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Google, Mozilla, Apple Block Kazakhstan's Root CA Certificate to Prevent Spying

Google, Mozilla, Apple Block Kazakhstan's Root CA Certificate to Prevent Spying

August 21, 2019Mohit Kumar
In a move to protect its users based in Kazakhstan from government surveillance, Google, Apple and Mozilla finally today came forward and blocked Kazakhstan's government-issued root CA certificate within their respective web browsing software. Starting today, Chrome, Safari and Firefox users in Kazakhstan will see an error message stating that the " Qaznet Trust Network " certificate should not be trusted when attempting to access a website that responds with the government-issued certificate. As The Hacker News reported last month , all major Kazakh Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are forcing their customers into installing a government-issued root certificate on their devices in order to regain access to their Internet services. The root certificate in question, labeled as " trusted certificate " or "national security certificate," if installed, allows ISPs to intercept, monitor, and decrypt users' encrypted HTTPS and TLS connections,
Kaspersky Antivirus Flaw Exposed Users to Cross-Site Tracking Online

Kaspersky Antivirus Flaw Exposed Users to Cross-Site Tracking Online

August 15, 2019Swati Khandelwal
In this digital era, the success of almost every marketing, advertising, and analytics company drives through tracking users across the Internet to identify them and learn their interests to provide targeted ads. Most of these solutions rely on 3rd-party cookies, a cookie set on a domain other than the one you are browsing, which allows companies including Google and Facebook to fingerprint you in order to track your every move across multiple sites. However, if you're using Kaspersky Antivirus, a vulnerability in the security software had exposed a unique identifier associated with you to every website you visited in the past 4 years, which might have allowed those sites and other third-party services to track you across the web even if you have blocked or erased third-party cookies timely. The vulnerability, identified as CVE-2019-8286 and discovered by independent security researcher Ronald Eikenberg, resides in the way a URL scanning module integrated into the antivir
Binance KYC Data Leak — Crypto Exchange Sets $290,000 Bounty On Blackmailer

Binance KYC Data Leak — Crypto Exchange Sets $290,000 Bounty On Blackmailer

August 07, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance has become a victim of a ransom demand from a scammer who claimed to have hacked the KYC (Know Your Customer) data of thousands of its customers. The unknown attacker threatened the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume to release KYC information of 10,000 users if the company did not pay 300 Bitcoins—that's equivalent to almost $3.5 million at today's exchange value. Although the authenticity of the hack is not confirmed yet, several photos of individuals holding their identity cards, such as passports and voter IDs, have been circulating across different online channels. In response to the incident, Binance just released an official statement today confirming that "an unidentified individual has threatened and harassed us, demanding 300 BTC in exchange for withholding 10,000 photos that bear similarity to Binance KYC data." Binance said the company is still investigating the legitimacy of those
Kazakhstan Begins Intercepting HTTPS Internet Traffic Of All Citizens Forcefully

Kazakhstan Begins Intercepting HTTPS Internet Traffic Of All Citizens Forcefully

July 19, 2019Mohit Kumar
If you are in Kazakhstan and unable to access the Internet service without installing a certificate, you're not alone. The Kazakhstan government has once again issued an advisory to all major local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) asking them to make it mandatory for all their customers to install government-issued root certificates on their devices in order to regain access to the Internet services. The root certificate in question, labeled as " trusted certificate " or " national security certificate ," if installed, allows ISPs to intercept and monitor users' encrypted HTTPS and TLS connections, helping the government spy on its citizens and censor content. In other words, the government is essentially launching a "man in the middle" attack on every resident of the country. But how installing a "root certificate" allow ISPs to decrypt HTTPS connection? For those unaware, your device and web browsers automatically trust digi
Google Adds New Option to 'Auto-Delete' Your Location History and Activity Data

