Security News

Health sites share user info with Facebook

Plus, Facebook threatens to pull out of Europe and iOS 15 has a flaw that may be recording your Siri convos

A recent study by Duke University and patient privacy group Light Collective found that several genetic-testing and digital medicine companies have shared their users’ information with Facebook to enable ad targeting. Ten patient advocates active in the cancer support community downloaded and analyzed their data from Facebook’s “Off Facebook Activity” feature, a record of user information that third parties have shared with the social media giant. Among retail and media sites, researchers were shocked to discover that certain health sites were also sharing user info. “Most users would be shocked to find out the kind of information being shared around not only health-related sites, but the ad industry in general,” commented Avast Security Evangelist Luis Corrons. “We are talking about a multi-billion dollar business, where there is a clear benefit to fine-tuning ads. That's why privacy must be in the center of our concerns. We need to be and feel free to enjoy our digital lives safely.” For more on this story, originally published in WIRED, see Ars Technica.

Meta clarifies Facebook comment about leaving Europe

After making what seemed to be a veiled threat to cease operations in Europe if a transatlantic deal were not put into place that would allow Facebook to transfer data from the E.U. to the U.S., Meta Europe public policy VP Markus Reinisch issued a clarification on the statement, saying the company is “absolutely not threatening to leave Europe.” He added, “We want to see the fundamental rights of EU users protected, and we want the internet to continue to operate as it was intended: without friction, in compliance with applicable laws – but not confined by national borders.” For more, read the story at ZDNet

North Korea attacks South Korea with xRAT

In an ongoing series of cyberattacks that began on January 24, North Korean state-sponsored hacking group Kimsuky, also known as TA406, is using xRAT malware in targeted attacks against South Korean entities. xRAT is a remote access trojan with a range of hacking tools including keylogging, remote shell, file manager actions, reverse HTTPS proxy, AES-128 communication, and automated social engineering. Kimsuky loaded the xRAT with an evolved form of the group’s signature Gold Dragon backdoor, now with added features such as the exfiltration of basic system information. To read more on this, see Bleeping Computer

Port of Los Angeles opens Cyber Resilience Center

North America’s largest seaport, the Port of Los Angeles, opened its new Cyber Resilience Center, a cybersecurity hub operated by IBM under a three-year, $6.8 million contract. According to Security Week, the Cyber Resilience Center is a community cyber defense solution created to improve the cybersecurity readiness of the Port and enhance threat-sharing and recovery capabilities among supply chain stakeholders. “The Port of Los Angeles is setting a new industry standard with a first-of-its-kind initiative to increase cyber readiness across the maritime community,” said Christopher McCurdy, General Manager of IBM Security Services.

iOS 15 bug allows unauthorized Siri recordings 

Apple has identified and fixed a bug in iOS 15 that may record some users’ interactions with Siri, whether or not they had opted out of the Improve Siri & Dictation function, which gives Apple permission to record, store, and review user conversations with Siri. Apple spokesperson Catherine Franklin told The Verge, “With iOS 15.2, we turned off the Improve Siri & Dictation setting for many Siri users while we fixed a bug introduced with iOS 15. This bug inadvertently enabled the setting for a small portion of devices. Since identifying the bug, we stopped reviewing and are deleting audio received from all affected devices.”

This week’s ‘must-read’ on The Avast Blog

No one ever wants to plan for a breakup — but let’s be real: Breakups happen. And these days, as we spend so much time online, an IRL breakup needs to be accompanied by a digital breakup