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TikTok Postpones Privacy Policy Update in Europe After Italy Warns of GDPR Breach

TikTok Postpones Privacy Policy Update in Europe After Italy Warns of GDPR Breach

July 12, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Popular video-sharing platform TikTok on Tuesday agreed to pause a controversial privacy policy update that could have allowed it to serve targeted ads based on users' activity on the social video platform without their permission to do so. The reversal, reported by  TechCrunch , comes a day after the Italian data protection authority — the Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali — warned the company against the change, citing violations of data protection laws. "The personal data stored in users' devices may not be used to profile those users and send personalized ads without their explicit consent," the Garante  said . The formal warning was in response to a privacy policy revision that noted the service had historically asked users' "consent" to their on-TikTok activity and off-TikTok activity to serve personalized ads and that, therefore, it intends to stop asking users for their permission to profile their behavior and process personal dat
TikTok Assures U.S. Lawmakers it's Working to Safeguard User Data From Chinese Staff

TikTok Assures U.S. Lawmakers it's Working to Safeguard User Data From Chinese Staff

July 02, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Following heightened worries that U.S. users' data had been accessed by TikTok engineers in China between September 2021 and January 2022, the company sought to assuage U.S. lawmakers that it's taking steps to "strengthen data security." The admission that some China-based employees can access information from U.S. users came in a letter sent to nine senators, which further noted that the procedure requires the individuals to clear numerous internal security protocols. The contents of the letter, first  reported  by The New York Times, shares more details about TikTok's plans to address data security concerns through a multi-pronged initiative codenamed "Project Texas." "Employees outside the U.S., including China-based employees, can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team," TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew wrote in the m
Hackers Backdoored Systems at China's National Games Just Before Competition

Hackers Backdoored Systems at China's National Games Just Before Competition

February 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Systems hosting content pertaining to the National Games of China were successfully breached last year by an unnamed Chinese-language-speaking hacking group. Cybersecurity firm Avast, which  dissected  the intrusion, said that the attackers gained access to a web server 12 days prior to the start of the event on September 3 to drop multiple reverse web shells for remote access and achieve permanent foothold in the network. The  National Games of China , a multi-sport event held every four years, took place in the Shaanxi Province between September 15 and 27, 2021. The Czech company said it was unable to determine the nature of the information stolen by the hackers, adding it has "reason to believe [the attackers] are either native Chinese-language speakers or show high fluency in Chinese." The breach is said to have been resolved ahead of the start of the games. The initial access was facilitated by exploiting a vulnerability in the webserver. But before dropping the we
China's New Law Requires Vendors to Report Zero-Day Bugs to Government

China's New Law Requires Vendors to Report Zero-Day Bugs to Government

July 17, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has issued new stricter vulnerability disclosure regulations that mandate software and networking vendors affected with critical flaws to mandatorily disclose them first-hand to the government authorities within two days of filing a report. The " Regulations on the Management of Network Product Security Vulnerability " are expected to go into effect starting September 1, 2021, and aim to standardize the discovery, reporting, repair, and release of security vulnerabilities and prevent security risks. "No organization or individual may take advantage of network product security vulnerabilities to engage in activities that endanger network security, and shall not illegally collect, sell or publish information on network product security vulnerabilities," Article 4 of the regulation states. In addition to banning sales of previously unknown security weaknesses, the new rules also forbid vulnerabilities from being disclos
Hackers Spread BIOPASS Malware via Chinese Online Gambling Sites

Hackers Spread BIOPASS Malware via Chinese Online Gambling Sites

July 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers are warning about a new malware that's striking online gambling companies in China via a watering hole attack to deploy either Cobalt Strike beacons or a previously undocumented Python-based backdoor called BIOPASS RAT that takes advantage of Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) Studio's live-streaming app to capture the screen of its victims. The attack involves deceiving gaming website visitors into downloading a malware loader camouflaged as a legitimate installer for popular-but-deprecated apps such as Adobe Flash Player or Microsoft Silverlight, only for the loader to act as a conduit for fetching next-stage payloads. Specifically, the websites' online support chat pages are booby-trapped with malicious JavaScript code, which is used to deliver the malware to the victims. "BIOPASS RAT possesses basic features found in other malware, such as file system assessment, remote desktop access, file exfiltration, and shell command execution,&quo
Hackers Using Fake Foundations to Target Uyghur Minority in China

