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Gmail Screenshot, Google is using Gmail to Track Your Purchases, Liquid Video Technologies, Greenville South Carolina

Google is using Gmail to Track Purchases

Google is using Your Gmail Account to Track Your Purchases

Do you think your email on Gmail is private? If so, you may want to think again, as your Gmail messages are being scanned by Google for purchases, which are then displayed in your Google account.

This week, a user posted on Reddit about how they discovered that their Google Account’s Purchases page contained all of the purchases they have made from Amazon and other online stores even though they do not use Google Pay.

When I saw this, I checked my Google Account Purchases page, located at https://myaccount.google.com/purchases, and saw that it too contained the purchases I made from online services such as Dominos, Steam, 1-800-Flowers.com, Amazon, Adidas, and more.  Like the Reddit user, I do not use Google Pay.

Purchases Page
Purchases Page

The general consensus was that Gmail was analyzing incoming emails for purchase receipts and then extracting that information.

When BleepingComputer contacted Google about this, they confirmed the information was coming from Gmail messages. They also stated that this was being done to help their users find their data and that they do not use any information stored in your emails, including your purchases, to serve you ads.

“To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you. You can delete this information at any time. We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page. We’re always working to help people understand and manage their data.”

While they may not be using this information to serve you ads, are they using it for something else? Google has not given us a definitive answer on this question.

Deleting purchase data is a pain

While Google told us that you can delete this information at any time, they did not mention how much of a pain it is to do so.

Instead of having a single setting that allows you to control how this data is saved, you need to go into each and every purchase and click on the Remove Purchase button. This will bring you to the original email that the data was pulled from and once this email is trashed, the purchase will be removed from the Purchases page.

Remove Purchase

With my Purchases having data going as far back as 2013 and showing approximately 300 purchases, it would be a big pain to manually delete each and every one.  Even worse, another account that I use for most of my purchasing has thousands of orders, which would take forever to clean up.

When searching for a way to stop Google from pulling purchases out of my Gmail emails, I could not find a setting that would allow me to do so.

CNBC who also covered this story this week, was also unable to find a setting that stopped Gmail from scanning emails and extracting purchase information.

G Suite customers appear to be spared

I use different email accounts depending on the particular purpose and one of these email accounts is through Google’s G Suite service.

When I checked the Purchases page for my G Suite account, I noticed that the page was empty even though it is commonly used to make online purchases. I also asked another person who uses G Suite and they too confirmed their page was empty.

While two people is not a large sample by any means, it could indicate that this data extraction is not occurring for G Suite accounts. I also could not find any settings in the G Suite Admin console that allows me configure these settings.

We have already asked Google if G Suite is excluded from this data extraction, but have not heard back as of yet.

Article Provided By: bleepingcomputer

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Scientists Identified a Way to Improve Network Security, Liquid Video Technologies, Greenville South Carolina

Scientists Identified a Way to Improve Network Security

Scientists May Have Identified a New Way to Improve Network Security

With cybersecurity one of the nation’s top security concerns and billions of people affected by breaches last year, government and businesses are spending more time and money defending against it.

Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, the Army’s corporate research laboratory also known as ARL, and Towson University may have identified a new way to improve network security.

Many cybersecurity systems use distributed network intrusion detection that allows a small number of highly trained analysts to monitor several networks at the same time, reducing cost through economies of scale and more efficiently leveraging limited cybersecurity expertise; however, this approach requires data be transmitted from network intrusion detection sensors on the defended network to central analysis severs. Transmitting all of the data captured by sensors requires too much bandwidth, researchers said.

Because of this, most distributed network intrusion detection systems only send alerts or summaries of activities back to the security analyst. With only summaries, cyber-attacks can go undetected because the analyst did not have enough information to understand the network activity, or, alternatively, time may be wasted chasing down false positives.

In research presented at the 10th International Multi-Conference on Complexity, Informatics and Cybernetics March 12-15, 2019, scientists wanted to identify how to compress network traffic as much as possible without losing the ability to detect and investigate malicious activity.

