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Google Launches AI-Powered Theft and Data Protection Features for Android Devices

Google Launches AI-Powered Theft and Data Protection Features for Android Devices
May 15, 2024 Privacy / Data Protection
Google has announced a slew of privacy and security features in Android, including a suite of advanced protection features to help secure users' devices and data in the event of a theft. These features aim to help protect data before, during and after a theft attempt, the tech giant said, adding they are expected to be available via an update to Google Play services for devices running Android versions 10 and later. One new feature is private space, which allows users to host their sensitive apps in a dedicated area in their phones such that it can be hidden and locked with a separate PIN. Google is also adding an extra layer of protection by requiring users to enter their PIN, password, or biometric information before altering sensitive device settings such as disabling  Find My Device  or extending screen timeout, or even for accessing critical account and device settings. This comprises attempts to change the device PIN, turn off theft protection, or access passkeys. Anoth

Dutch Court Sentences Tornado Cash Co-Founder to 5 Years in Prison for Money Laundering

Dutch Court Sentences Tornado Cash Co-Founder to 5 Years in Prison for Money Laundering
May 15, 2024 Cryptocurrency / Anonymity
A Dutch court on Tuesday sentenced one of the co-founders of the now-sanctioned Tornado Cash cryptocurrency mixer service to 5 years and 4 months in prison. While the name of the defendant was  redacted in the verdict , it's known that Alexey Pertsev, a 31-year-old Russian national, had been  awaiting trial  in the Netherlands on money laundering charges. Pertsev, one of the developers of Tornado Cash, was  arrested  in Amsterdam in August 2022 days after the U.S. Treasury Department  sanctioned  the service for allowing malicious actors such as the Lazarus Group to launder and cash out their proceeds. In addition to the imprisonment, the defendant is expected to forfeit cryptocurrency assets worth €1.9 million (~$2.05 million) and a Porsche car that had been previously seized. "The defendant declared that it was never his intention to break the law or to facilitate criminal activities," a summary of the ruling  said . "With Tornado Cash, he wanted to offer a l

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

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What's the Right EDR for You?

What's the Right EDR for You?
May 10, 2024Endpoint Security / Threat Detection
A guide to finding the right endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution for your business' unique needs. Cybersecurity has become an ongoing battle between hackers and small- and mid-sized businesses. Though perimeter security measures like antivirus and firewalls have traditionally served as the frontlines of defense, the battleground has shifted to endpoints. This is why endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions now serve as critical weapons in the fight, empowering you and your organization to detect known and unknown threats, respond to them quickly, and extend the cybersecurity fight across all phases of an attack.  With the growing need to defend your devices from today's cyber threats, however, choosing the right EDR solution can be a daunting task. There are so many options and features to choose from, and not all EDR solutions are made with everyday businesses and IT teams in mind. So how do you pick the best solution for your needs? Why EDR Is a Must Because of

Xiaomi Android Devices Hit by Multiple Flaws Across Apps and System Components

Xiaomi Android Devices Hit by Multiple Flaws Across Apps and System Components
May 06, 2024 Android / Data Security
Multiple security vulnerabilities have been disclosed in various applications and system components within Xiaomi devices running Android. "The vulnerabilities in Xiaomi led to access to arbitrary activities, receivers and services with system privileges, theft of arbitrary files with system privileges, [and] disclosure of phone, settings and Xiaomi account data," mobile security firm Oversecured  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. The 20 shortcomings impact different apps and components like - Gallery (com.miui.gallery) GetApps (com.xiaomi.mipicks) Mi Video (com.miui.videoplayer) MIUI Bluetooth (com.xiaomi.bluetooth) Phone Services (com.android.phone) Print Spooler (com.android.printspooler) Security (com.miui.securitycenter) Security Core Component (com.miui.securitycore) Settings (com.android.settings) ShareMe (com.xiaomi.midrop) System Tracing (com.android.traceur), and Xiaomi Cloud (com.miui.cloudservice) Some of the notable flaws include a

