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InfoSec News Nuggets 11/18/2020

DarkSide ransomware is creating a secure data leak service in Iran

The DarkSide Ransomware operation claims they are creating a distributed storage system in Iran to store and leak data stolen from victims. To show they mean business, the ransomware gang has deposited $320 thousand on a hacker forum. DarkSide is run as a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) where developers are in charge of programming the ransomware software and payment site, and affiliates are recruited to hack businesses and encrypt their devices. As part of this arrangement, the DarkSide ransomware developers receive a 10-25% cut, and an affiliate gets 75-90% of any ransom payments they generate. As DarkSide is a private operation, hackers who want to distribute their ransomware must first apply for access.

 

LinkedIn phishing scams most clicked with a 47% open rate in Q3 2020

According to data presented by the Atlas VPN team, emails impersonating LinkedIn were the most clicked on social media phishing attacks, with a 47% open rate in the third quarter of this year. The numbers are based on research by KnowBe4, which examined tens of thousands of email subject lines from simulated phishing tests in Q3 2020 based on real phishing attack data. Phishing is a type of social engineering attack used by cybercriminals to steal personal data from unsuspecting victims, such as their passwords or credit card information. Criminals reach out to the victims via email, instant messages, or telephone pretending to be from reputable companies to lure out sensitive information. Top-clicked LinkedIn phishing emails in the third quarter of 2020 include such subject lines as “You appeared in new searches this week!”, “People are looking at your LinkedIn profile”, “Please add me to your Linkedin network”, and “Join my network on LinkedIn”.

 

Apple iOS Safari feature can be used to share “fake news” headlines

A link-sharing feature in iOS versions of Apple Safari browser makes it possible for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users to alter headlines when sharing parts of webpages. A researcher has raised concerns this feature can be abused not only for pulling harmless pranks but for sharing “fake news” having a wider impact. When browsing webpages, such as news articles in the Safari web browser on an iPhone or iPad, users can choose to select and share a partial text excerpt from the page, rather than the entire page itself. However, the text excerpt can also come from a text input field that the user can control and edit. When sharing an excerpt from a page with other iPhone users via iMessage, the link preview generated contains the value of this shared text itself, rather than the webpage’s original headline. In other words, users can type an arbitrary text value in the search bar field of news websites, and then “share” this text value via iMessage.

 

IRS announces move to protect businesses from identity theft

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced today that sensitive information will be masked on all business tax transcripts starting next month to protect companies from identity theft. Business identity theft happens when company owners or employees are impersonated by third parties in the process of committing fraud such as illegally obtaining cash, credit, and loans, leaving the business to deal with the resulting debts. This type of identity theft occurs after fraudsters gain access to a business’ bank accounts and credit cards or following sensitive company information theft, including but not limited to tax identification numbers (TIN) and the owners’ personal info.

 

Video gaming can benefit mental health, find Oxford academics

Playing video games can be good for your mental health, a study from Oxford University has suggested, following a breakthrough collaboration in which academics at the university worked with actual gameplay data for the first time. The study, which focused on players of Nintendo’s springtime craze Animal Crossing, as well as EA’s shooter Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, found that people who played more games tended to report greater “wellbeing”, casting further doubt on reports that video gaming can harm mental health. Crucially, the study was one of the first to be done using actual play-time data. Thanks to the internet-connected nature of the games, the Oxford University team was able to link up psychological questionnaires with true records of time spent playing games. Previous studies had tended to focus on self-reported time playing, which is, the study found, only weakly correlated with reality.

 

New Study Pegs Hospitals as ‘Sitting Ducks’ for Cyberattacks

Maintaining good cybersecurity hygiene in healthcare settings has become a nightmare, new research indicates. IT budgets are tight, staff and skills are lacking, and leadership is hard to find as the impact on a CISO’s career is simply too big in case of a security incident. While some studies project a positive outlook for the global cybersecurity workforce, the healthcare industry doesn’t quite fit that model, according to Black Book Research. The firm’s surveys with various providers and job ranks have uncovered concerns about the state of cybersecurity in healthcare today. According to the research, there are so many gaps, vulnerabilities and deficiencies that healthcare institutions are essentially ‘sitting ducks’ for malicious actors.

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