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InfoSec News Nuggets 2/22/2024

Reward Offers for Information on LockBit Leaders and Designating Affiliates

The Department of State is announcing reward offers totaling up to $15 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of any individual participating in a LockBit ransomware variant attack and for information leading to the identification and/or location of any key leaders of the LockBit ransomware group. Since January 2020, LockBit actors have executed over 2,000 attacks against victims in the United States, and around the world, causing costly disruptions to operations and the destruction or exfiltration of sensitive information.  More than $144 million in ransom payments have been made to recover from LockBit ransomware events. The reward offer complements announcements by the Department of Justice  and the Federal Bureau of Investigation  with the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, along with other international partners, of a coordinated series of law enforcement actions that will disrupt the LockBit ransomware criminal organization.


Signal Finally Rolls Out Usernames, So You Can Keep Your Phone Number Private

FOR NEARLY A decade, cybersecurity professionals and privacy advocates have recommended the end-to-end encrypted communications app Signal as the gold standard for truly private digital communications. Using it, however, has paradoxically required exposing one particular piece of private information to everyone you text or call: a phone number. Now, that’s finally changing. Today, Signal launched the rollout in beta of a long-awaited set of features it’s describing simply as “phone number privacy.” Those features, which WIRED has tested, are designed to allow users to conceal their phone numbers as they communicate on the app and instead share a username as a less-sensitive method of connecting with one another. Rather than give your phone number to other Signal contacts as the identifier they use to begin a conversation with you, in other words, you can now choose to be discoverable via a chosen handle—or even to prevent anyone who does have your phone number from finding you on Signal.


Unmasking I-Soon | The Leak That Revealed China’s Cyber Operations

I-Soon (上海安洵), a company that contracts for many PRC agencies–including the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, and People’s Liberation Army–was subject to a data leak over the weekend of Feb 16th. It is not known who pilfered the information nor their motives, but this leak provides a first-of-its-kind look at the internal operations of a state-affiliated hacking contractor. The authenticity of the documents is still undecided. While the leak’s contents do confirm public threat intelligence, efforts to corroborate further the documents are on-going.


Apple Ramps Up iMessage Security to Fight Looming Quantum Computing Threat

Apple says there’s a real risk that future quantum computers could be able to decrypt and read content sent via its iMessage app, so it developed a new protocol to combat the potential threat. To create the new iMessage protocol, which is called PQ3, Apple says it rebuilt its cryptographic protocol “from the ground up” to redesign iMessage from a security standpoint. PQ stands for post-quantum, and Apple says PQ3 brings a third level of protection to its end users. It’s also able to conceal the size of messages, the company says. Content on iMessage is currently end-to-end encrypted, meaning messages from both the sender and receiver are encrypted so that not even Apple can view your messages.


POTUS executive order aims to keep U.S. ports safe from cyberattack

The 2024 Presidential campaign touched the cybersecurity community today as President Biden announced plans to sign an executive order (EO) that gives the U.S. Coast Guard the authority to more effectively respond to cybersecurity incidents and require the maritime industry to report cyberattacks to the Coast Guard. Cybersecurity has been a consistent priority for the Biden administration since its May 2021 EO and successive attempts to launch a National Cybersecurity Strategy in 2023. The EO fact sheet released by the White House this morning had the air of a political document, as the administration said today’s actions are “clear examples of the President’s work to invest in America, secure the country’s supply chains, and strengthen the cybersecurity of our nation’s critical infrastructure against 21st century threats.”


Cyber Pros Embrace AI, Over 80% Believe It Will Enhance Jobs

Most cybersecurity professionals believe that AI will have a positive impact on their jobs, helping alleviate pressures caused by the cyber skills gap, a new report by ISC2 has found. More than four in five (82%) of respondents agreed that AI will improve job efficiency for cyber professionals, with 42% strongly agreeing with this statement. An even higher proportion (88%) expect AI will significantly impact their job over the next couple of years, with 35% stating that it already has. More than half (56%) of those surveyed believe AI will make some parts of their job obsolete. This isn’t necessarily a negative given the growing cybersecurity workforce gap, according to ISC2, which estimates there is a shortfall of four million people in this industry.

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