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WAP Fraud: Google Play Store Removes Android Apps Infected With Joker Malware



Google has now eliminated 17 infected android apps from its google play store. These apps contained the "Joker" malware, according to the findings by experts Zscaler. Joker is among the most effective malware that attacks Android applications.

The malware is infamous in the cybersecurity industry, but it always finds a new way to access Google's play store applications. Joker uses new codes, execution techniques, and retrieving methods to trespass the play store. The malware is used for stealing personal chats, contact information, call logs, and device data. Joker also secretly subscribes to users for premium WAP (wireless application protocol) services.

The research team at Zscaler kept an eye on the Joker spyware and recently noticed that the malware was uploaded continuously on the Google play store. It immediately informed Google about the issue, and the latter removed the 17 WAP apps with Joker malware from Google play store.

The Joker is also known as Bread malware. These infected android apps were uploaded last month on Google play store; however, they couldn't do much damage. Until the experts found these apps, the users downloaded them 1,20,000 times.

The 17 apps found with Joker malware are:
  1. All Good PDF Scanner 
  2. Hummingbird PDF Converter - Photo to PDF 
  3. Blue Scanner 
  4. Paper Doc Scanner 
  5. Part Message 
  6. Desire Translate 
  7. Talent Photo Editor - Blur focus 
  8. Care Message 
  9. Meticulous Scanner 
  10. Style Photo Collage 
  11. One Sentence Translator - Multifunctional Translator 
  12. Private SMS 
  13. Direct Messenger 
  14. Tangram App Lock 
  15. Unique Keyboard - Fancy Fonts and Free Emoticons 
  16. Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message 
  17. All Good PDF Scanner 
Although the play store has disabled the apps, the users who might have downloaded the apps need to uninstall them manually. The malware uses the 'dropping' technique to avoid getting caught and sneak into google play store.

"We recommend paying close attention to the permission list in the apps that you install on your Android device. Always watch out for the risky permissions related to SMS, call logs, contacts, and more. Reading the comment or reviews on the app page also helps identify compromised apps," says researchers from Zscaler.

For Privacy and Safety, Disable these features from your Google Assistance


It's difficult to imagine life without Google and every day the search engine gets more involved and intricate in our lives. One of its features - the Google Assistant is used quite extensively by masses to make their life easier and tasks swifter.

Google Assistant is an Artificial Intelligence virtual assistant developed by Google that can be availed from your smartphone and smart devices. A very efficient digital assistant that can hold two-way conversations, as Google says, "Meet your Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell them to do things. It's your own personal Google, always ready to help whenever you need it." 

 "Meet your Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell them to do things. It's your own personal Google, always ready to help whenever you need it." 

But since it is connected with almost all of your smart devices and able to listen and record you always, it's imperative to be concerned over privacy and thus there are few tips that you should consider to make your Google assistant more safe and private-
  
Change Voice Recording Settings

 Only recently Google updated their voice recording privacy settings and you can now opt-in or opt-out for the voice recording to be saved and shared with their human analyzers. So, definitely check out these settings in the Your Data in the Assistant then Audio Recordings and set them as you like but the recordings saved previously should also be looked into- you can choose to delete them manually or set how long can Google keep them.

 Turn off Continued Conversation

 Under the Continued Conversation feature your Google Assistant can listen for another follow up question without you saying 'Hey, Google'. Though the feature can be useful it can allow your device to listen in when you're not interacting with the assistant and simply asking a question to someone else. 

 May want to keep the camera disable when not in use

If you're using a Google-enabled smart display it's best to keep the camera disabled when not in use. It might become tedious to switch it on and off every time you make a video call but it's better than to keep it on always. 

 Google Activity Controls 

Google Assistant gathers up information from other apps you use from the Google account for better performance. If you like you can control the amount and type of information that your Google Assistance can access for privacy concerns. You can also opt for auto-delete and intervals for which data can be kept.

Google Bans Hacked Political Content Ahead of the US Elections, Implements New Google Ads Policy


The presidential elections in the US are near. Keeping this in mind, Google has announced a new policy that will ban ads that advertise hacked political content or propaganda. This new policy will come into effect from 1 September 2020, as per the news available on Google's support page. After the new rule is implemented, the third party players won't be able to purchase ad-space on Google ads, directly or indirectly linked to the hacked content of any political party.

However, ads related to news articles or other pages that contain hacked political material may be allowed. But the news article and the page shouldn't be linked to the political content in any way, says the policy. The violators of this new Google Ads policy (Ad Buyers) will first receive a warning to remove the ad from their account or face account suspension after seven days.


