Wednesday Newsbytes: Watch Out for SIM Card Swapping, Windows 12 On the Way, Chrome Ends Support for Windows 7 & 8,  Google Sued Over Data Collection … and more!

By | October 26, 2022
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Wednesday Newsbytes: Watch Out for SIM Card Swapping, Windows 12 On the Way, Chrome Ends Support for Windows 7 & 8,  Google Sued Over Data Collection ... and more!

Every day we scan the tech world for interesting news in the world of technology and sometimes from outside the world of technology. Every Wednesday, we feature some news articles that grabbed our attention over the past week. We hope you find this week’s  ‘Wednesday Newsbytes’ informative and interesting!

SIM Card Swapping: The Dangerous Cell Phone Scam Everyone Needs To Know

According to the Pew Research Center, almost all American adults (97%) own a cell phone. While that statistic isn’t surprising, it does show how many of us are susceptible to a dangerous scam: SIM swapping.

SIM Swapping: What You Need To Know

In this article, I’ll explain what SIM swapping is and what phone carriers are doing about the issue. I’ll also share some tips on how you can stay safe using today’s technology.

What Is SIM Swapping?

SIM swapping, or a SIM swap scam, happens when a crook is able to take control of the personal information stored on your SIM card by using it on another phone.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a successful SIM swap can occur if a scammer impersonates you and contacts your phone service provider with a bogus story.

According to the FTC’s website, “They may call your cell phone service provider and say your phone was lost or damaged. Then they ask the provider to activate a new SIM card connected to your phone number on a new phone — a phone they own.”

Once scammers successfully take over your phone, they can access your bank account, social media accounts, email account and more. How? While two-factor authentication is typically a decent form of protection, the scammer now has access to your phone number and email. That means they have access to any codes sent through an email or text message…


Windows 12: Everything we know so far

It could be here as soon as 2024

In early 2021, the prospect of a brand-new version of Windows seemed highly unlikely. Microsoft previously described Windows 10 as “the last version of Windows”, and it continued adding new features at least twice a year.

However, the company tore up those plans with the release of Windows 11, which went from abstract concept to official announcement in a matter of weeks. The cancellation of Windows 10X influenced Microsoft’s decision, but Satya Nadella and Co had clearly been considering a new desktop OS for a while.

With no assurances regarding Windows 11’s lifespan, it’s logical we’ll see a successor at some point. Microsoft is thought to be working on Windows 12 internally, and it could be just two years away. Here’s everything we know at this early stage.

Will there be a Windows 12?

Most likely, yes. Windows XP and Windows 7 continued receiving updates for 12 and 11 years respectively, while Windows 10 will be a decade old when support ends in October 2025. Windows 8’s four years of mainstream support is the exception here, but that’s primarily due to its overwhelmingly negative reception. If Microsoft continues this trend, Windows 11 would reach end of life sometime between 2031 and 2033. If that’s the case, a new version will need to be available a few years earlier.

However, there are signs Windows 12 could arrive much sooner. A recent Windows Central article suggests a major new version of Windows will be released every three years. Author Zac Bowden even says that development has begun, with Windows 12 “currently in early planning and engineering stages”. It’s even been given an unofficial codename – “Next Valley”…

Read more at Tech Advisor.

Google will end Chrome support on Windows 7 and 8.1 in early 2023

You’ll still be able to use older versions of Google’s web browser on those operating systems.

Google has announced it will end Chrome support on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 early next year. Chrome 110, which is scheduled for release on February 7th, will not work on either of the operating systems. You’ll still be able to use older versions of Chrome on Windows 7 and 8.1, but you’ll no longer be able to install newer builds, which will include new features and security updates.

On a support page that revealed the news, Google suggested upgrading to Windows 10 or Windows 11 to keep getting Chrome updates. That might be difficult for those whose systems don’t support more recent versions of Microsoft’s OS, businesses that are still stuck on Windows 7 or 8.1 and folks who can’t afford to buy a new computer. Still, Google had to wind down support at some point. The company pointed out that its timeline matches up with Microsoft ending extended support for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on January 10th.

As it turns out, however, Google will support Chrome on Windows 7 longer than planned. It previously said it would stop offering Chrome updates for the OS in 2021, then this year…

Read more at Engadget

Google Sued Over Unauthorized Biometric Data Collection

Texas has sued Google for allegedly collecting millions of users’ biometric data without their consent.

A privacy lawsuit has been filed against Google by the Texas attorney general for the alleged unauthorized collection of biometric user data.

Texas Sues Google for Collecting Private Data

On October 20th, 2022, the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, filed a privacy lawsuit against Google after it was revealed that the company seemed to be holding onto biometric data without users’ consent. It is thought that millions of Texans’ biometric data has been collected by Google via various applications and services, including Google Photos, Google Assistant, and Google Nest.

The collection of biometric identifiers without consent is a breach of user rights and violates the state’s Capture or Use of Biometric Identifiers Act which has been in place for over twelve years.

Face and Voice Data Was Allegedly Collected by Google

It is thought that voice and face information has been collected by Google, both of which could threaten a user’s privacy. Even non-users’ data may have been taken indirectly, which puts even more people at risk.

This unauthorized collection of biometric data could have begun in 2015 or even earlier, and so has gone undetected for many years.

A privacy lawsuit has been filed against Google by the Texas attorney general for the alleged unauthorized collection of biometric user data.

In a news release on Paxton’s official website, the attorney general was quoted stating that “Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated”. Paxton also stated that he intends to continue fighting Big Tech to protect the privacy and security of Texas’ citizens…

Read more at MakeUseOf.

Microsoft: Vice Society targets schools with multiple ransomware families

A threat group known as Vice Society has been switching ransomware payloads in attacks targeting the education sector across the United States and worldwide.

While this isn’t necessarily new information, since the group is known for using multiple ransomware strains in some attacks, Microsoft has also seen them use this tactic against organizations in the U.S. education sector between July and October 2022.

As Microsoft Security Threat Intelligence analysts shared in a report published today, Vice Society (tracked by Redmond as DEV-0832) has been swapping between BlackCat, QuantumLocker, Zeppelin, and a Vice Society-branded variant of Zeppelin ransomware.

Since September, they’ve shifted to a modified version of their payload dubbed RedAlert that adds the .locked file extension to encrypted documents, according to Microsoft’s analysts.

While Vice Society runs its own data leak site, it should be noted that the RedAlert and BlackCat operations have their own leak sites as well.

Besides the strains mentioned in the report, BleepingComputer is aware that the gang has also been deploying HelloKitty/Five Hands ransomware as part of their attacks.

Vice Society will also skip the ransomware deployment stage in some attacks, with the operators opting for stealing sensitive data from their victims’ networks and extorting them under the threat of leaking the stolen files online…

Read more at Bleeping Computer

Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday Newbytes. We hope you found these articles informative, interesting, fun, and/or helpful. Darcy & TC

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