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InfoSec News Nuggets 02/14/2023

Don’t Get Scammed This Valentine’s Day 

Valentine’s Day can be a tough time to be single, but be careful who you connect with. That beautiful blond woman or superhot guy messaging you may be after more than just your love and affection. Experts warn that this is peak season for online romance scams, which accounted for a staggering $1.3 billion in losses last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The pandemic and our increasingly digital lives mean anyone feeling particularly lonely this season could make for a potential target. It often starts with what looks like an innocent message through social media. They’ll introduce themselves as a woman in a war-torn country or a man working on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean. It’s never anyone accessible.  


A researcher tried to buy mental health data. It was surprisingly easy. 

Sensitive mental health data is for sale by little-known data brokers, at times for a few hundred dollars and with little effort to hide personal information such as names and addresses, according to research released Monday. The research, conducted over the span of two months at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, which studies the ecosystem of companies buying and selling personal data, consisted of asking 37 data brokers for bulk data on people’s mental health. Eleven of them agreed to sell information that identified people by issues, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, and often sorted them by demographic information such as age, race, credit score and location.  


Apple patches a major Mac security flaw in macOS Ventura 13.2.1 

Apple on Monday released macOS Ventura 13.2.1, a small update to the latest version of the Mac operating system. The update does not contain any new features, but the update presumably contains several bug fixes and performance optimizations. Most notably, however, it includes , at least one of which has been actively exploited.  


Google employees criticize CEO for “dumpster fire” response to ChatGPT 

When Google’s ChatGPT competitor event was announced for last week, we wrote that it seemed like a rush job designed to reassure investors, and since then, that event happened and went worse than anyone could have imagined. Google’s event did the opposite of what it wanted, with the stock down nearly 12 percent since the recent high just before the event. Even Google employees are starting to take notice, with CNBC’s Jennifer Elias writing that, internally, employees are criticizing CEO Sundar Pichai for what they call a ‘rushed, botched’ announcement of Google’s new chatbot. CNBC says it was able to view several messages from Google’s internal “Memegen” employee forum, and while these are normally lighthearted, the report says “the posts after the Bard announcement struck a more serious tone and even went directly after Pichai.” 


CISA, South Korean Agencies Issue Joint Warning on North Korean Ransomware 

A bilateral group of government agencies issued a Cybersecurity Advisory Monday highlighting ransomware attacks on digital networks and critical infrastructure, particularly against healthcare systems. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published the warning and examples of known malicious file names and hash lines that have been documented in ransomware attacks linked to North Korea state-sponsored actors. CISA was joined by the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Republic of Korea’s Defense Security Agency and National Intelligence Service, in issuing the CSA. “In addition to other tactics, these malicious cyber actors have been exploiting vulnerabilities, such as Log4Shell CVE-2021-44228, SMA100 Apache CVE-2021-20038, and/or TerraMaster OS CVE-2022-24990, to gain access and escalate privileges on victim’s networks,” the advisory notes.  


Spanish Police Bust €5m Phishing Gang 

Spain’s Policia Nacional has teamed up with the US Secret Service to dismantle a cybercrime gang that stole millions of dollars from US citizens and companies. Nine suspected members of the group have been arrested – eight in Madrid and one in Miami – after receiving close to €5m ($5.4m) from their victims, which they spent on luxury items including high-end watches costing as much as €200,000 ($215,000) each. The scammers would apparently send individuals and US companies phishing emails and texts to trick them into handing over sensitive personal and financial information. They would follow up with vishing calls to obtain any remaining details needed, masking the origin of the calls. In some cases, members of the group would host three-way calls in which they spoke simultaneously with victims and their US banks, in order to bypass security checks and access accounts. 

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