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InfoSec News Nuggets 7/23/2020

TikTok might be sold to US investors to ward off security concerns

Chinese short video platform TikTok is currently facing close scrutiny and risks being booted out of the US — which is home to some of its most popular content creators — but the app may find a lifeline there. The Information reports that a number of US-based investors who already have a stake in TikTok‘s parent company, ByteDance, are considering purchasing the subsidiary company to gain control of the platform. The move could ease some concerns among governments and users about TikTok handing user data over to Chinese authorities.


Chris Vickery: AI Will Drive Tomorrow’s Data Breaches

From malicious hacks to accidental misconfigurations, Chris Vickery has seen it all. But as cybercriminals continue to innovate, Vickery, the director of risk research with UpGuard, said one emerging security threat will “blindside” the world: “fakeable” voices. More bad actors using artificial intelligence (AI) will create copycat voices of a trusted family member or executive, he said – and they then call individuals – and even enterprises – and scam them out of money or valuable data. Vickery also talks to Threatpost about fringe data breach discoveries he’s encountered over the last few years, as well as how the process of data breach disclosure is shifting and the best first steps companies can take once a data breach has been discovered.


Google lead says he’s “disappointed” with Apple’s new iPhone security program

Apple’s new hacker-friendly iPhones offer security researchers unrestricted access to devices so that they can easily hunt down vulnerabilities and bugs. But Ben Hawkes, technical lead at Project Zero, a team at Google tasked with discovering security flaws, says he’s “pretty disappointed” with Apple’s latest security program. Hawkes, in a Twitter thread, said that its team won’t be able to take advantage of Apple’s “Security Research Device” (SRD) iPhones since it appears to exclude security groups that have the policy to publish their findings in three months.


Ongoing Meow attack has nuked >1,000 databases without telling anyone why

More than 1,000 unsecured databases so far have been permanently deleted in an ongoing attack that leaves the word “meow” as its only calling card, according to Internet searches over the past day. At the time this post went live, the Shodan computer search site showed that 987 ElasticSearch and 70 MongoDB instances had been nuked by Meow. A separate, less-malicious attack tagged an additional 616 ElasticSearch, MongoDB, and Cassandra files with the string “university_cybersec_experiment.” That attackers in this case seem to be demonstrating to the database maintainers that the files are vulnerable to being viewed or deleted. The only thing left behind in the current attacks in the word “meow.”


College recruitment database leaking nearly 1 million students’ GPAs, SAT scores, IDs, and other personal data

We recently discovered an unsecured Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) bucket, or database, containing nearly 1 million records of sensitive high school student academic information. Included in this unsecured bucket are GPA scores, ACT, SAT, and PSAT scores, unofficial transcripts, student IDs, and students’ and parents’ names, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and more. The unsecured bucket seems to belong to CaptainU, an online platform that purports to help connect student athletes and colleges or universities that are interested in recruiting them for their athletic programs. Because of that, the bucket also contains pictures and videos of students’ athletic achievements, messages from students to coaches, and other recruitment materials. Because the data leaks concern minors (being high school students) aged 13-18, this leak seems particularly sensitive.

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