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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Google

Critical Bug in Mozilla's NSS Crypto Library Potentially Affects Several Other Software

Critical Bug in Mozilla’s NSS Crypto Library Potentially Affects Several Other Software
December 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Mozilla has rolled out fixes to address a critical security weakness in its cross-platform Network Security Services ( NSS ) cryptographic library that could be potentially exploited by an adversary to crash a vulnerable application and even execute arbitrary code. Tracked as CVE-2021-43527, the flaw affects NSS versions prior to 3.73 or 3.68.1 ESR, and concerns a  heap overflow  vulnerability when verifying digital signatures such as  DSA  and  RSA-PSS  algorithms that are encoded using the  DER  binary format. Credited with reporting the issue is Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero, who codenamed it " BigSig ." "NSS (Network Security Services) versions prior to 3.73 or 3.68.1 ESR are vulnerable to a heap overflow when handling DER-encoded DSA or RSA-PSS signatures," Mozilla  said  in an advisory published Wednesday. "Applications using NSS for handling signatures encoded within CMS, S/MIME, PKCS #7, or PKCS #12 are likely to be impacted." NSS is a

Italy's Antitrust Regulator Fines Google and Apple for "Aggressive" Data Practices

Italy's Antitrust Regulator Fines Google and Apple for "Aggressive" Data Practices
November 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Italy's antitrust regulator has fined both Apple and Google €10 million each for what it calls are "aggressive" data practices and for not providing consumers with clear information on commercial uses of their personal data during the account creation phase. The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM)  said  "Google and Apple did not provide clear and immediate information on the acquisition and use of user data for commercial purposes," adding the tech companies chose to emphasize the data collection as only necessary to improve their own services and personalize user experience without offering any indication that the data could be transferred and used for other reasons. The concerns have to do with how the companies omit relevant information when creating an account and using their services, details which the authority said are critical to making an informed decision as to whether or not to give permission for utilizing their data for comme

Google Warns of New Android 0-Day Vulnerability Under Active Targeted Attacks

Google Warns of New Android 0-Day Vulnerability Under Active Targeted Attacks
November 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has rolled out its monthly security patches for Android with fixes for 39 flaws, including a zero-day vulnerability that it said is being actively exploited in the wild in limited, targeted attacks. Tracked as CVE-2021-1048 , the zero-day bug is described as a  use-after-free vulnerability  in the kernel that can be exploited for local privilege escalation. Use-after-free issues are dangerous as it could enable a threat actor to access or referencing memory after it has been freed, leading to a " write-what-where " condition that results in the execution of arbitrary code to gain control over a victim's system. "There are indications that CVE-2021-1048 may be under limited, targeted exploitation," the company  noted  in its November advisory without revealing technical details of the vulnerability, the nature of the intrusions, and the identities of the attackers that may have abused the flaw. Also remediated in the security patch are two critical re

Google to Pay Hackers $31,337 for Exploiting Patched Linux Kernel Flaws

Google to Pay Hackers $31,337 for Exploiting Patched Linux Kernel Flaws
November 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Monday announced that it will pay security researchers to find exploits using vulnerabilities, previously remediated or otherwise, over the next three months as part of a new bug bounty program to improve the security of the Linux kernel. To that end, the company is expected to issue rewards worth $31,337 (a reference to Leet ) for exploiting privilege escalation in a lab environment for each patched vulnerability, an amount that can climb up to $50,337 for working exploits that take advantage of zero-day flaws in the kernel and other undocumented attack techniques. Specifically, the program aims to uncover attacks that could be launched against Kubernetes-based infrastructure to defeat process isolation barriers (via NSJail) and break out of the sandbox to leak secret information. The program is expected to last until January 31, 2022. "It is important to note, that the easiest exploitation primitives are not available in our lab environment due to the hardening

