Unsupervised Learning Newsletter No. 274

News & Analysis

I spend my time reading 3-6 books a month on security, technology, and society—and thinking about what might be coming next. Every Monday I send out a list of the best content I've found in the last week to around 50,000 people. It'll save you tons of time. 

MEMBER EDITION | Ep. 274 | March 15, 2021


The Department of Energy is launching three new programs to help secure the US energy system. The first looks to secure against global supply chain attacks, the second looks to defend against electro/geo-magnetic interference, and the third looks at cybersecurity solutions and talent. More

The self-hosted official PHP git repository got hacked and code was maliciously added that would provide a backdoor to any system that installed it. They're moving to Github to get extra security now. More

The US will engage in classified wargames this summer oriented around threats from China and Russia, and the US and Canada have been doing joint military exercises in the Arctic as well. More

China appears to have disallowed military personnel from driving Teslas due to spying/monitoring concerns. More

Americans think these are the top 10 threats to the US: Cyberterrorism, North Korean Nukes, Iranian Nukes, International Terrorism, Pandemics, China's Economic Power, Global Warming, Too Many Illegal Immigrants, Russian Military Power, Israel/Palestine Conflict, China/Taiwan Conflict. Interesting. I think the top three are: 1) The fall of the US due to internal conflict, 2) The rise of China in a Post-Democracy world, and 3) Someone setting off a nuclear weapon after a government loses control of their arsenal.


  • There's a new Android zero-day vulnerability that's under active attack (CVSS 8.4). More

  • Solarwinds has another RCE flaw. More

  • OpenSSL has patches out for 2 high-severity DoS issues. More


  • Shell discloses a data breach related to the Accellion vulnerability. More

  • CNA Financial, an insurance firm, suffered a major outage last week due to a massive ransomware attack. More

  • Voter registration and other personal details of 6.5 million Israelis has been leaked by an actor calling itself "The Israeli Autumn". Evidently there was a queryable API endpoint that allowed you to pull admin credentials. More


  • Orca Security has raised a $210 million dollar Series C at a $1.2 billion dollar valuation to secure companies' cloud assets. More


You'll soon be able to buy a Tesla with Bitcoin. More

Samsung is getting ready to release a new 512GB DDR5 module that's twice as fast as DDR4 at 7,200 Mbps. The tech also uses 13% less power. More

Facebook seems to be quite serious about its work in the AR space, which is exciting. I'm glad they're serious about it and not treating it like a fad. This particular story and video talks about a wrist-based system that can detect intentions and provide feedback to the user. More

  • Dataminr raises $475 million on a $4.1 billion dollar valuation for real-time insights from 100,000 sources of public data. They focus on stuff spanning from physical safety, reputation risk, crisis management, business intelligence, to cybersecurity. More


The Louvre has put its entire collection online, for free. More

Baltimore is going to stop prosecuting low-level crimes like drug possession and prostitution. Since implementing a similar pandemic-oriented policy 12 months ago, violent crime has fallen 20% and property crime has fallen 36%. More

32% of Americans are satisfied with the direction of the US, which is up from 11% on January 21st. More

COVID cases in the US are rising again. It's almost like there's some sort of relationship between allowing non-vaccinated people to gather in large numbers and the case count. More

NASA just captured more images of 16 Psyche—an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter worth 10.000 quadrillion dollars, or 70,000 times the global economy. It's like 140 miles in diameter and appears to be made out of iron and nickel. More

Netflix is launching 40 anime movies and shows in 2021. More


The Consumer Authentication Strength Maturity Model (CASMM) — I built a visual maturity model so that security people can help non-security people understand and improve their password/auth security on the internet. More Tweet It

How to Use Feedly to Follow Content on Twitter — A new short post on following people/accounts on Twitter in a newsreader instead of on Twitter itself. More

Short Memory — I have a strange feeling that people are about to return to physical offices a lot faster than we imagined just a few months ago. The majority thinking on this was that we'd probably stay remote or mostly hybrid for months, years, or even indefinitely after most people are vaccinated, and that companies would abandon most of their physical office buildings. But now it doesn't seem so certain. I think we might see something that looks like 2019 for a lot of companies by the end of this year, which I would not have predicted. I honestly don't know how I feel about it. In some sense I feel optimistic and proud that we humans are so resilient, but I also can't avoid thinking we're stupid for going back too quickly and potentially not learning enough to prevent the next one.


I'm working on a new piece of member content called Frontview Mirror — 2021 Edition. For a while now I've been doing a roughly-annual free-form look at the trends I see and riffing on how they might play out. This artifact will sort of formalize that informal process into trends, insights, scenarios, and recommendations. And I'll release a new one each year.

I got my first shot like a week ago. It was Moderna.

I just went and bought a few books by Matt Ridley that I hadn't read, including How Innovation Works, and Genome. The Evolution of Everything and The Red Queen are two of the books that changed my way of thinking, so I figured I need to read pretty much everything he puts out. More

I was having some MariaDB/Mysqld issues on the site and ended up spending many hours researching fixes and optimizations. My new MariaDB settings seem to have not only fixed my issue (high mysqld CPU load) but massively improved site load times. Pretty stoked about that.


A Bash one-liner that checks for vulnerabilities using Nuclei across domains that have an open bounty. More

An argument that AI skillsets are becoming less valuable, not more. More


The World of Indigo — I'm rather in love with this album right now. It's a collection of music known as Indigo, which I need to read up on evidently. The combination of Spanish-sounding guitar with African beat influences and lyrics is remarkable. More


“There are no solved problems; there are only problems that are more or less solved.”

Jules Henri Poincare