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Showing posts with label User Data. Show all posts

Dutch Government Loses Hard Drive Containing Data of 6.9 Million Donors


Officials from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Sport confirmed this week that the government has lost two external hard disk storage devices that contained electronic copies of all donor forms filled with the Dutch Donor Register between February 1998 to June 2010, it was used to store personal information such as the first and the last name, date of birth, ID card numbers, address while filling the form, gender, copy of signatures and choice of organs being donated of about 6.9 million organ donors.

It was when authorities decided to sweep out old donor registration paper forms and wanted to get rid of electronic copies of all these donor forms, they discovered that the two aforementioned disks are nowhere to be found. There have been no comments made onto the encryption of data, it's not in public knowledge that whether the data was encrypted not.

The disks were last accessed almost four years ago and were put securely inside a safety vault for keeping a record, as per the statements given by the Dutch Donor Register, the hard disks were no longer to be found in the security vault and are still unaccounted for. Reportedly, the data stored into the disks belonged to over 6.9 million Dutch people – a few out of whom may no longer be alive, as per the authorities.

Although there is no proof regarding the data being stolen or misused by anyone, officials claimed that the lost donor forms do not consist of Dutch ID copies and other official documents of the people of Dutch which automatically reduces the likability of fraud or an identity theft taking place amid the incident of lost hard drives. The Minister for Health, Wellness, and Sport confirmed that the event did not affect the Donor Register's ability to deliver accurate donor data.

UK-Based Network Rail Confirms Online Exposure of Wi-Fi User Data


The travel details and email addresses of around 10,000 commuters who used free wi-fi provided at UK railway stations were exposed online, as per the confirmations given by UK-based Network Rail. The unfortunate event affected a number of railway stations including London Bridge, Norwich, Harlow Mill, Chelmsford, Colchester, Waltham Cross, and Burnham.

The incident came into light when a security researcher Jeremiah Fowler, from Security Discovery, discovered an unprotected database online consisting of 146 million records, it included personal information of travelers such as their contact details and DOBs. The confirmation on the incident followed after three days by the Network Rail and the service provider C3UK who took immediate measures to protect the leaked database, a backup copy containing around 10,000 email addresses of the commuters.

On 14 February, Fowler tried to contact C3UK and sent two emails over six days for which he did not receive any feedback. Reportedly, the data was not misused or stolen by any third party, therefore C3UK chose not to notify the data regulator, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Network Rail strongly recommended the service provider C3UK to report the vulnerability and informed media that they will have their data protection team reach out to ICO and explain its stance on the matter.

While providing assurance and explaining its position on the matter, C3UK said, "To the best of our knowledge, this database was only accessed by ourselves and the security firm and no information was made publicly available."

"Given the database did not contain any passwords or other critical data such as financial information, this was identified as a low-risk potential vulnerability," it added.

Meanwhile, the ICO also confirmed to BBC that it hadn't been notified, "When a data incident occurs, we would expect an organization to consider whether it is appropriate to contact the people affected and to consider whether there are steps that can be taken to protect them from any potential adverse effects," it said.

In the wake of the incident, Greater Anglia, a Great Britain based train operating company, which manages some of the affected railway stations told that it stopped employing C3UK to provide its station wi-fi. Meanwhile, the provider for London Bridge station assured the corresponding Network Rail that it was an issue of low-risk and that "the integrity of people's information remains fully secure."

Facebook Sues Data Analytics Firm for Improperly Harvesting User Data


On Thursday, Facebook filed a federal lawsuit in California Court against OneAudience, a New Jersey-based marketing firm mainly involved in data analytics. The social media giant claimed that the firm was paying app developers to secretly harvest its users' data by getting an infectious software SDK installed onto their apps. The SDK was planted in various gaming, shopping, and utility-type applications available to download from the Google Play Store, as per the court documents.

A software development kit also known as SDK is a downloadable collection of software development tools used for developing applications. It consists of the basic tools a developer would require to build a platform-specific app with ease and excellence. In other words, SDK basically enables the programming of mobile applications. However, these packages have their drawbacks too as they also contain tools like trackers and it collects information about devices and app usage to send it back to the SDK maker.

Facebook alleged in the lawsuit that OneAudience has blatantly misused the feature "login with Facebook" to acquire unauthorized access to sensitive user data without any permissions. OneAudience has also been accused of paying apps to gain access to users' Twitter and Google data when they log into the infected apps using their account info.

