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FTC Slams Avast with $16.5 Million Fine for Selling Users' Browsing Data

FTC Slams Avast with $16.5 Million Fine for Selling Users' Browsing Data
Feb 23, 2024 Privacy / Regulatory Compliance
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has hit antivirus vendor Avast with a $16.5 million fine over charges that the firm sold users' browsing data to advertisers after claiming its products would block online tracking. In addition, the company has been banned from selling or licensing any web browsing data for advertising purposes. It will also have to notify users whose browsing data was sold to third-parties without their consent. The FTC, in its complaint,  said  Avast "unfairly collected consumers' browsing information through the company's browser extensions and antivirus software, stored it indefinitely, and sold it without adequate notice and without consumer consent." It also accused the U.K.-based company of deceiving users by claiming that the software would block third-party tracking and protect users' privacy, but failing to inform them that it would sell their "detailed, re-identifiable browsing data" to more than 100 third-partie

Opera MyFlaw Bug Could Let Hackers Run ANY File on Your Mac or Windows

Opera MyFlaw Bug Could Let Hackers Run ANY File on Your Mac or Windows
Jan 15, 2024 Vulnerability / Browser Security
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed a now-patched security flaw in the Opera web browser for Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS that could be exploited to execute any file on the underlying operating system. The remote code execution vulnerability has been codenamed MyFlaw by the Guardio Labs research team owing to the fact that it takes advantage of a feature called  My Flow  that makes it possible to sync messages and files between mobile and desktop devices. "This is achieved through a controlled browser extension, effectively bypassing the browser's sandbox and the entire browser process," the company  said  in a statement shared with The Hacker News. The issue impacts both the Opera browser and Opera GX. Following responsible disclosure on November 17, 2023, it was addressed as part of  updates  shipped on November 22, 2023. My Flow features a chat-like interface to exchange notes and files, the latter of which can be opened via a web interface, meaning a f

Code Keepers: Mastering Non-Human Identity Management

Code Keepers: Mastering Non-Human Identity Management
Apr 12, 2024DevSecOps / Identity Management
Identities now transcend human boundaries. Within each line of code and every API call lies a non-human identity. These entities act as programmatic access keys, enabling authentication and facilitating interactions among systems and services, which are essential for every API call, database query, or storage account access. As we depend on multi-factor authentication and passwords to safeguard human identities, a pressing question arises: How do we guarantee the security and integrity of these non-human counterparts? How do we authenticate, authorize, and regulate access for entities devoid of life but crucial for the functioning of critical systems? Let's break it down. The challenge Imagine a cloud-native application as a bustling metropolis of tiny neighborhoods known as microservices, all neatly packed into containers. These microservices function akin to diligent worker bees, each diligently performing its designated task, be it processing data, verifying credentials, or

New Rilide Malware Targeting Chromium-Based Browsers to Steal Cryptocurrency

New Rilide Malware Targeting Chromium-Based Browsers to Steal Cryptocurrency
Apr 04, 2023 Browser Security / Cryptocurrency
Chromium-based web browsers are the target of a new malware called Rilide that masquerades itself as a seemingly legitimate extension to harvest sensitive data and siphon cryptocurrency. "Rilide malware is disguised as a legitimate Google Drive extension and enables threat actors to carry out a broad spectrum of malicious activities, including monitoring browsing history, taking screenshots, and injecting malicious scripts to withdraw funds from various cryptocurrency exchanges," Trustwave SpiderLabs Research said in a report shared with The Hacker News. What's more, the stealer malware can display forged dialogs to deceive users into entering a two-factor authentication code to withdraw digital assets. Trustwave said it identified two different campaigns involving  Ekipa RAT  and  Aurora Stealer  that led to the installation of the malicious browser extension. While Ekipa RAT is distributed via booby-trapped Microsoft Publisher files, rogue Google Ads act as the

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Fake ChatGPT Chrome Browser Extension Caught Hijacking Facebook Accounts

