Ecuador Data Breach, Amazon Algorithms, & More in This Week's Headlines


All eyes were on the Ecuador data breach in this week's technology headlines.



TechCrunch: Facebook’s New Policy Supreme Court Could Override Zuckerberg

By: Josh Constine

"A real check to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s control is finally coming in the form of an 11 to 40-member Oversight Board that will review appeals to its policy decisions, like content takedowns, and make recommendations for changes. Today Facebook released the charter establishing the theoretically independent Oversight Board, with Zuckerberg explaining that when it takes a stance, 'The board’s decision will be binding, even if I or anyone at Facebook disagrees with it.'"


CyberScoop: Hacked Government Contractor Shares Breach Details as Investigation Continues

By: Sean Lyngaas

"The president of a hacked U.S. government contractor says a recent breach has cost his company $500,000 to $1 million in what he deemed a 'learning experience' that should be shared with other organizations to raise their network defenses."


ZDNet: Arrest Made in Ecuador's Massive Data Breach

By: Catalin Cimpanu

"Ecuadorian authorities have arrested the executive of a data analytics firm after his company left the personal records of most of Ecuador's population exposed online on an internet server. The arrest is part of an official investigation that Ecuadorian officials got underway after ZDNet and vpnMentor published articles yesterday, exposing the massive breach, the biggest in the country's history."


ZDNet: Database Leaks Data on Most of Ecuador's Citizens, Including 6.7 Million Children

By: Catalin Cimpanu

"The personal records of most of Ecuador's population, including children, has been left exposed online due to a misconfigured database, ZDNet has learned. The database, an Elasticsearch server, was discovered two weeks ago by vpnMentor security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, who shared their findings exclusively with ZDNet. Together, we worked to analyze the leaking data, verify its authenticity, and contact the server owner."


Bloomberg: JPMorgan Hacker Will Plead Guilty Over Role in Vast Cyber-Attack

By: Christian Berthelsen

"A Russian hacker at the center of an alleged scheme to steal financial data on more than 80 million JP Morgan Chase & Co. clients will plead guilty later this month, according to a U.S. court filing. Andrei Tyurin, who was extradited last year from the Republic of Georgia, is accused of performing key tasks that netted hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds from the hack of JPMorgan and other companies. Tyurin has struck a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in New York to resolve the charges and is set to appear for a plea hearing next week."


TechRepublic: How Data Breaches are Hurting Small Businesses

By: Lance Whitney

"Data breaches can affect any type of business – large, medium, and small. Larger enterprises usually have the money, resources, expertise, and customer base to help them recover from a breach. But smaller companies often face greater challenges recovering from breaches, both financially and in terms of customer loyalty. A report released by Bank of America Merchant Services highlights some of the problems that data breaches create for small businesses and how SMBs are dealing with related issues such as payment methods."


Motherboard: This Company Built a Private Surveillance Network. We Tracked Someone With It

By: Joseph Cox

"In just a few taps and clicks, the tool showed where a car had been seen throughout the U.S. A private investigator source had access to a powerful system used by their industry, repossession agents, and insurance companies. Armed with just a car's plate number, the tool—fed by a network of private cameras spread across the country—provides users a list of all the times that car has been spotted. I gave the private investigator, who offered to demonstrate the capability, a plate of someone who consented to be tracked."


NextGov: The Intelligence Community is Exploring Long-Range Biometric Identification

By: Jack Corrigan

"The intelligence community is working to build biometric identification systems that can single out individuals from hundreds of yards away or more, a feat that’s virtually impossible using the technology that exists today. Ultimately, the tech would let spy agencies rapidly identify people using cameras deployed on far off rooftops and unmanned aircraft, according to the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the research arm for the CIA and other intelligence agencies."


Wall Street Journal: Amazon Changed Search Algorithm in Ways That Boost Its Own Products

By: Dana Mattioli

"Amazon has adjusted its product-search system to more prominently feature listings that are more profitable for the company, said people who worked on the project—a move, contested internally, that could favor Amazon's own brands. Late last year, these people said, Amazon optimized the secret algorithm that ranks listings so that instead of showing customers mainly the most-relevant and best-selling listings when they search—as it had for more than a decade—the site also gives a boost to items that are more profitable for the company."


Reuters: Australia Concluded China was Behind Hack on Parliament, Political Parties – Sources   

By: Colin Packham

"Australian intelligence determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties before the general election in May, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Australia’s cyber intelligence agency - the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) - concluded in March that China’s Ministry of State Security was responsible for the attack, the five people with direct knowledge of the findings of the investigation told Reuters."



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