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Winja (VirusTotal Uploader)- The Malware Detector!


Cyber-security is an important concern for everyone working from these days, amid the lock-down due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. There are several security measures one can employ to stay on top of all the cyber-hazards that hackers could be brewing.

Winja is one such free application and passive analysis tool that is designed for Microsoft Windows that helps the user find any potential malware on their system. By way of using the scanning engine of the anti-virus products, the application gives forth very specific details as to which file is hazardous in which way.

Whenever we download something from the internet our first step is to ensure that it’s safe for our device. With Winja, all you have to do is to drag the file in question on the mal window and Voila! The results apparently will show on the desktop.

In case you have a sneaking suspicion about your device being infected, you could scan all services and processes for malware and the application will help you.

Reportedly, Winja initially uses the “VirusTotal” public API to insert the fingerprint of a file. If the fingerprint is present, Winja sends the current analysis report and if it is not then Winja sends the “unknown file” to the VirusTotal servers for scanning. You can also analyze files any time you want to enhance the chances of detection.

As has been recognized by researchers over these years, hackers tend to have their places of choice in their victim’s devices to first sneak in and then hide the malware. With Winja it becomes extremely easy to locate any suspicious files in those places. Per sources, Services, Task Scheduler, Active Processes, Applications beginning with Windows and Actions that require network resources and internet are few to be mentioned.

All you need to do to scan any file that you have a suspicion on is to drag it and drop in onto the main window of the Winja application.

Plus, you can make use of an extension for the Windows Explorer that would aid you to request a scan by means of a right-click on any file of your choice from the file browser.

Per sources, all the subsequent versions after the sixth one are available in French making it a huge hit in the French-versed population. VirusTotal, which is an arm of Google, strongly suggests Winja as a substitute for their Windows desktop application.

This application goes hand in hand with the anti-virus software that you love to use for your devices. It is not a substitute for anti-virus software but it fits with them like a puzzle piece and does not intend to endanger their publicity in any way.

This COVID-19 Website By Google Tells You All You Need To Know About Coronavirus!


The first step anyone took after hearing the first of the Coronavirus was ‘Googling’ it. Google has been a solution, for as long as we can remember, to most of our queries. Yet again it upholds its
reputation.

Amid all the mass confusion and chaos this virus has caused for the human race, every single one of us has wanted a ‘go-to’ for a little clarity between all of this bewilderment related to COVID-19.

Be it asking about the first symptoms, vaccine information or prevention strategies, in the middle of this bewilderment people have continued to look up to search engines for answers.

Google stepped in at the right moment and launched a website that encompasses next to every single bit of information about the Coronavirus.

Per sources, by way of collaborating with the US government, Google was has developed a website fully committed to educating people about COVID-19 including the probable symptoms, ways of prevention, treatment and all the other related information.

Reportedly, in the last week of January, Google had launched an SOS “alert” packed with resources and safety details from the WHO, plus the latest news. The alert, as of now, has spread across many countries in 25 languages. Per sources, people in over 50 countries have access to localized public health guidance from authorities.

The website mostly centers on providing health-related information along with safety and preventive practices, helpful resources, updated data and insights, relief assistance, the most recent of news, the early symptoms of the disease and how it spreads.

The website strongly endorses the “Do the Five” campaign to further wakefulness about basic things people can do to control the spread of COVID-19, per the WHO. According to sources, the website also has a map of the affected areas via the WHO and links to national health authority websites.

The website is loaded with informative videos from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, depicting the importance of washing hands regularly, responsible behavior and fighting together.

It is a massively lucrative initiative towards putting all the misunderstandings and confusion of people regarding COVID-19, to rest. The website shall be regularly updated and improved with more details and resources.

The link to the website:
https://www.google.com/covid19/

6 Simple Tricks to Prevent your Smartphone from Hackers


If hackers trespass into your smartphones, they can send fake emails, fake alerts using your camera, and even control user activity. According to Denise DeRosa, founder of Cyber Sensible, if even a minute thing in your smartphone is not secured, it makes the device vulnerable to cyber attackers.

The basic problem is that your smartphones are connected to the central hub, where all the data is managed and regulated. If this is ever exposed, your complete digital information is at risk. Regrettably, your smartphone is not safe from all these potential threats, and it is frightening.


But there's no need to worry, follow these six simple steps to ensure the safety of your smartphone.


1. Create a secure password by using a set of random arrangements from different dictionaries. Hackers have always used algorithms to predict the patterns of your password. Experts recommend having at least a 12 character password with capital letters and unique characters. In this way, hackers can never predict your password.

