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Top Stories for the Week of August 21, 2019

  • Episode 622
  • August 21, 2019

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday August 21, 2019


As if we needed another reason not to trust Kaspersky: it was discovered that their antivirus injected a unique ID that allowed sites to track users, even in incognito mode.

As if we needed another reason not to trust Kaspersky: it was discovered that their antivirus injected a unique ID that allowed sites to track users, even in incognito mode.

Antivirus software is something that can help people be safer and more private on the Internet. But its protections can cut both ways. A case in point: for almost four years, AV products from Kaspersky Lab injected a unique identifier into every website a user visited, making it possible for sites to identify people even when using incognito mode or even when they switched to a different browser!

The identifier was part of a blob of JavaScript Kaspersky products injected into every page a user visited. The JavaScript was designed to, among other things, present a green icon that corresponded to safe links returned in search results.

Ronald Eikenberg, a reporter for c't Magazine (who broke the story) found something unsettling about the JavaScript injected by the Kaspersky product installed on his test computer—a big long tag that looked like a serial number. He investigated and found it was unique to his machine, and it was injected into every single page he visited. It didn't matter if he used Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Opera or whether he turned on incognito browsing. The identifier acted as a unique identification number that website operators could use to track him.

Kaspersky stopped sending the identifier in June, after Eikenberg privately reported the behavior to the AV company. The identifier was introduced in 2015. That meant that for close to four years, all consumer versions of Kaspersky software for Windows—including the free version, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Kaspersky Total Security—silently branded users with a unique ID.

Source: arstechnica.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Ubuntu 19.10 Will Offer an Experimental ZFS File System Option.

Ubuntu 19.10 Will Offer an Experimental ZFS File System Option.

The newly announced plan (which isn't set in stone) is to include a ZFS install option in Ubuntu 19.10, the next short term release due this October.

The “downside” is that using ZFS on Linux distributions is a little tricky. The format is tangled up with all sorts of licensing issues.

But those issues haven’t put Canonical off.

Canonical states they have "spent time looking at the licensing which applies to the Linux kernel and to ZFS [and concluded] that we are acting within the rights granted and in compliance with the terms on both licenses."

Feeling it’s well within its rights to use ZFS fully, the company ploughed away on bringing up ZFS file system support for Ubuntu across cloud, server, and containers for several years.

Now it’s coming to the destop.

Source: www.omgubuntu.co.uk

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


There's a new attack exploiting serious Bluetooth weakness that is capable of intercepting sensitive data.

There's a new attack exploiting serious Bluetooth weakness that is capable of intercepting sensitive data.

Researchers have demonstrated a serious weakness in the Bluetooth wireless standard that could allow hackers to intercept keystrokes, address books, and other sensitive data sent from billions of devices.

Dubbed Key Negotiation of Bluetooth—or KNOB for short—the attack forces two or more devices to choose an encryption key just a single byte in length before establishing a Bluetooth connection. Attackers within radio range can then use commodity hardware to quickly crack the key. From there, attackers can use the cracked key to decrypt data passing between the devices. The types of data susceptible could include keystrokes passing between a wireless keyboard and computer, address books uploaded from a phone to a car dashboard, or photographs exchanged between phones.

KNOB doesn't require an attacker to have any previously shared secret material or to observe the pairing process of the targeted devices. The exploit is invisible to Bluetooth apps and the operating systems they run on, making the attack almost impossible to detect without highly specialized equipment. KNOB also exploits a weakness in the Bluetooth standard itself. That means, in all likelihood, that the vulnerability affects just about every device that's compliant with the specification.

The researchers have simulated the attack on 14 different Bluetooth chips—including those from Broadcom, Apple, and Qualcomm—and found all of them to be vulnerable.

Source: arstechnica.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


If This Then That warns against migrating Nest devices to Google accounts.

If This Then That warns against migrating Nest devices to Google accounts.

Google says it’s moving Nest devices over to a unified Google ecosystem for the sake of simplicity. But simple can be complicated, as is certainly the case here. In May, after users fought the decision, the company announced that it would maintain Works with Nest connections for some third-party integration.

If This Than That (or, IFTTT) applets for the company’s camera, smoke detector and thermostat are among those exceptions. That certainly bodes well for those user who took the time to ingrate IFTTT functionality.

However, users who opt to migrate a Nest account to a Google one will break their connections in the process.

IFTTT said in a statement, "Do not migrate your Nest account to a Google account. Migrating your Nest account will cause IFTTT and other 'Works with Nest' integrations to be disconnected. This process is not reversible."

Further, they warn users, "Do not disconnect Nest from IFTTT after August 31st as you will not be able to reconnect it. This affects users that do not migrate their Nest accounts to a Google one."

For its part, Google says it’s looking to bring similar automation functionality to Nest that presently requires third-party integration from services like IFTTTT.

Source: techcrunch.com

Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


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