cybersecurity

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Start taking your online privacy seriously with a subscription to NordVPN

Start taking your online privacy seriously with a subscription to NordVPN

SAVE 68%: A two-year subscription to NordVPN is on sale for £2.74 per month as of April 11, saving you 68% on list price.


Your data is valuable stuff, and it’s up to you to protect it from hackers, cybercriminals, and surveillance software. Fortunately, VPNs can secure all of your sensitive information by creating an encrypted tunnel for your traffic to pass through. It’s honestly not as complicated as it sounds.

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs when it comes to security, with a wide range of advanced features like split tunnelling support, malware protection, and a kill switch. It’s this sort of advanced protection that you should always prioritise when selecting a VPN. Read more…

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A 2-year subscription to this powerful VPN is on sale for 78% off

A 2-year subscription to this powerful VPN is on sale for 78% off

SAVE 78%: A two-year subscription to Private Internet Access is on sale for £2.19 per month, and includes an extra two months for free.


Private Internet Access is not the best looking security service out there. ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN have much more attractive interfaces, and Surfshark’s website is from another world.

This doesn’t really matter though, because Private Internet Access delivers where it counts. It’s a seriously powerful option that offers good connection speeds, strong encryption, and a massive network of servers that really helps with unlocking streaming sites.

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Unlock your favourite streaming sites for free with PureVPN

Unlock your favourite streaming sites for free with PureVPN

SAVE 47%: PureVPN is offering a seven-day free trial that can renew at £51.09 for a one-year subscription, saving you 47% on list price.


The search for a free VPN can be disheartening. Sure, there are plenty of options, but almost all of these come with limited features and restrictions on things like connection speed and bandwidth. 

PureVPN doesn’t offer a strictly free service, but it does offer a seven-day free trial with complete access to everything it offers. This should give you plenty of time to test it out, and consider whether you want to continue with the service.

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Save 85% on CyberGhost VPN’s most advanced cybersecurity package

Save 85% on CyberGhost VPN's most advanced cybersecurity package

SAVE 85%: A one-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN Extra is on sale for £42 per year, saving you 85% on list price.


Investing in a VPN is an effective way of boosting your cybersecurity, but nowadays some users require a more complete protective package. CyberGhost VPN has responded to this need by launching CyberGhost VPN Extra.

This is CyberGhost VPN’s most advanced cybersecurity package, with identity protection, browser provacy, NoSpy servers, encryption for the cloud, antivirus, security updates, password management, and much more. It’s a seriously comprehensive package for your online world. Read more…

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Watch shows and movies from around the world with this speedy VPN

Watch shows and movies from around the world with this speedy VPN

SAVE 81%: A two-year subscription to Surfshark is on sale for £1.79 per month as of March 12, saving you 81% on list price.


Have you ever thought about the fact that even though you can be subscribed to a streaming service, some shows and movies will still be unavailable to watch in your location? Seems a little unfair, doesn’t it?

Don’t get upset, because you can bypass these online restrictions with a VPN. These security tools hide your real IP address and connect you to a server in another country, so you can trick your favourite streaming sites into thinking you are based somewhere else.  Read more…

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This seriously powerful VPN is extending subscriptions for free

This seriously powerful VPN is extending subscriptions for free

SAVE 78%: A two-year subscription to Private Internet Access is on sale for £2.19 per month as of March 9, and includes an extra two months for free.


Private Internet Access is not the best looking service out there. Its site is a little messy in comparison to some of the other leading options, and its interface is kind of clunky, but none of that really matters.

Private Internet Access prioritises performance and power over aesthetics, with a wide range of impressive features that is tough to beat. Subscribers get an absolutely massive network of servers, fast connection speeds, email breach monitoring, and much more. Read more…

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Indian state government website exposed COVID-19 lab test results

A security flaw in a website run by the government of West Bengal in India exposed the lab results of at least hundreds of thousands of residents, though likely millions, who took a COVID-19 test.

The website is part of the West Bengal government’s mass coronavirus testing program. Once a COVID-19 test result is ready, the government sends a text message to the patient with a link to its website containing their test results.

But security researcher Sourajeet Majumder found that the link containing the patient’s unique test identification number was scrambled with base64 encoding, which can be easily converted using online tools. Because the identification numbers were incrementally sequenced, the website bug meant that anyone could change that number in their browser’s address bar and view other patients’ test results.

The test results contain the patient’s name, sex, age, postal address, and if the patient’s lab test result came back positive, negative, or inconclusive for COVID-19.

Majumder told TechCrunch that he was concerned a malicious attacker could scrape the site and sell the data. “This is a privacy violation if somebody else gets access to my private information,” he said.

Two COVID-19 lab test results, but with details redacted, to show what kind of data has been exposed.

