Israeli spyware firm NSO can mine data from social media accounts









An Israeli spyware firm has claimed that they can scoop  user data from the world’s top social media, the Financial Times report. 

The powerful malware Pegasus from NSO Group is the same spyware that breached WhatsApp data earlier this year. 

The firm said that this time their malware can scrap data from the servers of Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. 

According to the reports of the Times, the NSO group had “told buyers its technology can surreptitiously scrape all of an individual’s data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, according to people familiar with its sales pitch”.

However, the companies spokesperson denied the allegation in a in written statement to AFP’s request for comment. 
“There is a fundamental misunderstanding of NSO, its services and technology,” it said.

“NSO’s products do not provide the type of collection capabilities and access to cloud applications, services, or infrastructure as listed and suggested in today’s FT article.”

In the mean time, Amazon and Google told AFP that they have started an investigation on the basis of report, but so far found no evidence that the software had breached their systems or customer accounts.





Apple pushes out silent update for Mac users to remove Zoom web server

Earlier this week, a US-based security researcher named Jonathan Leitschuh had publicly disclosed a major vulnerability in the Zoom video conferencing software for Apple’s Mac computers which could make any website start a video-enabled call by hacking the webcam of the system. Now, according to a report by TechCrunch, Apple has pushed out an update silently to the macOS which removes the Zoom web server.

As per the report, the US-based technology giant has confirmed the said update has been released and it is installed automatically and does not require any interaction with the user. The purpose of the update is only to remove the local web server installed by the Zoom app. The company said that it pushed the update to protect its users from the risks posed by the exposed web server.

According to Leitschuh’s claims earlier this week, even if Mac users uninstall the Zoom app from their system, the web server continues to persist and it can reinstall Zoom without the user’s permission.

In a statement to The Verge and ZDNet, Zoom had said that it developed the local web server to save Mac users from too many clicks, after Apple changed their Safari browser in a way that requires Zoom users to confirm that they want to launch Zoom every single time. Zoom also said that it will tweak the app such that it will save the user’s and administrator’s preferences for whether the video will be turned on, or not, when they first join a call.

However, it seems Apple took it upon itself to rescue its users from the security vulnerability posed by Zoom app. The silent update was all the more needed because Zoom had installed a local web server that could reinstall the app even if the user had previously uninstalled it.

The Rise of Fingerprinting and Monitoring Of Our Digital Activities




 The concept of digital privacy has evolved so much with time that regardless of whether we secure our data to ensure that we are not tracked on the web, the ad tech industry, through some way or different finds ways to monitor our digital activities.

Being alluded to as a cutting edge tracking technology by security researchers, the fingerprinting technology has for sure achieved new statures.

While it incorporates taking a look at the many characteristics of the user's mobile device or computer, like the screen resolution, operating system and model, it likewise very effectively while triangulating this data, pinpoints and follows the user as they browse the web and make use of the other apps.

Presently since the technique happens imperceptibly out of sight in applications and websites, it becomes very hard to block the particular technology at whatever point it isn't required.

In the course of the most recent couple of years, tech companies like Apple and Mozilla 'introduced aggressive privacy protections' in their internet browsers to make it harder for advertisers to follow the users around the web and serve targeted ads on promotions.

But since a large number of those technologies ended up getting blocked by default, the advertisers needed to come up with an alternate method to track more users.

That is when the fingerprinting technology becomes an integral factor, as it gathers apparently harmless attributes that are commonly shared as default to make applications and sites work appropriately, which happens when the users gives an application the consent to access their location data, their camera and microphone. Thus, many other browsers likewise require the permission before a website can access those sensors.

While some state that the fingerprint method can be dependable and reliable, others say that it is abusive on the grounds that in contrast to cookies, which the users can see and delete, one for the most part can't tell it is going on and can't opt out it.

