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WhatsApp Hit with €5.5 Million Fine for Violating Data Protection Laws

WhatsApp Hit with €5.5 Million Fine for Violating Data Protection Laws

Jan 20, 2023 Data Protection / Privacy
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) on Thursday imposed fresh fines of €5.5 million against Meta's WhatsApp for violating data protection laws when processing users' personal information. At the heart of the ruling is an update to the messaging platform's Terms of Service that was imposed in the days leading to the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ) in May 2018, requiring that users agree to the revised terms in order to continue using the service or risk losing access. The complaint, filed by privacy non-profit NOYB, alleged that WhatsApp breached the regulation by compelling its users to "consent to the processing of their personal data for service improvement and security" by "making the accessibility of its services conditional on users accepting the updated Terms of Service." "WhatsApp Ireland is not entitled to rely on the contract legal basis for the delivery of service improvement and security," th
Irish Regulators Fine Facebook $414 Million for Forcing Users to Accept Targeted Ads

Irish Regulators Fine Facebook $414 Million for Forcing Users to Accept Targeted Ads

Jan 05, 2023 Privacy / Data Protection
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has  fined  Meta Platforms €390 million (roughly $414 million) over its handling of user data for serving personalized ads in what could be a major blow to its ad-fueled business model. To that end, the privacy regulator has ordered Meta Ireland to pay two fines – a €210 million ($222.5 million) fine over violations of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ) related to Facebook, and a €180 million ($191 million) for similar violations in Instagram. The latest enforcement comes in the wake of concerns that the social media company used its Terms of Service to gain users' forced consent to allow targeted advertising based on their online activity. The complaints were filed on May 25, 2018, the date when GDPR came into effect in the region. It also arrives a month after the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), an independent body that oversees the consistent application of GDPR in the E.U.,  announced  that it had reached 
Irish Regulator Fines Facebook $277 Million for Leak of Half a Billion Users' Data

Irish Regulator Fines Facebook $277 Million for Leak of Half a Billion Users' Data

Nov 29, 2022
Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) has  levied fines  of €265 million ($277 million) against Meta Platforms for failing to safeguard the personal data of more than half a billion users of its Facebook service, ramping up privacy enforcement against U.S. tech firms. The fines follow an inquiry initiated by the European regulator on April 14, 2021, close on the heels of a leak of a "collated dataset of Facebook personal data that had been made available on the internet." This included the  personal information  associated with 533 million users of the social media platform, such as their phone numbers, dates of birth, locations, email addresses, gender, marital status, account creation date, and other profile details. Meta acknowledged that the information was "old data" that was obtained by malicious actors by taking advantage of a technique called "phone number enumeration" to  scrape users' public profiles . This entailed misusing a t
Indian Government Publishes Draft of Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022

Indian Government Publishes Draft of Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022

Nov 19, 2022
The Indian government on Friday released a draft version of the much-awaited data protection regulation, making it the fourth such effort since it was first proposed in July 2018. The  Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 , as it's called,  aims  to secure personal data, while also seeking users' consent in what the draft claims is "clear and plain language" describing the exact kinds of information that will be collected and for what purpose. The draft is open for public consultation until December 17, 2022. India has over 760 million active internet users, necessitating that data generated and used by online platforms are subject to privacy rules to prevent abuse and increase accountability and trust. "The Bill will establish the comprehensive legal framework governing digital personal data protection in India," the government  said . "The Bill provides for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognizes the right of in
Five Steps to Mitigate the Risk of Credential Exposure

Five Steps to Mitigate the Risk of Credential Exposure

Sep 29, 2022
Every year, billions of credentials appear online, be it on the dark web, clear web, paste sites, or in data dumps shared by cybercriminals. These credentials are often used for account takeover attacks, exposing organizations to breaches, ransomware, and data theft.  While CISOs are aware of growing identity threats and have multiple tools in their arsenal to help reduce the potential risk, the reality is that existing methodologies have proven largely ineffective. According to the  2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report , over 60% of breaches involve compromised credentials.  Attackers use techniques such as social engineering, brute force, and purchasing leaked credentials on the dark web to compromise legitimate identities and gain unauthorized access to victim organizations' systems and resources.  Adversaries often leverage the fact that some passwords are shared among different users, making it easier to breach multiple accounts in the same organization. Some emp
Italy Data Protection Authority Warns Websites Against Use of Google Analytics

Italy Data Protection Authority Warns Websites Against Use of Google Analytics

Jun 27, 2022
Following the footsteps of  Austria  and  France , the Italian Data Protection Authority has become the latest regulator to find the use of Google Analytics to be non-compliant with E.U. data protection regulations. The Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali, in a press release  published  last week, called out a local web publisher for using the widely used analytics tool in a manner that allowed key bits of users' personal data to be illegally transferred to the U.S. without necessary safeguards. This includes interactions of users with the websites, the individual pages visited, IP addresses of the devices used to access the websites, browser specifics, details related to the device's operating system, screen resolution, and the selected language, as well as the date and time of the visits. The Italian supervisory authority (SA) said that it arrived at this conclusion following a "complex fact-finding exercise" it commenced in collaboration with other E.
Block Admits Data Breach Involving Cash App Data Accessed by Former Employee

