Hey there, FixMeFans and StartMeStars! We’re back with another edition of our weekly roundup where we deliver the most recent comings and goings of the cybersecurity world.
This week we’re dealing with a hacked Android app that hijacked millions of devices, how an unidentified hacker managed to modify drinking water in a Florida city, and how Clearview AI Surveillance has been ruled illegal in Canada.
A lot of people are worried about running into viruses while using their smartphones. While it’s fairly rare to encounter viruses on your iPhone, it’s a different story for Android users. Because of how Google’s Play Atore is designed, it’s fairly easy to come into contact with a malicious app.
Just the other day, a popular barcode scanner app on the Google Play Store transformed into malware and was able to hijack up to 10 million devices. According to Malwarebytes, users of Lavabird Ltd.’s Barcode Scanner app began encountering increasingly aggressive ads, pop-ups, and notifications while using their phone. While this sort of activity is typically linked to malware, all signs pointed to the Barcode Scanner app.
According to the report, the app had recently went through an update which opted to push advertising without warning. While this may be okay in small doses, the extent of these ads raised a lot of red flags and eventually caused Google to pull the app from its store.
Curious? You can read more about the app here.
On Friday, February 5th an unidentified hacker was able to access the computer systems for a water treatment facility in the city of Oldsmar, Florida, and managed to modify chemical levels to dangerous levels.
The hacker initially accessed the system early Friday morning, and then a second time in the afternoon. The second intrusion was caught by an operator who was monitoring the system, who saw the hacker’s mouse move around the screen to change chemical levels in the water.
The hacker ended up changing the sodium hydroxide percentages to dangerous levels, though the change was caught before any tainted water could reach residents.
Want to learn more? You can read about the situation here.
If you’re Canadian and worried about surveillance programs, then we’ve got good news for you!
Just recently, Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner has ruled that the use of Clearview’s AI surveillance technology is illegal. It is demanding that it stop offering its services within the country. For those unfamiliar, Clearview’s AI surveillance allows various law enforcement agencies to match photographs of unknown people against the company’s database of more than three billion images.
The photos are typically scraped from various sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Even though all of these social media sites have sent cease and desist letters to demand that Clearview stop the practice. Although Clearview AI is already banned in Canada, they are still able to use photos from Canadian citizens, an act which the company still defends.
Want to know about more Clearview AI? Click here to find out more.
That’s all for this week’s roundup folks! We hope you’re staying safe with all that’s going on, especially when it comes to your cybersecurity!