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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acknowledged using databases that track millions of smartphone users, despite a court ruling intended to limit its powers to do so.
The data has reportedly been used for border and immigration enforcement, and there is some evidence to suggest that the DHS has not wanted to admit to having access to it…
The WSJ reports.
The Trump administration has bought access to a commercial database that maps the movements of millions of cellphones in America and is using it for immigration and border enforcement, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The location data is drawn from ordinary cellphone apps, including those for games, weather and e-commerce, for which the user has granted permission to log the phone’s location.
The Department of Homeland Security has used the information to detect undocumented immigrants and others who may be entering the U.S. unlawfully, according to these people and documents.
Although it is technically true that smartphone users grant permission for apps to access their location, they generally do so without realizing that their location data can be sold to as many as 40 different companies.
Users may also be misled by privacy policies that talk about anonymized data when the reality is that it can trivially allow individuals to be identified and personally tracked.
In most cases, ascertaining a home location and an office location was enough to identify a person. Consider your daily commute: Would any other smartphone travel directly between your house and your office every day?
One case indicates that law enforcement agencies aimed to keep secret their usage of the databases.
The data was used to detect cellphones moving through what was later discovered to be a tunnel created by drug smugglers between the U.S. and Mexico that terminated in a closed Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet on the U.S. side near San Luis, Ariz., said people with knowledge of the operation.
The data tracking contributed to the 2023 arrest of the defunct restaurant’s owner, Ivan Lopez, on conspiracy charges related to the construction of the tunnel, the people said. But police records of the incident make no mention of the use of data showing cellphones crossing the border in an unusual location, attributing the case instead to a routine traffic stop.
A court ruling in 2023 limited the powers of the US government to obtain location data from phone companies, but the WSJ suggests that purchasing it from commercial companies is being used as a way around the law.
Because location data is available through numerous commercial ad exchanges, government lawyers have approved the programs and concluded that the Carpenter ruling doesn’t apply.
“In this case, the government is a commercial purchaser like anybody else. Carpenter is not relevant,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a former DHS official who is a resident senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a conservative and libertarian think tank that promotes free markets. “The government is just buying a widget.”
The DHS acknowledged buying access to databases that track millions of smartphones but declined to state how the information is being used. WSJ sources indicate that it is used for tracking cross-border movement, as well as ‘cellphone activity in unusual places, such as remote stretches of desert.’
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These cloud database case studies demonstrate clearly why so many enterprises and other large-scale organizations are shifting some, or all, of their data to cloud databases.
Some benefits may seem clear — the cloud provides remote access to data, for example. Other benefits are often overlooked.
Here are five examples of cloud database case studies from several industries to show the versatility cloud database solutions can provide:
Microsoft Consulting Services, along with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), partnered with Walgreens to create the Information, Data, and Insights (IDI) platform powered by Azure. Microsoft describes the platform as having an “event-based microservices architecture that processes the company’s two key prescription processes: prescription and pharmacy inventory processing and pharmacy operations processing.”
When patients or medical providers initiate the prescription fulfillment process, Azure Databricks and Azure Synapse Analytics move hundreds of related data points through the IDI. Pharmacists can access information through a centralized dashboard interface and request data visualizations.
Pharmacists gain real-time insights, and the system can scale as needed to meet current needs. During peak times, the platform can handle more than 40,000 transactions per second. Compared with Walgreens’ previous solution, the private cloud-based architecture saves an enormous amount of time on every transaction — prescription data that once took about 48 hours to reach its data warehouse can be handled by Walgreens within minutes.
In a Microsoft case study, Lakshmi Nagaraj, managing partner at Tata Consultancy Services, says, “It is a great journey for TCS partnering with Walgreens and Microsoft to build a modern pharmacy platform with Azure, enabling intelligent data tools at the fingertips of the pharmacists to enable future growth.”
Industry: Retail (shoes)
SAP worked with Allbirds to develop a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) infrastructure to consolidate and centralize global operations. The infrastructure includes legacy e-commerce and POS platforms powered by SAP. At this point, Allbirds holds 90% of its business technology in the cloud, within private and public cloud networks.
Allbirds has been able to create immersive cross-channel experiences on their mobile and web platforms as well as in store due to better visibility into inventory. The private cloud-based system delivers real-time financial data, including up-to-the-minute sales and customer insights, which are used to create consistency across multiple sales channels and to streamline supply chains. The company has experienced better on-time delivery rates and fewer out-of-stock issues where inventory data was outdated.
Siemens Mobility is working with several European rail operators to modernize thousands of kilometers of rail traffic. Siemens’ train signal control system is intended to improve efficiency and utilization, but digitizing the routes was complex, given the extensive scope and scale of the project, which spans several European countries.
