When Yevgeny Prighozin, the head of the notorious mercenary army known as the Wagner Group, staged an aborted coup against the Russian government, his brief uprising led to the death of 13 Russian fighter pilots and a serious blow to sentiment of Vladimir Putin’s impunity. Now the fallout from that amazing story has also apparently claimed another casualty: the world’s most notorious troll farm, known as the Internet Research Agency.
But let’s get to that. First, Elon Musk had a rough week. Following Twitter’s baffling decision to temporarily limit the number of tweets users can read per day, Mark Zuckerberg has hit back at his self-sabotaged platform with the launch of Threads. The Instagram-linked microblogging app has soared to the top of the app store charts, gaining a staggering 30 million users within 24 hours—a clear sign that many people are willing to ignore the methods. in Meta invading privacy.
If you want to get in on the action on Threads but don’t want to share all your Meta data, there’s a better way: Don’t join. Instead, wait until Threads connects to the broader decentralized social media ecosystem powered by the ActivityPub protocol, which is also used by Mastodon. This should enable you to interact with Threads without signing up for an account or downloading the app. And if you’re still trying to choose which Twitter alternative to jump into—or just want to see what data each platform collects—we’ve broken down the privacy policies of Threads, Bluesky, Mastodon, and more.
Even if you don’t share your data with Meta, the information about you that is already there is likely to be sold. But it’s not just companies buying your personal details – police and spies are buying data too. That is, unless the US Congress stops it. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which must be passed by Congress every year, that would prohibit intelligence agencies from buying sensitive data about Americans. The amendment will have to survive a long debate before it becomes law, but if Congress remains indifferent, US spies will no longer be able to buy your location data and search histories. open market.
Finally, our partners at Grist are investigating the dangers posed by electric vehicle charging stations. Due to various security vulnerabilities and lack of industry standards for protecting EV chargers from hackers, drivers and the entire power grid can be at risk.
But that’s not all. Every week, we gather security news that we don’t report ourselves. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.
For years, the Internet Research Agency based in St. Petersburg embodied many of America’s worst fears of Russian disinformation’s influence across Western social media. The operation, created by Vladimir Putin ally and oligarch Yevgeny Prighozin, fueled scandals, spewed fake news, and interfered in US elections enough to warrant an indictment from the Justice Department against of a group of its staff and even a disruptive hacking operation from the US Cyber Command targeting its network.
Now, after the US government tried to cripple or kill Prighozin’s troll factory, he did it himself. After the spectacular, short-lived uprising of Prighozin’s mercenary Wagner Group, which was contracted to participate in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Prighozin was stripped of Russian assets, including the media group of which the Internet Research Agency was a part. Initially, the troll farm was looking for a new owner, but Reuters reported before the July 4 holiday that the ill-influenced machine would instead be dismantled. Prighozin, meanwhile, is said to have been exiled to Belarus—but has now returned to Russia, according to Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.
A highly controversial surveillance bill in France, making its way through the country’s parliament, would allow law enforcement to surreptitiously spy on criminal suspects through cameras and microphones on their devices. The legislation, which applies to smartphones, connected cars, laptops, and other devices, was passed by the French National Assembly earlier this week as part of broader changes to the French justice system. In response to criticism, the party of French president Emmanuel Macron made changes to the law that would only allow it to be used “if justified by the nature and seriousness of the crime,” only for the appropriate duration, and for a maximum which is six months. , regardless of suspected criminal behavior. The country’s right and left political parties continue to protest the bill.
In recent years, American credit cards have become more difficult to defraud, as banks have added security features such as authentication chips. But EBT cards, the debit cards issued to most of the poorest Americans in the welfare system, have been stripped of those protections, instead continuing to store their numbers on a simple magnetic strip. The result is millions of dollars in irreversible theft from some of the nation’s neediest and most vulnerable families, as a Bloomberg BusinessWeek part of this week’s “Heist Issue” of the magazine. California alone, according to the report, saw an average of $10 million per month stolen in the first three months of this year. The fraud method is carried out by criminals who plant “skimmer” devices in grocery store point-of-sale systems and ATMs that record credit card numbers, which are then used to drain bank accounts. funds when it is refreshed at midnight on the first of the month. Business Week tells the story of a mother of five whose welfare funds were stolen in this way four times in less than a year.
The port of Nagoya in Japan—the country’s largest cargo port. which handles roughly 10 percent of its total shipments—on Tuesday revealed it was the victim of a ransomware attack. The attack, apparently carried out by the heavily Russian-linked ransomware group LockBit, prevented companies such as Toyota from loading and unloading manufacturing components from ships and led to traffic jams for drivers in the truck that picks up and offloads the containers at the port. To Nagoya shipping port’s credit, however, it quickly recovered from the attack, resuming operations two days later.