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 Prevented 2.28 Million Malicious Apps from Reaching Play Store in 2023

Google Prevented 2.28 Million Malicious Apps from Reaching Play Store in 2023
Apr 29, 2024 Mobile Security / Hacking
Google on Monday revealed that almost 200,000 app submissions to its Play Store for Android were either rejected or remediated to address issues with access to sensitive data such as location or SMS messages over the past year. The tech giant also said it blocked 333,000 bad accounts from the app storefront in 2023 for attempting to distribute malware or for repeated policy violations. "In 2023, we prevented 2.28 million policy-violating apps from being published on Google Play in part thanks to our investment in new and improved security features, policy updates, and advanced machine learning and app review processes," Google's Steve Kafka, Khawaja Shams, and Mohet Saxena said . "To help safeguard user privacy at scale, we partnered with SDK providers to limit sensitive data access and sharing, enhancing the privacy posture for over 31 SDKs impacting 790K+ apps." In comparison, Google  fended off 1.43 million bad apps  from being published to the Play Sto

DOJ Arrests Founders of Crypto Mixer Samourai for $2 Billion in Illegal Transactions

DOJ Arrests Founders of Crypto Mixer Samourai for $2 Billion in Illegal Transactions
Apr 25, 2024 Cryptocurrency / Cybercrime
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday  announced  the arrest of two co-founders of a cryptocurrency mixer called Samourai and seized the service for allegedly facilitating over $2 billion in illegal transactions and for laundering more than $100 million in criminal proceeds. To that end, Keonne Rodriguez, 35, and William Lonergan Hill, 65, have been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business from 2015 through February 2024. Rodriguez and Hill face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison each. Rodriguez, the CEO of the company, and CTO Hill intentionally designed Samourai to help "criminals to engage in large-scale money laundering and sanctions evasion," while ostensibly marketing as a privacy-oriented service, the DoJ said. Samourai laundered money from illegal dark web marketplaces, including Silk Road and Hydra, as well as spear-phishing schemes and scams aimed at defrauding multip

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

Major Security Flaws Expose Keystrokes of Over 1 Billion Chinese Keyboard App Users

Major Security Flaws Expose Keystrokes of Over 1 Billion Chinese Keyboard App Users
Apr 24, 2024 Encryption / Mobile Security
Security vulnerabilities uncovered in cloud-based pinyin keyboard apps could be exploited to reveal users' keystrokes to nefarious actors. The findings come from the Citizen Lab, which discovered weaknesses in eight of nine apps from vendors like Baidu, Honor, iFlytek, OPPO, Samsung, Tencent, Vivo, and Xiaomi. The only vendor whose keyboard app did not have any security shortcomings is that of Huawei's. The vulnerabilities could be exploited to "completely reveal the contents of users' keystrokes in transit," researchers Jeffrey Knockel, Mona Wang, and ZoĆ« Reichert  said . The disclosure builds upon prior research from the interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto, which identified  cryptographic flaws  in Tencent's Sogou Input Method last August. Collectively, it's estimated that close to one billion users are affected by this class of vulnerabilities, with Input Method Editors (IMEs) from Sogou, Baidu, and iFlytek accounting fo

CISO Perspectives on Complying with Cybersecurity Regulations

CISO Perspectives on Complying with Cybersecurity Regulations
Apr 24, 2024 Compliance / Privilege Management
Compliance requirements are meant to increase cybersecurity transparency and accountability. As cyber threats increase, so do the number of  compliance frameworks  and the specificity of the security controls, policies, and activities they include. For CISOs and their teams, that means compliance is a time-consuming, high-stakes process that demands strong organizational and communication skills on top of security expertise. We tapped into the CISO brain trust to get their take on the best ways to approach data security and privacy compliance requirements. In this blog, they share strategies to reduce the pain of dealing with the compliance process, including risk management and stakeholder alignment. Read on for recommendations for turning compliance from a "necessary evil" into a strategic tool that helps you evaluate cyber risk, gain budget and buy-in, and increase customer and shareholder confidence. Which CISOs care most about compliance? How CISOs view cybersecurity complia