"With respect to Facebook, OneAudience used the malicious SDK – without authorization from Facebook – to access and obtain a user's name, email address, locale (i.e. the country that the user logged in from), time zone, Facebook ID, and, in limited instances, gender," Facebook remarked.

Earlier in November 2019, social media giants Twitter and Facebook told that OneAudience collected private user information and the incident left hundreds of users affected as their privacy was compromised when OneAudience illegally collected their names, email addresses, usernames, genders and latest posts through SDK.

While commenting on the matter, Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation, said "Facebook's measures included disabling apps, sending the company a cease and desist letter, and requesting their participation in an audit, as required by our policies. OneAudience declined to cooperate."

"This is the latest in our efforts to protect people and increase accountability of those who abuse the technology industry and users," she further added.

Financial and Customer Info being Exposed in Slickwraps Data Breach


Slickwraps, a mobile device case retailer that specializes in designing and assembling the most precision-fitted phone cases in the world has suffered a major data breach that exposed the personal information of employees including their API credentials, resumes and much more.



In January 2020, a security researcher named Lynx attempted to gain access to Slickwraps's systems, he acquired full access to the company's website employing a path traversal vulnerability present in a script which is used by them for customizing cases.

After exploiting the vulnerability, Lynx sent emails stating the same to the company and upon receiving no response to those emails, he decided to make public disclosure of the vulnerability and how he exploited it to acquire access to the systems and the data that was compromised.

While giving insights of the incident, Lynx told that it allowed them to acquire access to 9GB of personal customer data that included employee resumes, customers' pictures, API credentials, ZenDesk ticketing system along with more sensitive data such as hashed passwords, transactions, and contact-related information.

As per the reports, multiple attempts made by Lynx to report the data breaches to Slickwraps were blocked by the company. Even though Lynx made it clear that they don't want any bounty and are just trying to get Slickwraps to publicly disclose the breach.

In a post made by Lynx on Medium, he stated, "They had no interest in accepting security advice from me. They simply blocked and ignored me."

While accepting the shortcomings of the company in terms of user security, Jonathan Endicott, Slickwraps CEO, apologized for the data breach and said, "There is nothing we value higher than trust from our users. In fact, our entire business model is dependent on building long-term trust with customers that keep coming back."

"We are reaching out to you because we've made a mistake in violation of that trust. On February 21st, we discovered information in some of our production databases was mistakenly made public via an exploit. During this time, the databases were accessed by an unauthorized party."

"Upon finding out about the public user data, we took immediate action to secure it by closing any database in question. As an additional security measure, we recommend that you reset your Slickwraps account password. Again, no passwords were compromised, but we recommend this as a standard safety measure. Finally, please be watchful for any phishing attempts."

"We are deeply sorry about this oversight. We promise to learn from this mistake and will make improvements going forward. This will include enhancing our security processes, improving the communication of security guidelines to all Slickwraps employees, and making more of our user-requested security features our top priority in the coming months. We are also partnering with a third-party cybersecurity firm to audit and improve our security protocols."

"More details will follow and we appreciate your patience during this process." the statement further read.

Glitch in Tax Service Exposed 1.2 Million Danes' CPR Numbers




A bug in the TastSelv Borger tax service which falls under the management of the US company DXC Technology has exposed almost 1.2 million CPR numbers of Danish citizens to the American multinational companies – Google and Adobe. The leak has been discovered by The Danish Agency for Development and Simplification for the first time, however, the researchers claim that CPR numbers along with other sensitive information have been exposed for around 5 years now.

People who have a tax liability to Denmark are allowed by TastSelv's services to see and alter their tax returns, annual statements and pay residual tax. As per the findings of the security researchers at the agency, all the exposed data was found to be encrypted and hence reportedly, Google and Adobe were not able to view the same due to encryption which barred them.

Other sources have it that in an attempt to downplay the entire incident, The Danish Agency for Development and Simplification put forth a solid confirmation on the CPR numbers being encrypted when accessed by the companies. Meanwhile, cybersecurity specialist and founder of the CSIS group, Peter Kruse asserted that Google did access those 1.2 million CPR numbers as there was no encryption, according to him the numbers were rather in plain text.

How was the glitch exploited?

It was when the users who were logged into TastSelv Borger happened to click on the text displayed as 'Correct contact information' and consequently rectified the contact information, faced an error in the app. The error triggered the process of transferring the CPR numbers to Google and Adobe, as per DR news website.