The policy is made observing the 2016 US Elections. 

The new Google Ads policy is made to avoid the 2016 US presidential elections scenario. As we all know, during the 2016 election campaigns in the US, the Russian hackers were able to break into the servers of various political factions associated with the Democratic Party. The breach resulted in data leaks of the Democratic party on WikiLeaks and DC leaks. The attack resulted in biased media coverage and online ads on various social media and platforms that discussed the hacked political content. Google will become the first company to make such a move when the policy is enacted on 1 September.

Twitter, in a similar incident, banned the distribution of hacked content on its platform in 2018 before the US midterm elections. It included not only political content but every other hacked material. It resulted in an unofficial ban of the ads on Twitter, as they need tweets to advertise. According to Google's policy, the following is not allowed: "Ads that directly facilitate or advertise access to hacked material related to political entities within the scope of Google's elections ads policies. This applies to all protected material obtained through the unauthorized intrusion or access of a computer, computer network, or personal electronic device, even if distributed by a third party."

Google Banned 29 Android Apps Containing Adware


A research discovered that almost all the malware are designed to target android users and in order to prevent users from installing adware filled apps built to stealthily access their banking and social media credentials; Google has made a continuous effort including the introduction of ‘Google Play Protect’. The main idea behind Play protect is to keep your device, apps, and data secure by automatically scanning the apps in real-time and identifying any potentially malicious apps. Despite the strength of Google’s machine learning algorithms and constantly improving real-time technology, the operations of Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs) do not seem to halt any time soon as cybercriminals are devising new methods to evade detection by Play Protect also.

Recently, Google pulled off 29 apps from the Play Store as they were found to be infected with adware, most of these apps were present in the facade of photo editing apps having a feature of ‘blur’, which was also the codename of the investigation called as “CHARTREUSEBLUR”- that unveiled the malicious operations. The apps were discovered as a part of the White Ope’ Satori threat intelligence team. In total, these Android apps had more than 3.5 million downloads.

As per the observations, these malicious apps were promoting irrelevant advertisements which are said to be used to keep away from detection. After the victim installs any of these apps, the icon to launch the app would immediately disappear from the home screen and won’t be found anywhere, making it highly inconvenient for the users to remove the adware laden apps from their devices. Moreover, there was no open function to be found on the Play Store either.

In order to stay on a safer side, the investigation team advised Android users to stay wary of adware filled apps by examining reviews properly before downloading and not to fall for fake 5-star reviews. Apps that seem new and have received a whopping number of downloads in a short period of time should be strictly avoided.

Recently banned 29 Android applications included Color Call Flash, Photo Blur, Photo Blur Master, Super Call Screen, Square Blur Master, Blur Photo Editor, Super Call Flash, Auto Picture Cut, Square Blur Photo, Magic Call Flash amid a few others.

Google Loses Control Over Blogspot.in, Millions of Sites Inaccessible


Google-owned 'blogspot.in', a blogging website also known as "Blogger" has become inaccessible to Indian users as Google appears to have lost its ownership over the domain.

Blogger.com is a free platform used by millions of users for blogging. As it used to fall under Google's ownership, one could link it to various other Google products such as Picasa, Google AdSense, and social network, Google+. The simplicity in accessibility made blogger widely popular; users just need a Google account to activate blogger.

People who were using Blogger for posting blogs faced issues while accessing their blogs, meanwhile, a number of web pages within the Indian domain became unreachable. According to a report by the Next Web, the issue occurred because of Google losing its ownership over the URLs Blogspot.in, however, the time when Google lost its control over the domain is not clearly known.

Referencing from the Next Web's report on the matter, "Whatever the reason might be, if I host a site or blog with Google, I would expect a company of this size to keep up and know when their domain name ownership expires,"

"If you use a blog regularly, an alternative is to host it on your own domain. But everyone might not want to do that just to keep things easy. And you’d expect Google Webmaster to do better," read the report.

One of the major issues faced by a million users was that the links that they have on put on several websites with the "Blogspot.in" domain became inaccessible. However, the blogs are still there, they were visible when users changed the URLs to blogspot.com. Chances are, this is just a temporary issue and would be taken care of by Google shortly, however, users who were using "Blogspot.in" domain will have to go through the trouble for now as the tech giant has not addressed the issue yet.

