Industry Intel

Is GDPR a Win for Cybercriminals?

GDPR represents a massive paradigm shift for global businesses. Every organization that handles data belonging to European residents must now follow strict security guidelines and businesses are now subject to hefty fines if data breaches are not disclosed....

American Cybercrime: The Riskiest States in 2018

Nearly 50 percent of Americans don’t use antivirus software That’s right; something as basic as installing internet security software (which we all know we’re supposed to use) is completely ignored by about half the US. You’d be amazed how common this and other risky...

Bad Apps: Protect Your Smartphone from Mobile Malware

Smartphone apps make life easier, more productive, and more entertaining. But can you trust every app you come across? Malicious mobile apps create easy access to your devices for Android and iOS malware to wreak havoc. And there are many untrusted and potentially...

Cyber News Rundown: Apple Bans Crypto Mining Apps

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Apple Bans All Cryptocurrency Mining Apps from App Store

Apple has made several policy changes over the last few days that will effectively ban all cryptocurrency mining features from apps in the App Store. This change comes not long after Apple removed an app called Calender 2, which silently began background mining for Monero but later reappeared without it’s mining functionality. Due to the relatively weak hardware found in Apple devices, it would take a considerable amount of time and processing power to make mining even the easiest currencies feasible.

Hackers Steal Payment Info from Major UK Retailer

This past week officials announced that Dixons Carphone, a large electronics retailer from the UK, suffered a major breach of their payment systems nearly a year ago. The identified systems contained payment data for nearly 6 million customers, though most were protected by the use of a chip-and-PIN authentication system. Additional customer information was also compromised, though the full extent of the fraud being committed with the stolen information is still unclear.

Spanish Soccer App Found Spying on Users

A new app has been circulating through the Android marketplace recently that appears to be a normal sports app, but requests access to the device’s microphone and GPS location to spy on unauthorized viewing of broadcast sports. While the creator of the app, Spain’s top-flight soccer league, has gone on to defend its actions based on the annual losses from illegally broadcasted games, the recent revelation has brought in thousands of 1-star reviews for the app which currently has over 10 million downloads.

Top-level Domains Contain Highest Danger Risks

With just over 1,500 top-level domains (TLDs) like .com, .biz, and .work currently registered, it seems surprising that most sub-domains were linked to some form of spam or malware distribution. The worst offender was the .men TLD which was discovered to have 55% of 65,000 sub-domains registered as “bad” within the last month. The main reason for this influx of spammers is the extremely low cost of purchasing within these TLDs. Most sub-domains are available for less than $1 and can be sold in massive quantities to anyone interested.

Unguarded Botnet Server Reveals 43 Million Email Addresses

Researchers have stumbled onto a command and control server belonging to a botnet that has been distributing both Trik and Gandcrab ransomware. The server itself contained over 2000 text files, each holding an average of 20,000 unique email addresses, likely being used to facilitate other email spammers. A total of 43.5 million unique addresses were found. While many of the emails are likely from other data breaches in the past, they span over 100 individual domains from countries around the world.

Cyber News Rundown: MyHeritage Breached

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

92 Million Genealogy Site Accounts Compromised

Earlier this week, genealogy and DNA testing site MyHeritage revealed it had suffered a breach that affects all 92 million of its users, making it the largest reported breach of 2018. The breach itself appears to have occurred in October of last year and affected the systems that store user emails and hashed variants of their passwords. Fortunately, neither DNA results nor payment systems were affected, as they are both stored separately from online account info. Following the breach, MyHeritage has begun implementing two-factor authentication and has strongly suggested that all users update their current passwords.

Apple’s Latest Beta Release Features Enhanced Security Measures

At this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unveiled iOS 12 which includes several quality of life improvements for current apps along with new additions. Among the new features, Apple has hinted at one that forces users who are transferring data using a USB device to unlock their Apple device once per hour, to keep the transfer active. This feature is likely part of their continued response to the FBI and several security companies developing methods to bypass local device security to gain unauthorized access to the device.

Australian HR Firm Falls Victim to Data Breach

In the past two weeks, officials at Australian HR firm PageUp have been working to determine the scale of a data breach that occurred in the last week of May. The systems affected contained sensitive user information, minus payment data or written contracts, which are stored elsewhere. The company has since informed all affected customers of the issue and has taken several steps to ensure the malware that caused the breach has been removed.

