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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."

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.

US: Fake News and Hike in Malicious Campaigns



'The internet is stacked with fake news sites in the present times,' says the research of Domain Tools, a security analyst company. The company scrutinized some top news sites of the U.S and examined their vulnerability to URL hacking and false domains. The false URLs may advertise misinformation and harmful malware, according to study. “As skepticism of traditional media continues to rise, defending the society from fake news attacks has grown relevant to the constitutional process,” says Corin Imai, a security advisor of DomainTools.

The fake news in recent times has attacked the credibility of news and raised questions concerning professional journalism. In present times, the media coverage is full of falsehoods and misinformation. The majority of the mainstream news sites can be held responsible for spreading fake news among the general public.

Why should one pay attention to fake news sites? 

'It’s no mystery that since recent times fake news campaigns are on a hike,' says Imai. 'The research shows that various top news websites' domain names have been tricked, and are vulnerable to URL hacking.' Honesty and assurance are the pillars of splendid consumer aid expertise. The study by Domain Tools reveals how wicked users do clever tricks like typosquatting and replicating domains as methods to wind up fake news campaigns.

Typosquatting, also called URL hijacking, is a technique that clings on internet users who accidentally type a wrong domain while searching for a news site on a browser. Whereas, spoofing is when a trickster acts as a genuine publisher of a news site. These unlawful actions can result in unauthorized stealing of user data, circulate fake news via spoofing news sites and, download dangerous malware into the user's system.

How to identify misinformation campaigns and stay safe from fake news sites- 

Fake news sites often benefit from user's browsing pace by hogging on their favored source of information. This can lead to data theft or vulnerability to fake news and malware.
Steps to avoid fake news-

• Beware of suspicious or doubtful domain names. Always pay attention to whether the web search is correct.
• Bookmark your preferred news site. This benefit in avoiding typos while searching for a news site.
• Visit the news website directly; avoid clicking on links that lead to news or information.
• Be digitally literate. Stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies happening over the internet.

By following these basic precautions, one can be safe from the risk of fake news.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.





Hackers Exploiting a Critical Weakness In Mobile Phones to Track Location



The interface designed for the usage of cell carriers is being exploited heavily by attackers. It allows the cell carriers to get in direct touch with the SIM cards inside subscribers' smartphones, the interface can be employed by the carriers for allowing subscribers to make use of the data stored on their SIM card to provide account balances along with other specialized services.

Hackers can secretly track the location of subscribers by exploiting the interface and giving commands to acquire the IMEI identification code of device; the Simjacker exploit further allows them to carry out actions such as making calls or sending messages.

According to the researchers at AdaptiveMobile Security, the working of the Simjacker exploit is not limited to a few devices, rather, it can be carried out on a wide range of mobile phones, irrespective of their software or hardware.

Unfolding the various aspects of the attack, Dan Guido, a mobile security expert and the CEO of security firm Trail of Bits told Ars, “This attack is platform-agnostic, affects nearly every phone, and there is little anyone except your cell carrier can do about it.”

While commenting on the issue, Karsten Nohl, the chief scientist at SRLabs, told Ars, “We could trigger the attack only on SIM cards with weak or non-existent signature algorithms, which happened to be many SIM cards at the time,”

 “AdaptiveMobile seems to have found a way in which the same attack works even if signatures are properly checked, which is a big step forward in attack research.” He added.

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.

New Vulnerability in Bluetooth Connections Allows Hackers to Spy on Private Conversations


Bluetooth is used worldwide as one of the most convenient methods of connecting and controlling the devices in range. However, according to a recent report, a vulnerability labeled as the KNOB (Key Negotiation of Bluetooth) attack has been found in Bluetooth connections.

All the Bluetooth compliant devices can be affected by the vulnerability, which allows attackers to spy on a victim's personal conversations. Hackers can also exploit the vulnerability to manipulate the data present on the compromised device.

How the attack unfolds? 

While establishing a functional Bluetooth connection, both the devices rely upon an encryption key. Therefore,
in order to execute the attack, hackers exploit the vulnerability in the Bluetooth standard and weaken this encryption of Bluetooth devices instead of breaking it straightaway.

The attacker gets in the way while the devices are setting up the encryption key and resorts to brute force attack for breaking the new key with less number of digits and manipulates both the devices to employ the new encryption key.

The vulnerability affects devices by some of the renowned manufacturers namely, Apple, Qualcomm, and Intel. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Blackberry, Broadcom and Chicony has already issued a patch to fix the flaw, as per the reports by Mashable.

The group of researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, University of Oxford, and CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security, who found this critical vulnerability, explained, "We found and exploited a severe vulnerability in the Bluetooth specification that allows an attacker to break the security mechanisms of Bluetooth for any standard-compliant device. As a result, an attacker is able to listen, or change the content of, nearby Bluetooth communication, even between devices that have previously been successfully paired."

