The Switchboard: Crypto ransomware shows up on Android


Philanthropist Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaks about agriculture at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 13, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Internet giants erect barriers to spy agencies A year after leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, David Sanger and Nicole Perloth report in the New York Times on the added security measures tech companies like Google and Microsoft are putting in place to keeping out the prying eyes of governments.

‘A soup of misery’: Over half of people say they’d abandon their cable company, if only they could. The Switch's Brian Fung reports "cable rage is real." A recent survey consulting group cg42 shows half of people would leave their cable provider if they felt they could -- and over 70 percent believed that cable companies took "predatory" advantage of consumers lack of options.

“WARNING Your phone is locked!” Crypto ransomware makes its debut on Android. "Security researchers have documented another first in the annals of Android malware: a trojan that encrypts photos, videos, and documents stored on a device and demands a ransom for them to be restored," reports Dan Goodin at Ars Technica.

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution. The Post's Lyndsey Layton reports on how Bill Gates helped turn Common Core standards from an idea into a policy reality. "The Gates Foundation spread money across the political spectrum, to entities including the big teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, and business organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — groups that have clashed in the past but became vocal backers of the standards."

After the Heartbleed bug, researchers took a closer look at OpenSSL — and found more problems. A newly disclosed bug in OpenSSL left some users vulnerable to man in the middle attacks for up to15 years, I report. Because a very specific set of circumstances was needed to exploit the vulnerability, most experts consider it less serious than the Heartbleed bug from April -- but some say continued issues with the project highlight potential problems with the Internet's dependency on under-resourced open sources projects.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Andrea Peterson · June 6