Security fail

11 Jun 2020
A detailed analysis of Pakistan’s app, which was developed by the Ministry of IT and Telecom and the National Information Technology Board and which offers dashboards for each province and state, self-assessment tools, and popup hygiene reminders, finds a number of security issues. Among them: the
19 May 2020

Security researchers have found seven problems with the NHSx contact tracing app including: weaknesses in registration that could allow attackers to steal encryption keys; storing unencrypted data on handsets; generating a new random ID code only once a day; and design decisions with respect to Bluetooth connections that could enable tracking. These questions are independent of whether the app is centralised or decentralised.

Writer: BBC; Chris Culnane and Vanessa Teague
Publication: BBC; State of IT
 

02 May 2020
A security lapse exposed one of the core databases of the coronavirus self-test symptom checker app launched by India's largest cellphone network, Jio, shortly before the government lockdown began in late March. The database, which had no password protection and contained millions of logs and
11 May 2020
The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh created a COVID-19 dashboard that displayed the names of at least 5,400 quarantined people, their device IDs and names, their OS version, app version codes, current GPS coordinates, and office GPS coordinates. Shortly after the dashboard's existence was posted on
06 May 2020
Shortly after launch, security researcher Baptiste Robert discovered that India's contact tracing app, Aarogya Setu ("Health Bridge"), allows users to spoof their GPS location, find out how many people reported themselves as infected within any 500-metre radius, and mount a triangulation attack to
16 Apr 2020
Moscow's first attempts to introduce digital methods by which residents could obtain digital passes to move around the city failed as the website collapsed numerous times and the app required them to get a pass for every single move rather than only to drive a car, as the government has stated. City
18 May 2020

New BIAS attack works agaisnt Bluetooth devices and firmware from Apple, Broadcom, Cypress, Intel, Samsung, and others.

Academics have disclosed today a new vulnerability in the Bluetooth wireless protocol, broadly used to interconnect modern devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart IoT devices. The vulnerability, codenamed BIAS (Bluetooth Impersonation AttackS), impacts the classic version of the
25 Sep 2017

Mexico is one of the biggest buyers of next-generation surveillance technology. And now data leaked to Forbes indicates it's taken an unprecedented step in becoming the first-known buyer of surveillance technology that silently spies on calls, text messages and locations of any mobile phone user, via a long-vulnerable portion of global telecoms networks known as Signalling System No. 7 (SS7).

The revelation was contained in what an anonymous source close claimed was internal sales information from Israeli provider Ability Inc., which appeared to have sold its Unlimited Interception System (ULIN) to Mexico. With prices ranging between $5 and $20 million, ULIN enables silent, almost-undetectable snooping on cellphones, and all that's required is a telephone number, according to a leaked manual detailed by Forbes in 2016.

It comes at a time when Mexico is wrapped up in a spyware scandal. Researchers found this year that activists, journalists, murder victims' attorneys, and investigators into a mass student disappearance have been targeted by the Pegasus spyware, a creation of $1 billion-valued Israeli firm NSO Group
29 Mar 2020

Saudi Arabia appears to be exploiting weaknesses in the global mobile telecoms network to track its citizens as they travel around the US, according to a whistleblower who has shown the Guardian millions of alleged secret tracking requests.

Data revealed by the whistleblower, who is seeking to expose vulnerabilities in a global messaging system called SS7, appears to suggest a systematic spying campaign by the kingdom, according to experts.

The data suggests that millions of secret tracking requests emanated from Saudi Arabia over a four-month period beginning in November 2019.

The tracking requests, which sought to establish the US location of Saudi–registered phones, appeared to originate from Saudi’s three biggest mobile phone companies.

The whistleblower said they were unable to find any legitimate reason for the high volume of the requests for location information. “There is no other explanation, no other technical reason to do this. Saudi Arabia is weaponising mobile technologies,” the whistleblower claimed. The data leaked by
23 Jul 2018

Bluetooth firmware or operating system software drivers may not sufficiently validate elliptic curve parameters used to generate public keys during a Diffie-Hellman key exchange, which may allow a remote attacker to obtain the encryption key used by the device.

