At a glance.
- Huawei ejects compromised games from its store (but that comes too late for 9.3 million users).
- Who's most likely to think stalkerware is OK?
- Espionage in an age of pervasive surveillance.
Cynos malware discovered in Android games.
Russian cybersecurity company Dr.Web, which has been tracking Cynos malware over the past year, reports that it has detected the malware in one-hundred-ninety Android gaming apps largely aimed at Chinese and Russian markets. Once informed, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei removed the apps from its store, but it’s reported that 9.3 million users have installed one of these games on their phones. Affected users will need to manually remove the apps from their phones. The Record explains that the malware presents as a malicious library collecting user data such as phone numbers, geolocation info, mobile network details, and device specs. The researchers at Dr.Web stated, “At first glance, a mobile phone number leak may seem like an insignificant problem. Yet, in reality, it can seriously harm users, especially given the fact that children are the games’ main target audience.”
British more likely to spy on domestic partners?
A report from security firm Kaspersky suggests that the British are more likely than other nations to resort to cyberstalking in the hope of snooping on a partner suspected of cheating, the Daily Swig reports. In honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Kaspersky conducted a study examining the domestic surveillance opinions of 21,000 individuals across the world. The report found that 76% of UK respondents felt using spyware on a potentially unfaithful partner was reasonable, compared to the overall average of 64%. Anti-voyeurism activist Gina Martin told Computer Weekly, “This research paints an alarming picture that the UK has a very serious problem with both online stalking and domestic abuse, which are intrinsically linked...It is vital that more people are aware of its dangers and are given the tools, advice and support they need to combat it.”
Espionage in the age of omnipresent surveillance tech.
The Wall Street Journal discusses how the ubiquity of surveillance technology has become an obstacle for a profession that hinges on secrecy: spying. In today’s world it’s nearly impossible for anyone to make a single move without leaving digital breadcrumbs behind, and for spies it makes it easy for foreign adversaries to track their every move. Security cameras, biometric border controls, and smart devices have threatened recent spy missions by making covert meetings, undercover aliases, and stealth assassination operations public knowledge.
A recent report from think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggested that, while surveillance tech can aid the US Intelligence Community in collecting intelligence, authoritarian regimes like China and Russia have the upper hand because they are more capable of controlling the tech for their own aims. Duyane Norman, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) station chief who specialized in digital-age spying, stated, “The foundational elements of espionage, I argue, have been shattered—they have already been broken.” While the CIA acknowledges these challenges, the agency is focused on reshaping its tactics to adjust to technical surveillance. Strategies include no longer relying on false identities (which can be easily blown by biometrics), and the use of teams and artificial intelligence to find surveillance-free paths. As CIA Director William Burns recently stated, “The agency, like so many other parts of the US government, is going to have to adapt...I’m entirely confident that the women and men of CIA are capable of that.”
If the spies are worried about their privacy, what does that say about the rest of us?