Facebook is developing a tool to let users know if they interacted with Russian troll accounts

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Russia’s use of Facebook and other social media to try to influence the outcome of elections around the world has been the subject of investigation for some time now. Millions of Facebook users were exposed to divisive ads placed by Russia, and the social networking site is doing what it can to be transparent about what happened. Having admitted that Russia bought ads on the site, Facebook is now developing a tool that will enable users to determine if they interacted with the Internet Research Agency — the propaganda company also known as the Trolls from Olgino. See also: Facebook… …Continue reading on BetaNews

UC Browser returns to Google Play after tweaks to its policy-infringing settings

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UC Browser was unceremoniously removed from Google Play last week after it was discovered that a setting within the app violated Google policies. Now the popular web browser is back with an updated version. The company behind the app is pleased to return its flagship title to the Play store, but also voices its delight that during UC Browser’s brief absence, the cut-down UC Browser Mini proved fantastically popular. See also: UC Browser pulled from Google Play for shady activity UCWeb sheds more light on the disappearance of UC Browser from Google Play Adblock Plus tries to entice UC Browser… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Privacy: Google caught tracking Android users’ whereabouts even if location services are disabled

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For those concerned about their privacy, location services is just one more setting to disable on their phone. But Google has now revealed that it is not only able to, but actually does track the location of Android users even if location services are disabled. More than this, Google records the addresses of nearby cell towers — thereby giving a very good idea of location — even when there is no SIM card in a phone and no apps are used. This data has been collected since the beginning of the year. See also: Privacy: Use of session replay scripts… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Intel firmware contains serious Management Engine vulnerabilities, affecting millions of systems

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Security researchers have discovered critical issues with the hidden firmware used in some Intel chips. Security firm Positive Technologies discovered a series of serious vulnerabilities in Intel’s Management Engine (ME), Server Platform Services (SPS) and Trusted Execution Engine (TXE). The security flaw could allow an attacker to run code that would be invisible to the operating system, opening up the possibility of invisible rootkit or malware infections, as well as the risk of exposing valuable data. The problem is believed to affect millions of computers and servers. Maxim Goryachy and Mark Ermolov from Positive Technologies made the discovery in the… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Privacy: Use of session replay scripts means many websites essentially have built in keyloggers

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The idea that what you do online is not a secret is something that we have all — just about — come to terms with. That said, most people still expect a modicum of privacy, and they certainly don’t expect literally every keystroke they type to be logged by the websites they visit. But, say researchers at Princeton University, this is exactly what is happening. Hundreds of the most popular websites are using “session replay scripts” that record every single thing a visitor does. They are designed to monitor how visitors interact with a site to help gather information that… …Continue reading on BetaNews

DoJ seeks to block Time Warner/AT&T merger

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The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit as it tries to block the acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T. The DoJ says that the merger would cause bills to rise and stifle choice for consumers. There is concern about the level of control such a merger would give the company over programming and distribution, but AT&T says that it will fight the lawsuit, saying that there is no reason for the merger to be blocked. If it was to go ahead, the merger would involve one of the largest transactions in US history — $108 billion. But the lawsuit… …Continue reading on BetaNews

$31 million in tokens stolen from dollar-pegged cryptocurrency Tether

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All eyes may be on the meteoric rise of Bitcoin at the moment, but it’s far from being the only cryptocurrency on the block. Startup Tether issued a critical announcement after it was discovered that “malicious action by an external attacker” had led to the theft of nearly $31 million worth of tokens. Tether is a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency formerly known as Realcoin, and it says that $30,950,010 was stolen from a treasury wallet. The company says it is doing what it can to ensure exchanges do not process these tokens, including temporarily suspending its backend wallet service. Tether knows the… …Continue reading on BetaNews

MediaProjection vulnerability leaves 77 percent of Android phones open to screen and audio recording attacks

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More than three quarters of Android phones are vulnerable to screen and audio recording by attackers. By exploiting the MediaProjection service, an attacker can easily trick a user into granting the relevant rights to a malicious app. Although the vulnerability has been fixed in Android 8 Oreo, users running Lollipop, Marshmallow or Nougat remain at risk. MediaProjection is — by design — able to capture screen activity and audio, and it does have legitimate uses, but by using a technique known as tap-jacking permission can be given for it to be used for more nefarious things. As noted by BleepingComputer,… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Authorities serve Apple with a warrant to access the Texas shooter’s iPhone SE

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Following the shooting in a Texas church a couple of weeks ago, it quickly emerged that the FBI was having trouble accessing data stored on the shooter’s encrypted phone. While authorities refused to disclose the make and model of the device, when Apple said that it had contacted the FBI to offer help, it all but confirmed early reports that an iPhone was at the center of the case. Now Apple has been served with a warrant to help local law enforcement officers to access messages, photos and other data stored on gunman Devin Patrick Kelley’s iPhone SE. See also:… …Continue reading on BetaNews

Privacy: Germany bans kids’ ‘spying’ smartwatches

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Regulators in Germany have introduced a ban on children’s smartwatches citing privacy concerns. Telecoms regulator the Federal Network Agency (FNA) describes the wearables as “spying devices” and advises parents to destroy them. The FNA said that parents had been using such smartwatches to listen in on their children at school, and warned teachers to be on the lookout for them. But a lack of regulation of the devices means that many have poor security, meaning they could be used by others to spy on wearers. This is not the first time German regulators have stepped into ban privacy-invading devices. An… …Continue reading on BetaNews

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