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Weekly Roundup: United Kingdom Keeps Poking its Nose in North Korea’s Secret Codes, Making Kim Angry

Let’s talk in Morse code, shall we guys? 

The UK breaks secret codes without Alan Turing…

On September 6, 2020, news spread about the United Kingdom breaking North Korea’s secret code. The UK intelligence agency is always on the lookout for intercepting secret messages sent to various spies from North Korea. 

This turf war is never going to end, especially when North Korea has blocked the entire country from posing any online dangers to its citizens, or we can say Kim Jong-un. But why would the UK government throw out news like that? Why tell everyone that they have intercepted and decoded secret messages when they have a chance to silently eavesdrop and use the knowledge to their advantage? 

Are they stupid or playing stupid? 

Last we shared about the United States tightening their grip on Chinese nationals, the ban on Tik Tok, and now the UK is coming up with allegations against North Korea. You see a pattern here, don’t you?  

The US and the UK have an upper hand when it comes to spreading (false) information and there is no one to question them. Maybe it’s true that they’ve cracked some code but we have no way to validate this. It is no secret that North Korea has tough relations with the US and even the rest of the world. But involving the United Kingdom to bottleneck China’s market hold and North Korea’s reputation can be a cunning plot. 

This just proves how the 5 Eyes countries are super alert and protective of the data of its citizens and tracking the moves of countries that are just… ummm… sort of a hermit’s kingdom (Read: North Korea and China).

Also, if the news is true, it means there is no such thing as end-to-end encryption when you are using “safe to use” mobile apps and communication streams. The government is monitoring everything, whether you are a spy from North Korea or not.    

I hate my iPhone (just a little bit)…

“What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” 

That’s partly true. But, not for iMessage users who use the built-in app to send or receive messages. Although you exchange pictures on iMessage without anyone intercepting the data, you are actually giving away your location. Most iPhone users or those part of the Apple ecosystem are not aware of this. 

Location tagging is fun, yet not for those who care about privacy. You can easily enable all the Google Map pins and navigation on your iPhone. When you share pictures using iMessage, Apple can pick the metadata from them: that is, Apple will know precisely the location where you took that picture, and therefore, it is not end-to-end encrypted. This happens when you pick a picture from your photo album and send it via iMessage.  

But if you are using the camera option when typing a message, your location is not tagged and hence iMessage cannot pull out metadata from it. That’s the main difference!

FYI: we shared a detailed guide here on how to remove metadata from pictures because most of us are iPhone users and want to keep security airtight

How many times have you heard this? 

I am an iPhone person. I am an Apple person. And the reason for this kind of cult loyalty is that Apple devices have much better security and reliability than Android. That’s a fact and I second that as an iPhone user myself. 

Although, many of us like the Apple ecosystem and iOS apps, we can’t hide from companies who spend (probably) millions of dollars to get your data. In simpler words, your online life, interests, the gadgets you use, the type of girlfriend you want, and we can go on and on, but let’s assume you understand our concern: this is all accessible to companies who pay for the privilege.  

In short, every app in your smartphone and the browser you are using is actually tracking your data whether you are using iMessage or other messaging apps. This is the most unnerving thing to us, as a cybersecurity company, that apps, platforms, and browsers monitor our activities, and we don’t really have a way to put a complete stop to it. 

We said you must be an ethical hacker… not you kids!!

Turns out a kid in Miami took our advice of becoming an ethical hacker way too seriously (and we thank them for reading PureVPN’s blog). A South Miami Senior High student was not in the mood to take online classes anymore and decided to trigger a cyberattack

We have no idea who the student is but he was smart enough to stop the teachers from being able to conduct virtual classes. Are virtual classes really that awful? Maybe in Miami, but over here, we cannot relate lol. 

On a lighter note, we believe the school should not punish the teen. Instead, Miami should embrace the efforts of a student who found flaws. Yes, we know this is a felony, but keeping security flaws exposed is much worse than punishing a student for being smarter than your security systems. Just saying!

Why we are so stubborn about privacy and security

The answer relates to cyberattacks and ransomware attacks, which not only compromise your data but steal money from your pocket. Hackers are becoming smarter than ever, sniffing security flaws like a bloodhound hunts for blood. It’s about time we take security and privacy back into our own hands. 

The same thing happened a few days ago with WordPress. There was a malware-contained plugin that attacked millions of WordPress websites, mostly harming websites using an older version of the product. This website is also on WordPress but thankfully we are safe. Phew! That is one less hacker to worry about… out of millions. For now. We’re sure there are hundreds of other WordPress plugin vulnerabilities that have yet to be discovered, especially in older platforms with site owners who are pretty lazy and haven’t upgraded recently. 

The zero day bug affected several WordPress websites while there are many still unaware of this news and using that plugin, called File Manager. Running a WordPress website? Uninstall or upgrade the plugin right away before you finish reading this sentence. 

If you’re interested in the nuances, the hackers were successful in manipulating WordPress version 6.8 and below to spread malware on multiple websites. In fact, they have created an easy way to launch an attack on every WordPress website in the future even after the plugin is removed.

Do you see why we’re so gung-ho about security here at PureVPN?

We, the PureVengers, have faced a lot of problems in tackling cyberattacks. We always lock the deadbolt the right way and suggest you do the same. Whether you are using a smartphone for WhatsApp, a WordPress website for your business, a laptop for research, or just finding your ex-girlfriend on Instagram, use a VPN app or some kind of security protocol. That added layer of security might make or break you.

Care about security and online privacy?

Follow our guides and hacks for more knowledge on how to beat a hacker who is smart, not-good looking, and a bigger nerd than your Asian friend who scored straight A’s in college. 

Sameed Ajax Sameed is a Digital Content Producer at PureVPN who covers cybersecurity, streaming, and weekly news. He also shares awesome guides and easy hacks to help Internet users protect their private data. Besides that, he waste time playing FIFA, eating pizza, and sending tweets.

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