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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Privacy

Incomplete 'Go SMS Pro' Patch Left Millions of Users' Data Still Exposed Online

Incomplete 'Go SMS Pro' Patch Left Millions of Users' Data Still Exposed Online

December 01, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A week after cybersecurity researchers disclosed a flaw in the popular GO SMS Pro messaging app, it appears the developers of the app are silently taking steps to fix the issue from behind the scenes. The  security misstep  made it possible for an attacker to come up with a trivial script to access media files transferred between users, including private voice messages, photos, and videos, stored on an unauthenticated, publicly accessible server. Although the behavior was observed on version 7.91 of GO SMS Pro for Android, the app makers have since released three subsequent updates, two of which (v7.93 and v7.94) were pushed to the Google Play Store after public disclosure of the flaw and Google's removal of the app from the marketplace. Google reinstated the app back to the Play Store on November 23. Now following an analysis of the updated versions, Trustwave researchers said , "GOMO is attempting to fix the issue, but a complete fix is still not available in the app.&
China's Baidu Android Apps Caught Collecting Sensitive User Data

China's Baidu Android Apps Caught Collecting Sensitive User Data

November 24, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Two popular Android apps from Chinese tech giant Baidu were temporarily unavailable on the Google Play Store in October after they were caught collecting sensitive user details. The two apps in question— Baidu Maps and Baidu Search Box —were found to collect device identifiers, such as the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number or MAC address, without users' knowledge, thus making them  potentially trackable  online. The  discovery  was made by network security firm Palo Alto Networks, who notified both Baidu and Google of their findings, after which the search company pulled the apps on October 28, citing "unspecified violations."  As of writing, a compliant version of Baidu Search Box has been restored to the Play Store on November 19, while Baidu Maps remains unavailable until the unresolved issues highlighted by Google are fixed. A separate app named Homestyler was also found to collect private information from users' Android devices. Accord
Experts Warn of Privacy Risks Caused by Link Previews in Messaging Apps

Experts Warn of Privacy Risks Caused by Link Previews in Messaging Apps

October 26, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers over the weekend disclosed new security risks associated with link previews in popular messaging apps that cause the services to leak IP addresses, expose links sent via end-to-end encrypted chats, and even unnecessarily download gigabytes of data stealthily in the background. "Links shared in chats may contain private information intended only for the recipients," researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk  said . "This could be bills, contracts, medical records, or anything that may be confidential." "Apps that rely on servers to generate link previews may be violating the privacy of their users by sending links shared in a private chat to their servers." Generating Link Previews at the Sender/Receiver Side Link previews are a common feature in most chat apps, making it easy to display a visual preview and a brief description of the shared link. Although apps like  Signal  and  Wire  give users the option to turn on/off l
FinSpy Spyware for Mac and Linux OS Targets Egyptian Organisations

FinSpy Spyware for Mac and Linux OS Targets Egyptian Organisations

September 25, 2020Mohit Kumar
Amnesty International today exposed details of a new surveillance campaign that targeted Egyptian civil society organizations with previously undisclosed versions of FinSpy spyware designed to target Linux and macOS systems. Developed by a German company , FinSpy is extremely powerful spying software that is being sold as a legal law enforcement tool to governments around the world but has also been found in use by oppressive and dubious regimes to spy on activists. FinSpy, also known as FinFisher, can target both desktop and mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux, to gain spying capabilities, including secretly turning on their webcams and microphones, recording everything the victim types on the keyboard, intercepting calls, and exfiltration of data. According to the human rights organization Amnesty International , the newly discovered campaign is not linked to 'NilePhish,' a hacking group known for attacking Egyptian NGOs in a ser
OkCupid Dating App Flaws Could've Let Hackers Read Your Private Messages

OkCupid Dating App Flaws Could've Let Hackers Read Your Private Messages

July 29, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today disclosed several security issues in popular online dating platform OkCupid that could potentially let attackers remotely spy on users' private information or perform malicious actions on behalf of the targeted accounts. According to a report shared with The Hacker News, researchers from Check Point found that the flaws in OkCupid's Android and web applications could allow the theft of users' authentication tokens, users IDs, and other sensitive information such as email addresses, preferences, sexual orientation, and other private data. After Check Point researchers responsibly shared their findings with OkCupid, the Match Group-owned company fixed the issues, stating, "not a single user was impacted by the potential vulnerability." The Chain of Flaws The flaws were identified as part of reverse engineering of OkCupid's Android app version 40.3.1, which was released on April 29 earlier this year. Since then, there
Change This Browser Setting to Stop Xiaomi from Spying On Your Incognito Activities

Change This Browser Setting to Stop Xiaomi from Spying On Your Incognito Activities

