If you are a user of Firefox and have the Ant Video Downloader add on installed than we strongly recommend you remove it ASAP. The app which has recently been removed from the Firefox website has been found to be secretly collecting data about every website you visit and combines it into traceable data even when Private Browsing is enabled. The add on which had over 7 million downloads with more than 7000 new downloads daily was very popular.
A researcher found the problem in the middle of developing web applications. He discovered that every single HTTP request his computer made was being sent to Ants servers which is owned by a company called Reality Check Network Corp.
The developer Simon Newton was quoted as saying
“”As there is this unique identifier, patterns could be built up about where I go — for example if I use my laptop at work, at a public wifi hotspot, at home or a friends house — that [UUID] and cookie can be tied to all of those IP addresses, building a picture of not only what I am doing online, but where I am doing it from.”
“What alarms me a bit more is that the data that is transmitted about me and my browsing (even anonymously) is going onto servers in New York, USA,” he continued. “What if I were visiting [a] site I did not want anyone to know about? What if the US government subpoena ‘Reality check network corp’ for all information stored on their servers about my IP address, cookie, or UUID?”
Another concern is that Firefox did not check this application carefully enough when it was approved to be listed on their site. Firefox currently has more that 5000 add ons listed and this could be the first of many secretly disguised applications that are tracking the movements and data of its users.
Should you get rid of Firefox? We don’t think that is necessary, but you should always be careful what add ons you are installing. The add on is also available for download on Internet Explorer. If you are looking for an alternative we recommend Download Helper with more than 91 million downloads.
As a follow up to yesterdays post on the secret Apple iPhone tracking fiasco, the below video shows its making it onto some of the main stream media outlets. So far Apple has still not responded. We will post another update when Apple does respond to their secret tracking software on the iPhone 4.0.
Quite a bizarre story for you today, one so outrageous it doesn’t even sound true, however it was posted at the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) website earlier this month.
According to a complaint filed against the Michigan State Police, the police are using specialized portable devices to search and extract your personal information, videos, call history, emails and messages etc. on your cell phone during random routine stops on the cities roads. The device the police officers are using is called the UFED Physical Pro which are sold by a company called Cellebrite with a a slogan of “mobile data secured” well not in this case. The device which seems to be made to restore access to phones including a data dump and also recovering the lock and sim passwords does not appear to be made for the purposes of searching private citizens phones but the police are using it for their own purposes in violation of your 4th Amendment rights.
The ACLU has been investigating this case all the way back to 2008 with no success. You can find Information on the ACLU website. Just a thought though, imagine if this hardware and these tactics were used everywhere, including on laptop in airports at road blocks etc, is that a country you would want to live in? Perhaps this is just a trial and its success could see it rolled out in other cities across the USA.
A reader recently sent me in some pictures of a huge pile of secret and potentially dangerous documents dumped outside a business that had been shut down in his city which appear to be somewhere in France as alot of them are in French. I will post some of the images below but not all of them, they include company documents such as bank account numbers, bank statements, customer data, phone numbers, names and addresses, employee data such as names, phone numbers and addresses as well as resumes and qualifications. There were also purchase invoices, receipts and pretty much every single document a company would have on file dating back to 2003.I have removed some of the sensitive information to protect the employees.
I was quite shocked to see what this anonymous reader sent in, not only at what had been discarded simply on the street but that absolutely no care had been taken to protect their own data. This is just 1 company going out of business, now just think of the thousands or millions that went bust during the 2008 crash, and the ones that will go bust in the new crash, what do they do with all their documents, looking at the pictures below doesn’t it make you wonder?
As a follow up to our recent post on Internet Eyes, there is a new report about one of their retailers (3 Budgens stores in London) that stopped using the system due to complaints from customers. The owner of the stores Jinx Hundal had just been using the cameras for a week before he pulled the plug.
“The last thing I wanted to do was upset my customers. I have spoken to customers via our customer forum and there have been concerns raised, with several saying they were uneasy about being viewed by members of the public.” Mr Hundal was quoted as saying.
In the week that the Internet Eyes system was running Hundal received 12 alerts but only 1 was related to shoplifting and he would need to find a better way to deter shoplifters.
The founder of Internet Eyes is disappointed that Hundal has stopped using his system, but it just goes to show the people have the power and if they don’t like something such as this its s sign they value their privacy and this may have more consequences for other retailers.
