It has been an eventful start to 2020 with several major tech companies having to confront safety-compromising cyber attacks internal system bugs.
Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit has confirmed an ongoing hacking campaign against Windows users. The group responsible, named “Thallium” by Microsoft, is reportedly based in North Korea and aims to compromise the personal data of Windows users by stealing user credentials and utilizing malware to exfiltrate data. The alleged state-sponsored hacker group used a “spear-phishing” tactic to scope out individuals using social media, open-source intelligence data and company directories, allowing them to send customized targeted email messaging. Microsoft has since taken legal action to gain control over 50 internet domains used to execute the attacks. Users can limit vulnerabilities by enabling two-factor authentication on all email accounts and monitoring email forwarding rules.
A flaw in Twitter’s Android app has allowed 17 million phone numbers to be matched with user accounts according to a security researcher. According to TechCrunch, Twitter’s contacts upload feature lets individuals access entire lists of generated phone numbers. A spokesperson for Twitter stated, “Upon learning of this bug, we suspended the accounts used to inappropriately access people’s personal information.” The bug follows several other security breeches experienced by the company in the past year. In three instances, Twitter admitted to granting outside entities access to private user information such as phone numbers and location data.
This week, Google announced data reporting in Google Search Console may be inaccurate for a period in December due to an internal bug. Users will see a data drop in the Performance report from December 8th to December 13th, specifically in Google Discover impressions and clicks. According to the company, the data anomaly will not affect user-facing changes for sites and the issue has since been fixed. On a positive note, users can expect Google Discover stats to update faster than ever with a less than 24-hour turn around time for data reporting.
In other Google news, a number of popular Google services will no longer be available in 2020. The company plans on phasing out Google Hangouts until its shutdown date in June 2020. Existing G-Suite Hangouts users will be transitioned to a new app called Hangouts Chat and Meet. Other tools scheduled to disappear in 2020 include Google Cloud Print (Dec. 31), Google Hire (Sept.) and Fabric (Mar. 31).
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In events news, coming up on January 15th, FE International will be hosting the second installment of our “How To:” series in London. This time we’re calling in the experts to break down the fundamentals of funding and How To: raise capital for your technology business. We already have 82 of the 100 seats taken, so RSVP today
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Continue reading below for more on Microsoft, Google, Twitter and more!
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In the News…
Microsoft Combats MS Windows Hackers
Microsoft’s DCU has conformed an ongoing cyber attack had has taken serious legal action to prevent sensitive user information from being accessed. According to Forbes, the company has been monitoring the advanced persistent threat (APT) and they appear to be targeting government employees, university staff and individuals taking part in nuclear proliferation issue projects. The group is after user credentials and is utilizing malware to exfiltrate data.Tom Burt, corporate vice-president of customer security and trust at Microsoft stated the malware “also adopts a persistent attack strategy, waiting patiently in the background for further instructions from the hacking group.”
17 Million Phone Numbers Matched with Twitter Accounts
A security researcher was recently able to match millions of Twitter accounts with phone numbers as there was a system flaw in the platform’s Android app. The researcher, named Ibrahim Balic, has able to do access this non-public information though Twitter’s contacts uploads feature and reported, “If you upload your phone number, it fetches user data in return.” Twitter has suspended vulnerable accounts. According to TechCrunch, Balic is also known for discovering a security flaw breach that impacted Apple’s developer center in 2013.
Bug Renders Google Search Console Data Inaccurate
A bug in Google’s Search Console from the days of Dec. 8-13, has caused a lapse in data reporting for the month. this issue could create problems for individuals relying on the tool to create reports to present to clients but according to Search Engine Journal, Google has fixed the problem. Data lost during the time period cannot be recovered and the problem did not hinder site content being surfaced in Google Discover.
Google Services Being Removed in 2020
In 2020, Google product users should anticipate a notable amount of popular tools will be going extinct in the new year. Most popular among the group is Google Hangouts which is expected to have discontinued services in June of this year.Google Cloud print will no longer be supported after December 31, 2020, Google Hire will shut down in September 2020 and Fabric will be discontinued on March 31, 2020.