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What’s New in the Tech World

Marshall Edwards, Staff Writer

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  1. China accused of stealing data from US drones

The Chinese government has been accused by the Los Angeles Office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE) that they have been stealing data from users of the DJI drones. The ICE’s memo said that “with moderate confidence that Chinese-based company DJI Science and Technology is providing US critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.” ICE stated that they based their claim on “open source reporting and a reliable source within the unmanned aerial systems industry with first and secondhand access.” Excerpts from the memo also said that “DJI’s criteria for selecting accounts to target appears to focus on the account holder’s ability to disrupt critical infrastructure.” The target they are interested in include companies that provided basic utilities like water and crucial infrastructure like railroads and weapons storage.

The ICE concluded their memo by saying that “the critical infrastructure and law enforcement entities using DJI systems are collecting sensitive intelligence that the Chinese government could use to conduct physical or cyber attacks against the United States and its population.” The memo also mentioned a test conducted by sUAS news. sUAS discovered that the DJI app, an app that captures video from the drone, “automatically tag GPS imagery and locations, register facial recognition data even when the system is off, and access users’ phone data. Additionally, the applications capture user identification, e-mail addresses, full names, phone numbers, images, videos, and computer credentials. Much of the information collected includes proprietary and sensitive critical infrastructure data, such as detailed imagery of power control panels, security measures for critical infrastructure sites, or materials used in bridge construction.” sUAS discovered that DJI would automatically upload the data to a storage facility located in Taiwan and Hong Kong which means there is a big possibility of the Chinese Government having access to the data. DJI released a statement that the memo was “based on clearly false and misleading claims.”

       2. Websites use its user’s’ CPU to mine for currency even when they close the website.

A research conducted by Malwarebytes concluded that many websites would use the CPU of its users to mine for cryptocurrency even after the user exits out of the website. A cryptocurrency is a form of online money, which can be transferred into real money, that can be mined by using a computer that has internet access. The way these websites are able to get control of the computer is through “pop-under” window. A “pop-under” window sounds like what it is. It’s like a pop-up ad but it opens behind the currently active window. The only way to notice a “pop-under” is to minimize current window. The problem with what these websites is that they place the “pop-under” window behind the clock in the far right-hand corner on your computer screen. This means the “pop-under” would go basically unnoticed unless the user is specifically looking out for it. The “pop-under” window would use the CPU of the computer to mine for Monero, a form of digital currency, while the owner of the website receives all of the money. Besides being hard to spot, the coding of the “pop-under” window prevents it from maxing out the CPU to avoid raising suspicion from the host. Test conducted by Ars Technica showed that the “pop-under” window can occur on Windows 7 and Windows 10 computers running the latest version of Chrome. Right now, there has not been an update from Chrome or Microsoft addressing this problem, so watch out.

 

Photo Credit: Digital Trends

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