Aptoide App Store Breached

Aptoide App Store Breached

The popular Android app store Aptoide has apparently been breached, with millions of users having their data stolen by a hacker.

Aptoide is a third-party app store, meaning it isn’t operated by Google or provided by a smartphone manufacturer, and claims to have over 150 million users, 7 billion downloads, and 1 million apps.

However, its popularity has now made it a target for a hacker, who has seemingly stolen the details of 39 million users and published 20 million of those online.

According to ZDNet:

The leaked information, which ZDNet obtained a copy with the help of data breach monitoring service Under the Breach, contains information on users who registered or used the Aptoide app store app between July 21, 2016, and January 28, 2018.

 

Data leaked today that can be classified as “personal identifable information” includes details such as the user’s email address, hashed password, real name, sign-up date, sign-up IP address, device details, and date of birth (if provided).

 

Other details also include technical information such as account status, sign-up tokens, developer tokens, if the account was a super admin, or referral origin.

You can read the full article at ZDNet here.

Aptoide has subsequently taken steps to improve its security systems, and in a statement on their website stated:

We are working tirelessly to understand how this happened and already have a few leads. We feel deeply ashamed and would like to apologize sincerely. The security of our users is a priority for us, and we have always tried to implement policies that make Aptoide a safe environment.

 

Besides continuous training, we have hired external companies to audit our infra-structure and perform penetration testing. It was not enough, though. We have failed to keep some of the user data safe.

 

Besides providing updated information as we have it, we will also have an internal discussion on how to better store and protect user data moving forward.

Read the statement in full here.

While you should always be careful about using third party apps, Aptoide has generally been considered one of the more secure and it’s clear that they are taking positive steps in the wake of this breach to protect users and learn from the experience.

However, this also demonstrates the importance of not reusing usernames and passwords across multiple platforms. Any users doing so whose data was stolen will now find themselves at risk if they used the same credentials elsewhere.

If you’re concerned about how your organisation should respond to a data breach of this sort, contact us today to get our expert advice.

Final Thoughts – PrivSec London 2020

Final Thoughts – PrivSec London 2020

At the PrivSec London conference on the 4th and 5th February, we enjoyed hearing how leading professionals in our field are tackling the many shared challenges of doing business under the changing needs of the 2020s.

Here are some final thoughts from the event’s keynote speaker, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, and from ourselves…


Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Member, European Union Committee, and a former minister under David Cameron, who was heavily involved in negotiating GDPR) said that data is the “oil equivalent” of an extraordinary digital revolution.

This revolution is now affecting almost everything on the planet. The effects are impossible to predict, but like other revolutions, this one started slowly and is now picking up speed.

There were some interesting official statements made by government, EU, or other regulators which indicate:

  • There’s an ever-growing concern about the harms of online activity (such as for young people, from fraud, and so on), which is being reflected in legislation and official guidances across the world.
  • China’s big tech companies are catching up with the major US firms.
  • The UK may be particularly exposed to cybersecurity threats.
  • The management of risk has gone up the corporate agenda.
  • EU rules provide a framework to recognise the reciprocity between the data standards of different countries, and the UK will fall inside that alignment thanks to our adherence to GDPR in the new Data Protection Act 2018.

Overall, PrivSec London 2020 was an extremely informative conference. The key things that we learned are:

  • A culture shift is needed in most companies in order to keep up with changing legislation and guidelines. This includes planning for privacy and cybersecurity, getting buy-in across an entire organisation by explaining it in the business terms of each department, and only using data for transparent, legitimate reasons.
  • Security and privacy are not the same thing, and pointing enquiries about privacy to security protocols is insufficient. It’s impossible to buy ‘compliance in a box’ as a solution to GDPR, which raised people’s awareness of the legal bases for processing data.
  • Cybersecurity is a serious issue; the majority of passwords may already be leaked, and Multi-Factor Authentication is a necessity. Most problems are caused upstream by system and configuration issues or poor procedures, but most money is being directed downstream at the consequences, and there are huge skill gaps in the field.