Block Admits Data Breach Involving Cash App Data Accessed by Former Employee

Apr 06, 2022
Block, the company formerly known as Square, has disclosed a data breach that involved a former employee downloading unspecified reports pertaining to its Cash App Investing that contained information about its U.S. customers. "While this employee had regular access to these reports as part of their past job responsibilities, in this instance these reports were accessed without permission after their employment ended," the firm  revealed  in a April 4 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Block  advertises  Cash App as "the easiest way to send money, spend money, save money, and buy cryptocurrency." The breach is said to have occurred last year on December 10, 2021, with the downloaded reports including customers' full names as well as their brokerage account numbers, and in some cases, brokerage portfolio value, brokerage portfolio holdings, and stock trading activity for one trading day. The San Francisco-based company emphasized
Facebook Hit With $18.6 Million GDPR Fine Over 12 Data Breaches in 2018

Facebook Hit With $18.6 Million GDPR Fine Over 12 Data Breaches in 2018

Mar 16, 2022
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) on Tuesday slapped Facebook and WhatsApp owner Meta Platforms a fine of €17 million (~$18.6 million) for a series of security lapses that occurred in violation of the European Union's  GDPR laws  in the region. "The DPC found that Meta Platforms failed to have in place appropriate technical and organizational measures which would enable it to readily demonstrate the security measures that it implemented in practice to protect EU users' data, in the context of the twelve personal data breaches," the watchdog  said  in a press release. The decision follows the regulator's investigation into 12  data   breach   notifications  it received over the course of a six-month period between June 7 and December 4, 2018. "This fine is about record keeping practices from 2018 that we have since updated, not a failure to protect people's information," Meta  said  in a statement shared with the Associated Press. "
Microsoft Azure 'AutoWarp' Bug Could Have Let Attackers Access Customers' Accounts

Microsoft Azure 'AutoWarp' Bug Could Have Let Attackers Access Customers' Accounts

Mar 08, 2022
Details have been disclosed about a now-addressed critical vulnerability in Microsoft's  Azure Automation  service that could have permitted unauthorized access to other Azure customer accounts and take over control. "This attack could mean full control over resources and data belonging to the targeted account, depending on the permissions assigned by the customer," Orca Security researcher Yanir Tsarimi  said  in a report published Monday. The flaw potentially put several entities at risk, including an unnamed telecommunications company, two car manufacturers, a banking conglomerate, and big four accounting firms, among others, the Israeli cloud infrastructure security company added. The Azure Automation service  allows  for process automation, configuration management, and handling operating system updates within a defined maintenance window across Azure and non-Azure environments. Dubbed " AutoWarp ," the issue affects all users of the Azure Automation
Second New 'IsaacWiper' Data Wiper Targets Ukraine After Russian Invasion

Second New 'IsaacWiper' Data Wiper Targets Ukraine After Russian Invasion

Mar 01, 2022
A new data wiper malware has been observed deployed against an unnamed Ukrainian government network, a day after destructive cyber attacks struck multiple entities in the country preceding the start of Russia's military invasion. Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET dubbed the new malware " IsaacWiper ," which it said was detected on February 24 in an organization that was not affected by  HermeticWiper  (aka FoxBlade), another data wiping malware that targeted several organizations on February 23 as part of a sabotage operation aimed at rendering the machines unusable. Further analysis of the HermeticWiper attacks, which infected at least five Ukrainian organizations, have revealed a worm constituent that propagates the malware across the compromised network and a ransomware module that acts as a "distraction from the wiper attacks," corroborating a  prior report  from Symantec. "These destructive attacks leveraged at least three components: HermeticWiper f
This New Tool Can Retrieve Pixelated Text from Redacted Documents

This New Tool Can Retrieve Pixelated Text from Redacted Documents

Feb 17, 2022
The practice of blurring out text using a method called pixelation may not be as secure as previously thought. While the most foolproof way of concealing sensitive textual information is to use opaque black bars, other redaction methods like pixelation can achieve the opposite effect, enabling the reversal of pixelized text back into its original form. Dan Petro, a lead researcher at offensive security firm Bishop Fox, has  demonstrated  a new open-source tool called  Unredacter  to reconstruct text from the pixelated images, effectively leaking the very information that was meant to be protected. The tool is also seen as an improvement over an existing utility named  Depix , which works by looking up what permutations of pixels could have resulted in certain pixelated blocks to recover the text. The threat model works on the underlying hypothesis that given a piece of text containing both redacted and un-redacted information, the attacker uses the information about the font si
EU Data Protection Watchdog Calls for Ban on Pegasus-like Commercial Spyware