Two redacted COVID-19 lab test results exposed as a result of a security vulnerability on the West Bengal government’s website. (Screenshot: TechCrunch)

Majumder reported the vulnerability to India’s CERT, the country’s dedicated cybersecurity response unit, which acknowledged the issue in an email. He also contacted the West Bengal government’s website manager, who did not respond. TechCrunch independently confirmed the vulnerability and also reached out to the West Bengal government, which pulled the website offline, but did not return our requests for comment.

TechCrunch held our report until the vulnerability was fixed or no longer presented a risk. At the time of publication, the affected website remains offline.

It’s not known exactly how many COVID-19 lab results were exposed because of this security lapse, or if anyone other than Majumder discovered the vulnerability. At the time the website was pulled offline at the end of February, the state government had tested more than 8.5 million residents for COVID-19.

West Bengal is one of the most populated states of India, with about 90 million residents. Since the start of the pandemic, the state government has recorded more than 10,000 coronavirus deaths.

It’s the latest of several security incidents in the past few months to hit India and its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last May, India’s largest cell network Jio admitted a security lapse after a security researcher found a database containing the company’s coronavirus symptom checker, which Jio had launched months earlier.

In October, a security researcher found Dr Lal PathLabs left hundreds of spreadsheets containing millions of patient booking records — including for COVID-19 tests — on a public storage server that was not protected with a password, allowing anyone to access sensitive patient data.


Send tips securely over Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849. You can also send files or documents using SecureDrop.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by saving on your cybersecurity

Celebrate Valentine's Day by saving on your cybersecurity

SAVE 82%: A three-year subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £1.99 per month as of Feb. 14, and includes an extra three months for free.


Valentine’s Day is all about cards, flowers, and chocolates, and it’s all very romantic. But you know what is more romantic that all of that? Cybersecurity, that’s what.

Nothing says “I love you” like protection for your online data and identity, and nothing does this job like a VPN. These security services hide your real IP address and encrypt all of your traffic, meaning you can stay anonymous online and bypass geo-restrictions to stream more content. Read more…

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Save 78% on a 2-year subscription to this powerful VPN

Save 78% on a 2-year subscription to this powerful VPN

SAVE 78%: A two-year subscription to Private Internet Access is on sale for £2.19 per month as of Feb. 2, and includes an extra two months for free.


VPNs promise a lot these days, but what if you’re simply looking for a robust service that does the basics very well? If you want a VPN with an intuitive interface, multiple simultaneous connections, fast connection speeds, and powerful encryption, look no further than Private Internet Access.

Private Internet Access is a solid option for anyone looking for a no-frills VPN that doesn’t offer much beyond VPN protection. It’s one of the best services for security, speed, and servers network, which is what matters. Read more…

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Start browsing privately with the help of an unlimited subscription to TunnelBear

Start browsing privately with the help of an unlimited subscription to TunnelBear

TSAVE 67%: A three-year subscription to TunnelBear is on sale for £2.43 per month as of Jan. 21, saving you 67% on list price.


If you’ve ever considered downloading a VPN, you’ve probably come across TunnelBear. It’s one of the few services that offers a genuinely free plan, and for that reason it’s one of the most popular options for boosting online security.

The free plan is a solid option, but you really should consider upgrading to an unlimited plan if you want to browse, shop, and stream securely. An unlimited plan provides users with apps for every device, five simultaneous connections, fast speeds, and AES 256-bit encryption. Unlike the free version, there are no data limits. Read more…

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Secure an unlimited number of devices for under £2 a month with Surfshark

Secure an unlimited number of devices for under £2 a month with Surfshark

SAVE 81%: A two-year subscription to Surfshark is on sale for £1.83 per month as of Jan. 9, saving you 81% on list price.


At this point we’re pretty used to comparing the features offered by leading VPNs, so it’s rare that we’re surprised. With that said, Surfshark’s offering stands out from the crowd. It’s seriously impressive, and you could have it all for less than £2 per month.

Surfshark is packed full of helpful features for boosting your digital security and bypassing geo-restrictions. Users get unlimited and fast content delivery, around the clock customer service, AES-256-GCM encryption, and much more. You can also connect an unlimited number of devices to Surfshark under the same account. Read more…

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Protect everyone in your home for under £2 a month with Private Internet Access

Protect everyone in your home for under £2 a month with Private Internet Access

SAVE 82%: A three-year subscription to Private Internet Access is on sale for £1.81 per month as of Jan. 8, and includes a free cloud security license.


Have you ever taken the time to actually go through all the VPNs out there, and compare all of the features on offer? We have, and honestly, we wouldn’t recommend it. There is a lot to take in, and every service tends to offer much of the same. It can be tricky distinguishing one option from another, and sometimes it comes down to small margins.

