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Google Adds Passkeys to Advanced Protection Program for High-Risk Users

Google Adds Passkeys to Advanced Protection Program for High-Risk Users

Jul 10, 2024 Cybersecurity / Phishing Attack
Google on Wednesday announced that it's making available passkeys for high-risk users to enroll in its Advanced Protection Program ( APP ). "Users traditionally needed a physical security key for APP — now they can choose a passkey to secure their account," Shuvo Chatterjee, product lead of APP, said . Passkeys are considered a more secure and phishing-resistant alternative to passwords. Based on the FIDO Authentication standard, the technology is designed to secure online accounts against potential takeover attacks by ditching passwords in favor of biometrics or a PIN. Passkeys can simultaneously act as a first- and second-factor, entirely obviating the need for a password. Earlier this May, the tech giant revealed that passkeys are being used by over 400 million Google accounts. High-risk users , who are at an elevated exposure to cyber-attacks because of who they are and what they do (e.g., journalists, elected officials, political campaign staff, human rights
Google to Block Entrust Certificates in Chrome Starting November 2024

Google to Block Entrust Certificates in Chrome Starting November 2024

Jun 29, 2024 Cybersecurity / Website Security
Google has announced that it's going to start blocking websites that use certificates from Entrust starting around November 1, 2024, in its Chrome browser, citing compliance failures and the certificate authority's inability to address security issues in a timely manner. "Over the past several years, publicly disclosed incident reports highlighted a pattern of concerning behaviors by Entrust that fall short of the above expectations, and has eroded confidence in their competence, reliability, and integrity as a publicly-trusted [ certificate authority ] owner," Google's Chrome security team said . To that end, the tech giant said it intends to no longer trust TLS server authentication certificates from Entrust starting with Chrome browser versions 127 and higher by default. However, it said that these settings can be overridden by Chrome users and enterprise customers should they wish to do so. Google further noted that certificate authorities play a privil
10,000 Victims a Day: Infostealer Garden of Low-Hanging Fruit

10,000 Victims a Day: Infostealer Garden of Low-Hanging Fruit

Jul 15, 2024Cyber Crime / Data Protection
Imagine you could gain access to any Fortune 100 company for $10 or less, or even for free. Terrifying thought, isn't it? Or exciting, depending on which side of the cybersecurity barricade you are on. Well, that's basically the state of things today. Welcome to the infostealer garden of low-hanging fruit. Over the last few years, the problem has grown bigger and bigger, and only now are we slowly learning its full destructive potential. In this article, we will describe how the entire cybercriminal ecosystem operates, the ways various threat actors exploit data originating from it, and most importantly, what you can do about it. Let's start with what infostealer malware actually is. As the name suggests, it's malware that... steals data. Depending on the specific type, the information it extracts might differ slightly, but most will try to extract the following: Cryptocurrency wallets Bank account information and saved credit card details Saved passwords from various apps Bro
Google Introduces Project Naptime for AI-Powered Vulnerability Research

Google Introduces Project Naptime for AI-Powered Vulnerability Research

Jun 24, 2024 Vulnerability / Artificial Intelligence
Google has developed a new framework called Project Naptime that it says enables a large language model (LLM) to carry out vulnerability research with an aim to improve automated discovery approaches. "The Naptime architecture is centered around the interaction between an AI agent and a target codebase," Google Project Zero researchers Sergei Glazunov and Mark Brand said . "The agent is provided with a set of specialized tools designed to mimic the workflow of a human security researcher." The initiative is so named for the fact that it allows humans to "take regular naps" while it assists with vulnerability research and automating variant analysis. The approach, at its core, seeks to take advantage of advances in code comprehension and general reasoning ability of LLMs, thus allowing them to replicate human behavior when it comes to identifying and demonstrating security vulnerabilities. It encompasses several components such as a Code Browser tool
cyber security

Top 4 Security Risks of GenAI

websiteWizGenAI Security / Technology
Gain a competitive edge and unlock the top 4 major emerging risks within GenAI. This report from Gartner provides insights and recommended actions for security and product leaders.
Google's Privacy Sandbox Accused of User Tracking by Austrian Non-Profit

Google's Privacy Sandbox Accused of User Tracking by Austrian Non-Profit

Jun 14, 2024 Privacy / Ad Tracking
Google's plans to deprecate third-party tracking cookies in its Chrome web browser with Privacy Sandbox has run into fresh trouble after Austrian privacy non-profit noyb (none of your business) said the feature can still be used to track users. "While the so-called 'Privacy Sandbox' is advertised as an improvement over extremely invasive third-party tracking, the tracking is now simply done within the browser by Google itself," noyb said . "To do this, the company theoretically needs the same informed consent from users. Instead, Google is tricking people by pretending to 'Turn on an ad privacy feature.'" In other words, by making users agree to enable a privacy feature, they are still being tracked by consenting to Google's first-party ad tracking, the Vienna-based non-profit founded by activist Max Schrems alleged in a complaint filed with the Austrian data protection authority. Privacy Sandbox is a set of proposals put forth by the i
Google Warns of Pixel Firmware Security Flaw Exploited as Zero-Day

