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OK, Google isn’t listening anymore

By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Google has removed an extension from Chromium after privacy activists alleged that the extension allowed the tech giant to spy on users. The software uses a computer’s microphone to listen for the “OK, Google” phrase, which triggers voice searches. Open-source developers and privacy activists said Chromium was automatically downloading the “Chrome Hotword” extension, giving users no warning and making it impossible to stop the download. While Hotword was turned off by default, both Google Chrome and Chromium (if set to default browser) can permanently listen to a user’s microphone, with “OK, Google” set as the trigger word, Ars Technica says. Google now says that the “black box” will not be installed unless a user manually adds it from the Chrome Web Store, then enables the voice-search option. Source: International Business Times

Supply and demand for cyber coverage

Demand for cybersecurity coverage from insurance buyers ranks first among several emerging risks, says a survey by RKH Specialty, a London-based broker. For property coverage, supply-chain disruption is seeing the fastest growth in demand due to a growing recognition of the potential exposures that longer and more complex supply chains cause. “Losses stemming from cyber-related attacks and business interruption can be catastrophic for individual businesses,” said Barnaby Rugge-Price, RKH Specialty’s CEO. “Health care and retail have been the major buyers in the cyber space to date, but we are seeing an increasing conversion rate across the whole of our portfolio.” Source: Claims Journal

sh_filing cabinet_400Like, dude, we’re so over it

With all the data snooping and privacy violations by government agencies and hacker groups, a new survey suggests young people regret the amount of personal information they’ve revealed on social media. A report by USA Network says 55 percent of young people would drop social media entirely “if they could start fresh.” If major breaches of their privacy continue, 75 percent were at least “somewhat likely” to deactivate personal social-media accounts, with 23 percent saying they were “highly likely” to do so. Young Americans’ sense of privacy online has been so violated, most believe it’s safer to store personal data in a box than in the cloud. Physical filing systems were the “most trusted” personal data-storage method for young people. Source: Tech Crunch

I think ICANN

Under a proposal being considered by global domain name authority ICANN, domains used for commercial purposes might no longer be able to use proxy registration services. Sites that run ads have been judged as commercial in domain-name disputes. If ICANN adopts a similar definition, some people who use proxies to run their websites might be forced to reveal their names if the sites run ads. The change is backed by entertainment companies, who have told Congress that privacy for domain registration should be allowed only in “limited circumstances.” Companies want new tools to find the identities of website owners whom they accuse of copyright and trademark infringement. Source: Gizmodo

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Oh, well, we’re covered

The financial services industry is relying on cyber insurance rather than making sure its security defenses are sufficient, research suggests. The sector saw 300 percent more cyber attacks in 2014 than any other sector, says WebSense, a security software firm. It also found that certain malware families were observed up to 400 percent more frequently in financial services than the norm. However, the investigation also found signs that companies may be putting their faith in cyber insurance rather than ensuring they are as secure as possible. “The focus really needs to be on making sure that you have the best (security) possible … rather than simply focusing on cyber insurance,” said Carl Leonard of WebSense. “Insurance is not going to solve the underlying root problem of being able to understand what threats you are faced with and how best to mitigate those.” Source: ITPro

That’s in bad taste

Hershey Entertainment and Resorts says some customers are reporting fraudulent charges on credit cards. The company is investigating and has hired an outside security firm to help. “We have received reports from some of our guests that fraud charges appeared on their payment cards after they visited our property.” The company runs Hersheypark and other tourist attractions, but has not said which are involved. The investigation is ongoing. Source: WGAL News

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A missing link:

Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, says Linkedin is falling short on privacy standards for its 89 million European users, and Linkedin had yet to fully implement recommendations from a privacy audit done by her office last year. “There are one or two areas where we don’t think the service meets a ‘best practice’ compliance level,” she said. Dixon added that she would remain Europe’s “lead” regulator for Facebook, Linkedin and Google. Source: The (Irish) Independent


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