Facebook Allowed Untrustworthy Chinese Firm to Access User Data

Following Facebook’s ongoing stream of litigation, they are once again under fire for allowing China-based Huawei to gather not only user data but also data from that user’s friend list, often without consent. Huawei and dozens of other developers were given access to Facebook’s API to assist in improving the user experience on various operating systems, though it is impossible to account for any misuse of the data from that point on.

Financial Sector Sees Major Increase in Keyloggers

Researchers analyzed the 100 malware infections that most recently affected the financial sector and found high volumes of keyloggers, as well as Emotet and Ursnif Trojans, which are commonly dropped from malicious Microsoft® Office documents. While it’s not unusual for keylogging software be used to steal sensitive financial info, the sheer quantity of variants indicates that, as these institutions have worked to increase their security, attackers have also been working to improve their own methods.

Is GDPR a Win for Cybercriminals?

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GDPR represents a massive paradigm shift for global businesses. Every organization that handles data belonging to European residents must now follow strict security guidelines and businesses are now subject to hefty fines if data breaches are not disclosed. Organizations around the world have been busy preparing to comply with these new regulations, but many internet users are unaware of how GDPR will impact them. While this new oversight enhances user privacy protection, its implementation also opens the door for GDPR-specific cyber threats.

Anyone with even the slightest online presence has been subject to a barrage of new terms and conditions released by companies concerning GDPR, which became effective on May 25, 2018. Criminals are taking advantage of this overwhelming surge of new terms of agreements to execute scams.

A phishing scam purporting to come from Apple is the most popular that we’ve seen. It declares that “For Your Safety, Access To Your Apple ID Has Been Restricted”, then prompts users to update account information before being allowed back in. This particular campaign was designed to capitalize on fatigue from the myriad of updated terms of agreement and privacy policy notifications internet users have encountered in the weeks leading up to GDPR, hoping to catch them off guard. The idea behind the scam is that potential victims are less alert and more likely to agree to and click through anything related to updated terms and conditions. Here’s what the phishing page looks like:

Source: hxxps://www.securitycentre-appleid.com [phishing URL]

When victims click “Update Your Account”, they’re then presented with a fake login page designed to capture their Apple ID credentials.

Source: hxxps://www.securitycentre-appleid.com/Locked.php [Phishing URL]

Targeted Ransomware

Beyond simple phishing scams, GDPR brings new pressure criminals can leverage concerning personal data that companies are responsible for. Targeted ransomware has become popular recently, especially through the RDP attack vector. Cybercriminals are now in a much better position to demand substantially larger ransoms when dealing with company data belonging to EU residents than before.

Were criminals to target an organization handling EU resident data, they’d be in a position to leverage a ransom amount closer to fines meted out under GDPR laws once they’ve breached and encrypted the data. We expect to see an increase in targeted ransomware hoping to exploit the hefty GDPR fine structure.

Another win for cybercriminals comes in the form of the recent change to the WHOIS lookup, made in response to GDPR data privacy restrictions. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that manages the global domain system, has removed crucial bits of data from public WHOIS lookups to comply with GDPR.

Before this change, when queries were made on domains using WHOIS lookup, information such as registrant’s name, address, email, and phone number was accessible. This proved invaluable when tracking malicious domains linked to malware campaigns. Now, with GDPR, that information will no longer be available publicly, giving cybercriminals another edge. ICANN has since filed a lawsuit seeking to clarify the law as it relates to WHOIS data collection, according to Threatpost.

GDPR Fails

We’ve also seen some unfortunate failures from legitimate companies sending emails trying to educate and inform their customers of GDPR-related changes—and actually violating the regulations while doing so.

Source: @ashstronge on Twitter

In sending this email on blast to their contacts, the company above failed to hide email addresses, thereby sending their users’ contact information to everyone on their email list. A mistake like this may carry costly consequences under the EU’s new rules. It should serve as a reminder to businesses of all sizes– there’s a lot at stake when handling personal data. With only 42 percent of organizations in the U.S., U.K. and Australia reporting they are ready to comply with recent privacy regulations, ramping up information security safeguards will continue to be imperative in 2018.

