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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Privacy Breach

Google Accidentally Shared Private Videos of Some Users With Others

Google Accidentally Shared Private Videos of Some Users With Others
February 04, 2020Wang Wei
Google might have mistakenly shared your private videos saved on the company's servers with other users, the tech giant admitted yesterday in a security notification sent quietly to an undisclosed number of affected users. The latest privacy mishap is the result of a "technical issue" in Google's Takeout , a service that backs up all your Google account data into a single file and then lets you download it straight away. According to a screenshot Jon Oberheide of Duo Security shared on Twitter, the issue reportedly remained active between 21st November and 25th November last year, during which "some videos in Google Photos [service] were incorrectly exported to unrelated user's archives." Vice versa, if you had also requested for your account backup during the same 5-day period, you might have even received unrelated videos from other Google accounts. So, the data leak incident potentially affects only those who used Google Takeout service

How to Clear Data Facebook Collects About You from Other Sites and Apps

How to Clear Data Facebook Collects About You from Other Sites and Apps
January 29, 2020Mohit Kumar
Facebook is one of the world's biggest advertising platforms, and that's because it knows a lot about you, me, and everyone. Facebook uses many tools to track people across the Internet, whether they have an account with the social networking site or not, and most of them rely on the online activity data other apps and websites share with Facebook. Everything we do online generates an extensive amount of behavioral data, from buying clothes to looking for hotels, which apps and websites often share with advertising companies, allowing them to build more accurate profiles of your interests and needs. However, after facing worldwide criticism over privacy and data breach controversies, Facebook last summer announced a privacy tool, called Off-Facebook Activity , which gives users more control of their data collected by Facebook. Starting today on Data Privacy Day 2020 , the Off-Facebook Activity feature is now available to every user around the world, which was initiall

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

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

Is Facebook Secretly Accessing Your iPhone's Camera? Some Users Claimed

Is Facebook Secretly Accessing Your iPhone's Camera? Some Users Claimed
November 12, 2019Wang Wei
It appears that Facebook at the center of yet another issue involving privacy. Reportedly, multiple iPhone users have come forward on social media complaining that the Facebook app secretly activates their smartphone's camera in the background while they scroll through their Facebook feeds or looking at the photos on the social network. As shown in the Twitter videos below, when users click on an image or video on the social media to full screen and then return it back to normal, an issue with the Facebook app for iOS slightly shifts the app to the right. It opens a space on the left from where users can see the iPhone's camera activated in the background. However, at this moment, it's not clear if it's just an UI bug where Facebook app incorrectly but only accesses the camera interface, or if it also records or uploads something, which, if proven right, would be the most disastrous moment in Facebook's history. Found a @facebook #security & #pri

Facebook Reveals New Data Leak Incident Affecting Groups' Members

Facebook Reveals New Data Leak Incident Affecting Groups' Members
November 06, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Facebook today revealed yet another security incident admitting that roughly 100 app developers may have improperly accessed its users' data in certain Facebook groups, including their names and profile pictures. In a blog post published Tuesday, Facebook said the app developers that unauthorizedly access this information were primarily social media management and video streaming apps that let group admins manage their groups more effectively and help members share videos to the groups, respectively. For those unaware, Facebook made some changes to its Group API in April 2018, a month after the revelation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal , limiting apps integrated with a group to only access information, like the group's name, the number of members and the posts' content. To get access to additional information like names and profile pictures of members in connection with group activities, group members had to opt-in. However, it seems like Facebook once again fa

Apple Under Fire Over Sending Some Users Browsing Data to China's Tencent

Apple Under Fire Over Sending Some Users Browsing Data to China's Tencent
October 14, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Do you know Apple is sending iOS web browsing related data of some of its users to Chinese Internet company Tencent? I am sure many of you are not aware of this, neither was I, and believe me, none of us could expect this from a tech company that promotes itself as a champion of consumer privacy. Late last week, it was widely revealed that starting from at least iOS 12.2 , Apple silently integrated the " Tencent Safe Browsing " service to power its " Fraudulent Website Warning " feature in the Safari web browser for both iOS and macOS. Just like the Safe Browsing feature in Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, Safari's fraudulent website warning feature has also been designed to protect users from various online threats by simply checking every website they visit against a regularly updated list of malicious websites. Until iOS 12.2, Apple primarily relied on the database of "blacklisted websites" provided by Google's Safe Browsing service, whic

Google Fined $170 Million For Violating Kids' Privacy On YouTube

Google Fined $170 Million For Violating Kids' Privacy On YouTube
September 05, 2019Wang Wei
Google has finally agreed to pay $170 million fine to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York attorney general that its YouTube service earned millions by illegally harvesting personal information from children without their parents' consent. The settlement requires Google to pay $136 million to the FTC and an additional $34 million fine to New York state for allegedly violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. The COPPA rule requires child-directed websites and online services to explicitly obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 and then using it for targeted advertising. However, an FTC investigation [ PDF ] against Google's video service for children, called YouTube Kids, revealed that it had illegally gathered kids' data under 13. The data also includes children' persistent identification codes used to track a user's Internet browsing hab

Chinese Face-Swapping App ZAO Sparks Privacy Concerns After Going Crazily Viral

Chinese Face-Swapping App ZAO Sparks Privacy Concerns After Going Crazily Viral
September 03, 2019Swati Khandelwal
What could be more exciting than seeing yourself starring alongside your favorite actor in a movie, music video, or TV program? Yes, that's possible—well, kind of, by using a new AI-based deepfake app that has gone viral in China over this weekend, climbing to the top of the free apps list in the Chinese iOS App Store in just three days. Dubbed ZAO , the app is yet another deepfake app for iPhone that lets you superimpose your face onto actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Kit Harrington from "Game of Thrones," and many others in video clips from their popular movies and TV shows with just a selfie uploaded by you. Developed by Chinese developer MoMo, one of China's most popular dating apps, ZAO was released on Friday (August 30) and rapidly got downloaded millions of times with users being excited about the experience for the app's realistic face-swapping videos that last for as little as 8 seconds. ZAO Deepfake Face Swap App Sparks Privacy Outcry Howeve

Apple Changes the Way It Listens to Your Siri Recordings Following Privacy Concerns

Apple Changes the Way It Listens to Your Siri Recordings Following Privacy Concerns
August 29, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Apple today announced some major changes to its controversial 'Siri audio grading program' following criticism for employing humans to listen to audio recordings of users collected via its voice-controlled Siri personal assistant without their knowledge or consent. The move came a month after The Guardian reported that third-party contractors were regularly listening to private conversations of Apple users giving voice commands to Siri in a bid to improve the quality of its product's response. While the data received by the contractors were anonymized and not associated to Apple devices, the private conversations—which also includes private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, seemingly criminal dealings, people having sex and so on—sometimes reveal identifiable details like a person's name or medical records. In response to the backlash Apple received after the report went public, the company initially responded by temporarily suspending

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
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