Fake ChatGPT Chrome Browser Extension Caught Hijacking Facebook Accounts
Mar 23, 2023 Browser Security / Artificial Intelligence
Google has stepped in to remove a bogus Chrome browser extension from the official Web Store that masqueraded as OpenAI's ChatGPT service to harvest Facebook session cookies and hijack the accounts. The "ChatGPT For Google" extension, a trojanized version of a  legitimate open source browser add-on , attracted over 9,000 installations since March 14, 2023, prior to its removal. It was originally uploaded to the Chrome Web Store on February 14, 2023. According to  Guardio Labs  researcher Nati Tal, the extension was propagated through  malicious   sponsored Google search results  that were designed to redirect unsuspecting users searching for "Chat GPT-4" to fraudulent landing pages that point to the fake add-on. Installing the extension adds the promised functionality – i.e., enhancing search engines with ChatGPT – but it also stealthily activates the ability to capture Facebook-related cookies and exfiltrate it to a remote server in an encrypted manner. O

This Malware Installs Malicious Browser Extensions to Steal Users' Passwords and Cryptos

This Malware Installs Malicious Browser Extensions to Steal Users' Passwords and Cryptos
Nov 22, 2022
A malicious extension for Chromium-based web browsers has been observed to be distributed via a long-standing Windows information stealer called ViperSoftX . Czech-based cybersecurity company dubbed the rogue browser add-on VenomSoftX owing to its standalone features that enable it to access website visits, steal credentials and clipboard data, and even swap cryptocurrency addresses via an adversary-in-the-middle (AiTM) attack. ViperSoftX, which first  came to light  in February 2020, was characterized by  Fortinet  as a JavaScript-based remote access trojan and cryptocurrency stealer. The malware's use of a browser extension to advance its information-gathering goals was documented by Sophos threat analyst  Colin Cowie  earlier this year. "This multi-stage stealer exhibits interesting hiding capabilities, concealed as small PowerShell scripts on a single line in the middle of otherwise innocent-looking large log files, among others," Avast researcher Jan RubĂ­n  said

Experts Warn of Browser Extensions Spying On Users via Cloud9 Chrome Botnet Network

Experts Warn of Browser Extensions Spying On Users via Cloud9 Chrome Botnet Network
Nov 09, 2022
The Keksec threat actor has been linked to a previously undocumented malware strain, which has been observed in the wild masquerading as an extension for Chromium-based web browsers to enslave compromised machines into a botnet. Called  Cloud9  by security firm Zimperium, the malicious browser add-on comes with a wide range of features that enables it to siphon cookies, log keystrokes, inject arbitrary JavaScript code, mine crypto, and even enlist the host to carry out DDoS attacks. The extension "not only steals the information available during the browser session but can also install malware on a user's device and subsequently assume control of the entire device," Zimperium researcher Nipun Gupta  said  in a new report. The JavaScript botnet isn't distributed via Chrome Web Store or Microsoft Edge Add-ons, but rather through fake executables and rogue websites disguised as Adobe Flash Player updates. Once installed, the extension is designed to inject a JavaScr

Microsoft Warns of Large-Scale Click Fraud Campaign Targeting Gamers

Microsoft Warns of Large-Scale Click Fraud Campaign Targeting Gamers
Sep 19, 2022
Microsoft said it's tracking an ongoing large-scale click fraud campaign targeting gamers by means of stealthily deployed browser extensions on compromised systems. "[The] attackers monetize clicks generated by a browser node-webkit or malicious browser extension secretly installed on devices," Microsoft Security Intelligence said in a sequence of tweets over the weekend. The tech giant's cybersecurity division is tracking the developing threat cluster under the name DEV-0796. Attack chains mounted by the adversary commence with an ISO file that's downloaded onto a victim's machine upon clicking on a malicious ad or comments on YouTube. The ISO file, when opened, is designed to install a browser node-webkit (aka  NW.js ) or rogue browser extension. It's worth noting that the  ISO file  masquerades as hacks and cheats for the Krunker first-person shooter game. Cheats are programs that help gamers gain an added advantage beyond the available capabili