Something that sets Private Internet Access apart from the competition is the number of multi-logins it offers. Subscribers can connect 10 devices simultaneously under the same plan, meaning you can protect everyone in your home with Private Internet Access. Read more…

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Kickstart a career in IT with this certification training bundle

Kickstart a career in IT with this certification training bundle

TL;DR: The Ultimate Cybersecurity and IT Career Certification Pathway Training Bundle is on sale for £25.76 as of Dec. 26, saving you 97% on list price.


As the majority of the world migrates from physical offices to virtual ones, companies depend on IT professionals to help employees communicate, collaborate, and automate routine tasks. They provide teams with the functionality and security needed to actually do their jobs — plain and simple. So it comes as no surprise that in the next 10 years, an estimated 531,200 new IT jobs will be added to the workforce.

If you’re looking to join these computer superheroes in keeping the workforce afloat, you’ll need to have some certifications and skills under your belt. This IT career training from experts David Bombal and Total Seminars can help.  Read more…

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Save 94% on a lifetime subscription to this privacy and security bundle

Save 94% on a lifetime subscription to this privacy and security bundle

TL;DR: The Internet Privacy and Security Lifetime Subscription Bundle is on sale for £65.53 as of Dec. 24, saving you 94% on list price.


Computer and internet security are no joke and shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

If you haven’t invested in some precautions yet, consider stepping up your safety with this privacy and security subscription bundle.

Featuring VPN, cloud storage, password manager, planner, and ad blocking subscriptions, this bundle will have you covered from multiple angles. You’ll get a lifetime subscription to Ivacy VPN, a lifetime subscription to Password Boss, a lifetime subscription to cloud storage service Thunder Drive (you’ll get 500 GB of storage), and a lifetime subscription to the project planning app Timelinr.  Read more…

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Access over 65 cybersecurity courses for under £25

Access over 65 cybersecurity courses for under £25

TL;DR: The Master Cyber Security 65+ Course Certification Bundle is on sale for £22.39 as of Dec. 16, saving you 98% on list price.


If you want to learn more about the cybersecurity field, the Master Cyber Security 65+ Course Certification Bundle can help you get your foot in the door.

Developed by LearnNow (LNO), an online learning platform for IT and software development skills, this collection includes over 65 lessons to equip you with the cybersecurity skills that matter most today — CompTIA, CISSP, OWASP, CISM, and more.

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Enjoy unrestricted access to the online world with this discounted VPN

Enjoy unrestricted access to the online world with this discounted VPN

SAVE 82%: A three-year subscription to Private Internet Access is on sale for £1.81 per month as of Dec. 6, and includes a cloud security license and email breach monitoring for free.


We know that VPNs are not the most exciting or glamorous products, but cybersecurity is seriously important these days. The online world is a dangerous place full of hackers, viruses, and restrictions, and the only way to navigate this world safely is with a VPN.

Fortunately, there are absolutely loads of impressive services to consider, including popular names like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access. These services are in a constant battle to offer the best packages to users, and Private Internet Access looks to be leading the way right now. Read more…

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Start a career in cybersecurity with this certification prep bundle

Start a career in cybersecurity with this certification prep bundle

TL;DR: The Total CompTIA Core Certification Prep Bundle is on sale for £22.10 as of Nov. 9, saving you 96% on list price.


If you want to launch a career in IT or cybersecurity, you’re going to need a little more than just determination. As cyber-attacks and the number of connected devices expand, companies are looking for certified professionals to fill an influx of open roles. And the authority on cybersecurity certifications? Everything points to CompTIA exams as the gold standard. You didn’t think your test-taking days were over, did you?

Fortunately, there are great resources out there to help you along this path, and the Total CompTIA Core Certification Prep Bundle is one such resource. You’re in good hands with this bundle, which was put together by the industry’s leading authority on CompTIA certification. Read more…

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This stacked cybersecurity bundle includes 22 online courses for under £50

This stacked cybersecurity bundle includes 22 online courses for under £50

TL;DR: The Complete InfoSec & Business Continuity Bundle is on sale for £45.22 as of Oct. 27, saving you 99% on list price.


The internet is a scary place. Now that people spend more time online than ever, the world wide web has become even more dangerous. Cybercrime is alarmingly rampant, costing companies billions and compromising the privacy of millions of individuals. It is not surprising that organisations of all sizes are tripping over themselves to hire cybersecurity experts to protect their networks from digital threats.

If you want to take advantage of this demand and explore a career in cybersecurity, the Complete 2020 Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking Bundle offers training in practically every corner of the industry. Boasting 22 courses put together by iCollege, this bundle will arm you with essential skills and prep you to earn the certifications you need to find success in the IT industry. Read more…

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Unlock Netflix from anywhere in the world with this speedy VPN

Unlock Netflix from anywhere in the world with this speedy VPN

SAVE 79%: An 18-month subscription to CyberGhost VPN is on sale for £2.15 per month as of Oct. 16, saving you 79% on list price.


