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Smartwatches targetted at children, like the VTech Kidizoom, are now banned in Germany. (Image: VTech)

Germany bans smartwatches marketed at children

Children's smartwatches have been found to have glaring security holes, some of which can present a serious threat to the safety of the children that wear them. These security issues, along with privacy concerns, have led German officials to ban the sale of children's smartwatches.
A more fitting name if this trend of fails continues. (Source: CHEIL India)

OnePlus is collecting user data without permission, and you should be scared

OnePlus has dropped the ball yet again, with a user discovering a data siphon that sends his private phone information and logs to a remote OnePlus server.
An always on camera?

Google Clips is Watching You: Google's new action camera automatically snaps shots, records video

Google Clips is a small wearable action camera that automatically takes pictures of what it judges to be special moments. It learns who the important people in your life are via machine learning, and it may pose a serious privacy concern.
All this considered, this is about par for cyber information control in most parts of the world. (Source: The Verge)

Your private data isn't so private after all, Wechat confirms

It's been a good week for privacy intrusions, with GO Keyboard being reported to siphon user data. This time out, it's the Wechat app on all the headlines, as the app's new privacy policy sheds light on how public, private user data actually is.
Image: Twitter user Nick Sweeting

Equi-fail: Equifax directs customers affected by hack to fake phishing website

In another major misstep for Equifax, an employee of the credit services company responded to customer tweets with a link to a fake phishing website. The site, which was styled to look like the official Equifax site dedicated to the hack, was a fake used to demonstrate how easily malicious parties could further exploit Equifax's customers.
CCleaner's binary was modified by hackers to insert a backdoor. (Source: Piriform)

CCleaner hijacked by hackers to open a backdoor for remote code execution

Piriform, makers of the popular PC cleaning software CCleaner, said that a few versions of the program's 32-bit binary were hijacked by hackers who could insert a two-stage backdoor capable of remote code execution. Investigation is on to understand what exactly caused the hijack that resulted in about 2.27 million users getting affected.
Image: Equifax

Equifax security breach blamed on known web vulnerability in Apache Struts

One week after announcing a major data breach affecting over 143 million consumers, Equifax is pointing blame at a security vulnerability in the Apache Struts web framework. However, the vulnerability was publicly announced in March and a patch was available months before the attack.
Graph of the increase in cryptocurrency mining trojans as measured by Kaspersky Labs. (Source: Bleeping Computer)

Cryptocurrency mining malware has infected over 1.65 million computers this year

Data from Kaspersky Labs shows that the number of cryptocurrency mining trojan infections in 2017 has passed 1.65 million to date. Criminals use infected PCs to crunch transactions and route the success fee to their own digital wallets.
Qualcomm claims a list of Android firsts on its blog just in time for the launch of the new iPhones. (Source: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm lists innovations that appeared first on Android — just ahead of the iPhone X launch

Qualcomm has published a blog post detailing some of the mobile innovations that were made possible by the collaboration with Google and other Android OEMs. Cheekily, the list of innovations seem to reflect some of the new features that will be debuting in the new iPhones set to be launched later today.
Equifax announces major security breach affecting 143 million customers in the U.S.

Equifax announces major security breach affecting 143 million customers in the U.S.

Equifax announced today that the personal information of over 143 million American consumers was compromised in late July. Items such as birth dates, social security numbers, and even drivers licenses were stolen by hackers, in addition to over 200,000 credit card numbers.
Lenovo has been fined US$3.5 million and had restrictions placed on pre-installed software on their systems in the United States. (Source: Geralt/Pixabay)

Lenovo fined US$3.5 million for pre-installing adware on some laptops in 2015

The saga about some Lenovo laptops coming pre-installed with adware in 2015 has now come to an end with the results of their court case being announced a few hours ago. Lenovo must pay a fine of US$3.5 million and has had some restrictions placed on how they handle pre-installed software in the United States.
Image: Essential

Andy Rubin issues apology for Essential customer privacy debacle

After a massive privacy foul-up, Essential's Andy Rubin has issued a formal apology to customers that had their personal information emailed to other customers. Essential will provide affected individuals with a one-year subscription to LifeLock and, possibly, a free Essential Phone.
Deep digging into the Intel ME firmware has finally enabled security researchers to disable its functioning. (Source: Positive Technologies)

