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InfoSec News Nuggets 04/07/2021

Microsoft delays full reopening of its offices to at least September

Microsoft is joining the chorus of tech companies pushing their office reopenings to late 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic potentially winds down. The Verge has confirmed a Business Insider report that Microsoft has delayed its full reopening from July to at least September 7th. The move is a response to “continued consultation with health and data experts,” a spokesperson said. In an email to staff, executive VP Kurt DelBene said the delay gave “additional flexibility” for staff making plans for the summer. He added that local office managers also had the freedom to institute further delays if the situation in their area made it too risky to return.


Leaked phone number of Mark Zuckerberg reveals he is on Signal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg uses Signal app. Zuckerberg’s phone number was among the leaked data of 533 million Facebook users. Apart from his contact number, data including his name, location, marriage details, birth date, and Facebook user ID was also leaked, according to an online report. A security researcher revealed that Zuckerberg uses Signal by posting his leaked phone number which confirmed the Facebook CEO uses Signal app, “In another turn of events, Mark Zuckerberg also respects his own privacy, by using a chat app that has end-to-end encryption and isn’t owned by @facebook. This is the number associated with his account from the recent Facebook leak,” security expert Dave Walker posted on Twitter with a screenshot of Zuckerberg’s leaked phone number which said, “Mark Zuckerberg is on Signal.”


Industries critical to COVID-19 response suffer surge in cloud cyberattacks

Industries and organizations critical to the fight against COVID-19 have faced a surge in cyberattacks due to their rapid transition to cloud platforms in light of the pandemic. When the world first began to take notice of the global spread of COVID-19, organizations across the globe suddenly found themselves unable to maintain typical working practices. Offices were shut, stay-at-home orders imposed, and consumer demands could often only be met through deliveries, virtual services, and e-commerce platforms. As a result, the wider enterprise and SMBs alike began making quick transitions from on-prem and legacy systems to the cloud, in order to facilitate remote working models and to pursue new business opportunities. 


Bitdefender 2020 Consumer Threat Landscape Report – Attackers Increasingly Target the Human Layer

Cybersecurity can often seem like a topic for the business sector. But regular consumers are equally affected by cybercrime, directly or indirectly. Bitdefender this week has published its annual Consumer Threat Landscape Report for 2020 underscoring some of the most prevalent cyber threats targeting regular users today. A key stat: cybercrime in 2020 was marked by a visible and aggressive targeting of the human layer. The COVID-19 pandemic provided lucrative ground for every ‘school’ of cybercrime, especially in the first half of the year. Stepping into the second half, however, bad actors were visibly honing their skills to go after bigger targets with increased rates of success.


BBB Scam Alert: Cheating on homework leads to extortion scam

College and high school students who hire “tutors” to complete their class assignments are finding themselves the victims of extortion cons. BBB Scam Tracker has gotten reports about scam tutors who make money by threatening to report cheating students. You are struggling in class and search online for a tutoring company that can help – not by teaching you the material but by doing the work for you. Victims report paying a couple hundred dollars for “help” with assignments for math and technology classes.  As soon as you pay up, things don’t go as you expect. Instead of helping you complete your homework, the company instead demands more money. They may claim it’s for “additional research” or make another excuse. When you refuse to pay, the “tutor” turns on you.


Facial recognition for bears

Facial recognition is problematic for humans. When it works, it invades privacy and eases us into a surveillance state. When it doesn’t work, people have been falsely arrested by police. But that’s people. For bears, it’s all good – and facial recognition is now being used to help research, monitor and protect the animals using a neural network-based system called BearID. Melanie Clapham tracks grizzlies. Normally, that requires methodically examining photographs or physically tagging the animal, as the University of Victoria researcher’s work on grizzly behaviour requires being able to pinpoint a specific individual. But that’s not easy because bears have few distinctive markings – they’re all brown and fluffy – and can dramatically change appearance from one season to the next. “They moult their coats in the summertime,” says Clapham. “And in the autumn, before they go into hibernation, they can put on a third of their body weight.”

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