2. Avoid using the same password for different platforms. 
The hacker can have access to all your accounts if you keep the same passwords. For instance, if you visit a malicious website and supply your login credentials, the hacker can steal it.

3. Update every smart device connected to your smartphone. 
It can be an android tv, Alexa, or other smart devices. Use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords. Password managers are helping to keep all your passwords in one place, especially if you have various accounts, which is hard to remember. 

4. Avoid giving privacy permissions to unnecessary apps. 
Every app asks for access permission to user data, gallery, mic, location, and camera. But they don't need all the agreements. 

5. Always use 2 step verification, wherever possible. 
It gives an additional layer of security as the user would then require both the passwords and verification through text, mail or smartphone. 

6. Inform people having access to your account to follow these security measures too. 
Google recommends to set up a family account where the user doesn't need to share his password with other members.

Stay Wary of Third-Party Apps: Malware App 'CovidLock' Locks User Out of their Phone


In an attempt to block misinformation from being spread by developers taking advantage of the COVID-19 charged environment, Google started prevention by blocking any search made for terms "COVID-19" and "coronavirus" on Google Play Store. It identified certain developers' malicious intent of exploiting user's concerns regarding the new coronavirus. As of now, Google's attempt to block searches has yielded positive results with the search for the aforementioned keywords returns no results at all on the Play Store.

Once you are out of the Play Store searching for the same, considering the installation of third-party apps, it becomes a matter of great concern as developers are embedding ransomware in apps named after the new coronavirus to delude uninformed users.

Recently, DomainTools, a Threat Intelligence company found an app known as "CovidLock" that is ransomware in the facade of 'coronavirus tracking app'. The app will appear to be a real-time tracker for the coronavirus but it will function as a malware that will lock the user out of his phone and ask for a ransom of $100 in bitcoin within a time period of 48 hours. If the affected user fails to provide the demanded ransom in the given time, he receives threats of his social media accounts being exposed online and the data stored onto his device being permanently deleted. It further notifies that his device is constantly monitored and in case he attempts to do anything stupid, everything will be automatically deleted.

However, a piece of good news is that the new mobile devices are secured against such attacks as Google has added defense against it. But in cases of users running versions older than Android Nougat, there are chances of their device being infected by this malware. To stay on a safer side, users are being advised to stick to the Google Play Store when downloading apps. Turning to unauthorized third-party sources invites great danger to user security especially at a time when our concerns and fears can be exploited and used against us. 

Google rewards 100,000$ as bug bounty prize!


Google has awarded 100,000 dollars prize to a Dutch researcher Wouter ter Maat for the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), for vulnerabilities found in the Google Cloud Shell.


Wouter ter Maat received 100 thousand dollars, Google's very first annual Cloud Platform bug-bounty prize by finding a clever container escape and search for bugs.

Google also announced, that then it will be increasing the payouts for annual Google Cloud Platform prizes in its Vulnerability Reward Programme (VRP). It will offer prizes to the top six vulnerability reports in GCP products submitted in 2020 with a cash prize of up to 313,337 dollars. The first place would win 313,337 dollars and the sixth place will end up with a thousand dollars. In order to be eligible, the bug hunters will have to submit a public write-up with the word limit of 31,337 words.

 The Bug-

Google Cloud Shell is an interactive shell environment for Google Cloud Platform. It is a Linux with a browser-based front, that allows administrators to use various resources in the Google Cloud Platform.

Ter Maat noticed several issues in the cloud shell, the way it interacts with resources and authentication problems.

 “When the Cloud Shell instance is done starting a terminal window is presented to the user,” ter Maat wrote in his write-up published in December. “Noteworthy is the fact that the gcloud client is already authenticated. If an attacker is able to compromise your Cloud Shell, it can access all your GCP resources.”

The researcher could connect to resources after launching the Cloud Shell, and as very few processes were running he was able to enter a container, escape it and access the full host by examining the file system. “I noticed that there were two Docker UNIX sockets available,” explained ter Maat. “One in ‘/run/docker.sock’, which is the default path for our Docker client running inside the Cloud Shell (Docker inside Docker); the second one in ‘/google/host/var/run/docker.sock.'”

 "This second socket was revealed to be a host-based Docker socket, as indicated by its pathname. Anyone who can communicate with a host-based Docker socket can easily escape the container and gain root access on the host at the same time,” the researcher noted, adding that he could do that by just writing a quick script.

“After running it you will find that all containers inside the pod will automatically reboot. Now all containers run in privileged mode,” said ter Maat.

