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InfoSec News Nuggets 7/20/2020

Iran-linked hackers recently targeted coronavirus drugmaker Gilead

Hackers linked to Iran have targeted staff at U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc in recent weeks, according to publicly-available web archives reviewed by Reuters and three cybersecurity researchers, as the company races to deploy a treatment for the COVID-19 virus. In one case, a fake email login page designed to steal passwords was sent in April to a top Gilead executive involved in legal and corporate affairs, according to an archived version on a website used to scan for malicious web addresses. Reuters was not able to determine whether the attack was successful. Ohad Zaidenberg, lead intelligence researcher at Israeli cybersecurity firm ClearSky, who closely tracks Iranian hacking activity and has investigated the attacks, said the attempt was part of an effort by an Iranian group to compromise email accounts of staff at the company using messages that impersonated journalists.


Twitter breach exposes one of tech’s biggest threats: Its own employees

Cybersecurity professionals broadly agree on a central problem: Computers and code have clear fixes, but humans don’t. Twitter provided perhaps the highest-profile example of this challenge when its security was breached Wednesday, allowing for scam-filled messages to be sent from some of the most followed people on the platform, including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Kanye West and Elon Musk. Specifics of how the attack happened are still unconfirmed, but Twitter announced Wednesday night that it suspected “a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.” Put more simply, Twitter didn’t break. An employee did. Or more than one.


KFC is working with a Russian 3D bioprinting firm to try to make lab-produced chicken nuggets

KFC is trying to create the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets, part of its “restaurant of the future” concept, the company announced. The chicken restaurant chain will work with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions to develop bioprinting technology that will “print” chicken meat, using chicken cells and plant material. KFC plans to provide the bioprinting firm with ingredients like breading and spices “to achieve the signature KFC taste” and will seek to replicate the taste and texture of genuine chicken.


WhatsApp lawsuit against NSO Group spying can proceed, judge rules

A federal judge in California ruled Thursday evening that Facebook’s lawsuit alleging that NSO Group technology was used to spy on thousands of WhatsApp users can move forward. Facebook, which filed the suit last year, alleged NSO Group had exploited a vulnerability in WhatsApp to deploy its malware against human rights activists, journalists, and political dissidents. The decision marks a blow for the Israeli software surveillance company, which has vigorously denied the allegations and fought to get the suit thrown out of court. In allowing the case to move forward, the judge threw cold water on several of NSO Group’s arguments, leaving open the possibility the firm would have to reveal information about its clients and their spying targets.


BadPower attack corrupts fast chargers to melt or set your device on fire

Chinese security researchers said they can alter the firmware of fast chargers to cause damage to connected (charging) systems, such as melt components, or even set devices on fire. The technique, named BadPower, was detailed last week in a report published by Xuanwu Lab, a research unit of Chinese tech giant Tencent. According to researchers, BadPower works by corrupting the firmware of fast chargers — a new type of charger that was developed in the past few years to speed up charging times. A fast charger looks like any typical charger but works using special firmware. This firmware “talks” to a connected device and negotiates a charging speed, based on the device’s capabilities.


GitHub, the world’s largest open-source software site, just had mounds of data stored in the permafrost chamber of an old coal mine deep in an Arctic mountain for 1,000 years

Our successors 1,000 years into the future will be able to access data from what was the world’s largest network of open-source software at the start of the 21st century. The GitHub team just had a full archive of all current public repositories safely tucked into a decommissioned coal mine in the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen on the archipelago of Svalbard. Named the GitHub Arctic Code Vault, the project was originally introduced in 2019 and was finally carried out in early July “to preserve open-source software for future generations by storing your code in an archive built to last a thousand years,” according to a company blog post on Thursday. 

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