Reducing the amount of traffic transmitted to the central analysis systems

Working on the theory that malicious network activity would manifest its maliciousness early, the researchers developed a tool that would stop transmitting traffic after a given number of messages had been transmitted. The resulting compressed network traffic was analyzed and compared to the analysis performed on the original network traffic.

As suspected, researchers found cyber attacks often do manifest maliciousness early in the transmission process. When the team identified malicious activity later in the transmission process, it was usually not the first occurrence of malicious activity in that network flow.

“This strategy should be effective in reducing the amount of network traffic sent from the sensor to central analyst system,” said Sidney Smith, an ARL researcher and the study’s lead author. “Ultimately, this strategy could be used to increase the reliability and security of Army networks.”

For the next phase, researchers want to integrate this technique with network classification and lossless compression techniques to reduce the amount of traffic that needs to be transmitted to the central analysis systems to less than 10% of the original traffic volume while losing no more than 1% of cyber security alerts.

“The future of intrusion detection is in machine learning and other artificial intelligence techniques,” Smith said. “However, many of these techniques are too resource intensive to run on the remote sensors, and all of them require large amounts of data. A cybersecurity system incorporating our research technique will allow the data most likely to be malicious to be gathered for further analysis.”

Article Provided By: HelpNetSecurity

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Thailand Passes Controversial Cybersecurity Law, Liquid Video Technologies, Greenville South Carolina

Thailand Passes Controversial Cybersecurity Law

Thailand passes controversial cybersecurity law that could enable government surveillance

Thailand’s government passed a controversial cybersecurity bill today that has been criticized for vagueness and the potential to enable sweeping access to internet user data.

The bill (available in Thai) was amended late last year following criticism over potential data access, but it passed the country’s parliament with 133 positives votes and no rejections, although there were 16 absentees.

There are concerns around a number of clauses, chiefly the potential for the government — which came to power via a military coup in 2014 — to search and seize data and equipment in cases that are deemed issues of national emergency. That could enable internet traffic monitoring and access to private data, including communications, without a court order.

The balance of power beyond enforcement has also been questioned. Critics have highlighted the role of the National Cybersecurity Committee, which is headed by the prime minister and holds considerable weight in carrying out the law. The Committee has been called upon to include representation from the industry and civic groups to give it greater oversight and balance.

Added together, there’s a fear that the law could be weaponized by the government to silence critics. Thailand already has powerful lese majeste laws, which make it illegal to criticize the monarchy and have been used to jail citizens for comments left on social media and websites. The country has also censored websites in the past, including the Daily Mail and, for a nearly six-month period in 2007, YouTube.

“The Asia Internet Coalition is deeply disappointed that Thailand’s National Assembly has voted in favor of a Cybersecurity Law that overemphasizes a loosely-defined national security agenda, instead of its intended objective of guarding against cyber risks,” read a statement from Jeff Paine, managing director of Asia Internet Coalition — an alliance of international tech firms that include Facebook, Google and Apple.

“Protecting online security is a top priority; however, the Law’s ambiguously defined scope, vague language and lack of safeguards raises serious privacy concerns for both individuals and businesses, especially provisions that allow overreaching authority to search and seize data and electronic equipment without proper legal oversight. This would give the regime sweeping powers to monitor online traffic in the name of an emergency or as a preventive measure, potentially compromising private and corporate data,” Paine added.

Reaction to the law has seen a hashtag (#พรบไซเบอร์) trend on Twitter in Thailand, while other groups have spoken out on the potential implications.

Thailand isn’t alone in introducing controversial internet laws. New regulations, passed last summercame into force in near-neighbor Vietnam on January 1 and sparked similar concerns around free speech online.

