open source and cybersecurity news

July 4, 2023

How Not To Do A Force Password Reset; Facial Recognition Explained; Online Age Checks

In this Episode:

Episode Transcription:

Pokie Huang: 

From Sourced Network production in New York City. It’s 5:05. I’m Pokie Huang. Today’s Tuesday. July 4th. Here’s the full story behind today’s cyber security and opensource headlines. 

Edwin Kwan: 

This is Edwin Kwan from Sydney, Australia. 

A high school in Illinois recently demonstrated how not to do a false password reset. Oak Park and River Forest High School was doing a cybersecurity audit when they mistakenly reset everyone’s password. This prevented the students from being able to log into their Google account.

To fix this, the high school decided to set all the students’ passwords to be change me exclamation mark. That’s right. They changed all the students’ password to the same password. They have around 3000 students. 

They emailed the parents about the change and strongly suggested that their child update the password to their own unique password as soon as possible. Doing this allowed access to other students’ accounts, and it gave access to all emails, papers, classwork, and anything saved in the Google accounts, including documents and slides. 

The school realized their mistake the following day and rectified the issue.

Hillary Coover:

Hi, this is Hillary Coover. With all of the news coverage of Twitter and their recent slipups related to detecting and eliminating child pornography from their site, I want to discuss facial recognition technology and demystify it a bit. 

Facial recognition technology is a powerful tool for identifying and combating child exploitation. The landscape for law enforcement becomes increasingly complex with new restricted platforms emerging regularly. But unfortunately, there is enough work to be done on the better known and used social media platforms. 

Here’s how it works. Facial recognition algorithms analyze unique facial features like the distance between the eyes, the shape of the nose, and the contours of the face. They create a mathematical representation of these features called a face print. They’re even able to detect faces with sunglasses or beards. 

When searching social media sites for known child exploitation images, law enforcement agencies and organizations use databases of face prints associated with identified victims or offenders. They take those known face prints and they compare them to those pulled from social media platforms. If a match is found, it can alert law enforcement agencies so they can potentially locate victims, track down perpetrators, and ultimately ensure the safety of vulnerable children. 

Investigations like these and participation in academic research on behalf of social media companies helps create a safer online environment for everyone.

Katy Craig: 

Today we dive into the age-old debate of age checks on the internet. Is it a necessary step to protect children or a slippery slope of surveillance? 

This is Katy Craig in San Diego, California. 

Millions of people spend time on various online platforms. Have you ever encountered an age check, those popups that ask you for your ID or some other form of verification to confirm your age?

They’re becoming increasingly common online, all in the name of protecting children’s safety. Advocates argue that age checks are a necessary cost to create a safer online environment, shielding kids from potentially harmful content. However, privacy activists raise valid concerns about the unintended consequences of these checks.

They fear that age checks could inadvertently expose your personal information and contribute to a surveillance state where companies and governments have a near complete view of our lives. It’s a delicate balancing act between pre protecting children and preserving our privacy and internet freedom.

So where do we draw the line? Are age checks the silver bullet or the Pandora’s box. That’s a question for lawmakers, parents, and experts to ponder. As this debate continues to unfold, it’s crucial to find a middle ground that safeguards children without sacrificing our individual rights. 

So stay sharp, stay secure, and remember to protect your passwords, like your personal secrets. Keep them close to your heart. 

This is Katy Craig, stay safe out there.

Pokie Huang: 

That’s our updates for today. July 4th. I’m Pokie Huang. We’ll be back tomorrow… at 5:05.



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