Researchers say, if malicious actors gain control of privileged containers, the possibilities for abuse are seemingly endless. They can view software and exploit their vulnerabilities, codes can be re-written, coin miners can be executed and effectively hidden and much more.

Google Stops Displaying Security Warnings in Microsoft Edge, No Longer Recommends Switching to Chrome


Google has stopped advising Microsoft Edge users to switch to Chrome for a more secure experience as the browser extensions crafted for Google's Chrome web browser are also suitable for the new Microsoft's new Edge browser based on Chromium.

It appeared like Google stoked the flames of browser wars when it subtly encouraged Edge users to shift to Chrome by displaying warnings of potential security threats. The alert displayed by Google read that it "recommends switching to Chrome to use extensions securely". A developer at Edge revealed that the new Microsoft Edge is designed to effectively safeguard its users from malicious extensions, that said, Edge already had Windows Defender Smart Screen and Unwanted Application protection built-in.

Whenever a user visited the Chrome Web Store via the new Microsoft Edge, Google displayed a message in yellow at the top of the webpage recommending users to switch to Chrome in order to use extensions with added safety. However, seemingly, as soon as Google realized that greeting users with a warning message which clearly implied that Microsoft Edge is less secure of a browser is not making them look good, the tech giant softened and decided to take the alert down. Not only that, Google went a step ahead and replaced the previously displayed warning with a fresh one that tells users that now they can add extensions to Microsoft Edge from the Chrome Web Store.

However, still, officially only a few extensions are supported by Microsoft Edge as the installation of all these extensions for the first will seem to be a bit complex. Users need to enable 'allow extensions' from other stores via the settings page. On attempting to do that, Microsoft warns that it doesn't verify extensions downloaded from third-party stores and cautions that doing the same may cause performance issues in Edge. Then it suggests users get verified extensions from Microsoft Edge add-ons site. As soon as the users allow extensions by clicking on 'Allow', they will be able to add extensions to Edge from Chrome Web Store.

Users can now Use 2 Step Verification on their Chrome and Safari Browser


Google has launched a new feature for ensuring users' security. You will now be able to enroll for 2 Factor Authentication Keys from Web browsers. Google is allowing you to enroll security keys on Android and macOS devices by making it easier to register for keys. "Two-factor authentication, also called multiple-factor or multiple-step verification, is an authentication mechanism to double-check that your identity is legitimate."


When you sign in into your account it asks for a username and password, this is the first verification process. Two-factor authentication adds another security layer after this to confirm your identity. It (2FA) could be a pin, a password, a one time password, a physical device, or biometric. It should be something only you have to know. Two-factor authentication is very important as a password isn't as protective as we believe. Cyber attackers can test billions of password combinations in a second.

Two-factor authentication or two-step verification adds another layer of protection besides a password, and it is hard for cybercriminals to get this second factor and reduces their chance to succeed. Now Google is offering these 2FA authentication keys, and you can register for these on macOS devices using Safari (v. 13.0.4 and up), and Android devices running Android 7.0 “N” and up, using the Google Chrome web browser (version 70 and up). Users can register these independently or with those who have signed up for the Advanced Protection Program. It's available for all users given you're using the mentioned version of the software.

What is Security Keys? 

Security Keys are the most secure form of two-factor authentication (2FA) or two-step verification to protect against various threats like hacking and phishing. Users are provided with physical keys that they can insert into the USB port of their device, when required the user will touch the key. On Android devices, the user will have to tap the key on their NFC ( Near Field Communication) enabled device. Android users can also opt for USB and Bluetooth keys. Apple mobile users will be provided Bluetooth-enabled security keys.

Security is Clearview’s top priority?


Clearview AI an American technology company was, as of late breached as hackers figured out how to exploit a security flaw and 'make-off' its whole client list. Despite the fact that there's a lot of reason of concern, the specific nature and source of the breach remain unknown as of now. The company anyway has emphasized over and over that it has already patched the vulnerability and insists its that servers were not accessed. 

The facial recognition software company has made claims, that not exclusively does its clientele incorporates many police stations, but it purportedly services the FBI and DHS and said that they are exclusively working with law enforcement agencies. 

The Daily Beast's Betsy Swan originally investigated the breach. In the wake of assessing the documents from Clearview AI staff they wrote: 

Clearview AI disclosed to its customers that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its list of customers, to the number of users accounts those customers had set up, and to the number of searches its customers have conducted. 

The breach, however, isn't the main issue Clearview AI has to deal with currently. It's additionally entangled in a standoff with an alliance of tech titans hell-bent on seeing it shutdown. The contention comes from the company's utilization of "publicly available" images of peoples from the internet to compile its database. 