Be on alert for scams related to GDPR. Interact carefully with the many privacy policy updates you’ve likely received in recent weeks. Remember to practice good cyber hygiene, and always double check website URLs whenever entering personal data.

What do you think about GDPR’s implications for the evolving threat landscape? Let us know in the comments below or join our Tech Talk discussion in the Webroot Community.

Cyber News Rundown: Hackable Mercedes

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Mercedes Keyless Entry Leads to Car Theft

It was discovered this week that criminals are using an unusual technique to steal late-model that are equipped with keyless entry. By using a frequency relay box, the criminals can boost the signal from keys, often still within the home, to trick the car into thinking they are nearby and unlocking or starting the vehicle remotely. Unfortunately, this trick is also capable of deactivating pre-installed tracking systems, leaving the owner unable to locate the stolen vehicle.

Former Employee Cause of Coca-Cola Data Breach

Coca-Cola officials announced this week that a breach had taken place that could affect the personal data of at least 8,000 employees. The breach was discovered after law enforcement contacted the company regarding a mishandled hard drive. The drive itself was removed from the company by a former employee before he left, though it is still unclear if the information was used maliciously.

Honda India Leaves Unsecure Data on Thousands of Customers Online

It was recently revealed that two Amazon S3 buckets were left publicly exposed, leaving the sensitive information on over 50,000 customers widely accessible. The buckets, originally created for users of the Honda Connect app, contain everything from names and addresses to specific car details such as the VIN and Honda Connect login credentials. Additionally, the researcher who reported the exposed S3 servers also found a note from another researcher who discovered the leak and attempted to inform the owners nearly three months prior.

VPNFilter Botnet Nearing 500,000 Units Strong

Researchers have been monitoring a new botnet as it gains significant strength across the globe, currently affecting upwards of 500,000 unique devices. Using a multi-step process, VPNFilter can access the command and control server to begin gathering and sending data, along with allowing remote code execution. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to detect VPNFilter, as it remains relatively hidden while running its processes.

Major Canadian Banks Faced with $1 Million Ransom

Recently, officials from two of Canada’s largest banks announced that the financial information for almost 100,000 customers had been compromised and hackers are demanding $1 million to stop its public release. To make matters worse, neither bank was aware their client’s information had been stolen until the hackers demanded ransom payment, which raises concerns about what, if any, security measures they had in place.

Cyber News Rundown: Comcast Router Bug

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Comcast Router Bug Leaves Credentials Unsecured

Researchers recently found a flaw in the Comcast user authentication process that would allow anyone with an account number and partial address to illicitly access WiFi networks and alter any  credentials found there. Fortunately, Comcast was quick to take down the entire site and make the necessary changes so such detailed information can no longer be gathered without proper verification.

Scam Email Warns Users of Other Scammers

A new phishing campaign is gaining traction throughout the US, with users receiving emails regarding a bank transfer of several million dollars currently being held by the Bank of England. The email itself continues by listing off a respectable number of other “scammers,” warning the victim of potential fraud linked to the listed names. While bank transfers are relatively common, it should be clear that a suspiciously large amount of money offered without context should always be approached with caution.

Teen Monitoring Software Left Available Online

Recently, a mobile app that allows parents to monitor their child’s internet browsing has left two internal servers completely accessible to the internet. While the contained information did not include any payment data, it did have email addresses and passwords for nearly all the app’s clients. TeenSafe has since taken both servers offline, though the Amazon cloud buckets were available for an undocumented amount of time with no mention of unauthorized access during that period.

Fraudulent Fortnite Apps Preceding Official Launch

As Fortnite continues its steady rise in popularity following its latest release on iOS, hundreds of phony apps have already flooded the Google Play store in advance of the Android release. One specific was downloaded over 5,000 times before researchers reported the app to the Google Security team. By promising in-game currency for downloading and rating fake apps, the spyware-laden apps quickly begin gathering call and message logs from the device while simply displaying a Fortnite icon.

Sensitive Information Found on 200 Million Japanese Citizens

Likely accumulated from several data breaches over the last few years, a dataset has been found containing the personal information of at least 200 million individuals living in Japan. The data appears to have been gathered from dozens of websites with login credentials for up to 50 unique sites and stems back to 2013. While the source of the information is still unclear, researchers have found several previous attempts to sell smaller datasets on Chinese dark web pages.

