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IT Security Newsletter - 2/11/2022


Top News

Senators: CIA Has Secret Program That Collects American Data

The CIA has a secret, undisclosed data repository that includes information collected about Americans, two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee said. While neither the agency nor lawmakers would disclose specifics about the data, the senators alleged the CIA had long hidden details about the program from the public and Congress. Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico sent a letter to top intelligence officials calling for more details about the program to be declassified. READ MORE...


Ransomware crew dumps stolen Optionis files online

What appears to be stolen data belonging to customers of accounting conglomerate Optionis Group has surfaced on the dark web weeks after the firm confirmed intruders had broken into its systems. Optionis Group houses brands including Parasol Group, Clearsky, SJD Accounting and NixonWilliams. The Vice Society ransomware gang dumped what appears to be thousands of files onto their dark web blog as downloadable links, as seen by The Register. READ MORE...


The bizarre couple alleged to be behind one of the biggest cryptocurrency hacks of all time

A Manhattan couple in their 30s have been arrested in Manhattan in connection with the 2016 hack of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. Big deal, you might think. After all, cryptocurrency firms are being hacked all of the time, and sometimes those responsible are eventually brought to justice. But one of the things that makes things different this time is that the US Department of Justice says it has seized and recovered US $3.6 billion worth of stolen cryptocurrency that it has linked to the hack. READ MORE...

This malware gang plants incriminating evidence on PCs, gets victims arrested

For the past decade, unidentified miscreants have been planting incriminating evidence on the devices of human-rights advocates, lawyers, and academics in India seemingly to get them arrested. That's according to SentinelOne, which has named the crew ModifiedElephant and described the group's techniques and targets since 2012 in a report published on Wednesday. READ MORE...


Online romance scams expand, now with more cryptocurrency

Reports of online romance scams continued to grow in 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and cryptocurrency payments now represent a big chunk of the money lost. Complaints about these heartbreaking swindles added up to $547 million overall last year, the agency said Thursday, up about 80 percent from the $307 million reported to the FTC in 2020. READ MORE...

Sharp SIM-Swapping Spike Causes $68M in Losses

SIM-swapping - the practice of duping mobile carriers into switching a target's phone services to an attacker-controlled phone - is on the rise, the Feds are warning - leading to millions in losses for consumers who found their bank accounts drained and other accounts taken over. Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) are small chips inside mobile phones that allow the carrier to identify and register subscriber devices - a requirement to provide service to them. READ MORE...

Software Updates

Microsoft fixes Defender flaw letting hackers bypass antivirus scans

Microsoft has recently addressed a weakness in the Microsoft Defender Antivirus on Windows that allowed attackers to plant and execute malicious payloads without triggering Defender's malware detection engine. This security flaw [1, 2] affected the latest Windows 10 versions, and threat attackers could abuse it since at least 2014. As BleepingComputer previously reported, the flaw resulted from lax security settings for the Windows Defender exclusions Registry key. READ MORE...

Apple Patches Actively Exploited WebKit Zero Day

Apple has patched yet another zero-day vulnerability, this time in its WebKit browser engine, that threat actors already are actively exploiting to compromise iPhones, iPads and MacOS devices. The zero-day, tracked as CVE-2022-22620, is a Use-After-Free issue, which is related to incorrect use of dynamic memory during program operation. In the case of Apple's zero-day, threat actors can execute arbitrary code on affected devices after they process maliciously crafted web content. READ MORE...


After lying low, SSH botnet mushrooms and is harder than ever to take down

Two years ago, researchers stumbled upon one of the Internet's most intriguing botnets: a previously undiscovered network of 500 servers, many in well-known universities and businesses around the world, that was impervious to normal takedown methods. After lying low for 16 months, those researchers said, the botnet known as FritzFrog is back with new capabilities and a larger base of infected machines. READ MORE...


CISA urges orgs to patch actively exploited Windows SeriousSAM bug

The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has added to the catalog of vulnerabilities another 15 security issues actively used in cyberattacks. CISA's warning about these vulnerabilities serves as a wake-up call to all system administrators that they need to prioritize installing security updates to protect their organizations' networks. Failing to do so turns the company into a target for threat actors. READ MORE...

On This Date

  • ...in 1847, engineer and businessman Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera, is born in Milan, OH.
  • ...in 1936, actor/producer Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance) is born in Lansing, MI.
  • ...in 1990, activist Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years as a political prisoner of South Africa's apartheid government.
  • ...in 2011, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigns in the wake of 18 days of popular protests.