Nonetheless the solutions for averting fingerprinting are generally new, and some are still being developed. Thus it is difficult to tell how powerful they are since fingerprinting happens undetectably. So here are a few solutions for blocking browser fingerprinting.
  1. Apple users can make use of the protections installed in the Safari browser for computers and mobile devices.
  2. Android users and Windows users can try the Firefox web browser.
  3. Furthermore, the other desktop browsers can easily install an add-on.

In case of mobile users:
Privacy Pro and Disconnect Premium can examine the application activities on the device to recognize and block trackers, including finger printers.

Since Fingerprinting is a perplexing subject since the tracking method applies to both the web and mobile applications it is thusly recommended for the users to become familiar with it and be one at least one step ahead in ensuring their privacy protection themselves.


Apple Series 4 Watches- Primary Focus on Health; A Bridge between Users and Doctors!





Last year apple made a gigantic announcement for its “Watch Fanatics”. That’s right, the Series 4 which is bulked with heart monitoring, ECG and fall detection for a richer doctor-patient relationship.

Apple’s VP of Health , Dr. Sumbul Desai voiced that the latest products are being designed in regard with the “partnership with your physician”.

As it happens, before associating with Apple, Dr. Desai was the vice-chair of strategy and innovation for the department of medicine at Stanford Medical.

According to her there is something “sacred and special” about the doctor-patient dynamic and if ways could be found to make it better they should be thought upon.

The Apple watches will make it all the easier for doctors as well as patients to focus more on counselling than collecting data and doing research.

The Apple watch would help capture the data and then give it to the physician in “a meaningful way”. This will help the sessions be more productive.


Apple, with the announcement of Series 4 and related health features is certainly looking forward to expanding its hold in the health industry.

Apple is all about, according to Dr. Desai, empowering consumers and guiding them towards a better understanding of health.

The Apple Watch is a device that will help you stay connected and aid you to be healthier and fit especially with the newly introduced activity trends in watch OS 6.

The other features of the excitingly fantastic compact device include the noise app, cycle tracking and heart features.

Per Dr. Desai, wearing the Apple watch every day will help the users lead a healthier and more conscious life as it’s a powerful way to keep on the track of health.

Evidence and science based methods are being employed to develop the aforementioned features and study how the information is surfaced individuals.

Apple conducted a heart study in collaboration with Stanford medicine which covered over 400,000 patients to contemplate whether the watch’s heart-rate sensor could detect irregular rhythms.

The heart study happened to be an example of a new data type and its relation with the clinical medicine. Also it reflected upon the creation of scientific evidence based on these new data.

Apple is known for the way it keeps the data all safe and secure always keeping in mind the importance of the users’ control over the decisions of how to share it and whom to share with.

And now it is going to be pretty prominent in the field of health because at Apple they consider it to be their responsibility.


Facebook's Defunct Research Program Collects 'Untargeted' Data That May Be Sensitive On Almost 200K Users



Facebook's recently launched research program came down with a huge crash as it 'harvested the potential sensitive personal data' of approximately 187,000 people around the globe, including a large number of teenagers of the US.

Apple had already prohibited the use of the application practically about a year back and correspondences among Facebook and Sen. Richard Blumenthal's office detail the breadth of the organization's data collection program for the first time since then.

As indicated by those emails, of the about 190,000 individuals participating, 31,000 were US residents and 4,300 of those natives were between the ages of 13 to 17-years of old. The remaining users were located in India, says the report.

The now-banned research program named Project Atlas and the Research application were although terminated not long ago after reports came of the abuse of a special developer's certificate that enabled the organization to sidestep Apple's App Store.

In the program, the participants were paid $20 every month to download an altered VPN, in which the organization sucked up an enormous sum of personal data, including web browsing histories, encrypted messages, application activity, and much more.

Apple repudiated the enterprise privileges of both Facebook and Google which was likewise observed to manhandle its developers certificate.

Facebook said it decided not to decrypt the majority of the data collected by the program and didn't expand on what the 'non-targeted' content was cleared up in the process.