We know that most users don’t invest in VPNs for the data protection and online security. These are generally considered added benefits to a service that primarily unlocks streaming services from around the world.

CyberGhost VPN is a perfect example of a service that offers a wide range of advanced security services, but shines when it comes to unlocking sites like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+.

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This is your last chance to save over £150 on NordVPN

This is your last chance to save over £150 on NordVPN

SAVE OVER £150: A two-year subscription to NordVPN is on sale for £2.86 per month as of Oct. 11, saving you 68% on list price.


There are a lot of VPN providers out there, and each option has a different reputation. Some are known for their streaming capabilities, some for their security features, and some for their customer support. 

NordVPN should be considered a triple threat, as it ticks all of the boxes you should be looking for in a VPN. Subscribers get access over 5,100 servers worldwide, and can connect six devices simultaneously. NordVPN also has a strict no-logging policy, so your data should be kept under wraps. Read more…

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This popular VPN is extending annual subscriptions for free

This popular VPN is extending annual subscriptions for free

SAVE OVER £70: A 15-month subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £5.31 per month as of Oct. 10, saving you 49% on list price.


Welcome to the wonderful world of VPNs. There is no need to be afraid, because the technology involved with these security services is actually pretty easy to understand. These tools provide a secure tunnel between your device and the internet, shielding your online traffic from hackers, cybercriminals, and tracking software.

VPNs are primarily used for protecting your data and identity, but there is another reason that people subscribe to these services. Online security is obviously important, but a lot of subscribers use VPNs for streaming.  Read more…

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Learn from cybersecurity experts with this discounted training course

Learn from cybersecurity experts with this discounted training course

TL;DR: The Cybersecurity Expert Certification Training Bundle is on sale for £38.87 as of Sept. 22, saving you 98% on list price.


In 2020, we are almost entirely dependent on hackable technology. Not to frighten you, but your phone, computer, tablet, car, bank, credit card purchases, and even your smart home devices can be hacked into. 

As these cybercrimes increase, the need for more highly skilled information security specialists also increases. If you want to start a cybersecurity career, there’s no time like the present – especially since this CompTIA Cybersecurity Pathway Certification Prep Bundle is on sale for over 90 percent off. Read more…

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Elon Musk says ’embarrassingly late’ two-factor is coming to Tesla app

Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged Friday that the company was ‘embarrassingly late’ rolling out a security layer known as two-factor authentication for its mobile app.

“Sorry, this is embarrassingly late. Two factor authentication via sms or authenticator app is going through final validation right now,” Musk wrote Friday in response to a question from a Twitter follower.

Musk said in April that the additional security layer was “coming soon.” He first mentioned that the company would add two-factor authentication back in May 2019. Tesla owners have stepped up their calls for two-factor authentication as the rest of the tech community has adopted the security feature.

Sorry, this is embarrassingly late. Two factor authentication via sms or authenticator app is going through final validation right now.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2020

Two-factor authentication — also known as two-step verification — combines something you know, like a password, with something you have, like your phone. This is a way to verify that the real account holder — or car owner — is logging in and not a hacker.

Some websites do this by sending you a code by text message. But hackers can intercept these. A more secure way of doing it is by sending a code through a phone app, often called an authenticator, which security experts prefer.

Beefing up the security on the Tesla mobile app is particularly pressing. The Tesla app is a critical tool for owners, giving them control over numerous functions on their vehicles.

When Bluetooth is enabled, the Tesla app allows drivers to use their phone as a key to Tesla’s newer vehicle models. The app also lets the user remotely lock and unlock the doors, trunk and frunk, turn on the HVAC system, monitor and control charging, locate the vehicle and schedule service — to name a few of the main capabilities.

These days, two-factor authentication is common and widely employed to stop hackers from using stolen passwords to break into users’ accounts. What’s unclear with Tesla is whether the two-factor tool will rely on SMS or a phone app. Musk said the final validation was for SMS “or” authenticator app, a statement that leaves that critical question unanswered.

Unlock American Netflix with this discounted VPN

Unlock American Netflix with this discounted VPN

TL;DR: A three-year subscription to Surfshark VPN is on sale for £54.81 as of July 13, saving you 83% on list price.


Whether you’re a remote worker regularly using public WiFi networks, a gamer who stays connected around the clock, or just an average Netflix binger, your private data is vulnerable to trackers and hackers every time you sign online. How else would targeted ads match that bizarre product you and your friends were just talking about? It’s all good, though. You can easily block those prying eyes and protect your data with a virtual private network (VPN).

