The Weekly Cypher is specially curated to keep you up-to-date on the latest in cybersecurity, biometrics, and related news and innovations. Here are a few of the headlines you might have missed this week.
Federal Probe of Facebook widens to include FBI, SEC | Washington Post
The FBI and Securities Exchange Commission have joined the Federal Trade Commission in its probe of Facebook’s knowledge about the actions of the political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica. Investigators are reportedly looking into CA’s improper accessed to personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users. Although Facebook knew of this in 2015, the tech giant didn’t disclose the incident with the political firm, which later worked for the Trump campaign and other Republican candidates, until this March. [Read More]
Third-Party Apps Let Companies Read Peoples’ Gmail | Wall Street Journal
Google “let hundreds of outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools.” The company, which said a year ago it would stop its computers from scanning the inboxes of Gmail users for information, reportedly does little to police the apps’ developers, who train computers—and, in some cases, employees—to read users’ emails.” [Read More]
Some Samsung smartphone owners say their phones are sending stored photos to contacts completely on their own. This seems to be related to Samsung Messages, the default messaging app on Samsung phones. Reports indicate the photos are being sent without the app recording any trace of an outgoing message. It’s not clear how widespread the problem is, but if it is a bug, it would be a major privacy violation. [Read More]
Lobbyists for firms including Google, Uber, Amazon, and Facebook are pushing to weaken the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act, before it takes effect in 2020. They are reportedly concerned that the law, which contains the country’s strongest data privacy protections, could hamper their operations and might become a model for tougher nationwide regulations. The law was passed following myriad controversies concerning how these companies share users’ data. [Read More]
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) says Hamas has been running a spyware operation to trick soldiers into downloading malicious apps. Once the bogus app was installed, it granted its creators the ability to see the owner’s location and contact list and to use the phone as a listening device and video camera. The alleged attack, which the IDF calls Operation Broken Heart, worked via soldiers being contacted by people with fake profiles on Facebook. After chatting with the soldier on WhatsApp, the ‘woman’ in question would send them a link to download dating apps with names like GlanceLove and ones featuring goals and live scores from the World Cup, such as Golden Cup. Hamas, the Palestinian militant and political faction that runs the Gaza Strip, hasn’t commented on the IDF’s charges. [Read More]