Category - Privacy & Security News

Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: the NSA just got an extension on their right to online monitoring and more

2018 has nearly started but don’t think for a second that hackers waste any time. Malware attacks will definitely continue to be on hackers’ list this year and the future doesn’t sound bright for Americans in terms of digital privacy.

Here are some of the major online risks that happened so far:

Hackers still search for credit card information

LockPoS started to make damages since 2017, but was only recently discovered. Constantly looking for data that looks like credit card details, LockPoS malware steals payment card information from the memory of computers; and it has been doing that so well that it was quite difficult to detect.

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Americans’ human rights diminished even more

Online privacy in the United States is simply sinking deeper and deeper. Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted in favor of extending the NSA’s right of extended online surveillance for the next six years.

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WPA3 – the new Wi-Fi security protocol to be launched in 2018

Remember the Krack Wi-Fi vulnerability from October last year that has put all internet users to a dismay? Well, the good news is that it’s very possible we won’t have to go through that risky situation again.

Just a few days ago, during the annual CES event (one of the biggest technology and innovation shows), the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced the launch of a new wireless security protocol—Wi-Fi Protected Access WPA3 this year.

WPA3 will replace the current WPA2—the security protocol that all Wi-Fi networks have been using for over 15 years.

Why is WPA2 considered vulnerable?

The main insecurity issue of WPA2 is given by the “unencrypted” open Wi-Fi networks that makes it incredibly easy for anyone who uses the same network to access other devices.

Secondly, one of the WPA2 protocols is that the same password is used by clients and business owners when joining a Wi-Fi network (for instance the clients of a coffee shop and the owner of the coffee shop).

Due to these vulnerabilities, hackers can intercept Wi-Fi traffic and steal online data quite effortlessly.

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What are the most dangerous digital threats that lie ahead in 2018?

Most of us look to the future with optimism. Or better said, we hope for the best. That includes cyber security threats, which means we hope these will be fewer and less vulnerable. Unfortunately, though, odds are that the situation will be quite the opposite.

We don’t mean to stir any panic; we just want to get you prepared for what security specialists believe it will come.

Here are the main 5 predictions for 2018 in terms of digital threats:

  1. Takeover of chat-bots bound to draw hackers

Chat-bots have become such a thing that numerous businesses have adopted these versatile and useful tools. Think about how many websites have integrated chat-bots to schedule meetings, provide customer support and so on.

Chances are more companies will implement chatbots, but this will create a perfect medium for online hackers. They could impersonate users and compromise the bot services in phishing schemes and social engineering hacks.

  1. Rise in online travel and booking frauds

The hospitality and tourism industry are one of the largest and richest worldwide.

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The end of net neutrality knocks on our doors

Update, December 15th: Despite everything, the inevitable occurred and the FCC’s final vote for dismantling net neutrality took place yesterday. U.S. ISPs have now full power to block websites, suppress services, and censor online content.

After the vote, it appears that several Republican voters declared to be against the resolution to put a stop to net neutrality. In addition, many attorney generals and state officials including members of the Congress plan to sue the FCC over the repeal.

The effects of the end of net neutrality will become official in a few months so maybe there is still hope.

However, CyberGhost VPN can still help you enjoy internet freedom like you used to and access any website you please.

As recently announced, the FCC had to come up with the final proposal regarding net neutrality until November 22nd. Yesterday, Ajit Pai announced that it will dismantle net neutrality rules, giving giant telecom and web companies full power on deciding what online content to deliver to their customers. Additionally, the end of net neutrality would mean that ISPs can either slow down or speed up web services at their own will. Clearly, only big companies will afford to offer the best connections to consumers.

FCC Chairman mentioned the new proposal would actually mean restoring internet freedom since it forces ISPs to be transparent on the costs they require users for each web service they provide. Customers can simply choose a service plan according to their needs and preferences. Basically, American citizens will pay different costs for a basic internet service and will have to pay more if they want to access music or movie websites, for example.

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Are you using MacOS High Sierra? Anyone could log into your device

Protecting our personal data requires much more than simply relying on an efficient online privacy tool such as CyberGhost VPN. We always have to make sure our devices are protected with strong passwords, that our operating systems are up-to-date so that security flaws are fixed, we should try not to connect to unprotected public WiFis, only visit HTTPS websites and of course, never go online without CyberGhost VPN.

However, sometimes, these measures may not be enough. The latest version of MacOS High Sierra – 10.13.1 (17B48), released in September – has a flaw which allows people to enter the word “root” when prompted for a username, and provide no password when logging on to the device. Once someone logs in, they’ve essentially authenticated themselves as the owners of the computer. They can add administrators, change critical settings, lock out the current owner, and so on.

Bear in mind that there’s no need to do this yourself to verify it. Doing so creates a “root” account that others may be able to take advantage of if you don’t disable it.

The glitch grants anyone to access the file system for a Mac, exposing private documents on that particular device.

The bug appears to have been first noticed by Lemi Orhan Ergin, founder of Software Craftsman Turkey, who noted it publicly on Twitter.

#MacOS flaw leaves your #personaldata exposed. Find out how to stay safe! Click to Tweet

Although Mac devices are generally regarded as extra secure and less prone to hacking and malware infections, this is a major and very dangerous flaw.

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Social media and news channels blocked in Pakistan

Protests have covered the entire Pakistan on Saturday, November 25th after thousands of citizens have demanded the resignation of Law minister Zahid Hamid.  The Law Minister introduced new parliamentary bills which Pakistani people consider weaken the judicial system under religious considerations.

Therefore, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has decided to take all news channels off air and also blocked the access to popular social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The media block has created a big frenzy especially on Twitter where many journalists from the region have taken a stand and were continually reporting on the situation from Pakistan.

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Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: privacy issue from Google, Uber data breach and more

The media has always abounded in online privacy news, especially in the recent months. This last week has been quite special and we had witnessed both good and bad (although more bad than good) news. Looking at all of them closely, you can’t help but become utterly confused about how you should look upon technology these days.

Apart from the big and worrisome news regarding the end of net neutrality, several other cyber security-related things have happened. Let’s start with the most recent ones that also happen to be stories.

Mozilla to warn users about dangerous websites

Mozilla Firefox has announced that it will release a new useful feature that will warn users if they visit a website that suffered a data breach. This is part of a collaboration with “Have I Been Pwned” website that helps you check if your data has been hacked based on your email credentials. Now, this is useful stuff! However, the option won’t stop you from accessing the website, it’s just an informational procedure.

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Equal online shopping practices inside the EU

The EU came up with a new proposal that will put a stop to geo-blocking online issues. Don’t get too overexcited!

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