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Google, Yahoo and Facebook Ask the NSA for Transparency

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With the issues related to NSA a hot topic, the top Internet companies Google, Yahoo and Facebook have now requested permission to publish the number of requests made for user data concerning national security. The request was officially made to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. As of now, it is still under review and I, for one, am not holding my breath waiting for approval. The search engine giant Google went a step further and requested that there be a public hearing of the case so that it can be debated in the open.


Based on the U.S. Government rule to not disclose specific number of requests and user data associated with it, the three companies now have a dilemma. Internet users are increasingly distrusting companies that sell their personal information for profit and share it with their partners. After all, it is the consumer who ultimately pays the costs to keep these firms alive and profitable. The NSA, A US taxpayer funded agency, prohibits users from knowing what data they are collecting. The three major companies published only the number of user data requests received and entertained but specifics were withheld for security purposes.

Major publications have claimed that the NSA had direct access to Google user data, which Google has denied. In the wake of the revelations about the NSA by Edwin Snowden, the company wants to reveal the total number of national security related requests made and the number of users or accounts associated with it.

Throughout the NSA controversies, Google has maintained that the requests made by the government and intelligence community for access to its data have been affecting its business. Their solution is transparency. In Google’s court motion, it asserts that transparency will respond to public criticism and approach the issue in a democratic manner.

All three companies, Facebook, Yahoo and Google have come to a mutually agreement that demands the government amended motions to be filed. They urge U.S. to be a mentor for the world in terms of human rights, civil liberties and transparency with data.

People around the globe need to know if their personal information is safe or not. The situation is a concern even if we assume the best intentions of these programs. It is important to know if the data being shared intelligence agencies is being protected by the agencies themselves with appropriate security and control. It was recently learned, for example, that NSA employees were conducting searches for data on their ex-girlfriends and ex-wives.

There have been numerous incidents of government data being hacked into and compromised. The most significant instance was last year when the revenue agency of the State of South Carolina was hacked and the personal information of 4 million taxpayers was stolen. Clearly, the track record of government entities in protecting personal data is spotty,

The public deserves to know what is happening with their personal information we can have an informed debate. Fortunately, that is exactly what Google, Yahoo and Facebook are arguing in court.

Source: https://blog.comodo.com/it-security/nsl-transparency-requested-by-google-yahoo-and-facebook/

Cyber Security

Apple bans Epic Games from App Store

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Apple bans Epic Games from App Store until all litigation is finalized

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney announced the indefinite ban with a series of tweets.

According to a series of emails published on Twitter and a blog post by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, Apple has blocked Epic Games from returning to the App Store ecosystem indefinitely, despite the games developer claiming it would stop its own payments system.

Epic’s iOS developer account was blocked in August of last year after the company introduced a new payment method designed to bypass Apple’s payment systems and 30 percent commission fees. Epic filed cases against Apple in response to the prohibition, with the US litigation resulting in a mixed court verdict a fortnight ago.

Apple was justified in cancelling Epic’s iOS developer account because it breached App Store criteria, according to the mixed court verdict.

Epic has subsequently challenged the ruling, and the court is currently deciding whether or not to hear the case.

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The games developer’s apps, such as its flagship game Fortnite, would not be permitted to return to the App Store until the US case was resolved, according to one of the disclosed emails reportedly received by Apple’s legal representatives on September 21.

“Apple has exercised its discretion not to reinstate Epic’s developer program account at this time. Furthermore, Apple will not consider any further requests for reinstatement until the district court’s judgment becomes final and non-appealable,” the emails reads.

The letter alluded to the mixed court judgement, which stated that Apple was within its rights to remove any Epic-related accounts from the App Store and that Epic’s developer account could not be reinstated.

Sweeney accused Apple of breaking its promise to enable Epic Games to return to the App Store if it agreed to “play by the same standards” in his tweets.

This was in response to an Apple spokesperson’s emailed remark from a week ago:

“As we’ve said all along, we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else. Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.”

“Apple lied,” Sweeney tweeted.

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“Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d ‘welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else.’ Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users.”

Other repercussions of the US court judgement include Epic’s attempt to reintroduce Fortnite to the South Korean iOS App Store, which is now in jeopardy due to the company’s lack of an iOS developer account. Despite the fact that South Korea recently passed legislation requiring programme stores like the App Store to accept different payment methods, this is still the case.

Epic Games’ other pending lawsuits around the world, such as two in Australia, accuse Apple and Google of acting anti-competitively through their app store tactics, would be influenced by the court verdict.

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Source: https://cybersguards.com/apple-bans-epic-games-from-app-store/

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Cyber Security

Google Update on Memory Safety in Chrome

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Google shared details about its long-term plan for memory safety in Chrome this week. It also announced the first stable release Chrome 94 which addresses a total 19 vulnerabilities.

Google decided to address the issue before it gets worse by identifying memory safety issues as the root cause of over 70% of Chrome’s severe bugs last year.

The Internet search giant chose to concentrate on two solutions out of all the possible options. They introduced runtime checks to verify that pointers are correct and sought a different safe memory programming language.

“Runtime checks have a performance cost. Checking the correctness of a pointer is an infinitesimal cost in memory and CPU time. But with millions of pointers, it adds up,” Google notes.

However, it was considered a viable option and Google is currently experimenting with it.

