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Malware infecting apps on Apple products in China

A new type of malware - or malicious software - is infecting iPhones and Mac computers mainly in China, according to research firm Palo Alto Networks.

China represents a huge growth market for Apple Credit: Reuters

The so-called WireLurker software lives in apps that are downloaded from third-party providers. Once it is inside an Apple device it can steal information and spread to other devices via USB cable.

Researchers say the motive behind the malware is not clear. Ryan Olson, an intelligence director at the firm, said there is no evidence that any sensitive information has been taken but that it ought to be possible to steal users' Apple IDs.

Once WireLurker gets on an iPhone, it can go on to infect existing apps on the device similar to traditional computer viruses.

Apple has not commented on the malware so far.

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Facebook reports 24% increase in Government data requests

Facebook said requests by governments for user information rose by about a quarter in the first half of 2014 over the second half of last year.

DPA

In the first six months of 2014, governments around the world made 34,946 requests for data.

During the same time, the amount of content restricted because of local laws increased about 19%.

"We're aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized," the company said in ablog post.

GCHQ chief's message shows fear and frustration

By UK Editor Rohit Kachroo

This is a new tone from the new head of GCHQ and language like this from someone like him indicates a new level of fear and frustration about these American internet giants.

In his FT article, Robert Hannigan challenges them after blaming them, saying they should work with the British security services to end the threat posed online by groups like Islamic State.

He says:

However much they may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us.

– Robert Hannigan, GCHQ Director

Then he makes this direct plea, saying in effect that we cannot do this on our own:

GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web.

– Robert Hannigan

In other words, beating the threat online from the likes of Islamic State is as much about the likes of Google and YouTube as it is MI5 and MI6.

There has been no response so far from the companies, but rarely has a spy chief spoken to directly and so publicly in this fashion against the internet and against groups like Islamic State.

Islamic State militants have been disseminating their message across the internet.

But, a word of caution.

This isn't something that can be ended on someone's laptop in San Francisco.

British police are already overstretched, pulling down over 1,000 items a week.

The Islamic State are finding new ways of posting, of getting their message across the internet every single week as well, and our security services are really playing catch-up.

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'Wrong' to say internet firms 'don't help investigations'

Civil liberties and privacy group, Big Brother Watch, have condemned the head of GCHQ Robert Hannigan for his criticism of internet firms being "in denial" about the role their products play in terrorism and other criminality.

Civil liberties group Big Brother Watch say it is wholly wrong to say that firms don't help intelligence agencies. Credit: Reuters

It is wholly wrong to state that internet companies are failing to assist in investigations. The Government and agencies have consistently failed to provide evidence that internet companies are being actively obstructive.

These companies have consistently proved through their own transparency reports that they help the intelligence agencies when it is appropriate for them to do so, which is in the vast majority of cases.

Public debate on this issue would make the country stronger and more unified, yet we have so far failed to achieve this in the UK. Perpetuating falsehoods about the nature of relations between internet companies and the intelligence agencies is certainly not going to help.

– Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch

Online firms 'providing routes for facilitating terrorism'

The head of GCHQ has called on internet companies to be more open to working with the intelligence agencies against the threat posed by terror organisations such as Isis.

Read: Technology firms 'in denial about online terrorism'

In a blunt article for the Financial Times, Robert Hannigan said the internet has become the "command-and-control" network of choice for Islamist and other criminals providing "routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism"

The extremists of Isis use messaging and social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, and a language their peers understand. [...]

There is no need for today’s would-be jihadis to seek out restricted websites with secret passwords: they can follow other young people posting their adventures in Syria as they would anywhere else. [...]

Increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism. However much they may dislike it, they have become the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us. If they are to meet this challenge, it means coming up with better arrangements for facilitating lawful investigation by security and law enforcement agencies than we have now.

– Robert Hannigan

Technology firms 'in denial about online terrorism'

The head of listening agency GCHQ has accused technology companies of being "in denial" about the role their networks and products play in terrorism and criminality.

Internet firms must open up to intelligence agencies, the head of GCHQ said. Credit: Reuters

In a forthright opinion piece for the Financial Times Robert Hannigan said companies must open themselves up to more intelligence services.

GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web. I understand why they have an uneasy relationship with governments. They aspire to be neutral conduits of data and to sit outside or above politics. But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism.

– Robert Hannigan
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