Google Playstore Removes 25 Android Apps that Stole User Login Credentials


In a recent cybersecurity incident, Google cleared 25 applications from its google play store as they were alleged to steal the users' FB credentials. According to Google, these applications were downloaded for around 2..35 million before the play store decided to shut them down. All these 25 applications were created by the same developer, even though they seemed to work differently and offer different features, they were all peas in a pod.


These apps showed themselves as a video editor, photo editor, wallpaper apps, file managing apps, mobile gaming apps, and flashlight apps., says Evina, a France based cybersecurity organization. When the firm came to know about the incident, it reported to Google, and precautionary measures were taken immediately to protect the end-users. The malware was also reverse-engineered so that no damage could take place. The 25 apps had malware embedded in them, which stole FB login credentials whenever the user launched the FB application.

Although the apps worked legally, they, however, had hidden malicious codes. The code could tell about the recently launched app in the user's device. If it were FB, these apps would create a fake login page that looked the same as the original to steal the user's login credentials. If the user entered his login credentials, the app would capture the data and transfer it to a remote server domain. When Google came to know about the issue after Evina's claims in May, it verified it before taking down these apps. Playstore removed these 25 apps earlier this month, some of which had been in use for more than a year.

"When an application is launched on your phone, the malware queries the application name. If it is a Facebook application, the malware will launch a browser that loads Facebook at the same time. The browser is displayed in the foreground, which makes you think that the application launched it. When you enter your credentials into this browser, the malware executes javascript to retrieve them. The malware then sends your account information to a server," said Evina in a blog post.

SMS System Now A Long-Gone Era; Google Brings Out A New Update



With the rise of encrypted alternatives of SMS messages, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Signal, the SMS system has become a 'throwback to a long-gone era'. 

But ironically, that same SMS system has additionally been on the rise as the default delivery mechanism for most two-factor authentication (2FA) codes. 

The issue is being viewed as a critical one in light of the fact that an SMS is delivered to a phone number with no user authentication—biometric or password security efforts secure our physical devices, not our numbers, they are separated. 

What's more, this explanation alone clears a path for SIM-swapping, social engineering scams to take those six-digit codes, to malware that catches and exfiltrates screenshots of the approaching messages. For each one of those reasons, and a couple of additional, the advice is currently to avoid SMS-based 2FA if feasible for the user. 

But still,  if the user can tie 2FA to the biometric or password security of a known device, at that point this is a huge improvement. Apple does this splendidly. And Google is quick on making this the default also. 

In a blog post on June 16, Google confirmed “Starting on July 7 we will make phone verification prompts the primary 2-Step Verification (2SV) method for all eligible users.” 

Their plan fundamentally is to switch Google account holders to this setting, forestalling the majority, essentially defaulting to an SMS message or voice call. 

Yet, there's a drawback with this too , in light of the fact that all devices a user is logged into will receive the prompt, and that will require some rejigging for families sharing devices. Furthermore, users who have security keys won't see a change.

Phone prompt 2FA


In the event that the phone prompt doesn't work for the user, they can get away to an SMS during the verification process—however, Google doesn't recommend this. 

Further explaining that this move is both progressively secure and simpler, “as it avoids requiring users to manually enter a code received on another device.” 

In taking the decision to make this the "primary technique" for 2FA, Google says “We hope to help [users] take advantage of the additional security without having to manually change settings—though they can still use other methods of 2-Step Verification if they prefer.” 

For an attacker to spoof this system they will require physical access to one of the user's already logged-on devices where they will see the prompt. Users will likewise have the option to audit and remove devices they no longer need to gain access to this security option. 

Also, on the grounds that the prompt hits all logged-on, authorized devices all at once—user will straight away know whether an attempt is being made to open their account without their knowledge. 

Nonetheles, with the increasing utilization of multi-device access to our various platforms, it is an extraordinary thought to utilize an authentication device to verify another logon and this step by Google has without a doubt emerged as an incredible one in the direction way which should be followed by others as well.

Google Brings Up Nest for Advanced Protection Program, Will Provide Protection for High-Profile Targets like Politicians and Journalists


Due to a recent increase in device hacks, Google has decided to strengthen up its Nest security protections. The Nest smart home devices will provide account protection to the users that are always a high potential target. These can be journalists and politicians. The Advanced Protection Program was launched in 2017. When signing up for Google services, the program offered additional account protection features. The features were- restricting third-party access, providing malware protection, and offering security keys to prevent cyberattacks.


