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InfoSec News Nuggets 7/14/2020

The real reason Apple is warning users about MacBook camera covers

Earlier this month, Apple published a support document that warned MacBook owners against closing their laptop with a camera cover fitted. And just as with the whole wearing masks in public debate, there are some people who don’t like being told what to do, even it is for their own good. First off, some clarity. Apple didn’t say, “don’t use a camera cover.” Apple clearly said, ” don’t close your MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro with a cover over the camera.” Apple even went on to clarify the issue: “If you close your Mac notebook with a camera cover installed, you might damage your display because the clearance between the display and keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances. Covering the built-in camera might also interfere with the ambient light sensor and prevent features like automatic brightness and True Tone from working.”


Hacker breaches security firm in act of revenge

A hacker claims to have breached the backend servers belonging to a US cyber-security firm and stolen information from the company’s “data leak detection” service. The hacker says the stolen data includes more than 8,200 databases containing the information of billions of users that leaked from other companies during past security breaches. The databases have been collected inside DataViper, a data leak monitoring service managed by Vinny Troia, the security researcher behind Night Lion Security, a US-based cyber-security firm. A data leak monitoring service is a common type of service offered by cyber-security firms. Security companies scan the dark web, hacking forums, paste sites, and other locations to collect information about companies that had their data leaked online.


Facebook Mulls Political-Ad Blackout Ahead of U.S. Election

The potential ban is still only being discussed and hasn’t yet been finalized, said the people, who asked not to be named talking about internal policies. A halt on ads could defend against misleading election-related content spreading as people prepare to vote. Still, there are concerns that an ad blackout may hurt “get out the vote” campaigns, or limit a candidate’s ability to respond widely to breaking news or new information. This would be a big change for Facebook, which has so far stuck to a policy of not fact-checking ads from politicians or their campaigns. That’s prompted criticism from lawmakers and advocates, who say the policy means ads on the platform can be used to spread lies and misinformation.


CBP says it’s ‘unrealistic’ for Americans to avoid its license plate surveillance

U.S. Customs and Border Protection  has admitted that there is no practical way for Americans to avoid having their movements tracked by its license plate readers, according to its latest privacy assessment. CBP published its new assessment — three years after its first — to notify the public that it plans to tap into a commercial database, which aggregates license plate data from both private and public sources, as part of its border enforcement efforts. The U.S. has a massive network of license plate readers, typically found on the roadside, to collect and record the license plates of vehicles passing by. License plate readers can capture thousands of license plates each minute. License plates are recorded and stored in massive databases, giving police and law enforcement agencies the ability to track millions of vehicles across the country.


Backed by Google, Heroes Health app tracks mental wellbeing of frontline workers

Researchers and clinicians enlisted Google’s help to build a mobile app that helps frontline health care workers monitor their mental wellbeing and seek help if indicated. Heroes Health is available to download now for iOS and Android. While depression and anxiety were already common among frontline workers prior to COVID-19, numerous reports have shone a light on growing mental anguish across the health care workforce during the global pandemic, with increased workload, lack of safety equipment, and exposure to traumatizing events taking their toll. Heroes Health was the brainchild of Dr. Sam McLean, an emergency room physician at the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) School of Medicine. 


Experts Predict Rise of Data Theft in Ransomware Attacks

ID Ransomware received 100,001 submissions related to attacks by ransomware groups that targeted public- and private-sector organizations between Jan. 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020. Of these submissions, 11,642 were linked to attacks by groups that overtly steal data, report Emsisoft researchers, who sought to learn how common “exfiltration and encryption” attacks are. Businesses that would suffer the greatest harm from information exposure, and are most likely to pay to prevent it, are attractive targets for these attacks. The legal, healthcare, and financial industries are hardest hit, and they pay far more than the cost of avoiding exposure.

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