The United States Supreme Court struck down yesterday Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed the right to abortion in the US for 49 years and, as Maryn McKenna writes for WIRED, “revoked women’s lives.” Now all of that is in jeopardy.
It is impossible to overestimate the drastic consequences of the court’s decision. In addition to the life-and-death dangers that people who become pregnant now face, the end of roe and the rise of criminalized abortion will usher in a privacy nightmare that civil liberties advocates have been warning about for decades.
As we reported in May after a draft Supreme Court decision was leaked to Politico, the criminalization of abortion in US states requires people to adopt a comprehensive digital privacy strategy to protect themselves from the surveillance state. This may include steps such as switching to an end-to-end encrypted app like Signal, limiting your data footprint by using search engines like DuckDuckGo instead of Google, locking down your privacy settings on your phone, and using a browser extension to block web trackers. † For more information on securing your digital privacy, we recommend guides from the Digital Defense Fund and the Electronic Frontier Foundation†
If you’re planning to protest the Supreme Court decision, check out our guide on how to protest safely. And if you are looking for information about having an abortion in post-roe America, we have a list of sources for that too.
In other stories this week, we’ve explained how to password protect any file and delved into the lingering 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 the US intelligence community uses artificial intelligence. And we described a new type of spyware that researchers at Google and Lookout have used to target people in multiple countries.
But that is not everything. We’ve rounded up the big security news from the past week here that we haven’t been able to hide. Click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.
Microsoft has a . this week report delving into Russia’s cyber efforts in its ongoing war against Ukraine. Investigators found that Russia has carried out at least 48 attacks on Ukrainian entities. While some efforts have been successful, researchers found that rapidly deployed digital defenses have fend off many of these attacks, including a failed Russian military attempt to deploy “eraser” malware against Ukrainian government computers. However, Vladimir Putin does not limit Russian hackers to targets in Ukraine. Microsoft researchers identified Russian “network intrusion attempts” against 128 organizations in 42 countries outside Ukraine. Moscow regularly targets the governments of NATO countries, and researchers say Russian attacks have been successful 29 percent of the time. In a quarter of successful attacks, Russian hackers stole internal data from victims’ networks. Microsoft also warns that Russia is conducting global “cyber influence operations,” at least some of which are propaganda to encourage people not to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Despite political misinformation being rampant on Meta’s platforms ahead of the midterm elections in November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly shifted his focus from election-related issues to the metaverse. According to multiple sources who spoke to The New York Times, Facebook’s “core election team … is scattered”, and only 60 people are now focusing full-time on election integrity. Company spokesman Tom Reynolds disputed that figure, claiming that “hundreds” of people at Meta are focused on election-related work.
Another day, another hack of a cryptocurrency company that brings in huge amounts of money for criminals. The latest known attack, against California-based Web3 company Harmony, targeted the blockchain bridge, an application used to transfer cryptocurrencies from one blockchain to another. The company says the hackers stole about $100 million in digital assets. Bridges are a known weakness in the crypto ecosystem. In late March, hackers believed to be part of North Korea’s Lazarus Group made off with $540 million worth of cryptocurrency thanks to a bridge attack.
We’ve all been there: On your way home from a drunken night on the town, you realize you’ve lost a USB drive containing the names, addresses, birthdays, and tax-related information of every person in your town. Has never happened to you? A contractor in Amagasaki, Japan, was not so lucky. the guard reports that the unnamed contractor lost a USB stick containing the sensitive personal data of all 460,000 residents of Amagasaki after a night out drinking at a restaurant. While the flaw is certainly embarrassing, hopefully it won’t lead to a privacy breach: City officials said the data was encrypted and they found no evidence of leaks. Cheers!