August 15, 2017
Peacekeeper and Workers Killed in Attack on U.N. Missions – Mali
A total of eight people were killed Monday in two separate attacks on the United Nations mission in Mali, according to the UN. Seven people were killed when armed men attacked the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) headquarters in Timbuktu on Monday, according to a MINUSMA statement. Five MINUSMA security guards, one member of the Mali National Police and one civilian contractor working for MINUSMA were killed during the attack. A Malian security guard and six peacekeepers were also wounded in the incident. MINUSMA says they "responded immediately by deploying a rapid reaction force to secure the Mission's headquarters and attack helicopters to track down potential attackers." Six assailants were killed in the attack, according to the statement. A separate attack took place against MINUSMA in Douenza, around 130 miles south of Timbuktu on Monday, killing one peacekeeper and one Malian national soldier, according to the agency. No claims of responsibility have been made, and no concrete link between the two attacks has yet been established.
SonicSpy Android Spyware Records Audio, Snoops on Call Logs – Global
Researchers have identified over 1,000 spyware-infested apps capable of recording audio and snooping on call logs, contacts, and more. Three such apps made their way into Google Play; they have since been removed. The rest appeared on third-party Android app stores, Lookout Security details in a blog post. The malware in question, SonicSpy, appears to have originated in Iraq, Lookout says. It was unleashed in February and showed up in Google Play via three messaging apps: Hulk Messenger, Troy Chat, and Soniac. Soniac is a "customized version of the communications app Telegram, [which] contains malicious capabilities that provide an attacker with significant control over a target device," writes Michael Flossman, Security Research Services Tech Lead at Lookout. "This includes the ability to silently record audio, take photos with the camera, make outbound calls, send text messages to attacker specified numbers, and retrieve information such as call logs, contacts, and information about Wi-Fi access points," Flossman says. When installed, "SonicSpy will remove its launcher icon to hide from the victim." Google removed Soniac after Lookout reported it; Hulk Messenger and Troy Chat were also removed from Google Play, but it's unclear if Google deleted them "or if the actor behind SonicSpy removed them in order to evade detection for as long as possible," Flossman says.
Tech Companies Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Boost Cellphone Privacy – United States
More than a dozen high technology companies and the biggest wireless operator in the United States, Verizon Communications Inc., have called on the U.S. Supreme Court to make it harder for government officials to access individuals' sensitive cell phone data. The companies filed a 44-page brief with the court on Monday night in a high-profile dispute over whether police should have to get a warrant before obtaining data that could reveal a cell phone user's whereabouts. Signed by some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, including Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Snap and Alphabet's Google, the brief said that as individuals' data is increasingly collected through digital devices, greater privacy protections are needed under the law. The justices agreed last June to hear the appeal by Timothy Carpenter, who was convicted in 2013 in a series of armed robberies of Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in Ohio and Michigan. Federal prosecutors helped place him near several of the robberies using "cell site location information" obtained from his wireless carrier.
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