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InfoSec News Nuggets 11/04/2019

1 – Windows BlueKeep RDP Attacks Are Here, Infecting with Miners

The BlueKeep remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Remote Desktop Services is currently exploited in the wild. Vulnerable machines exposed to the web are apparently compromised for cryptocurrency mining purposes. The attempts have been recorded by honeypots that expose only port 3389, specific for remote assistance connections via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Security researcher Kevin Beaumont noticed on Saturday that multiple honeypots in his EternalPot RDP honeypot network started to crash and reboot. They’ve been active for almost half a year and this is the first time they came down. For some reason, the machines in Australia did not crash, the researcher noted in a tweet.


2 – How data science could save 6 million lives from preventable death by 2030

The Precision Public Health project, backed by US$100 million funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and partners, to prevent and treat diseases aims to use data for creating effective interventions to address the health needs of populations, especially mothers. For instance, linking pregnant women to health workers and bringing health facilities closer to where people reside to increase the number of people delivering in hospitals or assisted by a doctor or nurse.


3 – Hey Mom and Dad, I got an esports scholarship!

Video games aren’t just a drag on a kid’s study habits. Sometimes they can lead to college scholarships if your kid happens to be an esports star. Tournament organizer High School Esports League (HSEL) has teamed up with the charitable organization Varsity Esports Foundation (VESF) to provide financial aid and opportunities for under-resourced students across the country. HSEL is one of several competitive video game companies (rivals include PlayVS and All-Star Esports League) that is bringing esports to high schools. It has partnered with 2,100 schools and has 60,000 participating students.


4 – US official says licences to sell to Huawei ‘forthcoming very shortly’

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Sunday reportedly said licences that permit US companies to sell components to Huawei could be “forthcoming very shortly”. In an interview with Bloomberg, Ross said a US-Huawei deal was on track to be signed this month, noting that the government has received 260 requests for the licences. “That’s a lot of applications — it’s frankly more than we would’ve thought,” Ross said.  “Remember too, with Entity Lists, there’s a presumption of denial. So the safe thing for these companies would be to assume denial, even though we will obviously approve quite a few of them.”


5 – NCR Barred Mint, QuickBooks from Banking Platform During Account Takeover Storm

Banking industry giant NCR Corp. [NYSE: NCR] late last month took the unusual step of temporarily blocking third-party financial data aggregators Mint and QuickBooks Online from accessing Digital Insight, an online banking platform used by hundreds of financial institutions. That ban, which came in response to a series of bank account takeovers in which cybercriminals used aggregation sites to surveil and drain consumer accounts, has since been rescinded. But the incident raises fresh questions about the proper role of digital banking platforms in fighting password abuse.


6 – Teenager solves car blind spots using a webcam and projector

As every cyclist knows, the blind spots caused by a car’s roof pillars can be extremely dangerous. Although companies are working on various high-tech solutions for this problem, a 14-year-old from Pennsylvania has taken a more low-tech approach to create an ingenious fix for the issue. Alaina Gassler of West Grove came up with the idea for the project after seeing her mother struggle with blind spots while driving. Gassler decided to put a webcam on the outer roof pillar of a car which could record everything that was masked from the driver’s view. Then, she used a projector to display the live feed from the webcam onto the interior pillar, with 3D-printed parts aligning the image exactly between the window and the windshield.


7 – ISPs lied to Congress to spread confusion about encrypted DNS, Mozilla says

Mozilla is urging Congress to reject the broadband industry’s lobbying campaign against encrypted DNS in Firefox and Chrome. The Internet providers’ fight against this privacy feature raises questions about how they use broadband customers’ Web-browsing data, Mozilla wrote in a letter sent today to the chairs and ranking members of three House of Representatives committees. Mozilla also said that Internet providers have been giving inaccurate information to lawmakers and urged Congress to “publicly probe current ISP data collection and use policies.”


8 – TikTok and Apple decline to testify over China

Both TikTok and Apple have declined to testify to US Congress in a hearing, about their ties to China Tuesday’s hearing is designed to explore the relationships the US-based technology industry has with China and whether there are national security issues as a result. TikTok said it was unable to send a suitable delegate “on short notice” but was committed to “working productively” with Congress. Apple said it had no comment.


9 – EU patches 20-year-old open source vulnerability

A 20-year-old vulnerability in PuTTY, an open source network file transfer application, has been tracked down and patched during a wide-ranging bug bounty programme conducted by HackerOne on behalf of the European Union Free and Open Source Software Audit (EU-FOSSA). The vulnerability could potentially have allowed a malicious actor to crash the programme and use it to achieve remote code execution. It was first spotted on 27 June 2019 and publicly disclosed on 20 September, netting its discoverer a $3,645.90 (€3,266.45/£2,819.38) bonus.


10 – Google wants to create the ultimate medical record search tool for doctors

David Feinberg, the recently appointed head of its Google Health initiative, outlined plans to make it easier for doctors to search medical records, and improve the quality of health-focused search results across Google and YouTube. “Imagine a search bar on top of your EHR (electronic health record) that needs no training,” Feinberg said at the HLTH health care conference in Las Vegas last week. According to Feinberg, the search bar will supposedly allow doctors to type into it, with the system automatically displaying appropriate responses to the queries. For example, a doctor could just type the number “87” to return details about an 87-year-old patient with a history of stomach cancer.

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