The privacy watchdog agency recently issued a fine to Google for 100,000 euros ($140,000), for privacy violations with their street view service in France. French officials said that Google knowingly broke several privacy rules by operating a mobile app called Latitude which allows users to broadcast their location to friends.
Google has admitted to gathering computer passwords, email addresses and other private information from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks without the owners consent or knowledge as their camera equipped Street View cars roamed the streets. The French authorities said that Gogole did not inform its users that it tracked their movments to enhance the database of Wi-Fi information through the Latitude app.
Peter Fleischer, the global privacy counsel for Google made the following statement “As we have said before, we are profoundly sorry for having mistakenly collected payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks… As soon as we realized what had happened, we stopped collecting Wi-Fi data from our Street View cars and immediately informed the authorities. Deleting the data has always been our priority.”
French authorities are concerned over the increasing use of Google actions saying that if the French go to the USA they need to abide by the laws of the United Stated. By Google coming to France they need to abide by French law and they will continue to be watched for further violations.
So what is Google Street View? Launched in 2007, Google Street View has cars equipped with cameras that drive around almost every major city or town in the world mapping out streets, parks, bike paths etc and taking pictures of anyone in its path. Google has also added new technology by adding 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots and publising them on their popular search engine. Privacy advocates have long been screaming about the use of this technology as Google can legally publish images of people in less than desirable situations such as men leaving strip clubs and women leaving abortion clinics.
In 2010 Australia banned Google from using their street view services in the country and the Czech Republic has also done the same.
- Cyber crime and more data breaches in 2011 June 11, 2011Its been a really bad year for companies that have experienced cyber crime or have had serious data breaches. Most recently the Sony Corporation has been in the headlines for failing to properly secure its PlayStation Network which allowed hackers to steal hundreds of millions of users details and possibly credit card information. In April […]
- Is internet privacy impossible? June 10, 2011Internet privacy is becoming more and more of a topic of discussion these last few months as issues with Google, Apple and Sony are in the headlines. Privacy advocates are going as far as saying that privacy does not exist, it can’t exist and on the internet privacy is virtually impossible. In some way they […]
- Google Chrome update fixes 15 bugs June 8, 2011If you are using Google Chrome than you need to update to the latest version as Google as fixed 15 bugs including 5 high severity vulnerabilities. Along with these new bug fixes the new version allows users to delete flash cookies just like they can do with web cookies. Another new feature will prevent the […]
- Internet Privacy Bill rejected in California for the 2nd time June 5, 2011Bill SB242 also known as the internet privacy bill was rejected 19-17 by lawmakers in California for the 2nd time after coming under heavy opposition by those pesky social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook who want the bill abolished because it will defeat the purpose of their website which is to exploit internet […]
- Gmail users – beware of fake login pages June 3, 2011Google sent a warning yesterday about targeted attacks on Gmail users that use phishing attacks to trick users to login to fake Gmail pages. The attackers thought to be Chinese seem to be targeting US officials that use Gmail (who would have thought they even do!?) and also political activists, journalists and military personnel. To […]
- Hide My Ass VPN launches new website June 3, 2011Hide My Ass VPN, one of the premier virtual private network companies has just released a new version of its website complete with a new blog. They have also 10 more VPN servers to their already large list of available ip addresses to use anonymously. Hide My Ass VPN currently offers 13,000 unique ip addresses […]
- Google Wallet payment system May 30, 2011Google has announced the release of their long awaited new payment system Google Wallet. This revolutionary new payment system allows users to pay at certain stores by swiping their mobile phones instead of their credit cards. The technology is fairly new at the moment so it only works on the Nexus S 4G by Google […]
- Inside Strong VPN – World class VPN services May 27, 2011One of the best Virtual Private Network services around at the moment is Strong VPN which is owned and operated by a Reliablehosting.com, one of the best hosting companies. In business for over 12 years, with 24/7/365 support its easy to see why people go with Strong VPN for their VPN needs. With over 900 […]
- New Private Browsing feature for mobile Firefox users May 22, 2011Mobile phone users with the Android operating system can rejoice today as Firefox releases a new version of its popular mobile web browser that includes the “Do Not Track Privacy Feature” which is already used in its desktop browser. Firefox for Android is currently the only mobile browser that us the do not track feature. […]
- Ant Video Downloader addon for Firefox a privacy concern May 22, 2011If you are a user of Firefox and have the Ant Video Downloader add on installed than we strongly recommend you remove it ASAP. The app which has recently been removed from the Firefox website has been found to be secretly collecting data about every website you visit and combines it into traceable data even […]