Bluetooth utilizes a device pairing mechanism based on elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) key exchange to allow encrypted communication between devices. The ECDH key pair consists of a private and a public key, and the public keys are exchanged to produce a shared pairing key. The devices must
13 Sep 2017

Questions are being raised again about the security of Bluetooth after researchers uncovered another flaw that could potentially compromise billions of devices.

Armis published details of the Bluetooth vulnerability it is calling ‘Blueborne’. The attack disguises itself as a Bluetooth device and exploits a weaknesses in the protocol to deploy malicious code.

“The BlueBorne attack vector requires no user interaction, is compatible to all software versions, and does not require any preconditions or configurations aside of the Bluetooth being active,” warned the researchers. “Unlike the common misconception, Bluetooth enabled devices are constantly
18 Nov 2019

An engineering and computer science professor and his team from The Ohio State University discovered a design flaw in low-powered Bluetooth devices that leaves them susceptible to hacking.

An engineering and computer science professor and his team from The Ohio State University discovered a design flaw in low-powered Bluetooth devices that leaves them susceptible to hacking. Zhiqiang Lin, associate professor of computer science and engineering at the university, found the commonly
06 Feb 2020

On November 3rd, 2019, [...] a critical vulnerability affecting the Android Bluetooth subsystem [was reported]. This vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2020-0022 and was now patched in the latest security patch from February 2020 .

On November 3rd, 2019, [...] a critical vulnerability affecting the Android Bluetooth subsystem [was reported]. This vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2020-0022 and was now patched in the latest security patch from February 2020. The security impact is as follows: On Android 8.0 to 9.0, a remote

Researchers at the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) have identified a security vulnerability related to encryption on Bluetooth BR/EDR connections.  The researchers identified that it is possible for an attacking device to interfere with the procedure used to set up encryption on a BR/EDR connection between two devices in such a way as to reduce the length of the encryption key used.

