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New York, Canada, Ireland Launch New Investigations Into Facebook Privacy Breaches

New York, Canada, Ireland Launch New Investigations Into Facebook Privacy Breaches

April 27, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Facebook has a lot of problems, then there are a lot of problems for Facebook—and both are not going to end anytime sooner. Though Facebook has already set aside $5 billion from its revenue to cover a possible fine the company is expecting as a result of an FTC investigation over privacy violations, it seems to be just first installment of what Facebook has to pay for continuously ignoring users' privacy. This week, Facebook has been hit with three new separate investigations from various governmental authorities—both in the United States and abroad—over the company's mishandling of its users' data . New York Attorney General to Investigate Facebook Email Collection Scandal New York Attorney General is opening an investigation into Facebook's unauthorized collection of the email contacts of more than 1.5 million users during site registration without their permission. Earlier this month, Facebook was caught practicing the worst ever user-verification mechanism
Georgia Tech Data Breach Exposes 1.3 Million Users' Personal Data

Georgia Tech Data Breach Exposes 1.3 Million Users' Personal Data

April 03, 2019Mohit Kumar
The Georgia Institute of Technology, well known as Georgia Tech, has confirmed a data breach that has exposed personal information of 1.3 million current and former faculty members, students, staff and student applicants. In a brief note published Tuesday, Georgia Tech says an unknown outside entity gained "unauthorized access" to its web application and accessed the University’s central database by exploiting a vulnerability in the web app. Georgia Tech traced the first unauthorized access to its system to December 14, 2018, though it's unclear how long the unknown attacker(s) had access to the university database containing sensitive students and staff information. The database contained names, addresses, social security numbers, internal identification numbers, and date of birth of current and former students, faculty and staff, and student applicants. However, the University has launched a forensic investigation to determine the full extent of the breach.
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
Google+ to Shut Down Early After New API Flaw Hits 52.5 Million Users

Google+ to Shut Down Early After New API Flaw Hits 52.5 Million Users

December 10, 2018Mohit Kumar
Google today revealed that Google+ has suffered another massive data breach, forcing the tech giant to shut down its struggling social network four months earlier than its actual scheduled date, i.e., in April 2019 instead of August 2019. Google said it discovered another critical security vulnerability in one of Google+'s People APIs that could have allowed developers to steal private information on 52.5 million users, including their name, email address, occupation, and age. The vulnerable API in question is called "People: get" that has been designed to let developers request basic information associated with a user profile. However, software update in November introduced the bug in the Google+ People API that allowed apps to view users' information even if a user profile was set to not-public. Google engineers discovered the security issue during standard testing procedures and addressed it within a week of the issue being introduced. The company said
Air Canada Suffers Data Breach — 20,000 Mobile App Users Affected

Air Canada Suffers Data Breach — 20,000 Mobile App Users Affected

August 30, 2018Mohit Kumar
Air Canada has confirmed a data breach that may have affected about 20,000 customers of its 1.7 million mobile app users. The company said it had "detected unusual log-in behavior" on its mobile app between August 22 and 24, during which the personal information for some of its customers "may potentially have been improperly accessed." The exposed information contains basic information such as customers' names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other information they have added to their profiles. Passport Numbers Exposed in Air Canada Data Breach However, what's worrisome? Hackers could have also accessed additional data including customer's passport number, passport expiration date, passport country of issuance and country of residence, Aeroplan number, known traveler number, NEXUS number, gender, date of birth, and nationality, if users had this information saved in their profile on the Air Canada mobile app. The airline assured its c
T-Mobile Hacked — 2 Million Customers' Personal Data Stolen

T-Mobile Hacked — 2 Million Customers' Personal Data Stolen

August 24, 2018Mohit Kumar
T-Mobile today confirmed that the telecom giant suffered a security breach on its US servers on August 20 that may have resulted in the leak of "some" personal information of up to 2 million T-Mobile customers. The leaked information includes customers' name, billing zip code, phone number, email address, account number, and account type (prepaid or postpaid). However, the good news is that no financial information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, or passwords, were compromised in the security breach. According to a brief blog post published by the company detailing the incident, its cybersecurity team detected and shut down an "unauthorized capture of some information" on Monday, August 20. Although the company has not revealed how the hackers managed to hack into its servers neither it disclosed the exact number of customers affected by the data breach, a T-Mobile spokesperson told Motherboard that less than 3 percent of its 77 m
Facebook Faces £500,000 Fine in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak

Facebook Faces £500,000 Fine in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak

