Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

'Open' Surveillance 'Apps'

Filed under
OSS
  • Singapore to open-source national Coronavirus encounter-tracing app and the Bluetooth research behind it

    The app, named TraceTogether and its government is urging citizens to run so that if they encounter a Coronavirus carrier, it’s easier to trace who else may have been exposed to the virus. With that info in hand, health authorities are better-informed about who needs to go into quarantine and can focus their resources on those who most need assistance.

    The app is opt-in and doesn’t track users through space, instead recording who you have encountered. To do so, it requires Bluetooth and location services to be turned on when another phone running the app comes into range exchanges four nuggets of information - a timestamp, Bluetooth signal strength, the phone’s model, and a temporary identifier or device nickname. While location services are required, the app doesn't track users, instead helping to calculate distances between them.

  • Singapore says it will make its contact tracing tech freely available to developers

    Less than a week after launching an app to track potential exposure to the coronavirus, Singapore is making the technology freely available to developers worldwide.

    The city-state rolled out an app called TraceTogether on March 20 and described it as a supplementary tool for its contact tracing efforts that relied on the recall and memory of infected individuals. Contact tracing is the process of identifying those with close contact with infected patients.

  • Over 600k users installed TraceTogether, app to be made open source

    A mobile application developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) that helps in contact tracing for Covid-19 has been installed by more than 620,000 users since its launch last Friday.

    With a decision to make the technology behind it available to developers around the world, even more people could stand to benefit.

    Developed in collaboration with the Health Ministry (MOH), the TraceTogether mobile app works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones.

  • 620,000 people installed TraceTogether in 3 days, S’pore’s open source contact tracing app

    TraceTogether, a mobile app to support contact tracing efforts developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), was launched on Friday, Mar. 20.

  • The Shield: the open source Israeli Government app which warns of Coronavirus exposure
  • Israel Unveils Open Source App to Warn Users of Coronavirus Cases

    A new Israeli app can instantly tell users if they have crossed paths with someone known to have been infected with the coronavirus.

    On Sunday, the country’s health ministry unveiled the app, called “The Shield”(“HaMagen”, in Hebrew.) The app takes location data from the user’s phone and compares it with the information in Health Ministry servers regarding the location histories of confirmed cases during the 14 days before their diagnosis.

More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

All about Kubernetes

Kubernetes is an enterprise-grade container-orchestration system designed from the start to be cloud-native. It has grown to be the de-facto cloud container platform, continuing to expand as it has embraced new technologies, including container-native virtualization and serverless computing. Kubernetes manages containers and more, from micro-scale at the edge to massive scale, in both public and private cloud environments. It is a perfect choice for a "private cloud at home" project, providing both robust container orchestration and the opportunity to learn about a technology in such demand and so thoroughly integrated into the cloud that its name is practically synonymous with "cloud computing." Read more Also: Provision Kubernetes NFS clients on a Raspberry Pi homelab A beginner's guide to Kubernetes container orchestration

Security and Proprietary Issues

  • Surprise Capital One court decision spells trouble for incident response

    Break in case of emergency: Language is everything. Delineate clearly in all written comms between a ‘potential incident’ - and an actual one. Don’t start turning one of the hundreds of security events you see into a ‘security incident’ before the most essential facts are understood. Halpert’s threshold for incidents that need to be covered by legal privilege are: a) An incident that gives rise to an obligation to notify a regulator, or a contractual obligation to notify a business partner; or b) An incident that exposed trade secrets or otherwise would affect the share price of a company; or c) An incident that would cause significant reputational hit to the company; or d) An incident in which a crime is committed.

  • Judge rules Capital One must hand over Mandiant's forensic data breach report

    It’s a significant ruling that effectively affords the attorneys suing Capital One with a breakdown of which bank behaviors were successful, and which failed. It’s common for Fortune 500 companies to keep incident response firms like Mandiant on retainer, though it’s rare for those firms’ insights on high profile breaches to be made public. Similar rulings in the future could provide aggrieved customers with ammunition to seek higher pay-outs in court.

