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  1. Heavy GDPR-like fines proposed for firms that fail to tackle abuse The culture secretary has pledged new laws to regulate social media firms after being snubbed by 10 out of 14 companies invited to consult on regulation. Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Matt Hancock, secretary of state for culture, digital, media and sport, said the government does not have adequate power to regulate social media firms, and that self-policing to this point has not worked. He revealed that being ignored by several major players in the industry - who were invited to contribute on plans to tackle online abuse, to remove inappropriate content, and introduce a levy - has given him greater motivation to introduce new legislation. "The fact that only four companies turned up when I invited the 14 biggest in; it gave me a big impetus to drive this proposal to legislate through," Hancock said. "Before then, and until now, there has been this argument - work with the companies, do it on a voluntary basis, they'll do more that way because the lawyers won't be involved. "And after all, these companies were set up to make the world a better place. The fact that these companies have social media platforms with over a million people on them, and they didn't turn up [is disappointing]." "One of the problems that we've got is we engage with Facebook and Google and Twitter, and they get all of the press, they get all of the complaints in the public debate, but there's now actually a far greater number of social media platforms, like musical.ly and others, that didn't show up." Announcing the proposed legislation, Hancock said: "Digital technology is overwhelmingly a force for good across the world and we must always champion innovation and change for the better. "At the same time I have been clear that we have to address the Wild West elements of the internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation." The new laws, which the culture secretary said are likely two years away, will follow failed efforts to engage with tech giants voluntarily on new regulations, outlined in a policy paper last year. Whitehall's proposal, which had invited views from tech companies prior to feeding into legislation, said the 'levy' would be sought on a voluntary basis, with the document reading: "We may then seek to underpin this levy in legislation, to ensure the continued and reliable operation of the levy." It adds: "The levy will not be a new tax on social media." But now the government is now intent on using legislation to tackle these issues, with part of the Data Protection Bill currently going through Parliament dedicated to introducing fines for indiscretions such as allowing underage users on social media platforms. Speaking on Sky News' politics show Ridge on Sunday, the UK's digital minister, Margot James, expanded on the government's position, saying: "The consultation that we conduct is quite likely to result in measures that we will outline into law that will oblige companies to take content down - and obviously there will have to be consequences for them to face if they don't comply." Asked what these consequences would be, James added: "In the data protection legislation that is just finishing its passage through Parliament at the moment, there is the capacity for the Information Commissioner to fine companies up to 4% of their global annual turnover. We would envisage something similar in this area. "Obviously that would be a cap - like a maximum - and there would be a scale of other deterrents en route to that. But we do understand that companies need to face consequences if they do not comply with laws applicable online just as they are online." DCMS and the Home Office will publish a white paper later this year with further details. Antony Walker, deputy CEO of trade industry body TechUK, said: "Where we can move quickly with confidence on the effectiveness of the outcome we should do. But we must avoid 'quick fixes' that are unworkable and could end up being counter-productive. We need to get to a position where government and tech firms are 100% aligned on what needs to be done so that we can get on and implement solutions that we can all have confidence will work. "There is still a lot of work to be done between now and the publication of a white paper, and as a sector we want to keep building on the serious and constructive engagement that has happened to date." Source
  2. Four in Five Britons Fearful Trump Will Abuse their Data More than three-quarters of Britons believe incoming US President Donald Trump will use his surveillance powers for personal gain, and a similar number want reassurances from the government that data collected by GCHQ will be safeguarded against such misuse. These are the headline findings from a new Privacy International poll of over 1600 Brits on the day Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President of the most powerful nation on earth. With that role comes sweeping surveillance powers – the extent of which was only revealed after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden went public in 2013. There are many now concerned that Trump, an eccentric reality TV star and gregarious property mogul, could abuse such powers for personal gain. That’s what 78% of UK adults polled by Privacy International believe, and 54% said they had no trust that Trump would use surveillance for legitimate purposes. Perhaps more important for those living in the United Kingdom is the extent of the information sharing partnership between the US and the UK. Some 73% of respondents said they wanted the government to explain what safeguards exist to ensure any data swept up by their domestic secret services doesn’t end up being abused by the new US administration. That fear has become even more marked since the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act or 'Snoopers’ Charter', which granted the British authorities unprecedented mass surveillance and hacking powers, as well as forcing ISPs to retain all web records for up to 12 months. Privacy International claimed that although it has privately been presented with documents detailing the info sharing partnership between the two nations, Downing Street has so far refused to make the information public. The rights group and nine others are currently appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a decision by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) not to release information about the rules governing the US-UK agreement. “UK and the US spies have enjoyed a cosy secret relationship for a long time, sharing sensitive intelligence data with each other, without parliament knowing anything about it, and without any public consent. Slowly, we’re learning more about the staggering scale of this cooperation and a dangerous lack of sufficient oversight,” argued Privacy International research officer, Edin Omanovic. “Today, a new President will take charge of US intelligence agencies – a President whose appetite for surveillance powers and how they’re used put him at odds with British values, security, and its people… Given that our intelligence agencies are giving him unfettered access to massive troves of personal data, including potentially about British people, it is essential that the details behind all this are taken out of the shadows.” Source