According to Google, the Nest has been launched because of top requests from the users. Smart home devices have become an easy target for hackers; it is because they are connected through the internet but lack basic safety protections. It has compelled the Government and the states to aid developers of these devices in increasing the security. If the hackers attack a smart home device and have access to it, they can control the camera, or infect the device using Botnet, which can turn off websites through junk traffick. However, Nest devices are considered to be the safest of all, but even they are vulnerable to hacking attacks.

After a series of cyberattacks against the nest devices were reported earlier this year, Google mandated Nest users to use the two-factor authentication. According to Google, the user accounts were not breached but said that the hackers could be using stolen passwords to target other Nest users in different breaches. We know that two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security to the users, but according to Google, the new security improvements will be even better and more reliable.

According to the Washington Post, "tech companies have been aware of the threat of credential stuffing for years, but the way they think about it has evolved as it has become a bigger problem. There was once a sense that users should take responsibility for their security by refraining from using the same password on multiple websites. But as gigantic dumps of passwords have gotten more frequent, technology companies have found that it is not just a few inattentive customers who reuse the same passwords for different accounts — it's the majority of people online."

Apple Plans to Expand Cloud-Based Services, Enters Cloud Computing Space


Apple is planning to invest more in streamlines and increasing its cloud-based and software services like iCloud, Newsplus, and Apple Music. The expansion will go along with devices like iPads, MacBooks, and iPhones. To be entirely sure about the reliability of the cloud-based service on all the Apple devices, the company has decided to rely on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and the cloud division. AWS, as you might know, is a subunit of Amazon that offers cloud-space solutions. According to CNBC's findings, Apple is said to pay Amazon $30 Million monthly for its cloud-based services. It also means that Apple is one of the biggest customers of AWS.


Nevertheless, Apple hasn't confirmed whether it uses Amazon's cloud services besides its iCloud. According to experts, Apple also has some of its cloud services on Google. Amazon transformed the management of the data center and hosting of the applications when it brought the AWS. Being the first one to offer services like these, AWS is currently ranked top in the world of cloud hosting. Since recent times, Google Cloud and MS Azure are also trying to increase their presence in cloud-space services.

"As a matter of fact, AWS crossed the $10 billion quarterly revenue mark in Q1 2020, bringing in revenue of $10.2 billion with a growth rate of 33%. AWS accounted for about 13.5% of Amazon's total revenue for the quarter, which is on the higher end. Google Cloud, which includes Google Cloud Project (GCP) and G-Suite, generated $2.78 billion in revenue in the first quarter this year, which marked as a 52% increase over the same quarter a year ago. Microsoft does not reveal Azure revenue, but it announced that its Azure revenue grew by 59% in Q1 2020 over the same quarter a year ago," says Taarini Kaur Dang from Forbes.

As it seems, Apple knows the importance of the high-end cloud support needed for offering the best services to its customers. Similar to other tech biggies, Apple has its cloud space team called ACI (Apple Cloud Infrastructure). Noticing Apple's recent advancements, it is fair to believe that Apple might revolutionize the cloud-space world.

StrandHogg is Back and Stronger As a More Sophisticated Vulnerability


Android is vulnerable anew owing it to a new vulnerability which goes by the name of “StrandHogg 2.0”

That is right. StrandHogg is back and now has affected numerous Android devices putting over a Billion Android devices in jeopardy.

The vulnerability is a pretty typical way aids hackers disguise illegitimate applications as legitimate ones with the ultimate aim of making them grant permissions which could end up releasing really important information.

The posing applications then find a way to the users’ sensitive data that too in real-time. Surprisingly, the worst part about the vulnerability is that the users would have no idea at all that they have been attacked and they’d be completely unaware of the malicious applications on their device.

This vulnerability is referenced as “CVE-2020-0096” and is known by the name “StrandHogg 2.0”. This version aids the hackers to make more sophisticated attacks.

As of last year StrandHogg was already listening in on conversations and recording them, accessing login credentials, read/sending unwanted texts and with complete control of the photo album, call logs, and contacts.

Allegedly, StrandHogg 2.0 excepting the latest version of the Android 10 OS, exists on most Android devices.

As per sources, the Google website has it that from a minimum of 2 Billion Android users, just 16% of them have updated to Android 10 hence the rest are allegedly vulnerable.

To fight or prevent any mishap that could be caused by StrandHogg 2.0, steer clear off pop up notifications asking permission for sending notifications, messages, or other related things and applications asking to log in again despite being already logged in.

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, not as per usual, Google will be releasing its Android 11 Beta version via an online conference at the Google I/O. Reportedly this conference is scheduled for June 3, 2020.

