How Apple’s AirTag turns us into unwitting spies in a vast surveillance network

The tech giant says it has security safeguards in place. But these tracking devices can be hacked and put to other nefarious purposes

Apple has launched the latest version of its operating system, iOS 14.5, which features the much-anticipated app tracking transparency function, bolstering the tech giant’s privacy credentials.

But iOS 14.5 also introduced support for the new Apple AirTag, which risks doing the opposite.

Related: Apple launches new iMac, iPad Pro, AirTags and Podcast subscriptions

Being around someone with an AirTag is *very* annoying pic.twitter.com/GZj8ZeTCck

A security researcher has found out the microcontroller inside Apple’s #AirTag can be reprogrammed, opening the door to AirTag modifications and potential malicious uses. https://t.co/PAKPZab7Ov pic.twitter.com/UVTvPl41Sn

Amazon Sidewalk could help extend the reach of your Wi-Fi, but the company’s data-collection habits may outweigh the feature’s benefits. https://t.co/gcCKqLJDFy

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Government agencies could access personal data without consent under new bill

Privacy advocates fear Coalition’s proposed data-sharing law could allow for robodebt-style tactics

Australians’ personal information could be accessed by government agencies and researchers without their consent under proposed data-sharing legislation that critics say could pave the way for more robodebt-style tactics.

In a speech at an Australian Financial Review conference this week, the former government services minister Stuart Robert said it wasn’t his job to make government “sexy”, but make it simple.

Related: Facebook data leak: Australians urged to check and secure social media accounts

Related: Government investigates data breach revealing details of 774,000 migrants

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People with dyslexia have skills that we need, says GCHQ

UK surveillance agency says it has long valued neuro-diverse analysts – including Alan Turing

Apprentices on GCHQ’s scheme are four times more likely to have dyslexia than those on other organisations’ programmes, the agency has said, the result of a drive to recruit those whose brains process information differently.

GCHQ says those with dyslexia have valuable skills spotting patterns that others miss – a key area the spy agency wants to encourage as it pivots away from dead letter drops and bugging towards high-tech cybersecurity and data analysis.

Related: GCHQ releases ‘most difficult puzzle ever’ in honour of Alan Turing

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Signal founder: I hacked police phone-cracking tool Cellebrite

Moxie Marlinspike accuses surveillance firm of being ‘linked to persecution’ around the world

The CEO of the messaging app Signal claims to have hacked the phone cracking tools used by police in Britain and around the world to extract information from seized devices.

In an online post, Moxie Marlinspike, the security researcher who founded Signal in 2013, detailed a series of vulnerabilities in the surveillance devices, made by the Israeli company Cellebrite.

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Poppy Gustafsson: the Darktrace tycoon in new cybersecurity era

Gustafsson’s firm, founded when she was 30, is marketed as a digital parallel of a human body fighting illness

Poppy Gustafsson runs a cutting-edge and gender-diverse cybersecurity firm on the brink of a £3bn stock market debut, but she is happy to reference pop culture classic the Terminator to help describe what Darktrace actually does.

Launched in Cambridge eight years ago by an unlikely alliance of mathematicians, former spies from GCHQ and the US and artificial intelligence (AI) experts, Darktrace provides protection, enabling businesses to stay one step ahead of increasingly smarter and dangerous hackers and viruses.

Related: Huge rise in hacking attacks on home workers during lockdown

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FBI hacks vulnerable US computers to fix malicious malware

US justice department says bureau hacked devices to remove malware from insecure software

The FBI has been hacking into the computers of US companies running insecure versions of Microsoft software in order to fix them, the US Department of Justice has announced.

The operation, approved by a federal court, involved the FBI hacking into “hundreds” of vulnerable computers to remove malware placed there by an earlier malicious hacking campaign, which Microsoft blamed on a Chinese hacking group known as Hafnium.

Related: Documents reveal FBI head defended encryption for WhatsApp before becoming fierce critic

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Cybersecurity firm Darktrace plans £3bn IPO on London Stock Exchange

Cambridge-based company claims to be first to use AI to detect cybersecurity threats on a large scale

The cybersecurity firm Darktrace has announced plans to float on the London Stock Exchange, in a move that will reportedly value the Cambridge-based company at £3bn.

It is the first big company to have chosen the City for its initial public offering (IPO) since Deliveroo’s disappointing stock market debut last month.

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Facebook data leak: Australians urged to check and secure social media accounts

Experts urge users to secure accounts and passwords after breach exposes personal details of more than 500 million people

Australians are being urged to secure their social media accounts after the details of more than 500 million global Facebook users were found online in a massive data breach.

The details published freely online included names, phone numbers, email addresses, account IDs and bios.

Related: Australia’s move to tame Facebook and Google is just the start of a global battle | Michelle Meagher

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Netflix weighs up crackdown on password sharing

Streaming service tests feature that asks viewers if they share household with subscriber

Netflix has begun testing a feature that asks viewers whether they share a household with a subscriber, in a move that could lead to crackdown on the widespread practice of sharing passwords among friends and family.

Some Netflix users are reported to have received a message asking them to confirm they live with the account owner by entering a code included in a text message or email sent to the subscriber.

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Airline data hack: hundreds of thousands of Star Alliance passengers’ details stolen

IT operator Sita, which serves airlines including Singapore, Lufthansa and United, reports systems breach revealing frequent flyer data

Data on hundreds of thousands of airline passengers around the world has been hacked via a “highly sophisticated” attack on the IT systems operator that serves around 90% of the global aviation industry.

Sita, which serves the Star Alliance of airlines including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and United, said on Thursday it had been the victim of a cyber attack leading to a breach of passenger data held on its servers.

Related: Airbus reveals planes sold in last two years will emit over 1bn tonnes of CO2

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