You Pay More When Companies Get Hacked


The full-scale invasion of Russia of Ukraine has been ongoing for over 150 days, with no end to the conflict in sight. While Ukrainian troops are having some success with counteroffensives in the south of the country, the war is having lasting impacts on freedom of expression and online censorship.

This week, we documented how a flurry of more than half a dozen new Russian laws, all proposed or passed in recent months, will help cut Russia off from the global Internet. The move, if successful, could damage the very idea of ​​a free and open Internet and have global ramifications. But not all are bad news. Russia’s attempts to block and censor people’s online lives are hitting some roadblocks: its long-standing ambition to block the Tor anonymity service is faltering.

Last month, Joe Biden signed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first major federal gun legislation passed in years. However, senators did not have actual government data on gun violence when they were drafting the law, in part because, until 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was barred for decades from studying gun violence in america As a result, much of the data used to inform the Act came from elsewhere. We also looked at whether states could legally block people seeking abortions from crossing state lines to do so after the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Elsewhere, we’ve also put together a guide on how to safely lend your phone to someone else, whether it’s a friend who wants to see your holiday photos or a stranger who needs to make an emergency phone call. A few simple tweaks to your iPhone or Android settings can quickly help you protect your data.

And there’s more. Every week we collect the news that we have not made known or deepened. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there!

Every year, the list of companies hacked or suffering data breaches continues to grow. These incidents are usually the result of incorrect technical configurations by companies or poor security practices. While every incident is different, there’s no denying that data breaches can have a huge impact on those affected: people who have their data leaked, for example, and businesses who have to deal with reputational and financial damage. This week, an IBM report revealed that the cost of a data breach in 2022 has reached an “all-time high,” averaging $4.35 million. This represents an increase of 2.6% compared to last year.

Perhaps most notably, according to IBM’s data, companies are hitting their customers with the costs of data breaches. The company surveyed 550 organizations that had experienced a data breach between March 2021 and March 2022, and 60 percent of them said they had increased their prices as a result of the breach. No specific examples were given in the report. And it’s unclear whether companies that pass on the costs of cybersecurity incidents are investing that extra revenue to better protect their customers’ data in the future. However, according to IBM, only 17 percent of the 550 companies surveyed said it was the first data breach they had experienced.

Another week, another set of spyware bombs. This week Reuters revealed that the European Union found evidence that phones belonging to its staff were targeted with Pegasus, the powerful hacking tool from Israeli firm NSO Group. Apple apparently told EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders that its iPhone could have been hacked in 2021. An ongoing EU investigation, according to Reuters, found indicators of compromise in some devices. It follows officials announcing that 14 EU member states have bought Pegasus in the past.

This wasn’t the only spyware revelation this week. The leader of Greece’s opposition political party filed a complaint alleging that his phone had been attacked with Israeli-origin Predator spyware, developed by Cytrox. Microsoft also linked the spyware, called Subzero, to the European firm DSIRF. The details, released to coincide with a House Intelligence Committee spyware hearing, claimed that Subzero had been used to target banks and consulting firms in Austria, the United Kingdom and Panama.

If tech companies want to operate in China and sell their products to a market of more than a billion people, they will have to play by the rules. Companies must store data locally, and as Apple learned, they may have to compromise the security protections they put in place around people’s data. Like the video game Roblox set to launch in China in 2017 and 2018, its developer was well aware of the possible consequences.

Seconds Roblox documents obtained by VICE, the company believed it could be hacked if it entered China and that rivals would create their own version of its game. “Expect the hack to have already started,” an internal filing said in 2017. The documents also show how Roblox they enforced Chinese censorship laws (the “illegal content” included manipulating historical facts and misrepresenting Chinese territories on maps) and other local laws, such as collecting players’ real names. Roblox it finally launched its Chinese app LuoBuLesi in July 2021, but shut it down earlier this year.

For years, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers have limited how third-party cookies can track you around the web. These small pieces of code, which are saved on your device when you visit websites, can track your browsing history and show you ads based on what you’ve seen. They are widely considered a privacy nightmare. So when Google announced in January 2020 that Chrome would finally ditch creepy third-party cookies in 2022, the move was a big one. In practice, however, Google has struggled to make the switch. This week, Google announced that its plan has been delayed for a second time. Third-party cookies have been suspended until at least the end of 2024, when they will begin to be phased out. So far, Google’s efforts to replace third-party cookies have been turbulent, with privacy advocates claiming the replacements are worse than cookies and the advertising industry saying they will reduce competition.



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