If you haven’t already armed yourself with a VPN or you’re not happy with the one you have, this is your lucky day. This three-year subscription to Surfshark VPN is currently on sale for over 80% off and offers all you need to stay safe online, and then some. Read more…

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Secure a lifetime subscription to this VPN for just £30

Secure a lifetime subscription to this VPN for just £30

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is on sale for £30 as of July 10, saving you 85% on list price.


Don’t have a VPN? Here’s your cue: get one now before it’s too late. 

Sorry not sorry for waxing dramatic, but if you’ve seen shows like Black Mirror and Mr. Robot, then you’re aware of the possibility that society is morphing into a tech dystopia in which it’s always open season on your digital privacy. 

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is offering a great deal on a lifetime subscription, bringing the price down to just £30. It’s always a good time to get a VPN, but there is truly no better time than when one goes on sale. Read more…

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These bears work quietly to protect your online privacy

These bears work quietly to protect your online privacy

TL;DR: A two-year subscription to TunnelBear VPN is on sale for £3.38 per month, saving you 58% on list price.


We like to imagine that TunnelBear VPN is run by lots of hardworking bears, all doing everything they can to ensure your online security and data privacy. It’s probably not the case, but they do feature heavily on TunnelBear’s site and interface, so that’s something.

TunnelBear is one of the most popular VPN providers, and that’s probably partly down to the cute bears that pop up everywhere. It’s also due to the range of advanced security features offered by the service, including easy-to-use apps, strong encryption, and fast connection speeds. Read more…

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What’s so important about a VPN kill switch?

What's so important about a VPN kill switch?

TL;DR: A two-year subscription to PureVPN is on sale for £2.33 per month, saving you 74% on list price.


The list of features offered by VPN providers is long and growing, but some are more important than others. Sure, server location and connection speed is important, but these things don’t impact your privacy and security.

If online security is your priority, you should be looking out for things like a kill switch. This  terminates your internet connection if the VPN disconnects, so that your identity isn’t exposed. It’s a vital second layer of protection, and it’s something every VPN service should provide. Read more…

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This is the only VPN that heavily features bears

This is the only VPN that heavily features bears

TL;DR: A two-year subscription to TunnelBear VPN is on sale for £3.38 per month, saving you 58% on list price.


VPNs help you to browse, stream, and work securely by protecting your online traffic with an encrypted tunnel. That might sound a little complicated, but it’s really not.

It simply means that all your data and personal information is safeguarded, so nobody can see what you’re doing or where you’ve been. These services are becoming more and more popular as remote working has become a necessity.

There are plenty of top providers to consider, but TunnelBear stands out from the crowd for two reasons. For starters, it’s one of the few services to offer a genuinely free service. You are limited to 500MB of secure browsing with a free plan, but this should be more than enough to properly give the service a try. Secondly, TunnelBear is the only VPN to heavily feature bears all over its site and interface, which is key. Read more…

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Take the stress out of working from home

Take the stress out of working from home

TL;DR: An 18-month subscription to ZenMate VPN is on sale for £1.99 per month, saving you 79% on list price.


Working from home can be stressful. It doesn’t matter how many cushions, blankets, and other assorted soft things you have around you. It’s still stressful.

There are services you can invest in that can make the whole working from home thing a little more bearable. The first is a VPN, as these services protect your data and sensitive information, with apps for all your devices.

Your security is one less thing to worry about with a VPN, and ZenMate VPN is one of the cheapest services on offer. So you don’t need to worry about spiraling costs either. An 18-month plan is currently on sale for just £1.99 per month, saving you 79% on list price. Read more…

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Zoom improves security with automatic password protection and waiting rooms

Zoom improves security with automatic password protection and waiting rooms

After facing heavy criticism for the way it handles privacy and security, the video conferencing service Zoom is making a few very necessary updates. 

Beginning April 5, all meetings going forward will have automatically enabled password protection and waiting rooms. The password protection makes it so you need a password to enter a meeting even if you already have the meeting ID, although those who enter a meeting via a link will not need to enter the password. The waiting room allows the hosts to selectively admit people who are waiting to enter a meeting, so if they see a name they don’t recognize, they can choose not to let them have access. Read more…

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Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

In case you needed another reminder of the potentially terrifying downside of having a Wi-Fi-connected security camera in your home, consider this: it’s surprisingly easy for hackers to gain access to them.

Hackers have created software that essentially streamlines the process, and are selling and sharing it on internet forums, Motherboard reported. The exploit is possible not because of any one vulnerability in Ring’s software, but rather how it takes advantage of insecure passwords in order to get into the accounts in question. 