Referencing from the statement given by the government agency, “We take this kind of case very seriously. And of course, we need to be able to make sure that our suppliers handle all data according to applicable law and within the framework agreed upon with them.”

“The data received by Google is unencrypted. Google has been able to read data in unencrypted form,” he added.

“Google Hosted Libraries have been designed to remove all information that allows identifying users before logging on. Thus, no user information is shared with Google in this process.” Google told the website which first reported the incident.

Avast Antivirus Harvested Users' Data and Sold it Google, Microsoft, IBM and Others



Avast, a popular maker of free anti-virus software being employed by almost 435 million mobiles, Windows and Mac harvested its users' sensitive data via browser plugins and sold it to third parties such as Microsoft, Google, Pepsi, IBM, Home Depot, and many others, according to the findings of an investigation jointly carried out by PCMag and Motherboard.

As per the sources, the investigation basically relied on leaked data; documents used to further the investigation belonged to Jumpshot which is a subsidiary of Avast. The data was extracted by the Avast anti-virus software itself and then repackaged by Jumpshot into various products which were sold to big companies as the report specified, "Potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Sephora, Home Depot, Conde Nast, Intuit, and many others."

"The sale of this data is both highly sensitive and is, in many cases, supposed to remain confidential between the company selling the data and the clients purchasing it," other company documents found.

Allegedly, Avast has been keeping a track of personal details such as exact time and date when a user starts surfing a website, the digital content being viewed by him and his browsing and search history. As per the findings, the information sold by Jumpshot includes Google Maps searches, Google search engine searches, YouTube videos viewed by users, activity that took place on companies' LinkedIn handles and porn websites visited by people. The data contained no traces of personal information of people like their names or email addresses, however, the investigators at Vice pointed out how the access to such precise browsing data can potentially lead back to the identification of the user anyway.

When the investigation reports were made public, Jumpshot stopped receiving any browsing-related data harvested by extensions as Avast terminated the operations, however, currently, the popular anti-virus maker is being investigated for collecting user data asides from browser plug-ins.

While Google denied commenting on the matter, IBM told Vice that they have no record of dealing with Avast's subsidiary, Jumpshot. Meanwhile, Microsoft made it clear that at present they are not having any relationship with Jumpshot.

Chinese Smartphone Maker OnePlus Discloses Data Breach





Chinese smartphone manufacturer, OnePlus has announced a data breach where the order information including names, contact numbers, email addresses and shipping addresses of customers from its online store was exposed. However, customers' payment information, passwords, and accounts haven't been compromised in the incident. OnePlus ensured that the affected customers are being timely notified.

The company told in an FAQ that the breach took place last week and was discovered immediately. According to the officials, it was a certain vulnerability in their website which became the entry point of the attackers. However, no additional details were provided by OnePlus.

"We took immediate steps to stop the intruder and reinforce security, making sure there are no similar vulnerabilities. Before making this public, we informed our impacted users by email. Right now, we are working with the relevant authorities to further investigate this incident." the company said in the FAQ.

As a security measure to ensure there exists no similar security vulnerability, OnePlus thoroughly examined the website. Furthermore, the company is making efforts to upgrade its security program which included partnering with a world-renowned security platform next month. The company told that it would be launching a bug bounty program by the end of this year.

In the OnePlus security ecosystem, this came as the second hit to the privacy of its users, the company witnessed a similar one last year in January wherein almost 40,000 were affected and users' credit card information was stolen. OnePlus's breach came after T-Mobile announced a similar data breach that impacted a small number of accounts using the company's prepaid offerings.

"Our Cybersecurity team discovered and shut down malicious unauthorized access to some information related to your T-Mobile prepaid wireless account," the company said. "None of your financial data (including credit card information) or social security numbers were involved, and no passwords were compromised."

"The data accessed was information associated with your prepaid service account, including name and billing address (if you provided one when you established your account), phone number, account number, rate plan and features, such as whether you added an international calling feature," the company further added.

Open databases leaked 93 Million billing files of patients.



Around 93 Million billing files were exposed containing information of patients from drug and alcohol addiction facilities by a misconfigured AWS s3 storage bucket. These three drug and alcohol addiction facilities were operated by San Juan Capistrano, California-based Sunshine Behavioral Health, LLC namely SBH’s Monarch Shores location in San Juan Capistrano; Chapters Capistrano facility in San Clemente, Calif.; and Willow Springs Recovery center in Bastrop, Texas. Patients from these facilities had their data open and accessible and SBH was repeatedly informed by DataBreaches.net about this leak.