Google Adds New Option to 'Auto-Delete' Your Location History and Activity Data

May 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Google is giving you more control over how long you want the tech company to hold on to your location history and web activity data. Google has introduced a new, easier, privacy-focused auto-delete feature for your Google account that will allow you to automatically delete your Location History and Web and App Activity data after a set period of time. Google's Location History feature, if enabled, allows the company to track locations that you have visited, while Web and App Activity tracks websites you have visited and apps you have used. Until now, Google allowed you to either altogether disable the Location History and Web and App Activity feature or manually delete all or part of that data, providing no controls for regular deletion so that users can manage their data efficiently. However, an AP investigation last year revealed that even if you turn off the Location History feature in all your accounts, Google services on Android and iPhone devices continue to trac
How to Delete Accidentally Sent Messages, Photos on Facebook Messenger

How to Delete Accidentally Sent Messages, Photos on Facebook Messenger

February 06, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Ever sent a message on Facebook Messenger then immediately regretted it, or an embarrassing text to your boss in the heat of the moment at late night, or maybe accidentally sent messages or photos to a wrong group chat? Of course, you have. We have all been through drunk texts and embarrassing photos many times that we later regret sending but are forced to live with our mistakes. Good news, Facebook is now giving us a way to erase our little embarrassments. After offering a similar feature to WhatsApp users two years ago, Facebook is now rolling out a long-promised option to delete text messages, photos, or videos inside its Messenger application starting from Tuesday, February 5. You Have 10 Minutes to Delete Sent Facebook Messages The unsend feature allows users to delete a message within 10 minutes of sending it, for both individual and group chats. Previously, Messenger offered the "delete" option that allowed users to only delete messages for them—but t
Facebook Paid Teens $20 to Install 'Research' App That Collects Private Data

Facebook Paid Teens $20 to Install 'Research' App That Collects Private Data

January 30, 2019Swati Khandelwal
If you are thinking that Facebook is sitting quietly after being forced to remove its Onavo VPN app from Apple's App Store, then you are mistaken. It turns out that Facebook is paying teenagers around $20 a month to use its VPN app that aggressively monitors their smartphone and web activity and then sends it back to Facebook. The social media giant was previously caught collecting some of this data through Onavo Protect , a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that it acquired in 2013. However, the company was forced to pull the app from the App Store in August 2018 after Apple found that Facebook was using the VPN service to track its user activity and data across multiple apps, which clearly violates its App Store guidelines on data collection. Onavo Protect became a data collection tool for Facebook helping the company track smartphone users' activities across multiple different apps to learn insights about how Facebook users use third-party apps. Facebook&#
iCloud Possibly Suffered A Privacy Breach Last Year That Apple Kept a Secret

iCloud Possibly Suffered A Privacy Breach Last Year That Apple Kept a Secret

January 30, 2019Mohit Kumar
Late last year when an unknown group of hackers stole secret access tokens for millions of Facebook accounts by taking advantage of a flaw in its website, the company disclosed the incident and informed its affected users. Similarly, when Twitter was hit by multiple vulnerabilities ( #1 , #2 , #3 ) in the last few months, the social media company disclosed those incidents and informed its affected users. And Guess What? Google is going to shut down its social media network Google+ in April this year after admitting two security flaws in its platform that exposed private data of hundreds of thousands of users to third-party developers. It turns out that Apple also possibly suffered a privacy breach late last year due to a bug in its platform that might have exposed some of your iCloud data to other users, but the company chose to keep the incident secret... maybe because it was not worth to disclose, or perhaps much more complicated. Last week, Turkish security researcher Me
Google fined $57 million by France for lack of transparency and consent

Google fined $57 million by France for lack of transparency and consent

January 21, 2019Mohit Kumar
The French data protection watchdog CNIL has issued its first fine of €50 million (around $57 million) under the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law that came into force in May last year. The fine has been levied on Google for "lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the ads personalization," the CNIL (National Data Protection Commission) said in a press release issued today. The fine was imposed following the latest CNIL investigation into Google after receiving complaints against the company in May 2018 by two non-profit organizations—None Of Your Business (NOYB) and La Quadrature du Net (LQDN). Why Has Google Been Fined? According to the CNIL, Google has been found violating two core privacy rules of the GDPR—Transparency, and Consent. First, the search engine giant makes it too difficult for users to find essential information, like the "data-processing purposes, the data storag
A Twitter Bug Left Android Users' Private Tweets Exposed For 4 Years