Google Releases Urgent Chrome Update to Patch 2 Actively Exploited 0-Day Bugs

Google Releases Urgent Chrome Update to Patch 2 Actively Exploited 0-Day Bugs
October 28, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Thursday rolled out an emergency update for its Chrome web browser, including fixes for two zero-day vulnerabilities that it says are being actively exploited in the wild. Tracked as  CVE-2021-38000  and  CVE-2021-38003 , the weaknesses relate to insufficient validation of untrusted input in a feature called Intents as well as a case of inappropriate implementation in V8 JavaScript and WebAssembly engine. The internet giant's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has been credited with discovering and reporting the two flaws on September 15, 2021, and October 26, 2021, respectively. "Google is aware that exploits for CVE-2021-38000 and CVE-2021-38003 exist in the wild," the company  noted  in an advisory without delving into technical specifics about how the two vulnerabilities were used in attacks or the threat actors that may have weaponized them. Also addressed as part of this stable channel update is a  use-after-free  vulnerability in the Web Transport component

Over 10 Million Android Users Targeted With Premium SMS Scam Apps

Over 10 Million Android Users Targeted With Premium SMS Scam Apps
October 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A global fraud campaign has been found leveraging 151 malicious Android apps with 10.5 million downloads to rope users into premium subscription services without their consent and knowledge. The  premium SMS scam  campaign — dubbed " UltimaSMS " — is believed to commenced in May 2021 and involved apps that cover a wide range of categories, including keyboards, QR code scanners, video and photo editors, spam call blockers, camera filters, and games, with most of the fraudulent apps downloaded by users in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the U.A.E., Turkey, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, the U.S., and Poland. Although a significant  chunk of the apps  in question has since been removed from the Google Play Store, 82 of them have continued to remain available in the online marketplace as of October 19, 2021. It all starts with the apps prompting users to enter their phone numbers and email addresses to gain access to the advertised features, only to subscribe the victims to premium SM

Hackers Stealing Browser Cookies to Hijack High-Profile YouTube Accounts

Hackers Stealing Browser Cookies to Hijack High-Profile YouTube Accounts
October 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Since at least late 2019, a network of hackers-for-hire have been hijacking the channels of YouTube creators, luring them with bogus collaboration opportunities to broadcast cryptocurrency scams or sell the accounts to the highest bidder. That's according to a new report published by Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG), which said it disrupted financially motivated phishing campaigns targeting the video platform with cookie theft malware. The actors behind the infiltration have been attributed to a group of hackers recruited in a Russian-speaking forum. "Cookie Theft, also known as 'pass-the-cookie attack,' is a session hijacking technique that enables access to user accounts with session cookies stored in the browser," TAG's Ashley Shen  said . "While the technique has been around for decades, its resurgence as a top security risk could be due to a wider adoption of multi-factor authentication (MFA) making it difficult to conduct abuse, and shif

Google: We're Tracking 270 State-Sponsored Hacker Groups From Over 50 Countries

Google: We're Tracking 270 State-Sponsored Hacker Groups From Over 50 Countries
October 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) on Thursday  said  it's tracking more than 270 government-backed threat actors from more than 50 countries, adding it has approximately sent 50,000 alerts of state-sponsored phishing or malware attempts to customers since the start of 2021. The warnings mark a 33% increase from 2020, the internet giant said, with the spike largely  stemming  from "blocking an unusually large campaign from a Russian actor known as APT28 or Fancy Bear." Additionally, Google said it disrupted a number of campaigns mounted by an Iranian state-sponsored attacker group tracked as  APT35  (aka Charming Kitten, Phosphorous, or Newscaster), including a sophisticated social engineering attack dubbed "Operation SpoofedScholars" aimed at think tanks, journalists, and professors with the goal of soliciting sensitive information by masquerading as scholars with the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Details

Google to turn on 2-factor authentication by default for 150 million users

Google to turn on 2-factor authentication by default for 150 million users
October 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has announced plans to automatically enroll about 150 million users into its two-factor authentication scheme by the end of the year as part of its ongoing efforts to prevent unauthorized access to accounts and improve security. In addition, the internet giant said it also intends to require 2 million YouTube creators to switch on the setting, which it calls two-step verification (2SV), to protect their channels from potential takeover attacks. "2SV is strongest when it combines both 'something you know' (like a password) and 'something you have' (like your phone or a security key)," Google's AbdelKarim Mardini and Guemmy Kim  said  in a post, adding "having a second form of authentication dramatically decreases an attacker's chance of gaining access to an account." The rollout follows the  company's proposals  to beef up account sign-ins earlier this May, when it said it intends to "automatically enrolling users in 2SV i

