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InfoSec News Nuggets 01/12/2021

Securing Wi-Fi at Home

To create a secure home network, you need to start by securing your Wi-Fi access point (sometimes called a Wi-Fi router). This is the device that controls who and what can connect to your home network. Here are five simple steps to securing your home Wi-Fi to create a far more secure home network for you and your family.


Can Artificial Intelligence Help Us Fight Fake News?

Fake news and disinformation are now widely recognised as weapons for fanning the flames of distrust towards governments, individuals and communities worldwide. We are inundated with disinformation every day through news reports, images, videos, memes, WhatsApp forwards, emails etc. Distorting facts for furthering an agenda, by itself, is not a new problem; politicians and advertisers are quite familiar with it. The explosive growth of social media combined with the emerging power of artificial intelligence has added new dimensions to the problem and greatly magnified it. Artificial intelligence is getting better year after year at generating strikingly human-like content. Language models such as GPT-3 can write entire articles on their own based on only a single-line prompt given as input. Deep neural networks are being routinely used to create fake images or videos known as deepfakes. Doctoring videos used to be a tedious and expensive process requiring significant technical expertise. Open-source software such as FaceSwap and DeepFaceLab have made the technology more accessible. Today, anyone with limited expertise can easily create deepfakes using a computer or a mobile phone.


A new study says Apple’s iPhone 12 and MagSafe can break pacemakers

Apple’s launch of the iPhone 12 lineup and associated MagSafe accessories definitely changed the way we charge our iPhones, not to mention attach accessories. But despite Apple’s claim that the magnets involved don’t pose any more risk to pacemakers than other iPhones, one study suggests that might not be the case. According to a report by the Heart Rhythm Journal and MacMagazine, there’s a possibility that holding an iPhone 12 near a Medtronic device could be enough to deactivate it. The issue is, of course, the magnets built into the iPhone 12 models. But as multiple people have pointed out, anything with a magnet in it has the potential to cause issues when placed too close to a pacemaker. Including other iPhones, although as mentioned, Apple doesn’t expect any more issues with its MagSafe implementation than any other iPhone.


Firefox to block Backspace key from working as “Back” button

Mozilla developers plan to remove support for using the Backspace key as a Back button inside Firefox. The change is currently active in the Firefox Nightly version and is expected to go live in Firefox 86, scheduled to be released next month, in late February 2021. The removal of the Backspace key as a navigational element didn’t come out of the blue. It was first proposed back in July 2014, in a bug report opened on Mozilla’s bug tracker. At the time, Mozilla engineers argued that many users who press the Backspace key don’t always mean to navigate to the previous page (the equivalent of pressing the Back button). “Pressing backspace does different things depending on where the cursor is. If it’s in a text input field, it deletes the character to the left. If it’s not in a text input field, it’s the same as hitting the back button,” said Blair McBride, a senior software engineer for Mozilla at the time.


Hacking victim SolarWinds hires ex-Homeland Security official Krebs as consultant

The company used by hackers as a springboard for the worst-known breach of U.S. government computers in at least five years has hired some of the biggest names in security to help it recover. SolarWinds Corp, which had backdoored versions of its network-management software go out to thousands of customers, had already hired CrowdStrike Holdings Inc to help it assess the intrusion and protect it going forward. On Thursday, it hired a new consulting business formed by former U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency head Chris Krebs and Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook Inc. Krebs was the first leader of Homeland Security unit CISA and led the national effort to keep the 2020 election safe from hacking and to dispel related misinformation. 


Networking giant Ubiquiti alerts customers of potential data breach

Networking device maker Ubiquiti has announced a security incident that may have exposed its customers’ data. Ubiquiti is a very popular networking device manufacturer best known for its UniFi line of wired and wireless network products and a cloud management platform. Today, Ubiquiti began emailing customers to change their passwords and enable 2FA after an attacker hacked their systems hosted at a third-party cloud provider. “We recently became aware of unauthorized access to certain of our information technology systems hosted by a third party cloud provider. We have no indication that there has been unauthorized activity with respect to any user’s account,” Ubiquiti emailed customers. Ubiquiti states that they are not aware of any customer databases that were illegally accessed but cannot be sure that the attack did not expose customers’ data.

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