Researchers at the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA) have identified a security vulnerability related to encryption on Bluetooth BR/EDR connections. The researchers identified that it is possible for an attacking device to interfere with the procedure used to set up
News & Analysis
Privacy International has joined a global coalition of privacy campaigners, tech companies, and technology experts to respond to proposals by British intelligence chiefs aimed at allowing them access to encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Signal. If implemented, the proposals would allow
20 Feb 2019
In February 2019, an anonymous tip-off to Computer Sweden revealed that a database containing recordings of 170,000 hours of calls made to the Vårdguiden 1177 non-emergency healthcare advice line was left without encryption or password protection on an open web server provided by Voice Integrate
29 Jan 2019
In January 2019 Apple briefly disabled the group functionality in its FaceTime video calling application after bug was discovered that allowed users to listen on the people they were calling when they did not pick up the call and also allowed some callers to see video of the person they were calling
17 Jan 2019
In January 2019 Twitter revealed that it had discovered a security flaw in that meant that Android users who updated the email address linked to their account between November 2014 and January 2019 had inadvertently turned off the "protected" setting on their accounts so that their tweets could have
28 Dec 2018
A November 2018 breach of a government-funded resettlement agency's database in South Korea allowed hackers, believed to be North Korean state security officials, to copy the personal information belonging to 997 North Koreans living in South Korea. Escaping to South Korea is considered an act of
15 Jan 2019
A vulnerability in Amadeus, the customer reservation system used by 144 of the world's airlines, was only superficially patched after a team reported the vulnerability in 2018. As a result, an attacker could alter online strangers' Passenger Name Records, which contain all the details of the
In January 2019, the security researcher Justin Paine discovered that the California-based voice over IP provider Voipo had left exposed an unprotected database containing tens of gigabytes of call logs, other internal documents, and customer text messages, including password resets and two-factor
27 Dec 2018
In December 2018, the security researchers at 0DayAllDay discovered that the encryption keys hard-coded into the firmware inside the Guardzilla indoor wireless security system were protected by a ten-year-old, easily cracked algorithm. Because all the devices used the same keys, anyone could use the
14 Dec 2018
In December 2018 Facebook revealed that over a 12-day period in September a software bug may have wrongly allowed about 1,500 third-party apps to access 6.8 million users' photos, including some that people began uploading to the social network but didn't go on to finish posting. EPIC executive
01 Dec 2018
In December 2018, a hacker made more than 50,000 internet-connected printers worldwide print out flyers asking everyone to subscribe to the YouTube channel belonging to PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg. PewDiePie, who has had the most subscribers on YouTube since 2013, was in danger of
15 Nov 2018
In November 2018, a security researcher found that the location-tracking children's watch MiSafe's Kid Watcher Plus, originally released in 2015, neither encrypted nor secured the children's accounts, allowing him to track their movements, secretly listen in to their activities, and spoof calls to
07 Feb 2019
In February 2019, publicity led the gay dating app Jack'd, which claimed to have more than 5 million users and was ranked among the top four gay social apps on both Apple and Android, to close a security flaw that meant that photos users uploaded to share in private chat sessions were accessible to
04 Apr 2019
The Five Star Movement, a populist party, which is currently in power along with the League in Italy initially grew out of Il Blog delle Stelle (formerly Beppe Grillo’s blog). The Five Star Movement was founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, along with Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist in 2009. As
14 May 2018
In May 2018, Facebook said that as part of its investigation into how Cambridge Analytica had abused personal data on the social network, it had investigated thousands of apps on its platform and suspended about 200 of them. The company said it was investigating further to identify every app that
06 Nov 2018
In November 2018, HSBC announced a serious data breach in its US business between October 4 and 14, when fraudsters used credential stuffing to gain access to detailed account information relating to about 1% of its 1.4 million US customers. HSBC said that in response it had strengthened its login
29 Sep 2018
A flaw in the official 2018 UK Conservative Party conference app granted both read and write access to the private data of senior party members, including cabinet ministers, to anyone who logged in by second-guessing the email address they used to sign into the app. Twitter users claimed that one
29 Mar 2018
In March 2018, Indian Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the Naramendra Modi app issued by India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was leaking user data. The app is intended to spearhead BJP's social media strategy in the run-up to the 2019 general elections; the party hopes to use it to
22 Aug 2018
In August 2018, the US Democratic National Committee notified the FBI that the San Francisco-based security company Lookout and the cloud service provider DigitalOcean had detected an attempted hack targeted at the DNC voter database. The attack took the form of a fake DNC login page intended to
17 Jul 2018
In July 2018, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), long the top US manufacturer of voter machines, admitted in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) that it had installed pcAnywhere remote access software and modems on a number of the election management systems it had sold between 2000 and 2006
26 Sep 2018
A combination of entrenched and litigious voting machine manufacturers with immense control over their proprietary software and a highly complex and fragmented voting infrastructure mean that even though concerns were raised as early as 2004 about the security of US voting machines, the 2018 midterm