What we can do for you about all this – check out our offers to find out how we can help you with your data protection programme:

  • GDPR Consultancy and Project Management – From start to finish, we will help manage your data protection programme and provide all the advice you need to become compliant.
  • GDPR Gap Analysis – Identify potential risks quickly and affordably, and set out clear recommendations of what will need to be done in order to comply with the law.
  • Data Protection Officers as a Service – As well as helping implement the necessary changes in your business for GDPR, we may be able to help you save money managing your data protection and securing your reputation with your customers.
  • Data Protection Staff Training – We can provide in-person or online support to teach your staff and contractors anything from the very basics of GDPR to the more advanced areas of the regulation.

Our thanks to the following guest speakers at PrivSec London 2020:

  • Steve Wright, Partner, Privacy Culture Ltd, previously DPO for Bank of England, also John Lewis and Unilever previously
  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe, EU Committee member
  • Sheila Firtzpatrick, Fitzpatrick & Associates
  • Dave Horton, Solutions Engineer at OneTrust
  • Shaab Al-Baghdadi, OnlineDPO; Emily Johnson, Microsoft, Bill Karazsia, Fortive; Joao Torres Barreiro, Wills Towers Watson;
  • Charlie Wijsman, Accenture Global Data Privacy Lead
  • Damine Larrey, Microsoft; Dominic Johnston, Epiq Global; Damian Murphy, Lighthouse Global
  • Alberto Quesada, Global Head of Group Data Management, BNP Paribas
  • John Richardson, DMA, and formerly the Telephone Preference Service; Giorgia Vulcan, EU Privacy Counsel for the EU DPO Office, Coca-Cola; Or Lechner, Luminati Networks; Marie Bradley, Adam & Eve; Magali Fey, Anonos
    Ben Hawes, Benchmark initiative
  • Joan Keevil, Professional e-Learning Expert, SAI Global
  • David Clarke, Founder, GDPR Technology Forum; Beth Brookner, Privacy Counsel and Data Protection Officer, GVC Ladbrokes Coral; Steve Windle, Incident Response Lead for Europe & Latin America, Accenture; Cosimo Monda, Director, Maastricht European Centre on Privacy and Cybersecurity; Simon Hall, Privacy Consultant & DPO Coach, AwarePrivacy
  • Stuart Aston, National Security Officer, Microsoft
  • Greg Van Der Gaast, Head of Information Security, University of Salford
  • Meera Narendra, Journalist, Data Protection World Forum; Dr Shavana Musa, Legal Consultant and Academic, The University of Manchester;  Victoria Guilloit, Partner, Privacy Culture; Ally Pinkerton, Group Head of Information Security Governance & Assurance, Group Information Security Office, Bupa
Cybersecurity Challenges – PrivSec London 2020

Cybersecurity Challenges – PrivSec London 2020

There were a lot of insightful talks from the PrivSec London conference last week – here’s our pick of some of the most important points on the topic of cybersecurity.


Representatives from Microsoft provided some real eye-openers, such as: everyone’s passwords may almost certainly be compromised. This is why it’s so necessary to enable Multi-Factor Authentication on everything you can – otherwise you’re at real risk!

Meanwhile, 60% of data breaches are due to human error. E-learning as staff training for compliance is often quickly forgotten and doesn’t change behaviour – only 23% positively impacted employees – so training needs to be aligned with people’s business needs and personal values and ethics, and team meetings need to be held soon after it to decide what to change. Culture comes from the bottom up, not top down; leadership needs to be distributed not hierarchical as nobody can keep up with all the changes across these areas.

From a different session, a cybersecurity consultant said that 90% of cybersecurity issues that lead to him being called in are caused upstream in other systems and configuration/patching issues plus poor Information Security procedures and standards, yet the ever-spiralling (and very ineffective) cybersecurity spending in companies is misdirected downstream at the impacts of that. He almost always finds serious negligence by lunchtime on day one when starting with a new client.

There are huge skills gaps in cybersecurity – 1-2 million jobs going unfilled – and far too few women are getting into that area for many reasons, which doesn’t improve the success of the sector either.

Achieving GDPR compliance while using AI, Big Data and Location data is really difficult, and it’s hard to get genuine user knowledge of and consent for the future uses that might be made of that data and to fulfil user rights demands around that data. In fact, even anonymised versions of these kinds of data can often be de-anonymised by the uses companies put this data to. Locations-enabled apps gather all kinds of data about you and often share that information without your knowledge.