Supposedly, Clearview has billions of images in its database of simply peoples' faces. It assembles these images by utilizing a "crawler" AI to scour websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Image Search for each accessible picture. At that point, it coordinates the faces with whatever data it can discover on the internet and gives law enforcement access in a convenient application. 

Up until now, the company's gotten cease and desist letters from Microsoft, Google, Venmo, and Twitter. While it's very vague precisely what legitimate response Clearview has now, it seems like it might be going towards a court confrontation like HiQ v. LinkedIn.

WhatsApp and Telegram Group Links Leaked Online



A security researcher recently discovered that a lot of WhatsApp and Telegram Group invite links that may not be up for public viewing are appearing in multiple search engines like on Google, Yahoo, Yandex, and Bing.

On Friday, researcher Jordan Wildon, a multimedia journalist at Deutsche Welle warned that owing to a critical issue, several illegal groups and activities along with genuine private groups were exposed.

In the light of the leak, various security measures have been taken by both the companies, however, to erase the links from public searches completely so that they are no longer discoverable by people to join will require much more efforts.

This critical flaw not only abused the privacy of the aforementioned messaging apps by exposing around 450,000 groups online but also allowed data mining as the phone numbers were made available directly.

Notably, these messager apps' invite links have been indexed by several search engines. Due to this indexing feature, WhatsApp and Telegram group invite links are also being displayed publicly by these search engines and the visibility increased the reach even further. Two major happenings took place due to these leaked links – Unwanted and uninvited people joined various groups through the invite links and it also paved an easy path for hackers to discover other conversations through brute force attacks.

While addressing the issue, WhatsApp has seemingly removed the invite links for groups from Google and the company also took other steps in order to prevent indexing.

Wildon took to Twitter to provide updates, "JUST IN: Google appears to have removed indexing of WhatsApp links. Other major search engines appear to still be indexing chat links."

"UPDATE: This has been fixed on Google, but results are still available elsewhere. If you’re concerned, I’d recommend going into group settings, tapping “Invite to Group via Link” then “Reset link”. he tweeted.

Google AI no longer to use Gender Labels to Tag Photos


Google's Cloud Vision API is a Google Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool that recognizes an image and what's in it and labels it, will no longer use gender labels like "man" and "woman", instead it will label it as 'Person.' Google Cloud Vision API is a tool through which developers can attach labels to photos and identify the content. In an email sent to users on Thursday, Google instructed that they will not use 'woman' or 'man' as physical appearance can not determine gender, the change has been done to avoid bias.


“Given that a person’s gender cannot be inferred by appearance,” reads the email, “we have decided to remove these labels to align with the Artificial Intelligence Principles at Google, specifically Principle #2: Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias.” The bias that Google talks about is a result of "flawed training data," a much-discussed topic. A flaw that results in AI algorithm making assumptions- that is anyone who doesn't fit the algorithm of 'man' or 'woman' and will be misgendered. By labeling them as 'person,' Google attempts to avoid this mistake.

Frederike Kaltheuner, a tech policy fellow at Mozilla, said to Business Insider, "Anytime you automatically classify people, whether that's their gender or their sexual orientation, you need to decide on which categories you use in the first place — and this comes with lots of assumptions. "Classifying people as male or female assumes that gender is binary. Anyone who doesn't fit it will automatically be misclassified and misgendered. So this is about more than just bias — a person's gender cannot be inferred by appearance. Any AI system that tried to do that will inevitably misgender people."

Google notes this bias in its API and AI(artificial intelligence) algorithm and seeking to change this flaw: "We will seek to avoid unjust impacts on people, particularly those related to sensitive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, income, sexual orientation, ability, and political or religious belief." Any more news regarding the Tag feature is yet to be heard from Google.

Users can now remove xHelper, the irremovable malware


Hooray! You can now remove the unremovable android malware. Yes, it is xHelper, the unremovable android malware. After 10 months of research and hard work, the cybersecurity experts have finally found a way to remove xHelper from your smartphones, which was not possible earlier. According to cybersecurity experts, the method is reliable and effective.


What is xHelper?
xHelper caused a lot of troubles across the globe to android users for a very long time, 10 months to be specific. It first appeared in March last year, when smartphone users complained about the malware came on the internet that certain apps couldn't be uninstalled from their smartphones, even though the users did a factory reset. Though the apps were not malicious or harmful, they, however, sent annoying ads or popups to the users all the time. As time passed, xHelper kept on targeting more and more devices until it was spread almost everywhere around the world. Last year, until August, xHelper infected merely 32000 smartphones, but by the end of October, the numbers climbed up to 45,000. Malwarebytes and Symantec, both a cybersecurity company, published this information in their reports.

