Google Patches Critical Dnsmasq Flaws That Could Impact Android Phones

Today’s topics include Google patching critical flaws in Dnsmasq software packages; Congress grilling former Equifax CEO Richard Smith about the company’s data breach; a new talent recruitment tool from LinkedIn; and Microsoft’s acquisition of social virtual reality startup AltspaceVR.

Google security researchers have discovered a set of security vulnerabilities in the Dnsmasq software package that could have enabled attackers to perform a remote code execution attack. Dnsmasq is a widely used open-source network utilities program that provides local DNS services as well as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol capabilities.

"During our review, the team found three potential remote code executions, one information leak, and three denial of service vulnerabilities affecting the latest version at the project git server,” the Google researchers wrote in a blog post.

All of the vulnerabilities have now been patched in the upstream project as of the 2.78 release, which became generally available on Oct. 2. Google has developed an additional patch that will provide improved sandboxing for Dnsmasq and a seccomp filter for Linux that enables enhanced control for Dnsmasq.

For two days last week, former Equifax CEO Richard Smith was on Capitol Hill taking heat for his handling of the breach that exposed personally identifiable information on 145.5 million Americans.

On Oct. 3, Smith appeared before a subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee, where he admitted that Equifax failed to patch a known vulnerability, attributing the missed patch to human error on the part of a single individual who did not properly alert the correct teams. Also, as it turns out, the data that was stolen was not encrypted.

On Oct. 4, the Senate Banking Committee criticized Equifax’s security and data collection practices and questioned the company’s ability to work with the U.S. government. To the extensive criticism, Smith responded, "It was a horrific breach, and I apologize on behalf of the company. … But it doesn't wipe out 118 years of good work we've done."

On Oct. 4, LinkedIn announced the 2018 release of a self-service tool called Talent Insights. The product applies analytics to LinkedIn’s trove of career and employer data, providing human resources professionals with actionable insights that enable them to make timelier and more informed hiring decisions.

Talent Insights represents a major milestone in the company's mission "to create opportunity for the global workforce," Eric Owski, head of LinkedIn's Talent Insights division, told eWEEK.

Often, potential employers pass by talented job seekers because they lack clear-cut visibility into trends shaping the job market and affecting their own recruiting efforts. To remedy this, Talent Insights directly analyzes data on the 500 million members, 18 million companies and 12 million job listings on LinkedIn.

Microsoft appears to be exploring new avenues for Windows-based mixed reality with the acquisition of social virtual reality startup AltspaceVR. On July 28, AltspaceVR bid good-bye to its users after a round of funding fell through. However, it turns out that Microsoft held the key to AltspaceVR's survival.

AltspaceVR is an application that allows virtual reality enthusiasts to create communities and participate in events in a virtual setting. It works with leading VR headsets, including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and others.

"With the AltspaceVR team onboard we look forward to building the world’s preeminent mixed reality community," Alex Kipman, technical fellow at Microsoft's Operating Systems unit, stated in an Oct. 3 announcement.