Hillicon Valley — Twitter confirms a bug has been exploited

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Twitter confirmed Friday that a bad actor gained access to personal information through a vulnerability discovered by the social media giant earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Meta said it brought down a Russian troll farm that was trying to bolster aid for the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

This is Hillicon Valley, covering everything you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare of The Hill. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Subscribe here.

Hacker took advantage of a Twitter bug

Twitter announced on Friday that a hacker exploited a bug in his system and offered to sell personal data they had obtained.

The bug in question allowed a person to provide an email address or phone number and find out which specific account was associated with the information entered.

Twitter said the vulnerability was first discovered in January but was quickly fixed, adding that there was no evidence at the time to suggest that personal information had been compromised as a result of the bug.

However, in July, Twitter received a report that someone may have exploited the vulnerability and attempted to sell personal information.

Read more here.

Meta takes down Russian troll farm

Meta announced Thursday that it has shot down two cyber-espionage operations in South Asia and a Russian troll farm that sought to aid aid for Ukraine’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Meta, which owns platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, announced the findings in its “Quarterly Adversarial Threat Report,” which also details its efforts to counter coordinated plans in places like Greece, India and South Africa.

In particular, the company highlighted the mitigation of a troll farm operated from
St. Petersburg, dubbed “Cyber ​​Front Z,” is said to have ties to individuals associated with past activities by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), a troll farm that was in charge of spreading misinformation around the 2016 US presidential election.

Meta said it began taking action against Cyber ​​Front Z in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, shutting down the network in early April.

Read more here.

FEC SAYS GOOGLE CAMPAIGN EMAIL PLAN IS LEGAL

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) said in a draft advisory published Wednesday that Google’s proposed plan to keep campaign emails out of spam folders does not violate federal campaign finance law.

In the draft advisory, FEC attorneys said Google planned to offer a pilot program to test new Gmail design features, including allowing campaign emails to evade automated spam detection.

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“The Commission concludes that the proposed pilot program is admissible under the law and Commission regulations and will not lead to the making of any prohibited in-kind contribution,” the letter read.

The FEC will vote on the draft on August 11, according to Commissioner Sean Cooksey. It must vote to approve the advice so Google can move forward with the plan.

Read more here.

HBO MAX, DISCOVERY PLUS TO MERGE

The head of streaming services at Warner Bros. Discovery announced Thursday that the company will merge HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single streaming app next summer.

During an earnings call, JB Perrette, CEO and president of global streaming and interactive for Warner Bros. Discovery, that launching HBO Max and Discovery+ as one packaged streaming service was “the only way we saw to make this a viable business,” Variety said.

“HBO will always be the beacon and ultimate brand of television quality,” said Perrette, but merging it with Discovery+ would “be something for everyone in the household.”

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An opinion piece to chew on: Time to end: Congress must lead a mission to clean up space junk

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Notable links from all over the web:

What’s in a name? If the name is Meta, a lawsuit. (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky)

Sex workers struggle to get vaccinated against Monkeypox (Motherboard / Samantha Cole)

📺 Lighter click: The real dramatic saga

One more thing: Scenes from the Jones trial

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was sentenced Thursday by a Texas jury to pay the parents of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
$4 million as part of a years-long legal battle arising from his false statements about the shooting.

During a lawsuit that dominated the headlines this week, lawyers explained how Jones had spent years spreading falsehoods about the mass murder on his online show and profiting from it.

The proceedings also featured some dramatic courtroom moments and unforeseen twists and turns.

Read about the moments here.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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