May 05, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
If you own a Xiaomi smartphone or have installed the Mi browser app on any of your other brand Android device, you should enable a newly introduced privacy setting immediately to prevent the company from spying on your online activities. The smartphone maker has begun rolling out an update to its Mi Browser/Mi Browser Pro (v12.1.4) and Mint Browser (v3.4.3) after concerns were raised over its practice of transmitting web browsing histories and device metadata to the company servers. The new privacy setting now allows Mi Browser users to disable aggregated data collection feature while in Incognito Mode, but it bears noting that it's not enabled by default. The option can be accessed by tapping the settings icon in the browser > Incognito mode settings > and then disable 'Enhanced incognito mode,' as shown in an attached screenshot below. Mint Browser and Mi Browser Pro have been downloaded more than 15 million times from Google Play to date. The devel
Researchers Uncover Novel Way to De-anonymize Device IDs to Users' Biometrics

Researchers Uncover Novel Way to De-anonymize Device IDs to Users' Biometrics

April 28, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers have uncovered a potential means to profile and track online users using a novel approach that combines device identifiers with their biometric information. The details come from a newly published research titled "Nowhere to Hide: Cross-modal Identity Leakage between Biometrics and Devices" by a group of academics from the University of Liverpool, New York University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and University at Buffalo SUNY. "Prior studies on identity theft only consider the attack goal for a single type of identity, either for device IDs or biometrics," Chris Xiaoxuan Lu, Assistant Professor at the University of Liverpool, told The Hacker News in an email interview. "The missing part, however, is to explore the feasibility of compromising the two types of identities simultaneously and deeply understand their correlation in multi-modal IoT environments." The researchers presented the findings at the Web Conference 2020 held
Zoom Caught in Cybersecurity Debate — Here's Everything You Need To Know

Zoom Caught in Cybersecurity Debate — Here's Everything You Need To Know

April 06, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Over the past few weeks, the use of Zoom video conferencing software has exploded ever since it emerged the platform of choice to host everything from cabinet meetings to yoga classes amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and work from home became the new normal. The app has skyrocketed to 200 million daily users from an average of 10 million in December — along with a 535 percent increase in daily traffic to its download page in the last month — but it's also seen a massive uptick in Zoom's problems, all of which stem from sloppy design practices and security implementations. Zoom may never have designed its product beyond enterprise chat initially, but with the app now being used in a myriad number of ways and by regular consumers, the company's full scope of gaffes have come into sharp focus — something it was able to avoid all this time. But if this public scrutiny can make it a more secure product, it can only be a good thing in the long run. A Laundry
Marriott Suffers Second Breach Exposing Data of 5.2 Million Hotel Guests

Marriott Suffers Second Breach Exposing Data of 5.2 Million Hotel Guests

March 31, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
International hotel chain Marriott today disclosed a data breach impacting nearly 5.2 million hotel guests, making it the second security incident to hit the company in recent years. "At the end of February 2020, we identified that an unexpected amount of guest information may have been accessed using the login credentials of two employees at a franchise property," Marriott said in a statement . "We believe this activity started in mid-January 2020. Upon discovery, we confirmed that the login credentials were disabled, immediately began an investigation, implemented heightened monitoring, and arranged resources to inform and assist guests." The incident exposed guests' personal information such as contact details (name, mailing address, email address, and phone number), loyalty account information (account number and points balance), and additional information such as company, gender, dates of births, room preferences, and language preferences. The ho
500 Chrome Extensions Caught Stealing Private Data of 1.7 Million Users

500 Chrome Extensions Caught Stealing Private Data of 1.7 Million Users

February 14, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Google removed 500 malicious Chrome extensions from its Web Store after they found to inject malicious ads and siphon off user browsing data to servers under the control of attackers. These extensions were part of a malvertising and ad-fraud campaign that's been operating at least since January 2019, although evidence points out the possibility that the actor behind the scheme may have been active since 2017. The findings come as part of a joint investigation by security researcher Jamila Kaya and Cisco-owned Duo Security, which unearthed 70 Chrome Extensions with over 1.7 million installations. Upon sharing the discovery privately with Google, the company went on to identify 430 more problematic browser extensions, all of which have since been deactivated. "The prominence of malvertising as an attack vector will continue to rise as long as tracking-based advertising remains ubiquitous, and particularly if users remain underserved by protection mechanisms," sa
Zoom Bug Could Have Let Uninvited People Join Private Meetings

Zoom Bug Could Have Let Uninvited People Join Private Meetings

January 28, 2020Swati Khandelwal
If you use Zoom to host your remote online meetings, you need to read this piece carefully. The massively popular video conferencing software has patched a security loophole that could have allowed anyone to remotely eavesdrop on unprotected active meetings, potentially exposing private audio, video, and documents shared throughout the session. Besides hosting password-protected virtual meetings and webinars, Zoom also allows users to set up a session for non-pre-registered participants who can join an active meeting by entering a unique Meeting ID, without requiring a password or going through the Waiting Rooms. Zoom generates this random meeting ID, comprised of 9, 10, and 11-digit numbers, for each meeting you schedule or create. If leaked beyond an individual or intended group of people, merely knowing Meeting IDs could allow unwelcome guests joining meetings or webinars. This could be bad news for anyone expecting their conversations to be private. To circumvent suc
Xiaomi Cameras Connected to Google Nest Expose Video Feeds From Others