Malicious Browser Extensions Targeted Over a Million Users So Far This Year

Malicious Browser Extensions Targeted Over a Million Users So Far This Year
Aug 17, 2022
More than 1.31 million users attempted to install malicious or unwanted web browser extensions at least once, new findings from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky show. "From January 2020 to June 2022, more than 4.3 million unique users were attacked by adware hiding in browser extensions, which is approximately 70% of all users affected by malicious and unwanted add-ons," the company  said . As many as 1,311,557 users fall under this category in the first half of 2022, per Kaspersky's telemetry data. In comparison, the number of such users peaked in 2020 at 3,660,236, followed by 1,823,263 unique users in 2021. The most prevalent threat is a family of adware called WebSearch, which masquerade as PDF viewers and other utilities, and comes with capabilities to collect and analyze search queries and redirect users to affiliate links. WebSearch is also notable for modifying the browser's start page, which contains a search engine and a number of links to third-party sour

Here's How to Find if WhatsApp Web Code on Your Browser Has Been Hacked

Here's How to Find if WhatsApp Web Code on Your Browser Has Been Hacked
Mar 11, 2022
Meta Platforms' WhatsApp and Cloudflare have banded together for a new initiative called Code Verify to validate the authenticity of the messaging service's web app on desktop computers. Available in the form of a Chrome and Edge  browser extension , the  open-source add-on  is designed to "automatically verif[y] the authenticity of the WhatsApp Web code being served to your browser," Facebook  said  in a statement. The goal with Code Verify is to confirm the integrity of the web application and ensure that it hasn't been tampered with to inject malicious code. The social media company is also planning to release Firefox and Safari plugins to achieve the same level of security across browsers. The system works with Cloudflare acting as a third-party audit to compare the cryptographic hash of WhatsApp Web's JavaScript code that's shared by Meta with that of a locally computed hash of the code running on the browser client. Code Verify is also meant t

Chaes Banking Trojan Hijacks Chrome Browser with Malicious Extensions

Chaes Banking Trojan Hijacks Chrome Browser with Malicious Extensions
Jan 27, 2022
A financially-motivated malware campaign has compromised over 800 WordPress websites to deliver a banking trojan dubbed Chaes targeting Brazilian customers of Banco do Brasil, Loja Integrada, Mercado Bitcoin, Mercado Livre, and Mercado Pago. First documented by  Cybereason  in November 2020, the info-stealing malware is delivered via a sophisticated infection chain that's engineered to harvest sensitive consumer information, including login credentials, credit card numbers, and other financial information. "Chaes is characterized by the multiple-stage delivery that utilizes scripting frameworks such as JScript, Python, and NodeJS, binaries written in Delphi, and malicious Google Chrome extensions," Avast researchers Anh Ho and Igor Morgenstern  said . "The ultimate goal of Chaes is to steal credentials stored in Chrome and intercept logins of popular banking websites in Brazil." The attack sequence is triggered when users visit one of the infected websites

Over a Dozen Chrome Extensions Caught Hijacking Google Search Results for Millions

Over a Dozen Chrome Extensions Caught Hijacking Google Search Results for Millions
Feb 03, 2021
New details have emerged about a vast network of rogue extensions for Chrome and Edge browsers that were found to hijack clicks to links in search results pages to arbitrary URLs, including phishing sites and ads. Collectively called " CacheFlow " by Avast, the 28 extensions in question — including Video Downloader for Facebook, Vimeo Video Downloader, Instagram Story Downloader, VK Unblock — made use of a sneaky trick to mask its true purpose: Leverage  Cache-Control  HTTP header as a covert channel to retrieve commands from an attacker-controlled server. All the  backdoored browser add-ons  have been taken down by Google and Microsoft as of December 18, 2020, to prevent more users from downloading them from the official stores. According to telemetry data gathered by the firm, the top three infected countries were Brazil, Ukraine, and France, followed by Argentina, Spain, Russia, and the U.S. The CacheFlow sequence began when unsuspecting users downloaded one of the
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