This is What Spies Do
It has come out that western (read one or more of the five eyes countries) inserted malware into Yandex (Russia’s equivalent of Google) in order to steal administrative credentials. The purpose was, apparently, to read emails of interest to the western spies. We need to understand that we do it to them and they do it to us, but the idea is to make it hard for them and easy for us. Source: Reuters.
Firms That Claim to be Able to Reverse Ransomware Sometimes Lie
Another so called “Data Recovery” firms that claim to be able to recover from ransomware just pay the ransom and mark the cost up. The most recent firm to be outed is Red Mosquito Data Recovery was outed when they were the target of the sting. The researcher played the role of both the victim and the ransomer and discovered what Red Mosquito was doing. Remember that if you do pay the ransom, you still need to rebuild your systems from the ground up because you do not know what time bombs or back doors the ransomer left behind. Source: Propublica,
Trump Changes His Mind – Huawei Not a National Security Threat?
After Tweeting for months that Huawei is a national security threat; that their equipment needs to be banned in the US and abroad and that existing equipment needs to be removed — to it is okay if we sell Huawei parts. This happened the day after he met with Xi at the G20 and it is reported Xi told him that the trade war would continue until the ban was removed. While not removed, it is a hole wide enough to drive a tractor trailer through. Source: The Register.
One Terabyte of Police Bodycam Video Available on the Dark Web
In another example of companies not requiring vendors to have adequate cybersecurity programs in place, researchers found a terabyte (that is 1,000,000,000,000 bytes) of police bodycam video from Miami and other cities available on the dark web. It is likely this video has been copied and sold. Miami PD is not talking. Probably a good time for the police to plead the Fifth. The problem is linked back to 5 IT vendors who did not protect the data. Either police departments did not care (worst cast) or do proper due diligence (best case). I hope they have a bunch of insurance because you know that there will be lawsuits. At some point people will figure out that even though vendor cyber due diligence is hard, getting sued and defending yourself is even harder. Source: The Register.
If China Can’t Buy Memory Chips From the US, it will Get into the Memory Biz and Compete Against Us
In the trade wars are hard department, the Chinese just convinced the Godfather of Japan’s DRAM business to come to China and head up a company that plans to build its own memory chips. This is likely the result of the current trade war.
If successful, the result will be that western memory chip makers will lose all of their sales to China, but more importantly, China might flood the market with cheap memory chips, damaging the worldwide multi-billion dollar memory business. Source: The Register.
Microsoft to Require CSPs to Use Multi-Factor Auth
In light of the recent leak of details on Cloud Hopper, Microsoft is becoming very visible and requiring their O.365 resellers to use multi-factor authentication in order to reduce the risk that they represent to the ecosystem. This is a proactive effort on their part – likely – as they have not been publicly named as a cloud hopper victim, but they certainly are a target. Source: Brian Krebs.
Presidential Alerts Spoofable
Okay, no jokes about our current President’s love of twitter.
Researchers at the University of Colorado (CU) have demonstrated how easy it is to spoof the Presidential alerts – assuming you even get them (you may remember they tested the system last year and lots of people, including me, didn’t get the test).
In this case, the CU researchers say that 4 low power base stations could target every person in a football stadium of say 50,000, causing mass panic. While it might be hard to get these briefcase size devices inside a football stadium, it would be pretty easy to get it into soft targets like office buildings or shopping centers and depending on the message (Ex: Inbound nukes from China; will detonate here in 10 minutes), could cause mass panic. Source: BBC