Sources mention that this conference will be a fresh source for many new updates and news about official events. The schedule for the launching of Android 11 has been released and according to it Android 11 will undergo 3 Beta releases in the upcoming months that are June, July, and August. Word has it that the official version would finally hash out in or near October.


Attention! Fake Extensions on the Chrome Web Store Again!


Reportedly, Google was in the news about having removed 49 Chrome extensions from its browser’s store for robbing crypto-wallet credentials. What’s more, after that, there surfaced an additional set of password-swiping “extensions” aka “add-ons”, which are up for download even now.

Per sources, the allegedly corrupt add-ons exist on the browser store disguised as authentic crypto-wallet extensions. These absolutely uncertified add-ons invite people to fill in their credentials so as to make siphoning off them easy and the digital money accessible.

Reports mention that the security researchers have affirmative information as to 8 of the 11 fake add-ons impersonating legitimate crypto-wallet software being removed including "Jaxx Ledger, KeyKeep, and MetaMask." A list of “extension identifiers” which was reported to Google was also provided.

Per researchers, there was a lack of vigilance by the Google Web Store because it apparently sanctions phisher-made extensions without giving the issue the attention it demands. Another thing that is disturbing for the researchers is that these extensions had premium ad space and are the first thing a user sees while searching.

According to sources, much like the Google Play Store with malicious apps, the Google Web Store had been facing difficulty in guarding itself against mal-actors. There also hadn’t been much of a response from their team about the issue.

One solution that was most talked about was that Google should at the least put into effect mechanisms in the Chrome Web Store that automatically impose trademark restrictions for the store and the ad platforms in it.

Per sources, Google’s Chrome Web Store “developer agreement” bars developers from violating intellectual property rights and also clearly mentions “Google is not obligated to monitor the products or their content”. Reports mention that as per the ad policy of Google, it could review trademarks complaints from trademarks holders only when it has received a complaint.

Google heeding all the hue and cry about the extensions did herald more restrictions with the motive of wiping away traces of any fake extensions and spammers creating bad quality extensions that were causing people trouble.

The alterations in the policy will block the spammers and developers from swarming the store with similar extensions and elements with questionable behavior. Word has it that because of hateful comments the Chrome Web Store was “locked down” in January.

But, as promising as it may be, allegedly Google has been making such promises about the Chrome Web Store security strengthening for more than half a decade. So no one can blame researchers for their skepticism.

"CursedChrome", a chrome extension used by hackers to make your browser into a proxy


Security researchers have found a Chrome extension that turns Chrome browsers in proxy bots that enables the hacker to browse chrome using an infected identity.
This tool was created by Matthew Bryan, a security researcher, he named it "Cursed Chrome" and released it on GitHub as an open-source project.

 The software works on two fronts and has two parts -

  • a client-side component (this is the chrome extension) 
  • a server-side counterpart ( this is where all CursedChrome server report) 
Once this extension is installed, it can be used to log into the CursedChrome control panel, and through it, the hacker can use any infected browser. Thus, the hacker can navigate and browse the net using that identity and can even access logged in sessions and credentials.

This extension is the icing on the cake for hackers and has been received with skepticism. Many at the cybersecurity community have raised their eyebrows at the public release of such software saying it's nothing short of handing a gun to a killer to do the killing. 

Created for Pen-testing

The creator, Matthew Bryant says that his intentions were quite innocent. "I open-sourced the code because I want other professional red teamers and pen-testers to be able to accurately simulate the 'malicious browser-extension' scenario," says Bryant in a statement.

He opens sourced the code so that it would help security companies to test their walls and keep the miscreants out. "Open-sourcing tooling is important for red teams (security companies) for the same reasons as any other job: it saves time for the teams at different companies from having to rewrite everything whenever they do a red team or pentest. It's actually doubly important for us because pen-testers and red teamers work on extremely tight timelines," Bryant said.

Bryant says that it's very easy to built an extension like CursedChrome for a hacker and his only intention was to bring awareness that extensions like these that we very easily install in our system can be equal to paving way for hackers.

 "It's [...] important to raise awareness of just what level of access you're granting when you install a random extension for your browser," Bryant said in a mail to ZDnet.

He hopes that security companies can show the dangers of Chrome extensions through CursedChrome and build a stronger security system.

Bryant also gives a solution that blocks all extensions that could harm the user's security. He released a second project, named Chrome Galvanizer on GitHub (this too, open-source).