Our thanks to the following guest speakers at PrivSec London 2020:

  • Steve Wright, Partner, Privacy Culture Ltd, previously DPO for Bank of England, also John Lewis and Unilever previously
  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe, EU Committee member
  • Sheila Firtzpatrick, Fitzpatrick & Associates
  • Dave Horton, Solutions Engineer at OneTrust
  • Shaab Al-Baghdadi, OnlineDPO; Emily Johnson, Microsoft, Bill Karazsia, Fortive; Joao Torres Barreiro, Wills Towers Watson;
  • Charlie Wijsman, Accenture Global Data Privacy Lead
  • Damine Larrey, Microsoft; Dominic Johnston, Epiq Global; Damian Murphy, Lighthouse Global
  • Alberto Quesada, Global Head of Group Data Management, BNP Paribas
  • John Richardson, DMA, and formerly the Telephone Preference Service; Giorgia Vulcan, EU Privacy Counsel for the EU DPO Office, Coca-Cola; Or Lechner, Luminati Networks; Marie Bradley, Adam & Eve; Magali Fey, Anonos
    Ben Hawes, Benchmark initiative
  • Joan Keevil, Professional e-Learning Expert, SAI Global
  • David Clarke, Founder, GDPR Technology Forum; Beth Brookner, Privacy Counsel and Data Protection Officer, GVC Ladbrokes Coral; Steve Windle, Incident Response Lead for Europe & Latin America, Accenture; Cosimo Monda, Director, Maastricht European Centre on Privacy and Cybersecurity; Simon Hall, Privacy Consultant & DPO Coach, AwarePrivacy
  • Stuart Aston, National Security Officer, Microsoft
  • Greg Van Der Gaast, Head of Information Security, University of Salford
  • Meera Narendra, Journalist, Data Protection World Forum; Dr Shavana Musa, Legal Consultant and Academic, The University of Manchester;  Victoria Guilloit, Partner, Privacy Culture; Ally Pinkerton, Group Head of Information Security Governance & Assurance, Group Information Security Office, Bupa
Cybersecurity Challenges – PrivSec London 2020

Insights from Sheila Fitzpatrick – PrivSec London 2020

At the PrivSec London conference last week, we heard from Sheila Fitzpatrick, a global expert in privacy and compliance. Here’s our pick of what she had to say and her advice about GDPR, the culture shift it has already brought about, and data privacy and security.


Anonymising data doesn’t truly make data safe, because someone in the organisation still has access to the original data. You need to really think about why your company is getting and using data – achieving an ‘improved user experience’ is not a good enough excuse. Companies often think that security is the same thing as privacy, and point enquiries about privacy to security protocols – but this is an ‘instant fail’ in Fitzpatrick’s book.

Companies in many other countries don’t realise they’re still subject to other countries’ Data Protection laws such as GDPR – and many countries are also planning laws that will exceed its requirements. GDPR created an awareness of changing legal focus from data security to the lawful bases for processing data, which in turn became the impetus for new laws across the world – as well as adding new technologies which also created privacy issues.

GDPR became the biggest revenue generator since Y2K – and there are a lot of solutions in the market. Companies often like to believe that they can buy ‘compliance in a box’, which is impossible and shows a lack of understanding of privacy; they often throw technology at the problem and assume that innovation will provide a better user experience.

They think that privacy will become irrelevant as a result of this approach; that it can be addressed through a simple checkbox, or that they have a “legitimate interest” in processing personal data. However, this probably isn’t true if the basis can’t be explained on a page clearly. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that if consent is ambiguous, it’s invalid under GDPR.

Big Data is problematic for GDPR compliance on many fronts, and so are AI and Smart Cities: it’s difficult to meet consumer rights demands for example, and to maintain anonymity where necessary.

Fitzpatrick noted that to access public Wi-Fi from a major telecommunications company recently, she had to wade through 5 pages of Privacy Policy and still couldn’t find out how to turn cookies off – which is not compliant with GDPR requirements.

