Author: AFP

Iran is widely expected to ramp up cyberattacks against the United States in response to the US killing of a top Iranian leader this month even as fears have receded about a military confrontation between the two countries. The simmering tensions since the US drone attack that killed Qasem Soleimani, who was by some measures the second most influential person in Iran, make it likely that Iran will seek retaliation. While Iran appeared to be “standing down” from a military response, according to US President Donald Trump, the cyber threat remains real, said analysts. “Cyber is the easiest way Iran…

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Apple and the US government are at loggerheads for the second time in four years over unlocking iPhones connected to a mass shooting, reviving debate over law enforcement access to encrypted devices. Attorney General Bill Barr claimed Monday that Apple failed to provide “substantive assistance” in unlocking two iPhones in the investigation into the December shooting deaths of three US sailors at a Florida naval station, which he called an “act of terrorism.” Apple disputed Barr’s claim, while arguing against the idea of “backdoors” for law enforcement to access its encrypted smartphones. “We reject the characterization that Apple has not…

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Google on Tuesday said is making progress in its quest to vanquish third-party “cookies” on its popular browser used to track people’s online activities, a focus of many privacy activists. The online giant said its “Sandbox” program would still allow advertisers the ability to deliver targeted messages, while also sparing people from being tracked by snippets of code called “cookies” when they use its Chrome web browser. “We are confident that with continued iteration and feedback, privacy-preserving and open-standard mechanisms like the Privacy Sandbox can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete,” Chrome…

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday challenged US opponents of Britain’s potential decision to let China’s Huawei telecoms giant develop its 5G network to come up with a better choice. Johnson’s comments came one day after a US delegation arrived in London for a last-gasp push aimed at keeping its ally from signing up the private but controversial Chinese firm. The United States and Australia have both banned their 5G providers from using Huawei on security grounds. But UK security officials think the company’s risks can be managed if it is only used for “non-core” elements of the network such…

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Popular dating apps like Tinder and Grindr are sharing the personal data of their users to third parties in breach of EU regulations, a Norwegian consumer rights group said Tuesday. A new report by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) details how Grindr, which markets itself as the “world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people,” shares the GPS data, IP addresses, ages and genders of its users with a multitude of third-party companies to help them improve advert targeting. According to the government-funded non-profit organisation, the sharing of this data implicitly discloses users’ sexual orientations. The…

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Russian spies hacked a Ukrainian energy company at the center of the impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump, a cybersecurity firm said Monday. Russia’s GRU spy agency launched a “phishing” attack in November to access the email of Burisma Holdings employees, California cyber firm Area 1 Security said in a report. “The timing of the GRU’s campaign in relation to the 2020 US elections raises the specter that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 US elections,” Area 1 co-founders Oren J. Falkowitz and Blake Darche said in…

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As cars evolve into rolling mobile computers, the potential for disastrous cyber attacks has become a new road hazard. Israeli cybersecurity firm GuardKnox demonstrated the threat in a Formula 1 driving simulation at the Consumer Electronics show this week in Las Vegas. Moments into the virtual drive, a GuardKnox engineer playing the role of hacker struck and the steering wheel no longer controlled the speeding car. The faux race was over for the driver, stuck on the side of the road in a scenario that cybersecurity specialists say could become very real. New car models are packed with computer chips,…

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Nepal on Wednesday deported 122 Chinese nationals who were arrested on suspicion of operating a large-scale cyber fraud operation in Kathmandu, officials said. Police made the arrests last month in raids on nine houses that were set up like hostels with large kitchens, bunk beds and rows of tables and chairs for working. Acting on a tip-off from Chinese authorities, more than 700 mobile phones, 331 laptops and nearly 100 desktop computers were seized along with pen drives and SIM cards. The arrests came days after over 340 Chinese nationals were detained in the Philippines in a raid on unlicensed…

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Kuwait on Wednesday denied reports that the United States had decided to withdraw its troops from the Gulf state, saying the Twitter account of its official news agency had been hacked. The state-run Kuwait News Agency tweeted that the Kuwaiti defence minister had been informed by the commander of US forces in the emirate of their intention to withdraw from the Arifjan base within three days. The news, published in both Arabic and English, was deleted within minutes. “The (Twitter) account of Kuwait News Agency was hacked… The report about the intention of the US troops to pull out is…

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Travelex, the British-based foreign currency company, will not suffer any financial impact from a cyber attack on New Year’s Eve, its parent group said Wednesday. Travelex, which detected a software virus on December 31 that compromised some services, stopped the virus spreading, it said in a statement. Travelex had been forced to take its global websites offline on New Year’s Eve — with criminals reportedly seeking a ransom of $3.0 million (2.7 million euros) according to British press reports. “Travelex has been successful in containing the spread of the ransomware,” it said, adding that the virus was also known as…

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