Privacy News Online | Weekly Review: September 4, 2020
Featured: Privacy News Online – Week of September 4th, 2020
Mozilla study reaffirms that internet history can be used for “reidentification”
The sites we visit on the internet can form a unique fingerprint which can be used to track us on the web. A new research paper from Mozilla builds on a 2012 paper which first demonstrated that internet history could be used to reidentify a specific internet user. In fact, they found that even just the top 100 websites in your history can still reliably identify you. Besides your internet service provider and mobile data provider, other parties that have access to parts of your internet browsing activity include Facebook, Google, and more.
The head of Denmark’s spy program has been fired for snooping on citizens and lying about it
Three top officials from Denmark’s foreign intelligence agency, including the top dog, have been relieved of duty for running a domestic spying program and lying to authorities about it. A whistleblower came forward and gave information to an independent regulator which revealed the spying and the lying. Don’t forget though that when Edward Snowden revealed the same thing about the United States in 2013, nobody got in trouble.
Popular torrenting site YTS provides IP address logs to copyright lawyers to extort you with
The second largest torrenting site on the internet has been caught red handed working with copyright lawyers. YTS provided IP addresses and other logs to copyright lawyers. The lawyers then take the IP address to your ISP to get an address for where to send their extortion letters demanding payment to stop impending legal action. We know about this anti-piracy operation thanks to TorrentFreak who published a copy of the extortion letter.
PNO wants to know!
How would you respond to a copyright extortion letter?
More Privacy News This Week:
Google is removing Fediverse apps from the Play Store because they can be used to access hate speech
Fediverse apps are used to access web publishing content hosted on federated networks of servers – they’re pretty much just browsers. While some of the accessible servers might contain hate speech, it is the server operator’s responsibility to moderate the content – not the app’s. This is how the internet in general works, and Google deciding otherwise is a major censorship step. It’d be like removing Google Chrome because it can be used to access hate speech on the internet.
As privacy problems continue to pile up for DNA databases, Covid-19 introduces a major new risk
Large databases full of DNA data are vulnerable to privacy risks, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse. It turns out that it’s easy to extract DNA from COVID-19 tests and some companies are doing exactly that. One of the largest suppliers of rapid COVID-19 test kits is the BGI Group – where BGI stands for Beijing Genome Institute. BGI has been in charge of COVID-19 testing in Hong Kong and there are concerns that testing is an excuse to gather DNA en masse. Some countries, like Israel, have refused to use BGI tests due to this concern.
Bridgefy, the messenger promoted for mass protests, is a privacy disaster
A peer to peer messenger app with well over 1 million installs has been found to be lying about having end-to-end encryption. Researchers from the University of London released a paper last week that highlights multiple security and privacy vulnerabilities in the app. The app’s encryption can be broken allowing attackers to read direct messages, perform man in the middle attacks, or even shut down the whole network. This is especially concerning because the app is marketed towards and used by protesters around the world.
Apple Approved Malware
According to a new report by security researcher Mark Wardle, Apple has approved malware to run on MacOS for the first time in history. The malware update was disguised as an Adobe Flash Player update. The update contained known malware by the name of Shlayer, and will serve as a black eye for Apple’s long standing claim that Mac’s just “don’t get viruses.”
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Thank you to Josh Long, our cybersecurity correspondent from Intego, makers of award-winning security software.