Cyber News Rundown: Chili’s PoS Breached

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Chili’s Restaurant Reveals Payment Card Breach

In the last week, officials have discovered a data breach that affects an unknown number of the chain’s 1,600 restaurants across the country. It is believed that the breach could affect customers who visited the restaurant between March and April of this year, and likely includes all payment information, though Chili’s doesn’t retain any additional customer data.

StalinLocker Requires Puzzle Code to Stop Deletion

A new screen-locking malware has been spotted that avoids the ransom and moves quickly to locking the entire screen. Once the lock screen is in place, a 10-minute countdown begins, and requests the user enter a specific code or it will begin deleting the contents of every mapped drive on the computer. Along with running a countdown timer, a picture of Joseph Stalin is displayed across the screen and the USSR anthem plays in the background.

Mexican Bank Funds Transferred Illicitly

Within the past month, the Interbank payment systems of the Mexican Central Bank were compromised, leaving millions of dollars unaccounted for. Abusing the interbank payment system allowed the attackers to immediately make the transfers and withdraw in cash. Even though some of the transfers were stopped for being suspicious, the final estimate rests at over $20 million. Fortunately for the bank’s customers, it appears that the stolen funds were from the bank’s accounts, not their clients.

Latest Dharma Ransomware Variant Uses .bip Extension

The most recent variant of the Dharma/Crysis ransomware has made some subtle changes since its previous iteration. Using a compromised RDP service, attackers are able to manually install the Dharma variant, which begins encrypting all files, including mapped and unmapped network drives with a .bip extension. Even though decryption hasn’t yet been made freely available, victims are still encouraged to attempt restoring from an external backup, as this variant will completely remove all shadow copies from the system.

Danish Train Network Hit with DDoS Attack

Thousands of Danish passengers found themselves unable to purchase train tickets from multiple sources after a DDoS attack took down the purchasing system. Some were fortunate enough to be able to purchase tickets directly from train officials, as even their staff was having difficulties communicating both internally and externally regarding the issue. Luckily, the systems were quickly restored to normal operation with no residual problems.

Cyber News Rundown: Excel JavaScript Support May Open Door to Exploits

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Crypto Mining Makes the Jump to Excel

With the recent Microsoft release supporting JavaScript within Excel, it was only a matter of time before the scripting service was manipulated to mine cryptocurrency. Mere hours after the release, the first proof of concept appeared, with easy-to-replicate steps to get CoinHive functioning. While this proof of concept does require an Office Insider build to accomplish, it will likely be just as feasible when JavaScript is introduced into the publicly available version of Excel.

SynAck Ransomware Employs Unique Evasion Tactics

A relatively new ransomware variant, known as SynAck, has recently been spotted using an uncommon method for evading security measures. Using a procedure called Process Doppelganging, the malware can create a copy of a legitimate process and inject malicious code to be executed without running anything suspicious. Additionally, the malware is heavily obfuscated and targets numerous programs before encryption to shut down any running processes or tasks that may be necessary to encrypt.

Japanese Security Cameras Defaced

Over the past several weeks, Japanese officials have been dealing with complaints from victims whose security cameras have been hacked. These attacks arose due to negligence on the part of the camera owners, who disregarded proper security practices and failed to update the default passwords on the devices. To make matters worse, the frequency of these attacks has been steadily climbing in the last couple days, and have begun to include government-owned devices on secured networks.

Facebook Exploit Used for Crypto Mining

Researchers have recently discovered a malicious Chrome browser extension that attempts to steal account credentials for any cryptocurrency trading platform it finds on the system. By spreading through Facebook Messenger, FacexWorm can propagate quickly and begin any data gathering or cryptocurrency mining with relative ease. While most of its victims have been located in Southeast Asia, numerous occurrences have been spotted in Western European countries as well, demonstrating the extension’s reach and speed.

Phishing is Still Leading Mobile Infection Rates

In a recent report based on phishing statistics over the past year, officials found that Apple iOS® users had a significantly higher chance of receiving a phishing attempt than downloading malware. With over 4000 new phishing sites being created daily and over half of all internet usage occurring on mobile devices, it’s no surprise that attackers have shifted their focus to this immense group of users, who typically lack security software for their devices and typically don’t consider mobile security necessary.

