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One Of Tech Giant Oracle’s Many Start-ups Uses Tracking Tech to Follow Users around the Web


The multinational computer technology corporation Oracle has spent almost 10 years and billions of dollars purchasing startups to fabricate its own one of a kind ‘panopticon’ of users' browsing data.

One of those startups which Oracle bought for somewhat over $400 million in 2014, BlueKai, is scarcely known outside marketing circles; however, it amassed probably the biggest bank of web tracking data outside of the federal government.

By utilizing website cookies and other tracking tech to pursue the user around the web, by knowing which sites the user visits and which emails they open, BlueKai does it all.

BlueKai is supposedly known to depend intensely on vacuuming up a 'never-ending' supply of information from an assortment of sources to comprehend patterns to convey the most exact ads to an individual's interests.

The startup utilizes increasingly clandestine strategies like permitting websites to insert undetectable pixel-sized pictures to gather data about the user when they open the page — hardware, operating system, browser, and any data about the network connection.

Hence it wouldn't be wrong to say that the more BlueKai gathers, the more it can infer about the user, making it simpler to target them with ads that may lure them to that 'magic money-making click'.

Marketers regularly utilize this immense amount of tracking data to gather as much about the user as could reasonably be expected — their income, education, political views, and interests to name a few — so as to target them with ads that should coordinate their apparent tastes.

But since a server was left unsecured for a time, that web tracking data was spilling out onto the open internet without a password and at last ended up uncovering billions of records for anybody to discover.

Luckily security researcher Anurag Sen found the database and detailed his finding to Oracle through an intermediary — Roi Carthy, chief executive at cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock and former TechCrunch reporter.

Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger says, “Oracle is aware of the report made by Roi Carthy of Hudson Rock related to certain BlueKai records potentially exposed on the Internet. While the initial information provided by the researcher did not contain enough information to identify an affected system, Oracle’s investigation has subsequently determined that two companies did not properly configure their services. Oracle has taken additional measures to avoid a reoccurrence of this issue.”

Subsequent to reviewing into the information shared by Sen, names, home addresses, email addresses, and other identifiable data was discovered in the database.

The information likewise uncovered sensitive users' web browsing activity — from purchases to newsletter unsubscribes.

While Oracle didn't name the companies or state what those additional measures were and declined to respond to the inquiries or comment further. In any case, it is clearly evident that the sheer size of the exposed database makes this one of the biggest security 'lapses' by this year.

Russian-Based Online Platform Taken Down By the FBI


The Federal Bureau of Investigation as of late brought down the Russian-based online platform DEER.IO that said to have been facilitating different cybercrime products and services were being sold according to announcements by the Department of Justice.

The Russian-based cyber platform known as DEER.IO has for quite some time been facilitating many online shops where illicit products and services were being sold.

A little while back, there happened the arrest of Kirill Victorovich Firsov as revealed by authorities, he was the supposed main operator behind Deer.io, a Shopify-like stage that has been facilitating many online shops utilized for the sale of hacked accounts and stole user data. Convicts ware paying around $12/month to open their online store on the platform.

When the 'crooks' bought shop access through the DEER.IO platform, a computerized set-up wizard permitted the proprietor to upload the products and services offered through the shop and configure the payment procedure by means of cryptocurrency wallets.

Arrested at the John F. Kennedy Airport, in New York, on Walk 7, Firsov has been arrested for running the Deer.io platform since October 2013 and furthermore publicized the platform on other hacking forums.

“A Russian-based cyber platform known as DEER.IO was shut down by the FBI today, and its suspected administrator – alleged Russian hacker Kirill Victorovich Firsov – was arrested and charged with crimes related to the hacking of U.S. companies for customers’ personal information.” - the official statement distributed by the DoJ.

While Feds looked into around 250 DEER.IO stores utilized by hackers to offer for sales thousands of compromised accounts, including gamer accounts and PII documents containing user names, passwords, U.S. Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and victim addresses.

A large portion of the casualties is in Europe and the US. The FBI agents effectively bought hacked information from certain stores facilitated on the Deer.io platform, offered data were authentic as indicated by the feds.

When asked to comment for the same FBI Special Agent in Charge Omer Meisel states, “Deer.io was the largest centralized platform, which promoted and facilitated the sale of compromised social media and financial accounts, personally identifiable information (PII) and hacked computers on the Internet. The seizure of this criminal website represents a significant step in reducing stolen data used to victimize individuals and businesses in the United States and abroad.”

Can we control our internet profile?

"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes." So said the artist Banksy, but following the rush to put everything online, from relationship status to holiday destinations, is it really possible to be anonymous - even briefly - in the internet age?

That saying, a twist on Andy Warhol's famous "15 minutes of fame" line, has been interpreted to mean many things by fans and critics alike. But it highlights the real difficulty of keeping anything private in the 21st Century.

"Today, we have more digital devices than ever before and they have more sensors that capture more data about us," says Prof Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger of the Oxford Internet Institute.

And it matters. According to a survey from the recruitment firm Careerbuilder, in the US last year 70% of companies used social media to screen job candidates, and 48% checked the social media activity of current staff.

Also, financial institutions can check social media profiles when deciding whether to hand out loans.

Is it really possible to be anonymous in the internet age?

Meanwhile, companies create models of buying habits, political views and even use artificial intelligence to gauge future habits based on social media profiles.

One way to try to take control is to delete social media accounts, which some did after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when 87 million people had their Facebook data secretly harvested for political advertising purposes.

- Netflix Cambridge Analytica film- Social media is 'like a crime scene'

- Facebook to pay $5bn to settle privacy concerns

- Is leaving Facebook the only way to protect your data? While deleting social media accounts may be the most obvious way to remove personal data, this will not have any impact on data held by other companies.

Fortunately, in some countries the law offers protection.