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InfoSec News Nuggets 1/2/2020

1 – Secure New Internet-Connected Devices

During the holidays, internet-connected devices—also known as Internet of Things (IoT) devices—are popular gifts. These include smart cameras, smart TVs, watches, toys, phones, and tablets. Although this technology provides added convenience to our lives, it often requires that we share personal and financial information over the internet. The security of this information, and the security of these devices, is not guaranteed. For example, vendors often store personal information in databases, which may be vulnerable to cyberattacks or unintentionally exposed to the internet. Information breaches or leaks can enable malicious cyber actors to engage in identify theft and phishing scams.


2 – Microsoft takes court action against fourth nation-state cybercrime group

On December 27, a U.S. district court unsealed documents detailing work Microsoft has performed to disrupt cyberattacks from a threat group we call Thallium, which is believed to operate from North Korea. Our court case against Thallium, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, resulted in a court order enabling Microsoft to take control of 50 domains that the group uses to conduct its operations. With this action, the sites can no longer be used to execute attacks.


3 – Blue-Chip MSP Synoptek Hit By Ransomware, Paid Ransom To ‘Extortionists:’ Report

High-profile MSP Synoptek paid the attackers off to get decryption keys after it was infested this week by the potent Sodinokibi strain of ransomware, KrebsOnSecurity reported. The ransomware attack disrupted affairs at many of the Irvine, Calif.-based MSP’s clients, prompting the company to pay an unverified sum in ransom in hopes of restoring operations as quickly as possible, two Synoptek employees told KrebsOnSecurity. Once inside Synoptek’s systems, the intruders used a remote management tool to install the ransomware on client systems, a Synoptek client told KrebsOnSecurity.


4 – U.S. chief justice warns of internet disinformation, urges civics education

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts expressed concern on Tuesday about disinformation amplified by the internet and social media as he focused his year-end report on the weakening state of civics education in the United States. “In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital,” Roberts said in his annual report on behalf of the federal judiciary. The chief justice warned that Americans “have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside.”


5 – Study finds Google system could improve breast cancer detection

A Google artificial intelligence system proved as good as expert radiologists at predicting which women would develop breast cancer based on screening mammograms and showed promise at reducing errors, researchers in the United States and Britain reported. The study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, is the latest to show that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to improve the accuracy of screening for breast cancer, which affects one in eight women globally. Radiologists miss about 20% of breast cancers in mammograms, the American Cancer Society says, and half of all women who get the screenings over a 10-year period have a false positive result.


6 – Jumia, DHL, and Alibaba will face off in African ecommerce 2.0

The business of selling consumer goods and services online is a relatively young endeavor across Africa, but ecommerce is set to boom. Over the last eight years, the sector has seen its first phase of big VC fundings, startup duels and attrition. To date, scaling e-commerce in Africa has straddled the line of challenge and opportunity, perhaps more than any other market in the world. Across major African economies, many of the requisites for online retail — internet access, digital payment adoption, and 3PL delivery options — have been severely lacking.


7 – The best electric scooters, e-bikes and rideable tech we’ve tested in 2020

Whether you’re looking for a little exercise, want to reduce your carbon footprint or simply feel like enjoying open-air freedom on your ride to and from work, electric-powered rideables are a convenient option. Scooters for adults, e-bike and other rideable tech (none of the items listed here is a scooter for kids, each one is an adult electric scooter) will help you commute around town with ease — and with a battery, they’re environmentally friendly and offer a smooth ride to boot.


8 – Seoul to install AI cameras for crime detection

Cameras with artificial intelligence (AI) software that the South Korean government claims can detect the likelihood of crime will be installed in Seoul within the year. The Seocho District of South Korea’s capital and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ERTI), a national research institute, said they will install 3,000 cameras at the district by July. The cameras will use AI software that processes the location, time, and behaviour patterns of passersby to measure the likelihood of a crime taking place.


9 – Gaming firm Razer joins Singapore digital bank race

Gaming firm Razer Inc said on Thursday it is leading a consortium of companies that has applied for a online bank license in Singapore, joining the race to shake up the city state’s financial sector. Razer’s fintech business will have a 60% stake in the consortium that includes insurance firm FWD and Sheng Siong Holdings, a private vehicle of the Lim brothers behind a Singaporean supermarket chain. Razer Fintech said its bid to set up a retail bank will leverage “on the strength of Razer as a lifestyle brand synonymous with the youth and millennials, Razer’s global presence and the innovative digital payments platform Razer Fintech has built.”


10 – Australia’s middle class more likely to be pirates

Released over the Christmas break, the Australian Department of Communications Consumer survey on online copyright infringement 2019 has shown it is full time workers in good jobs that are more likely to pirate material. The report found those who engage in copyright infringement were overwhelmingly male, by 74% to 26%, most likely aged between 25 and 44 years, that age cohort accounted for 63% of infringers, and 44% said they had a household income of between AU$80,000 and AU$180,000. “Consumers of unlawful content were found to be either employed full time (37%), part time (18%) or students (19%). Those that were self-employed or retired were less likely to infringe,” the report said.

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