FixMeStick’s Weekly Cybersecurity Round-Up: Mar 30th – April 5th

Howdy FixMeFans and StartMeStars! We’re making our way in April now, meaning that we’re well on our way to brighter and warmer days. Depending on where you are in the world, you’re most likely going to be spending a lot of time indoors due to recent events surrounding COVID-19. Whether you’re working from home, or you simply have a lot more time on your hands, now is the best time to brush up on your internet safety skills.

As we slowly progress through the days of social distancing and quarantining, this week we’re tackling updates about Apple’s new iPad features, a data breach concerning the entire country (not state) of Georgia, and more news concerning how governments want to track your data during the pandemic.

In their latest update, Apple has revealed some new security features for the new iPad Pro, which were otherwise unavailable on their tablet products. This new feature, which had only been available on Mac devices, now allows for tablets to disconnect the microphone when not in use.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a huge security feature which prevents outside parties from listening in your conversations. In the case that your device has been infected with a threat, the security feature disengages the microphone after the device is closed, so nothing else can be recorded.

If you’re interested in what the new iPad Pro has to offer, you can read more about it here.

People from the state of Georgia can rest easy for the time being, because this time around a different Georgia is the victim of a critical security hack. Georgia, a European country located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, recently suffered a huge data breach, essentially affecting the entire country. Over 4.9 million people have had their information leaked – full names, home addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers, and mobile phone numbers had all been posted on a hacking forum.

While there has been speculation regarding where the information came from, Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) was quick to deny allegations that information had been leaked from them, as much of the data published did not line up with their records.

Though the event is still shrouded in mystery, it raises concern as to how these hackers were able to gain access to this information, especially on such a grand scale! 

Curious? You can learn more about the hack here.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been reporting on the relationship between data privacy and the ongoing spread of COVID-19. Now, as the virus continues to spread, countries are looking at new ways to reduce the spread, with data tracking being at the top of the list.

Using the data from millions of citizens’ cell phones, governments have been using the available information to track the spread of the disease. At first, only countries such as China, Iran, and Israel were tracking their citizens, but recently the UK, America, and other countries have been implementing the same tactic.

Much of the personal source information is omitted from the records, so the government is only able to track an individual’s location – nothing else. The data is apparently only being used to track the movement of the disease, seeing how people are moving around and congregating during the pandemic. 

Although the data tracking is obviously for the greater good, technology groups are penning open letters to government officials, raising awareness to the infringement on individual rights and privacy.

How do you feel about the growing concern surrounding government surveillance? It definitely brings several opinions to light, and can truly be considered a divisive issue, regardless of its impact on the spread of the virus.

You can read up on the ongoing issue here.

That’s all for this week, folks! As usual, we recommend staying on top of your internet safety, as scammers are becoming increasingly active lately, and the last thing you need right now is to be dealing with malware and other threats.