Police Chiefs Call for Solutions to Access Encrypted Data in Serious Crime Cases

Police Chiefs Call for Solutions to Access Encrypted Data in Serious Crime Cases
Apr 23, 2024 End-to-End Encryption / Privacy
European Police Chiefs said that the complementary partnership between law enforcement agencies and the technology industry is at risk due to end-to-end encryption (E2EE). They called on the industry and governments to take urgent action to ensure public safety across social media platforms. "Privacy measures currently being rolled out, such as end-to-end encryption, will stop tech companies from seeing any offending that occurs on their platforms," Europol  said . "It will also stop law enforcement's ability to obtain and use this evidence in investigations to prevent and prosecute the most serious crimes such as child sexual abuse, human trafficking, drug smuggling, homicides, economic crime, and terrorism offenses." The idea that E2EE protections could stymie law enforcement is often referred to as the  "going dark" problem , triggering concerns it could create  new obstacles  to gather evidence of nefarious activity. The development comes ag

U.S. Imposes Visa Restrictions on 13 Linked to Commercial Spyware Misuse

U.S. Imposes Visa Restrictions on 13 Linked to Commercial Spyware Misuse
Apr 23, 2024 Spyware / Cyber Espionage
The U.S. Department of State on Monday said it's taking steps to impose visa restrictions on 13 individuals who are allegedly involved in the development and sale of  commercial spyware  or who are immediately family members of those involved in such businesses. "These individuals have facilitated or derived financial benefit from the misuse of this technology, which has targeted journalists, academics, human rights defenders, dissidents and other perceived critics, and U.S. Government personnel," the department  said . The names of those subjected to visa restrictions were not disclosed, but the move comes more than two months after the U.S. government said it's  enacting a new policy  that enforces visa constraints on people engaging in practices that could threaten privacy and freedom of expression. It also aims to counter the misuse and proliferation of commercial spyware that has been put to use by authoritarian governments to spy on civil society members, i

ToddyCat Hacker Group Uses Advanced Tools for Industrial-Scale Data Theft

ToddyCat Hacker Group Uses Advanced Tools for Industrial-Scale Data Theft
Apr 22, 2024 Network Security / Endpoint Security
The threat actor known as  ToddyCat  has been observed using a wide range of tools to retain access to compromised environments and steal valuable data. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky characterized the adversary as relying on various programs to harvest data on an "industrial scale" from primarily governmental organizations, some of them defense related, located in the Asia-Pacific region. "To collect large volumes of data from many hosts, attackers need to automate the data harvesting process as much as possible, and provide several alternative means to continuously access and monitor systems they attack," security researchers Andrey Gunkin, Alexander Fedotov, and Natalya Shornikova  said . ToddyCat was  first documented  by the company in June 2022 in connection with a series of cyber attacks aimed at government and military entities in Europe and Asia since at least December 2020. These intrusions leveraged a passive backdoor dubbed Samurai that allows 

New Android Trojan 'SoumniBot' Evades Detection with Clever Tricks

New Android Trojan 'SoumniBot' Evades Detection with Clever Tricks
Apr 18, 2024 Mobile Security / Malware
A new Android trojan called  SoumniBot  has been detected in the wild targeting users in South Korea by leveraging weaknesses in the manifest extraction and parsing procedure. The malware is "notable for an unconventional approach to evading analysis and detection, namely obfuscation of the Android manifest," Kaspersky researcher Dmitry Kalinin  said  in a technical analysis. Every Android app comes with a  manifest XML file  ("AndroidManifest.xml") that's located in the root directory and declares the various components of the app, as well as the permissions and the hardware and software features it requires. Knowing that threat hunters typically commence their analysis by inspecting the app's manifest file to determine its behavior, the threat actors behind the malware have been found to leverage three different techniques to make the process a lot more challenging. The first method involves the use of an invalid Compression method value when unpackin