Eureka! The Intel Management Engine can finally be disabled, thanks to the NSA

Researchers have found a way to disable a much hated component of Intel CPUs — the Intel Management Engine, thanks in part to the NSA's High Assurance Platform (HPA) program.
NY Mayor Bill de Blasio with NYPD deputy commissioner for IT, Jessica Tisch. (Source: NY Post)

NYPD contemplating on replacing 36,000 odd Windows Phones with iPhones

In the continuing habitual setback for Microsoft in its mobile endeavors, the NYPD will soon be scrapping its 36,000 odd smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 for iPhones. The department is taking the decision in the wake of Microsoft halting updates for the ill-fated mobile OS.
Samsung logo (Source: Samsung)

Judge gives Samsung heir five years in jail for bribery scandal

A judge has sentenced Lee Jae-jong, the Samsung heir, to five years jail time for his part in the bribery scandal with the administration of the former President of South Korea. He was also found guilty of giving false testimony in court and hiding overseas assets.
Ransomware Locky and Mamba have started rearing their ugly heads again. (Source: 2-Spyware)

Beware! Ransomware Locky and Mamba on the prowl again

Variants of ransomware Locky and Mamba have resurfaced and are more lethal than ever. Those unfortunate to be infected, risk encryption of the entire HDD and need to cough up a huge sum of money for decryption and recovery of their data.
suhide-lite can bypass Google's SafetyNet, allowing rooted phones to run apps that would otherwise be restricted. (Source: XDA-Developers)

It's now easier to hide root on your Android phone with suhide-lite

A new SuperSU package by developer Chainfire allows users to hide root status from specific apps, which can enable the use of certain apps on rooted devices that would otherwise be blocked via Google's SafetyNet API.
Nintendo Switch with removable Joycon controllers. (Source: Nintendo)

Nintendo sued over joycon controller design, meanwhile NVIDIA says Nintendo are "innovators"

NVIDIA has praised Nintendo for being innovators and risk takers for their successful Switch console. Meanwhile, Nintendo is facing a lawsuit from Gamevice, who claim that the detachable controller design of the switch infringes on patents they own and use with their product line.
The malicious software is activated whrn the DNA sequencer analyzes the data. (Source: Shutterstock)

Biohackers splice malware directly into DNA strands

Scientists came up with a plan to infect computers using altered human DNA. The malicious code is activated when the altered human genetic code is analyzed by a DNA sequencer that is hooked to a computer network.
Windows 10 collects more telemetry data than previous versions of the operating system. (Source: Microsoft)

71 percent of Windows 10 Creators Update users send Microsoft their full telemetry data

Microsoft has reduced the amount of telemetry data collected under the 'basic' diagnostic option to be compliant with privacy laws and customer desires. However, 71 percent of Creators Update users still opt to send full diagnostic data to Microsoft including browsing and typing data.
Friends with benefits — Kaspersky and Microsoft seem to have reconciled their differences with respect to security in Windows 10. (Source: Kaspersky)

Kaspersky withdraws antitrust claim after Microsoft offers to make Windows 10 more AV vendor friendly

It appears that Microsoft and Kaspersky have come to terms with respect to the latter's demands of a more antivirus vendor friendly approach in Windows 10 resulting in withdrawal of all antitrust allegations against Microsoft by Kaspersky.
Disney Princess: Charmed Adventures is one of 42 titles the suit alleges to collect personal information of children without parental consent. (Source: Disney)

Disney sued for allegedly illegally collecting data on children with smartphone apps

Disney is being sued along with three software companies for creating software targeted at young children that collect personal information and send it to advertisers without the consent of parents. Disney has signaled it aims to face the suit in court.
BLU's tweet announcing their product are back online. (Source: Twitter)

BLU phones back on Amazon following privacy fears

After privacy concerns caused Amazon to delist some phones by budget smartphone manufacturer BLU, the products are once again available through the online retailer. Although BLU has denied allegations of any wrongdoing, privacy issues with budget Android phones may remain a concern.
The WannaCry hackers are taking a risk emptying their bitcoin wallets. (Source: HypnoArt/Pixabay)