Tech Support Scams: From Bad to Worse

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Fake tech support scams aren’t going anywhere. In fact, recent data shows this type of social engineering attack is on the rise—with phony tech support calls, emails, and pop-ups peddling the digital equivalent of snake oil to unsuspecting internet users around the world.

While many people have grown wise enough to spot the warning signs of the typical tech support scam, a significant percentage fall victim, and exploiting their naivety can prove quite profitable for cybercriminals. A recent report from Microsoft describes a growing global problem: 153,000 reports were received from Microsoft customers involved in tech support scams in 2017, leading to a 24 percent rise in tech scams reported by Microsoft from the previous year. Those who lost money forked over an average of $200 and $400.

“It doesn’t require a great deal of technical knowledge to carry out a support scam, so it’s easy to see why criminals are choosing to jump into this field,” said Marcus Moreno, Supervisor of Threat Research at Webroot. “All that’s is needed is gaining the user’s trust and knowing more than they do about their computer. Whether criminals pay websites to host their fake support banners, or they proactively reach out to you, it doesn’t take much expertise.”

Due to the lucrative nature and relative success rate of these social engineering tactics, tech support fraud continues to propagate. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received around 11,000 cases of tech support scams in 2017, with victims claiming nearly $15 million in losses. That’s a shocking 86 percent increase from 2016!

The IC3 report also noted new variations of the typical tech support scam, with attackers resorting to posing as law enforcement to re-target previous victims by offering phony recovery assistance in exchange for a fee. Tech support scams are also turning to target cryptocurrency users, where the stakes can be higher, netting potentially thousands of dollars from a single victim.

Cold calls? Hold the phone!

The number one thing to keep in mind is that major tech companies—whether that’s Microsoft, your security software provider, or your device manufacturer—will never call you out of the blue. Beyond attempting to dupe a victim out of a fee for fake support services, cybercriminals can also try to gain remote access to your computer to steal personal information and install malware that can carry on the attack after the phone call has ended.

It’s also important to know that tech support scams also appear in the form of malvertising, such as pop-ups that can be found even on legitimate websites. These scam ads try to trick users with various fake system errors or malware infection warnings. Thousands of websites were recently discovered to be infected with malicious ads that lock users’ browsers and display a fake infection warning, according to SC Magazine. Web-based threats like this highlight the importance of keeping your devices updated and secure, as well as practicing safe browsing habits.

Visit our Cybersecurity Education Resources to understand more about common tech support scams and how to avoid falling victim. There you can also find blacklists of URLs and phone numbers known to impersonate Webroot and target our customers.

Cyber News Rundown: GDPR Edition

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As the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) edges closer, we’re looking back on the five most significant stories during the lead up to its implementation. Read about GDPR’s impact on data security and find out how to get prepared with five steps to compliance.

What aspect of GDPR will have the biggest impact on you or your business? Let us know in the comments below!

GDPR Myths

On April 14, 2016, the EU received its final legislative approval for GDPR, making the changes official as of May 25, 2018. Many myths surround the legislation, stirring confusion among those affected. One major myth is that GDPR compliance is focused on a fixed point in time, similar to the Y2K bug. However, GDPR will be an ongoing journey that requires a complete change to many company procedures. The regulation will begin in May 2018, so businesses may not be pleased to discover they are currently in the “grace period,” and there will not be another one after the implementation date.

Data Breached

We discovered in 2017 that many corporations are far too negligent when it comes to securely storing sensitive consumer data. It seemed like hardly a week passed without another major data breach making headlines. The year saw Equifax fall victim to the largest data breach in corporate history, Uber conceal a breach affecting 57 million users for over a year, and more than a million patients’ records stolen from the NHS’s database, to name just a few high profile cases. GDPR will not stop data breaches entirely, but the introduction of fines as high as €20 million, or 4% of annual turnover, for noncompliance should force companies to take their data responsibilities more serious.

Brexit

Britain’s decision to exit the European Union has added confusion concerning GDPR compliance for companies within the UK. In September, however, the UK updated their data protection legislation, which brings GDPR wholesale into UK law. This confirms that the UK also recognises the importance of data protection and suggests UK companies will need to be at least as careful as their EU peers. Also, any company dealing with EU citizen data (even those located outside of the EU), will be expected to comply with these standards.