FTC Fines Mental Health Startup Cerebral $7 Million for Major Privacy Violations

FTC Fines Mental Health Startup Cerebral $7 Million for Major Privacy Violations
Apr 16, 2024 Privacy Breach / Regulatory Compliance
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered mental telehealth company Cerebral from using or disclosing personal medical data for advertising purposes. It has also been fined more than $7 million over charges that it revealed users' sensitive personal health information and other data to third-parties for advertising purposes and failed to honor its easy cancellation policies. "Cerebral and its former CEO, Kyle Robertson, repeatedly broke their privacy promises to consumers and misled them about the company's cancellation policies," the FTC  said  in a press statement. While claiming to offer "safe, secure, and discreet" services in order to get consumers to sign up and provide their data, the company, FTC alleged, did not clearly disclose that the information would be shared with third-parties for advertising. The agency also accused the company of burying its data sharing practices in dense privacy policies, with the company engaging in decept

Chinese-Linked LightSpy iOS Spyware Targets South Asian iPhone Users

Chinese-Linked LightSpy iOS Spyware Targets South Asian iPhone Users
Apr 15, 2024 Spyware / Mobile Security
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a "renewed" cyber espionage campaign targeting users in South Asia with the aim of delivering an Apple iOS spyware implant called  LightSpy . "The latest iteration of LightSpy, dubbed 'F_Warehouse,' boasts a modular framework with extensive spying features," the BlackBerry Threat Research and Intelligence Team  said  in a report published last week. There is evidence to suggest that the campaign may have targeted India based on  VirusTotal   submissions  from within its borders. First documented in 2020 by Trend Micro and Kaspersky,  LightSpy  refers to an advanced iOS backdoor that's distributed via watering hole attacks through compromised news sites. A subsequent analysis from ThreatFabric in October 2023  uncovered  infrastructure and functionality overlaps between the malware and DragonEgg, a fully-featured Android spyware attributed to the Chinese nation-state group APT41 (aka Winnti). The initial in

Ex-Security Engineer Jailed 3 Years for $12.3 Million Crypto Exchange Thefts

Ex-Security Engineer Jailed 3 Years for $12.3 Million Crypto Exchange Thefts
Apr 13, 2024 Cryptocurrency / Regulatory Compliance
A former security engineer has been  sentenced  to three years in prison in the U.S. for charges relating to hacking two decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges in July 2022 and stealing over $12.3 million. Shakeeb Ahmed, the defendant in question,  pled guilty  to one count of computer fraud in December 2023  following his arrest  in July. "At the time of both attacks, Ahmed, a U.S. citizen, was a senior security engineer for an international technology company whose resume reflected skills in, among other things, reverse engineering smart contracts and blockchain audits, which are some of the specialized skills Ahmed used to execute the hacks," the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) noted at the time. While the name of the company was not disclosed, he was residing in Manhattan, New York, and  working for Amazon  before he was apprehended. Court documents show that Ahmed exploited a security flaw in an unnamed cryptocurrency exchange's smart contracts to insert "

Apple Updates Spyware Alert System to Warn Victims of Mercenary Attacks

Apple Updates Spyware Alert System to Warn Victims of Mercenary Attacks
Apr 11, 2024 Spyware / Cyber Espionage
Apple on Wednesday  revised  its documentation pertaining to its mercenary spyware threat notification system to mention that it alerts users when they may have been individually targeted by such attacks. It also specifically called out companies like NSO Group for developing commercial surveillance tools such as Pegasus that are used by state actors to pull off "individually targeted attacks of such exceptional cost and complexity." "Though deployed against a very small number of individuals — often journalists, activists, politicians, and diplomats — mercenary spyware attacks are ongoing and global," Apple  said . "The extreme cost, sophistication, and worldwide nature of mercenary spyware attacks makes them some of the most advanced digital threats in existence today." The update marks a change in wording that previously said these "threat notifications" are designed to inform and assist users who may have been targeted by state-sponsored
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