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InfoSec News Nuggets 10/05/2020

Russian state hackers appear to have breached a federal agency

Russia’s 2020 hacking campaigns might have included a successful data breach at the US government. In the wake of a CISA notice warning of a cyberattack on an unnamed federal agency’s network, Wired and security company Dragos have obtained evidence suggesting Russia’s state-backed APT28 group, better known as Fancy Bear, was behind the hack. The FBI reportedly sent alerts to some hacking victims in May warning that Fancy Bear was widely targeting US networks, including an IP address mentioned in the recent cyberattack notice. There was also “infrastructure overlap” and behavior patterns pointing to the Russian group, Dragos’ Joe Slowik said. Some of the IP addresses match criminal operations, but Slowik believed Fancy Bear might be reusing criminal tech to help cover its trail.


Twitter’s ‘Birdwatch’ looks like a new attempt to root out propaganda and misinformation

Twitter has confirmed it’s working on a new feature, currently dubbed “Birdwatch,” that could let the Twitter community warn one another about misleading tweets that could cause harm. There’s an awful lot we don’t know about the idea, including whether Twitter will actually release it to the public or how it might work in its final form, but enough has leaked out that we do have a pretty fair glimpse at the feature — which, we understand, is still early in development and would not be released ahead of the US election. As TechCrunch notes, the existence of such a tool was first discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs through app code for evidence of unreleased features, back in August. At a basic level, the idea is that you’ll be able to attach a note to a misleading tweet.


Two members of notorious videogame piracy group “Team Xecuter” in custody

Two leaders of one of the world’s most notorious videogame piracy groups, Team Xecuter, have been arrested and are in custody facing charges filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle. MAX LOUARN, 48, a French national of Avignon, France, YUANNING CHEN, 35, a Chinese national of Shenzhen, China, and GARY BOWSER, 51, a Canadian national of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, were charged in a federal indictment unsealed today.  The indictment alleges the defendants were leaders of a criminal enterprise that developed and sold illegal devices that hacked popular videogame consoles so they could be used to play unauthorized, or pirated, copies of videogames.  The enterprise targeted popular consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition, the Sony PlayStation Classic, and the Microsoft Xbox.


Online avatar service Gravatar allows mass collection of user info

A user enumeration technique discovered by security researcher Carlo Di Dato demonstrates how Gravatar can be abused for mass data collection of its profiles by web crawlers and bots. Gravatar is an online avatar service that lets users set and use a profile picture (avatar) across multiple websites that support Gravatar. The most recognizable use cases of Gravatar are perhaps WordPress websites integrated with the service and GitHub. While data provided by Gravatar users on their profiles is already public, the easy user enumeration aspect of the service with virtually no rate limiting raises concerns with regards to the mass collection of user data. An issue like this becomes problematic because any web crawler or bot can now sequentially query virtually the entire Gravatar database, and harvest public user data very easily thanks to this little known but effective technique.  In the past, criminals have scraped Facebook profile data in bulk using its APIs and sold the dumps on the dark web for profit.


The Quantum Internet Will Blow Your Mind. Here’s What It Will Look Like

Call it the quantum Garden of Eden. Fifty or so miles east of New York City, on the campus of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Eden Figueroa is one of the world’s pioneering gardeners planting the seeds of a quantum internet. Capable of sending enormous amounts of data over vast distances, it would work not just faster than the current internet but faster than the speed of light — instantaneously, in fact, like the teleportation of Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk in Star Trek. Sitting in Brookhaven’s light-filled cafeteria, his shoulder-length black hair fighting to free itself from the clutches of a ponytail, Figueroa — a Mexico native who is an associate professor at Stony Brook University — tries to explain how it will work. He grabs hold of two plastic coffee cup lids, a saltshaker, a pepper shaker and a small cup of water, and begins moving them around on the lunch table like a magician with cards.

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