21 Nov 2017
Following a 2016 hack including names, emails, adresses, and phone numbers of 57 millions Uber users and drivers, the company has paid 100,000 USD to hackers hoping that the data collected would be deleted. This decision was in line with Uber's strategy to try to keep the breach quiet while limiting
27 Jun 2018
In June 2018, security researcher Vinny Troia discovered that the Florida-based data broker Exactis had exposed a comprehensive database containing nearly 340 million individual records on a publicly accessible server. The 2TB of data appeared to include detailed information on millions of
06 Jul 2018
Between May 18 and May 22, a bug in Facebook's system changed the settings on 14 million users' accounts so that newly posted updates they thought were private might have been made public instead. The company attributed the error to a mistake made in redesigning how the public parts of user profiles
20 May 2018
In May 2018, UK-based security researcher Robert Wiggins discovered that the mobile app TeenSafe, marketed as a secure app for iOS and Android, was storing data it collected on servers hosted on Amazon's cloud without a password and openly accessible. The app lets parents monitor their children's
22 Aug 2018
The 2017 hack of the shipping company A.P. Møller-Maersk, which manages 800 seafaring vessels and 76 ports that handle nearly a fifth of the world's shipping capacity, required an emergency shutdown of the company's entire IT system, including its phones. Maersk was a victim of NotPetya, the most
10 May 2018
In May 2018, researchers in the US and China demonstrated that they could send commands that activate Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant but that are inaudible to the human ear. The researchers were able to make smartphones and smart speakers dial phone numbers and open websites; the
12 Oct 2018
In October 2018, the app that supports the burglar alarm functions of Yale's "smart" locks and burglar alarms was disabled for 24 hours after an "unforeseen issue while carrying out unplanned network maintenance". Customers complained that they were unable to open or lock doors or disarm alarms, and
08 Oct 2018
Google announced on October 8 having discovered a vulnerability in the Google+ API which has been open since 2015. This vulnerability allowed third-party developers to access data for more than 500,000 users, including their usernames, email addresses, occupation, date of birth, profile photos, and
23 Aug 2018
Facebook-owned Onavo VPN (adertised as a way to block harmful websites, and keep a user's data safe) is pulled from the Apple App Store due to tracking, collecting, and analysing customers' usage data, including from other unrelated apps. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/facebook-violates
28 Sep 2018
30 million users had their accounts breached, with a total of 90 million accounts reset after Facebook's "view as" feature leaked unique user account access tokens, allowing attackers to not only trivially impersonate any other user on the platform, but also to potentially automate the attack on a
17 Nov 2017
There has been the spread of the linking of the patient identity cards of HIV positive patients, pushed for by the National Aids Control Organisation. While it is not compulsory, in November 2017 it was reported that some patients reported that they were denied treatment until they gave their
23 Mar 2018
In March 2018, a security researcher discovered that the state-owned utility company Indane had access to the Aadhaar database via an API, but they did not secure this way of entry. As a result, anybody was able to use this service to access details on the Aadhaar database about any Aadhaar number
16 Dec 2017
In December 2017, it was revealed that the large telco Bharti Airtel made use of Aadhaar-linked eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) to open bank accounts for their customers without their knowledge or consent. eKYC is a way of using data in the UIDAI database as part of the verification process
04 Jan 2018
In January 2018, journalists found that, for 500 rupees (around $7USD), they were able to buy on WhatsApp access to a gateway that allowed them to access the personal details connected to any of the entries on the Aadhaar database - by entering any Aadhaar number, they could see details like the
11 Sep 2018
In September 2018, a software patch was found by journalists to be widely available, that disabled or weakened the security features in the software used to enroll people on the Aadhaar databse, potentially from anywhere in the world. The patch was reportedly widely-available in WhatsApp groups
04 Dec 2017
The French data protection regulator, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has issued a formal notice to Genesis Industries Limited, the maker of the connected toys My Friend Cayla and I-QUE. Genesis has two months to bring the toys into compliance with data protection
11 Apr 2016
In March 2016, a hacker group identifying itself as Anonymous Philippines defaced the website of the Philippine Commission on the Elections (Comelec), leaving a message that accused Comelec of not doing enough to secure the voting machines due to be used in the general election the following month
25 Sep 2015
In a 2015 study of 79 apps listed in NHS England's Health Apps Library, which tests programs to ensure they meet standards of clinical and data safety, researchers at Imperial College London discovered that 70 of them sent personal data to associated online services and 23 sent that data without
13 Oct 2015
In 2015, a data leak apparently linked to the new Uber partner app exposed the personal information of hundreds of drivers, including their Social Security numbers, scanned drivers' licences, tax forms, and other documents. The information was likely to have been available for at least a few hours
02 Dec 2016
For a period between the end of October and November 3 2016 the heating and hot water systems in two buildings in the city of Lappeenranta, Finland were knocked out by a distributed denial of service attack designed to make the systems fail. The systems responded by repeatedly rebooting the main
30 Aug 2018
The payday lender Wonga announced in April 2017 that a data breach at the company affected an estimated 270,000 customers, 245,000 of them in the UK and the rest in Poland. The company sent those it thought were affected messages warning that it believed there may have been illegal and unauthorised