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InfoSec News Nuggets 6/25/2020

Warning: ‘Invisible God’ Hacker Sold Access To More Than 135 Companies In Just Three Years

Major antivirus companies, banks, insurance providers, government agencies, large hotels, wineries, restaurants, airlines. Think of almost any kind of company and there’s a good chance a prolific, financially-motivated hacker known as Fxmsp has broken into it, or attempted to, according to a report released Tuesday. Dubbed the “invisible god of networks,” he’s a suspected male from Kazakhstan who claimed to have broken into 135 companies since his first appearance in 2017, according to the report. Group-IB, a security company that recently shifted operations from Russia to Singapore, estimated he’s made $1.5 million along the way, working with an unidentified accomplice known as Lampeduza to sell access to victim networks.


DDoSecrets’ mission is ‘unchanged’ in wake of ‘Blue Leaks’ Twitter ban

After Twitter blacklisted an emerging anti-secrecy group for distributing a vast collection of data stolen from U.S. law enforcement agencies, a co-founder of the WikiLeaks-style startup says it won’t go away quietly. Emma Best, who helps lead Distributed Denial of Secrets, announced on a personal account Tuesday that Twitter had permanently banned the @DDoSecrets account for violating the company’s rules about distributing hacked materials. The move came four days after DDoSecrets published 269 GB of information, including training manuals and guides on containing protesters, initially taken from more than 200 U.S. police agencies. That publication marked the most significant form of hacktivism in recent memory, inserting DDoSecrets into the national news cycle alongside reports about police officers killing unarmed Black Americans. 


Google will auto-delete new users’ web data after 18 months

Google offers a lot of services, and therefore collects a lot of personal data. Whether it’s browsing history on Chrome, viewing history on YouTube or location history on Maps, the company has a good idea of who a user is and what they’re into. That data can help to personalize experiences, but it can also lead to privacy and security concerns. The company says it will now delete new users’ history after 18 months — on a rolling basis — by default. Last year, Google started to let users automatically delete their history after three or 18 months, but this was not enabled by default. Instead, they had to choose an auto-delete option or manually delete their history. Now, existing users may see reminders that they can use this feature, but the company won’t change their settings.


Slack promised to kill email, and Slack Connect might just do it

When you think of Slack, you probably think of a chat app that’s growing in popularity for businesses large and small. Originally designed by accident as something that could potentially replace email, Slack hasn’t quite killed off email just yet. But over the past four years, Slack has quietly been building a major platform change for its communications app that might help replace your work email in the future. Slack Connect furthers the idea of shared channels that let companies collaborate, allowing up to 20 organizations to work seamlessly together with apps, chat, and more. Over a million Slack users have been testing Slack Connect in recent months, and it’s launching for all paid plans today.


Can you 3D print Damascus steel? Pretty much, yeah

Damascus steel—and modern versions of the steelmaking technique—is generally synonymous with artisan forgework. In traditional Japanese sword-making, for example, the steel is repeatedly folded to produce hundreds or thousands of alternating layers, producing intricate patterns in the finished product. That’s not just for the visual effect—the layers alternate between hard-but-brittle and more flexible steel, combining for the best of both worlds. A new study led by Philipp Kürnsteiner of the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research shows that it is possible to do something very similar with laser additive manufacturing—3D printed metals. Traditional folded steels combined two steels that varied by carbon content and in their microscale structure, which is controlled by how quickly it cools (by quenching). In this case, the researchers were using a nickel-titanium-iron alloy steel that works well with these 3D printing techniques, in which metal powder is fed onto the work surface and heated with a laser.

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