Google Warns of Pixel Firmware Security Flaw Exploited as Zero-Day

Jun 13, 2024 Mobile Security / Vulnerability
Google has warned that a security flaw impacting Pixel Firmware has been exploited in the wild as a zero-day. The high-severity vulnerability, tagged as CVE-2024-32896 , has been described as an elevation of privilege issue in Pixel Firmware. The company did not share any additional details related to the nature of attacks exploiting it, but noted "there are indications that CVE-2024-32896 may be under limited, targeted exploitation." The June 2024 security update addresses a total of 50 security vulnerabilities, five of which relate to various components in Qualcomm chipsets. Some of the notable issues patched include denial-of-service (DoS) issue impacting Modem, and numerous information disclosure flaws affecting GsmSs, ACPM, and Trusty.  The updates are available for supported Pixel devices , such as Pixel 5a with 5G, Pixel 6a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7a, Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, Pixel 8a, and Pixel Fold. Earlier this April, Google resolved
Google Takes Down Influence Campaigns Tied to China, Indonesia, and Russia

Google Takes Down Influence Campaigns Tied to China, Indonesia, and Russia

Jun 10, 2024 Social Media / Influence Operation
Google has revealed that it took down 1,320 YouTube channels and 1,177 Blogger blogs as part of a coordinated influence operation connected to the People's Republic of China (PRC). "The coordinated inauthentic network uploaded content in Chinese and English about China and U.S. foreign affairs," Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) researcher Billy Leonard said in the company's quarterly bulletin released last week. The tech giant said it also terminated Ads, AdSense, and Blogger accounts linked to two coordinated influence operations with ties to Indonesia that shared content supportive of the ruling party in the country. Another big cluster dismantled by Google involved a network of 378 YouTube channels that it said originated from a Russian consulting firm and disseminated content that projected Russia in a favorable light and denigrated Ukraine and the West. The company further terminated one AdSense account and blocked 10 domains from showing up in Google News an
The AI Debate: Google's Guidelines, Meta's GDPR Dispute, Microsoft's Recall Backlash

The AI Debate: Google's Guidelines, Meta's GDPR Dispute, Microsoft's Recall Backlash

Jun 07, 2024 Artificial Intelligence / Privacy
Google is urging third-party Android app developers to incorporate generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) features in a responsible manner. The new guidance from the search and advertising giant is an effort to combat problematic content, including sexual content and hate speech, created through such tools. To that end, apps that generate content using AI must ensure they don't create Restricted Content , have a mechanism for users to report or flag offensive information , and market them in a manner that accurately represents the app's capabilities. App developers are also being recommended to rigorously test their AI models to ensure they respect user safety and privacy. "Be sure to test your apps across various user scenarios and safeguard them against prompts that could manipulate your generative AI feature to create harmful or offensive content," Prabhat Sharma, director of trust and safety for Google Play, Android, and Chrome, said . The development com
Update Chrome Browser Now: 4th Zero-Day Exploit Discovered in May 2024

Update Chrome Browser Now: 4th Zero-Day Exploit Discovered in May 2024

May 24, 2024 Vulnerability / Browser Security
Google on Thursday rolled out fixes to address a high-severity security flaw in its Chrome browser that it said has been exploited in the wild. Assigned the CVE identifier  CVE-2024-5274 , the vulnerability relates to a type confusion bug in the V8 JavaScript and WebAssembly engine. It was reported by Clément Lecigne of Google's Threat Analysis Group and Brendon Tiszka of Chrome Security on May 20, 2024. Type confusion vulnerabilities  occur when a program attempts to access a resource with an incompatible type. It can have  serious consequences  as it allows threat actors to perform out-of-bounds memory access, cause a crash, and execute arbitrary code. The development marks the fourth zero-day that Google has patched since the start of the month after  CVE-2024-4671 ,  CVE-2024-4761 , and  CVE-2024-4947 . The tech giant did not disclose additional technical details about the flaw, but  acknowledged  that it "is aware that an exploit for CVE-2024-5274 exists in the wild
Google Patches Yet Another Actively Exploited Chrome Zero-Day Vulnerability

