The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab reports its conclusions that a New York Times journalist was hit with Pegasus spyware in June of 2018. The vector was a text message that contained a hyperlink to a site associated with a “Pegasus operator” Citizen Lab calls “KINGDOM,” and which the Lab says is connected to Saudi Arabi. Other KINGDOM targets included Saudi dissidents and a Amnesty International staffer.
A joint inquiry by Motherboard and PCMag disclosed that Avast subsidiary Jumpshot was selling anonymized user data to companies who found it valuable for various marketing purposes. Avast’s free antivirus software collects such data on behalf of Jumpshot, which then provides the information to its customers. Some, perhaps most, customers are unaware that their data are being sold. While those data are anonymized, they’re sufficiently rich to offer some prospect of de-anonymization. It’s a bad look for the company, whose browser extensions were removed from Mozilla, Google, and Opera stores over similar data collection. Avast stopped collecting via extensions, but appears to have shifted to collecting via its antivirus software.
Avast has sought to make a fresh start, offering users of its product a chance to opt out of the collection, but some remain unmollified: PCMag writes that US Senator Warner (Democrat of Virginia) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to increase enforcement actions against such sale of customer data.
Computing reports that the British Government has reached a compromise on Huawei: let the vendor into 5G’s non-core, peripheral parts, but no farther.