The United States The Supreme Court struck down yesterday Roe v. Wade, the 1973 monumental decision that guaranteed the right to abortion in the United States for 49 years and, as Maryn McKenna writes for WIRED, “revolutionized the lives of women.” Now all that is in danger.
It is impossible to overestimate the profound consequences of the court’s decision. Beyond the dangers of life and death now facing people who become pregnant, is the end of Roe and the advent of criminalized abortion stands to usher in a privacy nightmare that civil liberties have warned about for decades.
As we reported in May, after a draft Supreme Court decision was leaked to Politico, the criminalization of abortion in states across the United States requires people to adopt a comprehensive digital privacy strategy to protect themselves from the surveillance state. This can include steps like switching to an end-to-end encrypted app like Signal, narrowing your data footprint by using search engines like DuckDuckGo instead of Google, locking your privacy settings on your phone, and using a browser extension to block web trackers. For more details on securing your digital privacy, we recommend guides from Digital Defense Fund and Electronic Frontier Foundation.
If you are planning to protest against the Supreme Court’s decision, check out our guide on how to protest safely. And if you are looking for information on getting an abortion afterRoe America, we also have a list of resources for it.
In other stories this week, we explained how to password-protect any file and dived into the persistent security risks associated with Microsoft’s now defunct Internet Explorer browser. We took a look at Brave’s new Goggles tool for its privacy-focused search engine, which lets you create custom search filters. We examined the ways in which the American intelligence community uses artificial intelligence. And we detailed a new type of spyware that Google and Lookout researchers say has been used to target people in multiple countries.
But that’s not all. Here we have gathered the big security news from the past week, which we have not been able to cover ourselves. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And be safe out there.
Microsoft released one this week report dive into Russia’s cyber efforts in its ongoing war against Ukraine. Researchers found that Russia has launched at least 48 attacks on Ukrainian units. While some efforts have been successful, researchers have found that rapidly deployed digital defenses have averted many of these attacks, including a failed Russian military effort to deploy “wiper” malware against Ukrainian government computers. However, Vladimir Putin does not limit Russian hackers to targets in Ukraine. Microsoft researchers identified Russian “network intrusion efforts” against 128 organizations in 42 countries outside Ukraine. Moscow often attacks NATO governments, and researchers say Russian attacks have been successful 29 percent of the time. In a quarter of the successful attacks, Russian hackers have stolen internal data from the victims’ networks. Microsoft also warns that Russia is conducting global “cyber-influence operations”, at least some of which are pushing propaganda urging people not to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Despite the fact that political misinformation continues to spread on Meta’s platforms ahead of the midterm elections in November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly shifted his attention from election-related topics to focusing on the meta-verse. According to several sources who have spoken with That New York Times, Facebook’s “core election team … has been dispersed,” and only 60 people are now focusing on full-time election integrity issues. Company spokesman Tom Reynolds disputed that figure, claiming that “hundreds” of people at Meta focus on election-related work.
Another day, another cryptocurrency company hacks criminals collecting staggering amounts of money. The latest known attack, against California-based Web3 firm Harmony, was aimed at the blockchain bridge, an application used to transfer cryptocurrencies from one blockchain to another. The company says the hackers stole approximately $ 100 million in digital assets. Bridges are a known weak point in the crypto ecosystem. In late March, hackers believed to be part of North Korea’s Lazarus group got rid of $ 540 million in cryptocurrency thanks to a bridge attack.
We’ve all been there: On your way home after a bubbly night on the town, you realize you’ve left a USB drive with names, addresses, birthdays, and tax-related information on every person in your town. Never happened to you? Well, an entrepreneur in Amagasaki, Japan, was not so lucky. The Guardian reports that the unnamed contractor lost a USB drive with sensitive personal data from all 460,000 Amagasaki residents after a night of drinking at a restaurant. While the error is certainly embarrassing, it will hopefully not lead to a breach of privacy: According to city officials, the data was encrypted and they have not found any signs of leaks. Cheers!