Google and the Right to be Forgotten

Google received 2.4 million takedown requests under the EU’s updated ‘right to be forgotten’ laws, which have been in place for search engines since 2014. GDPR will now expand on this right to certain data subjects- giving people more control over deletion of their data once it’s no longer necessary for a company to have. Data subject rights have been enhanced, so companies that process personal data will be expected to have procedures in place to act on requests in the proscribed timeframes.

Facebook

Facebook have been in the news a lot over data rights, most recently for allegedly allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest the data of more than 50 million Facebook users. Previously, the ICO had gotten WhatsApp to sign an undertaking in which it committed publicly to not share personal data with its parent company Facebook until the two services could do it in a GDPR-compliant way. GDPR is clearly bearing down on big companies that have been negligent with customer data previously.

How to get prepared

Are you prepared for GDPR? A company can take the following steps to help become GDPR-ready:

  1. Know the facts: GDPR is coming, so make sure everyone in your company is aware of the important components and are fully trained to comply. Examine what data your company has and who you share it with. Auditing your data will help you to understand how you can meet the terms.
  2. Privacy Information:  Revisit the procedures governing how you inform individuals about personal data your company may be holding. Make amendments to those procedures as necessary to meet GDPR requirements.
  3. Individuals Rights: Verify your procedures cover the rights of individuals, including your processes for deleting or responding to a subject access request.
  4. Enforcement and Sanctions: It should be noted that GDPR will simplify enforcement for supervisory authorities and significantly increase fines.
  5. Consent: Data must be processed lawfully. There are many legitimate bases for processing personal data. However, most companies will use consent, contractual necessity, or legitimate interest as a basis for doing so.

Did You Know?

Webroot Security Awareness Training offers GDPR-specific compliance training modules to help ensure your employees are up to speed with the new regulations, in addition to industry-specific compliance courses. Learn more at webroot.com/awareness.

Cyber News Rundown: Facebook Reveals “Clear History” Feature

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Cyberattack Shuts Down Mexico Central Bank

Within the past week, several payment systems associated with Mexico’s central bank were compromised for an unspecified amount of time. The impacted systems led to delays with money transfers and processing of transactions for central bank customers, but officials claim no funds or data were stolen. It is still unclear how the attackers accessed the systems, though the issue has heightened awareness of possible security flaws.

Facebook Implementing History Removal Tool

In the wake of the data mishandling scandal that tarnished Facebook’s privacy standards, the company announced it’s working on a new tool that will allow users to clear browsing history and cookies from within Facebook, along with opting out of allowing Facebook to gather future browsing data. While this tool is still being created, Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook hopes to give more privacy controls back to the users who trust the site.

Fitbit Adopts Google Healthcare API

Recently, Fitbit announced they will be integrating their current systems to incorporate the Cloud Healthcare API from Google in order to give healthcare providers better access to important data. Fitbit has been working towards this for some time by constantly improving their data analysis and providing better feedback to users and their health professionals. The partnership with Google’s API allows them to use an industry-compliant system, without the trouble of creating one from the ground up.

Northeast School District Pays Hefty Ransom

Following the April 14 cyberattack that encrypted much of a Massachusetts school district’s computer systems, local police recommended the district pay the $10,000 ransom to restore the system. While it paying ransoms is normally suggested only as a last resort, it would appear that the district wasn’t capable to restoring the systems on their own. In the end, it opted to pay the requested amount in hopes the criminals stay true to their word.

DVRs Being Compromised

A researcher recently released a tool that would allow anyone access to several brands of DVRs and illicitly obtain both device credentials and live video recordings. Using Shodan, the researcher was able to identify nearly 55,000 unique, accessible DVR devices that could be exploited with his tool using a previously discovered flaw for DVR devices.

‘Smishing’: An Emerging Trend of Phishing Scams via Text Messages

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Text messages are now a common way for people to engage with brands and services, with many now preferring texts over email. But today’s scammers have taken a liking to text messages or smishing, too, and are now targeting victims with text message scams sent via shortcodes instead of traditional email-based phishing attacks.

What do we mean by shortcodes

Businesses typically use shortcodes to send and receive text messages with customers. You’ve probably used them before—for instance, you may have received shipping information from FedEx via the shortcode ‘46339’. Other shortcode uses include airline flight confirmations, identity verification, and routine account alerts. Shortcodes are typically four to six digits in the United States, but different countries have different formats and number designations.