The UK Government Vs Apple & Google API on the New COVID-19 App That Tells Who Near You is Infected!



Reportedly, the United Kingdom declared that their coronavirus tracing application is being run via centralized British servers and that’s how they are planning to take things forward and not via the usual “Apple-Google approach” which is a preferred one for most.

Per sources, the CEO of the Tech unit of the National Health Service mentioned that their new smartphone app will have its launching in the upcoming weeks, with the hopes of helping the country return to normalcy by beating coronavirus.

According to reports, the UK government believes that the contact-tracing protocol created by Apple and Google protects user privacy “under advertisement only”. Hence the British health service supports a system that would send the data of who may have the virus to a centralized server giving all the controls in the hand of the NHS.

The way of the NHS and that of Apple and Google, work via Bluetooth by putting a cell-phone on the wireless network, having it emit an electronic ID that could be intercepted by other phones in the vicinity. If a person tests positive for COVID-19 their ID would be used to warn the others near them.

Meaning, if you were near an affected person, your phone would show flags about their being infected, you’d be notified about it and if you may have caught the novel coronavirus you’d be alerted about that too, mention sources.

Per reports, Google and Apple especially had created an opt-in pro-privacy API for Android and iOS. The feature allows the user’s phone to change its ID on other phones near them and store it across different intervals of time.

Per sources, if a person is discovered to have COVID-19 they can allow the release of their phone’s ID to a decentralized set of databases looked over by healthcare providers and the nearby users would be notified about it.

The above-mentioned approach works best to help ensure that the users aren’t tracked by exploiting the above information. Google and Apple say that their protocol would make it next to impossible for them, the governments, and mal-actors to track people. The data wouldn’t leave the user’s phone unless they want it to, that too anonymously if and when.


A person, to declare themselves infected must enter a specific code from a healthcare provider after being tested positive which is a great way to curb fraudulent announcements about being infected.

The NHS, on the other hand, thought of proposing a centralized approach that makes the government, the party that has the coronavirus related details of all the users on their database for further analysis.

Per sources, for this application to be successful 60% of a population would have to download it and opt for it. Trust plays a major role here, if the users don’t trust the app it would be of no use to others either.

Reports mention that most countries prefer the Google and Apple method better, including Switzerland, Austria, and Estonia. Germany too is in strong support of a decentralized line whereas France had to face criticism for its inclination towards the centralized approach.

Nevertheless, the NHS is hell-bent on going forward with the centralized approach and is adamant that it will safeguard the privacy of people no matter what. In the centralized way of things, the NHS would capture all the IDs of phones with the app active on them and store the details on their database. Later on, if a user is found to be infected the NHS would make the call about all the hows, whens, and ifs of the warning procedure on the other phones.

If things were to work out the way NHS wants it to, the application would advise users to take steps to help them save themselves against the virus, like self-isolating if need be. The advice notified would be customized per the situation. They would also build a better database and help people with first-hand updates. People could also voluntarily provide detailed information about themselves to make the app’s experience more comprehensive.

Moreover, the centralized system would be way easier for conducting audits and analysis of the data that has been stored in the databases for further research about users that are at most risk.

But regardless of all the superficial advantages, the NHS would still be creating a database bursting with people’s personal information like their health statuses, their movements, and that too with the government having complete control of it.

The success of the entire operation dwells on the people’s trust in the NHS, the UK government, and the governments of all the countries for that matter who have opted for the centralized system.

Google Confirms Two New High-Severity Vulnerabilities in Chrome 81


The new Chrome 81 version released on April 7th by Google for Windows, Mac, and Linux primarily focused on security owing to the vulnerability users are subjected to due to the coronavirus pandemic. The launch of the update was delayed for similar reasons. It brought along new features, bug fixes, and over 30 security flaw patches from Google's security researchers and some experts from outside.

The new Chrome 81 version is being promoted to the Stable channel, meanwhile, Chrome 83 and Chrome 84 will be promoted to the Beta version and the Canary version respectively. As per sources, Chrome 82 will be disregarded because of the COVID-19 charged atmosphere, and all progress from the version will be channelized into the subsequent version, Chrome 83.

While warning users of more security flaws in Chrome 81, Google confirms two new high-severity vulnerabilities infecting the web browser. As these new security exploits could allow hackers to run commands over an affected system by gaining unauthorized control, users worldwide are being advised by the U.S Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to apply the latest update launched by the company in defense against these security vulnerabilities.