This is much more than a theoretical vulnerability. There have been reports all around the country of people encountering strangers on the other end of their in-home security camera.  Read more…

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Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

Hackers are getting really good at hacking Ring cameras and the results are terrifying

In case you needed another reminder of the potentially terrifying downside of having a Wi-Fi-connected security camera in your home, consider this: it’s surprisingly easy for hackers to gain access to them.

Hackers have created software that essentially streamlines the process, and are selling and sharing it on internet forums, Motherboard reported. The exploit is possible not because of any one vulnerability in Ring’s software, but rather how it takes advantage of insecure passwords in order to get into the accounts in question. 

This is much more than a theoretical vulnerability. There have been reports all around the country of people encountering strangers on the other end of their in-home security camera.  Read more…

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Cybersecurity expert Alex Stamos on Facebook’s counter terrorism team and the private-public divide

Alex Stamos rose to fame as the former chief security officer for Yahoo and then Facebook. But today he’s the director of Stanford’s Internet Observatory, where he’s immersed in teaching and research safe tech — and understands better than most the threats that the U.S. is facing, particularly as we sail toward the next U.S. presidential election.

Last night, at a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco, he talked with New York Times cybersecurity correspondent Sheera Frenkel about a small number of these massively impactful issues, first by revisiting what happened during the 2016 president election, then catching up the audience on whether the country’s defenses have evolved since. (The short version: they haven’t. If there’s any good news at all, it’s that the federal and state governments are at least aware now there’s an issue, whereas they appeared largely blindsided by it the last time around.)

What worries Stamos most are “direct attacks on our election infrastructure” because there’s been so little to bolster it. In fact, a big theme of the interview was the growing inability of the public sector to protect Americans or U.S. democracy against actors who would do the country harm.

As it relates to election infrastructure specifically, Stamos used a hyperlocal example to underscore what the U.S. is dealing with right now. As he told Frenkel, “I live in San Mateo County. I’ve met the CIO of San Mateo County. Really nice guy. I’m sure he has a staff of very hard-working people. The idea that the CIO of San Mateo County has to stand up and protect himself against the [Russian military intelligence agency known as the] GRU or China’s Ministry of State Security or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or the Lazarus Group of North Korea . . . that’s frickin’ ridiculous. Like, we don’t ask the San Mateo County Sherriff’s department to get ready to repel an invasion by the People’s Liberation Army, but we ask for the cyber equivalent in the United States.”

Put into perspective, San Mateo County is one of about about 10,000 local governments in the United States that are involved in elections, said Stamos. “Nobody else in the world runs their elections this way.”

In fact, in nearly every conceivable way, “responsibilities that were once clearly public sector responsibilities are now private sector responsibilities,” he told Frenkel during a later part of their discussion. He would know, having seen it first-hand.

“When I was the chief security officer at Facebook,” he told the audience, “I had a child safety team. We probably put more bad guys away than almost any law enforcement agency outside of the FBI or [Homeland Security Investigations unit] in the child safety realm. Like, there’s no local police department in the United States that put away more child predators than the Facebook child safety team. That is a crazy stat.

Facebook also has a counter terrorism team — which not everyone realizes — and which has become in many ways the country’s first responder, he suggested. Indeed, Stamos said that “there are several terrorist attacks that you’ve never heard of because they didn’t happen because we caught them. Now, there’s some local law enforcement agency took credit for it, but it was actually our team that found it and turned it over to them with a bow on it.”

Americans might shrug off this continuing shift in who is tackling what, but they do it at their peril, suggested Stamos — who managed to keep the crowd laughing, even as he painted a bleak picture. As he noted, the big tech “companies are exercising this power without any kind of democratic oversight.” Consider, he said, that “[Facebook’s] authorization is the terms of service that people click through and never read when they join Facebook or Instagram. That’s a bizarre set of rules to be bound by when you have such incredible power.”

Another huge blind spot, said Stamos, is the apparently inability — as well as the collective lack of determination required — of the public and the increasingly powerful private sector to coordinate their work.  Here, he offered another broad example to make it accessible. “Say you had an organized group in the United States that’s running a bunch of Facebook ads, but their money is coming from bitcoin from St. Petersburg,” said Stamos. “That is completely invisible to Facebook. That is perhaps visible to FBI . . .but they don’t have access to that actual content [on FB]. And figuring out a way for these two groups to work with each other without massively violating the privacy of everybody on the platform turns out to be super hard.”

Yet it’s worse than even that sounds, he continued. The reason: there’s no decision-tree in part because the issue has grown so unmanageable that no one wants to own what goes awry. “There’s effectively nobody in charge of this right now, which is one of the scariest things we’re facing as a country. Almost nobody is in defense of cyber, and certainly nobody is in charge of the big picture, [meaning] how do we defend against election [interference] both from a cybersecurity perspective and a disinformation perspective.”

