Archive for July 3, 2018

aLTEr LTE Based Attack Is In The Wild And Is Unpatchable

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 3, 2018 by itnerd

If you use a smartphone on an LTE network, which means that I’m talking about everyone who is reading this, there is an upatchable flaw in the LTE standard that can allow an attacker to snoop on your browsing habits and redirect you to spoofing sites that could snatch your login credentials among other things.

The attack is called aLTEr and it was discovered by David Rupprecht, Katharina Kohls, Thorsten Holz and Christina Pöpper from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and New York University Abu Dhabi. Rather than explain this attack to you, you should watch this video instead:

The attack may be out there. But it isn’t likely to be widespread for the following reasons:

  1. You need about $4000 worth of gear to build yourself a fake cell tower to pull this off. That means the average 12 won’t be doing this. But an intelligence agency would try this.
  2. You have to be within a mile of the intended victim. Again an intelligence agency targeting a specific victim would try something like this.

There’s no way to stop it because fixing it requires the LTE standard to be overhauled. Which isn’t going to happen with 5G networks on the horizon which apparently protect one from this sort of attack. The best you might be able to do is to only surf to https encrypted sites. But that may not be a guarantee. Thus you might want to double check and triple check what you’re surfing on LTE to so that you stay safe.


Feds Ramp Up Probe Of Facebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 3, 2018 by itnerd

The Department of Justice along with several other federal agencies are combining forces to investigate Facebook in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.  The Washington Post reported that the following agencies are involved:

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation

This can only be bad news for Zuckerberg and company as the feds don’t just investigate stuff for fun. And they rarely walk away empty handed. And the fact that this many agencies are looking at the social network should set off alarm bells at Facebook HQ. What’s going to really worry Zuckerberg is that the investigation is being broadened to focus on Facebook’s statements following the scandal and whether its disclosures to both the public and its investors were “sufficiently complete and timely,” according to the Post. Not good if you’re Zuck as that could include stuff he said, or didn’t say to Congress.

Perhaps the world won’t have to decide to #DeleteFacebook. The feds may take care of that for the planet.

Paragon Software Announces Free APFS to HFS+ Converter

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 3, 2018 by itnerd

Paragon Software Group has released APFS to HFS+ Converter by Paragon Software – a free system utility to work around APFS limitations by reverting back to HFS+ for specific use cases. If you are facing APFS limitations, such as incompatibility with Time Machine backups or FileVault 2 drive encryption, inability to format Fusion drives, or other drawbacks, the free APFS to HFS+ Converter by Paragon Software easily resolves the problem, reformatting volumes back to the original HFS+. To ensure maximum data safety, you can first create recovery media, boot your Mac from that volume, then convert the system volume.

How it works:

  1. Download and install APFS to HFS+ Converter by Paragon Software.
  2. Select a desired volume for conversion.
  3. Optional: Create recovery media in case of system disk conversion.
  4. Perform the conversion.

Earlier this year, Paragon Software released APFS for Windows by Paragon Software, a driver which enables Windows users to access APFS volumes on PCs. The tool enables full read and beta write access for APFS-formatted partitions. With APFS for Windows by Paragon Software, PC users are able to instantly access and write to APFS-formatted hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs), or flash drives directly on Windows PCs.

System requirements:

  • macOS 10.12 or above
  • Sufficient disk space for conversion output (based on volume size)

Availability: APFS to HFS+ Converter by Paragon Software is available free of charge at APFS for Windows by Paragon Software is available for $49.95 from, can be used on up to three PCs, and comes with a free 10-day trial.

#Fail: Google Allows Third-Party Gmail App Developers To Read Your Email

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 3, 2018 by itnerd

I have some bad news for you if you have a Gmail account. Third party app developers that make apps for Gmail may be reading your email. Though users have to give consent to have their emails read, the wording is such that it’s not clear that they mean humans, as opposed to computers doing the reading. And that’s just a wee bit creepy. The most notable companies doing this are Return Path and Edison who have both admitted that they are using humans to extract data with which to train machine learning tools, and yes, that includes your Gmails.

That’s just a wee bit creepy.

To put a stop to this, you can and should withdraw permissions for any third party app that interacts with Gmail from your Google Account Settings. Though I will note that you may have to do some Googling to figure out which those are. That will limit the damage. But beyond that, one has to wonder why Google would even allow this behaviour given the nightmare that Facebook has been enduring this year over their privacy issues.


#PSA: If You Have A Samsung Phone, Your Pics May Be Sent To Random Contacts

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 3, 2018 by itnerd

From the “well this is quite the screw up” department comes news that Samsung’s Messages app bundled with Samsung smartphones and tablets may silently sending people’s private photos to random contacts. At least according to a thread on Reddit that has people complaining about this. Samsung is apparently aware of the complaints, which surfaced last week and is investigating.

In the meantime, if you’re using Samsung’s Messages software and are worried about unapproved picture texts, especially of any pics that are “private” in nature, not that there’s anything wrong with that, you should open the app go into its permissions, and disable access to storage. That way pics that you don’t want out in the public domain don’t have the chance to surface.