CyberSecurity Pulse 2016-04-21
|"The eyes are useless to a blind brain."|
Google Policies Regarding Android Questioned in the EU
The dominant position exercised by Microsoft regarding the inclusion of the Internet Explorer web browser within its Windows Operating System was in question to the extent that the Company would be finally condemned in December 2009 because of this reason. Amongst the reasons argued by the European Comission to justify the actions taken and to support Opera Software's claim which stated that these practices harmed consumers by not allowing them to obtain the Operating System without the browser.
This week, the European Comission has acused the Alphabet's subsidiary of forcing manufacturers and technology companies to add Google-sponsored applications into their Android smartphones, denying consumers "a wider choice of mobile applications and services" that goes against the innovation of other industry players and competition law at European level according to the Comission. Although the cases are not identical, the background itself is, at least, comparable to the point that most of the reasons used in 2009 against Microsoft are still valid to criticize the own Google nowadays. In fact, Replicant and CyanogenMod projects have worked in recent years so as to provide free alternatives based on Android in spite of the obstacles brought by Google in early stages of development. Without becoming necessarily a precedent, the browsers case ended with the Microsoft commitment (by the way, expired in December 2014), of offering Windows users the chance of installing alternative browsers by showing a specific screen. We will see how the situation evolves, but the fact of having enough elements to decide with minimal criteria which applications we want to run in our own systems is always a cause for celebration.
Brussels Terrorists Considered Bombing UK, According to File Found on His Laptop
One of the Brussels suicide bombers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, was also considering an attack against the UK. The intelligence source says that there was a file on his laptop that discusses the possibility of hitting La Défense region of Paris and the French group Civitas. Another French media reports that investigators possess a conversation where the UK is mentioned, but they decided that the country is "too complicated to strike, that Belgium should remain their operational base and so they should hit France". In other cases, attacks were orchestrated via prepaid burner phones, so we must consider whether the war against encryption is enough to cover the gaps left by other mechanisms for obtaining information.
How Hacking Team Got Hacked
On Friday, the self-described hacker who claimed responsibility for the Hacking Team dump last year and who goes by the handle "Phineas Phisher" published the technical details of how others can follow his example. Private intelligence contractor Hacking Team develops and sells hacking tools to governments around the world, a practice that many have questioned as enabling human rights violations. In this regard, "Hacking Team was a company that helped governments hack and spy on journalists, activists, political opposition, and other threats to their power", Phisher wrote.
Rest of the Week´s News
SS7 Still Vulnerable More Than a Year After Hack First Reported
A CBS report demonstrated how security researchers were able to record and track a congressman with the mere knowledge of his phone number. They claim to have used a bug that has been known for years in the SS7 protocol.
Canadian Police Obtained Master Key to Crack BlackBerry Messenger Encryption
BlackBerry has long been known for its stance on mobile security, as it was the first mobile phone maker to provide end-to-end encryption. But a new report revealed by Vice News that the company has provided a master backdoor to law enforcement in its secure devices since 2010.
Anonymous Presented OnionIRC, a Chat Service on Tor
Anonymous, the most popular collective of hacktivists, has announced a new chatroom dedicated to teaching its sympathizers hacking, coding techniques and encryption mechanisms. OnionIRC is hosted on the TorNetwork and is a new reference for those who want to get in touch with other hacktivists as well as other Anonymous members.