You need to always be honest about what you’re doing; if you can’t, you’ve got a problem. Be upfront about your use of third parties who receive data from you, and don’t let vendors dictate terms to you as their terms can put you in breach. Privacy improvements give a competitive advantage and failing to comply can damage reputations badly.


Our thanks to Sheila Fitzpatrick for these insights and for giving an engaging and thought-provoking talk.

Cybersecurity Challenges – PrivSec London 2020

The Need for a Culture Shift – PrivSec London 2020

From what we heard at the PrivSec London conference this week, it was clear that a culture shift is needed in many – maybe most – companies coming into the new decade. Our thanks go to the guest speakers who provided these insights – you can see a full list of those whose talks we attended at the end of this article.

Here are some culture shifts that companies need to be making in order to keep up with changing legislation and guidelines:


CULTURE SHIFT #1: Have a plan for privacy and cybersecurity, with people and budgets allocated to it.

CULTURE SHIFT #2: Don’t assume that privacy = cybersecurity, you’ll fail if you assume it’s a tech matter. Do a dummy run of a data breach at your organisation – it’ll probably throw up some significant issues.

CULTURE SHIFT #3: To get buy-in across the organisation, explain Privacy and Cybersecurity matters in the business terms of each department or stakeholder group’s business goals, such as making money, reputation protection, and so on.

CULTURE SHIFT #4: Getting your data into one place (e.g. the cloud) makes it more controllable in one place with a lot of access but is also where the biggest risk lies. Work out what you’ve got and what you are moving to the cloud – delete as much as you can of your data set defensively, use the infrastructure and systems there to look after every piece of information in one system and apply policies across everything.

CULTURE SHIFT #5: Get tighter on checking, stating and enabling opt-outs for all the cookies working on your website(s), such as trackers: many of these may be coming from your third-party hosting provider rather than your own web developers and plugins! ‘Continued browsing’ or browser settings aren’t adequate to demonstrate consents anymore under the latest government guidances.

CULTURE SHIFT #6: For businesses, ethics ARE sustainability. They’re about only using data for transparent, legitimate reasons that genuinely improve the user experience and give users control over the data held about them and how it is used. They’re about not ruining trust or making customers uneasy about using your business or website or platform.


Our thanks to the following guest speakers at PrivSec London 2020:

  • Steve Wright, Partner, Privacy Culture Ltd, previously DPO for Bank of England, also John Lewis and Unilever previously
  • Baroness Neville-Rolfe, EU Committee member
  • Sheila Firtzpatrick, Fitzpatrick & Associates
  • Dave Horton, Solutions Engineer at OneTrust
  • Shaab Al-Baghdadi, OnlineDPO; Emily Johnson, Microsoft, Bill Karazsia, Fortive; Joao Torres Barreiro, Wills Towers Watson;
  • Charlie Wijsman, Accenture Global Data Privacy Lead
  • Damine Larrey, Microsoft; Dominic Johnston, Epiq Global; Damian Murphy, Lighthouse Global
  • Alberto Quesada, Global Head of Group Data Management, BNP Paribas
  • John Richardson, DMA, and formerly the Telephone Preference Service; Giorgia Vulcan, EU Privacy Counsel for the EU DPO Office, Coca-Cola; Or Lechner, Luminati Networks; Marie Bradley, Adam & Eve; Magali Fey, Anonos
    Ben Hawes, Benchmark initiative
  • Joan Keevil, Professional e-Learning Expert, SAI Global
  • David Clarke, Founder, GDPR Technology Forum; Beth Brookner, Privacy Counsel and Data Protection Officer, GVC Ladbrokes Coral; Steve Windle, Incident Response Lead for Europe & Latin America, Accenture; Cosimo Monda, Director, Maastricht European Centre on Privacy and Cybersecurity; Simon Hall, Privacy Consultant & DPO Coach, AwarePrivacy
  • Stuart Aston, National Security Officer, Microsoft
  • Greg Van Der Gaast, Head of Information Security, University of Salford
  • Meera Narendra, Journalist, Data Protection World Forum; Dr Shavana Musa, Legal Consultant and Academic, The University of Manchester;  Victoria Guilloit, Partner, Privacy Culture; Ally Pinkerton, Group Head of Information Security Governance & Assurance, Group Information Security Office, Bupa