How it spread? 
Cybersecurity experts say that the malware redirected the users to android hosting websites, and this is how the malware spread. These websites allowed users to download apps from them, without the user needing to go to the play store. However, the apps contained hidden HTML coding that released the malware in the smartphones once downloaded. Finding the source of the malware and how it spread was easy, however, the cybersecurity experts had trouble removing it through traditional methods like factory resets or uninstalling the xHelper app. Even after the factory resets, the malware would reappear by itself after some time, installing the app by itself without asking the user permissions.

How to remove xHelper?
According to Collier, users can follow these 6 steps to remove xHelper from their smartphones:

  1. Install a file manager application from the google play store. The app should be able to find directories and search files. 
  2. Disable Google play store (temporarily)
  3.  Run a scan in the Malwarebytes. Try searching for fireway, xHelper, and settings (in case 2 settings are shown) 
  4. In the file manager, search for com.mufc
  5. If the file manager shows results, sort the result by 'date found.' Delete anything with com.mufc
  6. Enable google play after doing the necessary changes.

Facebook and Google- The Kingpins Who Generated Millions of Ad Revenue This Year!


This fiscal year has been quite a success for all the social media platforms in terms of online digital advertising revenue generation.

Digital advertising revenue is the income that businesses earn via displaying paid advertising advertisements on their social media platforms or websites.

Per sources, Facebook and Google rose big time on the online revenue charts of the year 2018-2019. Facebook gathered 2,233 and as compared to the Rs. 6389 crore of the last fiscal year, Google landed itself a sum of Rs. 9,203 crore in ad revenue.

According to reports the social media giant’s ad revenue partly builds up of the advertisement that Indians “spend” on trendy social applications like Messenger, Instagram, and other third-party affiliations and applications.

Per sources, over 4.39 billion people use the internet all over the world today. Digital advertising hence, is more than a fitting alternative for the online world. The field is growing at a flying rate. According to a major report, the expenditure of ads is likely to multiply exponentially in a couple of years.

Reports also say that Facebook and Google collectively have a share of 68 percent in India’s online advertising sphere. They also plan on expanding it, given the compelling competition from Amazon and other similar entities.

The Indian division of Facebook, Facebook Indian Online Service Pvt. Ltd., cites that it gives the ad inventory amount back to the main company, which adds somewhere up to Rs.1,960 crore in the latest fiscal year. The amount that contributed to the net revenue of this Indian division was Rs. 263 crore.

Per sources, Facebook’s revenue from online ad ventures had an overall rise of 71 percent this “year-on-year”, only to reach a glorious Rs. 892 crore in this fiscal year.

This made the profit for the social media colossus rise by 84 percent which amounts up to Rs. 105 crore, mentioned the reports.
Google India Pvt. on the other hand as per what the reports mentioned displayed Rs. 1, 097 crores as its “net sales” from online advertisements.

The overall revenue for this search engine master totaled Rs.4,147 crore which was half of what it acquired in the previous fiscal year. Nevertheless, its profit experienced a 16 percent hike equalling to Rs. 473 crore, sources indicated.

Apple Engineers unveils a proposal to standardize the two factor authentication process and Google backs it up!


Apple known for it's off the charts security features was recently troubled with hacks, malware and phishing attacks staining its reputation and customer trust. And to counter that, Apple has again risen to strengthen its security and user experience - the tech company is planning on standardizing two-factor authentication (2FA) to prevent security issues and phishing scams.

PhoneArena.com reported that Apple engineers have put forward a proposal to enable a standardized format for a two-factor authentication login method where users receive a one time password (OTP) via SMS during login. The suggestion was given by engineers of Apple Webkit, from the Safari browser - the default mackintosh browser. The suggestion was also backed by engineers working on Chromium, Google.

The feature would use SMSs containing the login URL. Usually, with two-factor authentication users have to see their mobile or write down the code and then try to login which makes the whole process long and frustrating but Apple always tries to give the customer the best experience and to tackle this they have come up with a standardize and automated method.

What's different with this feature than the other two factor authentications is that it will standardize the process and format for the browser and mobile applications. The incoming messages will be easily identified by the browser or mobile applications, the browser will recognize and identify the web domain in the SMS and automatically extract the One Time Password (OTP) and complete the login. This will prevent the user from being scammed as the process will be automated and the browser or the mobile app will recognize the authentic source.