MineSense is a data-based tool used by several of the world’s largest mining operations in Canada, Chile and Peru to more accurately dig for resources like iron, copper, zinc and nickel. The company uses thousands of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and terabytes of data to power its operations. Data received through these devices is used to optimize the use of power and water for extraction and to minimize waste, but the company needed a large-scale solution for managing all that data.
Online game publisher Gamepub was unhappy with the amount of downtime it had to tolerate in order to handle maintenance tasks. Every moment games in their catalog were inaccessible was directly related to a financial hit, and ultimately, the company felt it impacted customer loyalty and retention. “Gamers are disappointed even when there’s a short delay in access,” says Seokchan Sohn, Lead of System Team at Gamepub in the Microsoft case study.
Gamepub’s move to Microsoft’s Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server has given the company much more control over how it handles game maintenance.
The company can control the timing for patches and upgrades and schedule maintenance to coincide with game update releases. Sohn says the company is able to reduce downtime by running certain disk management tasks online — for example, disk volume size changes and IOPS (input/output operations per second) optimization. Ultimately, Sohn says, the company was able to eliminate about two unnecessary maintenance periods per quarter.
Cloud-based databases can significantly improve the way enterprises access and utilize data resources. Not only do these solutions reduce the amount of physical hardware space required to store and manage data, but they also offer benefits like reduced latency and the centralization of disparate data stores.
Today, Feb. 19, 2023, OpenSea users started to notice some strange activity on the company’s platform. It appeared that an attacker was using a smart contract to interact with OpenSea’s new exchange contract and steal millions of dollars worth of NFTs. nft now quickly verified the transactions. At the time of publication, the attacker had already stolen several of the world’s most popular — and expensive — NFTs from a number of different users.
If you’re concerned and want to protect yourself, you can un-approve access to your NFT collection here.
Ultimately, the stolen NFTs included four Azukis, two Coolmans, two Doodles, two KaijuKings, one Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC), one Cool Cat, and one Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The attacker then quickly sold the stolen NFTs to other users to turn a profit. So far, the attacker has sold more than $1.7 million in stolen NFTs.
Editor’s note: At the time of publication, the attacker had sold $700k in stolen NFTs. That number rose to $1.7 million just twenty minutes later. This number continued to rise in the hours following. All in all, two hundred and fifty-four tokens were stolen over roughly three hours.
The move wasn’t caused by a generalized smart contract exploit. But rather, it’s a latent phishing attack. The hacker appeared to be using a helper contract that was deployed 30 days ago to call an OS contract deployed over four years ago, with valid atomicMatch data (for those interested in a full technical breakdown, here’s a more detailed overview).
Several hours later, at 11 pm EST, OpenSea co-founder and CEO, Devin Finzer, took to Twitter to clarify exactly what happened. Finzer reiterated that, according to internal investigations, it was a phishing attack, and he stated that at least 32 users had signed a malicious payload from the attacker (Update: OpenSea later stated that 17 users were impacted). Beyond that, he noted that the company was still searching for answers. “We are not aware of any recent phishing emails that have been sent to users, but at this time we do not know which website was tricking users into maliciously signing messages,” he said.
A screenshot of the attacker’s transactions.
OpenSea had just unveiled the new smart contract upgrade the day prior, on Feb. 18, 2023.
In an official statement announcing the upgrade, the company said that it was designed to remove inactive listings on the platform. “This new upgrade will ensure old, inactive listings on Ethereum securely expire and allow us to offer new safety features in the future,” they said. Because of the upgrade, all OpenSea users were required to migrate their NFT listings to the new smart contract.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time such problems have arisen. In fact, this latest update came about precisely because it was intended to fix a previous bug, one which also cost users their money and NFTs.
In January of 2023, a bug on OpenSea enabled attackers to buy secure NFTs for far, far less than they were actually worth. The bug, which was initially discovered around Dec. 31, 2023, permitted attackers to make purchases at older, lower prices. Tal Be’ery, Chief Technology Officer of ZenGo crypto wallet, noted that one NFT from the BAYC collection was listed under its July 2023 price of just 23 ether. After purchasing it at that rate, the attacker was able to sell it for 135 ether.
That’s a profit approaching nearly $300k for the attacker, by today’s standards, and it resulted in massive losses for the unfortunate seller.
OpenSea did respond to the issue and offer users a refund, of sorts. Unfortunately, many we’re left unhappy with their offer.
Ironically, the latest upgrade was meant to fix this exact bug. OpenSea clarified that the new system is intended to allow individuals to cancel all unfilled contracts while incurring only minimal gas fees. However, it appears to have caused even more problems for some users who fell prey to the phishing attack.
Track lost iPhone By Using Find My app
In this blog, we will see how to use find my app to locate a lost iPhone and recover it.
