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More Software Updates And Bans
Microsoft’s New Share Button, Switching Default Apps in Windows 11
Microsoft has added a share button to its GPT-4-powered Bing Chat, allowing users to post the AI’s response to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This feature will also generate a persistent link to the answer that directs to a Bing Chat window, complete with citations. Microsoft has also tested an optimization on “Balanced” mode that improves performance, allowing the bot to respond to questions faster. Additionally, the company claims to have improved Bing’s contextual understanding, letting it absorb larger amounts of context when using the Creative tone, resulting in better text summarization.
In other news, Microsoft is promising significant changes to the way Windows manages which apps open certain files by default and how users can select programs to pin to their Start menu. A new Settings deep link URI scheme will let developers send users directly to the right spot in Settings to change which program is the default for particular file or link types, and Microsoft will start testing a new API to let apps pin a primary or secondary tile to the taskbar. This should address some issues introduced with the change to Windows 11 and make changing the settings and look of Windows more similar to what people are used to from iOS or Android mobile devices. Microsoft is ready to lead the way on this by building support for the new menus into the Edge browser as soon as they're available.
Hackers Involved With DEA's Portal Breach And The FBI Have Been Caught
As previously reported by Gizmodo, two men have been charged for their suspected roles in last year's hack of the Drug Enforcement Agency's web interface. According to the DOJ, Sagar Steven Singh and Nicholas Ceraolo stole a police officer's credentials in order to get access to a federal law enforcement database, which they then exploited to extort victims. They are part of the Vile hacking group, which frequently takes personal information from victims and threatens to dox them publicly if they are not paid. Singh threatened his victims with the information from the federal portal, and in one case, wrote to one person that he would damage their family unless they granted him access to their Instagram accounts. Ceraolo obtained email credentials through a gateway.
The FBI has arrested the person allegedly in charge of the BreachForums online hacking community, Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, and charged him with conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Pompompurin created BreachForums after the FBI seized RaidForums, a similar hacking site that also sold leaked information. He is implicated in a number of breaches, including the 2021 Robinhood breach and the leak of Twitter user handles and email addresses in November 2022. He was released on a $300,000 bond and will appear in a Virginia court on March 24th.
Google Pixel 7 And Other Pixel Vulnerability Issues
Google has reduced the price of the entire Pixel family, including the flagship 7 Pro for $150 off. The more affordable Pixel 7 is also $150 off, making it $449 and $549 respectively. The Pixel 6a is a great choice for those looking for a simple, affordable and easy-to-use device, with a 6.1-inch OLED display, IP67-certified water and dust proofing, 6GB of RAM and Google's Tensor chip. If you have a bigger budget, the Pixel 7 Pro is the one to go for if you love snapping photos.
Google began rolling out Android's March security patch earlier this week, addressing a "High" severity vulnerability involving the Pixel's Markup screenshot tool. Over the weekend, Simon Aarons and David Buchanan, the reverse engineers who discovered CVE-2023-21036, shared more information about the security flaw, revealing Pixel users are still at risk of their older images being compromised due to Google's oversight. The "aCropalypse" flaw allowed someone to take a PNG screenshot cropped in Markup and undo at least some of the edits in the image, making it easy to imagine scenarios where a bad actor could abuse that capability. The March security update is currently available on the Pixel 4a, 5a, 7 and 7 Pro, meaning Markup can still produce vulnerable images on some Pixel devices. If you own a Pixel phone without the patch, avoid using Markup to share sensitive images.
NewZealand Joins US, UK, Canada To Ban TikTok
New Zealand has banned TikTok from certain government devices, limited to devices that have access to the parliamentary network. The ban will come into force by the end of March, but there may be exceptions for those who need access to TikTok to carry out their jobs. The move was based on advice from cybersecurity experts and talks with other countries. The UK announced an immediate TikTok ban on government devices due to security fears. Over the last few months, the US, dozens of states, Canada and the European Commission have also banned TikTok on devices they own.
Officials in many countries have expressed concern that TikTok's parent company ByteDance may be compelled to share sensitive user information, such as location data, with China for purported national security reasons. TikTok has tried to assuage privacy worries in the US and Europe by routing traffic from each territory to domestic servers and conducting third-party security and data audits. However, a whistleblower has claimed that there are flaws in the US plan that could allow China to theoretically access data of American TikTok users anyway. Additionally, reports suggest that the FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating ByteDance after four employees used TikTok to snoop on the locations of two US journalists.