The contention though hasn't halted Facebook from proceeding to seek after mobile users data through broad market program.



Regardless in another 'iteration announced' only the earlier week called 'Facebook Study,' only accessible through Google Pay, the company says it will compensate users in return for a variety of data points about precisely how and when they use apps on their phones.


Apple’s Lightning Port to be Switched by Android-Style USB-C type on the New iPhone 11?






It’s in the air that there’s a strong chance of Apple abandoning its Lightning port for a USB-C type charging port with its next iPhone.

As quite strongly established the “Lightning” had been a key feature since 2012 and if Apple follows through, the old cables would become superfluous.

A “Screengrab” of the new recovery mode screen in iOS 13 (the next version of Apple’s iPhone software) kind of confirms the deal.

Apple has already undertaken the USB-C cables for its iPad Pro. The change if executed on the phones will lead to all the current chargers going down the drain lest to be used for the new phones.



The iPhone 13 download isn’t absolutely out in the open yet but, it will be officially released in September along with the fresh and new iPhone 11. Fans can obviously access a beta version of it via the Apple websites.

Along with the change in cables, reportedly, the common iTunes icon will also no longer be there and could be replaced by an icon of a “laptop”.

In the older versions of the OS, the cable would point to the iTunes logo during a restore from the computer. But now, it shows a generic silhouette of a laptop.

Also, iTunes could now be split into Music, Podcasts and Books.



The USB-C type is a standard connector for several Android phones and laptops and is inherently being use by Samsung , OnePlus and Google Pixel in some of their phones.

Original Apple chargers sell for around $25 and the copies are available for quite a low amount. But, for quite some time now USB-C has made quite a fan base.

These C type cables allow the devices to charge way faster than any other older type of cable could as it allowed only a limited amount of power in.

After iPad Pro being released with the C-type port Apple enthusiasts had been hoping for a similar change and feature availability in the new iPhones.


Apple has come a long way since it ditched the 30-pin connector in 2012 and embraced the “Lightning” port.

But should the port be changed the older adapters and chargers would all be rendered redundant. The users sure have raised a few complaints before the Apple Launch event.


Apple to shut down iTunes




Apple has officially confirmed that they are now shutting down their 18-year-old iTunes music library and replacing it with three new different apps. 

The firm revealed it will be launching three newer entertainment apps Apple Music, Apple Podcast, and Apple TV. 

The users of iTunes music should not worry as they will still have access to their existing music library. 

“Users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD,” reads a press release.

The customer’s music library would be automatically transferred to Apple Music, audiobooks and podcasts would be shifted to Apple Podcast, and videos will be stored in the Apple TV app. 

However, users using any other operating system rather than a Mac, will not be able to download the latest three apps, and for them, iTunes Music would be still available. 



This WWDC 2019 Its iOS 13, macOS Catalina, And More



At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2019 event Apple disclosed the 'next variant' of its operating system for Macs dubbed as macOS Catalina.

Being quite a progressive upgrade over the macOS 10 Mojave operating system and will be made accessible to eligible Mac users in fall 2019 while the public beta for macOS Catalina is scheduled to arrive in July 2019.

The expansion of the cross platform applications under Project Catalyst is a component that was first presented with macOS Mojave and iOS 12 for the organization's own applications and is considered as one of the biggest one.

Through iOS 13 and, Apple will now enable its developers to use this element for testing their very own applications for compatibility.



Aside from the introduction of macOS Catalina, Apple additionally displayed its new 'Find My' app likewise to be made accessible to iOS. The 'Find My' app incorporates yet another network feature system with the assistance of which consumers can track their Apple devices notwithstanding when they are not connected with the internet.

As a piece of the company's new cross platform application initiative, a large number of new and upgraded applications, including Apple Music, Podcasts, Books, TV and Reminders have likewise been brought into highlight.

While the music and TV apps are the new ones, the podcasts, Books and Reminders apps are simply overhauled. The Music app is known to have been supplanting iTunes, which has been being used for a long time now.

