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Cyber Saturday—Introducing Fortune Brainstorm Finance

July 21, 2018, 1:01 PM UTC

Good morning, Cyber Saturday readers.

It’s been a heady week of hand-shaking, connection-making, and idea-waking at Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Aspen. With the conference concluded, I’ve descended from the mountaintops to an islet off the coast of Rhode Island, where I am now soaking up the full-bodied, sea salt air. (Ah, glorious humidity.)

Some highlights from the cybersecurity session I moderated on Wednesday: Jen Easterly, who heads a security center at Morgan Stanley, echoed the recent remarks of Dan Coates, director of national intelligence, who said that the “warning lights are blinking red again,” indicating an impending, catastrophic attack. Jay Kaplan, who runs the hacker-hiring startup Synack, urged the nation to train more cyber defenders, while pointing to China as being ahead of the curve. You can view a recording of the lively session here.

And the big news: Fortune announced a new conference, which I’ll be spearheading with a couple of colleagues, Jeff John Roberts and Jen Wieczner. This summit, Brainstorm Finance, will take place next summer in Montauk, the easternmost tip of Long Island, one of Wall Street’s favorite getaways. I happened to pass through Montauk—where glamour meets fishermen—on the way to my present seaside retreat. There’s boats, beach, and beauty—it’s lovely.

If you‘re interested in joining us out there, I welcome you to write me. I’ll keep your name on hand as we assemble an invitation list and begin programming in the months to come. (Prospective sponsors, I’ll direct your inquiries to our sales team.)

Mark your calendars: the dates are set for June 19th and 20th. Hope to see you there.

Have a great weekend.

Robert Hackett


Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’sdaily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach Robert Hackett 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.


Keeping the peace. Facebook said it will censor content that it believes could incite violence, reports the New York Times. The policy is taking effect after false information spread on its platform provoked people to attack ethnic minorities in countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and India. “We have a broader responsibility to not just reduce that type of content but remove it," said Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons.

The long arm of the law. FBI director Chris Wray said Wednesday that legislation may be the way to resolve the great encryption debate, which means forcing tech companies to help law enforcement access data encrypted by their products and services. Wray made his remarks at the Aspen Security Forum, which took place on the campus of the Aspen Institute right after the close of Fortune's Brainstorm Tech summit.

Respect my privacy. Uber has hired its first chief privacy officer and its first chief data protection officer. Ruby Zefo, who previously headed Intel's global privacy and security team, will start as Uber's privacy chief next month. Simon Hania, previously an executive at TomTom, will become its data protection chief. The ride-hailing service is signaling that it wants to take its responsibilities as a steward of customer information seriously in the lead-up to an eventual IPO.

How they did it. The Intercept has reconstructed what must have happened—and what the U.S. must have known—in order for the Justice Department to reach such a granular level of detail in its recent indictment of 12 Russian spies for election interference. Among the publications inferences: the Kremlin's cronies were sloppy, they bought services from companies that tattled on them, and they used computers compromised by American spooks.

DIY troll armies.

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Safe and sound. Wired has a retrospective on Google Safe Browsing, a project that has become a core part of internet security. Starting in 2007, Google began embedding the malicious content-scanning service into its products: Chrome, Android, AdSense, and Gmail. Today the service protects 3 billion devices around the world from digital boobytraps. Read the oral history, including the introduction reproduced below.

IN THE BEGINNING there was phone phreaking and worms. Then came spam and pop ups. And none of it was good. But in the nascent decades of the internet, digital networks were detached and isolated enough that the average user could mostly avoid the nastiest stuff. By the early 2000s, though, those walls started coming down, and digital crime boomed.

Google, which will turn 20 in September, grew up during this transition. And as its search platform spawned interconnected products like ad distribution and email hosting, the company realized its users and everyone on the web faced an escalation of online scams and abuse. So in 2005, a small team within Google started a project aimed at flagging possible social engineering attacks—warning users when a webpage might be trying to trick them into doing something detrimental.


U.S. Officials Warn of Potential Cyber Attacks from Iran by Renae Reints

Facebook, Google, and Other Tech Giants Unite to Let You Transfer Your Data by Jonathan Vanian

He Used to Protect U.S. Presidents. Now, He's Protecting Blockchain by Polina Marinova

Microsoft Says Russia Has Already Tried to Hack 3 Campaigns in the 2018 Election by Kevin Kelleher

Hackers Targeting Online Retailers Can Cost Businesses Billions Of Dollars by Erin Corbett

These Are the Airports Where You're Most Likely To Be Hacked by Chris Morris

Top AI Researchers—Including Elon Musk—Pledge to Never, Ever Help Anyone Make Killer Robots by David Meyer

How Companies Can Safeguard User Privacy in the Data Era by Alan Murray


Like diamonds in the sky. A new study out of MIT and other universities estimates that Earth's contains vast stores of diamonds, 1000-times more than previously thought. The catch: the sparkling stuff is buried more than 100-miles deep, far deeper than anyone has ever drilled.