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Josephine Wolff

Boston-based writer and fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center

Josephine Wolff is a writer based in Boston, where she is a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

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The Equifax Hack Means It’s Time to Stop Pretending Social Security Numbers Are Secure IDs

October 4, 2017 If you’re an American, your Social Security number has probably been compromised. Even if it remained secure through years of massive data breaches, it’s quite possible it was included in the Equifax breach last month that affected some 143 million—er, make that 145.5 million— Americans. At a moment when those...

When Companies Get Hacked, Should They Be Allowed to Hack Back?

July 15, 2017 There is an old debate (at least, counting in internet years) that tends to crop up after major cybersecurity breaches such as the widespread WannaCry ransomware attack in May. In the aftermath of such incidents, some decry the sorry state of cybersecurity and insist that if only tech firms, with...

All Smartphone Users Should Take Away These Two Lessons From CIA Wikileaks Files

March 9, 2017 This week, WikiLeaks released “Vault 7″—a roughly 8,000-page document purporting to detail surveillance tools and tactics of the CIA. The leak appears to outline a wide variety of vulnerabilities in smartphones and other devices the CIA uses to intercept communications and eavesdrop on its targets. Here’s what the average smartphone...

Should Anonymous Hack the Islamic State’s PlayStations?

November 19, 2015 The Islamic State is a notoriously tech-savvy terrorist organization—so much so that it’s implemented a 24-hour jihadi help desk, as NBC News reported earlier this week. Now the hacker group Anonymous has announced redoubled efforts to fight ISIL in cyberspace following last week’s attacks in Paris. Several governments, including the...

Are Microsoft and Google Better at Cybersecurity than the CIA?

October 24, 2015 Who knew people still used AOL? This was among the head-scratchers to emerge from the news this week that teenage hackers had gained access to CIA Director John Brennan’s unfashionable email account, yielding more than 2,500 email and instant message addresses for high-ranking government officials. But the more important question...

Can Campus Networks Ever Be Secure?

October 13, 2015 The Internet was built on university campuses. It was built by academics for academics, and without any notion of the new kinds of commerce, crime, and espionage it would enable. As the Internet spread beyond purely academic circles and became a valuable tool for corporations and governments, as well as...

Meet the Agents Who Staff the Secret Service Internet Threat Desk

July 23, 2015 When President Obama launched his Twitter account in May, people noticed his rapid accumulation of followers, a silly back-and-forth with President Clinton, but also something more serious: the number of hostile and threatening messages directed at the president. Sifting through those messages to determine which, if any, need to be...

The Team That Chases Down Online Threats To The President

July 22, 2015 When President Obama launched his Twitter account in May, people noticed his rapid accumulation of followers, a silly back-and-forth with President Clinton, but also something more serious: the number of hostile and threatening messages directed at the president. Sifting through those messages to determine which, if any, need to be...