Also Read:- 11 BEST iPhone Data Recovery Software & Apps in 2023How to Setup Find My iPhone:-
Tap on your name on the top
Make sure that Find My iPhone is toggled on. If it is not on, then turn it on
Note:- iOS 15 and later have the option of Find My network that enables users to find their phone even when the iPhone is offlineHow to Share My Location with others:-
Tap on Share My Location.
Enable Share My Location if not enabled.
Now individually share the location with the people added in the Apple family.
When you see “Stop Sharing My Location” then it means that the location has been shared.How to Share My Location With Contacts On iPhone:-
Apart from sharing the location with contacts of Apple Family, you can also share the location with contacts on your iPhone.
Open Find My App
Select People and tap on + sign
Tap on Share My Location and choose the contact you want to share location with or directly enter the number of contacts.
Note:- This location will be shared with only those contacts who operate iPhone.
To stop sharing the location, open Find My app and disable Share My Location.
If you want to stop sharing location with a particular person, then tap on the People tab in Find My app. Now choose the contact and tap on Stop Sharing My Location.How To Track A Lost iPhone:-
If you have lost your iPhone and the Find My is activated then you can locate your phone very easily by operating Find My app on another Apple device like Mac, iPad.
Open Find My app
Tap on Devices. Now find the missing device and tap on it.
Once you tap on a missing device, you get options like turn off, lock the device, turn directions to the location, play a sound, add a message to a lost device, erase all the data.
Note:- If you do not have another device, then visit here and enter your Apple ID to locate lost device.
How to track lost iPhone by using someone else’s iPhone:-
If you do not have an alternate Apple device and website is not working due to some technical error, then you can locate the lost iPhone from the iPhone of your friend or a family member.
Open Find My app on another iPhone
Tap on me
Tap on Help a Friend
Follow the on-screen directions and track your lost device by tapping on either option from Play sound, Lost Mode, Activate low power mode, Erase iPhone.How to trace an iPhone that is Offline:-
This is a wonderful feature to trace a lost iPhone but it is only available in iPhone 11 and later models with iOS 15 and later updates installed on the phone.
Steps to trace iPhone offline mode:-
Tap on your name on the top
Toggle on Find My network and Send Last Location.
Send Last Location will send you an email on the registered Apple ID when your iPhone’s battery is about to die.
After you toggle on these options, then you will be able to trace an iPhone that is offline from the methods suggested above that by Find My app and by browsing here.Benefits of Activating Lost Mode:-
In the blog, we have discussed how to activate Lost Mode. Now we will see what are the various benefits of activating Lost Mode.
You will get a confirmation email on your registered Apple ID about the changes you have made of activating lost mode.
When you will activate lost mode a custom message will be displayed on the screen of iPhone or iPad
When the lost mode is activated on iPhone then the phone will only e receive phone calls on FaceTime call and no other notification will be delivered.
Apple Pay will be disabled once the lost mode is activated so that nobody can misuse your account.
As soon as lost mode is activated the location of the lost device will be available on the iCloud map, Find My app on your alternate Apple device.
Also Read:- 7 Ways to Add Double-Layer Security in iPhone to Safeguard Data
In this blog, we have learnt how to activate and use find my app in case you misplace your iPhone. Find my app tells you the location of the iPhone and also gives you the option like ok play sound lost mode activate low power mode erase iPhone etc.
We have also learnt how to locate an iPhone that is offline and secure the data.
Activate the above mentioned features on your iPhone so that you can locate the iPhone if it is missing.Quick Reaction:
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You need the Alexa app for Android or iOS to set up any of the Amazon Echo speakers, but once you’ve got your Echo in place, you might not give much thought to the program on your phone—not when you can do so much with voice commands aimed at your smart speaker.
If you’re ignoring the app, though, you’re missing out. It’s much more than just a setup utility for the Echo speakers, and it just got a major overhaul that means it’s more intuitive to use than ever.Get to know the home screen
Open up the Alexa app and tap Home to get to the home screen (if you’re not already on it). This displays a useful overview of the help you’re getting from Alexa: you’ll see upcoming reminders, lists that you’ve edited recently, and speaker skills that you might want to try (from making a call to controlling your smart home).
Right at the top is the Alexa button—just tap this (or say “Alexa”) to give the digital assistant a voice command. If you’re not sure of the best way to use Alexa, try tapping Browse skills or Browse things to try further down the home screen to see some of the tricks Alexa is capable of.View reminders and lists
If you’ve set up a lot of reminders and lengthy lists through Alexa, it’s easier to browse through them on a screen than it is to hear them read out to you. Using the app can also be the better option if you’ve got some complicated reminders to set up or notes to add that Alexa might not understand if you were using your voice.
