In figures published Tuesday, the internet security firm Cloudflare said it blocked more than 135 billion malicious web requests against advocacy sites, compared to less than 30 million blocked requests against U.S. government websites, such as police and military organizations. The company did not disclose which websites were affected, specifically. “As we’ve often seen in the past, real world protest and violence is usually accompanied by attacks on the internet. This past week has been no exception,” Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince and chief technology officer John Graham-Cumming said in a blog post.
Civil unrest due to the nationwide George Floyd protests drove Twitter to see a record number of new installs this week, according to data from two app store intelligence firms, Apptopia and Sensor Tower. While the firms’ exact findings differed in terms of the total number of new downloads or when records were broken, the firms agreed that Twitter’s app had its largest-ever week, globally. Twitter’s usage is on the rise because of the immediacy around news-sharing its platform provides. This was in particular demand amid the George Floyd protests in the U.S., as protestors used Twitter to share live images and videos of the demonstrations, the fires and looting, instances of police brutality, and more. Meanwhile, non-protestors downloaded the app in order to watch the events unfold directly and get unfiltered, breaking news.
In addition to CVs containing malicious files, Check Point researchers also found an increase in malicious medical leave forms circulating online. The documents, which use names such as “COVID -19 FLMA Center.doc”, infect victims with the IcedID banking malware that targets banks, payment card providers, mobile service providers and e-commerce sites. The aim of this malware is to try and trick users into submitting their credentials on a fake page as well as their authorization details that can be used to compromise user accounts. These malicious files were sent via email with the subject line “The following is a new Employee Request Form for leave within the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)”. To lure victims into opening these forms, cybercriminals sent them from different sender domains like “medical-center.space”.
Facebook is rolling out a new feature that will be a boon to anybody who’s looking to scrub their social media presence squeaky-clean. Called ‘Manage Activity’, the new tool will enable people to easily triage and then hide or delete their old – and undesirable – posts en masse. The feature greatly simplifies the currently painstaking process of purging your Facebook persona of potentially problematic posts.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and state regulators may be investigating Google’s search engine dominance, according to Bloomberg. In an interview, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg said that officials asked him questions about the idea of forcing rival Google to give users search alternatives both on Android and in Chrome. State and federal investigators have been probing Google’s Android dominance, digital advertising and other issues, but since charges have yet to be filed, few details are known. Weinberg’s statement, however, reveal that the US may try to boost competition in search, by far Google’s largest business. As it stands, the company owns around 93 percent of the search market with revenue around $100 billion, while rivals are left to pick up the relative crumbs.
As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech. Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They’re now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.