By continuing to use the site or forum, you agree to the use of cookies, find out more by reading our GDPR policy

The issue with Huawei as a "threat" to security is code language. Huawei IS a threat, but only to the security of other telecoms in the West because the Chinese got to a viable 5G network before anyone else did. In a recent piece about the politicization of news concerning the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, some of our readers on made interesting comments that actually help one to connect the dots and see more clearly just how invasive the US government thinks it can be in terms of one’s personal privacy. The comments in question (slightly redacted for conciseness here), said the following: “Huawei categorically will NOT put back doors in their hardware for the NSA and other alphabet agencies to use to spy on all of us. That is the REAL reason.” “The [effort] to demonize Chinese companies, especially the two biggest and best Chinese tech companies, has two [purposes]: one is to use their plight as leverage in the ongoing trade negotiations; the other is the US desire to destroy the Chinese economy so China would have to submit under US hegemony. [Looking] at the spying accusations with a bit more common sense: what would China want to do with this flood of useless information? Contrary to the NSA who justifies its $85bn yearly budget by compiling a file on every person in the world and especially in the US to prevent terrorism, China spies only in directed ways. The terrorism the NSA is afraid of is not ISIS type terrorism from outside and it hasn’t prevented any of these attacks. What the NSA and the US government are afraid of is revolt by organized citizens. Hence the surveillance and scrutiny of activists and any organized group of people. China has no use for such data from the US and given a smaller budget, uses it to keep order in China and elsewhere by spying when other signs indicate a problem could be brewing. Dragnets are the specialty of US [spycraft].

If you use Office 365's webmail interface to prevent email recipients from seeing your local IP address, you are out of luck. When sending email through Office 365, your local IP address will be injected into the message as an extra mail header. Operating a web site and focusing on infosec related topics has made me a paranoid person.  This leads me to send replies to stranger's emails via webmail so I do not expose my local IP address for security and to protect my privacy. It turns out that if you have been using the Office 365 webmail interface to hide your IP address, you are not hiding anything. When sending an email via Office 365, the service will inject an additional mail header into the email called x-originating-ip that contains the  IP address of the connecting client, which in this case is your local IP address. BleepingComputer tested the webmail interfaces for Gmail, Yahoo, AOL,, and Office 365. None of the webmail interfaces other than Office 365 injected the user's local IP address, which is what most have come to expect when using webmail. If you are using Office 365's webmail interface and wish to keep your local IP address private, at this point you will need to connect to the webmail using a VPN or Tor. This will cause the services' IP address to be injected into the email rather than your local one. According to responses in Microsoft answers forums, Microsoft removed the x-originating-ip header field in 2013 from Hotmail to offer their users more security and privacy. For Office 365, who caters to the enterprise, this header was intentionally left in so that admins could search for email that has been sent to their organization from a particular IP address. This is especially useful for finding the location of a sender in the event an account has been hacked. More complete details can be found on OUR FORUM.

Facebook’s Messenger Kids app is built around a simple premise: children shouldn’t be able to talk to users who haven’t been approved by their parents. But a design flaw allowed users to sidestep that protection through the group chat system, allowing children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers. For the past week, Facebook has been quietly closing down those group chats and alerting users, but has not made any public statements disclosing the issue. The alert, which was obtained by The Verge. Facebook confirmed to The Verge that the message was authentic, and said the alert had been sent to thousands of users in recent days. “We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” a Facebook representative said. “We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety.” The bug arose from the way Messenger Kids’ unique permissions were applied in group chats. In a standard one-on-one chat, children can only initiate conversations with users who have been approved by the child’s parents. But those permissions became more complex when applied to a group chat because of the multiple users involved. Whoever launched the group could invite any user who was authorized to chat with them, even if that user wasn’t authorized to chat with the other children in the group. As a result, thousands of children were left in chats with unauthorized users, a violation of the core promise of Messenger Kids. Learn more by visiting OUR FORUM.

Microsoft says that several changes designed to make Office 365 licensing technology more reliable for subscription-based Office clients will be rolled out during August. Office 365 is part of the Microsoft 365 software offer which also bundles Windows 10 and EMS (short for Enterprise Mobility + Security), a bundle that provides customers with an easy way of enjoying a simple to manage and secure online productivity platform in Microsoft's vision. "In August, we’ll start slowly rolling out these changes to commercial customers on Monthly Channel. The roll-out will continue to Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) in September, and Semi-Annual Channel in January 2020," says Microsoft. While the Office activation and licensing changes will affect both users and admins who manage Office 365 devices, the activation process will not be changed in its entirety. More to the point, Office users will still have to activate their installation by sign-in in on their devices, with the software to automatically detect their credentials and activate itself if single sign-on is enabled. Also, Office users can still deploy and activate Office 365 apps on up to five desktop devices, five smartphones, and five tablets as part of their Office 365 subscription. The changes Microsoft will start rolling out during August are designed to remove prompts when deactivating Office installations, as well as automatically sign out users when the sign-in limit is reached. This new groups expiration policy will allow all Office 365 admins to improve their groups' lifecycle management once it reaches public preview by making sure that active groups are not haphazardly removed and data is irremediably lost. Learn more by visiting OUR FORUM.

An Israeli cybersecurity company has developed spyware that can scrape data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft products, according to The Financial Times. The report says NSO Group’s proprietary smartphone malware, Pegasus, harvests not only data stored on a device but also any information stored in the cloud, including a user’s location data, archived messages, and photos. NSO Group, who previously installed the malware in Facebook’s WhatsApp, denied that it markets software capable of capturing data in the cloud. It’s unclear if it has developed the tools internally. “The Financial Times got it wrong. NSO’s products do not provide the type of collection capabilities and access to cloud applications, services, or infrastructure suggested in this article,” the company told CNBC in a statement. “Increasingly sophisticated terrorists and criminals are taking advantage of encrypted technologies to plan and conceal their crimes, leaving intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the dark and putting public safety and national security at risk. NSO’s lawful interception products are designed to confront this challenge.” NSO Group says it has a screening process for clients and only sells to responsible governments for facilitating terrorism or criminal investigations. In May, WhatsApp said a flaw in the messenger service could allow NSO Group software to be downloaded to phones through a simple phone call and to monitor calls made through the service. The Facebook-owned application put a patch in place to fix the problem. Follow this thread on OUR FORUM.

A contractor for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has been hacked and secret projects that were being developed for the intelligence agency were leaked to Russian Media. These projects detail Russia's attempt to de-anonymize users on the Tor network, collect data from social networks, and how to isolate the Russian portion of the Internet from the rest of the world. On July 13th, 2019, a contractor for the Russia FSB named "Sytech" was claimed to be hacked by a hacking group named 0v1ru$. As part of this hack, the group defaced the contactor's site to show an image of "Yoba-face", which they posted an image of on their Twitter feed. In addition, BBC Russia reports that the hackers stole 7.5TB of data from the contractor's network. This data includes information about numerous non-public projects that were being developed by Sytech on behalf of the Russian government and its intelligence agency. To prove they gained access to Sytech's servers, 0v1ru$ posted images of internal pages of Sytech's web site and of server drives and users in their Windows domain controller. This stolen data was then passed on to another hacking group named DigitalRevolution, who shared the data with Russian media.  Digital Revolution claimed to have hacked the Russian research institute "Kvant" in 2018. The stolen data seen by BBC Russia outlines a variety of projects being developed by Sytech. For more turn your attention to OUR FORUM.