Recently set reminders and recently used lists appear on the app’s home screen, but you can see them in the app by tapping More, then Lists & Notes, or Reminders & Alarms. You can add new entries, edit entries that Alexa has already saved, tick items off your to-do list, cancel alarms and reminders, and generally manage the information Alexa has committed to memory.
Say you want to set up a recurring reminder to brush your teeth that comes through the bedroom Echo speaker every evening at 10. That’s quite a complex reminder to explain to Alexa using your voice, but it only takes a few taps in the app: More, Reminders & Alarms, then Add Reminder.Control your smart home
Controlling the smart home devices you’ve connected to Alexa is another task that can be a little easier on a phone screen than it is with your voice, depending on what you’re trying to do (and how many devices you’re trying to manage). You can view your connected smart home devices in the Alexa app by tapping Devices.
The subsequent screen will let you turn smart lights and smart plugs on and off, adjust the temperature of your smart thermostat, check the status of your smart smoke alarm, and get at any other device you’ve set up. To add new devices to your Alexa ecosystem, tap the plus button in the top right corner.
To access more detailed settings for a particular device (the brightness of a smart bulb, for example), tap on the device category and then the device itself. Where devices are grouped together—say all the smart lights on a particular floor—you can turn them on and off with a single tap.Set up Alexa routines
Routines are one of the most useful features Alexa offers, basically combining several tasks that are triggered by one command. You might say “good morning” to Alexa, for example, to have your heating turn on, your smart lights turn off, and your morning playlist start blasting through an Echo.
To configure routines for Alexa inside the mobile app, tap More, then Routines. You can edit existing routines by tapping on them, or create a new one via the plus button in the top right corner. You’ll need to give each routine a name, a command to trigger it, and a list of actions that happen as a result.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, open up the Featured tab to see some of Amazon’s suggested example routines—like one that will give you the weather forecast as soon as your morning alarm has finished. The more you play around with the options, the more ideas you’ll get for ways to simplify your life.Manage music and audiobooks
The Play icon in the center of the Alexa navigation app is helpful if you’re using an Echo speaker to play music or audiobooks. Tap on it to pause and restart playback, skip forward or backward in the current playlist, and adjust the volume without having to shout voice commands at your smart speaker (which can be more convenient, especially if you’re in a different room).
Even better, the Play screen shows you what you’ve been listening to recently, whether that’s your music library, online radio stations, or audiobooks (exactly which options you’ll see will depend on the different services you’ve connected to Alexa). You can dive directly back into something right from the app.
To check what services you’ve got hooked up to Alexa, go to More, then Settings—you’ll see entries for Music, TV & Video, Flashing Briefing, Photos, and several others. In some cases, you can set default services that launch in response to voice commands when you don’t specify a particular service (such as Spotify or Apple Music).
Building Blocks Of Cyber Security Cyber Security Building Blocks:
Let’s discuss the 6 main cyber security building blocks one by one:1. Network Security
The main purpose of a firewall is to closely check all the incoming and outgoing network data for any suspicious content and filter it accordingly.
Firewall is the elementary building block that plays the most important role in providing a defense mechanism to any organization and should be taken seriously.2. Endpoint Security
Another major building block is endpoint security. The major role of any endpoint security system is to protect possessions present on any network and comprises of device firewalls and the anti-virus applications used in the organization.
Also Read : 9 Biggest Security Threats of 2023
Endpoint security plays an important role since it safeguards the possessions even after the external security is compromised by hackers.3. Information Management
While it is important to manage network security as well as endpoint security, other major building block is to have tools that can gather and manage information regarding unusual activities and traffic requests and any abnormal changes in organization’s database.
SIEM(security information and event management) are management tools that plays an important role in defining the effectiveness of cyber security of any organization.4. Cloud Mechanisms for Providing Services to Organizations
Cloud services are vastly used by organizations as they cut down the expenditure needed to manage the physical resources. Cloud computing platforms provide service infrastructure, by saving the database on the cloud.
This, however, cannot be considered as a standalone major security platform since the organization should incorporate different mechanisms to provide security to the information stored on cloud.5. Manage Vulnerability
Irrespective of the strongest of cyber security aspects and measures, data is always susceptible to attacks. Hence, every organization must keep a close watch on the latest security weaknesses and exposure to provide enough security measures to their data.
Vulnerabilities can be managed by organizations by running regular security tests and checking for the changes required to maintain the required security. These tests help to identify the nature of vulnerabilities so that solutions can be implemented accordingly.
Must Read : Top 10 Cloud Security Threats
These were the 5 major cyber security building blocks any organization must maintain. Other than this organizations must also conduct training session and awareness programs to educate employees and people to manage the cyber security.Quick Reaction:
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