Connect with us

Cyber Security

Cyber Security Headlines – January 26, 2021

Google’s cookie replacement performs well in tests In tests, the Federated Learning of Cohorts or FLoC API, a proposed replacement for third-party cookies, showed that advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent on ads, compared to cookie-based advertising. FLoC is a Chrome browser extension right now, which uses …

Published

on

Google’s cookie replacement performs well in tests

In tests, the Federated Learning of Cohorts or FLoC API, a proposed replacement for third-party cookies, showed that advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent on ads, compared to cookie-based advertising. FLoC is a Chrome browser extension right now, which uses machine learning to group people into cohorts of thousands of similar users that advertisers can target, rather than targeting individuals. Google’s “Privacy Sandbox” effort has other third-party cookie alternatives in development, so this may not be its ultimate third-party cookie replacement.

(Axios)

Twitter Birdwatch pilot launches

Birdwatch was previously confirmed by Twitter last year, and is a system that lets users flag and discuss tweets believed to be misleading or false. Birdwatch is a standalone section of Twitter, initially rolling out to a small group of users with accounts tied to real phone numbers and email addresses. Tweets get flagged in Twitter’s main interface, then notes can be added to the Birdwatch section for context. Users can also rate others’ notes to prevent bad-faith usage. Twitter says eventually it wants notes to appear on Tweets themselves for its global audience with Birdwatchers acting as moderators. A sample UI and waitlist are available at birdwatch.twitter.com.

(TechCrunch)

WhatsApp wormable malware found on Android

Security researchers at ESET discovered the malware, which looks like an adware campaign sending links to download a fake Huawei Mobile app. The link takes users to a lookalike Google Play Store to spur a further software download. Once completed, the malware asks users for notification access, which will allow it to spam a user’s WhatsApp contacts with similar links thanks to the app’s quick reply feature that allows replies directly from a notification. The ultimate aim is to have users fall for a subscription scam, but the researchers warn the app asks for permission to draw over other apps and to run in the background, opening the door to other types of exploits down the line. While currently limited to WhatsApp messages, the researchers warn updates could abuse quick reply access to spread to other apps as well.

(Hacker News)

Short sellers allege hacking after a subreddit squeezes a stock

Investors on the subreddit WallStreetBets had propped up the stock of Gamestop from $20 on January 11 to $73 on the 15th. This came as more traditional investors, like Citron Research founder Andrew Left established short positions, effectively betting that the stock would fall back below $20 in the near future, with plans to hold a Twitter livestreaming explaining why the stock would fall. Later in the week, Left established a second Twitter account, claiming people had tried to hack his primary account, with the same group harassing a minor, ordering pizzas to his home, and signing him up for Tinder in the past 48 hours. Moderators for the subreddit said they were not aware of these activities, “and if they did, it’s not something we condone or promoted.”

(Wired)

And now our sponsor Nucleus Security brings you “The Top 5 Antipatterns in Vulnerability Management”:Antipattern #2: “CVSS prioritization”: CVSS scores are useful, but you need much more than scores to determine what to fix and when to fix it; Business context and vulnerability intelligence are key to prioritizing vulnerabilities in large enterprises. Learn how Nucleus can help with intelligent vulnerability prioritization at nucleussec.com/demoScotland’s EPA won’t use public funds on ransomware

The agency has been dealing with the fallout of a ransomware attack that began on December 24th, 2020. Since the attack, the agency confirmed that about 1.2GB of data, about 4000 files, were exfiltrated in the attack, including staff and business records. SEPA confirmed it will not engage with the attackers in addition to withholding paying ransoms with public funds. The investigation is still ongoing, so no details about what ransomware operator was behind the attack has been revealed.

(Security Magazine)

Australian Securities and Investments Commission reports unauthorized server access

The financial services regulator ASIC became aware of the access on January 15th, and was “related to Accellion software used by ASIC to transfer files and attachments.” The accessed server contained documents related to Australian credit applications, with the regulator warning that limited information may have been viewed by the threat actor, although there is no current evidence that any files were opened or downloaded. As a precaution ASIC has disabled the server and is working on an alternative system to submit credit application attachments. This is the second major state server managed by Accellion to be accessed this month, with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand reporting a breach in a third-party sharing service on January 11th. Both incidents seem to be the result of an exploit in a twenty year old File Transfer Appliance, with Accellion having already issued a patch.