RBI AnyDesk Warning; here's how Scammers Use it to Steal Money



In February, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued warning regarding a remote desktop app known as 'AnyDesk', which was employed by scammers to carry out unauthorized transactions from bank accounts of the customers via mobile or laptop.

In the wake of RBI's warning, various other banks such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank along with a few others, also issued an advisory to make their customers aware about AnyDesk's fraudulent potential and how it can be used by the hackers to steal money via Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

However, it is important to notice that Anydesk app is not infectious, in fact, on the contrary, it is a screen-sharing platform of extreme value to the IT professionals which allows users to connect to various systems and mobiles remotely over the internet.

How the Scam Takes Places? 

When a customer needs some help from the customer care, he gets in touch via a call and if he gets on line with a scammer, he would ask him to download AnyDesk app or a similar app known as TeamViewer QuickSupport on his smartphone.

Then, he would ask for a remote desk code of 9-digit which he requires to view the customer's screen live on his computer. He can also record everything that is been shown on the screen. Subsequently, whenever the victim enters the ID and password of his UPI app, the scammer records it.

Users are advised not to download AnyDesk or any other remote desktop applications without fully understanding their functioning.

You should also be highly skeptical of the additional apps that customer support executives may ask you to download as besides fraudsters, no one asks for codes, passwords or any other sensitive information.

Student Uncovers Flaw in Education Software Exposing Data of Students



A high school senior in Lexington, Massachusetts discovered two vulnerabilities in software programs employed by his school which could have potentially affected the student data of around 5 million students.

Billi Demikarpi is a teen hacker who developed a penchant for hacking when he was in the freshman year and subsequently uncovered serious security flaws in two education programs, Aspen and Blackboard.

Reportedly, the probable consequences of these vulnerabilities would have been more disastrous than those San Diego Unified School District faced after the massive data breach that put to risk the data of more than 500,000 students along with the staff of the school.

The information that could have been exposed via the Aspen vulnerability includes details of bus routes, birthplaces, special education status, number of reduced or free lunches and suspensions.

It could have been exploited by the hacker to gain access to the data on the website after entering his own script as the Aspen website lacked the filters which other websites usually contain in order to reject hacker requests.

According to the statements given by both the companies, no one has exploited the security flaws besides Billi, who only accessed the information about himself and of a friend's whom he took consent from before doing so.

While sharing  his experience, Demirkapi said, “These companies say they're secure, that they do audits, but don't take the necessary steps to protect themselves from threats.”


Secure your Home Server from being used as a Hacking Server by Crooks


SSH also referred to as Secure Shell, is a cryptographic network protocol which secures remote login from one computer to another. It is employed by almost all the Linux sysadmins and although Windows users are more acquainted with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), many of Window sysadmins also use SSH instead of RDP, the reason being its Raw power.

RDP provides full graphical remote control of a Windows computer to its users along with access to the regular Windows desktop through keyboard and mouse, whereas SSH, which is comparatively more genric, allows user to run almost every program remotely which further lets him administer the system automatically from a distance through pre-written scripts or by entering commands live, it also allows user to do both simultaneously.

Resultantly, cybercriminals who somehow can get access to a user's SSH password can also access his system, if not the entire network.

Network tunneling is another feature provided by SSH, wherein, users build an encrypted network connection between multiple computers, they start from one computer to another and extends that connection to a third system to carry out the online work.

SSH server also acts as a special-purpose VPN or encrypting proxy when it allows users to redirect network traffic when they are on the go.

Therefore, criminals who have access to any user's SSH password can use his server as the basis for his future attacks and the victims would be blaming the owner of the server.

Now, unfortunately, people have an SSH server at their home even if they don't realize it as home routers have a pre-configured SSH server which is placed for administrative reasons.

While hacking, cybercriminals do not differentiate between the SSH servers manages by users themselves and those managed by their ISP's, they go on exploiting regardless, as these servers can potentially allow them to breach data and make a profit via reselling it.

Users are advised to take the time to understand and get familiar with their router's configuration settings, in the cases where it is not managed by ISP. Furthermore, turn off all the features you don't require and also the ones you are not certain about. Lastly, ensure that you are using the latest version.




Capital One Data Breach, Hacker gets Access to 100 Million Accounts


A massive data breach to Capital One servers compromised the personal details of an estimated 106 million bank customers and applicants across Canada and the US.

The suspected hacker, Paige Thompson, 33, has been arrested by FBI on Monday. She has shared details about the data breach on a GitHub page earlier in April, according to the criminal complaints.

Thompson broke into a Capital One server and illegally acquired access to customers' names, addresses, credit limit, contact numbers, balances, credit score, and other related data.

According to the documents, the 33-year-old, Seattle resident gained access to 80,000 bank account numbers, 1 million Canadian Social Insurance numbers, and 140,000 Social Security numbers.