Both of the aforementioned security vulnerabilities were reported by Zhe Jin from Qihoo 360, a Chinese internet security services provider; for one of these, Jin received a bounty of $10,000 for CVE-2020-6462 which is a use-after-free error in the Chrome task scheduling component. The second one, CVE-2020-6461 was also of a similar use-after-free form but this one affected storage, according to the update notice from Prudhvikumar Bommana, Google Chome Technical Program Manager. 

Google has confirmed that the update will be pushed for all the users in the upcoming days and weeks, however, users are advised to remain proactive and keep looking up for updates to be applied manually by going to Help | About Google Chrome, where you can find the version you are currently running and an option to check for further updates. After installing the latest version, simply restart the web browser, and there you go being safeguarded against both the flaws.

Google Is All Set To Fight The Coronavirus Themed Phishing Attacks and Scams


These days of lock-down have left cyber-criminals feeling pretty antsy about “working from home”. Not that it has mattered because apparently, that is why the number of cyber-crime cases has only hiked especially the Phishing attacks.

This has gotten Google working on its machine-learning models to bolster the security of Gmail to create a stronger security front against cyber-criminals.

Given the current conditions, the attackers seem to have a morbid sense when it comes to the themes of the Phishing attacks, i.e. COVID-19. Reportedly, 18 Million such attacks were blocked in a single week. Which amount up to 2.5% of the 100 Million phishing attacks it allegedly dodges every day.

Google, per sources, is also occupied with jamming around 240 Million spam messages on a daily basis. These phishing attacks and spams at such a worrisome time have impelled Google and Microsoft to modify their products’ mechanisms for creating a better security structure.

Reportedly, the number of phishing attacks, in general, hasn’t risen but in the already existing number of attacks, the use of COVID-19 or Coronavirus seems to have been used a lot.

Malware and phishing attacks, especially the ones related to COVID-19 are being pre-emptively monitored. Because being resourceful as the cyber-criminals are the existing campaigns are now being employed with little upgradations to fit the current situation.


A few of the annoying phishing emails include, ones pretending to be from the World Health Organization (WHO) to fool victims into making donations for VICTIMS to a falsified account.

Per the intelligence teams of Microsoft, the Coronavirus themed phishing attacks and scams are just the remodeled versions of the previous attacks.

The attackers are extremely adaptive to the things and issues that their victims might easily get attracted to. Hence a wide variety of baits could be noticed from time to time.

During the lock-down period of the pandemic, health-related and humanitarian organizations have been extensively mentioned in the scams and phishing emails.

Per sources, the Advanced Protection Program (APP) lately acquired new malware protections by enabling Google Play Protect On Android devices to some specifically enrolled accounts.

Allegedly, users trying to join the program with default security keys were suspended, while the ones with physical security keys were still allowed to be enrolled.

All the bettered security provisions of Google shall be turned on by default so that the users can continue to live a safe and secure life amidst the pandemic.

Google Doubling Down On Efforts to Protect Android Users


With the rise in the in-application subscription scams on Android, Google subsequently announced the introduction of new Play Store policies intended to forestall such scams in the near future.

The American multinational technology additionally pledged to provide Android users with direct assistance in the form of notifications when a trial is going to turn into a paid subscription, or a subscription is going to renew consequently.

The new policies announced that demand application developers offer clear info about the obligations associated with subscription models and free trials, and provide a simple and easy way through which users can cancel subscriptions. These latest policies are a small part of a more extensive Google campaign, aimed especially at ensuring the privacy and security of Android users.

The newly announced policies focus mostly on fleeceware, a form of application that 'manipulates' trial periods and membership models to defraud victims. This kind of application usually burdens the user with complex terms and conditions, further enshrouding unjustifiable subscription commitments.
As a component of the new prerequisites, developers must distinguish with enough clarity between features accessible free of cost and those accessible only to paying subscribers. Thus, Google will convey an admonition to users when a free trial is set to end or when a subscription longer than three months is because of turn over.

The firm will likewise give warnings if a user endeavors to uninstall an application attached to an on-going subscription.

The new policies are said to take effect on June 16, so users should take particular consideration whenever handling of in-application subscriptions on Android in the meantime.

Apart from this, the company took the initiative to remind developers that its new assessment procedure will produce results in August, which will require developers to gain approval from Google before requesting location data from the end-user.

Further Play Store 'tweaks' are likewise in the pipeline, which will reportedly address issues related to illusive content and applications.

COVID 19 Contact Tracing: Is your Privacy at Risk?