  3. One of the primary vectors for the distribution of tech support scams is malvertising. You’ll simply be browsing the web when all of a sudden your browser shows a scary page claiming your computer is infected. Behind the scenes, an unscrupulous ad network usually lets a malicious actor push a malicious code snippet instead of a regular advert. Now all you see is a page that looks like a Microsoft website and no matter how many times you try to close the annoying popup, it simply won’t go away. Over time, various tricks have been used to fool browsers and in particular Google Chrome, which is not surprising considering its market share. Typically we have seen JavaScript code to send what seems to be an infinite number of pop ups, which in reality is a simple loop. Of course there have been variations of this and historically browsers have let users down by not being to handle those tricks cleanly. As of matter of fact, one of the easiest ways to get rid of a browser locker is to kill its process using Task Manager or other such tool. Today we are looking at yet another technique which isn’t new per se, but has finally made its way into tech support scams. Remember the websites that could crash Chrome/Firefox/Safari even on mobile devices? The flaw was originally identified in July 2014 and it is an abuse of the history.pushState() method introduced with HTML5 which according to the documentation, pushes the given data onto the session history stack with the specified title and, if provided, a URL. One important thing you may notice from the bug report above is the “Doesn’t technically crash, just hang” part. This is so important because as you will see below, scammers really want their victims to see the instructions on screen, and in particular the phone number to call to fix their computer: This is a clever use of this bug because the computer that visited this site is essentially stuck with the CPU and memory maxed out while the page is not responding. All of this is done by using a few lines of code: Depending on your computer’s specifications you may or may not be able to launch Task Manager to kill the browser process. Otherwise your system will be brought to its knees and a hard reboot may be the only option left. Whatever you do, please do not call the phone number for support because it is not Microsoft’s but rather a group of scammers waiting to rob you of hundreds of dollars under false pretenses. We reported this particular scam to the Google Safebrowsing team even though the bug existed before, because the fact it is used in the wild to trick people makes it more urgent to be looked at and fixed. Hat tip to @TheWack0lian for sharing this new browlock scam with us. IOCs 1-844-507-3556 perfecthosting[.]co/alert/ perfecthosting.co/alert/123.mp3 Microsoft Identification-Malware infected website visited.Malicious data transferred to system from unauthorized access.System Registry files may be changed and can be used for unethical activites. System has been infected by Virus Trojan.worm!055BCCAC9FEC — Personal information (Bank Details, Credit Cards and Account Password) may be stolen.System IP Address is unmasked and can be accessed for virus spreading.Microsoft has reported to the connected ISP to implement new firewall.User should call immediatley to Technical Support 1-844-507-3556 for free system scan. Article source
  4. A 41-year-old resident of Houston, Texas has been arrested after Google tipped off police that they had spotted child abuse images in his emails. John Henry Skillern, a registered sex offender with a sexual assault charge dating back to 1994, was picked up on Tuesday, July 29th and later charged with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of promotion of child pornography. A search of his home and equipment uncovered further images of child abuse, emails and text messages discussing his pedophilic tendencies, and even cell-phone videos of children visiting the branch of Denny's in Pasadena, Tx., where Skillern worked as a cook. He is now being held in custody on a $200,000 bond. The investigation was apparently sparked by a tip-off sent by Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, after explicit images of a child were detected in an email he was sending. The story seems like a simple one with a happy outcome - a bad man did a crime and got caught. However, there will of course be some who see it as yet another sign of how the twin Big Brothers of state agencies and corporate behemoths have nothing better to do than delve into the private lives of all and sundry, looking for dirt. Google has a long-running and often controversial relationship with the privacy of its users, in the past receiving criticism for its unclear and confusing privacy policies, data-slurping StreetView cars and leaky Google Drive services. It's been ordered to give people the option to have references to them ignored by its search engine, and most recently the Italian government demanded more openness about what will be done with people's data once they've given it up to Google's multi-tentacled services. Email services in particular are seen as a sensitive area where people might expect some privacy, but Google's business model relies on crunching everything we do in order to push the right advertising in our direction, and email is a great source of personal info on those who use it. Google's been sued for probing intrusively into student Gmail accounts, but at the same time US law has found Gmail accounts to be fair game for police investigation, provided a warrant is granted, and the FBI can get their hands on much more data on Google's users should they want to. A year ago Google's attitude to the privacy of email users everywhere was apparently questioned. We all like to get things for free, and like other "free" online providers, Google takes advantage of that, giving us all sorts of services in return for all the personal info we care to hand over. Exactly what is then done with that data is something we have very little control over. So whenever we hear of something being spotted in (what we think is) our private stuff and reported, we find it worrying, even if it's something entirely proper and innocuous. On the other hand though, at least some people expect the Googles of the world to be stepping in more and more to prevent any kind of nastiness, impropriety or fraud on the internet. This is particularly the case in the area of child abuse, exemplified by UK Prime Minister David Cameron's crusade to persuade Google to implement more filters to remove child sex images from searches. At the time this proposal was widely ridiculed, mainly on the grounds that pedophiles operate in sophisticated and well-hidden gangs who would never consider using Google. In this case, where a man seems to have been caught simply because he was using Gmail, that claim seems proven to be not entirely accurate. Not everyone involved in this sort of nastiness is a criminal genius, fortunately. When it comes down to it, we just need to be more aware of how the world works, and to act accordingly. If you want your information kept private, just don't hand it over to a free service which makes money leveraging that kind of info. If you want to use free services, just don't use them for anything you wouldn't want the entire world knowing about. If you feel you want to commit crimes against children, just don't - get some psychological help instead. Source: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2014/07/31/google-tips-off-cops-after-spotting-child-abuse-images-in-email/
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