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Controversy With Chrome Ad Blocker: Google Increases The Maximum Limit

Controversy With Chrome Ad Blocker: Google Increases The Maximum Limit

You have probably read a lot about the upcoming Manifest V3 for Google Chrome extensions and the controversy surrounding changes affecting ad-blockers and other extensions on the platform.

A first draft of Manifest V3 for Chrome extensions was published to the public in January 2019. Criticism erupted in force because one of the changes would cripple ad-blocking functionality of Chrome extensions.

Without going into too many details: content blockers on Chrome use an API called webRequest API to block certain elements on visited web pages. Google’s plan back then was to make the API “read only” and move blocking functionality to a new API called declarativeNetRequest API.

One of the primary issues with this API was that it had a fixed rule limit of 30,000; famous ad-blocking filter lists like EasyList already have more than double the guidelines, making it difficult to load all the filters if Google introduced the fresh Manifest file. One of Google’s allegations was refuted that extensions using the ancient API had a negative impact on results.

Raymond Hill, the creator of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, pointed out that the shift would end its Google Chrome extensions, and other developers made comparable remarks.

By making slight changes to the API, Google attempted to tackle issues in May. The company added an option to use 5000 dynamic rules but the overall consensus was that the limitations were still to limiting.

Several companies that use Chromium as the core for their browsers, e.g. Brave or Vivaldi, were quick to note that they would find ways around the limit.

Google announced changes that it plans to make to the Declarative Net Request API that would raise the limit of the API to 150,000. Google noted as well that it is investigating options actively to include other methods that could help extension developers leverage the API better.

We are actively exploring other ways to expand this API, including adding methods to get feedback about matched rules, and support for richer redirects leveraging URL manipulation and regular expressions. Additionally, we are currently planning to change the rule limit from maximum of 30k rules per extension to a global maximum of 150k rules.

Google notes that the proposed changes were never designed to “prevent or weaken” ad blockers on the Chrome platform and that Google’s main motivation behind the change was to “give developers a way to create safer and more performant ad blockers”.

Another argument that Google brings forward to validate the API change is that the API has been abused in the past by malicious developers to access user “credentials, accounts, or personal information”.

The reasoning is puzzling given that Google earlier announced that when Manifest V3 launches, it will only remove the blocking portion of the webRequest API. It would appear that malicious developers of extensions can still use it by tracking applications to access user data.

Developers have expressed other concerns as only a rule-based strategy is focused on Google. Chrome extensions may not support any functionality that is not based on regulations if the modifications are launched in the present form.

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New ‘ RCS Standard ‘ SMS Alternative Exposes Users to Security Threats!

New SMS Alternative ‘RCS Standard’ Is Exposing Users To Security Threats

This Article Covers New ‘ RCS Standard ‘ SMS Alternative Exposes Users to Security Threats!

Replacement of the regular SMS by the RCS or Rich Communication Services makes users vulnerable to text-based attacks, location tracking, call interception, and more according to new research. RCS standard (Rich Communication Services) is a replacement for SMS with functions such as read confirmations, the ability to send media, etc.

Although the new SMS standard is not inherently flawed, researchers at SLabs state that carrier networks expose users to several security threats because they are implementing RCS on a large scale. Because there is no uniform standard, large telecom companies can use it differently and make mistakes.

What Is RCS?

RCS is a protocol that will soon replace the standard SMS. Although it originated in 2007, we barely recognized it until 2018 when Google announced that it is working with major providers to bring the RCS protocol to Android devices. With the new standard, users can start a group chat, send high-resolution images, audio – mainly all the functions of popular chat services such as iMessage and WhatsApp.

What’S The Problem?

For the research, the SLabs team took sample SIM cards from different providers and searched for RCS-related domains. The o find every vulnerability.

The researchers discovered problems in how telecom sends the RCS configuration files to devices. For example, a server provides the exact configuration file by identifying the IP addresses.

Karsten Nohl of SLabs said that any app could request the file, with or without permissions, because they also use the IP address. “So now every app can get your username and password for all your text messages and all your voice calls.”

The researchers also found security breaches in the authentication process. For example, a telecom sends a unique authentication code to verify the identification of the RCS user. Because the carrier gives an ‘unlimited number of attempts’, bad actors can bypass authentication with unlimited attempts.

Response From Network Providers

When asked to comment, Vodafone assured users that it would take security measures to protect the RCS services. In the meantime, AT&T and Sprint focused their concerns on the GSM Association (a trade organization for telecommunications)

GSM told Vice that although they appreciate the efforts of SLabs to the public, the security issues; however, the study includes “no new vulnerabilities” that the body was unaware of.

The SLabs researchers will report their findings at the Black Hat December conference in Europe.

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Users Are Still Not In A Hurry To Install New Releases Of Windows 10

Users Are Still Not In A Hurry To Install New Releases Of Windows 10

Here Is The Details:

AdDuplex tracks the delivery status of the different variants of Windows 10. The statistics for June revealed that the October 2018 Update (1809) was only on 30 percent of systems (down from 31.3 percent in May), while the May 2019 Update (1903) was discovered on 6.3 percent of computers in the same time span.

The surveillance company has just published its stats for July ( i.e AdDuplex Report For July 2019), showing that the May 2019 Update has found its way to more devices, but at a very cautious rate.

The revision has gained just 5 % share in the previous month, and is now on 11.4 % of Windows 10 installs.

The April 2018 Update remains comfortably the most popular flavor of Windows 10, with 53.7 % share, although it’s down from the 58 % it held last month.

 

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LinkedIn Is Full Of Spies, Is This True?

LinkedIn Is Full Of Spies, Is This Is True?

What types of user are you of LinkedIn? The type that accepts requests from individuals you know only “connects?” Or is there a blanket accepter connecting to all who ask?

LinkedIn Is Full Of Spies, Is This Is True?

Fortunately, many U.S. government officials and political intelligentsia are falling into the latter camp for the American public! Which makes LinkedIn a prime hunting ground for… foreign spies?!

According to a new report from the Associated Press, foreign intelligence operations routinely use LinkedIn to target, connect with, and eventually gain knowledge about and influence over American political affairs.

These operations create fake LinkedIn profiles, boasting impressive (imaginary) credentials alongside computer-generated photos, which send connection requests to politicians, lobbyists, academics, or think tank employees. Once one person accepts, that bolsters the fake account’s credibility, so other high-profile LinkedIn users accept, too, and so it goes.

These profiles send out tens of thousands of connection requests at a time. And, apparently, there have been multiple independent cases of American figures being targeted by Russian or Chinese spy operations via connections they unwittingly accepted on LinkedIn.

The AP spoke with multiple D.C. figures, including a former Trump administration official, who had accepted a connection request from political expert “Katie Jones.” None of Jones’ credentials checked out, and experts determined that her photo was generated by A.I., so Jones, by all accounts, does not exist. But the person running the account still had the ability to direct message with political influencers, posing as a colleague.

LinkedIn told the AP that it removes fake accounts; indeed, it removed Jones’ account shortly after the AP inquired about Katie Jones. But as multiple other social networks have demonstrated, a reactionary stance in the fight against fake activity online is an insufficient one.

AND IN THE CASE OF LINKEDIN AS A BREEDING GROUND FOR ESPIONAGE, THAT’S NOT ENOUGH.

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