Apple and Google's latest team up together to build a technology that will help trace the spread of coronavirus is a much-appreciated move, that will surely help the society to fight coronavirus. Still, one must also be aware of the privacy concerns, as the users will be sharing their data with these companies. The announcement came last Friday that the two companies are currently working together to build an application that will help in fining the COVID-19 trace. This process is called 'contact tracing,' and it will be carried with the help of Bluetooth technology that will benefit informing people as soon as they come in contact with an infected person.


Both the technology giants have assured that user privacy and security will be their utmost concern. According to cybersecurity experts, these companies who will be using user data such as- contacts, location; wouldn't be used for any other purposes. Even the companies won't have access to this information, and that is why these companies are prioritizing user privacy.

What about government surveillance? 
South Korea, while using technology to find the traces of infected people, is using CCTV footage, user location, credit card records, and even the conversation between individuals. This type of technological surveillance raises concerns about the privacy of individuals. According to cybersecurity experts, the South Korean government is releasing alerts that tell an individual's age, his neighborhood, his workplace, and also his location. None of such details are necessary as over sharing of these personal details can create a panic among the public. Some researchers have even gone to an extent, saying that this surveillance is expected to last even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

According to experts, the government should tell the public about the reasons for data collection, so the public doesn't panic and even gets a better understanding of the situation. In the present time, it is evident that these surveillances used for health purposes, but another concern is that this data can be used for other purposes such as law enforcement. The important fact is to know about the limits of this surveillance and to keep an eye if it becomes a tool for mass surveillance.

COVID-19: Google and Apple Team up on Contact Trace Technology


Around the world, the governments and health departments are fighting together against the Coronavirus pandemic, coming up with solutions to reduce its effect, so the society and the people can recover from it at the earliest. Keeping this in mind, various software companies and enthusiasts, too, are continually working to build technologies to aware the people to stay safe. Apple and Google together have come forward to contact trace Coronavirus patients. They are working together in developing a technology that will let people know whether they have come in contact with any Coronavirus infected person.


"To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing," says Apple and Google. The initial aim is to help third party contact tracing applications work accurately. But the primary objective is to get rid of downloading dedicated apps while supporting the work. The approach by Apple and Google will keep in mind that- the users participating are voluntary and would stay anonymous. At the same time, their privacy will remain the utmost concern for both companies.

The contact tracing method will somewhat work like this- with the help device's Bluetooth connection signals; the user will know whether he/she has been in contact with an infected person long enough to catch the virus. If either of the people is tested positive for COVID-19 in the future, an immediate warning will be issued to the original handset owner, informing him about the situation. The companies, while addressing the privacy concern, say that neither GPS nor personal information of the user will be collected.

"All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world's most pressing problems. Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments, and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life," said the two companies in a joint statement.

Hackers Use SSL Certificates to Launch Malware Attack


The latest report published by Meno Security indicates that 52% of the top one million websites have "HTTPS" in their URL, not traditional "HTTP." 

Despite this, the data says that these organizations that don't conduct satisfactory SSL reviews are more vulnerable to breaches and cyberattacks. According to recent research, hackers, while creating phishing websites, now use SSL as well, which endangers the organization's effort to keep its workers safe. In 96.7% of all user-initiated website visits that work over HTTPS, a mere 58% (approx) of the URL connections are HTTPs in the email, which indicates that firewalls and proxies are unaware of the threat until the organizations conduct an SSL investigation.


If the users are in the illusion that the green lock sign of HTTPS means they are safe, they might want to consider it again, for the hackers use the encryption too. Many people still think that as long as they have an SSL certificate, their webspace is secure, which, unfortunately, is not valid. Recent cyberattacks show that the malware is prone to these types of SSL certificate, and is now hiding behind this sign, which was once a symbol of safety. Many organizations from the beginning have relied upon firewalls and proxies to ensure the safety of web access.

But many organizations in the present time ignore the decryption and inspection SSL certificates, which has become very crucial. Point to be noted is that when the SSL decryption is enabled, the operations of these devices are down by a factor of five, which is why these enterprises refrain from conducting SSL inspection. Since 2014, even Google started giving priority in rankings to HTTPS websites on its Search Engine Result Page, considering they are safer.

According to Kowsik Goswami, chief technology officer at Menlo Security, there are many reasons why many enterprises don't turn SSL inspection. The main reason is privacy, as many organizations are concerned about their employees' privacy when they investigate the links the employees have visited. The other reason is performance, as the operations turn down by a factor of 5 when SSL inspection is on.

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.