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InfoSec News Nuggets 08/27/2020

Tomorrow’s Fortnite Update Won’t Be Coming for Apple Users, Epic Says It’s a ‘Matter of Principle’

In its first statement since Monday’s captivating hearing, this morning Epic Games sought to further clarify its position against Apple while also admitting that the latest chapter of Fortnite would not be appearing on either iOS or macOS when it launches August 27. If you listened in on Monday’s trial, Epic’s latest statement will sound like a refrain. “Apple is asking that Epic revert Fortnite to exclusively use Apple payments. Their proposal is an invitation for Epic to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS, suppressing free market competition and inflating prices. As a matter of principle, we won’t participate in this scheme,” Epic said in its statement.


FBI informant provides a glimpse into the inner workings of tech support scams

US authorities have charged three suspects involved in a large-scale tech support scam operation after FBI agents arrested one of their co-conspirators and turned him into an informant. Evidence provided by the informant along with court documents filed in the case provide an in-depth glimpse at the techniques and inner workings of a modern-day tech support scam, from its earliest stages to the methods crooks use to launder funds obtained from defrauded victims. Of the three suspects named in the case, one has been arrested earlier this year, and he pleaded guilty earlier this week.


TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer Resigns Amid Trump Administration’s Growing Pressure On App

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer is stepping down three months after taking the job at the hugely popular short-form video app. Mayer’s surprise resignation comes as the Trump administration escalates its campaign to force TikTok to cut ties with its Chinese ownership. In a message sent on Wednesday to staff at TikTok, Mayer said as the political environment has “sharply changed,” he has reflected on what kind of corporate restructuring may be coming for the company, concluding that it was best for him to depart. “I want to be clear that this decision has nothing to do with the company, what I see for our future, or the belief I have in what we are building,” Mayer wrote in his message, which TikTok shared with NPR.


DDoS extortionists target NZX, Moneygram, Braintree, and other financial services

The New Zealand stock exchange (NZX), which halted trading for the third day in a row today, is also one of the group’s victims. The attackers have been identified as the same hacker group mentioned in an Akamai report published on August 17, last week. The group uses names like Armada Collective and Fancy Bear — both borrowed from more famous hacker groups — to email companies and threaten DDoS attacks that can cripple operations and infer huge downtime and financial costs for the targets unless the victims pay a huge ransom demand in Bitcoin. Such types of attacks are called “DDoS extortions” or “DDoS-for-Bitcoin” and have first been seen in the summer of 2016.


What Is The Darknet?

We all hear about the “Darknet” and the “Deepweb” all the time when referring to the places where threat actors are hanging out online, but what do these terms really mean? While they are very similar, some differences exist. The Deepweb refers to websites which are not indexed by services like Google and are difficult to navigate to without already knowing of the website’s existence. The Darknet often refers to websites on the “Tor” network, these sites utilize “.onion” URLs and require your browser to be specially configured to access them or the use of the Tor browser. Darknet can also refer to the less commonly-used I2P network which uses what are called “eepsites.” The common unifying factor between the Darknet and the Deepweb is that hackers and criminals enjoy the anonymity they receive on these websites. For simplicity we will be using the term “Darknet” to describe both for the remainder of this blog.


Non-woven masks better to stop Covid-19, says Japanese supercomputer

Face masks made from non-woven fabric are more effective at blocking the spread of Covid-19 via airborne respiratory droplets than other types that are commonly available, according to modelling in Japan by the world’s fastest supercomputer. Fugaku, which can perform more than 415 quadrillion computations a second, conducted simulations involving three types of mask, and found that non-woven masks were better than those made of cotton and polyester at blocking spray emitted when the wearer coughs, the Nikkei Asian Review said. Non-woven masks refer to the disposable medical masks that are commonly worn in Japan during the flu season, and now during the coronavirus pandemic.


As California burns, buggy alerting software ails emergency offices

As wildfires continue tearing through California, two counties on Tuesday reported technical problems with the emergency alerting platforms used to warn the public. In Northern California, where the still-raging LNU Lightning Complex fire has burned through 352,000 acres and killed five people, Napa County emergency management officials told StateScoop they initially planned to use a nationwide platform called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS, to warn residents to “remain vigilant in the event subsequent evacuations were called for given the late night hour.” But while creating a message using software from Everbridge, an error message forced officials to switch to a different Everbridge product, called Nixle, said Janet Upton, a spokesperson for Napa County Emergency Services.

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