Hackers Using Fake Foundations to Target Uyghur Minority in China

May 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The Uyghur community located in China and Pakistan has been the subject of an ongoing espionage campaign aiming to trick the targets into downloading a Windows backdoor to amass sensitive information from their systems. "Considerable effort was put into disguising the payloads, whether by creating delivery documents that appear to be originating from the United Nations using up to date related themes, or by setting up websites for non-existing organizations claiming to fund charity groups," according to joint research published by Check Point Research and Kaspersky today. The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic minority group originating from Central and East Asia and are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. At least since 2015, government authorities have placed the region under tight surveillance, putting hundreds of thousands into prisons and internment camps that the government calls "Vocational Education and Training Centers.
A Look Into Continuous Efforts By Chinese Hackers to Target Foreign Governments

A Look Into Continuous Efforts By Chinese Hackers to Target Foreign Governments

October 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Phishing is still one of the widely used strategies by cybercriminals and espionage groups to gain an initial foothold on the targeted systems. Though hacking someone with phishing attacks was easy a decade ago, the evolution of threat detection technologies and cyber awareness among people has slowed down the success of phishing and social engineering attacks over the years. Since phishing is more sort of a one-time opportunity for hackers before their victims suspect it and likely won't fall for the same trick again, sophisticated hacking groups have started putting a lot of effort, time and research to design well-crafted phishing campaigns. In one such latest campaign discovered by cybersecurity researchers at Check Point, a Chinese hacking group, known as Rancor , has been found conducting very targeted and extensive attacks against Southeast Asian government entities from December 2018 to June 2019. What's interesting about this ongoing 7-month long campaign is
Telegram Suffers 'Powerful DDoS Attack' From China During Hong Kong Protests

Telegram Suffers 'Powerful DDoS Attack' From China During Hong Kong Protests

June 13, 2019Mohit Kumar
Telegram, one of the most popular encrypted messaging app, briefly went offline yesterday for hundreds of thousands of users worldwide after a powerful distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack hit its servers. Telegram founder Pavel Durov later revealed that the attack was mainly coming from the IP addresses located in China, suggesting the Chinese government could be behind it to sabotage Hong Kong protesters. Since last week, millions of people in Hong Kong are fighting their political leaders over the proposed amendments to an extradition law that would allow a person arrested in Hong Kong to face trial elsewhere, including in mainland China. Many people see it as a fundamental threat to the territory's civic freedoms and the rule of law. Many people in Hong Kong are currently using Telegram's encrypted messaging service to communicate without being spied on, organize the protest, and alert each other about activities on the ground. According to Telegram, th
China Blocks Microsoft's Bing Search Engine, Despite Offering Censored Results

China Blocks Microsoft's Bing Search Engine, Despite Offering Censored Results

January 24, 2019Wang Wei
Update: Microsoft's search engine Bing has been restored in China after being inaccessible in the country for almost two days. According to sources familiar with the matter, Bing was blocked due to an accidental technical error and not due to an attempt at censorship. China has blocked Microsoft-owned search engine Bing , the company confirmed after receiving complaints from users throughout the country who took to social media beginning late Wednesday to express concerns. So, Bing becomes the latest service to be shut down by Chinese government behind its so-called Great Firewall of China , which blocks thousands of websites originating in the west including Facebook, WhatsApp , Twitter, Yahoo, and Google. The news came as a surprise because Microsoft's search engine actually followed China's strict rules on censoring search results. Online service WebSitePulse that tracks outages in China also confirmed that cn.bing.com—the web address for Bing in China since
Google Secretly Planning to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China