 According to the report, "The proposal has two goals. The first is to introduce a way that OTP SMS messages can be associated with a URL. This is done by adding the login URL inside the SMS itself. 
The second goal is to standardize the format of 2FA/OTP SMS messages, so browsers and other mobile apps can easily detect the incoming SMS, recognize web domain inside the message, and then automatically extract the OTP code and complete the login operation without further user interaction." 
After enabling the feature, browsers and apps will be automated and complete the login through 2FA (two-factor authentication ) by obtaining the OTP. In case of a mismatch, the automatic process will fail and the user will be able to see the website URL and complete the login process.

Google Cuts Down Chrome's Patch-Gap in Half, from 33 to 15 Days now


Last week, Google has announced the cutting down of 'patch gap' in half for Chrome and the future plans of cutting it down further are also making the headlines.

Security Engineers at Google told that the 'patch gap' for Google Chrome which earlier was 33 days has now been successfully reduced to only 15 days. Some of you might be wondering what exactly a 'patch gap' means, it refers to the time frame it takes from when a security bug gets fixed in an open-source library to when that fix reaches in software which used that library.

These days, when the software ecosystem contains most of the apps relying upon the open-source modules, patch-gap plays a major role as it creates a potential security risk.

How Patch-Gap involve Major Security Risk?

As soon as a security bug gets fixed by someone in a particular open-source library, all the details related to that bug become available in the public domain. It is simply because of the open nature of the open-source libraries and projects. Now, the software which is largely dependent on these easily accessible components available in open source libraries, become vulnerable to the attacks and exploits that hackers can craft by exploiting the details regarding the security flaws.

How Patch-Gap will be Useful?

Considering the likeliness of the aforementioned possibility, if the software developers are releasing patches on a fixed release schedule which includes updates incoming every week or in a couple of months, the patch-gap here will allow hackers to set-off attacks that most software will have difficulty in dealing with.

A member of the Chrome Security team, Andrew R. Whalley said, "We now make regular refresh releases every two weeks, containing the latest severe security fixes,"

"This has brought down the median 'patch gap' from 33 days in Chrome 76 to 15 days in Chrome 78, and we continue to work on improving it," he further told.

Google Maps…Creepy or Useful?



Whether Android or iPhone there is no denying that Google is there for all of us, keeping a track log of our data in a "Timeline" that unequivocally shows wherever we've been, which while in some cases is amazingly valuable and helpful yet for the rest it’s downright creepy.

The creepy degree of details range from like precisely the time at which the user left for home, arrival at home, the exact route taken along the way, pictures taken in specific locations and then some.

It'll show them if they were driving, strolling or on a train, and any pit stops they may have made during their journey. Like here is an example including a user's stop for lunch, and a meeting they took with Snapchat on the Upper West side earlier in the day.



Zoomed in, one can see the exact course taken to arrive and where the car was parked.


And hence there's no reason as to why Google has to know this much information about any user, except if they truly care about things like Google's recommendations based on where they've been.

So there are a couple of ways the user can recover their privacy. First, here’s how the user can delete everything Google Maps currently knows about them:

  • Open Google Maps on your iPhone or Android phone.
  • Tap your profile picture on the top-right. 
  • Choose “Your data in Maps.” 
  • Choose “See & Delete activity.” 
  • Hit the menu button on the top-right of the page and select “Settings.” 
  • Choose “Delete all location history.” 


 And here’s how the user can set it up so Google automatically deletes all this location data every three months:

  • Open Google Maps on iPhone or Android. 
  • Tap the menu bar on the top-left of the app. 
  • Choose “Your Timeline.” 
  • Tap the three dots on the top-right of the screen. 
  • Choose “Settings and privacy.” 
  • Select “Automatically delete location history.” 
  • Change the setting from “Keep until I delete manually” to “Keep for 18 months” or “Keep for 3 months.” 


 Or, if the user doesn’t mind Google tracking them day to day but just want to stop it for a little while, they can simply turn on Incognito mode in Maps by doing this:


  • Open Maps on your iPhone or Android phone. 
  • Tap your profile picture on the top-right. 
  • Choose “Turn on Incognito mode.”



Google Releases Chrome 79, Warns Users of Data Breach


Tech giant Google has issued warning of data leak for Indian and global users, after fixing Chrome 79 bug and re-issuing it later this week. Users were being sent notifications by the company via affected websites– through the means of pop-up alerts that started to appear on desktops, mobile phone screens and laptop screens; it forced users into reading the text which said that their passwords may have been exposed and hence they should change it immediately – "Change your password. A data breach on a site or app exposed your password. Chrome recommends changing your password for the site," the warning pop-up read.