WannaCry hackers empty their wallets

The three ransom wallets associated with the WannaCry ransomware have been monitored by law-enforcement for the last three months. A few days ago the total Bitcoin balances were transferred from each of those wallets into a number of smaller ones as the hackers start the process of trying to make any cash withdrawals untraceable.
Apple is not the only company forced to either cooperate with the Chinese government or face losing access to the market, but they are the largest. (Source: Shutterstock)

Apple pulls VPNs from Chinese App Store

Apple has pulled a number of censorship-defeating tools from their App Store in China, citing Chinese law. The move to accommodate the Chinese government deprives many in the country of access to information.
Source3 joins Facebook to get content creators paid

Facebook acquires Source3

Thanks to the Source3's technology and this content rights management company's team, Facebook plans to help digital artists monetize their content while staying safe from piracy.
Chinese security forces in Xinjiang are reportedly checking residents for whether or not they have installed the spying app. Failure to have the app installed can lead to up to 10 days detention. (Source: Twitter/即时中国大陆映像)

Some Chinese residents forced to install government spyware on phones

The Chinese government has made the installation of surveillance software on phones mandatory in the north-western city of Urumqi. Urumqi is the capital of Xin Jiang province, which is home to most of China's Turkic Uighur minority.
Users found that using a proxy could triple their bandwidth on the affected sites. (Source: ArsTechnica)

Verizon allegedly throttling Netflix and Youtube

Verizon "unlimited" subscribers have complained about YouTube and Netflix being throttled to 10Mbps, resulting in decreased video quality in some situations. Verizon later admitted to testing"optimizations", but denied that they had throttled the connection.
Yesterday's memes are now today's news. (Source: Know Your Meme)

Facebook to allow paywalled articles later this year

Facebook is reportedly working on a paywall system to access shared articles.
Petya's decryption key is now available but tough luck for those affected by NotPetya. (Source: MalwareBytes Blog)

Master decryption key for Petya ransomware found to be ineffective against NotPetya

The decryption key for the Petya ransomware seems to be ineffective for use in systems infected by NotPetya, leaving those infected by the nefarious program still in the lurch.
A resolution passed by the European Parliament echoes the demands of consumers and companies like iFixit: give us devices that are easier to repair. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Europeans want devices that can be easily repaired

In 2014, a poll showed that a majority of consumers in the EU would prefer to repair their old devices instead of just buying new ones. Recently, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for device manufacturers to create products better suited to meet this demand.
Identity verification is now just a video call away. (Source: MSPoweruser)

Skype Lite for Android updated with user verification integration for Indian users

Integration of a citizen's 'Aadhaar' identification into Skype is now possible, providing Indian users with identity verification facility for important calls.
Negotiations with Microsoft by the Indian Government may offer users a low cost upgrade option to Windows 10. (Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft pressured to offer Windows 10 upgrades at 75 percent off due to ransomware attacks

With many devices still languishing with older Windows versions, the Indian Government is pressing Microsoft for a one-time discount on Windows 10 to curb the proliferation of ransomware.
Windows Defender Exploit Guard in action. (Source: GHacks)

Microsoft reveals some of the upcoming enterprise security features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

There's never been a time to be more secure than now, and the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update looks to reinforce this fact
The submitted patent for the disablement system. (Source: MSPowerUser)

Microsoft patents always-on anti-theft technology for laptops

Microsoft has patented an anti-theft system for upcoming PCs with cellular connectivity, allowing them to be remotely disabled even without a network connection.
UK Parliament was forced to restrict access to their email accounts due to sustained cyber-attacks today. (Source: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

UK parliament suffering from sustained cyber-attacks

Parliament's email system has been forced to close itself off from outside connections following a series of persistent cyber-attacks discovered today.
Image source: Microsoft

Windows 10 S can be infected with malware

While Microsoft has claimed that Windows 10 S is not vulnerable to any currently known malware, a clever cybersecurity professional has found an exploit in Microsoft Word that can run malicious code in the operating system.
Google looks to take a harder stance against policy violators and online terrorists. (Source: Google)

