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InfoSec News Nuggets 09/21/2020

CEO Of Cyber Fraud Startup NS8 Arrested By FBI, Facing Fraud Charges

The CEO of a startup that sold fraud prevention software is facing fraud charges after he was arrested Thursday by the FBI in Las Vegas. Adam Rogas, who abruptly resigned from NS8 earlier this month, is accused of misleading investors who poured in $123 million to his company earlier this year, a deal in which he allegedly pocketed more than $17 million. “Adam Rogas was the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a press statement. “While raising over $100 million from investors for his fraud prevention company, Rogas himself allegedly was engaging in a brazen fraud.” NS8 launched in 2016 to provide online fraud detection and prevention software for small businesses. More than 200 NS8 employees were laid off last week after executives told them the company was under investigation by the SEC for fraud. The news was startling for many, considering the company had announced a $123 million Series A funding round in June, led by global VC firm Lightspeed Venture Partners.

 

Lame-duck versions of TikTok and WeChat are definitely a problem, security experts say

Cybersecurity experts and privacy advocates said Friday that TikTok and WeChat users should probably stop using the applications in the coming days, given that the Trump administration’s new ban on them will effectively block users from downloading updates. Updates, of course, provide security fixes and not just new features. In just the last year, TikTok has had to issue multiple patches for vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to capture users’ data without their permission or send them malicious links, for instance. WeChat has also had to address several flaws in the last year. “The order … harms the privacy and security of millions of existing TikTok and WeChat users in the United States by blocking software updates, which can fix vulnerabilities and make the apps more secure,” the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, Hina Shamsi, said in a statement.

 

Facebook is cracking down on groups that give health advice and promote violence

The company will no longer show health groups in its recommendations, saying a blog post that “it’s crucial that people get their health information from authoritative sources.” In the past, closed groups have been used by Facebook users to spread misinformation about vaccines and Covid-19.  Similarly, the company said it will limit the spread of groups tied to violence by removing them from recommendations, restricting them from search and reducing how often their content shows up on people’s News Feeds. This move comes as Facebook has struggled to moderate groups, including a militia group in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that used Facebook to organize an event where two people were killed in real life.

 

Twitter rolls out new security features to prevent Election Day chaos

Twitter will start prompting high-profile political accounts to take heightened security measures ahead of the 2020 US election, the company announced Thursday. In a blog post, Twitter said that administration officials, members of Congress, political campaigns, major news outlets, political journalists, and other government officials will be prompted to take enhanced security measures ahead of the election. Over the next few days, Twitter will be automatically turning on password reset protection for these accounts while recommending that these high-profile users turn on two-factor authentication. These accounts will also be required to use strong passwords. “Voters, political candidates, elected officials and journalists rely on Twitter every day to share and find reliable news and information about the election, and we take our responsibility to them seriously,” Twitter wrote in a blog post Thursday. “As we learn from the experience of past security incidents and implement changes, we’re also focused on keeping high-profile accounts on Twitter safe and secure during the 2020 US election.”

 

GitHub to replace ‘master’ with ‘main’ starting next month

Starting next month, all new source code repositories created on GitHub will be named “main” instead of “master” as part of the company’s effort to remove unnecessary references to slavery and replace them with more inclusive terms. GitHub repositories are where users and companies store and synchronize their source code projects. By default, GitHub uses the term “master” for the primary version of a source code repository. Developers make copies of the “master” on their computers into which they add their own code, and then merge the changes back into the “master” repo. “On October 1, 2020, any new repositories you create will use main as the default branch, instead of master,” the company said. Existing repositories that have “master” set as the default branch will be left as is.

 

Judge blocks US ban on WeChat that was set to go into effect today

A judge in California has blocked the Commerce Department’s ban on new downloads of China-based messaging app WeChat, Reuters reported Sunday. US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said in her order that WeChat users showed “serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor.” On Friday, the Commerce Department outlined how the bans on WeChat and TikTok that President Trump had been threatening for months would work: Beginning today at midnight, US users would not be able to download the apps from Apple and Google’s app stores. A tentative agreement appeared to be reached Saturday for a new TikTok entity, TikTok Global, part of a partnership with Oracle and Walmart, so the Commerce Department postponed the TikTok ban until September 27th. “I have given the deal my blessing,” the president said.

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