As per sources, a bug affected data in select Android applications and Google had put on hold the release of Chrome 79. It was finally this week, Google's Chrome Releases blog confirmed the rollout of Chrome 79 for desktop and mobile platforms; Chrome 79 (79.0.3945.93) for Android comes with a fix for the WebView flaw and an assurance of improved defense against issues revolving around password protection of users.

According to the reports by media, the fix, "Resolves an issue in WebView where some users' app data was not visible within those apps. The app data was not lost and will be made visible in apps with this update."

WebView is a feature which is employed by various third-party applications to open a webpage, it ensures rendering of webpages within applications. However, here, Google Chrome is solely responsible for loading the content. PhoneGap and Twitter Lite are two apps that employ WebView functionality, as per AndroidPolice.

There have been various instances recorded in regard of the matter, nationally and globally, one such incident had a user trying to log into an e-commerce platform named 'Freshtohome' to shop fresh and chemical-free seafood as he received a pop-up warning him about the issue and advising to change his password.

In a similar manner, when one of India's media houses attempted to log into their portal, were faced with disruption and warnings began to pop-up onto the screen advising them the same.

In a public statement issued on Google threads, a Chromium engineer explains, "We are currently discussing the correct strategy for resolving this issue which will be one of: a) continue the migration, moving the missed files into their new locations. b) revert the change by moving migrated files to their old locations. We will let you know which of these two options have been chosen soon."

"Smart Spies"- Amazon Alexa and Google Home's Voice Assistant Were Vulnerable to a Security Flaw


Alexa and Google Home smart speakers have been vulnerable to a security threat that made eavesdropping, voice phishing and using people's voice cues to deduce passwords possible for hackers. The hack also allowed hackers to befool users in handing out their private data without any knowledge of the same being happening.

In October, security researchers who discovered "Smart Spies" hack and new ways in which Alexa and Google Home smart speakers can be exploited, are now warning about the need to formulate new and effective methods to guard against the eavesdropping hack, reports Threatpost. Notably, no major steps were been taken to ensure protection against these hacks.

SRLabs, a Berlin-based hacking research company, told about the discovery of the vulnerability being made by them earlier this year, they went on reporting it to the concerned organizations, Amazon and Google. Furthermore, in an attempt to demonstrate the exploitation of the flaw, the firm shared a series of videos on Sunday.

As per the reports by CNN Business, Amazon and Google told that the vulnerabilities have been taken care of and likewise the issues have been fixed.

The company "quickly blocked the skill in question and put mitigations in place to prevent and detect this type of skill behavior and reject or take them down when identified," a spokesperson from Amazon told CNN Business.

Addressing the issue, SRLabs states in a blog post, "Alexa and Google Home are powerful, and often useful, listening devices in private environments. The privacy implications of an internet-connected microphone listening in to what you say are further reaching than previously understood."

Experts recommended users to be more mindful of the potentially malignant voice apps that can infect smart speakers, "Using a new voice app should be approached with a similar level of caution as installing a new app on your smartphone."

"To prevent ‘Smart Spies’ attacks, Amazon and Google need to implement better protection, starting with a more thorough review process of third-party Skills and Actions made available in their voice app stores. The voice app review needs to check explicitly for copies of built-in intents. Unpronounceable characters like “�. “ and silent SSML messages should be removed to prevent arbitrary long pauses in the speakers’ output. Suspicious output texts including “password“ deserve particular attention or should be disallowed completely." The blog reads. 

Data Privacy on Alert; Facebook, Whatsapp and Others Fear The Personal Data Protection Bill?


The latest amendments in the “personal data protection bill” of India could make Facebook and other data consuming platforms lose sleep over enhanced government powers.

On Tuesday, the Personal Data Protection Bill was passed around in the parliament which could have strong consequences on the way the organizations store, process and use public data.

The newest addition to the bill is the stipulation that endows the Indian government to demand from a company the “anonymized” personal and non-personal data for better government services.

Per the bill, any information that could aid in identifying a person and possesses characteristics, traits or any attributes of a person’s identity could be defined as “personal data” and the rest as non-personal.

For the leading tech-organizations, personal or non-personal, the data is valuable. And these new provisions brought out by the bill are issues of major concern.

Reportedly, an official strongly taking the government’s stand mentioned that the “personal data” is as valuable to the society as it is to the tech-companies.

