Category - Privacy & Security News

Torrents and political media, the world’s most censored digital content

It’s no secret that censorship thrives around the world. WhoIsHostingThis.com has just published the updated map of global Internet censorship and by simply giving the statistics a look, one can see that torrents are by far the most frowned upon online. This kind of censorship is probably the only one to occur in those generally regarded as democratic countries.

It’s easy to understand why torrents are the ones to suffer various forms of censorship around the world. Copyright-protected materials such as movies, music or software licenses are probably the main source of income for everyone involved in their creative & development process and piracy would only come in the way of profit.

Other reasons for this type of censorship include a so-called state-enforced morality, which implies that citizens are not capable of deciding what’s good and what’s bad for them. This kind of justification not only refers to the censorship of torrents, but also to social and political media, as well as pornography.

Worldwide, the list of Internet censorship looks as follows:

Read More

WikiLeaks opens Vault 7, exposes CIA hacking tools

WikiLeaks has begun a new series of leaks on the US Central Intelligence Agency, code-named Vault 7.

The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, is made up of a massive amount of over 8,000 documents from an isolated, high-security network located inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina.

According to a press release from WikiLeaks, recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. Zero-day flaws are previously undiscovered vulnerabilities in software, which can be exploited to alter the behavior of a product and the WikiLeaks document shows that the CIA has built up a significant stockpile of zero-day flaws to use for surveillance.

“Year Zero” brings forth the weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into undercover microphones.

Here are some of the most important documents set to be brought forth by WikiLeaks:

 

iPhones, Android devices and smart TVs, the main targets of the CIA malware

It appears that the CIA has developed a software capable of spying on just about every piece of electronic equipment people use, from smartphones to routers and smart TVs. Thus, everything recorded by those devices, from deliberately sent messages, user location to everything we say or do near those gadget’s microphones and cameras can become accessible to the US intelligence agency.

Samsung smart TVs for instance get infected with the “Weeping Angel” malware, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB). Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

Your #TV could be spying on you even when it's off. Find out how from the #WikiLeaks #Vault7 dumps Click to Tweet
Read More

Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Teddy bears leak 2 million voice messages and more

The Internet of Things continues to show that it will probably be the biggest threat to our privacy in the future. That is why we should think twice before purchasing the next Internet-connected gadget, or even worse, IoT toys for our children. Such devices can be very easily transformed into spying tools.

Why did we feel the need for such a warning, at this time in particular? Just have a look at one of the most important updates of the week and you will understand:

Millions of voice messages and passwords leaked through Internet of Toys

CloudPets, a company that sells “smart” teddy bears has leaked 800,000 user account credentials, which hackers then locked it and held for ransom. The toys allow children and relatives to send recorded voicemails back and forth.

This same incident happened over a year ago, when Hong Kong toymaker VTech was hacked, exposing snaps of parents and their children as well as chat logs. An estimate of 6.4 million were affected by this hack last year.

Find out how to avoid the dangers brought by the Internet of Toys from here.

 

Digital privacy, threatened by new FCC Chairman

U.S. regulators just blocked some Obama administration rules on the eve of implementation, regulations that would have subjected broadband providers to stricter scrutiny than web sites face to protect customers’ private data.

In other words, ISPs would have carte blanche when it comes to rifling through, sharing, and selling your private data.

Electronic Frontier Foundation is encouraging people to take action and tell their Congress representatives that they will not accept their efforts to undermine online privacy acts. Take action at this link.

Read More

Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Cloudflare bug exposes customer data and more

Digital security always offers us food for thought and debate. So, here are the most important updates of the week:

 

Cloudflare leaks sensitive user data from millions of websites

Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned its customers on February 23rd that a recently fixed bug exposed highly sensitive personal data, including passwords, cookies and tokens used to authenticate users.

According to the Cloudflare blog, the bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines. However, no evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence were discovered. Get the full story here.

PLEASE NOTE: CyberGhost VPN was in no way affected by this leak.

Read More

Attention, travelers: countries where VPNs are illegal

In some countries, topless sunbathing is frowned upon and strictly prohibited. Such a place is Egypt. In other countries, wearing a burqa is not allowed. That kind of place is France. Winter tires are also source for controversy, as using them during summer can lead to certain fines in Italy.

If such things leave room for debate, it comes as no surprise that tools such as VPNs are frowned upon in certain places, especially since they were created to protect our identities online, thus not allowing others to spy on us and maybe to control us easier.

Why are VPNs banned?

The reasons/pretexts for which VPNs are banned vary. The most widespread ones are terrorism, child pornography distribution, spreading malware, committing fraud or other illegal activities. Such a measure may save time and effort when catching certain felons, but it could expose many innocents to various types of cybercrimes.

However, this VPN ban is taken very seriously in the countries which have adopted it. Harsh punishments can be applied to those violating it, including simple tourists.

What forms of punishments are applied?

If you take the following excerpt from the United Arab Emirates’ federal law, you will notice that breaking the VPN ban is in no way regarded lightly:

“Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than Dhs 500,000 [US$136,000] and not exceeding Dhs 2,000,000 [US$544,500] of either of these two penalties.”

Read More

Welcome to the USA! Upon entering, please relinquish your privacy

Donald Trump has only just taken up the role of president of the US and he seems to be determined to take one controversial measure after another.

An executive order that he signed in his first days in office is potentially threatening the 6-month-old EU-US Privacy Shield agreement.

In short, the order strips non-US citizens of their privacy rights. Here is what section 14 of the freshly signed Executive Order says:

“Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.” (the entire Executive Order can be found on the White House’s website)

Read More

Ghostie’s Weekly Digest: Gmail phishing, cybercrime surge and more

The week has been quite generous in terms of online privacy news. Our weekly digest aims to showcase what we regard as the most important headlines of the past seven days. Did we leave anything out? Are you directly affected by any of these measures? Drop us a line in the comment section and let’s debate!

Gmail phishing technique mimics past emails

An ingenious phishing technique that composes convincing emails by analyzing and mimicking past messages and attachments has been discovered by security experts. The new technique convinces Gmail users to click on an infected attachment which will then send them to a fake Gmail login page that will steal their credentials.

Read more on the topic here.

 

North Wales reports more cybercrimes than offline ones

It may seem like this is only a small region from a much bigger world, but this fact may be a reflection of a global trend.

According to the local police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the area, there are now more cybercrimes being recorded in north Wales than those in the offline world.

North Wales PCC Arfon Jones claimed that while traditional crimes such as burglary and shoplifting had decreased over the past decade, online crime has made up for the shortfall.

 

Read More

© 2017 CyberGhost