YouPorn, and Brazzers, owned by a Luxembourg-based company called MindGeek. An anti-sex-trafficking activist named Laila Mickelwait of a newly formed organization called the Justice Defense Fund seeks to redress the situation by holding porn industry leaders accountable for the content on their sites.

Read more