They also mentioned something along the lines of making use of data from cab organizations like “Uber” to comprehend the limitations of Indian public transport and what could be done for its betterment.


There is no specific mention as to what the data shall come in exchange for or any other ensuing rules as to the processes regarding it.

Per the bill, personal data such as biometric details and financial data could be transferred beyond the boundaries of India for processing purposes but must be stored locally.

Allegedly, the media platforms in question could also need to provide a structured procedure for users to “prove their identities” and “display a verification sign publicly”. This could cause major companies to face major technical issues.

Dreading the possibility of furthered compliance costs, the countries across the globe have been pushing their agencies to go against such rules.

Per reports, these fresh exceptions that the bill makes available for the government could be alarming for India’s privacy situation which isn’t as strong as all that.

The bill that shall soon be presented in the parliament will definitely not be passed in this session and only after further voting and discussion should any results be declared.

Google Takes Down Around 46 Apps by Chinese Developers from its Play Store


Last week, around 46 apps by a Chinese developer, iHandy were taken down by Google from its Play Store. Initially, Google declined to provide reasons for the sudden removal of various security, horoscope, selfie, health and antivirus related apps which were downloaded over millions of times.

However, a total of eight apps were still present on Google’s Play Store, until three more were taken down, as per a Buzzfeed report. The Chinese company, established in the year 2008, claims to have almost 180 million monthly active users in more than 200 countries across the globe. Currently going through investigations, iHandy is one of the world’s largest mobile application developers.

In a conversation with Buzzfeed, iHandy VP Simon Zhu, while expressing how they found Google’s takedown quite unexpected, said “It is an unexpected action from our point of view. We are trying to find out the reasons. Hope the apps will be back to Play Store as soon as possible.”

Notably, Google has taken down apps made by Chinese developers in the past as well for various reasons; in this case, the removal is triggered by deceptive and disruptive ads. In August this year, after Trend Micro discovered malware inside certain apps, Google removed a total of 85 apps from its Play Store, most of these apps were related to gaming or photography and had more than 8 million downloads. The most popular names among these infected apps included, ‘Super Selfie’, ‘Cos Camera’, ‘One Stroke Line Puzzle’ and ‘Pop Camera’.

To exemplify, a very popular app known as ‘Sweet Camera- Selfie Beauty Camera, Filters’ which had over 50 million downloads was also removed in the process and it is not to be found on the Indian Play Store either.

Researchers discovered that all of these infected apps were put on the Play Store via distinct developer accounts and were signed by non-identical digital certificates, but they exhibited the same behaviors and shared a similar code.

Referenced from the statements given by Google’s spokesperson, "Our Google Play developer policies are designed to help create the best experience for users, and we explicitly prohibit deceptive or disruptive ads. When violations are found, we take action,"

Milwaukee Couple's Nest Smart Home Hacked, Vulgar Music was Played


Smart home products designed by Nest such as smart cameras, smart displays, smart thermostats, and smart doorbells to make our lives more comfortable and safe, may not be all that safe according to a horrifying incident reported by a Milwaukee, Wisconsin based couple, Samantha and Lamont Westmoreland.

 After a hacker hacked into the couple’s home and took control of their gadgets, Samantha said, "It's (installation of gadgets) supposed to make me feel safe, and I didn't feel safe", "My heart was racing, I felt so violated at that point."

As per a report by Fox 6 News, on September 17th, Samantha returned home in which she has Nest camera, a doorbell and a thermostat installed, and found the atmosphere unreasonably warmer, she immediately noticed that her smart thermostat has risen up to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Initially, she assumed it to be a glitch and set it back to the room temperature, but it kept on going up after every time she turned it down. A while later, the couple heard a voice talking to them from their Nest camera and afterward it played vulgar music. Samantha went ahead, unplugged the camera and turned it to face the ceiling. They changed the passwords of all the three devices but as the issues persisted, they resorted to contacting their internet service provider to have their network and Ids reset.

The couple was of the opinion that their Wi-Fi network and Nest camera was hacked, putting the actual problem into perspective, Lamont Westmoreland said, "If someone hacks into your Wi-Fi, they shouldn't be able to have access to those Nest devices without some sort of wall they have to get over,"

In a conversation with Fox 6 News, the couple revealed that the smart home accessories they had installed at their home since last year, cost them $700, and that they have never faced any problem before this; however, in the wake of this terrifying incident they had a change of mind regarding smart home devices.

Meanwhile, responding to the disturbing experience, a spokesperson of Google, told a media outlet, “Nest was not breached. These reports are based on customers using compromised passwords. In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk,"