Google Secretly Planning to Launch a Censored Search Engine in China

August 01, 2018Mohit Kumar
After an eight-year-long absence from the most populated country in the world, Google search is going to dramatically make a comeback in China. Google is reportedly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that is going to blacklist certain websites and search terms to comply with Chinese government's attempts to censor the Internet, a whistleblower revealed. According to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept, CEO Sundar Pichai met with a Chinese government official in December 2017 to re-enter the world's largest market for internet users. Project Dragonfly — Censored Google Search Engine Since spring last year Google engineers have been secretly working on a project, dubbed " Dragonfly ," which currently includes two Android mobile apps named—Maotai and Longfei—one of which will get launched by the end of this year after Chinese officials approve it. The censored version of Google search engine in the form of a mobile app report
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
Russia to Fine Search Engines for Linking to Banned VPN services

Russia to Fine Search Engines for Linking to Banned VPN services

June 10, 2018Mohit Kumar
In its years-long efforts to censor the Internet by blocking access to a large number of websites in the country, Russia has now approved a new bill introducing fines for search engines that provide links to banned sites, VPN services , and anonymization tools . VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks , are third-party services that help users access block banned websites by encrypting users' Internet traffic and routing it through a distant connection, hiding their location data and access sites that are usually restricted or censored by a specific country. According to the amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, besides introducing fines for providing links to banned resources, the lower house of Russian parliament, the State Duma, will also impose fines on search engines if they fail to stop issuing links to resources providing up-to-date database of blocked domains upon users request. According to the bill, individuals who break the law
China Bans WhatsApp Messenger

China Bans WhatsApp Messenger

September 26, 2017Wang Wei
Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has already been struggling for its existence in China ever since July when Chinese government blocked its users from sending photos and videos over the app. Now, it appears that China has largely blocked Facebook-owned WhatsApp in its latest step to tighten censorship as the country prepares for a major Communist Party gathering next month. Yes, WhatsApp no longer works in the country at all. China has a long history of blocking and limiting access to web services, especially social networks and Western-owned sites through its Great Firewall . The service currently blocks some 171 out of the world's leading websites, including Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many Google services in mainland China. And now, it is WhatsApp. Although it's unclear how long the messaging app may remain inaccessible in the country, according to Symbolic Software, a Paris-based research firm that monitors WhatsApp's situation in Chi
China Bans Fundraising Through Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

China Bans Fundraising Through Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

September 04, 2017Swati Khandelwal
China's central bank today announced an immediate ban on all ICO—Initial Coin Offering—fundraising, to prevent fraud and illegal fundraising. ICO is the hottest new thing in the blockchain world, which is an alternative to crowdfunding that lets a firm raise funding from multiple sources. The People's Bank of China (PBoC), the country's central bank and financial regulator, has issued an official notice on Monday, forbidding "all types of currency issuance financing activities" that have "seriously disrupted the economic and financial order." This PBoC's bold move has been backed by many other Chinese government administrators and regulators including the China Securities Regulatory Commission, China Insurance Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and China Banking Regulatory Commission. This move marks the end of an era of ICO fundraising in China. The regulator claims that ICOs are being misused for "
China Enforces Real-Name Policy to Regulate Online Comments

China Enforces Real-Name Policy to Regulate Online Comments

August 29, 2017Wang Wei
If you reside in China, your Internet life within the borders will soon be even more challenging. Last Friday, China's top Internet regulator announced a new set of rules that would force citizens to post comments using their real-world identities on Internet forums and other web platforms. Yes, you heard that right. Anonymity is about to die in the country. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) will start officially enforcing the new rules starting from October 1, 2017, requiring websites operators and service providers of online forums to request and verify real names and other personal information from users when they register and must immediately report illegal content to the authorities. According to the CAC, the following content would be considered unlawful and forbidden from being published online: Opposing the basic principles as defined in the Constitution Endangering national security Damaging nation's honor and interests Inciting national ha
Google Chrome Bans Chinese SSL Certificate Authorities WoSign and StartCom

