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Cyber Attacks by Russians may target UK Elections, Warn Spies at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

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Cyber Attacks, VOA

London, March 12, 2017: Spies at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have called an emergency summit with Britains political parties after warning them that the next general election is vulnerable to cyber attacks by the Russians.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has written to leaders of all the main political parties offering expert help to strengthen network security, reported the Sunday Times.

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In his letter, Martin said: “You will be aware of the coverage of evnts in the United States, Germany and elsewhere reminding us of the potential for hostile action against the UK political system.”

He called a “technical seminar” on cyber-security for politicians.

“This is not just about the network security of political parties’ own systems. Attacks against our democratic processes go beyond this and can include attacks on Parliament, constituency offices, think tanks and pressure groups and individuals’ email accounts,” Martin said.

Experts at GCHQ have made protecting the political system from foreign hackers as “priority work”.

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They fear that Kremlin-backed hackers could steal and leak internal emails or publish private databases of voters’ political views in an attempt to damage the standing of political parties with the public, according to the report.

A senior government source said GCHQ would help with the security of “personal datasets, including the electoral roll and voter identification data”.

Security officials stepped in after Russia was accused of helping Donald Trump win the US presidential ­election by hacking and publishing 20,000 emails from the rival Democratic Party.

Russia was also accused of infiltrating the German Parliament’s computer network in 2015. (IANS)

Next Story

Chinese Video-Making App TikTok Faces Security Threats

Available in over 150 markets, used in 75 languages globally, and with over 1 billion users, TikTok is one of the most-downloaded apps

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TikTok
The researchers leveraged this vulnerability in TikTok to retrieve personal information saved on user accounts including private email addresses and birthdates. VOA

 Researchers at Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Research on Wednesday exposed multiple vulnerabilities in Chinese short-video making app TikTok, which has over a billion users globally and nearly 300 million in India, saying that personal information such as private and email addresses and sensitive videos of its users are vulnerable to hackers.

The Chinese video making platform is used mainly by teenagers and kids to share, save and keep private (and sometimes very sensitive) videos of themselves and their loved ones.

“Data is pervasive but data breaches are becoming an epidemic, and our latest research shows that the most popular apps are still at risk,” Oded Vanunu, Head of Product Vulnerability Research, Check Point, said in a statement.

The researchers at Check Point Research — the threat intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd — have discovered that an attacker could send a spoofed SMS message to a user containing a malicious link.

When the user clicked on the malicious link, the attacker was able to get a hold of the TikTok account and manipulate its content by deleting videos, uploading unauthorised videos, and making private or “hidden” videos public.

“Social media applications are highly targeted for vulnerabilities as they provide a good source for private data and offer a good attack surface gate.

“Malicious actors are spending large amounts of money and putting in great effort to penetrate into such huge applications. Yet most users are under the assumption that they are protected by the app they are using,” Vanunu added.

The research also found that Tiktok’s subdomain — https://ads.tiktok.com was vulnerable to XSS attacks, which is a type of attack in which malicious scripts are injected into otherwise benign and trusted websites.

The researchers leveraged this vulnerability to retrieve personal information saved on user accounts including private email addresses and birthdates. The Israeli cyber security firm informed TikTok developers of the vulnerabilities exposed in this research and a fix was deployed to ensure its users can safely continue using the TikTok app.

TikTok
Researchers at Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Research on Wednesday exposed multiple vulnerabilities in Chinese short-video making app TikTok, which has over a billion users globally and nearly 300 million in India. VOA

“TikTok is committed to protecting user data. Like many organisations, we encourage responsible security researchers to privately disclose zero day vulnerabilities to us.

“Before public disclosure, CheckPoint agreed that all reported issues were patched in the latest version of our app. We hope that this successful resolution will encourage future collaboration with security researchers,” said Luke Deshotels, PhD, TikTok Security Team.

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Available in over 150 markets, used in 75 languages globally, and with over 1 billion users, TikTok is one of the most-downloaded apps. As of October 2019, TikTok is the most-downloaded app in the US, making it the first Chinese app to have achieved such a record. (IANS)