Google Patches Yet Another Actively Exploited Chrome Zero-Day Vulnerability

May 16, 2024 Browser Security / Vulnerability
Google has rolled out fixes to address a set of nine security issues in its Chrome browser, including a new zero-day that has been exploited in the wild. Assigned the CVE identifier  CVE-2024-4947 , the vulnerability relates to a type confusion bug in the V8 JavaScript and WebAssembly engine. It was reported by Kaspersky researchers Vasily Berdnikov and Boris Larin on May 13, 2024. Type confusion vulnerabilities  arise when a program attempts to access a resource with an incompatible type. It can have  serious impacts  as it allows threat actors to perform out-of-bounds memory access, cause a crash, and execute arbitrary code. The development marks the third zero-day that Google has patched within a week after  CVE-2024-4671  and  CVE-2024-4761 . As is typically the case, no additional details about the attacks are available and have been withheld to prevent further exploitation. "Google is aware that an exploit for CVE-2024-4947 exists in the wild," the company  said .
New Chrome Zero-Day Vulnerability CVE-2024-4761 Under Active Exploitation

New Chrome Zero-Day Vulnerability CVE-2024-4761 Under Active Exploitation

May 14, 2024 Vulnerability / Zero Day
Google on Monday shipped emergency fixes to address a new zero-day flaw in the Chrome web browser that has come under active exploitation in the wild. The high-severity vulnerability, tracked as  CVE-2024-4761 , is an out-of-bounds write bug impacting the V8 JavaScript and WebAssembly engine. It was reported anonymously on May 9, 2024. Out-of-bounds write bugs  could be typically exploited by malicious actors to corrupt data, or induce a crash or execute arbitrary code on compromised hosts. "Google is aware that an exploit for CVE-2024-4761 exists in the wild," the tech giant  said . Additional details about the nature of the attacks have been withheld to prevent more threat actors from weaponizing the flaw. The disclosure comes merely days after the company patched  CVE-2024-4671 , a use-after-free vulnerability in the Visuals component that has also been exploited in real-world attacks. With the latest fix, Google has addressed a total of six zero-days since the sta
Apple and Google Launch Cross-Platform Feature to Detect Unwanted Bluetooth Tracking Devices

Apple and Google Launch Cross-Platform Feature to Detect Unwanted Bluetooth Tracking Devices

May 14, 2024 Location Tracking / Privacy
Apple and Google on Monday officially announced the rollout of a new feature that notifies users across both iOS and Android if a Bluetooth tracking device is being used to stealthily keep tabs on them without their knowledge or consent. "This will help mitigate the misuse of devices designed to help keep track of belongings," the companies said in a joint statement, adding it aims to address "potential risks to user privacy and safety." The proposal for a cross-platform solution was  originally unveiled  exactly a year ago by the two tech giants. The capability – dubbed " Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers " (DULT) – is available in Android devices running versions 6.0 and later, and iOS devices with iOS 17.5, which was officially shipped yesterday. As part of the industry specification, Android users will  receive  a "Tracker traveling with you" alert if an unidentified Bluetooth tracking device is detected as moving along with them over
Google Simplifies 2-Factor Authentication Setup (It's More Important Than Ever)

Google Simplifies 2-Factor Authentication Setup (It's More Important Than Ever)

May 07, 2024 Online Security / Data Breach
Google on Monday announced that it's simplifying the process of enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) for users with personal and Workspace accounts. Also called 2-Step Verification ( 2SV ), it aims to add an extra layer of security to users' accounts to prevent takeover attacks in case the passwords are stolen. The new change entails adding a second step method, such as an authenticator app or a hardware security key, before turning on 2FA, thus eliminating the need for using the less secure SMS-based authentication. "This is particularly helpful for organizations using Google Authenticator (or other equivalent time-based one-time password (TOTP) apps)," the company  said . "Previously, users had to enable 2SV with a phone number before being able to add Authenticator." Users with hardware security keys have two options to add them to their accounts, including by registering a FIDO1 credential on the hardware key or by assigning a passkey (i.e., a F
Google Announces Passkeys Adopted by Over 400 Million Accounts

Google Announces Passkeys Adopted by Over 400 Million Accounts

May 03, 2024 Passwordless / Encryption
Google on Thursday announced that passkeys are being used by over 400 million Google accounts, authenticating users more than 1 billion times  over the past two years . "Passkeys are easy to use and phishing resistant, only relying on a fingerprint, face scan or a pin making them 50% faster than passwords," Heather Adkins, vice president of security engineering at Google,  said . The search giant notes that passkeys are already used for authentication on Google Accounts more often than legacy forms of two-factor authentication, such as SMS one-time passwords (OTPs) and app based OTPs combined. In addition, the company said it's expanding  Cross-Account Protection , which alerts of suspicious events with third-party apps and services connected to a user's Google Account, to include more apps and services. Google is also expected to support the use of passkeys for high-risk users as part of its Advanced Protection Program (APP), which aims to safeguard people from
Google Postpones Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Amid U.K. Regulatory Scrutiny

Google Postpones Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Amid U.K. Regulatory Scrutiny