July 11, 2018Mohit Kumar
Facebook has been fined £500,000 ($664,000) in the U.K. after the country's data protection watchdog concluded that its data-sharing scandal broke the law, making it as the social network's first fine over the Cambridge Analytica scandal . Yes, £500,000—that's the maximum fine allowed by the UK's Data Protection Act 1998, and equals to what Facebook earns every 8 minutes. Facebook has been under scrutiny since earlier this year when it was revealed that personal data of 87 million users was improperly gathered and misused by political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, who reportedly helped Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016. According to the social media giant, a Cambridge University lecturer named Aleksandr Kogan collected the users' data legitimately through a quiz app but then violated its terms by sharing the data with Cambridge Analytica, which was then hired by the Trump presidential campaign. The UK's Information Commissioner's
Reminder—Third Party Gmail Apps Can Read Your Emails, "Allow" Carefully!

Reminder—Third Party Gmail Apps Can Read Your Emails, "Allow" Carefully!

July 03, 2018Mohit Kumar
Reminder—If you've forgotten about any Google app after using it once a few years ago, be careful, it may still have access to your private emails. When it comes to privacy on social media, we usually point fingers at Facebook for enabling third-party app developers to access users personal information—even with users' consent. But Facebook is not alone. Google also has a ton of information about you and this massive pool of data can be accessed by third-party apps you connect to, using its single sign-on service. Though Google has much stricter privacy policies about what developers can do with your data, the company still enables them to ask for complete access of your Google account, including the content of your emails and contacts. The entire Facebook's  Cambridge Analytica privacy saga highlights how crucial it is to keep track of the apps you have connected to your social media accounts and permitted to access your data. Last year, Google itself prom
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
Beware! Viral Sarahah App Secretly Steals Your Entire Contact List

Beware! Viral Sarahah App Secretly Steals Your Entire Contact List

August 28, 2017Mohit Kumar
Are you also one of those 18 Million users using SARAHAH? You should beware of this app because the anonymous feedback application may not be as private as it really sounds. Sarahah is a newly launched app that has become one of the hottest iPhone and Android apps in the past couple of weeks, allowing its users to sign up to receive anonymised, candid messages from other Sarahah users. However, it turns out that the app silently uploads users' phone contacts to the company's servers for no good reason, spotted by security analyst Zachary Julian. When an Android or iOS user downloads and installs the app for the first time, the app immediately harvests and uploads all phone numbers and email addresses from the user's address book, according to The Intercept . While an app requesting access to the user's phonebook is quite common if the app provides any feature that works with contacts, no such functionality in Sarahah is available right now. "The pri
Hotspot Shield VPN Accused of Spying On Its Users' Web Traffic

Hotspot Shield VPN Accused of Spying On Its Users' Web Traffic

August 08, 2017Mohit Kumar
" Privacy " is a bit of an Internet buzzword nowadays as the business model of the Internet has now shifted towards data collection. Although Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the best solutions to protect your privacy and data on the Internet, you should be more vigilant while choosing a VPN service which actually respects your privacy. If you are using popular free virtual private networking service Hotspot Shield , your data could be at a significant risk. A privacy advocacy group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against virtual private networking provider Hotspot Shield for reportedly violating its own privacy policy of "complete anonymity" promised to its users. The 14-page-long complaint filed Monday morning by the Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a US non-profit advocacy group for digital rights, accused Hotspot Shield of allegedly tracking, intercepting and collecting its customers' data. Develo
TalkTalk Hacked; 4 Million Credit Card Profiles may have been Stolen

TalkTalk Hacked; 4 Million Credit Card Profiles may have been Stolen

October 23, 2015Swati Khandelwal
TalkTalk , one of the biggest UK-based phone and Internet service provider with more than 4 Million customers, has been hacked again, the company announced late Thursday. TalkTalk is informing its 4 million customers that it has fallen victim to a "significant and sustained cyber attack" and it is possible that sensitive data including bank details have been stolen. In February, TalkTalk suffered a major data breach in which its customer details were stolen and misused by scammers to access additional information as well as steal considerable amount of money. What data might have been Exposed? According to the company, potentially all of its 4 Million customers could be affected by the data breach. However, TalkTalk hasn't specified exactly what kind of data was stolen from its servers, but says that the systems accessed by hackers contained information including: Credit card details and/or bank details Full names Postal addresses Dates
Web.com Hacked! Credit Card information of 93,000 Customers Compromised