Thompson who had previously worked with Amazon Web Services as a software engineer was able to access the data by exploiting a misconfigured web application firewall in company's infrastructure, as per a court filing.

Despite the magnitude of the breach, "no credit card account numbers or log-in credentials were compromised and over 99% of Social Security numbers were not compromised," the company told.

Expressing concern over the matter, Chairman Richard Fairbank, said, "While I am grateful that he perpetrator has been aught, I am deeply sorry for what has happened.

"I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right," he assured.

Meanwhile, the company is notifying the victims and aiding them with identity protection and free credit monitoring.



Equifax Paying Settlement around $700 Million after Massive Data Breach


Almost two years ago, Equifax suffered a massive data breach which exposed a significant amount of sensitive data of over 143 million Americans, the compromised information included that of driving licenses, social security numbers, and addresses of the victims. 

It has been uncovered by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times that the consumer credit reporting agency is closing in on a settlement with FTC, state attorneys general, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau along with state and federal agencies. Equifax could settle up with $650 to $700 million, out of which it has put aside $690 million for the purpose of penalty. 

As per the media findings, the amount is expected to differ on the basis of the number of people filing claims and the details of the same will be released on Monday.

Notably, the settlement entails terms to devise a separate fund for the purpose of settlement, however, the amount victim's could expect in compensation is still a matter of question.

Commenting on the matter, Equifax CEO, Richard Smith, said, “At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward,” as he decided to retire in the wake of the cyberattack. 



Instagram account can be easily hacked, finds hacker

A professional hacker discovered what he considered a fairly simple way to seize control of any Instagram user's account. Fortunately for the site's 500 million active daily users, he told Instagram exactly how it could be done.

Laxman Muthiyah is a professional bounty hunter. Not the kind who tracks down bail jumpers, mind you. He uses his hacking skills to collect bug bounties, money companies pay to hackers who find and report vulnerabilities in their software.

Muthiyah found the account-breaking bug in the mobile version of Instagram's password reset system. When a user wants to reset his or her password, Instagram tries to validate their identity by sending a 6-digit code to a recovery phone number.

A six-digit code is child's play for a hacker with any amount of computing power at their disposal, which is why Instagram has a system in place that can detect brute-force attacks. Muthiyah found that out of 1,000 attempts around 75% were blocked.

By creating a race condition -- a nasty situation that occurs when a computer tries to process multiple requests at the same time -- and making attempts from a huge number of IP addresses -- Muthiyah was able to do an end run around Instagram's brute force blocker.

He bombarded Instagram with 200,000 codes from 1,000 different IP addresses. That might sound like a Herculean task, but Muthiyah notes that it's actually quite simple using cloud-based tools.

In his estimation it would have cost about $150 to reset anyone's password.

Gaining control of an account with hundreds of thousands -- or even millions -- of followers is well worth the investment. It provides an opportunity to spam users with links to infected downloads or phishing pages from an account they are likely to trust.

There's no telling how many unsuspecting fans would've blindly clicked a malicious link posted from a celeb's verified IG account. It's quite possible that a major incident was avoided thanks to Muthiyah's hard work and Facebook's (which owns Instagram) rapid deployment of a fix.

WhatsApp, Telegram Data Stored on Phones is Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks



The data saved by users onto their devices through social messaging apps, Whatsapp and Telegram is vulnerable to cyber attacks and can be exploited by malware with access to external storage, as per the security researchers at Symantec.

End-to-end encryption prevents user data from being read or secretly modified, it led users into believing that their communication is highly secured and their conversations are protected against being accessed by third-party apps. However, the findings at Symantec have made users reconsider the whole idea of data protection via encryption.

The media exchanged on WhatsApp and Telegram gets stored in either of the two storages, external or internal. Now, if the data is stored in the victim's external storage and the malware enters his mobile device, it is configured to gain easy access to these saved files and exploit it subsequently. Moreover, the malware can acquire access to this data even prior to the users, according to The Verge.

After examining the issue, WhatsApp released statements telling that the corresponding updates are under progress with Android's ongoing development.

Referencing from the statements given by a WhatsApp spokesperson, “WhatsApp has looked closely at this issue and it’s similar to previous questions about mobile device storage impacting the app ecosystem. WhatsApp follows current best practices provided by operating systems for media storage and looks forward to providing updates in line with Android’s ongoing development,”

"WhatsApp follows guidelines from Android including: 'You should use external storage for user data that should be accessible to other apps and saved even if the user uninstalls your app, such as captured photos or downloaded files.' We store files in the same manner as other messaging apps (like Viber), email (like Gmail), and file storage apps (like Dropbox)," he added.

Commenting on the upcoming Android update, he informed, "The suggested changes here could both create privacy complications for our users and limit how photos and files could be shared."