Apr 25, 2024 Technology / Privacy
Google has once again  pushed its plans  to deprecate third-party tracking cookies in its Chrome web browser as it works to address outstanding competition concerns from U.K. regulators over its Privacy Sandbox initiative. The tech giant said it's working closely with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and hopes to achieve an agreement by the end of the year. As part of the new timeline, it aims to start phasing out third-party cookies early next year, making it the third such extension since the tech giant  announced  the plans in 2020, postponing it from  early 2022 to late 2023 , and again to the  second half of 2024 . Privacy Sandbox refers to a  set of initiatives  that offers privacy-preserving alternatives to tracking cookies and cross-app identifiers in order to serve tailored ads to users. While Google has since  enabled  the features to a subset of Chrome browser users as of last year, the U.K. watchdog, alongside the Information Commissioner's Of
Google Chrome Adds V8 Sandbox - A New Defense Against Browser Attacks

Google Chrome Adds V8 Sandbox - A New Defense Against Browser Attacks

Apr 08, 2024 Software Security / Cybersecurity
Google has announced support for what's called a  V8 Sandbox  in the Chrome web browser in an effort to address memory corruption issues. The sandbox, according to V8 security technical lead Samuel Groß,  aims  to prevent "memory corruption in V8 from spreading within the host process." The search behemoth has  described  V8 Sandbox as a lightweight, in-process sandbox for the JavaScript and WebAssembly engine that's designed to mitigate common V8 vulnerabilities. The idea is to limit the impact of V8 vulnerabilities by restricting the code executed by V8 to a subset of the process' virtual address space ("the sandbox") and isolating it from the rest of the process. Shortcomings affecting V8 have accounted for a significant chunk of the zero-day vulnerabilities that Google has  addressed  between  2021  and  2023 , with as many as 16 security flaws discovered over the time period. "The sandbox assumes that an attacker can arbitrarily and conc
Google Sues App Developers Over Fake Crypto Investment App Scam

Google Sues App Developers Over Fake Crypto Investment App Scam

Apr 08, 2024 Investment Scam / Mobile Security
Google has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. against two app developers for allegedly engaging in an "international online consumer investment fraud scheme" that tricked users into downloading bogus Android apps from the Google Play Store and other sources and stealing their funds under the guise of promising higher returns. The individuals in question are Yunfeng Sun (aka Alphonse Sun) and Hongnam Cheung (aka Zhang Hongnim or Stanford Fischer), who are believed to be based in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, respectively. The defendants are said to have uploaded about 87 crypto apps to the Play Store to pull off the social engineering scam since at least 2019, with over 100,000 users downloading them and leading to substantial financial losses. "The gains conveyed by the apps were illusory," the tech giant said in its complaint. "And the scheme did not end there." "Instead, when individual victims attempted to withdraw their balances, defendants and their co
Google Warns: Android Zero-Day Flaws in Pixel Phones Exploited by Forensic Companies

Google Warns: Android Zero-Day Flaws in Pixel Phones Exploited by Forensic Companies

Apr 03, 2024 Mobile Security / Zero Day
Google has disclosed that two Android security flaws impacting its Pixel smartphones have been exploited in the wild by forensic companies. The high-severity zero-day vulnerabilities are as follows - CVE-2024-29745  - An information disclosure flaw in the bootloader component CVE-2024-29748  - A privilege escalation flaw in the firmware component "There are indications that the [vulnerabilities] may be under limited, targeted exploitation," Google  said  in an advisory published April 2, 2024. While the tech giant did not reveal any other information about the nature of the attacks exploiting these shortcomings, the maintainers of GrapheneOS said they "are being actively exploited in the wild by forensic companies." "CVE-2024-29745 refers to a vulnerability in the fastboot firmware used to support unlocking/flashing/locking," they  said  in a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter). "Forensic companies are rebooting devices in After First U
Google to Delete Billions of Browsing Records in 'Incognito Mode' Privacy Lawsuit Settlement

Google to Delete Billions of Browsing Records in 'Incognito Mode' Privacy Lawsuit Settlement

Apr 02, 2024 Browser Security / Data Security
Google has agreed to purge billions of data records reflecting users' browsing activities to settle a class action lawsuit that claimed the search giant tracked them without their knowledge or consent in its Chrome browser. The  class action , filed in 2020, alleged the company misled users by tracking their internet browsing activity who thought that it remained private when using the "incognito" or "private" mode on web browsers like Chrome. In late December 2023, it  emerged  that the company had consented to settle the lawsuit. The deal is currently pending approval by the U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. "The settlement provides broad relief regardless of any challenges presented by Google's limited record keeping," a court filing on April 1, 2024, said. "Much of the private browsing data in these logs will be deleted in their entirety, including billions of event level data records that reflect class members' private
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