The benefits of shortcodes are fairly obvious. Texts can be more immediate and convenient, making it easier for customers to access links and interact with their favorite brands and services. One major drawback, however, is the potential to be scammed by a SMS-based phishing attack, or ‘Smishing’ attack. (Not surprisingly given the cybersecurity field’s fondness for combining words, smishing is a combination of SMS and phishing.)

All the Dangers of Phishing Attacks, Little of the Awareness

The most obvious example of a smishing attack is a text message containing a link to mobile malware. Mistakenly clicking on this type of link can lead to a malicious app being installed on your smartphone. Once installed, mobile malware can be used to log your keystrokes, steal your identity, or hold your valuable files for ransom. Many of the traditional dangers in opening emails and attachments from unknown senders are the same in smishing attacks, but many people are far less familiar with this type of attack and therefore less likely to be on guard against it.

Text messages from shortcodes can contain links to malware and other dangers.

Smishing for Aid Dollars

Another possible risk in shortcodes is that sending a one-word response can trigger a transaction, allowing a charge to appear on your mobile carrier’s bill. When a natural disaster strikes, it is common for charities to use shortcodes to make it incredibly easy to donate money to support relief efforts. For instance, if you text “PREVENT” to the shortcode 90999, you will donate $10 USD to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

But this also makes it incredibly easy for a scammer to tell you to text “MONSOON” to a shortcode number while posing as a legitimate organization. These types of smishing scams can lead to costly fraudulent charges on your phone bill, not to mention erode aid agencies ability to solicit legitimate donations from a wary public. A good resource for determining the authenticity of a shortcode in the United States is the U.S. Short Code Directory. This site allows you to look up brands and the shortcodes they use, or vice versa.

Protect yourself from Smishing Attacks

While a trusted mobile security app can help you stay protected from a variety of mobile threats, avoiding smishing attacks demands a healthy dose of cyber awareness. Be skeptical of any text messages you receive from unknown senders and assume messages are risky until you are sure you know the sender or are expecting the message. Context is also very important. If a contact’s phone is lost or stolen, that contact can be impersonated. Make sure the message makes sense coming from that contact.

Cyber News Rundown: Amazon DNS Service Hijacked

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The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.

Amazon IPs Rerouted for Several Hours

Early Tuesday morning attackers compromised an ISP that allowed them to reroute 1,300 IP addresses belonging to Amazon’s Route 53 DNS service. Amazon quickly released a statement on the issue and clarified that it was a specific vendor’s domain that was sharing the traffic across multiple peer networks. In doing so, the attackers were able to masquerade as MyEtherWallet.com, which netted them over $150,000 in cryptocurrency.

Middle East Ride-Hailing App Compromised

In an announcement at the beginning of this week, the ride-hailing app Careem addressed a data breach that occurred in mid-January. The breach could affect nearly 14 million customers, though officials have stated that no payment information was amongst the compromised data, as it is stored off-site. Fortunately, the breach shouldn’t affect anyone who signed up for the app after January 14.

Complaints of Tech Support Scams on the Rise

Over the course of 2017, Microsoft saw a 24% rise in the number of complaints regarding tech support scams their customers fell victim to. This increase is similar to the findings of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which saw an 86% change from the previous year. While the tactics used have not varied much, the number of scam calls have gone up significantly and have branched out to include both Mac and Linux users.

City of Atlanta Closing in on $3 Million Mark for Ransomware Recovery

It was recently revealed the City of Atlanta has spent close to $3 million to recover from a ransomware attack nearly a month ago. Though the original ransom was set at $51,000, paying it would not guarantee a swift resolution. Even now, Atlanta is still working on returning its systems to full working order. The delay may have been lengthened by the unknown amount of time the hackers had access to its system.

Malicious Crypto-miner Disables System Security

The newly dubbed PyRoMine, a cryptocurrency miner, which uses the EternalRomance NSA exploit to propagate, has been spotted in the wild over the past month. By disabling any security services it encounters, as well as Windows Updates, the malicious VBScript is able to compromise RDP to allow consistent traffic through port 3389. Even though it hasn’t spread widely, the number of unpatched machines still accessible to malware authors is a goldmine just waiting to be found.

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