The exposed data consisted of billing details like individual's name, birth date, physical and email addresses, phone numbers, debit and credit details like card numbers with partial expiration dates and a full CVV code and health insurance information, including membership and account numbers and insurance benefits statements. Roughly, 93 Million files were released but comparatively fewer individuals were affected as patients had multiple files to their name. The news was covered by DataBreach.net yesterday, but they have been following the case since August.

An anonymous individual tipped DataBreach.net about the open database in late August and they informed Sunshine Behavioral Health regarding the leak on September 4th but to no avail. They then spoke to SBH's director of compliance, Stephen VanHooser and shortly the data was made private. But, unfortunately in November Databreach.net noticed that “the files were still accessible without any password required if you knew where to look.

And anyone who had downloaded the URLs of the files in the bucket while the bucket was exposed would know where to look.”, stated the post. The data and files were finally secured after they again reached out to SBH on Nov 10 and 12. Adding to that, the three-drug and alcohol addiction facilities haven't made the leak public, There has been nothing on their website, the California Attorney General’s website, or HHS’s public breach tool, even though it is more than 70 days since they were first notified,” the blog states. Maybe the affected parties were informed but not the public.

xHelper: A Non-Destructive Malware that has Affected 45,000 Android Devices


A new Android trojan tension has become a headliner after darting upon the detector of several cyber-security firms and disturbing the smartphone users, because of its re-installing peculiarity that has become a headache. The malware was located in March for the first time but it gradually developed to affect the android phones.


Hot as xHelper, it is a unique malware that has been detected by antivirus corporations. xHelper is quite dangerous as it has a self re-install origin, a process that makes it very difficult to eliminate from Android gadgets. The Trojan is said to have corrupted around 45,000 devices. "Every day, 131 different devices are corrupted, whereas, 2,400 devices are being affected every month," says Symantec, a cybersecurity company. Eliminating the xHelper assistance from your Android device is useless as the malware re-establishes itself despite the user completing a factory reset.

In the conclusion of a story, the Trojan provides for popup ads on devices simultaneously beside spams. These popup notices make profits for the bodies responsible for the deed. Also, the trojan-infected android devices are required to install various apps from the Google Play Store, once the damage has been done. The malware secures profit in the scheme of pay-per-download payments, once the application is installed on the android phone.

But it appears that the Trojan does not perform any lethal actions on the device. "xHelper is only confined to interfering popup ads and spams, it doesn't possess any severe threat to the device" claims the reports of Symantec and Malwarebytes. Besides, excluding the xHelper assistance from the Android OS devices won't do any relief as the malware re-fixes itself despite the user restoring the phone to factory reset settings. The matter of concern, though, is the point that android device users have been notified that while xHelper is momentarily only confined to popups, spams, and ads, it can, however, install different applications, which could extend a secondary degree trojan threat that can steal sensitive data such as personal information and banking credentials of the users.

A New Malware that steals Personal Information via Discord App


Hey there, all the gamers and tech freaks. Beware! A new malware is coming right at you. Also known as 'Spidey Bot' by its researchers, this malware is quite dangerous as it can take all your personal information such as passwords, IP addresses, emails, contacts, and Discord usernames. The Windows Malware does this by inserting itself into the Discord app's cipher.


As if this wasn't enough, the malware can also get a backdoor entrance into your device by copying the first 50 letters typed in your keyboard which may contain critical information such as recently used passwords. This is done in order to get more malware fixed in your device. Discord is an application that is specifically designed for the video gaming community. It is also a digital platform where various PC gamers from across the world can connect and form a community of their own.

Lately, Discord has also become an ideal platform for users who have been thrown out from Twitter and Reddit for their peculiarly offensive comments; hence they are free to express their thoughts here. Sadly, you won't be able to grasp if your Discord file is affected, and even if you do, you can't do anything much about it. The best you can do is remove the software and then reinstall it to confirm that you are safe. Therefore, having the best antivirus is the only solution to prevent your computer from malware threats. Even the software company Discord is helpless in countering to user problems.

"Unluckily, there's nothing any Discord can do to anticipate threats here. Still, the user should be careful while clicking on unknown links and should be critical of downloading unfamiliar software. Doing so can invite Malware to your system. Installing an untrusted program can alter your Discord on your PC," tweeted Discord in response to user complaints. This is not the problem with the language but it's on the user end. The only alternative solution to this Malware threat is by telling the user to access the Discord app via their phones and gaming consoles instead of your computers.

