Top Security News: The Weekly Update

Here’s the top news in the mobile security world. We bring you everything you need to know to stay safe and use your devices wisely!

Safe Harbor: What’s going on?

European Commission meets in Brussels
European Commission meets in Brussels

Until now there was a long standing agreement, the Safe Harbor agreement, between the US and the EU on how private data can be transferred transatlantically. This agreement has recently been nullified and without its protection, major companies in various industries who depend on transatlantic transference of data are left scrambling for ways to regulate future data transfers. The US & EU are on such different pages in their data laws, that with lack of regulations applicable to the both of them, the transfer becomes pretty complicated. Big companies (Facebook, for example) data flow claim they won’t be affected as much as a result of the multiple layers of legal protection they have. However, the small companies who do not have the resources to build layers of privacy protection for their data.

What happens next? The European Commission recently met in Brussels and decided that the US and EU will have three months to reach a new privacy agreement. Because the agreement was just thrown out, no warning and no grace period to figure out how to conduct matters from here on in- three months have now been alloted to find an alternative regulatory solution. We’ll keep you posted!

Those updates, though:

Dell’s Global Technology Adoption Index shows that companies investing in upping their security are experiencing 50% faster revenue. There are still concerns about ROI (Returns On Investment), however this shows that the public is becoming more conscious of security and privacy concerns, supporting those companies that choose to invest in security over those that don’t.

No More 4 digit passcodes for iPhones: Apple’s new software is changing their classic 4 digit passcode to a 6 digit one. While increasing the time it takes to get into your device by just a fraction of a second, this dramatically increases the protection on the device. By adding just 2 digits to the passcode, the choice of passwords jumps from 10,000 to over a million different possibilities. This makes it dramatically more difficult for someone to try and crack the password, lest your device fall into the wrong hands.

Apple Passcode; Never Going to Be the Same?

 

In other password news: Yahoo! made a dramatic change in the password reality we all know and love- abolished it entirely! While we have gotten quite comfortable using passwords, (commonly even using the same one for all accounts across the internet), they are proving to be increasingly unsafe. Yahoo’s new security measures use an Account Key feature. User’s enter their username and select the Account Key option which sends a Push notification to their device, notifying them that someone is requesting to access their account. If it is indeed them, they may proceed. Voila, passwords be gone!

Despite Android being notoriously far less protected than iOS, (University of Cambridge study found 87% of Android devices insecure! eek. This is because the relatively lax policy they have towards security). Nevertheless, the plethora of antivirus apps that exist are stepping up their game. In a recent evaluation done, 17 out of 25 apps tested received perfect scores.

However, iOS is still on top of their game. There is no doubt that iOS still makes controlling app’s access to personal data easier than Android. Even with Android’s most recent update, Marshmallow (Android 6.0), which allows for much improved ease and control over app permissions,  iOS is still crushing Android in this playing field.

What was with Windows and Adobe?

Windows 10 Privacy advocates have been making everyone aware of  a whole slew of vulnerabilities in Windows 10 software, Some tips have been up on the web how to try and stay safe while using that software, albeit somewhat advanced, they try their best to protect the average user. These include skipping the Microsoft account, as well as playing around with some default permissions in the Privacy Menu as well as the Edge Browser.

Adobe After being harshly badmouthed by Steve Jobs, and more recently by Facebook’s security lead, Adobe knew Flash’s horizon was looking grim; and then finding a critical vulnerability just days ago should have really doomed Flash for the end of its time. The vulnerability allowed for potential crashes and hackers taking control of the system (can’t get much worse than that when it comes to privacy hacks). But! Adobe stepped up their game and released an update with a fix for the problem soon enough, even though we previously thought it might take close to a week to fix.

 

Unfortunately..

Voice over Hackers have mastered yet another way to compromise our confidence in our confidentiality. It seems they  have found a way to control your phone remotely and let themselves into your device through voice command technology, like Siri and Google Now. It seems our phones can now be tricked into completing tasks we didn’t tell them to do through voice command.

 

Don’t despair yet, though!

Apple recently pulled over 250 apps from the app store, after discovering that user’s personal information was being siphoned out through a widely used network. These malicious apps were the first to bypass the app review process and successfully make it into the app store. Have no fear though, Apple quickly pulled them out, and they are “working closely with developers to help them get updated versions of their apps that are safe for customers and in compliance with our guidelines”

 

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