Google Chrome Bans Chinese SSL Certificate Authorities WoSign and StartCom

July 08, 2017Mohit Kumar
As a punishment announced last October, Google will no longer trust SSL/TLS certificate authorities WoSign and its subsidiary StartCom with the launch of Chrome 61 for not maintaining the "high standards expected of CAs." The move came after Google was notified by GitHub's security team on August 17, 2016, that Chinese Certificate Authority WoSign had issued a base certificate for one of GitHub's domains to an unnamed GitHub user without authorization. After this issue had been reported, Google conducted an investigation in public as a collaboration with Mozilla and the security community, which uncovered several other cases of WoSign misissuance of certificates. As a result, the tech giant last year began limiting its trust of certificates backed by WoSign and StartCom to those issued before October 21st, 2016 and has been removing whitelisted hostnames over the course of several Chrome releases since Chrome 56. Now, in a Google Groups post published
China makes VPNs illegal to tighten its Great Firewall

China makes VPNs illegal to tighten its Great Firewall

January 24, 2017Wang Wei
China is long known for its strict Internet censorship laws through the Great Firewall of China – China's Golden Shield project that employs a variety of tricks to censor Internet and block access to various foreign websites in the country by its government. The Great Firewall has blocked some 171 out of the world's 1,000 top websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Dropbox, and The Pirate Bay. Therefore, to thwart these restrictions and access these sites, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens use virtual private networks (VPNs). But now, the Chinese government has announced the mass shutdown of VPNs in the country, making it harder for internet users to bypass its Great Firewall, according to a report published by the South China Morning Post. 'Clean-Up' of China's Internet Connections Calling it a "clean-up" of China's Internet connections, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Sunday that it had
China Passes Cybersecurity Law to Tighten its Control over the Internet

China Passes Cybersecurity Law to Tighten its Control over the Internet

November 07, 2016Swati Khandelwal
China has long been known for its strict censorship policies, which has already made it difficult for foreign companies to do business in the world's most populous country of more than 1.35 Billion people. Now, the Chinese government has approved a broad new controversial cybersecurity regulations that would further strengthen the country's censorship regime, making it more difficult for technology companies to operate in the country. Made public on Monday, the legislation, passed by China's rubber-stamp parliament and set to go into effect in June 2017, aims at combating growing threats like hacking and terrorism, but actually comes with data localization, real-name requirements, and surveillance. The Cybersecurity Law requires instant messaging services and other internet operators to force users to register with their real names and personal information, which restricts anonymity of a user online. The proposed law also includes requirements for ' Data Locali
China Launches World's 1st 'Hack-Proof' Quantum Communication Satellite

China Launches World's 1st 'Hack-Proof' Quantum Communication Satellite

August 16, 2016Swati Khandelwal
China has taken one more step forward towards achieving success in Quantum communication technology. China has launched the world's first quantum communications satellite into orbit aboard a Long March-2D rocket earlier today in order to test the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics at space. 'Hack-Proof' Communications System The satellite, dubbed Quantum Science Satellite, is designed to develop a ' Hack-Proof ' communications system in this age of global electronic surveillance and cyber attacks by transmitting uncrackable encryption keys from space to the ground. The 600-plus-kilogram Quantum Science Satellite , better known as Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) satellite, took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gobi Desert at 1:40 AM local time on a 2-year mission on Tuesday. The QUESS satellite will help China perform unprecedented levels of experiments in quantum communication by sending entangled photons from the satellite
China Orders Apple to Monitor App Store Users and Track their Identities

China Orders Apple to Monitor App Store Users and Track their Identities

June 29, 2016Swati Khandelwal
China has long been known for its strict censorship which makes it difficult for foreign technology companies to do business in the world's most populous country of over 1.35 billion people. Now, the new law issued by the Chinese government will expand its strict Internet monitoring efforts into mobile apps, targeting operators including Apple. However, Google currently doesn't operate its app store in China. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has imposed new regulation on distributors of mobile apps that requires both app stores and app developers keep a close eye on users and maintain a record of their activities for at least 60 days . The Chinese internet regulator has introduced the new legislation with the intent to fight issues like terrorism, pornography, violence, money fraud and distribution of malicious contents. However, this new move by the Chinese government will tighten its control over the Internet, especially the mobile apps used for private encry
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