Google takes a hard line on online terror in its new 4-step plan

In a recent blog post, General Counsel at Google Ken Walker delineated the company's mission to combat terrorism online. While Google already devotes a portion of its enormous resources toward counter-terrorism, the company aims to bolster its efforts with a newly published 4-step plan.
WannaCry is estimated to have extracted US$126,000 in Bitcoin from victims. (Source: Gillian Hann/Twitter)

British intelligence claims North Korea is behind WannaCry, though doubts persist

US and British intelligence services believe that they tracked the WannaCry ransomware to North Korea via attributing it to the Lazarus Group, who hacked Sony Pictures in 2014 preceding the release of the comedy film "The Interview".
Maybe we can trade Ajit Pai for Canada's Jean-Pierre Blais? Just a thought... (Source: Huffington Post)

Canada will soon require all smartphones to be sold unlocked

In the US, carriers have to unlock your phone once you've paid it off. But a recent Canadian ruling goes one step further: upon request, your device must be unlocked, for free, regardless of contract state. Furthermore, all new phones must be sold unlocked starting in December.
Google Drive becomes Google Backup and Sync and will release on June 28th. (Source: Google)

Google Drive will become Google Backup and Sync, will be able to back up more files

Google Drive will soon become Google Backup and Sync, which will start backing up your selected files not just from your Google Drive folder, but from almost anywhere on your computer.
Most apps send out some level of personal data to third parties. (Source: TechRadar)

Study reveals 70 percent of mobile app data is being shared with third parties

A recent study by a Spanish institute has just revealed that the majority of mobile apps used share data with third parties.
Apple is on-track to open 40 Apple retail stores in China by this October. (Source: TechCrunch)

Chinese officials uncover massive data theft by local Apple employees

An underground identity-theft ring where Apple employees were selling customers' personal data was uncovered in China.
Source: Android Police

Andy Rubin's Essential brand accused of trademark infringement

Spigen, a smartphone manufacturer that owns trademark rights to the term "Essential," has sent a Cease and Desist order to Andy Rubin's Essential company. Claiming that Essential infringed on their copyright, Spigen demanded that Essential stop using the trademark.
The Malware, developed by a Chinese digital marketing company, hijacks the victim's browser and can then steal their private information or install additional malware. (Source: Check Point Threat Intelligence)

Chinese "Fireball" malware infects almost 250 million computers

Chinese company Rafotech has been found to be responsible for the current epidemic of the "Fireball" malware, which has affected nearly 250 million computers worldwide. Fireball is usually installed by piggybacking on an installer of wanted software; it then hijacks the user's browser and can then proceed to do anything from spying to dropping additional mal...
Lithium battery catches fire aboard flight to San Francisco (Source: CNN)

Lithium-ion battery catches fire aboard flight to San Francisco

A single faulty AA battery belonging to a passenger was responsible for an emergency landing two hours into the cross-country flight.
A recently confirmed Android exploit can seize control of your device. (Image source:

"Cloak and Dagger" vulnerability can leave your Android phone open to attack

The exploit, which has long been theorized, was confirmed by computer security researchers. By using invisible overlays and some clever social engineering, hackers can quickly gain full control to an Android device.
The unassuming intrusion method has made this attack one of the most widespread in recent history. (Source: Check Point)

Vulnerability found in subtitle system of VLC, Kodi, and other media players

By injection malicious code into subtitle files, hackers are able to take full control of a device that loads the malicious subtitles. The exploit affects four of the biggest media streaming services: VLC, Kodi, Popcorn Time, and
Say goodbye to Messenger "Days", games, and poor performance by using Messenger Lite. (Source: Facebook)

If you're tired of Facebook Messenger's bloat, try Messenger Lite

Facebook's ubiquitous chatting app, Messenger, has become so bloated that Facebook has already spun off a version for developing markets called "Messenger Lite". To install it in most countries, however, you'll have to sideload it on your Android phone.
One metric for assessing the validity of a threat is its specificity. (Source: The Guardian)

Leaked internal Facebook censorship guidelines fuels concern about ethics

Internal documents from Facebook revealed to the Guardian show the difficulties the company is facing to police its 2-billion-strong membership.

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Redaktion, 2013-05- 8 (Update: 2013-09-27)