Our picksChanging execution methods; Chinese surveillance; Texas students & drones, and more

Published 17 August 2018

•  Ryan Zinke finally admits that climate change is making wildfires worse

  DHS holds election security exercise with states to prep for midterms

  ‘Man-in-the-disk’ attack took advantage of Android data security flaws

  China is going to new lengths to surveil its own citizens

  Thousands of miles of internet cables could be underwater by 2033

  Wildfire areas have high poverty and small tax bases. Will that affect future construction?

  Texas students undergo drone training for public safety use

  Fentanyl, gas, firing squad: Why execution methods are changing

Ryan Zinke finally admits that climate change is making wildfires worse (Adam K. Raymond, New York Magazine)
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has spent the last week telling anyone who’s asked that the wildfires ripping their way through California have nothing to do with climate change. On Thursday, he changed his tune. “Of course,” he told reporters when asked if climate change is one of the reasons for the proliferation of the fires.

DHS holds election security exercise with states to prep for midterms (Sean Lyngaas, Cyberscoop)
With less than three months until the midterm elections, the Department of Homeland Security held a three-day exercise this week that allowed state and local officials to practice warding off an array of cyberthreats, from spearphishing campaigns to denial-of-service attacks.The drills, which featured officials from 44 states, the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, among other federal agencies, “explored potential impacts to voter confidence, voting operations, and the integrity of elections,” according to a DHS statement.

Man-in-the-disk’ attack took advantage of Android data security flaws (Patrick Howell O’Neill, Cyberscoop)
Several major mobile app developers including Google, Yandex and Xiaomi left numerous Android apps vulnerable to a so-called “Man-in-the-Disk” intrusion, a potent attack surface for Android apps that can potentially allow silent installation of malicious apps, according to researchers at Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point. Researchers were able to compromise files and crash Google Translate, Google Voice-to-Text and Yandex Translate because the apps failed to validate the integrity of data used from Android’s External Storage System.

China is going to new lengths to surveil its own citizens (Sigal Samuel, Defense One)
New tech—including drones disguised as birds—can be a nightmare for Muslims in particular.

Thousands of miles of internet cables could be underwater by 2033 (Kate Elizabeth Quearm, Defense One)
Rising sea levels could threaten internet access for millions of people, according to a recent study.

Wildfire areas have high poverty and small tax bases. Will that affect future construction? (Kellen Browning and Michael Finch Ii, The Sacramento Bee)
Some credit rating agencies say the frequency of unpredictable wildfires is increasingly a concern that could undercut cities’ creditworthiness.

Texas students undergo drone training for public safety use (Molly Smith, The Monitor)
Students will receive training through a partnership between a drone operations and consulting firm and the Sharyland Independent School District.

Fentanyl, gas, firing squad: Why execution methods are changing (Graham Vyse, Governing)
As states struggle to obtain traditional lethal injection drugs, some are turning to new methods of execution, or reviving old ones, as a backup.