Following that, a fake Chrome dialogue will appear, warning users that they need to download a file that appears to be a font installer package. But the “font” in this case is actually click-fraud adware, which loads hidden ads and clicks on them automatically, lining the pockets of those responsible for that malware. This particular scheme isn’t dangerous, in and of itself, but according to Bleeping Computer, “the criminal crew behind this scheme have unleashed far worse things in the past, such as encrypting ransomware.”
So far it only impacts users of the Chrome browser on Windows in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US.
Online shoppers need to also take heed and avoid using browsers’ autofill option. Though it may be a hassle to pull out a credit card every time you want to make a purchase, a new discovery made by a Finnish developer demonstrates why the extra time you save per purchase may not be worth it. Hackers have found a way to access your stored credit card info.
According to Thrillist, “anyone can fall for the scam by submitting a couple basic pieces of information. Web users think they’re just entering their name and email address, but ‘hidden’ text boxes are automatically filled in with more sensitive data like address, phone number, and credit card number.” Read More
A mass transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees began earlier this month. At least 22 of the 59 Guantanamo Bay detainees are expected to be transferred prior to January 20 and some have been moved already. Included in these transfers are zealots who have threatened to bomb and behead US citizens.
There is often limited supervision in the countries Guantanamo detainees are sent to and the recidivism rate is high. Previously freed detainees that have returned to the jihad include at least four members of the group which claims it carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Others in the group being released include an accused senior Al Qaeda bomb-maker, a senior Al Qaeda financial manager and two intended 9/11 hijackers–all of whom have been held at Guantanamo for more than a decade.
They will likely add to the growing list of violent activity planned in various parts of the world–particularly in the West.
Several threats have surfaced over the past month or so and these are threats specific to the US and parts of Europe. The following are just a few of the dangers uncovered recently:
A lot of new and exciting technology will emerge or become more prominent in 2017 and the following is just a glimpse of what is anticipated.IoT & Smart Home Tech
Smart home technology had been in the works for years before finally getting off to a relatively slow start. But, now that large companies like Apple, Amazon and Google have jumped onboard, smart home tech is expected to significantly pick up the pace in 2017.
VR & AR
In 2016, Oculus Rift was released, following which thousands of virtual reality (VR) games and apps were released on the market. And, augmented reality (AR) game, Pokémon Go, exploded on the market with over 100 million downloads. In 2017, however, VR and AR are expected to really take off.
Machine learning will advance in 2017, paving the way for it to become a fixture in the workplace. This type of artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to become a component of every type of technology. For instance, robotic journalists have been in circulation for a couple of years now and this trend is expected to expand exponentially in the white collar arena. It will have a lot of impact on the job market because some positions will no longer be needed. But, the combination of automation and machine learning will usher in groundbreaking efficiency in the workplace.
More advances from makers of self-driving cars are expected. For example, since initially introducing its ‘Autopilot‘ feature in 2015, Tesla has been continuously tweaking the autonomous capabilities of its vehicles. This highlights the far-reaching capabilities self-driving technologies hold for the future. Additionally, Uber recently acquired self-driving hardware developer Otto and has subsequently put its first fleet of self-driving trucks on the road. In Pittsburgh, Uber has also conducted some real world self-driving tests with its cabs. Read More
It appears the UK government has decided not to rescue British war photographer and correspondent John Cantlie, who was abducted in November 2012, in Syria, by ISIS. Beginning in late June, information on Cantlie’s location, including transport vehicle was provided to U.S. agencies by an operative who is now with BLACKOPS Cyber, a private intelligence agency.
Everything was in place for the rescue of Cantlie, in Mosul, Iraq, but, according to BLACKOPS Cyber Chief Intelligence Officer Ed Alexander, it was canceled before it could begin. “A British agency involved in the exfiltration of the hostages said they weren’t really interested in getting him out,” Alexander said, indicating that he was paraphrasing the response that had been passed down to him.
Alexander elaborated, saying that U.K. intelligence services believe Cantlie has turned sides, and is now loyal to ISIS. Cantlie’s location, near a church in the Al Shurta neighborhood, was in Mosul within the area of regional operations under the watch of U.K. forces. Further, Cantlie is a U.K. citizen, “so we didn’t have a dog in this fight,” Alexander said. “We as Americans couldn’t go in there, step on their toes, and say we as Americans are going to do this for you,” he explained. Read More
The threat of cyber attacks on nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities is substantial and on the increase, according to experts at the Nuclear Industry Summit, held earlier in the year. Hackers are becoming more skillful and dangerous in a way that could have a devastating impact on nuclear facilities and grids.
It is imperative that businesses, governments, and regulators make cybersecurity an industry-wide priority. Experts at the Nuclear Industry Summit (NIT) emphasized that hackers have turned their focus on these systems because therein lies the key to causing massive chaos and damage.