A New APT Hacking Group Targeting Fuel, Energy, and Aviation Industries

A New APT Hacking Group Targeting Fuel, Energy, and Aviation Industries
October 04, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously undocumented threat actor has been identified as behind a string of attacks targeting fuel, energy, and aviation production industries in Russia, the U.S., India, Nepal, Taiwan, and Japan with the goal of stealing data from compromised networks. Cybersecurity company Positive Technologies dubbed the advanced persistent threat (APT) group ChamelGang — referring to their chameleellonic capabilities, including disguising "its malware and network infrastructure under legitimate services of Microsoft, TrendMicro, McAfee, IBM, and Google."  "To achieve their goal, the attackers used a trending penetration method—supply chain," the researchers  said  of one of the incidents investigated by the firm. "The group compromised a subsidiary and penetrated the target company's network through it. Trusted relationship attacks are rare today due to the complexity of their execution. Using this method […], the ChamelGang group was able to achieve its goal a

Google now requires app developers to verify their address and use 2FA

Google now requires app developers to verify their address and use 2FA
June 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Monday announced  new measures  for the Play Store, including requiring developer accounts to turn on 2-Step Verification (2SV), provide an address, and verify their contact details later this year. The new identification and two-factor authentication requirements are a step towards strengthening account security and ensuring a safe and secure app marketplace, Google Play Trust and Safety team said. As part of the changes, individual users and businesses in possession of Google Play developer accounts will be asked to specify an account type (personal or organization), a contact name, their physical address, as well as verifying the email address and phone number provided during account creation. In addition, the search giant is also mandating users of Google Play Console to sign in using Google's 2-Step Verification to prevent account takeover attacks. According to the timeline shared by Google, developer account owners will be able to declare their account type a

Mozilla Says Google's New Ad Tech—FLoC—Doesn't Protect User Privacy

Mozilla Says Google's New Ad Tech—FLoC—Doesn't Protect User Privacy
June 11, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google's upcoming plans to replace third-party cookies with a less invasive ad targeted mechanism have a number of issues that could defeat its privacy objectives and allow for significant linkability of user behavior, possibly even identifying individual users. "FLoC is premised on a compelling idea: enable ad targeting without exposing users to risk,"  said  Eric Rescorla, author of TLS standard and chief technology officer of Mozilla. "But the current design has a number of privacy properties that could create significant risks if it were to be widely deployed in its current form." Short for Federated Learning of Cohorts,  FLoC  is part of Google's fledgling  Privacy Sandbox  initiative that aims to develop alternate solutions to satisfy cross-site use cases without resorting to third-party cookies or other opaque tracking mechanisms. Essentially, FLoC allows marketers to guess users' interests without having to uniquely identify them, thereby eli

New Chrome 0-Day Bug Under Active Attacks – Update Your Browser ASAP!

New Chrome 0-Day Bug Under Active Attacks – Update Your Browser ASAP!
June 09, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Attention readers, if you are using Google Chrome browser on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computers, you need to update it immediately to the latest version Google released earlier today. The internet services company has rolled out an urgent update to the browser to address 14 newly discovered security issues, including a zero-day flaw that it says is being actively exploited in the wild. Tracked as  CVE-2021-30551 , the vulnerability stems from a type confusion issue in its V8 open-source and JavaScript engine. Sergei Glazunov of Google Project Zero has been credited with discovering and reporting the flaw. Although the search giant's Chrome team issued a terse statement acknowledging "an exploit for CVE-2021-30551 exists in the wild," Shane Huntley, Director of Google's Threat Analysis Group,  hinted  that the vulnerability was leveraged by the same actor that abused  CVE-2021-33742 , an actively exploited remote code execution flaw in Windows MSHTML platform t