  • Retrotech: The Novell NetWare Experience

    In the simplest terms possible, NetWare was a dedicated network operating system. It was designed around fast and reliable network operations at the expense of almost everything else. Novell had invested massive amounts of research in figuring out how to do fast I/O and minimizing any delays from hardware related sources. The end result was a very lean system that remained stable and performant with a large number of clients attached. As networking was Novell's bread and butter, NetWare had excellent support for everything: clients were available for DOS, Windows, UNIX, Macintosh, OS/2 and probably other platforms I've never even heard of.

    The early history of NetWare is very muddled, and pre-2.0 versions have been lost to time. This compounded with poor documentation has made it very difficult to trace the early history of the product. However, while NetWare was not the first (or only) network product for IBM PCs, it quickly became the largest, displacing IBM's PC Network, and laughed at Microsoft's LAN Manager, and IBM OS/2 LAN Server.

    While NetWare did compete on UNIX, Sun had already gotten their foot in the door by porting NFS and making it the de-facto solution for all UNIXs of the era, as well as Linux. Meanwhile, Apple held onto AppleTalk which itself survived well into the early 2000s when NetWare had already disappeared into the aether. The explosion of Wintel PCs throughout the 90s had given NetWare a market position that should have been very difficult to dislodge.

    The full story of NetWare's fall from grace is a story for another time, but I do want to go into the more technical aspects that were both the boon and bane of NetWare. Much of NetWare's success can be attributed to its own IPX protocol which made networking plug and play and drastically lowered latencies compared to NetBIOS or even TCP/IP.

  • Polish malspam pushes ZLoader malware

    When enabling macros on the malicious Excel spreadsheet, the victim host retrieved the ZLoader DLL as shown in the previous section, saved the DLL to the victim's Documents folder, and ran it using rundll32.exe.

  • Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is hurting independent developers

    But what is SmartScreen?

    SmartScreen collects installation data from all Windows users in order to establish “reputation”. If the program does not have an established good reputation, you get this big warning message. By this time most users have deleted the .exe already thinking it is a malware, but SmartScreen can be bypassed by clicking on “More info” then “Run anyway”.

    The digital signature racket

    But let’s say you bite the bullet, you buy yourself an overpriced piece of prime numbers generated by a computer, sign your code and re-publish your application. You can now start getting users to install your app right? Wrong.

    But how do you build reputation? First of all, Microsoft needs to be able to gather information on who has published the app, and this is done by a code signing certificate. The most obvious implication is that unsigned apps will always trigger SmartScreen. The more insidious implication is that acquiring a code signing certificate is a big expense for an individual developer. There is currently no “Let’s Encrypt” equivalent to code signing certificates; so you have to purchase it from trusted authorities. The price range is wide but a certificate only valid for a year will typically go for about $100.

  • #Privacy: Michigan State University struck by ransomware attack

    It remains unclear as to how and when the attack happened, and what the ransom demand is.

    NetWalker is one of twelve ransomware gangs who threaten to publish data in revenge if organisations refuse to pay the ransom demand.

    MSU have not official disclosed the incident, however, an MSU spokesperson, Dan Olsen shared the following statement to EdScoop: “We are aware of a possible intrusion and we are actively looking into it.”

  • MSU: We won't pay [attacker] demanding ransom, threatening university over records

    University officials believe the latest breach occurred on Memorial Day and took relevant computer systems offline within hours of the intrusion, according to a news release. It compromised data associated with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and information technology teams are coordinating with law enforcement to understand the scope of the breach. Investigators are notifying and providing support to affected MSU affiliates as they are identified.

    The cybersecurity breach, known as a ransomware attack, first became public May 27 when a [cr]acker-affiliated blog posted screenshots of files allegedly belonging to MSU affiliates. Images circulating on social media include a redacted passport and a list of transactions related to physics and astronomy projects. They also show a countdown clock that warns of “secret data publication” less than one week from when the screenshots were taken.

  • Michigan State target of ransomware attack threatening to release university data

    The ransom demanded was not specified, but the ransomware gang is prepared to release the university's documents.

