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Millions of Chrome users quietly added to Google’s FLoC pilot

Last month, Google began a test pilot of its Federated Learning of Cohorts—or FLoC—program, which the company has advertised as the newest, privacy-preserving alternative in Google Chrome to the infamous third-party cookie. Sounds promising, right? Well, about that. Despite Google’s rhetoric about maintaining user privacy, its FLoC trial leaves much to be desired. Google Chrome users had no … [Read more...]

Research claims Google Pixel phones share 20 times more data than iPhones

If you’re an Android phone user, now might be a good time to invest in a good pair of ear plugs. Fans of iPhones aren’t known for being shy when it comes to telling Android users that Apple products are superior, and things may be about to get worse, thanks to a new research paper (pdf).  Researchers of the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland … [Read more...]

Will Google’s Privacy Sandbox take the bite out of tracking cookies?

Third-party cookies have been the lynchpin of online advertising for many years. Plans to phase cookies out forever continue to run at a steady pace, with Google in the driving seat. In 2019, it announced its vision for a “Privacy Sandbox”. The building blocks for this were essentially: Most aspects of the web need money to survive, and advertising that relies on cookies is the dominant revenue … [Read more...]

Update now! Chrome fix patches in-the-wild zero-day

The Microsoft Browser Vulnerability Research team has found and reported a vulnerability in the audio component of Google Chrome. Google has fixed this high-severity vulnerability (CVE-2021-21166) in its Chrome browser and is warning Chrome users that an exploit exists in the wild for the vulnerability. It is not the first time that Chrome’s audio component was targeted by an exploit. No … [Read more...]

What Google learned from 1 billion evil email scams

Google and researchers at Stanford University have released an in-depth study analysing 5 months of phishing / malware mails sent globally. “Who is targeted by email-based phishing and malware? Measuring factors that differentiate risk” looked at more than a billion mails. The results were then fed into a presentation at the Internet Measurement Conference. After digging in to … [Read more...]

Google FLoC puts ad trackers on a cookie-free diet

Cookie tracking is dying and Google needs a replacement. It’s betting on FLoC, an ad tracking technology that lets it understand people’s behaviour while respecting their privacy. Google has announced that its tests show promising signs that FLoC is working. Is this a milestone on the road to more privacy, or just better concealed tracking technology? Let’s have a look. What are … [Read more...]

Hat trick for Google as it patches two more zero-days in Chrome

Slightly over a week ago we advised you to update your Chrome browser. That warning came only a week or so after we advised you to update your Chrome browser. Things are getting a bit repetitive round here. Today, we are compelled to repeat that statement as Google has issued patches for two new zero-day vulnerabilities. Someone tipped Google off about them, although the source(s) wish to … [Read more...]

A week in security (September 12 – September 18)

Last week on Malwarebytes Labs, we looked at journalism’s role in cybersecurity on our Lock and Code podcast, gave tips for safer shopping on Amazon Prime day, and discussed an APT attack springing into life as Academia returned to the real and virtual campus environment. We also dug into potential FIFA 21 scams, the return of QR code scams, Covid fatigue, and the absence of Deepfakes from … [Read more...]

Stalkerware advertising ban by Google a welcome, if incomplete, step

On Friday, July 10, Google announced it would no longer allow advertising for spyware and similar surveillance technology—often referred to as “stalkerware”—on its platform. The change is a welcome step by one of the largest, most powerful companies in online advertising, but a close read of the policy reveals a potential loophole that could allow stalkerware-type app makers to still advertise … [Read more...]

A week in security (June 22 – 28)

Last week on Malwarebytes Labs, we provided a zero-day guide for 2020 featuring recent attacks and advanced preventive techniques, and we learned how to cough in the face of scammers, offering security tips for the 2020 tax season. We also looked at a web skimmer hiding within EXIF metadata that was exfiltrating credit cards via image files. In the most recent episode of our podcast Lock and … [Read more...]