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Digital Forensics & Incident Response

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InfoSec News Nuggets 12/14/2020

Facebook links APT32, Vietnam’s primary hacking group, to local IT firm

In a surprising and unexpected announcement on Thursday, the Facebook security team has revealed the real identity of APT32, one of today’s most active state-sponsored hacking group, believed to be linked to the Vietnamese government. The company said it took this step after it detected APT32 using its platform to spread malware in attempts to infect users. “Our investigation linked this activity to CyberOne Group, an IT company in Vietnam (also known as CyberOne Security, CyberOne Technologies, Hành Tinh Company Limited, Planet and Diacauso),” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy at Facebook, and Mike Dvilyanski, Cyber Threat Intelligence Manager. A CyberOne spokesperson could not be reached for comment over the phone, as a previously listed phone number was offline. Emails sent to the company bounced.

 

Microsoft Edge gets a performance boost with sleeping tabs

Microsoft is rolling out a sleeping tabs feature to the new Chromium-based Edge web browser which will drastically reduce memory and CPU resource usage. The new feature is being deployed to all users running Microsoft Edge Beta 88 after its initial unveil, in September, as a Microsoft Edge experiment. “To improve the memory and CPU usage of the browser, we’ve launched ‘sleeping tabs’,” the Microsoft Edge Team said. “Just like a good night’s sleep allows you to stay focused and productive the next day, sleeping tabs helps optimize your browser’s performance by freeing up resources for the tabs you’re really using.

 

Users complain of missing message alerts in iOS 14

A number of iPhone users are having issues receiving notifications from Messages in a timely manner in iOS 14, with users not being informed via an alert or a red badge that there are unread messages waiting for them. The issue, which seems to have been limited to the iPhone 12 range of devices running on iOS 14 at first, has grown to affect a considerable number of people using other models of iPhone. An Apple support forum post titled “iOS 14 text notification issues” from September 19 currently has 43 pages of replies, and has been tagged with “I have this question too” by 5,265 users. The errors largely have the same symptoms, where users don’t see the banner on the lock screen, no notifications when messages come through, and no red dot indicator on the Messages app to show there are unread communications. Despite assorted attempts to fix the issue in different ways, ranging from restarting the iPhone to resetting it completely, and even to changing settings on other Apple hardware capable of receiving iCloud-synchronized messages, there doesn’t seem to be a concrete solution to the problem.

 

Facebook pushes back on antitrust lawsuits

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently argued against the two antitrust lawsuits filed this week that could result in the divestment of Instagram and WhatsApp, saying that Facebook’s 2012 and 2014 acquisitions were already cleared by by the U.S. government.

“Those acquisitions were cleared and if you can buy a company, and eight years, 10 years later, the government can clear them and unwind it — that’s going to be a really big chilling problem for American business, we are not going to be competitive around the world,” Sandberg said in an interview with Tamron Hall published on Thursday. Sandberg’s comments echoed those made by Facebook on Wednesday in response to the lawsuits, which were filed by the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of attorneys general from 48 states and territories.

 

U.S. Treasury breached by hackers backed by foreign government

Hackers believed to be working for Russia have been monitoring internal email traffic at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, according to people familiar with the matter, adding they feared the hacks uncovered so far may be the tip of the iceberg.  The hack is so serious it led to a National Security Council meeting at the White House on Saturday, said one of the people familiar with the matter. U.S. officials have not said much publicly beyond the Commerce Department confirming there was a breach at one of its agencies and that they asked the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI to investigate. National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot added that they “are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation.” The U.S. government has not publicly identified who might be behind the hacking, but three of the people familiar with the investigation said Russia is currently believed to be responsible for the attack.

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