Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, May 31, 2024

Subject: Microsoft Copilot+ Recall feature ‘privacy nightmare’
Source: BBC

The UK data watchdog says it is “making enquiries with Microsoft” over a new feature that can take screenshots of your laptop every few seconds. Microsoft says Recall, which will store encrypted snapshots locally on your computer, is exclusive to its forthcoming Copilot+ PCs.But the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says it is contacting Microsoft for more information on the safety of the product, which privacy campaigners have called a potential “privacy nightmare”. Microsoft says Recall is an “optional experience” and it is committed to privacy and security.

According to its website, users “can limit which snapshots Recall collects”.


Subject: Google Researchers Say AI Now Leading Disinformation Vector
Source: 404 Media

404 Media – and Are Severely Undercounting the Problem – “As an endless stream of entirely wrong and sometimes dangerous AI-generated answers from Google are going viral on social media, new research from Google researchers and several fact checking organizations have found that most image-based disinformation is now AI-generated, but the way researchers collected their data suggests that the problem is even worse than they claim. The paper, first spotted by the Faked Up newsletter, measures the rise of AI-generated image-based disinformation by looking at…

Abstracted from beSpacific
Copyright © 2024 beSpacific, All rights reserved.

Subject: 90 malicious apps evade Play Store security, amass 5.5 million downloads
Source: Android Headlines

Despite Google’s best efforts, malicious Android apps frequently bypass its security measures and make their way into the Play Store. Users then download those apps assuming they are safe, only to be another victim of malware campaigns. Security researchers Zscaler ThreatLabz recently discovered over 90 such Android apps with combined downloads of over 5.5 million on the Play Store. In a blog post, the research firm highlighted a recent surge in the Anatsa banking trojan’s activity. Also known as Teabot, the trojan targets apps from over 650 financial institutions worldwide, attempting to steal people’s banking credentials to perform fraudulent transactions. It achieved over 150,000 infections within a few months between late 2023 and February 2024 via the Play Store using various decoy apps.

Avoid downloading third-party alternatives for stock apps. The researchers didn’t disclose the names of the other malicious apps found on the Play Store. They said the apps impersonated various productivity tools, personalization tools, photography utilities, and health & fitness apps. The firm has probably already reported the apps to Google and may have got them removed from the Play Store.


RSS Feed:

Subject: U.S. sanctions Chinese nationals behind massive 911 S5 botnet

May 28 (UPI) — The Biden administration on Tuesday sanctioned three Chinese nationals behind the massive 911 S5 botnet that officials said was used to grift billions of COVID-19 assistance funds from the U.S. government. The 911 S5 was a malicious service that comprised victims’ computers, allowing cybercriminals to conceal the location of their own computers. According U.S. Treasury, cybercriminals would pay to choose which IP addresses of compromised computers to spoof the origins of their cyberattacks.

Some 19 million IP address were compromised by 911 S5, which were used to file tens of millions of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act applications, seeing billions stolen from the U.S. government, the Treasury said. Compromised addresses were also linked to several bomb threats made in the U.S. in July 2022.



Subject: New Tech Locates Cell Phones of Lost Hikers
Source: Slashdot via Phone Scoop

A Spanish company has developed a new product that search and rescue teams can use to locate people in distress in remote areas dramatically faster than previous methods. Lifeseeker mimics a cellular tower to connect to cell phones carried the people who may need rescue, even where there is no cellular service. The product can be mounted to a helicopter, plane, or drone. In as little as a minute of flying around, the person’s location can be pinpointed. It works even at night, in low visibility, and from as far as 20 miles away. A recent test in Colorado found two people in just over two minutes. Lifeseeker can also send messages to phones, giving instructions or sending broadcast alerts.

Subject: HHS targets single points of failure in healthcare cybersecurity
Source: Becker’s Health IT

The February cyberattack on Change Healthcare has led HHS to develop a map detailing the cybersecurity risks linked to the dominance of a single technology supplier, referred to as a single point of failure, The Wall Street Journal reported May 30. Since the Change incident, cybersecurity experts have held meetings with HHS officials to identify single points of failure, Greg Garcia, executive director for cybersecurity at the Healthcare Sector Coordinating Council, a group that collaborates with the federal government on cybersecurity and provides policy advice, told the Journal.

According to Mr. Garcia, HHS officials have provided project participants with diagrams illustrating the connections among companies within the healthcare supply chain. He said the project may ultimately identify companies as critical “chokepoints” within the sector.


Subject: The NSA advises you to turn your phone off and back on once a week – here’s why
Source: ZDNET

Powering off your phone regularly, disabling Bluetooth when it’s not needed, and using only trusted accessories are just some of the NSA’s security recommendations.

In a Mobile Device Best Practices report, the NSA serves up a variety of tips designed to thwart hackers and attackers from assaulting your mobile device. One method is as simple as turning your phone off and on.

There are several ways to protect yourself, the NSA suggests:

  • Update your apps. Be sure to update your apps and operating system with the latest security patches.
  • Use official app stores. Install apps only from official stores, such as Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.
  • Don’t click. Avoid clicking on links or file attachments in emails and text messages, as those are common ways to trigger malware.
  • Watch out for public Wi-Fi networks. Avoid joining public networks when possible. To add to the NSA’s advice here, I’d recommend using a VPN whenever you join a public network.
  • Disable Bluetooth. Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it to prevent an unauthorized device from connecting to your phone.
  • Use a secure passcode. Create a strong passcode with at least six digits to lock and unlock your phone.
  • Leverage biometrics. For greater security and convenience, enable your device’s built-in facial or fingerprint scanning.
  • Use trusted accessories. Use only original charging cords or charging accessories from a trusted manufacturer. Avoid public USB charging stations.
  • Turn off location services. Disable location services when not needed.


Posted in: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Financial System, Healthcare, Privacy, Social Media