In the source code of the Missouri Education Ministry’s web application, the social security numbers of more than 100,000 teachers were visible.
Missouri Governor (USA) Mike Parson sees no difference between reporting a vulnerability and exploiting it. According to The Missouri Independent, Parson named the St. Louis Post-Dispatch “hacker” for talking about security issues.
The fact is that the journalist revealed a vulnerability in the web application of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, which allowed anyone to see the social security numbers of more than 100 thousand teachers in the source code of the site. The governor accused the journalist of trying to play a “political game” in order to “discredit the state.” The governor has already contacted the prosecutor’s office and the police.
The Post-Dispatch lawyer claims that the journalist “acted responsibly” by exposing the vulnerability to the government and thereby providing an opportunity to eliminate it. He also politely explained to Parson that a hacker is someone who maliciously undermines security, not a journalist seeking to enhance security by disseminating publicly available information.
The vulnerability reported by the journalist is not new. According to Shaji Khan, professor at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, such vulnerabilities have been known for at least ten years. Security auditors reported them to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and school district administrations back in 2015-2016, but no action was taken.
Most likely, the prosecutor’s office will not open a case against the journalist. It is impossible to call a hacker a person who has viewed the source code of a page in a browser, even at a stretch, it is impossible.
Instagram said it is strengthening the protection of its underage users
The head of Instagram is due to speak at a hearing in the US Congress on December 7 and talk about the measures taken by his service to protect children.
Tuesday, December 7th, Instagram administration stated the intention to carefully select the content recommended for teens and to nudge them to other areas if they get hung up on one thing. On its blog, the service announced a few more changes that will affect teenagers.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri is due to speak at a hearing in the US Congress on Wednesday, December 7, and talk about the measures taken by his service to protect children online.
Recently, Instagram and parent company Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) have come under fire for the potential harm to the mental health and safety of children online.
According to Mosseri, Instagram will disable the ability for users to tag or mention teenagers who are not their followers. Starting in January 2022, teenagers will have the opportunity to massively delete their content, previously set “likes” and written comments.
The service looked at control tools to limit potentially harmful or sensitive content to teens through search, hashtags, short videos (Reels) and featured pages, Mosseri said.
Instagram is also launching a Take a Break feature for users in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, which will remind users to distract themselves if the user is stuck in the app for a long time.
In March 2022, Instagram will launch its first parental control tool that will allow parents and guardians to see how much time a teen is spending on the app.
In September of this year, the Instagram administration decided to postpone the launch of the version of the application for children for now, and now the press service of the service has confirmed that the Instagram management does not intend to return to this project yet.
Israeli authorities strengthen oversight of cyber technology exports
The move follows a series of scandals involving Israeli spyware developer NSO Group.
As the Associated Press reported, the decision was made just days after another NSO Group spyware scandal. US diplomats in Uganda have been targeted by a software tool developed by the NSO Group. Spyware, developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, has been used to hack iPhone smartphones by at least nine US foreign policy officials.
The NSO Group has faced a flood of international criticism over accusations that it helps governments spy on political opponents and human rights defenders. However, according to the company itself, its product is intended solely to help countries in the fight against crime and terrorism. Israel’s Defense Ministry has also drastically reduced the list of countries to which Israeli companies are allowed to sell their cyber technology. If earlier the list included 102 countries, now it has been reduced to 37. In particular, Israel’s new allies Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, in which cases of human rights violations are known, were excluded from it.
Life360 service is suspected of selling geodata of children to third parties
The company is one of the largest providers of confidential information on the personal data market.
Specialists of the non-profit organization The Markup spent investigation into the service Life360, which allows tracking the geolocation of children. As it turned out, the company is one of the largest providers of confidential information in the personal data market.
The Markup contacted two former employees of the so-called “data brokers” Cuebiq and X-Mode. Life360 made about $ 16 million in 2020 from selling user data to dozens of different companies, according to whistleblowers. In addition, two former Life360 employees also told the organization about the company’s additional source of income.
According to a former X-Mode employee, the raw location data from Life360 was one of the most valuable offerings on the market due to the sheer volume and accuracy of the data. A former Cuebiq employee joked that the company would not be able to carry out its marketing campaigns without the constant stream of location data from Life360.
The functionality of the service allows you to prohibit the transfer of data, but this is not directly communicated to the user. This function is hidden in several sub-items of the settings, and consent to the use of information for commercial purposes is activated by default.
Whistleblowers said the company did not maintain adequate user anonymity and only removed names or home addresses prior to the sale. The rest of the information made it possible to easily identify the identity of the user. Any organization could become a buyer of data from Life360; the company did not enter into transactions only with government agencies.
The founder of the company, Chris Hulls (Chris Hulls) was unable to confirm or deny the results of the investigation.
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