Pos Malaysia: Malware Attack Disrupts Internal Systems and Online Services



IT infrastructure of Pos Malaysia, postal delivery service in Malaysia, took a major hit from ransomware which rendered some of its online services inaccessible. After detecting the attack on Sunday, the company took immediate measures to shut down internal systems and parts of its online systems; they also lodged a police report with Royal Malaysia Police for attempted malware attack and reached out to concerned authorities to ensure the safety of their systems and database.

The website of the company was displaying an error message during the downtime, which said, “Sorry, we are under maintenance.” It was discovered during a system update on October 20 and since then, the company released three statements insisting on the safety of customers’ personal data and sensitive information. It assured that no user data was compromised and the issues are being rectified. Gradually, several of Pos Malaysia’s online services have been made accessible while over the counter services remain available at the company’s branches nationwide. However, the officials refrained from providing a specific timeline for the entire restoration of the halted services.

Seemingly, it was a major attempt that caused disruption in the company’s internal systems and online services for the past few days and subsequently affected the overall company’s operations.

In a statement on Facebook, Pos Malaysia told, “Our team has managed to rectify and restore several of the system and online services. We assure our customers that their data and personal information are safe.”

“We extend our apologies for the inconvenience caused and thank our customers for their kind understanding, patience and support during this period. We will provide regular updates from time to time,” it added.

Announcing that the services will be restored and made fully accessible gradually, a spokesperson told The Star, "Customers and business partners may now gradually access our services. Over the counter services at all branches remain available.”

"Currently, proactive steps are being taken by our IT recovery team to ensure minimal impact to our customers and business partners. While contingency plans are being considered to rectify and restore online operations, the majority of our services at all Pos Malaysia branches are still available," he added.

People who have made shipments via Pos Malaysia or have pending shipments and it required them to share any sensitive data with the postal delivery company, odds are it would have been compromised in the attempted malware attack, therefore, they are advised to check their private credentials where necessary.

Cybersecurity Researchers Discovered Attack Which Uses WAV Audio Files to Hide Malicious Code


We are living in an age where user security being breached is one of the most familiar headlines we come across in the cybersecurity sphere, attackers have continued to discover unprecedented ways to compromise user data and have strengthened the older ones.

A widely used technique which allows hackers to break into computers and extract user data without getting noticed is resurfacing again, this time making the detention even more complex by embedding the malware inside audio files resembling the regular WAV format audio files on the computer, according to the cybersecurity researchers at Cylance, a California based software company that develops antivirus programs and other software to prevent malware.

Hackers employed a method known as ‘Steganography’ to hide and deliver malware, it involves hiding a file, video or message with the help of some other file. Researchers at Cylance discovered the malicious code embedded inside the WAV audio files with each file containing a ‘loader component’ which decodes and executes the malware. The threat actors carry out these malicious activities using a crypto mining application known as XMRig Monero CPU Miner.

Although, hackers have used viruses and spyware to infect files and break into computers previously, this is the first time ever where a file has been explicitly used to deliver a crypto mining software into a system. Cybercriminals are always looking to undo the measures taken by security officials. It is evident from how they are now employing even sophisticated strategies as earlier, the only way to deliver crypto mining malware was through malicious scripts on browsers, websites or software programs that came with malware.

Referencing from the statements given by Josh Lemos, VP of Research and Intelligence at BlackBerry Cylance, to Help Net Security.  “One WAV file contained music with no indication of distortion or corruption and the others contained white noise. One of the WAV files contained Meterpreter to establish a reverse-shell to have remote access into the infected machine. The other WAV files contain the XMRig Monero crypto-miner,”

“Attackers are creative in their approach to executing code, including the use of multiple files of different file formats. We discovered several loaders in the wild that extract and execute malicious code from WAV audio files. Analysis revealed that the malware authors used a combination of steganography and other encoding techniques to deobfuscate and execute code” the researchers at Cylance pointed out.

“The similarities between these methods and known threat actor TTPs may indicate an association or willingness to emulate adversary activity, perhaps to avoid direct attribution,” the researchers further remarked.

In order to stay guarded, users are advised to have proper anti-virus tools installed on their computers and stay alert while downloading any kind of file from the internet.

Twitter Used Phone Numbers and Email Addresses Provided for Security to Target Ads


Twitter, on Tuesday, admitted using phone numbers and email addresses of users provided for the purpose of enhancing security via two-factor authentication to serve target ads.

