SKY ECC July 2019 Newsletter

Stories you need to read to stay secure—brought to you this month by the new writer at SKY ECC: Matthew! Welcome to the newsletter where we face the truth about online security and privacy as FaceApp takes our faces, Alan Turing’s face appears on the 50 pound note, a Zoom patch protects your face at work, SMBs face up to some bad numbers, and we see the face of things to come from your local law enforcement agency.


July Industry News and Trends

Russia controls the viral FaceApp—and your face

The viral FaceApp photo manipulator that makes the old look young has stormed across social media in July. It seems everyone is having some fun with the app, which uses algorithms to age users, but no one is looking at where the app comes from. FaceApp is controlled by the Skolkovo Innovation Centre – Russia’s Silicon Valley. If you have used FaceApp, you have given your name and your photo’s rights over to Russia. Read this part of their terms of service:

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.”

How old do you look right now after finding out you, your BFF, and your momma gave away likeness, name, and location rights to a shady app in Russia?

Alan Turing to be on the 50 pound note

In a huge victory for crypto-geeks everywhere, not to mention those marginalized for the way which they live their life after his brutal punishment for simply being gay, the world’s most famous cryptographer is being honored with his face on the 50 pound note.

While he is famous for his work cracking Germany’s Enigma machine during World War 2, he should be better known for his early work in designing what you’re using right now – computers! Expect to start seeing him on bank notes in England by the end of 2021.

You need to update Zoom in a hurry!

Zoom is a video conferencing, webinar, and screen sharing app used by over 750,000 businesses to conduct all types of day to day communication tasks. It was recently revealed that the app was compromised so that websites could force it to activate the camera. This opens businesses up to any number of privacy issues as attackers can sit back and watch what your office gets up to in a day. A vulnerability in the screen sharing function could have been fatal to companies, but no compromise was found.

A patch for this issue was issued on July 9. If you use Zoom, and haven’t made sure that you’ve updated since then, it is time to check! Someone could be looking at you through your webcam right now if not…

New report shows how weak SMB cybersecurity is

A recent study by Alert Logic has shown the cybersecurity weaknesses of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), and it is not good. Common weaknesses include:

  • Weak encryption protocols
  • Poor workload configuration
  • Limited visibility into vulnerabilities
  • Use of outdated or unsupported systems

To keep this relevant to SKY ECC, 42% of SMBs have issues related to encryption. This is why using an encryption tool like SKY ECC is so important as it protects you in a way which you don’t have to think about. Stay tuned as we roll out the incredibly secure and well-encrypted SKY WORK soon.

A tool like the NSA’s XKeyscore is coming to police near you

Most people have heard of the NSA’s XKeyscore, the online monitoring tool detailed by Edward Snowden in his famous leak, but a new commercialized version is coming to local police. The system is called Gotham, but there’s no indication if this is in reference to a certain Caped Crusader. The tool is listed as a “secondary surveillance network” as it catalogs relationships between people, and you don’t have to be even remotely accused of any crime to be in it.

The tool is instrumental to raids conducted by ICE agents as it easily makes connections between family members and friends, and is used by law enforcement at the federal, state, and local level. Anything from a simple name to a license plate can bring up streams of data.

Last word

The hacks just keep on coming…the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had one of their contractors, Perceptics, hacked back in June. Now the emails talking about the hack, have been obtained by Motherboard. It’s the cirrrrrrcle, the cirrrrcle of hacking life.

Links to stories mentioned:


Recent posts from the SKY ECC blog

We don’t just read about security and privacy—we write about it too. Visit the SKY ECC blog for more posts with our stance on security, privacy, and product updates from SKY ECC too. Here are a couple recent posts on helping people understand the importance of strong, end-to-end encrypted messaging.

How To Minimize Your Data Footprint When Travelling

In North America and Western Europe we take for granted our governments aren’t actively tracking what we do and say online. The same can’t be said for Russia… Read more

Why your device is essential to your privacy and security

You would think a brand new phone fresh from the factory or reset to factory settings would be is secure. No malware, no security holes. You might need to do a quick software update, but generally the device is safe. Right? Read more


Talk with a SKY ECC Representative

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