Child Predators Mine Twitch to Prey on Kids

Some churches opposite The United States is using invasive phone surveillance technology to discourage “sinful” behavior, a WIRED investigation found this week. The churches use a range of apps, dubbed “shameware,” that track people’s activities and use their personal information to control their lifestyles. The apps can record everything you do on your phone such as B. Your browsing history by taking thousands of screenshots of your activity before reporting it to a designated supervisor. In addition to their draconian surveillance, our investigation revealed that the apps are riddled with security flaws.

As Vladimir Putin again raises the specter of nuclear weapons in his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we have looked at one way in which Russia is attempting to incorporate parts of Ukraine into its territory. In recent months, new Russian wireless service providers have popped up in Ukraine, promising they will provide internet connectivity to “liberated” regions. While Russian officials want to hold referendums in some of these areas, they are also losing ground to successful Ukrainian counteroffensives. When that happens, these shadowy cellphone companies wipe their existence in the realms off the internet.

Recent internet shutdowns in Iran are significant as the government continues to solidify citizens’ connectivity, and the roots of Nigeria’s cybersecurity problem sheds light on the country’s digital challenges, including the fact that data collection remains largely uncontrolled despite strict privacy laws. Supply chain security firm Chainguard this week rolled out an open-source way to protect against supply chain attacks, and new research shows workplace communications platforms Slack and Microsoft Teams have vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

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And there’s more. Each week we highlight the news that we haven’t covered in detail ourselves. Click on the headlines below to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

Popular streaming service Twitch, owned by Amazon, offers a rich source of information about children’s daily lives for child predators, new research suggests. A researcher manually searching Twitch from October 2020 to August 2022 found hundreds of what appeared to be predatory accounts run by adults and mostly followed by children or young teens. Each account followed more than 1,000 children, and the study found 279,016 children who were potential targets of predatory accounts. “In the course of reporting, Bloomberg uncovered additional live video and predatory accounts not cataloged by the researcher, suggesting the problem may be even more widespread than the data depicts,” the investigation said. Bloomberg granted the researcher anonymity but conducted its own review of the results. “We know that online platforms can be used to harm children and we have made significant investments over the past two years to better stay ahead of bad guys and prevent users under the age of 13 from accessing Twitch” , the company said in a statement to Bloomberg.

In March, non-profit transparency group DDoSecrets released a repository of more than 160,000 records, or 700GB of data, from the regional office of Russia’s internet regulator Roskomnadzor in Bashkortostan. In this week, The New York Times released an in-depth analysis of the documents, revealing rare insights into how the agency, which wields significant digital surveillance and censorship powers, exercises its scrutiny. The documents show how the Kremlin works to silence critics, monitor social movements including those related to issues such as “sexual freedoms” and recreational drug use, control the flow of information within Russia, spread disinformation and dissidents like monitoring opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The analysis also sheds light on how Roskomnadzor’s role has changed in recent years. “Roskomnadzor has never been part of this game to provide political information,” Andrei Soldierov, a fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, told the Times. “They’re getting more and more ambitious.”

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In implementing their language policies, Facebook and Instagram obstructed the human rights of Palestinian users during a series of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip last May, an investigation commissioned by Meta has found. The independent group Business for Social Responsibility, which previously commissioned Meta to conduct third-party audits on controversial issues, found that “a lack of oversight at Meta resulted in flaws in the content policy with significant consequences.” While the report was due out in early 2022, Meta pushed back the report’s release to this week. Last month, human rights groups protested the delay in an open letter. “Meta’s actions in May 2021 appear to have had an adverse impact on human rights…on Palestinian users’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly, political participation and non-discrimination, and thereby on Palestinians’ ability to share information and insights into their experiences, such as.” they occurred,” the report said.

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Optus, Australia’s second largest telecoms company, said Thursday that a “significant” portion of its nearly 10 million customers have been affected by a data breach. It’s unclear whether the attack came from criminal or state-sponsored actors, but Australian officials warned affected customers will be at risk of identity theft as a result of the breach. “If you are an Optus customer, your name, date of birth, phone number and email addresses may have been made public,” wrote the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch group. “For some customers, ID numbers such as driver’s license or passport numbers could end up in the hands of criminals. It’s important to be aware that you are at risk of identity theft and to take urgent action to prevent harm.”

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosemary expressed contrition in an interview with ABC’s Afternoon Briefing on Thursday. “We are deeply disappointed because we are investing so much time and investing to prevent this,” she said. “Our teams have thwarted many attacks in the past and we are very sorry that this one was successful.”

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