It was a holiday week for July Fourth, but there was still plenty going on in the security world. WIRED took a deep look at a budding partnership between the Army’s Cyber Command and the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service group. DDS brings private-sector tech expertise to the government, and this new collaboration adds Army technologists to the mix to work on difficult development challenges for the Department of Defense. Meanwhile, a different DOD program run by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provides mobile, desktop, and browser apps to dozens of US defense agencies through an ultrasecure app store that has some crucial differences from commercial platforms.
WIRED also looked at where Congress and the Supreme Court may take privacy precedent and regulations in the future as digital technologies alter the privacy landscape. Speaking of which, find an hour this weekend to do a quick and easy audit of your mobile and desktop apps. Check up on what data they’re able to access and collect from you, and make sure you’re not running any programs that are overreaching.
There’s more! As always, we’ve rounded up all the news we didn’t break or cover in depth this week. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.
Facebook announced on Monday that a programming bug caused the service to briefly unblock a number of accounts that users had blocked. The glitch reportedly affected a small portion of Facebook users for just a week—but at the scale of Facebook, even “small” mishaps can have massive repercussions. The company said it notified a whopping 800,000 users that they may have been affected.
While the bug was live, affected users could have had accounts they previously blocked message them or see things they shared with mutual friends, although the accidentally unblocked accounts still couldn’t directly see a user’s page. Facebook wouldn’t provide any additional information about the bug, but for people who rely on blocking to keep them emotionally and/or physically safe, the incident is more than just a minor hiccup.
On Tuesday, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published findings of a review of the 2017 Intelligence Community official assessment, which concluded that Russia did interfere in the 2016 US presidential election to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. After reviewing documents and intelligence and interviewing investigators, analysts, and other officials, the committee found that the IC had produced “a sound intelligence product.” The committee released an unclassified report and also prepared a classified version. The review was launched last year amid doubts about the IC’s findings. It noted a couple of small things it would have wanted the IC to investigate further, including the role of the Russian-controlled media outlet RT. But overall, the report raised few questions or concerns.
Bugs abounded this week, with another problematic one in which some recent models of Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9, were reportedly texting out photos from users’ camera rolls to random contacts without leaving a trace of the errant messages. The bug seems to have been in the Samsung Messages app, which is the default texting app on Samsung mobile devices. The problem may have been related to interoperability issues as carriers upgrade to the new Rich Communication Services protocol that the industry plans to use as a replacement for SMS texting. Samsung users found some workarounds for the issue, including revoking permission for the Samsung Messages app to access their photos. Samsung said it was aware of the reports.