Xiaomi Cameras Connected to Google Nest Expose Video Feeds From Others

January 03, 2020Wang Wei
Internet-connected devices have been one of the most remarkable developments that have happened to humankind in the last decade. Although this development is a good thing, it also stipulates a high security and privacy risk to personal information. In one such recent privacy mishap, smart IP cameras manufactured by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi found mistakenly sharing surveillance footage of Xiaomi users with other random users without any permission. The issue appears to affect Xiaomi IP cameras only when streamed through connected Google's Nest Hub, which came into light when a Reddit user claimed that his Google Nest Hub is apparently pulling random feeds from other users instead of his own Xiaomi Mijia cameras. The Reddit user also shared some photos showing other people's homes, an older adult sleeping on a chair, and a baby sleeping in its crib that appeared on his Nest Hub screen. It appears the issue doesn't reside in Google products; instead, it c
Avast and AVG Browser Extensions Spying On Chrome and Firefox Users

Avast and AVG Browser Extensions Spying On Chrome and Firefox Users

December 03, 2019Mohit Kumar
If your Firefox or Chrome browser has any of the below-listed four extensions offered by Avast and its subsidiary AVG installed, you should disable or remove them as soon as possible. Avast Online Security AVG Online Security Avast SafePrice AVG SafePrice Why? Because these four widely installed browser extensions have been caught collecting a lot more data on its millions of users than they are intended to, including your detailed browsing history. Most of you might not even remember downloading and installing these extensions on your web browser, and that's likely because when users install Avast or AVG antivirus on their PCs, the software automatically installs their respective add-ons on the users' browsers. Both online security extensions have been designed to warn users when they visit a malicious or phishing website; whereas, SafePrice extensions help online shoppers learn about best offers, price comparisons, travel deals, and discount coupons from variou
Malicious Android SDKs Caught Accessing Facebook and Twitter Users Data

Malicious Android SDKs Caught Accessing Facebook and Twitter Users Data

November 26, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Two third-party software development kits integrated by over hundreds of thousands of Android apps have been caught holding unauthorized access to users' data associated with their connected social media accounts. In a blog post published yesterday, Twitter revealed that an SDK developed by OneAudience contains a privacy-violating component which may have passed some of its users' personal data to the OneAudience servers. Following Twitter's disclosure, Facebook today released a statement revealing that an SDK from another company, Mobiburn , is also under investigation for a similar malicious activity that might have exposed its users connected with certain Android apps to data collection firms. Both OneAudience and Mobiburn are data monetization services that pay developers to integrate their SDKs into the apps, which then collect users' behavioral data and then use it with advertisers for targeted marketing. In general, third-party software development k
T-Mobile Suffers Data Breach Affecting Prepaid Wireless Customers

T-Mobile Suffers Data Breach Affecting Prepaid Wireless Customers

November 21, 2019Mohit Kumar
Are you a T-Mobile prepaid customer? If yes, you should immediately create or update your associated account PIN/passcode as additional protection. The US-based telecom giant T-Mobile today disclosed a yet another data breach incident that recently exposed potentially personal information of some of the customers using its prepaid services. What happened? In a statement posted on its website, T-Mobile said its cybersecurity team discovered a "malicious, unauthorized access" to information associated with an undisclosed number of its prepaid wireless account customers. However, the company did not disclose precisely how the breach happened, when it happened, and how the attackers unauthorizedly managed to access the private information of the company's prepaid customers. What type of information was accessed? The stolen data associated with customers' prepaid wireless accounts include their: names, phone numbers, billing addresses (if customers provided
NordVPN Breach FAQ – What Happened and What's At Stake?

NordVPN Breach FAQ – What Happened and What's At Stake?

October 22, 2019Swati Khandelwal
NordVPN, one of the most popular and widely used VPN services out there, yesterday disclosed details of a security incident that apparently compromised one of its thousands of servers based in Finland. Earlier this week, a security researcher on Twitter disclosed that "NordVPN was compromised at some point," alleging that unknown attackers stole private encryption keys used to protect VPN users traffic routed through the compromised server. In response to this, NordVPN published a blog post detailing about the security incident, and here we have summarized the whole incident for our readers to let you quickly understand what exactly happened, what's at stake, and what you should do next. Some of the information mentioned below also contains information The Hacker News obtained via an email interview with NordVPN. What has been compromised? — NordVPN has thousands of servers across the world hosted with third-party data centers. One such server hosted with a
You Gave Your Phone Number to Twitter for Security and Twitter Used it for Ads

You Gave Your Phone Number to Twitter for Security and Twitter Used it for Ads

October 09, 2019Swati Khandelwal
After exposing private tweets , plaintext passwords , and personal information for hundreds of thousands of its users, here is a new security blunder social networking company Twitter admitted today. Twitter announced that the phone numbers and email addresses of some users provided for two-factor authentication (2FA) protection had been used for targeted advertising purposes—though the company said it was 'unintentional.' In a blog post, the company said an 'error' in its 'Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system' inadvertently used the information provided by users for security reasons to run targeted ads based on the advertisers' own marketing lists. "When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes. This was an error and we apologize," Twitter said in a blog po
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