Anglo African weekly news wrap on trending cyber-attacks, to keep you alert

April 19, 2018

Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg came under pressure from EU lawmakers on Wednesday to come to Europe and shed light on the data breach involving Cambridge Analytica that affected nearly three million Europeans. The world’s largest social network is under fire worldwide after information about nearly 87 million users wrongly ended up in the hands of the British political consultancy, a firm hired by Donald Trump for his 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani last week repeated his request to Zuckerberg to appear before the assembly, saying that sending a junior executive would not suffice.

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LocalBlox, a company that scrapes data from public web profiles, has left the details of over 48 million users on a publicly accessible Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 bucket.

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As if trying to navigate your online privacy wasn’t complicated enough, it turns out the adblocker you installed on your browser may actually be malware. Andrey Meshkov, the cofounder of ad-blocker AdGuard, recently got curious about the number of knock-off ad blocking extensions available for Google’s popular browser Chrome.

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A number of TalkTalk’s broadband ISP customers in the UK have raised concerns after the provider sent them an alarmist warning email, which without providing any useful details claimed that they “may have downloaded a virus on one or more of your devices” (phishing emails adopt a similar approach).

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The Cybersecurity Tech Accord is a “watershed agreement” signed by 34 tech companies: ABB, Arm, Avast, Bitdefender, BT, CA Technologies, Cisco, Cloudflare, DataStax, Dell, DocuSign, Facebook, Fastly, FireEye, F-Secure, GitHub, Guardtime, HP Inc., HPE, Intuit, Juniper Networks, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Nielsen, Nokia, Oracle, RSA, SAP, Stripe, Symantec, Telefonica, Tenable, Trend Micro, and VMware.

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Criminals have compromised tens of thousands of Facebook accounts in the past few days using malware that masquerades as a paint program for relieving stress.  “Relieve Stress Paint” is available through a domain that uses Unicode representation to show up as aol.net on search engines and in emails, researchers from security firm Radware said in a post published Wednesday morning. (This query showed the trojan was also available on a domain that was designed to appear as picc.com.) The researchers suspect the malware is being promoted in spam emails.

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Exclusive: Profile data was scraped without user consent or knowledge to “build a three-dimensional picture” on millions of people. A little-known data firm was able to build 48 million personal profiles, combining data from sites and social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Zillow, among others — without the users’ knowledge or consent. Localblox, a Bellevue, Wash.-based firm, says it “automatically crawls, discovers, extracts, indexes, maps and augments data in a variety of formats from the web and from exchange networks.” Since its founding in 2010, the company has focused its collection on publicly accessible data sources, like social networks Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and real estate site Zillow to name a few, to produce profiles.

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