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InfoSec News Nuggets 7/17/2020

Mozilla project exposes YouTube’s recommendation ‘bubbles’

We’ve all seen social media posts from our climate change-denying cousin or ultra-liberal college friend, and have wondered how they came to certain conclusions. Mozilla’s new project, “TheirTube,” created by Amsterdam-based designer Tomo Kihara, is offering a glance at theoretical YouTube homepages for users in six different categories. Those personas include: fruitarian, doomsday prepper, liberal, conservative, conspiracist and climate denier.  Through these different personas, Mozilla hopes to demonstrate how YouTube’s recommendation algorithm could confirm certain biases.


Couple arrested for laundering over $400,000 on behalf of India-based phone scammers

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Criminal India-based call centers defraud U.S. residents, including the elderly, by misleading victims over the telephone utilizing scams such as Social Security and tech support scams. As part of their Social Security scam, India-based callers pose as federal agents in order to mislead victims into believing their Social Security numbers were involved in crimes.  Callers threatened arrest and the loss of the victims’ assets if the victims did not send money.  The callers directed victims to mail cash to aliases used by other members of the fraud network, including Patel and Dave.


Twitter: No evidence hackers accessed user passwords

In an update to its ongoing investigation into yesterday’s massive hack, Twitter said it found no evidence that hackers had gained access to user passwords. As a result of this finding, the social network does not plan to reset any user passwords going forward as a result of yesterday’s incident when intruders broke into hundreds of high-profile accounts to promote a Bitcoin scam. Twitter said the hack took place after a third-party group executed “a coordinated social engineering attack” against its employees to gain access to its backend and used internal tools to send out tweets on behalf of verified high-user-count profiles.



Researchers from the University of Washington have developed tiny backpacks for beetles so they can film their surroundings. Miniature cameras, which stream to a linked smartphone, gives researchers insights into the lives of the creatures. It has a range of 120 meters, a little longer than a football pitch. “We have created a low-power, low-weight, wireless camera system that can capture a first-person view of what’s happening from an actual live insect or create vision for small robots,” said Shyam Gollakota, UW associate professor of Computer Science & Engineering and senior author of the study published based on these results.


T-Mobile, Metro customers: Get free scam blocking call protection now

T-Mobile announced ScamShield this week, an extension of its existing service that reveals spam calls and helps block robocalls. It will come free to all T-Mobile, Sprint and Metro by T-Mobile customers. This is a service that carriers, including T-Mobile, previously charged for. Starting July 24, you’ll be able to access an entire suite of options through the ScamShield app you can download on your phone — and through the Call Screener app for Sprint customers. But you don’t have to wait until then to get some of T-Mobile’s promised protection. T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers can now dial #662# to turn on a layer of the software, known as Scam Block. The idea is that unwanted calls are prevented from ever ringing your phone.


Top E.U. court ruling throws transatlantic digital commerce into disarray over privacy concerns

The European Union’s top court on Thursday threw a large portion of transatlantic digital commerce into disarray, ruling that data of E.U. residents is not sufficiently protected from government surveillance when it is transferred to the United States. The ruling was likely to increase transatlantic tensions at a moment when President Trump has already been threatening tariffs and retaliation against the E.U. for what he says are unfair business practices. It was a victory for privacy advocates, who said that E.U. citizens are not as protected when their information is transferred to U.S. servers as when that information stays inside Europe. The European Court of Justice ruled that a commonly used data protection agreement known as Privacy Shield did not adequately uphold E.U. privacy law.


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