Weekend Reads 090619

Despite their freakish skill at board games, computer algorithms do not possess anything resembling human wisdom, common sense, or critical thinking. Deciding whether to accept a job offer, sell a stock, or buy a house is very different from recognizing that moving a bishop three spaces will checkmate an opponent. —Gary Smith

Every week I have at least one conversation with a security decision maker explaining why a lot of the hyperbole about passwords – “never use a password that has ever been seen in a breach,” “use really long passwords”, “passphrases-will-save-us”, and so on – is inconsistent with our research and with the reality our team sees as we defend against 100s of millions of password-based attacks every day. Focusing on password rules, rather than things that can really help – like multi-factor authentication (MFA), or great threat detection – is just a distraction. —Alex Weinert
Alex Weinert

One of the biggest projects in the blockchain industry, Hyperledger, is comprised of a set of open source tools and subprojects. It’s a global collaboration hosted by The Linux Foundation and includes leaders in different sectors who are aiming to build a robust, business-driven blockchain framework. —Matt Zand

Enterprise servers powered by Supermicro motherboards can remotely be compromised by virtually plugging in malicious USB devices, cybersecurity researchers at firmware security company Eclypsium told The Hacker News. —Mohit Kumar

Not content with monitoring almost everything you do online, Facebook now wants to read your mind as well. The social media giant recently announced a breakthrough in its plan to create a device that reads people’s brainwaves to allow them to type just by thinking. And Elon Musk wants to go even further. One of the Tesla boss’s other companies, Neuralink, is developing a brain implant to connect people’s minds directly to a computer. —Garfield Benjamin

The phrase was opaque but vaguely appealing. Why would anyone want to repeal something called “net neutrality”? Neutral is inoffensive, right? So when the Federal Communications Commission debated whether to ditch the policy, many Americans joined in the energetic protests. —Chicago Tribune

Telecommunications has become the nexus of U.S. frustration at unfair Chinese trade practices and concerns that the Chinese government is utilizing the networks of private Chinese corporations to spy on foreign governments and corporations. At the center of the debate is the leading Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, which has been accused of poor ethics, shoddy security, intellectual property theft and even spying for years. —Tom Le

We are talking, of course, about a downturn in server spending, which we feel is one of the key economic indicators given the foundational nature of data processing in the 21st century. We have been on a hell of a run since 2016 in terms of server shipments and sales, and while growth has been slowing in recent quarters, both metrics went into negative territory in the second quarter of 2019. —Timothy Prickett Morgan