However, sensitive user data has not been shared with the company’s third-party partners and the issue which stemmed the incident has been taken care of; now the phone numbers and email addresses are only asked for security purposes, according to Twitter.

Last year, Facebook was caught for engaging in a similar practice where the phone numbers and email addresses provided by the users to make their accounts more secure were used by the social media giant to target ads, as per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In the wake of the breach, Twitter received widespread criticism for compromising its users' privacy. The fact that user security has been violated through a framework that was intended to rather strengthen it, further fuelled the public reproval. Although the company did not intend to use sensitive user data for the purpose of ad targeting, one can’t deny that the platform was practicing the aforementioned without the knowledge of its users. Moreover, it took the company almost a month to disclose the information.

Putting what Twitter called as an 'error' into perspective, it wrote in a post on its Help Center website, “Tailored Audiences is a version of an industry-standard product that allows advertisers to target ads to customers based on the advertiser's own marketing lists (e.g., email addresses or phone numbers they have compiled)."

"When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes." The company added.

Remarking data (here) as a liability, Duruk, a human-computer interface expert, wrote “Phone numbers stored for 2FA end up in advertising hellhole. The more you accrue, the more someone inside your org will find a way to abuse it.”

Apologizing for the inadvertent mistake, Twitter further wrote, "We’re very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again."

Indian users third most affected by Formjacking attacks, after the US and Australia


Followed by the US and Australia, Indian users were the most exposed to Formjacking attacks, according to a new survey by cybersecurity firm, Symantec, which has blocked over 2.3 million formjacking attacks globally in the second quarter of 2019.

In 2018, American users faced 33% of the total formjacking attacks; however, during the first half of the year 2019, they became the most exposed to these attacks with more than 50% of all the global detections. On the other hand, India with 5.7% of all the global attacks ranks third, as per the Symantec report.

Formjacking, a new dangerous threat in the cyber world, operates by infecting websites via malicious codes; mainly, these are the websites that involve filling out job applications, government forms, and credit card details. Symantec carried out a comprehensive analysis of formjacking attacks in its Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) which calls attention to the ways users and websites have been affected by this critical cyber threat in 2018-19.

“We expect this formjacking trend to continue and expand further to steal all kinds of data from web forms, not just payment card data. This also means that we are likely to see more software supply chain attacks. Unfortunately, formjacking is showing no signs of disappearing any time soon. Therefore, operators of online stores need to be aware of the risk and protect their online presence,” reads the report.

How ‘Formjacking’ Works? 

In order to inject malicious JavaScript code on the website, attackers and cybercriminals modify one of the JavaScript files which get loaded along with the website. Then, the malicious JavaScript code makes alterations in the behavior of the selected web process on the infected website which, as a result, allows hackers to unlawfully acquire credit card data and other sensitive information.

According to the findings of Symantec, the websites which are affected by Formjacking attacks stay under its influence for 46 days. A number of websites have fallen prey to formjacking, with publically reported attacks on the websites of major companies like British Airways, Ticketmaster, Feedify, and Newegg.

Warning the consumers around the globe, Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher at Symantec, said, “Each month we discover thousands of formjacking infected websites, which generate millions of dollars for the cybercriminals," warned Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher at Symantec.

"Consumers often don't notice that they have become a victim to a formjacking attack as it can happen on a trusted online store with the HTTPS padlock intact. Therefore, it is important to have a comprehensive security solution that can protect you against formjacking attacks," He added.

Oyo Leaves Customers’ Confidential Data Unprotected Due to a Security Flaw



The world’s third-largest and fastest-growing hospitality and homestay chain, Oyo is reportedly leaving its customer data unprotected, which makes it vulnerable to a breach due to a flaw found in its security systems. A cybersecurity researcher, Jay Sharma, who used Oyo for the first time in his life, found a loophole in the service which was exposing confidential information of the customers availing the service.

Founded in 2013 by 25-year-old, Ritesh Agarwal, Oyo has confirmed the presence of security flaw in an email to the cybersecurity researcher who took to the professional networking site, LinkedIn to share his first time experience with the service and sent the report of the same to the company’s Cyber team on 22nd of August. The data at risk included booking IDs, contact numbers, the date of the booking, the number of people staying in the room and location.

Sharma was offered a bounty reward of Rs. 25,000, which is the increased amount after the officials, reviewed the severity involved, the initial amount offered was Rs. 5000.