A Twitter Bug Left Android Users' Private Tweets Exposed For 4 Years

January 18, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Twitter just admitted that the social network accidentally revealed some Android users' protected tweets to the public for more than 4 years — a kind of privacy blunder that you'd typically expect from Facebook . When you sign up for Twitter, all your Tweets are public by default, allowing anyone to view and interact with your Tweets. Fortunately, Twitter also gives you control of your information, allowing you to choose if you want to keep your Tweets protected. Enabling "Protect your Tweets" setting makes your tweets private, and you'll receive a request whenever new people want to follow you, which you can approve or deny. It's just similar to private Facebook updates that limit your information to your friends only. In a post on its Help Center on Thursday, Twitter disclosed a privacy bug dating back to November 3, 2014, potentially caused the Twitter for Android app to disable the "Protect your Tweets" setting for users without their k
Google Partially Patches Flaw in Chrome for Android 3 Years After Disclosure

Google Partially Patches Flaw in Chrome for Android 3 Years After Disclosure

January 03, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Google has finally patched a privacy vulnerability in its Chrome web browser for Android that exposes users' device model and firmware version, eventually enabling remote attackers to identify unpatched devices and exploit known vulnerabilities. The vulnerability, which has not yet given any CVE number, is an information disclosure bug that resides in the way the Google Chrome for Android generates 'User Agent' string containing the Android version number and build tag information, which includes device name and its firmware build. This information is also sent to applications using WebView and Chrome Tabs APIs, which can be used to track users and fingerprint devices on which they are running. For example: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 5.1.1; Nexus 6 Build/LYZ28K ) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/46.0.2490.34 Mobile Safari/537.36 Yakov Shafranovich, a contributor at Nightwatch Cybersecurity firm, initially reported this issue to Google three years a
From Now On, Only Default Android Apps Can Access Call Log and SMS Data

From Now On, Only Default Android Apps Can Access Call Log and SMS Data

October 09, 2018Mohit Kumar
A few hours ago the company announced its "non-shocking" plans to shut down Google+ social media network following a "shocking" data breach incident. Now to prevent abuse and potential leakage of sensitive data to third-party app developers, Google has made several significant changes giving users more control over what type of data they choose to share with each app. The changes are part of Google's Project Strobe —a "root-and-branch" review of third-party developers access to Google account and Android device data and of its idea around apps' data access. Restricted Call Log and SMS Permissions for Apps Google announced some new changes to the way permissions are approved for Android apps to prevent abuse and potential leakage of sensitive call and text log data by third-party developers. While the apps are only supposed to request permission those are required for functioning properly, any Android app can ask permission to access y
Apple Removes Several Trend Micro Apps For Collecting MacOS Users' Data

Apple Removes Several Trend Micro Apps For Collecting MacOS Users' Data

September 11, 2018Mohit Kumar
Apple has removed almost all popular security apps offered by well-known cyber-security vendor Trend Micro from its official Mac App Store after they were caught stealing users' sensitive data without their consent. The controversial apps in question include Dr Cleaner, Dr Cleaner Pro, Dr Antivirus, Dr Unarchiver, App Uninstall, Dr. Battery, and Duplicate Finder for Mac computers. The apps were removed just two days after Apple kicked out another popular "Adware Doctor" application for collecting and sending browser history data from users' Safari, Chrome, and Firefox to a server in China. "This was a one-time data collection, done for security purposes (to analyze whether a user had recently encountered adware or other threats, and thus to improve the product & service)," Trend Micro argued. The suspicious behavior of Trend Micro apps was initially reported by a user on the Malwarebytes forum in December 2017, which was last weekend re-con
Google Secretly Tracks What You Buy Offline Using Mastercard Data

Google Secretly Tracks What You Buy Offline Using Mastercard Data

September 03, 2018Wang Wei
Over a week after Google admitted the company tracks users' location even after they disable location history, it has now been revealed that the tech giant has signed a secret deal with Mastercard that allows it to track what users buy offline. Google has paid Mastercard millions of dollars in exchange to access this information. Neither Google nor Mastercard has publicly announced the business partnership over allowing Google to measure retail spending, though the deal has now been disclosed by Bloomberg. According to four unidentified people with knowledge of the deal cited by the news outlet, Google and Mastercard reached the agreement after a four-year negotiation, wherein all Mastercard transaction data in the U.S. has been encrypted and transmitted to Google. Google packaged the data into a new tool for advertisers, called Store Sales Measurement, and currently being tested the tool with a small group of advertisers, allowing them to track whether online advertise
Google Sued Over Misleading Users About Location Tracking Feature

