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Privacy & Rights Posts - Page 2

FBI boss says you should put tape over your webcam

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Sep 19, 2016 8:22 am

Does your PC or laptop have a front-facing webcam? Put tape over it immediately, and treat it like locking your doors or setting up an alarm system, says FBI boss James Comey.




During the Center for Strategic and International Studies conference, Comey said: "There's some sensible things you should be doing and that's one of them. You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen. They all have a little lid that closes down on them. You do that so that people who don't have authority don't look at you. I think that's a good thing".


We shouldn't be surprised of this warning, as Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg was pictured with the camera on his laptop taped over. Comey has also admitted that he uses tape on his webcam.

Snowden's new leak has the NSA with a secret UK spy base

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Sep 7, 2016 10:04 am

Edward Snowden has leaked out some new information about the NSA having a spy base in the UK that has been intercepting satellite and other wireless communications around the world.




The base is Snowden has revealed is the Menwith Hill Station (MHS) in North Yorkshire, a 545-acre base that fronts as the Royal Air Force facility that is capable of "rapid radio relay and conduct communications research". The base had seen protestors, journalists and even terrorists interested, and now Snowden's new leak details what is happening at the base.


In a report by The Intercept, the NSA has been intercepting international communications from the base in two ways: the first is FORNSAT. FORNSAT uses the huge golf ball-shaped domes with powerful antennae to intercept transmissions between foreign satellites. The second method is called OVERHEAD, which has US government satellites finding, and monitoring smartphone calls and Wi-Fi signals on the ground.

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WhatsApp to share user data with Facebook

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Aug 25, 2016 6:04 pm

WhatsApp gets cozier with parent company Facebook today as it updates its privacy policy as part of a long-term plan. At some point in the months ahead, the company will begin sharing its user data with the social media giant for monetization and feature purposes. If you'd like to (mostly) opt out, follow these instructions.




Feature-wise, agreeing to the new terms will mean notifications from other services you use, like your bank when a fraudulent transaction comes up, or your airline when a flight is delayed. It also means better friend suggestions and more relevant advertising.

200 million Yahoo accounts hit the digital black market for $1800

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Aug 4, 2016 12:45 am

A hacker named Peace has their hands-on the login credentials of 200 million Yahoo accounts, throwing them onto a dark web marketplace 'The Real Deal' for just three Bitcoins, or around $1800 USD.




Yahoo said in a statement to Motherboard that they "are aware of a claim" that Yahoo login credentials were on The Real Deal, but Yahoo has said that while it's aware of the hack, it hasn't confirmed or denied its legitimacy. Motherboard got its hands-on a sampling of the data, which includes usernames, hashed passwords, birth dates and even some backup email addresses.


The data was reportedly stolen in 2012, with the hacker adding they have traded the data privately for a while, but only decided to put it on the market recently. Yahoo hasn't pushed out a mandatory password reset announcement, which is definitely strange.

US government requests for user data from Google reaches a new high

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Jul 20, 2016 9:37 am

The US government requested a new record of user data from Google in the second half of 2016, with 40,677 requests impacting as many as 81,311 user accounts, reports ZDNet.




From July through to December 2015, the US government requested the 40.677 requests, an 18% increase from the first half of the year. Most of the requests are coming from the US, with 12,523 data requests in the three-month period, with requests impacting 27,157 users or accounts.


Google says it has been reporting the number of user data requests in a 6-month period going back to the second half of 2009, while it has been detailing the users and accounts it has impacted in the first half of 2011. Google notes: "Usage of our services have increased every year, and so have the user data request numbers".

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Facebook rolls out 'Secret Conversations' feature

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Jul 8, 2016 9:33 pm

Privacy is a perpetual concern with Facebook and Facebook Messenger, but it gets a little less so today as the company rolls out its 'Secret Conversations' feature.




Built on Open Whisper Systems' Signal Protocol, Secret Conversations means you can create a conversation with someone that can only be seen by you and on the device of the person you're talking to, as opposed to Facebook or any potential hackers. As well, you can set your messages to disappear within a set amount of time.


As for downsides, you have to take extra action to start such a conversation, you can't view the conversation on multiple devices like you can currently, and fancy features like GIFs, videos, payments aren't supported.

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WhatsApp enables end-to-end encryption

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Apr 5, 2016 10:04 pm

One month after publicly supporting Apple in its fight for encryption, chat app company WhatsApp now features end-to-end encryption in its client. In essence, whether you're calling someone, sending a file, messaging, hosting a group chat, or anything else, you can be rest assured it's completely private from hackers, WhatsApp, and anyone else you might be paranoid about.




"We live in a world where more of our data is digitized than ever before," company CEO and founder Jan Koum says of the change. "Every day we see stories about sensitive records being improperly accessed or stolen. And if nothing is done, more of people's digital information and communication will be vulnerable to attack in the years to come. Fortunately, end-to-end encryption protects us from these vulnerabilities."

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The FBI doesn't need to tell Apple how it broke into the iPhone 5C

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Mar 30, 2016 11:29 am

We reported yesterday that the FBI had broken into the iPhone 5C used by the San Bernardino shooter, without Apple's help. It's now being reported that Appel can't force the FBI to disclose just how it broke into their smartphone.




The FBI reportedly tapped the help of an Israeli security firm, which broke into the iPhone 5C, and with Apple unable to force the FBI to show them how they did that, it could mean that other iPhones could be broken into. Why? Because Apple can't fix the security hole that the FBI went through - mainly for iPhone users, but it's obviously a hole that Apple don't know about, or at least they don't know which method the FBI used. It's quite scary there's an easy hole for a company that's not Apple, nor the FBI, can use to break into iPhones - quite easily, it seems.


Ars Technica talked with a law enforcement official, who said: "We cannot comment on the possibility of future disclosures to Apple. [There] are legitimate pros and cons to the decision to disclose, and the trade-offs between prompt disclosure and withholding knowledge of some vulnerabilities for a limited time can have significant consequences," he said while explaining the Vulnerabilities Equities Process". So, there's no legal requirement of the FBI to disclose how it broke through Apple's much-touted security... well now.


FBI 1, Apple 0.

Amazon will restore encryption to Fire OS 5 in future update

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Mar 7, 2016 11:03 pm

Last week it became apparent Amazon had not included support for local encryption with Fire OS 5, which would seem to contradict its support of Apple's fight for encryption. Asked for comment on exactly that and why they would drop support when it seems all the work is done by Google anyway, an Amazon spokesperson simply told us, "We will return the option for full disk encryption with a Fire OS update coming this spring."




Amazon initially said its customers "weren't using" local encryption, so it decided not to include support for it, which appeared flimsy reasoning. Whatever the case, the company has wisely decided to change course, likely in light of how it looks currently.

The first OS X ransomware is here, holds your Mac hostage

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Mar 7, 2016 1:23 am

For what feels like forever, Windows users have been at the butt of attacks from Mac users when it comes to "but Windows is open, and gets hit by viruses, malware, and ransomware all the time". Well, that might be something of the past now.




Palo Alto Networks is claiming it's discovered the first known OS X-based ransomware, known as "KeRanger". How do you get it? You download software infected with the nasty code, with BitTorrent client Transmission, where it will encrypt your files after 72 hours, after which it'll demand that you hand over digital currency ransom to get your files back. Nice.


The latest version of Transmission, alongside Apple revoking a security certificate from another developer that KeRanger used to get past OS X's built-in defenses, should keep you safe. But, this should act as a warning: OS X isn't as safe as most people think it is, and this could be the tip of the iceberg in the months, and years to come.