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Apple catches TikTok spying on million of iPhone users globally


Apple announced its latest OS iOS14 at this year's WWDC and during the beta testing for the same, the tech giant caught TikTok recording user's cut-paste data and whatever the user was typing on their keyboard.


The new alert on iOS14 lets the user know if any app is pasting from the clipboard and if they are reading from the cut-paste data. This alert leads to TikTok's reveal. This alert was added based on the research by German software engineer Tommy Mysk in February; he discovered that every app installed on an iPhone or iPad can access clipboard data. And thus Apple added this new banner alert in its latest OS.

Soon after the update, many users started complaining about the issue, “Hey @tiktok_us, why do you paste from my clipboard every time I type a LETTER in your comment box?” wrote @MaxelAmador actor and podcast host on Twitter. “Shout out to iOS 14 for shining a light on this HUGE invasion of privacy.” Though many other apps like Accu Weather, Call of Duty Mobile, and even Google News can read clipboard data it seems strange as to why TikTok would need to do so.

After finding this glitch, Apple released a patch and fixing the issue, even TikTok said in March that it would stop the practice but it seems like they are still snooping on user's data.

In response, the social media app stated, “For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion”. 

The clipboard tool in iOS helps the user to copy text and images and paste them on another app, the glitch leads to apps access this data, making it quite worrisome. And all this data could be accessed without the user's consent. Apple should be appalled for this expose but another pressing question remains- should the Android community be worried about the same?

CSIRO's Data61 Developed Voice Liveness Detection 'Void' to Safeguard Users Against Voice Spoofing Attacks


Spoofing attacks that impersonate user's devices to steal data, spread malware, or bypass access controls are becoming increasingly popular as the threat actors expand their horizon with the improvisation of various types of spoofing attacks. Especially, voice spoofing attacks that have been on a rise as more and more voice technologies are being equipped to send messages, navigate through smart home devices, shop online, or to make use of net banking.

In a joint effort for the aforementioned concern, Samsung Research and South Korea's Sungkyunwan University and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61, came up with 'the voice liveness detection' (Void) to keep users safe against voice spoofing attacks.

In order to detect the liveness of a voice, Void gains insights from a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies known as 'spectrograms' – it makes the functionality of void a little less complex compared to other voice spoofing methods that rely on deep learning models, as per Data61.

How Void helps in detecting hackers spoofing a system? 

The void can be inserted in consumers' voice assistance software or smartphones in order to spot the difference between 'a voice replayed using a speaker' and 'a live human voice', by doing so it can easily identify when a cybercriminal attempts to spoof a user's system.

While giving further related insights, Muhammad Ejaz Ahmed, a cybersecurity research scientist at Data61, told, “Although voice spoofing is known as one of the easiest attacks to perform as it simply involves a recording of the victim’s voice, it is incredibly difficult to detect because the recorded voice has similar characteristics to the victim’s live voice,” he said.

“Void is a game-changing technology that allows for more efficient and accurate detection helping to prevent people’s voice commands from being misused.”

Bengaluru: Passport offices alerts public against fake websites


Bengaluru: Passport offices throughout the country are apprehensive about the increase in fake websites that masquerade as official portals for passport related services and siphon off applicant's data and money.

The ministry has been issuing advisories and alerts on its social media handles to caution the public against such fraudulent websites. The crime branch, working with the ministry has also started awareness drives in order to prevent passport applicants from being duped by bogus.

 The fake websites that the offices caught were-
 www.indiapassport.org,
 www.online-passportindia.com,
 www.passport-seva.in,
 www.passport-india.in,
 www.passportindiaporlal.in and www.applypassport.org. (Sc.TOI)

Whereas, the official website to apply for a passport is- "www.passportindia.gov.in" and the official mobile application to avail passport related services is - "mPassport Seva".

Victims who were cheated by these bogus websites and mobile applications approached the passport office and filed complaint at the local police station, said Officials at the Regional Passport Office, Bengaluru. Not only websites but mobile applications and brokers outside the passport offices also demand more payment and could be stealing personal data like Adhaar Card, Voter Id, resident proof and birth certificate to partake in more serious crimes like identity theft or selling the data to immigrants.

The officials said they came across websites that charged unwarranted prices for filling up online forms for a new passport and other services and even people who were highly educated fell victim to the fraud. Where the real cost for a passport is Rs.1,500 for normal and Rs.3, 500 for tatkal, these fraudsters are charging from Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 6,000. And money is the lighter concern, the bigger threat is the theft of personal data like Adhar Number, Voter ID and phone connections.

These websites used logos of other government schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to appear more genuine and true. Even on Google Play Store, at least eight unauthenticated and false applications were found.

This problem is not centrist to Karnataka, as cases from all over the country have been popping up, for instance, NCR and Bhuvaneshwar being two of the areas. Bharath Kumar Kuthati, regional passport officer, Bengaluru, says "they are creating awareness by issuing warnings on social media. It is a pan-India problem and the department is taking steps to counter it."