Notwithstanding this, the other updations made by Apple incorporates features like Sidecar, RealityKit and the Swift UI.

While the Sidecar is introduced with macOS Catalina, with the capacity to send any app to an external display, which includes connected monitors and iPads. The RealityKit feature accessible in Apple's AR Kit 3 can be accessed by developers within Xcode and numerous apps like Minecraft have already begun utilizing it.

Finally the Swift UI feature is the successor to the Swift code language Apple presented a couple of years prior, this element makes it a lot simpler for the developers to code apps for the majority of Apple's platforms and the X code -preview highlight displays how the apps will look like, in real life.





Teen sues Apple for $1 billion over Face-recognition software




A student in New York has sued Apple Inc for $1 billion, over the company’s facial-recognition software which falsely linked him to a multiple of thefts from the Apple stores. 

According to the victim, Ousmane Bah, 18,  he was arrested from his home in November and was charged with stealing from an Apple store. 

In a law suit filed by him on Monday, states that even the photo on the arrest warrant didn’t resembles him, and the theft he was charged with, in Boston, took place on the day in June he was attending his senior prom in Manhattan.

It is not clear yet how real thief is using his identification details in the Apple store. However, he did admit that he lost his a non-photo learner’s permit, which may have been found or stolen by the thief and being used as identification proof in Apple stores. 

As a result, the victim claim that his identification details are  connected to the thief’s face in Apple’s facial-recognition system, which he said the company uses in its stores to track people suspected of theft.

“He was forced to respond to multiple false allegations which led to severe stress and hardship,” states the complaint.



Google and Apple removes TikTok from App Stores in India




Google and Apple has removed the Chinese video app Tiktok from their App Stores, a day after Indian Government urged the companies to do so. 

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) requested the companies to block the app after the  state court ordered to ban access of the app as questions regarding its usage were raised. It was noted that people were using it for pornographic purposes and exploiting children.

According to  analytics firm Sensor Tower, TikTok had the highest number of users in India, and 75% of them were women. It has been downloaded more than 230 million times. 

However, a TikTok representative said that he “faith in the Indian judicial system.” The company hopes that they would be able to lift the ban and would come stronger than before, “We are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India.”

The app has already banned in Bangladesh and had faced largest ever fine in the United States for illegaly collecting informations on children. 

TikTok users in India who had previously downloaded the app on their phones were still able to use the service on Wednesday.

TikTok's official statement: ’’At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India.’’

‘’In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content. To date, we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, following an exhaustive review of content generated by our users in India."





Indian Government asks Apple and Google to remove TikTok from App Stores







The government of India has asked Google and Apple to remove the Chinese short-video sharing application TikTok from their app stores.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) reportedly asked the companies to do so after the Supreme Court of India, refused to stay an order by the Madras High Court to ban the app. 

The bench was headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and the matter was posted till April 22, as the Madras High Court is expected to hear the case on April 16. 

TikTok's official statement: ’’As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex party ad interim order. The Supreme Court has listed the matter again for April 22, 2019, to be apprised of the outcome of the hearing on the April 16th, 2019 before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.’’

‘’At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India.’’

‘’In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content. To date, we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, following an exhaustive review of content generated by our users in India."





Google refuses to delete "Absher" that allows men to track women





Google has refused to remove a Saudi Arabia government app "Absher" that allows men to track and control women's movements.

After reviewing the app, the company said that the software does not violate any of its agreement, and terms and conditions.

The tech giant has conveyed their decisions to the office of Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who, with other 13 colleagues in Congress, demanded the removal of the app from the Google Play store.

The app allows men guardians of the women to a state where their dependents can go, for how long and which airports they can visit.

If a woman leaves a certain area, then immediately an alert is triggered to their male guardians.

The app has been criticized for its oppressive nature. It was initially designed for  Saudi citizens to access e-government services, but it also allows men to track their female dependents and migrant workers, in order to track their movements and restrict their free passage through passport data.