(The Register)

ADT tech hacked customer cameras

A former technician for the home security company ADT admitted to accessing customer home security camera more than 9,600 times over four years, particularly spying on women. As part of a guilt plea on charges of computer fraud, the technician said he often added his personal email address to customers’ “ADT Pulse” accounts, which provided real-time access to the video feeds from their homes. This was done either without a customer’s knowledge or disclosed to customers as a temporary short-term test of the system. The FBI agents investigating the case recommends anyone with connected devices regularly check who are listed as authorized users, and regularly change passwords.

(Security Magazine)

The case for standalone password managers

PCWorld Senior Editor Brad Chacos makes the case that while password managers integrated into modern browsers have come a long way, users would be better off, and more secure, using a discrete third-party solution. He notes that additions like two-factor authentication and strong password generators have made browser-based solutions certainly a better password manager than nothing, they also lock you into just one browser. This results in either fragmented password vaults across multiple ecosystems, or requires cumbersome logins to different accounts to access passwords, especially kludgy on mobile. Third-party password managers usually have secure tools to share passwords, are built to work on the OS level rather than in one particular app, and are broadly now supported on iOS and Android.

(PCWorld)

Security researchers at ESET discovered the malware, which looks like an adware campaign sending links to download a fake Huawei Mobile app. The link takes users to a lookalike Google Play Store to spur a further software download. Once completed, the malware asks users for notification access, which will allow it to spam a user’s WhatsApp contacts with similar links thanks to the app’s quick reply feature that allows replies directly from a notification. The ultimate aim is to have users fall for a subscription scam, but the researchers warn the app asks for permission to draw over other apps and to run in the background, opening the door to other types of exploits down the line. While currently limited to WhatsApp messages, the researchers warn updates could abuse quick reply access to spread to other apps as well.

Source: https://cisoseries.com/cyber-security-headlines-january-26-2021/

Cyber Security

Biden administration unveils effort to strengthen cybersecurity of power grid

The Biden administration kicked off a 100-day effort on Tuesday to beef up cybersecurity in the nation’s power grid, calling for industry leaders to install technologies that could thwart attacks on the electricity supply. The move follows a high-profile, if unsuccessful, cyberattack in Florida that sought to compromise a water treatment plant, which highlighted some

Published

on

The Biden administration kicked off a 100-day effort on Tuesday to beef up cybersecurity in the nation’s power grid, calling for industry leaders to install technologies that could thwart attacks on the electricity supply.

The move follows a high-profile, if unsuccessful, cyberattack in Florida that sought to compromise a water treatment plant, which highlighted some of the cybersecurity vulnerabilities in America’s critical infrastructure.

The Energy Department announced the push on Tuesday, saying the initiative would outline actionable steps for utility owners and operators that could help them detect and defend against cyberattacks. Experts have said that so-called industrial control systems should rarely if ever be connected to the public internet and that any remote access to those systems should prevent commands from being executed.

Cybersecurity has been a major focus of the administration’s first 100 days, following two alarming cybersecurity incidents: The SolarWinds intrusion campaign by alleged Russian hackers that compromised nine US agencies and dozens of private organizations, and the Microsoft Exchange server vulnerabilities that exposed tens of thousands of systems worldwide.

Tuesday’s announcement also calls for input from the private sector on future recommendations to further secure the country’s infrastructure from cyberattack.

“The United States faces a well-documented and increasing cyber threat from malicious actors seeking to disrupt the electricity Americans rely on to power our homes and businesses,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a release. “It’s up to both government and industry to prevent possible harms — that’s why we’re working together to take these decisive measures so Americans can rely on a resilient, secure, and clean energy system.”

While the initiative begins with the US electric grid, officials said other sectors will soon receive the same attention.

“These efforts really underscore, again, the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on building back better and considering advancements in our country’s infrastructure and our country’s fundamental resilience to be a foundational step that we all must take together as we confront cyber threats that could compromise our most critical systems that are essential to US national and economic security,” said Eric Goldstein, a top cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The Biden administration’s plan is “very encouraging,” said Robert M. Lee, CEO of Dragos, Inc., a cybersecurity firm focusing on industrial cybersecurity.

“This is a plan that seems to be done in unison with electric sector leadership and cross-government agency,” Lee said. “That bodes well for its success and impact since there was communication and buy in ahead of time. Further, the focus on threat detection is fantastic.”

Tuesday’s announcement also calls for input from the private sector on future recommendations to further secure the country’s infrastructure from cyberattack.

Source: https://localnews8.com/politics/2021/04/20/biden-administration-unveils-effort-to-strengthen-cybersecurity-of-power-grid/

Continue Reading

Cyber Security

Federal watchdog investigating State Department cybersecurity practices

An independent government watchdog is conducting a wide-ranging probe into the State Department’s cybersecurity practices, including how it manages and responds to cyber threats, the investigating office confirmed to CNN Thursday.

