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InfoSec News Nuggets 1/7/2022

How to avoid buying fake COVID tests online

The news is filled with images of long lines at in-person COVID testing sites and reports of limited supplies of at-home test kits. It’s not a surprise that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, fake and unauthorized at-home testing kits are popping up online as opportunistic scammers take advantage of the spike in demand. Using these fake products isn’t just a waste of money, it increases your risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not getting the appropriate treatment. So, if you’re shopping online for COVID test kits and related items…


FinalSite ransomware attack shuts down thousands of school websites

FinalSite, a leading school website services provider, has suffered a ransomware attack disrupting access to websites for thousands of schools worldwide. FinalSite is a software as a service (SaaS) provider that offers website design, hosting, and content management solutions for K-12 school districts and universities. FinalSite claims to provide solutions for over 8,000 schools and universities across 115 different countries. On Tuesday, school districts that hosted their websites with FinalSite found that they were no longer reachable or were displaying errors. At the time, FinalSite did not disclose that they had suffered an attack but simply said that they were experiencing error and “performance issues” across various services, affecting mostly their Composer content management system. 


Swiss Army Knifes WhatsApp at Work

Switzerland’s army has banned the use of WhatsApp whilst on duty, a spokesman confirmed Thursday, in favour of a Swiss messaging service deemed more secure in terms of data protection. The ban also applies to using other messaging apps like Signal and Telegram on soldiers’ private phones during service operations. At the end of December, commanders and chiefs of staff received an email from headquarters recommending that their troops switch to using the Swiss-based Threema. The recommendation applies “to everyone”, including conscripts doing their military service and those returning for refresher courses, army spokesman Daniel Reist told AFP. Switzerland is famously neutral. However, its long-standing position is one of armed neutrality and the landlocked European country has mandatory conscription for men.


Majority of Americans say ransomware attacks should be considered terrorism

Almost nine in ten Americans believe that a ransomware attack should be treated as an act of terrorism, according to a new poll. The Mitre-Harris Poll survey, which collected responses from 2,037 US adults in October, found that 77% of people were concerned about ransomware, with 86% of people viewing infections at the same level as terrorist attacks. The poll also found strong objections to paying the criminals behind ransomware attacks; almost four in five people said that the law should forbid private companies from paying ransoms to hackers. While the FBI disapproves of ransomware payments and the US Treasury has warned about potential sanction violations, there are no US laws forbidding payments yet. The survey followed a series of increasingly high-profile ransomware attacks that affected US critical national infrastructure, including those on Colonial Pipeline, JBS Meats, and Iowa’s New Cooperative farming group.


Election Fraud Firm to Shut Down After Claims Debunked

A controversial ‘cybersecurity consultancy’ has said it’s closing after its report into alleged election fraud in Arizona was roundly rebuffed by officials. According to a reporter for The Guardian, boss Doug Logan “and the rest of the employees have been let go and Cyber Ninjas is being shut down.” Arizona Senate Republicans hired Cyber Ninjas to find evidence supporting Donald Trump’s widely debunked claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Its long-awaited report was this week slammed in a 93-page rebuttal by election officials in Arizona’s Maricopa County. According to reports, 76 of the 77 claims made in the document were branded false or misleading. The only one confirmed as an error was the double-counting of 50 ballots in the state’s most populous county, not enough to overturn the 10,000+ majority Joe Biden won there. Cyber Ninjas was accused of deliberately using tactics that would lead to inaccuracies and even consulted conspiracy theorist Shiva Ayyadurai to review mail-in ballots. “It’s been debunked and it was written by people who are not experts in the field,” said Bill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. “We’re done. This is the end of the 2020 election. We have addressed the issues; we have debunked them.”


US regulator rules that Google infringed on Sonos speaker patents

The US International Trade Commission has agreed with Sonos’ claims that Google had infringed on its speaker and cast patents. It issued its initial decision back in August, and this finalizes its ruling, which prohibits Google from importing products found to have violated Sonos’ intellectual properties. Since Google manufactures its products in China, that means it won’t be able to gets them shipped to the US when the import ban takes effect in 60 days. Sonos sued Google in 2020 over five patents, which include one that details a technology allowing wireless speakers to sync with one another. As The New York Times notes, the products affected include Google’s Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and computers, as well as Chromecast devices. While Google is facing an import ban, a spokesperson said that the tech giant doesn’t expect the ruling to interrupt its ability to import and sell devices. 


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