Unsupervised Learning

Every week I consume ~20 hours of content about security, technology, and life, and then curate what I learned into a digestible summary.

Security News

The CIA is getting smart about surveillance cameras and AI, making it so that their agents abroad can move without being watched by technology. Link

Two researchers found a bug in a hotel lock manufacturer's products that let them build a master key that could unlock millions of hotel rooms for around $300. Link

Checkmarx researchers created a malicious Alexa skill that starts listening, doesn't stop, records the audio it hears, and sends a transcription to the researchers. They reported the issue to Amazon and it's already been fixed. I'm definitely not over-paranoid or any sort of luddite, but it's good to remember that this kind of thing is possible when you're wiring up your house with sensors. Link

Someone used a BGP attack to redirect Amazon's Route 53 DNS traffic to Russia in order to steal cryptocurrency. Link

DARPA is launching a program called CHESS that will mix autonomous, semi-autonomous, and human cyber capabilities to solve security challenges that today's computers can't do alone. Link

The Pentagon is moving heavily into the cloud, and one of the first projects to do it is called JEDI, which will be worth $10 billion over 10 years. Link

China is about to start reading the brains of workers to improve productivity. Link

The Army found that Blue Teams did well with good management, but not with lots of social conversation amongst the team. Quiet and focused was most effective. Link

Police uploaded a serial killer's old DNA to a genealogy site, looked for matches, and then arrested him. Fantastic, but a bit scary as well. Link

Credit Karma is adding Darkweb monitoring to its services. Link

Symantec believes a small group of non-nation- state actors is going after medical IP in the United States. Perhaps nation states are simply employing the services of for-hire groups? Link

Researchers at the University of Michigan describe an ingenious chip-level backdoor that only activates after it absorbs enough energy into a nearly undetectable capacitor. Link

Police bodycams are about to get AI-based facial recognition technology. It's like we're watching the book we already knew was going to be written come into being—but in slow motion, chapter by chapter. First they get the recognition, then they link the database of how likely you are to be a criminal, and that influences their decision whether or not to shoot you. Link

Advisories: Drupal, SAP

Technology News

Within the last three months, China has brought online 10 gigawatt of photovoltaic energy generation to its power grid, which is the equivalent of 10 massive nuclear reactors. As I've been saying, China is not just looking to catch up to the U.S. in renewables and environment—they're looking to very quickly dominate the world in these areas. Link

Amazon appears to be building a home robot because of course they are. Link

Sprint and T-Mobile are doing a $26.5 billion dollar merger. That brings the field to three: Verizon, AT&T, and whatever we're calling this new thing. Link

Facebook posted its Q1 numbers, which many expected to be horrible after negative press on privacy. But they did better than ever. Total revenue up 49%. Some think this is because it'll take time for the privacy issue to hit the numbers, and others think people will dislike Facebook a bit more, and maybe trust them less, but will still use it because they need to. I'm mostly in the second group. Link

The price of Amazon Prime is increasing from $99 to $119 per year. Whatever. Charge me double. Just keep the improvements coming. Link

Ubuntu 18.10 has been released. Looks like mostly desktopy improvements, but there are some significant package upgrades, e.g., GCC 7.0, as well. Link

China is working on a weather manipulation project that aims to drop artificial rain in a mountainous area three times larger than Spain. Link

Google just crushed its numbers with $31 billion in first quarter revenue. Link

Chinese companies are hiring attractive women to nurture and tend to programmers at tech companies, like listening to their problems, organizing parties, and giving massages. Link

Nintendo is releasing a mobile RPG this summer. Link

You can now give Amazon the keys to your car so they can drop off packages. Link

Human News

Ford is about to stop selling every car in America except the Mustang and the Focus. Link

Another study basically says that the best way to stay mentally young is to continue doing things that are mentally challenging. Link

Netflix will be focusing mostly on Sci-Fi and Fantasy for its original content. Stellar news. Link

Big Pharma has a course called SCOPE where they teach doctors how safe and effective Opioids are, with many doctors being required to attend. And somehow we have an Opioid problem. Link

Bill Gates thinks a pandemic is coming that could kill 30 million, and that we're not doing enough to prepare. Link

Ideas, Trends, & Analysis

[ NEW ESSAY ] If Not Doing Continuous Asset Management You're Not Doing Security Link

[ NEW ESSAY ] America is Rotting Link

The 2,500 year history of adults blaming the younger generation. Link

It's strange that dating sites make money by you looking for people to date, but the better they are at finding you a permanent match the faster they lose you as a customer. So evidently they're paying people to flirt with you to keep you using the platform. Link

The Toronto attacker who ran over people was a terrorist. Why? Because he had a manifesto that his violence operated within. Link Link

I am the One Woman Who Has it All Link


300 Free Ivy League College Courses Organized by Subject Link

The IoT Inspector project at Princeton Link

Go is coming to Twitch. Link

Candid Camera from 1965 where students are introduced to extremely attractive new teachers (actors) and then monitored for their reactions when they leave the room. Link

Stop-motion Graffiti Art Link

Data & Statistics

43% of music revenues came from streaming in 2017. Link

iOS 11 is installed on 76% of Apple devices while Android 8 is installed on 4.5% of Android devices. Link


I'm considering a change to what I do with the sister podcast to this newsletter. Usually I do the newsletter and that content becomes the main podcast. And then, on occasion, I also put out Idea Editions of the podcast, where I read an essay of mine on a particular topic. They're meant to be discrete explorations of a single thought. So what I'm thinking about is stopping—the regular update podcast—which is just a mirror of this newsletter, and just doing the more in-depth Idea Editions. The reason is that the newsletter really is a better way to get the weekly update, and the podcast is arguably a better way to hear unique perspectives and ideas. So the podcast wouldn't stop—it'd just change into something more personal and bespoke, while the newsletter continues in its regular form. Let me know what you think about the idea.

Apple has ended its Airport line of products, so it looks like it's time for me to move to Ubiquity. If anyone has any recommendations on products or configuration let me know.

Still currently reading Antifragile, but I'm also reading two more books by Hubbard as well, which is a completely different risk management system that's QUANT basedLink

If you're not yet a member then you missed last week's edition of the newsletter (the free version is only bi-monthly), but you can sign up now and get all future versions (every week). Basically, members get every edition, and free subscribers get the odd releases. BECOME A MEMBER

Don't forget that Craig Smith and I are working on the OWASP IoT Security Top 10 for 2018 right now. We have a small project team getting together every two weeks right now, but if you want to be part of the project come to the OWASP Slack channel and find us at #iot-security.

I already have two Herman Miller chairs, but I want this one too. Link

Thanks so much to Robb Reck for the extraordinarily generous $1,000 annual subscription! You are a spectacular human, and I can't wait to see you in Colorado!


The Bed of Procrustes, by Nassim Taleb, is a collection of.philosophical and practical aphorisms. I've never seen a better collection of these anywhere. Link


“You can only convince people who think they can benefit from being convinced.”.

~ Nassim Taleb

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