Published

on

Washington (CNN)An independent government watchdog is conducting a wide-ranging probe into the State Department’s cybersecurity practices, including how it manages and responds to cyber threats, the investigating office confirmed to CNN Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office “does have an ongoing audit of the State Department’s cybersecurity practices,” director for Information Technology and Cybersecurity Vijay A. D’Souza said, adding that he has been in contact with the department and is “optimistic” the investigation will be completed in a timely manner.

The investigation was launched in October 2020 at the request of lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    In a March 30 letter to Keith Jones, the State Department’s chief information officer, D’Souza described the investigation as being focused on the department’s capacity for managing hacking risks and responding to and recovering from cybersecurity incidents. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by CNN, outlines how the GAO has struggled to obtain what it said were the necessary documents for conducting the assessment.

      Hunting the hunters: How Russian hackers targeted US cyber first responders in SolarWinds breach

      “While we have received some of the requested documents, in many cases, that production has taken over two months,” D’Souza wrote. “The delays by [the department] in providing the requested information are preventing our carrying out our work for the Congress in a timely manner.”

      “The Department is aware of the recent GAO request and is working to respond,” a State Department spokesperson told CNN. Politico was first to report the GAO investigation.

      The Biden administration has faced mounting pressure to respond quickly to the hacking risks posed by foreign adversaries, in the wake of high-profile incidents that widely affected the public and private sectors. In December, revelations of a sophisticated hacking campaign set off alarm bells across Washington. That campaign, which US officials later said was likely Russian in origin, compromised nine federal agencies and dozens of private companies through an unwitting software vendor, SolarWinds.

      Weeks later, Microsoft said it found evidence of a far-reaching security vulnerability in its on-premises Exchange server software, which affected tens of thousands of systems around the world.

      The twin incidents, though unrelated, have prompted a scramble within the US government to assess cybersecurity risks and to develop new policies designed to shore up the country’s cyber defenses. Within weeks, the Biden administration is expected to unveil an executive order that imposes new security requirements on US agencies, such as encryption mandates and the use of multi-factor authentication.

      DHS to propose 'cyber response and recovery fund' for state and local governments

      The administration is also expected to establish cybersecurity standards for federal software vendors and use the government’s immense procurement power to reshape the software market to prioritize network security, according to Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser and the White House’s top cyber official.

      Speaking Wednesday at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Neuberger said another idea the White House is considering is a kind of National Transportation Safety Board for cybersecurity. Such an organization could help review major information security incidents and to “make that commitment to say we will learn from each thing that occurs.”

      Neuberger added the administration is preparing an initiative to harden the cybersecurity of industrial control systems that govern power, water and other critical infrastructure.

        The coming push follows a high-profile attempted cyberattack in February against a water treatment plant in Florida. Though the attack was unsuccessful, it highlighted some of the weaknesses in America’s utilities infrastructure.

        “We’re seeking to have visibility on those networks to detect anomalous cyber behavior and to block anomalous cyber behavior,” Neuberger said. “Today, we cannot trust those systems because we don’t have the visibility into those systems. And we need the visibility of those systems because of the significant consequences if they fail or if they degrade.”

        Source: https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/08/politics/watchdog-state-department-cybersecurity/index.html

        Continue Reading

        Cyber Security

        POLICE GEAR UP FOR CYBER SECURITY LAW AS KATANGA WARNS ZAMBIANS AGAINST LIES

        The latest news, politics, business, and opinion from Zambia

        Published

        on


        Chipata ~ Sat, 03 April 2021

        By Brightwell Chabusha

        Deputy Inspector General of police Charity Katanga has vowed that police will enforce the cyber security law to the letter.

        In an interview with journalists in Chipata, Katanga said people should ensure that whatever they are reporting on social media is credible.

        “With the introduction of the cyber security law, the police are going to enforce it to the letter. We want to ensure that whatever people are reporting on social media is credible and verifiable without causing any malice or any crime against another person. So, it’s expected that people should be able to defend their positions,” Mrs Katanga said.

        She also said police have intensified both foot and motorised patrols during this Easter holiday.

        “It’s known that people celebrate during this time and others can be found wanting in various offences, so as per tradition officers have been deployed in various places including roads to avoid road carnage,” Mrs Katanga said.

        She was in Eastern Province to orient police officers on the newly launched electoral security plan for policing of 2021 general elections.

        In an interview with journalists in Chipata, Katanga said people should ensure that whatever they are reporting on social media is credible.

        Source: https://zambiareports.com/2021/04/03/police-gear-cyber-security-law-katanga-warns-zambians-lies/

        Continue Reading

        Trending