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InfoSec News Nuggets 10/18/2022

International crackdown on West-African financial crime rings 

Behind the headlines that emerged earlier this month on the arrest of two suspected online scammers in South Africa lies a global police operation coordinated by INTERPOL. Codenamed Operation Jackal, the joint law enforcement effort mobilized 14 countries across four continents in a targeted strike against Black Axe and related West-African organized crime groups. Operation Jackal marks the first time INTERPOL has coordinated a global operation specifically against Black Axe, which is rapidly becoming a major security threat worldwide. Black Axe and similar groups are responsible for the majority of the world’s cyber-enabled financial fraud as well as many other serious crimes, according to evidence analyzed by INTERPOL’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC) and national law enforcement. 


Election security, misinformation threats loom large ahead of the US midterms 

As the United States nears the 2022 mid-term elections, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued two back-to-back public service announcements (PSAs) that address the state of play when it comes to election integrity. The first announcement, seemingly designed to enhance voters’ faith in the election process, said the two agencies “assess that any attempts by cyber actors to compromise election infrastructure are unlikely to result in largescale disruptions or prevent voting.” 


Germany slaps messaging app Telegram with $5 million fine 

Germany announced Monday that it is issuing fines of 5.125 million euros ($5 million) against the operators of the messaging app Telegram for failing to comply with German law. The Federal Office of Justice said Telegram FZ-LLC hasn’t established a lawful way for reporting illegal content or named an entity in Germany to receive official communication. Both are required under German laws that regulate large online platforms. German officials said they have repeatedly failed in their attempts to serve papers to Dubai-based Telegram, despite support from authorities in the United Arab Emirates. 


Google antitrust complainants call for EU to shutter its Shopping Ads Units 

The European Commission is facing fresh calls to make good on its 2017 antitrust decision against Google Shopping by banning Google from displaying its own shopping comparison ads units in search results — boxes which Google populates with revenue-generating ads — as they argue the self-preferencing units constitute an ongoing competition abuse by the adtech giant. The 2017 Commission decision found Google abused its dominance by systematically giving prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service and demoting rival comparison shopping services in search results. Google was left to devise its own remedy to comply with the order to cease infringing the bloc’s competition rules and rivals have continued to complain there is still no level playing field for shopping comparison services trying to reach consumers via Google’s dominant search channel.  


Imagine surviving a wiper attack only for ransomware to scramble your restored files 

Organizations hit earlier by the HermeticWiper malware have reportedly been menaced by ransomware unleashed this month against transportation and logistics industries in Ukraine and Poland. Though there is an overlap in victims, it’s unclear whether this Prestige ransomware and HermeticWiper are controlled by the same masterminds, according to researchers at the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC). “Despite using similar deployment techniques, the [Prestige] campaign is distinct from recent destructive attacks leveraging AprilAxe (ArguePatch)/CaddyWiper or Foxblade (HermeticWiper) that have impacted multiple critical infrastructure organizations in Ukraine over the last two weeks,” the researchers wrote in a blog post. “MSTIC has not yet linked this ransomware campaign to a known threat group and is continuing investigations.” 


Halloween feature: Cheat codes for Cybersecurity and preventing kids from being “tricked” 

October and Halloween are both fun and scary, just like cyberspace. Cyber Security Awareness Month is an excellent time for grown-ups to discuss cyber safety with us. It takes an informed cyber village to help raise savvy cyber kids, and I believe introducing cyber literacy to kids of all ages is increasingly critical. Today, every household is filled with connected devices, and I hope this information will help with better digital decision-making by kids. After eighteen months of virtual schooling, using various digital devices has become second nature. In addition, our virtual collaboration with others via these devices has also increased. Games are not the only way we interact with digital devices anymore. 

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