Google to Let Android Users Opt-Out to Stop Ads From Tracking Them

Google to Let Android Users Opt-Out to Stop Ads From Tracking Them
June 04, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google is tightening its privacy practices that could make it harder for apps on Android phones and tablets to track users who have opted out of receiving personalized interest-based ads. The change will go into effect sometime in late 2021. The development, which mirrors Apple's move to enable iPhone and iPad users to opt-out of ad tracking, was first  reported  by the Financial Times.  Once the revised policy goes live, Google is expected to completely cut off developers' access to the so-called "Advertising IDs," showing a "string of zeros" in its place. The Google Advertising ID (AAID), analogous to Apple's  IDFA , is a unique device identifier that can be used by app developers to track users as they move between apps to target ads better and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. "Starting in late 2021, when a user opts out of interest-based advertising or ads personalization, the advertising identifier will not be available,&q

Google Chrome to Help Users Identify Untrusted Extensions Before Installation

Google Chrome to Help Users Identify Untrusted Extensions Before Installation
June 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Thursday said it's rolling out new security features to Chrome browser aimed at detecting suspicious downloads and extensions via its Enhanced Safe Browsing feature, which it launched a year ago. To this end, the search giant said it will now offer additional protections when users attempt to install a new extension from the Chrome Web Store, notifying if it can be considered "trusted." Currently, 75% of all add-ons on the platform are compliant, the company pointed out, adding "any extensions built by a developer who follows the Chrome Web Store Developer Program Policies , will be considered trusted by Enhanced Safe Browsing." Enhanced Safe Browsing involves sharing real-time data with Google Safe Browsing to proactively safeguard users against dangerous sites. The company also noted that its integration with Safe Browsing's blocklist API helped improve privacy and security, with the number of malicious extensions disabled by the browser j

Google Researchers Discover A New Variant of Rowhammer Attack

Google Researchers Discover A New Variant of Rowhammer Attack
May 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A team of security researchers from Google has demonstrated yet another variant of the Rowhammer vulnerability that targets increasingly smaller DRAM chips to bypass all current mitigations, making it a persistent threat to chip security. Dubbed "Half-Double," the new hammering technique hinges on the weak coupling between two memory rows that are not immediately adjacent to each other but one row removed in an attempt to tamper with data stored in memory and attack a system . "Unlike  TRRespass , which exploits the blind spots of manufacturer-dependent defenses, Half-Double is an intrinsic property of the underlying silicon substrate," the researchers  noted . "This is likely an indication that the electrical coupling responsible for Rowhammer is a property of distance, effectively becoming stronger and longer-ranged as cell geometries shrink down. Distances greater than two are conceivable." Rowhammer attacks are similar to  speculative execution  

4 Major Privacy and Security Updates From Google You Should Know About

4 Major Privacy and Security Updates From Google You Should Know About
May 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has announced a number of user-facing and under-the-hood changes in an attempt to boost privacy and security, including rolling out two-factor authentication automatically to all eligible users and bringing iOS-styled privacy labels to Android app listings. "Today we ask people who have enrolled in  two-step verification  (2SV) to confirm it's really them with a simple tap via a Google prompt on their phone whenever they sign in," the company  said . "Soon we'll start automatically enrolling users in 2SV if their accounts are appropriately configured." Google Play To Get Apple-Like Privacy Labels The Google Play Store for Android is also getting a huge overhaul on the privacy front. The search giant said it plans to include a new  safety section  for app listings that highlights the type of data being collected and stored — such as approximate or precise location, contacts, personal information, photos and videos, and audio files — and how the dat

Google Reveals What Personal Data Chrome and Its Apps Collect On You

Google Reveals What Personal Data Chrome and Its Apps Collect On You
March 18, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo called out rival Google for "spying" on users after the search giant updated its flagship app to spell out the exact kinds of information it collects for personalization and marketing purposes. "After months of stalling, Google finally revealed how much personal data they collect in Chrome and the Google app. No wonder they wanted to hide it," the company  said  in a tweet. "Spying on users has nothing to do with building a great web browser or search engine." The " privacy nutrition labels " are part of a new policy that  went into effect  on December 8, 2020, mandating app developers to disclose their data collection practices and help users understand how their personal information is put to use. The insinuation from DuckDuckGo comes as Google has been steadily adding app privacy labels to its iOS apps over the course of the last several weeks in accordance with Apple's App Store rules, but not

Google Cloud Certifications — Get Prep Courses and Practice Tests at 95% Discount

Google Cloud Certifications — Get Prep Courses and Practice Tests at 95% Discount
March 05, 2021The Hacker News
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