At a glance.
- Notes on clearing your online traces.
- Google's I-9 and visa compliance specialists suffer a data breach.
- Update on the Vastaamo breach.
Marie Kondo-ing your digital history (and it's more than tidying up with some added feng shui).
Just like our houses, our digital lives also need an occasional tidying up. As Wired reports, reducing your digital property makes it tougher for advertisers or threat actors to create a digital profile on you. Tips on minimizing your digital footprint:
- Email: Gmail offers a complex set of search operators, making it easy to pinpoint and delete emails by date or importance. In Outlook, sort by date and bulk-delete as needed.
- Social Media: For Twitter, auto-delete tools like TweetDelete can do the work for you, though they do come at a price. The app Jumbo, compatible with both Facebook and Twitter, will not only purge your posts, but also download and save them for you. With Facebook or Instagram, take advantage of the Stories feature, in which all posts expire every 24 hours.
- Cloud storage: For most services, including Dropbox and iCloud, there aren’t any easy shortcuts; just sort by date and delete accordingly. Google Drive does offer more precise search operators similar to Gmail.
- Online Activity: Google has an auto-delete option in the “Data and Personalization” section of your account which makes it simple to remove your digital trail, but that’s likely because, compared to Apple and Microsoft, Google also collects the most data for targeted advertising. In Facebook, clean out the “Your Facebook Information” section located in your settings.
Google’s immigration lawyer sustains data breach.
TechCrunch reports, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, a US immigration law firm that serves Google, suffered a client data breach. Firms like Fragomen are prime targets for attacks due to the nature of the data they are required to collect: I-9 forms that, in order to prove work eligibility, contain highly confidential data like passports and identification cards. Fragomen confirmed that an external party acquired a file containing Google employee data, though they have not disclosed how many employees were compromised or exactly what data was leaked.
Update on the Vastaamo breach.
As the CyberWire reported yesterday, Vastaamo, one of Finland’s largest psychotherapy centers, suffered a data breach in which the attacker not only released sensitive patient data online, but also requested payment from patients in return for keeping their info off the web. Cyberscoop reports up to 40,000 patients might have been impacted and, in addition to blackmailing individual patients, the extortionist demanded 450,000 euros from Vastaamo for the safe return of the data. Yle UUtiset now reports, though Vastaamo previously stated that the breach did not affect any records after November 2018, a second breach occurred in March of 2019 that potentially compromised additional data. Vastaamo has fired CEO Ville Tapio, as it appears he was aware of the previous breach and the weaknesses of the center’s cybersecurity measures but did not share this knowledge with the center’s board or owner.
Dan Piazza, Technical Product Manager at Stealthbits Technologies, emailed comments on the breach; his observations are representative of the general loathing this breach has prompted:
“Unfortunately, it's clear many attackers have no shame and there's no ethical boundary they're not willing to cross to make a profit. So far, the attacker has only leaked 300 patient records, however it's unclear how much more sensitive data they hold. This is when having an audit trail of all sensitive data in an organization can help identify specific data repositories that were breached, and which remain untouched and secure. While that information can't undo the damage done by the initial attack, it can help calculate the remaining risk of additional data leaks from the breach and also start the process of better securing breached networks and data repositories against future threats.
“This attack also highlights the common issue of long dwell times, as the data breach seemingly went unnoticed for almost two years (with initial network penetration occurring as early as November 2018). While the ultimate defensive goal is still to prevent attacks from occurring in the first place, organizations need software tools in place to detect breaches after the fact. Being in the network for so long, the attacker may have done much more than just stolen data. They could have installed additional, dormant malware, opened back doors, or found ways to spread to related networks. Long dwell times drastically increase risk, by giving attackers a larger foothold to potentially return to the network to wreak additional havoc.”