That Vietnamese law broadly forbids internet users from organizing with, or training, others for anti-state purposes, spreading false information and undermining the nation-state’s achievements or solidarity. It also requires foreign internet companies to operate a local office and store user information on Vietnamese soil. That’s something neither Google nor Facebook  has complied with, despite the Vietnamese government’s recent claim that the former is investigating a local office launch.

Article Provided By: techcrunch

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Cybercrime Groups Continue to Flourish on Facebook, Liquid Video Technologies, Greenville South Carolina

Cybercrime Groups Flourish on Facebook

You might be surprised what you can buy on Facebook, if you know where to look. Researchers with Cisco’s Talos security research team have uncovered a wave of Facebook groups dedicated to making money from a variety of illicit and otherwise sketchy online behaviors, including phishing schemes, trading hacked credentials and spamming. The 74 groups researchers detected boasted a cumulative 385,000 members.

Remarkably, the groups weren’t even really trying to conceal their activities. For example, Talos found posts openly selling credit card numbers with three-digit CVV codes, some with accompanying photos of the card’s owner. According to the research group:

The majority of these groups use fairly obvious group names, including “Spam Professional,” “Spammer & Hacker Professional,” and “Facebook hack (Phishing).” Despite the fairly obvious names, some of these groups have managed to remain on Facebook for up to eight years, and in the process acquire tens of thousands of group members.

Beyond the sale of stolen credentials, Talos documented users selling shell accounts for governments and organizations, promoting their expertise in moving large sums of money and offering to create fake passports and other identifying documents.

The new research isn’t the first time that Facebook users have been busted for dealing in cybercrime. In 2018, Brian Krebs reported 120 groups with a cumulative 300,000-plus members engaged in similar activities, including phishing schemes, spamming, botnets and on-demand DDoS attacks.

As Talos researchers explain in their blog post, “Months later, though the specific groups identified by Krebs had been permanently disabled, Talos discovered a new set of groups, some having names remarkably similar, if not identical, to the groups reported on by Krebs.”

“While some groups were removed immediately, other groups only had specific posts removed,” Talos researcher Jaeson Schultz wrote. “Eventually, through contact with Facebook’s security team, the majority of malicious groups was quickly taken down, however new groups continue to pop up, and some are still active as of the date of publishing.”

Cybercrime groups are yet another example of the game of enforcement whack-a-mole that Facebook continues to play on its massive platform. At the social network’s scale — and without the company dedicating sufficient resources to more comprehensive detection methods — it’s difficult for Facebook to track the kinds of illicit or potentially harmful behaviors that flourish in unmonitored corners of its sprawling platform.

“These groups violated our policies against spam and financial fraud and we removed them,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We know we need to be more vigilant and we’re investing heavily to fight this type of activity.”

Article Provided By: techcrunch

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Next Generation Endpoint Security

Next Generation Endpoint Security

Getting Past the Hype of Next Generation Endpoint Security

We’ve heard the same story for years. Antivirus software is not effective in stopping cyber-attacks, as hackers have adapted their techniques to evade signature-based detections. Even next-generation antivirus, which applies techniques such as machine learning and behavioral analytics, is no more effective at protecting an organization than its older sibling. But why? The simple answer is that nearly all AV and NGAV solutions focus their primary value on the prevention of malicious files – an attack vector that is slowly but surely disappearing in favor of file-less capabilities and the subversion of users and trusted applications.

Worse than their hyper-focus on the irrelevant, they continue to rely on historical attack analysis as a basis for future detections which leaves them unable to make high fidelity preventions and detections in real-time. They lack the visibility and threat intelligence necessary to understand an attacker’s tactics and techniques, which means these so-called NGAV solutions lack the confidence in their ability to identify malicious activity. The evidence of this is when they introduce unnecessary latency with cloud and human analysis, which do not function at the speed required to defend against modern threats.

So where does that leave companies in their search for better protection?

A modern endpoint protection strategy must include prevention, detection, and response capabilities. Effective automation of threat intelligence for prevention, along with robust detection and response means security analysts can spend their time improving defenses instead of repeatedly reacting to incidents caused by the same lack of real-time capabilities and unnecessary latency.

