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InfoSec News Nuggets 11/21/2019

1 – NTSB blames Uber’s ‘inadequate safety culture’ for self-driving fatality

The NTSB has lambasted Uber’s “inadequate safety culture” and “lack of risk assessment mechanisms” before its self-driving fatality. In March 2018, an autonomous 2017 Volvo XC90 struck and killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg as she crossed the street in Tempe, Arizona. Officials have also assigned blame to the safety driver, who at the time was watching The Voice on her smartphone. NTSB chair Robert L. Sumwalt said “the collision was the last link in a long chain of actions and decisions made by an organization that unfortunately did not make safety the top priority.”


2 – Antivirus vendors and non-profits join to form ‘Coalition Against Stalkerware’

Ten organizations today announced the creation of the Coalition Against Stalkerware, the first global initiative of its kind, with the sole purpose of fighting against stalkerware. Also known as spouseware, stalkerware is a smaller category of the spyware class. Stalkerware refers to apps that abusive partners install on the devices of their loved ones without their knowledge or consent. They contain features that allow the abuser to track their significant other’s geographical location, web browsing habits, social media activity, log keystrokes inside instant messaging apps, retrieve photos, or even record audio and video without the owner’s knowledge.


3 – FBI Denver Warns of Scammers Spoofing FBI Phone Numbers and Using Threats and Intimidation to Trick Victims

The FBI Denver Division is warning the public of a recent phone scam that spoofs, or fraudulently displays, the FBI’s real telephone number on the victim’s caller ID. The scammer impersonates a government official and uses intimidation tactics, such as the threat of arrest, to demand payment of money purportedly owed to the government. These claims are false and the calls are not from the FBI. The FBI Denver Division has seen its main number, (303) 629-7171, spoofed in this manner recently, as well as the numbers of its Resident Agencies, or satellite offices, throughout Colorado and Wyoming. Citizens nationwide have been targeted. This scam is called government impersonation fraud and is a crime in which scammers impersonate government officials in an attempt to collect money.


4 – Exposed database left terabyte of travelers’ data open to the public 

The exposed database contained travelers’ information like names, home addresses, lodging, children’s personal information, credit card numbers and thousands of passwords stored in plaintext, the security researchers said Wednesday. The database stores information on 140,000 clients, each of which could be an individual, a group of travelers or an organization. The database belongs to Gekko Group, a subsidiary of France-based AccorHotels, Europe’s largest hospitality company. Gekko Group handles business travel and luxury travel with more than 600,000 hotels across the world, according to its website. AccorHotels referred to Gekko Group for comment. 


5 – US Senator: ‘Amazon Ring’s policies are an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations’

US Senator Edward Markey yesterday revealed the results of a months-long investigation into Amazon‘s Ring camera-doorbells and the company’s relationship with law enforcement. The Senator’s press team dubbed the findings “alarming” and called the company’s policies “an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations.” The press release, which you can read in full here, describes several key findings indicating that Amazon executives took little or no action to prevent or discourage misuse of camera footage by law enforcement, even going so far as to urge officers to “to take steps that will increase rates of video sharing” and approaching customers with targeted language intended to convince them to give footage to law enforcement.


6 – Password data for ~2.2 million users of currency and gaming sites dumped online

Password data and other personal information belonging to as many as 2.2 million users of two websites—one a cryptocurrency wallet service and the other a gaming bot provider—have been posted online, according to Troy Hunt, the security researcher behind the Have I Been Pwned breach notification service. One haul includes personal information for as many as 1.4 million accounts from the GateHub cryptocurrency wallet service. The other contains data for about 800,000 accounts on RuneScape bot provider EpicBot. The databases include registered email addresses and passwords that were cryptographically hashed with bcrypt, a function that’s among the hardest to crack.


7 – New York judge rules US government can intervene in $7M Bitcoin scam

The US government will be able to intervene in a civil case against Jon Barry Thompson, a man charged with running a fraudulent Bitcoin escrow firm which took over $7 million in cryptocurrency from victims. The government, represented by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, filed a request for intervention and staying civil proceedings until the conclusion of the parallel criminal case, on November 18. Judge Loretta A. Preska from the New York Southern District Court ruled in favour of the government intervening in civil proceedings, which reportedly mirror the criminal case against Barry, Finance Feeds reports.


8 – This transforming drone can be fired straight out of a cannon

Drones are incredibly useful machines in the air, but getting them up and flying can be tricky, especially in crowded, windy, or emergency scenarios when speed is a factor. But a group of researchers from Caltech university and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have come up with an elegant and oh-so-fun solution: fire the damn thing out of a cannon. The engineers’ creation is called SQUID, short for Streamlined Quick Unfolding Investigation Drone, and it looks rather like one of those whistling Nerf balls. It’s under a foot long (27 centimeters), weighs 18 ounces (530 grams), and has four spring-loaded rotor arms that snap into place in less than a tenth of a second after the drone is launched.


9 – Salesforce warns the health industry: the tech world is eyeing your market

As Salesforce expands its business into industry-specific products and services, the health sector is an obvious target — the US spent more than $3.5 trillion on health care in 2018. It’s also an industry in clear need of a digital transformation.  “It’s almost 2020 and, Teslas are nearly driving themselves,” Dr. Ashwini Zenooz, Salesforce’s SVP of healthcare and life sciences, said on stage at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. Yet “doctors are communicating with each other and sharing information with each other using fax machines.” Zenooz laid out an alternative reality, in which patients receive personalized care and health providers can leverage predictive tools.  


10 – uBlock Origin Now Blocks Sneaky First-Party Trackers in Firefox

uBlock Origin on Firefox can now block first-party tracking scripts that attempt to bypass filters and rules by utilizing DNS CNAME records to load scripts from a third-party domain. A first-party tracker is when the tracking script is located on the same domain as the web site, while a third-party tracker is when the tracking script is located on another domain. As browsers begin to block third-party trackers as part of their tracking protection features, some web sites have switched to first-party trackers in order to bypass these protections.


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