The most successful publicly known cyberattack on a nuclear facility utilized malware which caused serious damage to production equipment at an Iranian plant that was enriching nuclear materials. That virus was the infamous Stuxnet, which was able to induce the facility’s centrifuges to spin out of control and break down.
Potential attacks on non-nuclear, major industrial sites is also gravely concerning. For instance, an attack on Ukraine’s electrical grid left thousands of people without power. The attackers used a program called BlackEnergy which targets industrial control systems. According to RegBlog, “cybersecurity threats are an all-too-real risk for many buildings and electric grids connected to the Internet. According to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, although ‘the energy sector only represents 5-6 percent of U.S. GDP, the energy industry is subject to roughly 32 percent of all cyberattacks.” Read More
In general, smartphones have never been designed with security in mind. The emphasis has always been on features and capabilities while security is usually relegated to the back burner. And, while no internet-connected device is 100% secure, a few smartphones stand out as the best contenders for mobile security.
BlackBerry DTEK50BlackBerry describes the DTEK50 smartphone as the “world’s most secure Android smartphone.” The DTEK50 includes features such as periodic application tracking, which automatically monitors the OS and apps. This feature also notifies you when your privacy could be at risk and informs you as to what actions you can take.
The DTEK50 also has the ‘Password keeper’ app which allows you to store all your important passwords in an encrypted space, which itself is protected by a single password which.
View more information on Blackberry’s DTEK50’s features and specifications.
Boeing BlackBoeing Black is the fruit of a collaborative effort between Boeing and BlackBerry. Designed with government agencies in mind, Boeing Black is capable of encrypting calls. It also comes with a self-destruct feature which ensures that any attempt to break into the device sets off the auto-deletion of all data and software, making the phone inoperable. Read More
Were the Recent Arrests in Ohio Part of ISIS ’ Were the Recent Arrests in Ohio Part of ISIS ’ Catastrophic Plan for the US?
On November 7, Southern Ohio’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) arrested Aaron Travis Daniels, of Ohio, on terror-related charges as he was attempting to travel to Libya to become an ISIS fighter.Daniels, age 20, who goes by the aliases Harun Muhammad and Abu Yusef, had allegedly “communicated his commitment to violent overseas jihad” in addition to having wired money to an ISIS recruiter and “external attack planner,” according to the Department of Justice.
Daniels is being held without bond. The arrest comes just days after it was reported that ISIS was planning an onslaught of attacks around the world, including quite possibly Chardon, Ohio. Chardon is a town in which BLACKOPS Cyber, a private intelligence company, caught ISIS communications regarding hacking internet surveillance cameras which can assist terrorists not only in carrying out attacks, but in doing so undetected. Read More
The battle in Mosul is expected to become the largest battle fought in Iraq since the US-led operation in 2003. According to the Iraqi army, approximately 50 villages have been taken from the ISIS since last Monday, as the army prepares for the onslaught on Mosul, where 5,000 to 6,000 ISIS fighters are believed to remain.
The international coalition battling to eradicate ISIS in Mosul is a disparate assembly, lacking true cohesion as each has its own reasons for fighting in this offensive.
“It’s a very, very dangerous cocktail,” Marina Ottaway, a Middle East expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said. “This is a group with completely different end-goals. There is a real fear that when they get rid of ISIS from Mosul then things are really going to blow up.”
The Key Players and Their Motivations:
On September 22, a terror plot against Université libre de Bruxelles, in Belgium, was prevented due to intel uncovered by GhostSec, an online counterterrorism unit which has been instrumental in thwarting terror attacks in the past. GhostSec recently merged with BlackOps Cyber (BOC), an intel agency which provides a wide range services including intel collection, darknet operations, threat analysis, monitoring of threat actors and counterterrorism services.
The threat emanated from a jihadist account on Twitter. According to BOC, the threats were discovered in a series of tweets and revealed an imminent plan to carry out an attack on the university in Brussels. From prior intel collected, BOC operatives knew Brussels had a high probability of being attacked again, as the city is often mentioned in jihadist communications.
Prior to last month’s attacks in New York and New Jersey, this particular Twitter account was openly tweeting the easily located and legally purchased components of canister and pipe bombs. The tweets also indicated the bombing would be in retaliation for the US-led coalition bombing of the University of Mosul. Read More
Iranian hackers which previously targeted organizations in Saudi Arabia are now targeting organizations in other countries, including the US, as part of a campaign identified as OilRig campaign.
In addition to expanding its reach, the group has been enhancing its malware tools.
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks have been monitoring the group for some time and have reported observing attacks launched by a threat actor against financial institutions and technology companies in Saudi Arabia and on the Saudi defense industry. This campaign referred to as “OilRig,” by Palo Alto Networks, entails weaponized Microsoft Excel spreadsheets tracked as “Clayslide” and a backdoor called “Helminth.”
Bank attacks by the Iran-linked group were analyzed and documented by FireEye in May. Security Week reports that Palo Alto Networks, “discovered that it has also targeted a company in Qatar and government organizations in the United States, Israel and Turkey.” Read More