The convergence of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) into the Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) can replace core AV/NGAV capabilities, but can also improve protection against the following:

  • Malware variants, including malware-based ransomware
  • Obfuscated malware, unknown malware, and zero-day attacks
  • Malicious scripts that leverage PowerShell, Visual Basic, Perl, Python, and Java/JAR
  • Memory-resident attacks and other malware-less attacks
  • Malicious use of good software

Of the hundred plus endpoint security vendors, Endgame’s endpoint protection platform and single autonomous agent simplifies antivirus replacement through:

  • Earliest Prevention – Protection against exploits, malware, file-less attacks, and ransomware
  • Fastest Detection and Response – Stops all attacks at the earliest stages of the MITRE ATT&CK™ matrix
  • Automated Threat Hunting – Built in discovery, deployment, and dissolvable agent

Endgame’s Artemis, the first intelligent security assistant, elevates and accelerates operators and analysts by responding to plain English questions and commands.  With Artemis, analysts can prioritize, triage, and remediate alerts in minutes across hundreds of thousands of endpoints that would have otherwise taken hours or days with traditional tools.

In an extremely crowded market, endpoint security tools must provide a simple, cost-effective replacement for antivirus while increasing value. With Endgame, your organization can quickly prevent malware and modern attacks across the entire MITRE ATT&CK framework with a single, autonomous agent.

 

Next Generation Endpoint Security  By: Matt Alderman

 

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Phishing Scam Targets Instagram

Phishing Scam Targets Instagram

New Phishing scam called ‘The Hotlist’ now targets the Instagram users

 

  • The new scam operates in a similar manner as the recent ‘The Nasty List’ scam.
  • The scam begins with Instagram users receiving a message regarding a list of their ‘hot’ photos on Instagram.

A new phishing scam called ‘The Hotlist’ has been found targeting Instagram users lately. This new scam operates in a similar manner as the recent ‘The Nasty List’ scam.

How does it work – The scam begins with Instagram users receiving a message regarding a list of their ‘hot’ photos on Instagram. The message reads something like, “I just saw a few of your photos on the @The_HotList_95 and they are already upvoted to #26!”.

Once the recipients visit the message sender’s account, then they are displayed with a post that says ‘Everyone Is On Here Look’ and includes a description along with a link that reads ‘Check what position you’re in!’.

If users click on the link, then they are taken to a fake Instagram login page that is used by scammers to steal login credentials. The link typically ends with .me domain, Bleeping Computer reported.

What are the impacts – The scam is being used to steal Instagram account details of users. Once the scammers grab the login credentials, they can use them later to send further phishing messages to other Instagram users.

How to stay safe – Users can avoid falling victim to such Instagram phishing scams by:

  • Not entering their login credentials if they are on a page that does not belong to the Instagram website;
  • Verifying the profile of the sender/source before sharing any personal information;
  • Ignoring message from an unknown source that asks you to share sensitive details as it can be a phishing scam.

 

By:   Ryan Stewart

 

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Mid-April Security Alerts

A hotspot finder app exposed 2 million Wi-Fi network passwords

A popular hotspot finder app for Android exposed the Wi-Fi network passwords for more than two million networks.

The app, downloaded by thousands of users, allowed anyone to search for Wi-Fi networks in their nearby area. The app allows the user to upload Wi-Fi network passwords from their devices to its database for others to use.

That database of more than two million network passwords, however, was left exposed and unprotected, allowing anyone to access and download the contents in bulk.

Sanyam Jain, a security researcher and a member of the GDI Foundation, found the database and reported the findings to TechCrunch.

We spent more than two weeks trying to contact the developer, believed to be based in China, to no avail. Eventually we contacted the host, DigitalOcean,  which took down the database within a day of reaching out.