Stamos even jokingly referred to “pockets of people in the U.S. government who are effectively hiding from the White House and trying very, very hard” to escape its attention, given the daunting job they’d be tasked with figuring out. Except, all kidding aside, with no one at the helm and “no real cross-agency process, there’s really nobody in charge,” said Stamos.

That means the “tech companies are effectively the coordinating body for this. And that’s actually really screwed up.”

Despite embracing the government, DEF CON maintains its mischievous hacker roots

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Raucous applause filled the the large convention room inside Las Vegas’s Paris casino: the government had arrived.

Seated behind a table at the annual DEF CON conference in Las Vegas was Congressman Ted Lieu, and, joined by Rep. James Langevin of Rhode Island, he had come to ask a large crowd of hackers and security professionals for help. The once famously Fed-averse crowd was loving it

But don’t get it twisted — DEF CON hadn’t gone soft. The mischievous and lawless side of this assemblage of the hacker community was out in full effect – assuming, that is, you knew where to look.  Read more…

Inviting the Man to your party

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He tried to prank the DMV. Then his vanity license plate backfired big time.

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Everyone hates parking tickets. Not everyone, however, is an information security researcher with a mischievous side and a freshly minted vanity license plate reading “NULL.”

That would be Droogie (his handle, if that’s not obvious), a presenter at this year’s DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas and man with a very specific problem: He’s on the receiving end of thousands of dollars worth of tickets that aren’t his. But don’t tell that to the DMV.

It wasn’t, of course, supposed to end up this way. In fact, exactly the opposite. Droogie registered a vanity California license plate consisting solely of the word “NULL” — which in programming is a term for a value of zero — for fun. And, he admitted to laughs, on the off chance it would confuse automatic license plate readers and the DMV’s ticketing system.  Read more…

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Teenager finds educational software exposed millions of student records

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Teenager Bill Demirkapi had been ghosted. Hard. “It didn’t feel good,” he explained to the large crowd gathered to hear him speak. “It hurt my feelings.” 

But Demirkapi, despite his status as a recent high-school graduate, wasn’t lamenting the traditional spurned-love problems typical of his cohort. Far from it. Instead, he was speaking at the famous DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, and the ghoster-in-question was educational software maker Blackboard. 

Demirkapi had reported numerous vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s software to the company; after initially being in communication with him, the company stopped responding to his emails. But Demirkapi, who found he could access a host of student data — including family military status, weighted GPAs, and special education status — through vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s system, was undeterred.  Read more…

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Turns out your office printer is a huge cybersecurity risk

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Consider the office printer.

Massive, hulking things — the devices looming in the corner of workplaces around the world have come to represent untold hours of frustration in the form of printer jams and toner problems. According to security researchers set to present their findings this Saturday at the DEF CON hacking convention in Las Vegas, they also happen to be a cybersecurity nightmare. 

Daniel Romero Pérez and Mario Rivas Vivar, researchers at NCC Group, announced the discovery of major vulnerabilities on Thursday in name-brand printers made by the likes of Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Brother, and Ricoh. NCC Group shared some of the researchers’ findings with Mashable ahead of the aforementioned Aug. 10 talk, and they’re enough to elicit serious double take.   Read more…

More about Hackers, Printers, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Turns out your office printer is a huge cybersecurity risk

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Consider the office printer.

Massive, hulking things — the devices looming in the corner of workplaces around the world have come to represent untold hours of frustration in the form of printer jams and toner problems. According to security researchers set to present their findings this Saturday at the DEF CON hacking convention in Las Vegas, they also happen to be a cybersecurity nightmare. 

Daniel Romero Pérez and Mario Rivas Vivar, researchers at NCC Group, announced the discovery of major vulnerabilities on Thursday in name-brand printers made by the likes of Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Brother, and Ricoh. NCC Group shared some of the researchers’ findings with Mashable ahead of the aforementioned Aug. 10 talk, and they’re enough to elicit serious double take.   Read more…

More about Hackers, Printers, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Cloudflare announces termination of 8chan’s service

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Cloudflare has announced that it will terminate its protection of 8chan after the forum site was linked to another mass shooting over the weekend, tying the site’s “lawlessness” directly to “multiple tragic deaths.”

Pressure had mounted on the company to cease its service to 8chan, arguing that it enabled the spread of violent white supremacist rhetoric and the celebration of perpetrators of massacres. Manifestos or open letters by shooters including those responsible for the Christchurch, Poway, and El Paso shootings, all of which occurred in 2019, have been hosted on the mostly-unmoderated forums. Read more…

More about White Supremacy, 8chan, Cloudflare, Tech, and Cybersecurity

100 million Americans’ data accessed in massive Capitol One hack

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Well, this is not good. 