Fake Messages on WhatsApp Asks the Users to Pay Money in Order to Continue Using the App




WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram suffered a social media outage on 3rd July which affected the users all across the world. As a consequence of the outage, users were not able to access the platforms properly and certain features became dysfunctional. During the outage, a lot of people in India got messages on their WhatsApp telling that the app is down due to over usage and it would be off from 11:30 PM to 6:00 AM every day. The message also asked users to forward the text message to their contacts in order to continue using the app service otherwise their account would be made inaccessible and the app services will no longer be free of charge for them.

The fake message which was circulated on WhatsApp is as follows:

“What's app will b off From 11.30pm to 6:00 am daily Declared by central govt. Message from Narendra Modi (PM) we have had an over usage of user names on WhatsApp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. DO NOT ignore my words or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 499.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the modi team. WhatsApp is going to cost you money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 50 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo will change color. send this to 8 people to activate the new whatsapp..
Saturday morning whatsapp will become chargeable. If you have at least 10 contacts send them this message. In this way, we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue and will remain free. (As discussed in the paper today. Whatsapp will cost 0.01€ per message. Send this message to 10 people. When you do the light will turn blue otherwise whatsapp will activate billing. ITS TRUE ...... U get blue TICKS"

Likewise, another fake message claimed that WhatsApp has been sold off to Mukesh Ambani and asks users to forward the message to 10 people in order to activate the new WhatsApp along with Facebook services.

The entire message read:
"Dont ignore please read it carefully" Hello, I. Am VARUN PULYANI director of whatsapp, this message is to inform all of our users that we have sold whatsapp to Mukesh Ambani . Reliance for 19 billion $. WhatsApp is now controlled by mukesh Ambani . If you have at least 10 contacts send this sms and logo of your whatsapp will change to a new icon with facebook's "f" within 24 hours.Forward this message to more than 10 people to activate your new whatsapp with Facebook services or else your account will be deleted from new servers.
This is the final notice! Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from November 2017. If you send this string to 18 different on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm ending WhatsApp and have to pay to open it, this is by law This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking you to help us solve this problem. We require our active users to forward this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp will then start to charge you. Your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts. Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp ) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team”

Users are advised to not believe such fake messages and avoid spreading the misinformation further by forwarding it to other users.



HDFC Bank Issues Warning Against a New Online Scam: Here's What you Should Know!



HDFC Bank has sent out a warning to its online banking users about a scam carried out by an app known as AnyDesk which is used by hackers for stealing money through unified payments interface (UPI). The main objective of the scam is to acquire unauthorized access to a victim’s mobile and carry out illegal transactions without any knowledge of the account holder.

In February, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said, ‘AnyDesk’ have the ability to acquire complete access to users mobile devices which is exploited by hackers to steal their money via making transactions remotely. AnyDesk is a remote device control app which allows the remote controlling of devices.

Bewaring the customers, the bank has issued an official mailer concerning the matter and further warned its users that hackers attempt to access their account related confidential information such as OTP, PIN, expiry date, debit card details, and other sensitive data which is required for the purpose of authentication during transactions.

To ensure the safety of its users, HDFC Bank advised them against sharing their confidential data with anonymous callers and in order to keep their bank balance fortified, they should avoid downloading any apps onto their smartphones.

Commenting on the matter, the bank said, "Beware! Fraudsters may ask you to download AnyDesk App and share a 9-digit code which gets them access to your phone to steal money. Do not share your card details / OTP / PIN with anyone and report any unusual activity immediately to the bank.”


EA Origin Security Flaw Exposed over 300 Million Gamers to Account Takeovers



In the wake of the discovery of an EA based vulnerability, EA origin has been forced to re-examine its module for security and safety as the flaw could have potentially exposed millions of gamers to account takeovers.

As per the findings and research of specialists at Check Point and CyberInt, the vulnerability affected over 300 million gaming enthusiasts playing online games namely FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Live and Battlefield.

The vulnerability relied on an alternate authentication method known as, Access Tokens which are like passwords; by stealing a Single Sign-On authorization token, the security flaw would have given complete authority into the hands of the hackers, who further would have been able to hijack player's accounts without needing the login or password.

Stealing 'Access Tokens' can be a bit more complex than stealing passwords, however, it still is possible. It's because users have been enlightened against providing passwords on dubious websites, hackers now resort to accessing access tokens rather than the passwords. Moreover, it can be carried out behind the scenes without needing any active participation from the user.

On Wednesday, commenting on the matter, Oded Vanunu, head of products vulnerability research for Check Point, told, "EA's Origin platform is hugely popular, and if left unpatched, these flaws would have enabled hackers to hijack and exploit millions of users' accounts,"

Referencing from the statements given by Alexander Peleg in an email in the regard, "We had the vulnerabilities under control so no other party could have exploited them during the period it took EA to fix,"