“We notified the user and have taken the [server] hosting the exposed database offline,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Each record contained the Wi-Fi network name, its precise geolocation, its basic service set identifier (BSSID) and network password stored in plaintext.

Although the app developer claims the app only provides passwords for public hotspots, a review of the data showed countless home Wi-Fi networks. The exposed data didn’t include contact information for any of the Wi-Fi network owners, but the geolocation of each Wi-Fi network correlated on a map often included networks in wholly residential areas or where no discernible businesses exist.

The app doesn’t require users to obtain the permission from the network owner, exposing Wi-Fi networks to unauthorized access. With access to a network, an attacker may be able to modify router settings to point unsuspecting users to malicious websites by changing the DNS server, a vital system used to convert web addresses into the IP addresses used to locate web servers on the internet. When on a network, an attacker also can read the unencrypted traffic that goes across the wireless network, allowing them to steal passwords and secrets.

Tens of thousands of the exposed Wi-Fi passwords are for networks based in the U.S.

Article Provided By: Techcrunch

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Cyber Security Doesn't Discriminate

Cyber Security Doesn’t Discriminate

Russian hackers are targeting European embassies, according to new report

Russian hackers recently attacked a number of embassies in Europe by emailing malicious attachments disguised as official State Department documents to officials, according to a new report from Check Point Research.

The hackers targeted European embassies in Nepal, Guyana, Kenya, Italy, Liberia, Bermuda, and Lebanon, among others. They typically emailed the officials Microsoft Excel sheets with malicious macros that appeared to have originated from the United States State Department. Once opened, the hackers were able to gain full control of the infected computer by weaponizing installed software called Team Viewer, a popular remote access service.

“It is hard to tell if there are geopolitical motives behind this campaign by looking solely at the list of countries it was targeting,” the press release says, “since it was not after a specific region and the victims came from different places in the world.”

Government finance officials were also subject to these attacks, and Check Point notes that these victims were of particular interest to the hackers. “They all appear to be handpicked government officials from several revenue authorities,” the press release says.

The hackers appeared to be highly sophisticated, carefully planning out the attacks, using decoy documents tailored to their victim’s interests, and targeting specific government officials. At the same time, other stages of the attack were carried out with less caution leaving personal information and browsing history belonging to the perpetrator exposed.

Check Point identified several other similar attack campaigns, including some targeting Russian-speaking victims as well.

While Russian in origin, it’s unlikely that these attacks were state-sponsored. One perpetrator was traced back a hacking and carding forum and registered under the same username, “EvaPiks,” on both. EvaPiks posted instructions for how to carry out this kind of cyber attack on forums and advised other users as well.

Due to the attackers’ background in the illegal carding community, Check Point suggested that they could have been “financially motivated.”

Updated 4/22/19 at 12:20 p.m. EST: The previous headline suggested that the Russian hackers attacked U.S. embassies, when the attackers targeted European embassies. The article has been updated to clarify this.

 

By: Makena Kelly

 

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As Threats Evolve So Should You

As Threats Evolve So Should You

Microsoft Office now the most targeted platform, as browser security improves

Microsoft Office has become cybercriminals’ preferred platform when carrying out attacks, and the number of incidents keeps increasing, Kaspersky Lab researchers said during the company’s annual conference, Security Analyst Summit, in Singapore. Boris Larin, Vlad Stolyarov and Alexander Liskin showed that the threat landscape has changed in the past two years and urged users to keep their software up-to-date and to avoid opening files that come from untrusted sources to reduce the risk of infection.

Today, more than 70% of all the attacks Kaspersky Lab catches are targeting Microsoft Office, and only 14% take advantage of browser vulnerabilities. Two years ago, it was the opposite: Web-based vulnerabilities accounted for 45% of the attacks, while Microsoft Office had a 16% share.

Kaspersky researchers presented data showing increase in Microsoft Office exploits since 2016As Threats Evolve So Should You

Researchers said that this is because hacking browsers has become more expensive, as browser security has improved. “Browser developers put much effort into different kinds of security protections and mitigations,” Liskin said. “Attackers were looking for a new target, and MS Office has become a star.”