Web.com Hacked! Credit Card information of 93,000 Customers Compromised

August 20, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Web.com, a Florida-based web hosting company with up to 3.3 Million customers, has suffered a data breach and may have compromised personal information and credit card data belonging to 93,000 of its clients . The company on Tuesday confirmed that some unknown hackers had breached one of its computer systems on August 13, 2015, and accessed personal information of nearly 93,000 customers. Web.com, with the goal to help small businesses succeed online, uncovered the unauthorized activity as part of its ongoing security monitoring and shutdown process. The stolen information includes: Credit Card information Actual Names associated with the payment cards Residential Addresses No other information belonging to customers, such as Social Security numbers , Verification Codes for the exposed credit cards, was affected by the data breach, according to the company. "The security of our customer information is a high priority for Web.com," Web.com CEO and Chairman David L. Brow
Free Tool Allows Anyone to View Facebook Users' Hidden Friends List

Free Tool Allows Anyone to View Facebook Users' Hidden Friends List

May 08, 2015Mohit Kumar
Facebook lets you control your every single information posted on the social media site by giving many options to make them private from others, even from your friends. But… There are some personal information on Facebook that you just cannot completely hide — Your friends list are among those, even if there is an option to hide it. The issue resides in the Facebook’s mutual-friends feature concept, which has been in controversies in the past, raising privacy concerns. But now, a new Free Chrome extension called " Facebook Friends Mapper " (developed by Alon Kollmann ) can expose a lot more than just mutual friends of the two Facebook users in " just one click ," creating high security and Privacy risks for Facebook users. Generally, Facebook also allows you to set the visibility of your list of Facebook friends to "Only Me" if you want to keep your friends list hidden from other Facebook users as well as your own friends. Howe
Police Using High-Tech Device to See Through Walls Warrantlessly

Police Using High-Tech Device to See Through Walls Warrantlessly

January 24, 2015Swati Khandelwal
We are all aware of the mass surveillance conducted by the government agencies on us. From our phone calls, emails to web activities, chats and social network activities, everything has been interrupted by the law enforcements. And now they have crossed every limits by using a new way to spy on you. Guess What? Dozens of US law enforcement agencies are quietly taking advantage of the technology that allows them to effectively "see" through walls of buildings to monitor people's activity . This has once again raised privacy questions. Privacy has become just a word as there’s nothing private left, not even our homes. According to a recent report from USA Today , over 50 law enforcement agencies, including Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Marshals, have secretly been using the new radars for the past two years, but it came to light just last month during a court hearing in Denver . The device, dubbed Range-R , sends out radio waves that can d
More Celebrity Photos Leaked — Kim Kardashian and Others Targeted

More Celebrity Photos Leaked — Kim Kardashian and Others Targeted

September 21, 2014Swati Khandelwal
So far people have not forgotten about the recent celebrity iCloud hacking scandal , a new wave of photographs of celebrities have been leaked in what appears to be the second edition of the massive leak related to the celebrities intimate-images on Internet earlier this month. Among the victims of the most recent leak were reality television star Kim Kardashian , 33, actor Vanessa Hudgens , 25, and U.S. national women’s soccer team goalie Hope Solo , 33. Mary-Kate Olsen, Avril Lavigne, Hayden Panettiere, Lake Bell, Leelee Sobieski and former Disney stars Aly and AJ Michalka are other potential victims of this hacking scandal. A video of Aubrey Plaza and previously unreleased photographs of celebrities included in the last leak, such as Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco , were also released with the recent privacy breach . The leaked Celebrity Photos first appeared Saturday morning on the image-sharing site 4Chan and were also post
Reported Apple iCloud Hack Leaked Hundreds of Celebrity Photos

Reported Apple iCloud Hack Leaked Hundreds of Celebrity Photos

September 02, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Now this gonna be the height of Privacy Breach! Images of several high-profile persona including actors, models, singers and presenters have been made available online in a blatant hacking leak linked to the Apple iCloud service. The recent privacy breach appears to be one of the biggest celebrity privacy breaches in history and represents a serious offense and violation of privacy. A hacker allegedly breached Apple’s iCloud service and copied the personal photos of at least 100 high-profile stars. WHO IS BEHIND IT The anonymous hacker, using the name Tristan , sparked the scandal on Sunday after dumping a large cache of female celebrities' alleged naked photographs onto the 4chan online forum, an online message board used for sharing pictures. The list of those celebrities allegedly affected, whose photographs are supposedly in this cache, is very long that includes Jenny McCarthy, Rihanna, Kristin Dunst, Kate Upton, the American actress Mary E Winstead , and the
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