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Hacker Publicly Posts Data Stolen from Government-Linked Cyber Espionage Group
Last week, Motherboard reported that a vigilante hacker had stolen data from a hacking group that researchers say is a government-linked cyberespionage unit. The data included GPS locations, text messages, and phone calls that the group had taken from their own victims. Now, that hacker has seemingly published the stolen data online for anyone to download.
The act itself highlights not only the fact that government hackers can sometimes face retribution, but also the ethical issues that come along with releasing such data to the public.
Hacker Breaches Securus, the Company That Helps Cops Track Phones Across the U.S.
A hacker has broken into the servers of Securus, a company that allows law enforcement to easily track nearly any phone across the country, and which a U.S. Senator has exhorted federal authorities to investigate. The hacker has provided some of the stolen data to Motherboard, including usernames and poorly secured passwords for thousands of Securus' law enforcement customers.
Although it's not clear how many of these customers are using Securus's phone geolocation service, the news still signals the incredibly lax security of a company that is granting law enforcement exceptional power to surveill individuals.
When "Grandma-Proof" Android Spyware Is Good Enough for International Espionage
Governments don't have to spend millions on hacker tools to get the data they need from targets' smartphones. As Forbes previously detailed, many mobile surveillance tools flogged to governments for hundreds of thousands of dollars are much the same as so-called "spouseware" — home surveillance programs aimed at helping people spy on loved ones that can be purchased for less than $100.
In Pakistan, a case in point: researchers from cybersecurity firm Lookout claimed on Tuesday to have uncovered a major smartphone surveillance operation that hoovered up masses of sensitive government data from Apple iPhones and Android devices with malware that looked a lot like cheap but powerful consumer-grade kit. The alleged developers have been working on spyware for both governments and civilians, promising the latter group a smartphone spy tool known as TheOneSpy that's so simple even grandmas can use it to snoop on their families. And Lookout researchers have pinned the latest attacks borrowing the developers' code on the Pakistan military.
Google Employees Quit Over Involvement in Pentagon Drone Project
It's been nearly three months since many Google employees — and the public — learned about the company's decision to provide artificial intelligence to a controversial military pilot program known as Project Maven, which aims to speed up analysis of drone footage by automatically classifying images of objects and people. Now, about a dozen Google employees are resigning in protest over the company's continued involvement in Maven.
The resigning employees' frustrations range from particular ethical concerns over the use of artificial intelligence in drone warfare to broader worries about Google's political decisions — and the erosion of user trust that could result from these actions. Many of them have written accounts of their decisions to leave the company, and their stories have been gathered and shared in an internal document, the contents of which multiple sources have described to Gizmodo.
Oracle: Google Is Harvesting Up to a Gigabyte of Data from Users Each Month
Australians reportedly "paying for the privilege" of having their data harvested by Google. An investigation has been launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) following reports that up to a gigabyte of data could be harvested from devices each month. Google was grassed up by its bestie, Oracle, with whom it has absolutely no beef whatsoever. Honest.
The spin-doctors of API apparently made a specific presentation to the ACCC as part of an existing inquiry into digital platforms, called by Australian media giants concerned about the effect of Google and Facebook on advertising markets in the region. Because diddums. Oracle's point is that Google can send location data, even if Location Services are off and if there's no SIM or app installed.