EU Data Protection Watchdog Calls for Ban on Pegasus-like Commercial Spyware

Feb 16, 2022
The European Union's data protection authority on Tuesday called for a ban on the development and the use of Pegasus-like commercial spyware in the region, stating that the technology's "unprecedented level of intrusiveness" could endanger users' right to privacy. "Pegasus constitutes a paradigm shift in terms of access to private communications and devices, which is able to affect the very essence of our fundamental rights, in particular the right to privacy," the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)  said  in its preliminary remarks. "This fact makes its use incompatible with our democratic values." Pegasus  is a piece of highly advanced military-grade intrusion software developed by Israeli company NSO Group that's capable of breaking into smartphones running Android and iOS, turning the devices into a remote monitoring tool capable of extracting sensitive information, recording conversations, and tracking users' movements.
France Rules That Using Google Analytics Violates GDPR Data Protection Law

France Rules That Using Google Analytics Violates GDPR Data Protection Law

Feb 11, 2022
French data protection regulators on Thursday found the use of Google Analytics a breach of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws in the country, almost a month after a  similar decision  was reached in Austria. To that end, the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) ruled that the transatlantic movement of Google Analytics data to the U.S. is not "sufficiently regulated" citing a violation of  Articles 44 et seq.  of the data protection decree, which govern the transfers of personal data to third countries or international entities. Specifically the independent administrative regulatory body highlighted the lack of equivalent privacy protections and the risk that "American intelligence services would access personal data transferred to the United States if the transfers were not properly regulated." "[A]lthough Google has adopted additional measures to regulate data transfers in the context of the Google An
Can Data Protection Systems Prevent Data At Rest Leakage?

Can Data Protection Systems Prevent Data At Rest Leakage?

May 13, 2021
Protection against insider risks works when the process involves controlling the data transfer channels or examining data sources. One approach involves preventing USB flash drives from being copied or sending them over email. The second one concerns preventing leakage or fraud in which an insider accesses files or databases with harmful intentions. What's the best way to protect your data? It seems obvious that prevention is the best way to solve any problem. In most cases, DCAP (data-centric audit and protection) and DAM (database activity monitoring) is sufficient. Both serve the purpose of protecting data at rest. The following example illustrates the approach we found in the Russian legal system. An employee of the Federal Migration Service in one of the Russian regions was approached by his friend, who asked him to hide information about two offenses in his file in the migrant database. The employee knew that this could be done remotely, accessed the database from home,
5 Places Where Hackers Are Stealthily Stealing Your Data In 2019

5 Places Where Hackers Are Stealthily Stealing Your Data In 2019

Oct 31, 2019
Skyrocketing data breaches bring incalculable losses to organizations and can cost cybersecurity executives their jobs. Here we examine the top five places in 2019 where cybercriminals are stealing corporate and government data without ever getting noticed and then learn how to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous attackers. 1. Misconfigured Cloud Storage 48% of all corporate data is stored in the cloud compared to 35% three years ago, according to a 2019 Global Cloud Security Study by cybersecurity company Thales that surveyed over 3,000 professionals across the globe. Contrastingly, only 32% of the organizations believe that protecting data in the cloud is their own responsibility, counting on cloud and IaaS providers to safeguard the data. Worse, 51% of the organizations do not use encryption or tokenization in the cloud. (ISC)² Cloud Security Report 2019 assets that 64% of cybersecurity professionals perceive data loss and leakage as the biggest risk associated with the
Unsecured Adobe Server Exposes Data for 7.5 Million Creative Cloud Users

Unsecured Adobe Server Exposes Data for 7.5 Million Creative Cloud Users

Oct 26, 2019
The U.S. multinational computer software company Adobe has suffered a serious security breach earlier this month that exposed user records' database belonging to the company's popular Creative Cloud service. With an estimated 15 million subscribers, Adobe Creative Cloud or Adobe CC is a subscription service that gives users access to the company's full suite of popular creative software for desktop and mobile, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign, Lightroom, and many more. What happened? — Earlier this month, security researcher Bob Diachenko collaborated with the cybersecurity firm Comparitech to uncover an unsecured Elasticsearch database belonging to Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service that was accessible to anyone without any password or authentication. How many victims? — The inadvertently exposed database, which has now been secured, contained personal information of nearly 7.5 million Adobe Creative Cloud user accounts. What type
CISO Kit — Breach Protection in the Palm of Your Hand

CISO Kit — Breach Protection in the Palm of Your Hand

Sep 11, 2019
CISOs and CIOs need to know better than anyone the security pulse of their organizations. On the other hand, they cannot be flooded with every changing detail. Finding the right balance that enables them to clearly grasp the big picture required in making sound decisions is a task many security executives find challenging. Threat actors do not acknowledge off-hours or weekends, introducing the need for constant vigilance. Moreover, CIOs and CISOs are heavily dependent on their team for knowledge and often lack the immediate interaction with the events in real-time. This situation is also far from favorable – after all, who if not the security executive should have the ability to be in-the-know and initiate action at the heart of things? Cynet rises to this challenge with the recently launched Cynet Dashboard application, which provides 24/7 insight into the overall security posture, real-time visibility into newly detected threats, and the ability to take rapid action if the nee
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