The app is available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

However, Apple says it is still reviewing Absher. 

Apple warns app developers over screen recording





Apple has given an ultimatum to all its app developers who secretly record the screens of the customers, to quit snooping or get kicked off the Apple store.

The company has taken this decision after TechCrunch reported about the apps like  Expedia, Hollister, and Hotels.com who are using third-party analytics software to record a user's taps and swipes on the screen.

The report also mentioned that none of the apps had prior explicit permission from the users to record screen activity or disclose that their apps use such software.

According to the report, most of these apps are using an analytics tool called Glassbox, which is also known as "session replaying,"  it records all the user's activity and they let snoopers replay how a user interacted with the apps. The tool is completely a violation of Apple's privacy policies.

In a statement, Apple said: “Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem. Our App Store review guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging or otherwise making a record of user activity. We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary.”

However reacting to the claims,  Glassbox has said that they are not interested in 'spying' on customers, but their goal is to improve the online experiences.

“Since its inception, Glassbox has helped organizations improve millions of customer experiences by providing tools that record and analyze user activity on websites and apps. This information helps companies better understand how consumers are using their services, and where and why they are struggling. We are strong supporters of user privacy and security. Glassbox provides its customers with the tools to mask every element of personal data. We firmly believe that our customers should have clear policies in place so that consumers are aware that their data is being recorded — just as contact centres inform users that their calls are being recorded.”

Apple Launches Privacy Website; Focus on the Protection of User’s Personal Data





Apple on Wednesday launched a refreshed privacy website https://www.apple.com/privacy/ updating the minisite to offer better education to its customers making them aware as to how the company attempts to safeguard the user's personal data across all of its products and services.

The privacy minisite covers a variety of areas, offering as much as much information to users about the iPhone producer's approach to handling and anchoring user information. With the abundance of data put away on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, Apple is also quick to offer clarifications and explanations to its user base, with the end goal to keep building trust between the company and the population who purchases its services and products.

The privacy website will advise the users on how to protect their information while giving them access to various new approaches to comprehend Apple’s privacy as a “fundamental human right” philosophy and deal with their data appropriately.

To limit individual information, iOS and macOS devices are presently being built to have the capacity to process locally, gather only reason-specific data and randomise information to guarantee that it isn't identifiable at a granular level. What a considerable number of companies are doing on the cloud utilizing their servers, Apple is now doing on the device, all credit to the powerful chips like the A12 Bionic.

The Opening Message on the new site –
“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right. And so much of your personal information — information you have a right to keep private — lives on your Apple devices. Your heart rate after a run. Which news stories you read first. Where you bought your last coffee. What websites you visit. Who you call, email, or message. Every Apple product is designed from the ground up to protect that information. And to empower you to choose what you share and with whom.”

On the new website, Apple has one again elucidated that just when the new v “Information and Security” icon shows up does it request for personal information. All the various other administrations where this icon does not show up, does not require personal information from the users.


Apple Admits to Slowing Down Old iPhones, Faces Lawsuits

Earlier this week, in response to a blog post by John Poole at Geekbench, Apple revealed that the company actually does slow down their iPhones when they get older, a fact that has been long suspected by iPhone users.

Apple said that it started the practice a year ago, to compensate for battery degradation, rather than push people to upgrade their smartphones faster.

This fact has led to a social media storm and outrage amongst users. Many have pointed out that a better solution may have been to make the battery replaceable and to inform customers, providing them an opt-out.

Apple is now facing two class-action lawsuits alleging that the company was intentionally and deceptively slowing down its phones so that users would buy the latest model, thus bringing more profits for Apple.

According to the lawsuit’s press release by a law firm in Chicago, Apple’s this move is “deemed purposeful, and if proven, constitutes the unlawful and decisive withholding of material information.” The second lawsuit comes from California stating that Apple should have provided its customers an option to choose between the slow-down, or opt out.