Liskin added that there are plenty of reasons why cybercriminals choose to attack the popular suite. “Microsoft Office has a huge number of different file formats,” he said. “It is deeply integrated into the Windows operating system.”

He also argued that when Microsoft created Office, it made several decisions that, in hindsight, aren’t optimal security-wise and are currently difficult to change. Making such alterations would have a significant impact on all the versions of the products, Liskin said.

The researchers pointed out that the most exploited vulnerabilities from the past two years are not in MS Office itself, but rather in related components. Two of those vulnerabilities, CVE-2017-11882 and CVE-2018-0802, exploit bugs found in Equation Editor. Cybercriminals prefer to use them because they can be found in every version of Microsoft Word released in the past 17 years. Moreover, building exploits for them does not require advanced skilled, because the Equation Editor binary lacks modern protections and mitigations. These are simple, logical vulnerabilities, the researchers said.

Exploit uses Internet Explorer to hack Office

Another interesting vulnerability is CVE-2018-8174. In this unusual case, the vulnerability was actually in Internet Explorer, but the exploit was found in an Office file. “The exploit was delivered as an obfuscated RTF document,” researcher Larin said. “This is the first exploit to use a vulnerability in Internet Explorer to hack Microsoft Office.”

The infection chain has three steps. First, the victim opens the malicious document. As they do this, a second stage of the exploit is downloaded: an HTML page that contains a VBScript code. This then triggers the third step, ause after free (UAF) vulnerability, and executes shellcode. UAF bugs are a type of memory corruption vulnerability that have been very successful in the past for browser exploitation. The technique works by referencing memory after it has been freed, causing the software to crash or allowing an attacker to execute code.

Cybercriminals act fast on Microsoft exploits

What intrigues Larin, Stolyarov and Liskin the most about the cases they’ve studied is how fast cybercriminals operate. Most incidents start with a Microsoft Office zero-day that’s used in a targeted campaign. Once it becomes public, it’s only a matter of days until exploits appear on the dark web. Sometimes, it can even be faster, as has happened with CVE-2017-11882, the first Office Equation Editor vulnerability Kaspersky Lab researchers uncovered. The publication of the proof of concept was followed by a massive spam campaign that began on the very same day.

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities might become even more common in the near future, as attackers continue to target the suite. Larin advised users to keep their software updated, and to pay attention to the files they receive from dubious email addresses. “Our best recommendation is not to open links and files received from untrusted sources, and have installed security solutions with advanced detection of exploits,” Larin added.

 

As Threats Evolve So Should You By Andrada Fiscutean

 

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U.S. Patent Granted for Blockchain

U.S. Patent Granted for Blockchain

Blockchain Patent Granted to Cybersecurity Company Owned by U.S. Defense Contractor

 

Documents published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 16 reveal that Texas-based cybersecurity company Forcepoint has been awarded a blockchain-related patent.

Forcepoint is owned by U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, and Crunchbase estimates its yearly revenue to be $600 million.

The system described in the patent appears to be a complex user behavior monitoring and management system. The system would aim to store data about electronically-observable user interactions and then use this data to identify known good, anomalous and malevolent user actions to enhance the system’s cybersecurity.

Some versions of the system employ blockchain technology, according to the patent:

“In certain embodiments, the association of the additional context may be accomplished via a blockchain block within a user behavior profile blockchain […] implemented with appropriate time stamping to allow for versioning over time. ”

Furthermore, the patent also provides the possibility of storing user behavior data on the blockchain directly, noting that advantages of the solution are immutability and tamper-evident.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, digital payments giant PayPal has won a cybersecurity patentto protect users from crypto ransomware.

Also, at the beginning of the current month, global consulting company Accenture has patentedtwo solutions focused on blockchain interoperability.

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