Sharing the insights of the experience and the details of the vulnerability, Jay wrote on LinkedIn, “I used Oyo for the first time in my life, and once I checked in, it was compulsory to enter booking ID and phone number to access the Wi-Fi”, “Why should anybody in the room be forced to share personal information via OTP (one-time-password) verification to use Wi-Fi?”

“I researched more and found that the HTTP & Ssh ports were open with no rate limit for the IP which was hosting this. Captcha was a 5 digit number generated by math.random(). I created a way to brute force the login credentials while executing the captcha.”

“Once login was brute-forced all the historical data dating back to a few months was accessible. The booking IDs and phone numbers related to these IDs with timestamps were stored naked and all of it could be downloaded by parsing HTML using python scripts.” He wrote.

Jay further warned the customers not to log in and “wait till OYO announces officially that they have fixed this issue” as “all the properties which use this login are vulnerable.”

Commenting on the matter, the company, headquartered at Gurugram, said “Oyo provides safe and secure hotels to unmarried couples. Most Oyo hotels allow unmarried couples and accept local IDs; they have well-trained staff who ensure safety and privacy,”

“Any vulnerability, no matter how limited-time or small is taken very seriously and looked into,” a spokesperson told in a statement.

Google about to Roll Out One of the Most Awaited Features



In 2018, Google broke headlines for tracking its users location even after they disabled the sharing of location history via their privacy settings.

There were complaints against the company, stating, "Google represented that a user ‘can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.’ This simply was not true."

In the wake of receiving intense criticism over location history, Google came up with necessary adjustments which now allow users to stop the tech giant from tracking them, except for the applications in which location data is of utmost importance such as Waze and Google Maps.

In an attempt to make Google Maps even more secure and trustworthy, the company added enhanced security features related to location privacy in Android 10; to further better the services and regain the lost user trust, Google is planning to add Incognito Mode to Google Maps and the feature is said to be in testing.

Users can always put restrictions on the location data collected by Google Maps by signing out of their Google account, but it will come at the cost of their convenience, therefore, Google is planning to introduce Incognito Mode which can be turned on by the users in the same way they do it for Youtube or Google Chrome to delink the search or navigation data from their main Google account.

In order to activate Incognito Mode, users can simply choose the option from their Google account avatar and they will be informed about the app being in incognito mode by a black status bar and the marker indicating the location will turn into dark from blue to mark the change.

To enable the feature, users are recommended to install Preview Maps version 10.26 or higher and for those who are not a part of Preview Maps test group, wait until the company releases it on a wider scale.


Simjacker Exploits S@T Browser to Affect a Billion Users



Platform agnostic attack, Simjacker allows hackers to remotely exploit the victims' phone by sending a SMS which contains a malicious code; the code gives instructions to the universal integrated circuit card (UICC)/ SIM card placed inside the targeted device to retrieve and carry out sensitive commands.

The attack is set into motion as soon as the 'attack SMS' sent via another remote handset, is received by the targeted device. The process involves a series of SIM Toolkit (STK) directions particularly configured to be sent on to the SIM Card inside the victim's device.

To ensure a proper execution of these instructions, Simjacker exploits the S@T Browser, which is a software found in SIM cards. After receiving the 'attack SMS', SIM card resorts to the S@T Browser library for setting up the execution friendly environment which can trigger logic on the infected device.

S@T Browser, a legacy browser technology placed inside the SIM cards on a number of handsets, was typically used to send promotional messages or spam text messages. However, the attackers went on exploiting it for obtaining device's location and its unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI).

The attacker sends a SMS to the S@T browser asking it for the aforementioned information which it would obtain and store on to the SIM card. Then, the attacker would send another SMS to acquire the stored information. These messages are send and received in binary codes, unlike regular messages. It doesn't alert the victim in any manner and hence qualifies to be a highly effective tool for attacking mobile phones via messages.

Referencing from the findings of mobile carrier security company AdaptiveMobile Security, 

"The main Simjacker attack involves an SMS containing a specific type of spyware-like code being sent to a mobile phone, which then instructs the SIM Card within the phone to ‘take over’ the mobile phone to retrieve and perform sensitive commands." 

"We believe this vulnerability has been exploited for at least the last two years by a highly sophisticated attacker group." The report reads. 

Notably, the exploit is working as a lot of operators are failing to check the origin of these binary codes (SMS), which can be blocked by configuring the firewall technology in their corresponding networks, advises AdaptiveMobile.