Finance services giant Capital One announced Monday that there had been a major cybersecurity incident directly affecting 100 million Americans and six million Canadians. Specifically, a host of their customers’ private financial data had been accessed by a hacker. 

According to a statement issued by the company, two separates breaches occurred — once on March 22 and another on March 23 — and were discovered on July 19. 

Bloomberg reports that a Seattle woman has been arrested and accused of hacking Capital One’s server at an unnamed cloud-computing company.

Notably, it seems that although the customer data in question was encrypted, the hacker was able to decrypt it.  Read more…

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Popular Mac apps caught harvesting users’ browsing data without consent

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A number of applications on Apple’s Mac App Store are secretly gathering user data and uploading it to analytics servers.

Popular applications including Dr. Unarchiver, Dr. Cleaner, and others distributed by developer “Trend Micro, Inc.” collect and upload the user’s browser history from Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox onto their servers via access to the macOS home directory.

These rogue apps will also collect data from other apps installed on the system, all of which is gathered the moment you launch them, according to 9to5Mac. The issue was originally spotted by a user on the Malwarebytes forum. Read more…

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Hacker convention in Vegas is full of tin-foil hats. Literally.

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What if they really are out to get you. 

If you spend enough time walking the Las Vegas casino floors, you’re sure to come across some unique sights. But scores of people sporting all shapes and sizes of literal tin-foil hats? Welcome to DEF CON.

The annual hacker convention currently underway in the Nevada desert draws a diverse crowd of professional and hobbyist security researchers from around the world. And, for the most part, they all share one defining characteristic: the desire to stick it to The Man. 

Which, well, that specific proclivity just might end up making you a target. Read more…

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These stoner hackers want machine learning to save us from sick weed

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Nothing harshes a good mellow like sick buds. Thankfully, there may one day be an app for that. 

Hidden from the hazy Friday afternoon of Las Vegas, tucked away in the basement of the Flamingo casino, a group of likeminded hackers and security researchers gathered to explore “DIY cannabis tech” at DEF CON’s Cannabis Village. One researcher in particular, Harry Moreno, told the rather laid-back crowd that he believed that machine learning could one day solve a huge problem for home-grow enthusiasts: determining whether or not, and in what capacity, a marijuana plant is sick.

More about Marijuana, Machine Learning, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Box that unlocks iPhones is the hottest new gadget for police

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Law enforcement agencies — despite protests from privacy advocates — have long lobbied to get access to your smartphone.

Now a mysterious U.S. startup called Grayshift — which reportedly has an ex-Apple security engineer on staff — is providing iPhone unlocking tools to cops, according to Motherboard.

GrayKey is a box that measures four by four inches wide, and features two Lightning cables at the front, as per a post by security software company Malwarebytes. 

According to Forbes, Grayshift claims the device only works with iOS 10 and 11, with iOS 9 compatibility slated for the future. Devices ranging from the iPhone X to the 6 are supported, as are various iPad models. Read more…

More about Apple, Iphone, Cybersecurity, Fbi, and Law Enforcement

Crunch Report | HBO NOW Passes 2 Million Subscribers

HBO NOW passes 2 million subscribers, Trident Capital Cybersecurity raises a $300 million fund, Pinterest adds new visual search features and Y Combinator now takes recommendations from anyone. All this on Crunch Report! Read More

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Google’s bug bounty program pays out $3 million, mostly for Android and Chrome exploits

security globe If you’re willing to hunt for flaws within its vast array of software and services, Google’s happy to pay up. Over the course of its 2016 Vulnerability Rewards Program, the company paid out $3 million—a third of the total $9 million that enthusiastic researchers have earned since the initiative, more colloquially known as a bug bounty program, launched in 2010. The… Read More

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Trump to sign yet another trash executive order, this time on 'the cyber'

‘President’ Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order addressing cybersecurity today, Reuters reports in an item that cites “two sources familiar with the situation.” The EO is expected to be Trump’s first action to address what he called a top priority of his administration during the Presidential campaign.

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What your security scientists can learn from your data scientists to improve cybersecurity

Double Exposure Of Computer Language And Man Wearing Sunglasses Security remains one of the top unresolved challenges for businesses. Billions of dollars have been spent on security technology over the last 30 years, yet hackers seem to be more successful than ever. Every organization is now under extreme threat, all the time. Here are some lessons that data scientists have learned and to which security professionals need to pay attention. Read More

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Secret Double Octopus nabs $6M for a stronger, easier alternative to regular 2FA

8093376393_713fb93477_k Israel is home to around 450 active startups in the field of cybersecurity, according to a recent report in Reuters. Now, the one with perhaps the most distinctive name of them all is announcing some funding for a novel approach to authentication. Secret Double Octopus — which borrows a concept from the world of nuclear launch codes to build extra-secure, but simple, keyless… Read More

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