Google Sued Over Misleading Users About Location Tracking Feature

August 21, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Google was in the news last week for a misleading claim that "with Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored," which is not true. Now, the search engine giant is once again in the news after a San Diego man has filed the first lawsuit against Google over this issue. Last week, the Associated Press investigation revealed that the search engine giant tracks movements of millions of iPhone and Android device users, even if they have disabled the "Location History" setting to prevent it. However, it turned out that to fully opt-out of having your location activities stored by Google, you also have to disable the 'Web and App Activity' control as well, about which the company has mentioned deep into its product documentation. In response to the AP investigation, Google defended itself by saying, "there are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people's experience," and that "we provide c
Google Tracks Android, iPhone Users Even With 'Location History' Turned Off

Google Tracks Android, iPhone Users Even With 'Location History' Turned Off

August 13, 2018Mohit Kumar
Google tracks you everywhere, even if you explicitly tell it not to. Every time a service like Google Maps wants to use your location, Google asks your permission to allow access to your location if you want to use it for navigating, but a new investigation shows that the company does track you anyway. An investigation by Associated Press revealed that many Google services on Android and iPhone devices store records of your location data even when you have paused "Location History" on your mobile devices. Disabling " Location History " in the privacy settings of Google applications should prevent Google from keeping track of your every movement, as its own support page states: "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored." However, AP found that even with Location History turned off, some Google apps automatically store "time-stamped location data" on users without ask
Apple Transfers Chinese Users' iCloud Data to State-Controlled Data Centers

Apple Transfers Chinese Users' iCloud Data to State-Controlled Data Centers

July 18, 2018Mohit Kumar
There's terrible news for Apple users in China. Apple's Chinese data center partner has transferred iCloud data, belonging to 130 million China-based users, to a cloud storage service managed by a state-owned mobile telecom provider—raising concerns about privacy. Back in February this year, Apple moved the encryption keys and data of its Chinese iCloud users from its US servers to local servers on Chinese soil to comply with the new regulation of the Chinese government , despite concerns from human rights activists. For this Apple controversially signed a deal with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD), a Chinese company who gained operation control over Apple's iCloud business in China earlier this year. Now, that sensitive data, which includes users’ emails, text messages, pictures, and the encryption keys that protect it, has been passed on to Tianyi cloud storage service, a business venture managed by government-owned mobile operator China Telecom. In case you ar
Facebook Admits Sharing Users' Data With 61 Tech Companies

Facebook Admits Sharing Users' Data With 61 Tech Companies

July 02, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Facebook has admitted that the company gave dozens of tech companies and app developers special access to its users' data after publicly saying it had restricted outside companies to access such data back in 2015. It's an unusual clear view of how the largest social networking site manages your personal information. During the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed March this year, Facebook stated that it already cut off third-party access to its users' data and their friends in May 2015 only. However, in a 747-page long document [ PDF ] delivered to Congress late Friday, the social networking giant admitted that it continued sharing data with 61 hardware and software makers , as well as app developers after 2015 as well. The disclosure comes in response to hundreds of questions posed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by members of Congress in April about its company's practices with data of its billions of users. The Washington Post reported that the company
Facebook Accused of Giving Over 60 Device-Makers Deep Access to User Data

Facebook Accused of Giving Over 60 Device-Makers Deep Access to User Data

June 04, 2018Swati Khandelwal
After being embroiled into controversies over its data sharing practices , it turns out that Facebook had granted inappropriate access to its users' data to more than 60 device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, and Samsung. According to a lengthy report published by The New York Times, the social network giant struck data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device manufacture companies so that they could offer Facebook messaging functions, "Like" buttons, address books, and other features without requiring their users to install a separate app. The agreements were reportedly made over the last 10 years, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones. Most notably, the publication suggests that the partnerships could be in breach of a 2011 consent decree by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which barred Facebook from granting other companies access to data of users' Facebook friends without their explicit consent
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