New Security Flaw in Google's Chrome Browser Lets Hackers Access Sensitive User Data



Hackers are always finding new ways to exploit bugs and compromise sensitive user data, a recently discovered flaw in Google Chrome which could lead to arbitrary code execution, allows attackers to view, edit or even delete confidential data.

The vulnerability in the browser was initially reported by the Centre for Internet Security (CIS) and it could have allowed hackers to execute arbitrary code in the context of the browser. In order to keep the flaw in check, Google Chrome released an immediate update for its users round the globe.

In the upcoming week, Google will be releasing patches for Mac, Windows and Linux, as per the reports. However, the older versions of the search engine, which are the versions before 76.0.3809.132 are prone to attack.

To be on a safe side, users are advised to have their browsers updated and be aware of suspicious websites. The report also recommends users to avoid following the hyperlinks from unknown sources.

“A vulnerability has been discovered in Google Chrome, which could allow for arbitrary code execution. Google Chrome is a web browser used to access the Internet. Depending on the privileges associated with the application, an attacker could install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. If this application has been configured to have fewer user rights on the system, exploitation of the most severe of these vulnerabilities could have less impact than if it was configured with administrative rights.” Reads the report.

US: Investigators can Use Fake Social Media Profiles to Monitor Potential Visa Seekers





US Citizenship and Immigration Services officers, who were previously banned from creating fake social media profiles, can now create such profiles for the purpose of monitoring social media information of foreigners attempting for visas, citizenship and green cards.

On Friday, the ban was overturned in the review of potential privacy issues conducted and posted online by the Homeland  Security Department.

Explaining the need for the reversal of the ban, a statement by USCIS said that locating evidence of fraud and cross verifying the information for security reasons will be made easier for officers and investigators while deciding whom to allow inside the US.

The concerned State Department took several other steps which included asking applicants applying for US visa to provide their social media handles. However, it is ambiguous how resorting to fake social media identities would be carried out successfully as the terms and conditions of major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter would clearly be violated while impersonating.

Commenting on the matter, Twitter said in a statement, "It is against our policies to use fake personae and to use Twitter data for persistent surveillance of individuals. We look forward to understanding USCIS's proposed practices to determine whether they are consistent with our terms of service,"

As per the DHS document, the investigating officers are restricted from interacting or conversing with people on various social media platforms and are only allowed to review and verify information passively. Although a lot of social media activity can be viewed and hence reviewed without an account,  certain platforms still keep within bounds the access for the guest users.

Referencing from the remarks made by Dave Maass, a senior investigative researcher for the civil liberties advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, use of fictitious accounts "undermines our trust in social media companies and our ability to communicate and organize and stay in touch with people."

"It can't be this double standard where police can do it, but members of the general public can't." He added.

Older Lenovo users uninstall Solution Center soon

Owners of older Lenovo laptops need to uninstall the Lenovo Solution Center as soon as possible. 

Security researchers at Pen Test Partners found a critical vulnerability in the Lenovo Solution Center that could hand admin privileges over to hackers or malware.

According to Pen Test Partners, the flaw is a discretionary access control list (DACL) overwrite, which means a low-privileged user can sneak into a sensitive file by exploiting a high-privileged process. This is an example of a "privileged escalation" attack in which a bug can be used to gain access to resources that are normally only accessible to admins.

In this case, an attacker could write a pseudo-file (called a hard link file) that, when run by Lenovo Solution Center, would access sensitive files it otherwise shouldn't be allowed to reach. From there, damaging code could be executed on the system with administrator or system privileges, which is basically game over, as Pen Test Partners notes.

Lenovo Solution Center is a program that was preinstalled on Lenovo laptops from 2011 up until November 2018, which means millions of devices could be affected. Ironically, the program's purpose is to monitor the health and security of a Lenovo PC. While this flaw isn't such a big concern for individual users who can quickly protect their systems, larger companies who own a fleet of older ThinkPad laptops and use legacy software might be slow to react.

For its part, Lenovo published a security statement warning users about the bug and urging them to uninstall Solution Center, which the company no longer supports.

"A vulnerability reported in Lenovo Solution Center version 03.12.003, which is no longer supported, could allow log files to be written to non-standard locations, potentially leading to privilege escalation. Lenovo ended support for Lenovo Solution Center and recommended that customers migrate to Lenovo Vantage or Lenovo Diagnostics in April 2018," reads the statement.