F-Droid: A free, open, privacy-oriented Android app store that corrects Android's "original sin"

After uncovering a ferocious horde of hidden spyware in official Android apps the Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus have pitched in with F-Droid's app store that only allows apps that include their source-code and whose licenses require anyone who modifies them to also include the source. Read the rest

A comprehensive guide to corporate online surveillance in everyday life

Cracked Labs' massive report on online surveillance by corporations dissects all the different ways in which our digital lives are tracked, from the ad-beacons that follow us around the web to the apps that track our physical locations as we move around the world. Read the rest

A newly discovered strain of Android malware contains never-seen surveillance features

A new research report from Kaspersky Labs details their analysis of Skygofree, a newly discovered strain of malware that offers some of the most comprehensive and invasive surveillance tools ever seen for Android.

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Some of 2017's most beautiful and striking objects

Rain Nos roundup of the Core 77's Favorite Objects from 2017 has some real beauts that are of note to aficionados of physical culture and made objects. Read the rest

Wired releases a surveillance self-defense guide

Wired's new Guide to Digital Security is an excellent addition to the genre of simple-to-follow how-tos for reducing the likelihood that you'll be victimized by computer-assisted crime and harassment, and that if you are, the harms will be mitigated. Read the rest

Researchers craft Android app that reveals menagerie of hidden spyware; legally barred from doing the same with iOS

Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy's devastating report on the dozens of invasive, dangerous "trackers" hidden in common Android apps was generated by writing code that spied on their target devices' internal operations, uncovering all manner of sneaking trickery. Read the rest

This "book-lined" Beijing subway car is an audiobook library

Beijing's subway system now includes some experimental cars decorated to look like fanciful, book-lined rooms; scan the QR codes and you get free audiobook downloads for popular Chinese novels. Read the rest

Teardown of a consumer voice/location cellular spying device that fits in the tip of a USB cable

Mich from ha.cking bought a $25 "S8 data line locator" device -- a cellular spying tool, disguised as a USB cable and marketed to the general public -- and did a teardown of the gadget, offering a glimpse into the world of "trickle down surveillance" where the kinds of surveillance tools used by the NSA are turned into products and sold to randos over the internet for $25. Read the rest

Lovesense sex toys make accidental audio recordings of your sex sessions, which the company describes as a "minor bug"

Lovesense -- the company that made the Bluetooth-enabled vibrating buttplugs that could be detected and hacked remotely and settled a class-lawsuit over collecting vibrator users' personal information for $3.75M -- has told users of its Lovesense Remote vibrator app not to worry about the "minor bug" that causes it to record the audio of their sex sessions. Read the rest

Portuguese non-neutral ISP shows us what our Trumpian internet will look like

Since 2006, Net Neutrality activists have been warning that a non-Neutral internet will be an invitation to ISPs to create "plans" where you have to choose which established services you can access, shutting out new entrants to the market and allowing the companies with the deepest pockets to permanently dominate the internet. Read the rest

Viral Chinese mobile game requires players to "applaud" a speech by President Xi Jinping

Such a Great Speech: Applaud Xi Jinping has been played 860 million times; players score points by button-mashing an "applause" button while watching outtakes from President Xi Jinping's 3.5 hour speech to the Communist Party Congress last week. Read the rest

Mobile ad technique allows stalkers to follow you around a city for less than $1000

This month, University of Washington researchers will present Exploring ADINT: Using Ad Targeting for Surveillance on a Budget — or — How Alice Can Buy Ads to Track Bob at the Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society in Dallas; the paper details a novel way that stalkers and other low-level criminals can accomplish state-grade surveillance on the cheap with targeted ad-purchases. Read the rest

A fidget spinner with a built-in mobile phone

The core components of a mobile phone are small enough for rectal insertion, so there's really no limit to what shape a phone can take (something you can verify with your own eyes in Shenzhen, where phones are unbelievably cheap (no, cheaper than that), and come in every shape and size). Read the rest

Crowdfunder for a free/open phone crosses $1M mark

One of the holy grails of free and open computing is a really great free/open phone; it's been tried many times before without much success, but a new crowdfunder from Purism (who make a pretty great free/open laptop) has just crossed the $1,000,000 mark and is on track to hit its target of $1.5M in the next 18 days. Read the rest

Canada's Mounties use a 6-year-old "interim policy" to justify warrantless mass surveillance

In 2016, Motherboard used public records requests to receive 3,000 pages of documents from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detailing the federal police agency's longstanding secret use of IMSI Catchers (AKA "Stingrays" -- the fake cellular towers that silently capture data on every cellphone user in range). Read the rest

EFF and ACLU sue Trump administration over warrantless border device searches

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties just filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of 11 travellers whose devices were searched at the US border; they assert that warrantless device searches violate the constitutional restriction on searches without probable cause. Read the rest

In an engineering paper, bunnie Huang and Ed Snowden describe a malware-resistant hardware Iphone privacy overlay

In July 2016, Andrew "bunnie" Huang and Edward Snowden presented their research on journalist-friendly mobile surveillance resistance at the first MIT Media Lab Forbidden Research conference; a little over a year later, they have published an extensive scholarly paper laying out the problems of detecting and interdicting malware in a mobile device, and presenting a gorgeously engineered hardware overlay that can be installed in an Iphone to physically monitor the networking components and report on their activity via a screen on a slim external case. Read the rest

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