Google Play, malware, bank credential theft, popular Android apps
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Google Play Apps Downloaded 300,000 Times Stole Bank Credentials (Maria)

The author writes, “Researchers said they’ve discovered a batch of apps downloaded from Google Play more than 300,000 times before the apps were revealed to be banking trojans that surreptitiously siphoned user passwords and two-factor authentication codes, logged keystrokes, and took screenshots. The apps — posing as QR scanners, PDF scanners, and cryptocurrency wallets — belonged to four separate Android malware families that were distributed over four months. They used several tricks to sidestep restrictions that Google has devised in an attempt to rein in the unending distribution of fraudulent apps in its official marketplace.”

Big Teacher Is Watching: How AI Spyware Took Over Schools (Sean)

From Bloomberg: “At Pekin Community High School, the teachers are something close to omniscient. Education, even in-person education, is digital in the Covid-19 era, and staff members use a piece of software to watch everything students do on school-issued laptops and to keep them off banned websites. The kids are aware. ‘They pretty much know that they’re being monitored 24/7,’ says Cynthia Hinderliter, head of technology at the school outside Peoria, Ill. Still, class clowns persist. Hinderliter pulls up a detailed dashboard of student online activity, which reveals the identities of rule breakers. A yellow ‘EXPLICIT’ label appears beside the name of a youngster who had typed ‘sexy girls’ and ‘sugar daddy dating’ into Google. Other students were searching YouTube for videos of a farming simulation game, guitar tutorials, and, for some reason, nursery rhymes about trucks. Another popular search: ‘How you bypass GoGuardian,’ which is the name of the tracking software Pekin High uses. GoGuardian has been around since 2014, but the pandemic gave educators new reasons to adopt it. The software is quickly becoming almost as commonplace inside American classrooms as standardized tests.”

Afghan ‘Girl With the Green Eyes’ From Iconic 1985 National Geographic Cover Is Given Safe Haven in Italy After Fleeing the Taliban (Dana)

From the Daily Mail: “The iconic Afghan ‘girl with the green eyes’ from the cover of the 1985 National Geographic has been given safe haven in Italy after fleeing the Taliban. Sharbat Gula became the face of the Afghan war after her piercing green eyes were captured in an iconic photograph taken in a Pakistan refugee camp when she was just 12. Years later, Gula was arrested in Pakistan in 2016 for living in the country on fraudulent identity papers and deported back to war-torn Afghanistan. But Gula, a widowed mother-of-four, has finally found her safe haven after arriving in Italy as part of the West’s evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban takeover of the country, the Italian government said on Thursday.” 

Barbados to Cast Off Queen Elizabeth II as Prince Charles Watches (Dan)

The author writes, “In Barbados, it’s out with the queen, in with a president as the Caribbean island nation becomes the first Commonwealth realm in nearly three decades to declare itself a republic. The move, debated for years, gained momentum amid the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and growing demands for reparations for slavery on the island. Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced last year that the nation of 300,000 would become a republic by Tuesday, the 55th anniversary of its independence. That means removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, a break with nearly four centuries of history in the former British colony.”

I Made the World’s Blandest Facebook Profile, Just to See What Happens (Russ)

The author writes, “In 2019, a researcher at Facebook conducted an experiment to see whether the platform really has a tendency to send users down a rabbit hole of extreme and conspiratorial content. … In 2017, the reporter Ryan Broderick published a bloggy version of the same idea at BuzzFeed News: ‘I Made a Facebook Profile, Started Liking Right-Wing Pages, and Radicalized My News Feed in Four Days.’ … But none of these experiments has that much to say about what might happen to a Facebook user who doesn’t care about politics at all.” 

‘Dancing Molecules’ Successfully Repair Severe Spinal Cord Injuries (Mili)

The author writes, “Northwestern University researchers have developed a new injectable therapy that harnesses ‘dancing molecules’ to reverse paralysis and repair tissue after severe spinal cord injuries. In a new study, researchers administered a single injection to tissues surrounding the spinal cords of paralyzed mice. Just four weeks later, the animals regained the ability to walk.”

Dinosaur Misidentified for Decades Turns Out to Be New Species: ‘Big, Big Deal’ (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “A newly discovered species of dinosaur has been unearthed in Missouri, and it’s a ‘big, big deal’ for more than one reason, a paleontologist said. Finding a dinosaur skeleton in the Midwest is notable in itself, Guy Darrough said, but that of a previously unknown species? ‘It’s like finding King Tut’s treasure in Missouri,’ he said in a phone interview with McClatchy News. Parrosaurus missouriensis, as the species has been dubbed, was misidentified for decades, based on a limited number of fossils found at the site. At one point, the creature was thought to be a type of long-necked dinosaur. Later, experts declared it was a species of dinosaur previously discovered in North Carolina.”

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