Security News This Week: Anonymous Hacks ISIS Twitter With Gay Pride
Last Sunday, a man named Omar Mateen committed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. It was an act of terror whose reverberations—societal, political, technological and, beyond—will be felt far into the future.
Everything else feels small next to the enormity of Orlando, but the rest of the security world did bustle this week. A hack of the DNC gave Russians (maybe!) access to the Democratic party’s Donald Trump dossier, which they soon shared with the world.
Elsewhere, Apple’s annual developer conference yielded a few important security enhancements (though there’s still plenty of room for improvement). The company’s going to dip into an obscure branch of statistical science called “differential privacy” to respect your privacy while still collecting heaps of your data, and also introduced a pile of under-the-hood improvements to macOS and iOS that should make your life a little less convenient but a little more safe.
In non-DNC hacking news, a new Chinese group has been found acting on behalf of the country’s economic interests. Thousands of hacked government, corporate, and university servers are for sale on the black market for Extra Value Meal money. And in the world of making and breaking laws, an IT worker has been arrested in relation to the Panama Papers leak, while a Texas jury’s guilty verdict set a troubling precedent for admins. Lastly, Congress was given the chance to reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment, an advisory body that used to help lawmakers understand the technologies they regulate. Surprise! It didn’t.
But there was more: Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we didn’t break or cover in depth at WIRED, but which deserve your attention nonetheless. As always, click on the headlines to read the full story in each link posted. And stay safe out there.
That the FBI keeps faces on file for its recognition database is no surprise. That it’s large is also not unexpected; it had been widely assumed to comprise tens of millions of photographs. But the Government Accountability Office managed to shock privacy advocates this week by revealing the actual total: Over 411 million images, pulled from passport and visa databases, the Defense Department, and drivers licenses from over a dozen states. As the EFF reports, these aren’t just persons of interest, either. And how could they be? It’s hard to be discerning when you cast a net that huge.
Yes, technically voting records are public information. But as Fusion points out, it usually at least requires a little bit of leg work to get them. Not so for residents of DC, whose Board of Elections has not placed entire voting records online, but has quite helpfully placed names, addresses, party affiliations, and more in one heaping, easily accessible PDF.
An Anonymous-affiliated hacker who goes by the name Wauchula Ghost has spent the last several months breaking into hundreds of ISIS Twitter accounts and broadcast pornography, or really anything that provides an ideological counterpoint. In the wake of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, he focused on turning them into Gay Pride outlets. Filling ISIS Twitter with rainbows and love isn’t going to upend the war on terror, but damn if it isn’t satisfying to watch.
A certain amount of due diligence on the part of a potential landlord or employer is expected and understandable. A UK startup, though, wants to give access your entire social media history on behalf of potential overseers, searching for potential concerns from your past. The good news? It requires your sign-off. If anyone asks you to go through a process like that, think of it as a great big red flag of your own.
I know what you’re thinking. Flash? Gaping security hole? No chance! And yet. And yet. And yet. Anyways, time to kill Flash for good, for real this time.