French police officer charged with selling confidential data on the dark web

8 Oct 2018

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A French police officer was charged with using confidential police data, which powered a mobile phone tracking service sold on the dark web.

This week, the Bloomberg spy chip saga has dominated the security headlines. Journalists at Bloomberg Businessweek allege that Chinese spies infiltrated tech giants’ hardware supply chain, but firms such as Apple and Amazon have denied the story outright.

As Facebook continues to deal with the aftermath of its latest security incident, the Data Protection Commission here in Ireland has confirmed it is launching a full investigation into the breach.

Meanwhile, Google launched a free app on Android to protect users against DNS (domain name system) manipulation. The app, called Intra, uses DNS over HTTPS (DoH) technology and was created by Jigsaw, one of Google’s technology incubators operating under the Alphabet umbrella.

French police officer sold private data on the dark web

A police officer in France stands accused of running a service that used police information to track mobile devices based on a phone number. The officer sold the service as a way for people to track their spouses, as well as a method for criminal gangs to track rivals.

According to ZDNet, the man worked for the French General Directorate for Internal Security, which is an intelligence agency that deals with spying, terrorism and cybercrime. Law enforcement was able to find him by linking the documents found on the dark-web marketplace ‘Black Hand’ to unique codes on police systems that could track document history. He operated under the code name ‘Haurus’.

The officer also sold sensitive documents that police believe were used by forgers to create copies.

Wi-Fi routers commonly found in homes pose risk

Wi-Fi router vulnerabilities have been well publicised and new research conducted by the American Consumer Institute Centre for Citizen Research shows there are many major vulnerabilities in the equipment. Out of 186 sampled routers, 83pc were found vulnerable to potential cyberattacks. Most of the faults were in the router firmware, according to the researchers.

The report said more rigour is needed when it comes to issuing patches as well as less reliance on open source projects, in order to provide adequate protection.

Netflix competitors cause a jump in online piracy

For the last number of years, BitTorrent usage and online piracy had been on the decline, but a report from Sandvine shows that BitTorrent is rising again. According to the research, streaming exclusivity deals where content is only available on a single platform such as Hulu or Netflix are seen as cumbersome and expensive by many viewers.

This means customers will subscribe to one or two services and pirate the remainder of the shows and films they want to watch. As Motherboard puts it, these “exclusivity silos” may be driving up piracy once more.

Microsoft yanks Windows 10 October update

A mere four days after its arrival, Microsoft has pulled a Windows 10 update release after users complained that files had disappeared. The company asked that affected users call their local support line and use their device as little as possible. Those who have manually downloaded the update have been urged not to install it.

Microsoft said: “We recommend that you do not attempt to manually update to Windows 10, version 1809, using the Update Now button or the Media Creation Tool from the Microsoft Software Download Centre until newer Intel device drivers are available with the update.”

The company added: “Microsoft has paused the roll-out of the update while we continue to investigate reports from some customers.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects