John Lister

Tue
20
Aug
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Can Keyboard Sound Expose Passwords? Experts Say No

Researchers say there's a risk that microphones and motion sensors in smartphones could make it possible to figure out information being typed on nearby keyboards. But media headlines that "hackers can work out your password" are a significant ... stretch. The research comes from the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security at Southern Methodist University, based in Texas. It stemmed from the thought that smartphones could pick up sound in two ways: not just the sound waves in the air through the microphone, but vibrations such as on a table collected through the motion sensors in the phone. ... (view more)

Thu
15
Aug
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Over 1 Million Fingerprints Exposed Online

More than one million fingerprints were exposed online for at least a week, according to security researchers. The company responsible for the data says it will take immediate action if there's a security threat. The data is held by Suprema, which ... operates a biometric lock system called Biostar 2. It lets building owners restrict access by fingerprint or facial recognition, rather than relying on measures such as physical keys or pass codes. The Guardian newspaper reports that Biostar 2 is used in a wider system that has 5,700 customers accessing 1.5 million locations across 83 countries. ... (view more)

Wed
14
Aug
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Chrome, Firefox Ditch EV SSL Padlock System

Chrome and Firefox will stop indicating when websites have received an "extra level of verification" to prove they are in fact genuine. The move is largely due to the fact that most users aren't aware of the Extended Validation SSL (EV SSL) system. ... The Extended Validation SSL (secure socket layer) security certificates go beyond the standard SSL certification scheme, which browsers use to show that data being sent to and from a website is in fact encrypted and secure. This means that communication is encrypted, and that no one can eavesdrop or steal data mid-stream. In other words, ... (view more)

Mon
12
Aug
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Apple Offers $1 Million For iPhone Hack

Apple is offering a million dollar bounty to anyone who can successfully hack an iPhone and shares the details. But its limited to specific circumstances that will mean the payout is well worth it for the company. Like several tech giants, Apple ... already had a reward scheme for people who find and report bugs. To date the biggest bounty Apple has offered is $200,000 and only to people who have previously been approved to explore Apple bugs. The million dollar bounty is officially open to anyone. The new offer was made at the Black Hat convention in Las Vegas, the leading annual gathering of ... (view more)

Thu
08
Aug
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'Contractors' Listen to Live Skype Calls

Microsoft contractors listen to some Skype calls to check the accuracy of translations, a whistleblower has revealed. Although Microsoft says it meets privacy laws, critics say its terms and conditions don't clearly warn users about this. The human ... listening takes place on some calls that use Skype's "automatic" real-time translation service. Until now, most users have assumed that the translation is done entirely by a combination of speech recognition and artificial intelligence to work out the context of a sentence and find the correct translations. While that's largely the case, a ... (view more)

Wed
07
Aug
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Tech Giants Could Face Massive Fines

A proposed law would dramatically increase maximum fines that can be imposed on companies that break monopoly rules. Tech firms would be among the most likely to be affected in the admittedly unlikely event the law was enacted. The proposed bill ... would be known as the Monopolization Deterrence Act of 2019. It's designed to change the current system by which the maximum penalty for violating the main US antitrust law, the Sherman Act, is $10 million. That applies regardless of the size of the company or companies involved. Critics say such penalties are little deterrent to major companies, ... (view more)

Tue
06
Aug
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Site Opens 100 Tabs to Fool Web Trackers

Mozilla has designed a site that will open 100 tabs at once, quite likely crashing a web browser. It's meant as a creative way to show how web tracking works. The stunt is based around cookies: small text files put onto a computer via the browser to ... customize an online session to a website. Third-party tracking cookies are then generated, which keep a record of the sites a user visits. This information is then used by ad servers to deliver targeted ads based on website history. "Track THIS" works by opening 100 tabs selected to represent a particular type of web user. The idea is that there ... (view more)

Thu
01
Aug
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Windows Recovery Disk May Become Obsolete

Microsoft may be ending the need to have a physical disk to reinstall Windows 10. A 'Cloud Download' option could save time and hassle. At the moment, the main way to reinstall Windows is to use a recovery disk (or a copy of the relevant files kept ... on a hard drive or USB device.) That's got a few limitations, most notably that not everyone who gets a recovery disk with a new computer will be able to find it. Other problems are that recovery disks don't always have the drivers necessary to make sure Windows 10 works smoothly with a specific PC, and that the disks don't usually work well for ... (view more)

Wed
31
Jul
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iPhone/iPad Users: Update Immediately

Google says it has found half a dozen major security flaws in Apple's iPhone messaging system. A new iOS update fixes five of the problems, but Google says one remains unpatched. The flaws were discovered by Google's Project Zero, a department that ... takes its name from the idea of "zero day" bugs . That's where would-be hackers become aware of a security issue before the relevant software developers are able to patch the bug. The zero day bugs are then exploited which often results in elevated privileged access levels given to a rogue program. The problems are with iMessage, the instant ... (view more)

Tue
30
Jul
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Mega Hack Exposes Entire Population's Data

Financial records of almost every adult in Bulgaria have been stolen in a cyber attack. It's led to the unlikely situation of the country's leader reportedly exaggerating the attacker's skills. One man has been arrested following the attack, which ... looks to have involved unauthorized access to a database with records for every working adult in the country. That's almost five million people. There's some debate over exactly what was involved in the breach. Press reports suggest it not only included personal information such as date of birth and address, but also tax ... (view more)

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