“[T]he Rust compiler spots mistakes with pointers before the code even gets to your device, and thus there’s no performance penalty,” Google explains.

The company is currently only interested in how it can make C++/Rust work together. However, it has already begun non-user-facing Rust experiments.

Chrome 94.0.4606.54 is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It fixes 19 security vulnerabilities, including five high-severity and ten moderate-severity issues, as well as two low-severity ones.

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CVE-2021-37956 is the most serious of the severe issues. This flaw can be used in Offline, and Google paid a $15,000 bounty.

The company also paid $7500 for a WebGPU bug, $3,000 for an inappropriate implementation of Navigation, and $1,000 to resolve a Task Manager issue.

Google claims it also paid high rewards to five vulnerabilities of medium severity: $10,000 each for tab strip flaws and one in Performance Manager; $3,000 each side-channel information leakage and ChromeOS Networking inappropriate implementation, and Background Fetch API inappropriate implementation.

Google paid out more than $56,000 in bounty payments to researchers who reported on the issues, though the actual amount could be much greater, as the company has not yet revealed the rewards for seven of them.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://cybersguards.com/google-update-on-memory-safety-in-chrome/

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Cyber Security

A New Vulnerability Found in Apple’s macOS Finder Lets Attackers Run Commands Remotely

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New macOS zero-day bug lets attackers run commands remotely

A new vulnerability in Apple’s macOS Finder was revealed today, allowing attackers to run arbitrary instructions on Macs running any macOS version up to the most recent release, Big Sur.

Zero-day vulnerabilities are defects that have been publicly published but have not yet been patched by the vendor and are sometimes actively exploited by attackers or have publicly available proof-of-concept exploits.

The flaw, discovered by independent security researcher Park Minchan, is caused by the way macOS processes inetloc files, which permits it to mistakenly run any commands encoded inside by an attacker without any warnings or prompts.

Internet location files with on macOS.

inetloc extensions are system-wide bookmarks for opening internet resources (news:/, ftp:/, afp:/) or local files (file:/).

“A vulnerability in macOS Finder allows files whose extension is inetloc to execute arbitrary commands,” an SSD Secure Disclosure advisory published today revealed.

“These files can be embedded inside emails which if the user clicks on them will execute the commands embedded inside them without providing a prompt or warning to the user.”

SSD Secure Disclosure
Image: SSD Secure Disclosure

Apple botches the patch and fails to assign a CVE ID.

As Minchan later revealed, Apple’s patch only partially addressed the weakness, as it can still be exploited by changing the protocol used to execute the embedded commands from file:/ to FiLe:/.

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“Newer versions of macOS (from Big Sur) have blocked the file:// prefix (in the com.apple.generic-internet-location) however they did a case matching causing File:// or fIle:// to bypass the check,” the advisory adds.

“We have notified Apple that FiLe:// (just mangling the value) doesn’t appear to be blocked, but have not received any response from them since the report has been made. As far as we know, at the moment, the vulnerability has not been patched.”

Although the study did not specify how attackers may exploit this flaw, it might be exploited by threat actors to generate malicious email attachments that, when opened by the target, execute a packaged or remote payload.

BleepingComputer further examined the researcher’s proof-of-concept exploit and found that it could be used to perform arbitrary commands on macOS Big Sur without any prompts or warnings by utilising specially designed files received from the Internet.

An.inetloc file containing the PoC code was not recognised by any of the antimalware engines on VirusTotal, implying that macOS users who may be targeted by threat actors employing this attack vector will be unprotected.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://cybersguards.com/a-new-vulnerability-found-in-apples-macos-finder-lets-attackers-run-commands-remotely/

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Roku Will Launch an App on Shopify App Store to Offer SMB advertising

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Roku, Shopify partner to offer SMB advertising ahead of holidays

Roku will release an app on the Shopify App Store that will allow small businesses to create and manage ad campaigns.

Through a partnership with Shopify, Roku plans to assist small businesses with local advertising.

The streaming media company has announced the release of an app that would allow Shopify clients to create, buy, and measure TV streaming ad campaigns. Roku will be the first streaming app available in the Shopify App Store as a result of the transition.

About 7,000 apps and integrations are available in Shopify’s App Store. Roku’s app should be out before the holidays.

Roku is aiming for the cable and TV ad industry with the Roku app. Roku stated it would be able to give more exact information throughout the marketing funnel if it partnered with Shopify. At the conclusion of the second quarter, Roku had 55.1 million active accounts.

Here are a few crucial points:

  1. Users of Shopify will be able to specify an audience, budget, timing, and duration for their campaigns.
  2. Creative will be uploaded by the company.
  3. Small businesses will be able to create campaigns in a matter of minutes.
  4. Birthdate Co, Jambys, MoonPod, and OLIPOP are among the first merchants to use the Roku ad app.

SEE ALSO:

TrueFort Raises $30 Million Series B To Grow its Application Protection Platform

Roku’s platform, which is installed on a variety of televisions, has been gaining popularity as an advertising medium. Roku’s second-quarter revenue increased by 81 percent year over year to $645 million, with average revenue per user up 46 percent to $36.46.

The company does not break out advertising income, but monetized video ad impressions more than doubled in the second quarter compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the firm. In its August 4 shareholder letter, Roku also stated that it was expanding SMBs on its OneView ad platform.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/roku-will-launch-an-app-on-shopify-app-store-to-offer-smb-advertising/

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