By Robert Hackett
October 8, 2016

It was a crazy week for cyber news with revelations about Yahoo (again) and lousy opsec at the NSA (again). But if there is a common thread, it’s that first reports are false or incomplete and the story is not what it seems.

Take the brouhaha over Yahoo using software to feed emails to the NSA. The news led to hyper-ventilating among privacy types and predictable high-horse behavior from rival tech giants like Google and Microsoft. But as Robert explained, a lot of this fulminating took place before anyone really knew the facts — which are still emerging in dribs and drabs.

Meanwhile, journalists (me included) breathlessly reported another security lapse at Edward Snowden’s old stomping groups, Booz Allen, which led the FBI to arrest a contractor for stealing secrets. But now it turns out the guy was probably just a kook and a hoarder. It’s still not a good situation but it sure doesn’t look like the stuff of a John LeCarre novel.

So call it the fog of cyber war. In an era where everyone is amped up about cyber attacks, a lot of first impressions are tinged with paranoia and misinformation or are just flat out wrong. I don’t know what to do about this except to say that, as with other dramatic events like mass shootings, it’s best to take first reports with a giant grain of salt.

Meanwhile, there’s a whole lot of other cyber news, including a remarkable court ruling about software patents for anti-virus tools, that you can read below. Stay skeptical and thanks for reading.

Jeff John Roberts


Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. You can reach Robert Hackett here via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my, PGP encrypted email (see public key on my, Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.


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