    The NetWalker, a newer form of ransomeware sometimes labeled as Mailto, blog post threatened publication of 'secret' documents dated with a countdown clock with close to a week remaining.

  • Malware Team NetWalker Launches Ransomware Attack Against Weiz

    The Malware team NetWalker launched a new ransomware attack against the Austrian village of Weiz which affected the public service system and leaked a lot of the stolen data from building applications as we are about to read more in the following latest cryptocurrency news.

    According to the cybersecurity firm Panda Security, the Malware team managed to enter the town’s public network through phishing emails related to the Coronavirus pandemic. The subject of the emails which was ‘’information about the coronavirus’’ was used to bait the employees of the public infrastructure of the city into clicking on malicious links which triggered the ransomware.

    Panda Security claims that the ransomware attack belongs to a new version of a ransomware family that spreads by using VBScripts. If the infection is successful, it will spread through the entire windows network to which the infected machine is related. The report details that the ransomware terminates and services under Windows which encrypts files on all available disks thus eliminating the backups.

  • Inside a ransomware gang’s attack toolbox

    The crooks deployed a pirated copy of the Virtual Box virtual machine (VM) software to every computer on the victim’s network, plus a VM file containing a pirated copy of Windows XP, just to have a “walled garden” for their ransomware to sit inside while it did its cryptographic scrambling.

    But that’s far from everything that today’s crooks bring along for a typical attack, as SophosLabs was able to document recently when it stumbled upon a cache of tools belonging to a ransomware gang known as Netwalker.

  • Researchers Dive Into Evolution of Malicious Excel 4.0 Macros

    For more than five months, Lastline security researchers have tracked the evolution of malicious Excel 4.0 (XL4) macros, observing the fast pace at which malware authors change them to stay ahead of security tools.

    A central part of many organizations’ productivity tools, Excel opens the door for phishing attacks where victims are tricked into enabling macros in malicious documents, which can results in the attackers gaining a foothold on the network, in preparation for additional activities.

    During their five-month research, Lastline observed thousands of malicious samples, clustered into waves that provide a comprehensive picture of how the threat has evolved in both sophistication and evasiveness.

  • MSU won't pay ransom to [cr]acker who stole financial documents, personal information

    EdScoop reported the ransomware attack on May 27 and provided screenshots from a blog on the dark web, showing what appear to be a student's passport, MSU financial documents and files from the MSU network, as well as a countdown that had about one week remaining as of May 27.

  • Attackers Target 1M+ WordPress Sites To Harvest Database Credentials

    Attackers were spotted targeting over one million WordPress websites in a campaign over the weekend. The campaign unsuccessfully attempted to exploit old cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins and themes, with the goal of harvesting database credentials.

    The attacks were aiming to download wp-config.php, a file critical to all WordPress installations. The file is located in the root of WordPress file directories and contains websites’ database credentials and connection information, in addition to authentication unique keys and salts. By downloading the sites’ configuration files, an attacker would gain access to the site’s database, where site content and credentials are stored, said researchers with Wordfence who spotted the attack.

    Between May 29 and May 31, researchers observed (and were able to block) over 130 million attacks targeting 1.3 million sites.

  • Denial of service attacks against advocacy groups skyrocket

    Distributed denial-of-service attacks against advocacy organizations increased by 1,120% since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck, sparking demonstrations throughout the U.S.

    In figures published Tuesday, the internet security firm Cloudflare said it blocked more than 135 billion malicious web requests against advocacy sites, compared to less than 30 million blocked requests against U.S. government websites, such as police and military organizations. The company did not disclose which websites were affected, specifically.

Reading about open source in French

English speakers have so many wonderful open source resources that it's easy to forget that communications in English aren't accessible to everyone everywhere. Therefore, I've been looking for great open source resources in Spanish and French, so I can recommend them when the need arises. One I've been looking at recently is LinuxFr.org, which seems to be a fine "agora" for all sorts of interesting conversations in French about open source specifically and open everything else as well. Read more