DOJ: Former NSA Operatives Worked as Cyber-Mercenaries, Helping Hack U.S. Systems

source: gizmodo.com

Members of the U.S. intelligence community and military have reached a deferred prosecution agreement over their role in an overseas cyber-mercenary business.

 

Former U.S. intelligence operatives are facing federal charges after allegedly having worked as cyber-mercenaries for the United Arab Emirates. The men, all of whom are ex-employees of the National Security Agency, are accused of helping the UAE government to break into computer systems all over the world, including some in the U.S., newly unsealed court documents claim.

Marc Baier, 49, Ryan Adams, 34, and Daniel Gericke, 40, are all charged with having broken federal laws related to computer fraud and export regulations, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Between 2016 and 2019, the trio worked as senior managers at Dark Matter, an Emirati cybersecurity company. Working out of a converted mansion in Abu Dhabi, the team was part of an operation dubbed “Project Raven,” the likes of which was staffed almost wholly by former U.S. intelligence officials. Their services helped the Middle Eastern monarchy to carry out hacking operations against its perceived enemies, including activists, political rivals and journalists, Reuters previously reported.

Continue reading “DOJ: Former NSA Operatives Worked as Cyber-Mercenaries, Helping Hack U.S. Systems”

source: cnet.com

 

The Department of Homeland Security enlists Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others to help combat cyberthreats.

US taps tech giants to help fight ransomware, cyberattacks

 

 

The US government is turning to tech giants including Amazon, Microsoft and Google to help bolster cybersecurity, after a string of high-profile attacks involving critical infrastructure. 

The initiative, called the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, was unveiled Thursday by Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security. The effort, reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, will initially focus on combating ransomware and developing a framework to deal with cyberattacks that affect providers of cloud services. It also aims to improve information sharing between the government and the private sector, with the goal of reducing the risk of attacks and ensuring a coordinated response. 

“The JCDC presents an exciting and important opportunity for this agency and our partners — the creation of a unique planning capability to be proactive vice reactive in our collective approach to dealing with the most serious cyber threats to our nation,” said Easterly. “The industry partners that have agreed to work side-by-side with CISA and our interagency teammates share the same commitment to defending our country’s national critical functions from cyber intrusions, and the imagination to spark new solutions.” 

The team-up follows several high-profile ransomware and cyberattack episodes in the US. So far this year, ransomware attacks have shut down a gas pipeline and a major meat producer, spurring fears of shortages and concerns that other critical infrastructure is at risk. A number of federal agencies also fell victim to the SolarWinds hack that was uncovered last year, including high-level officials at the DHS

Earlier this year, the Biden administration unveiled several efforts to shore up cybersecurity practices across federal agencies, including a $20 billion plan to secure the country’s infrastructure against cyberattacks. 

Other companies participating with multiple government agencies in the JCDC include AT&T, CrowdStrike, FireEye, Lumen, Palo Alto Networks and Verizon.

“In order to bolster our nation’s cyber defenses, it’s essential that the public and private sectors work together to defend against evolving threats and shore up modern IT capabilities that will protect our federal, state and local governments,” said Phil Venables, chief information security officer at Google Cloud, in an emailed statement. “We look forward to working with CISA under the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative and offering our security resources to build a stronger and more resilient cyber defense posture.”

Amazon and Microsoft didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

 

 

 

 

source: dhs.gov (contributed by FAN Steve Jones)

We’ve all walked through a metal detector at the airport, hoping we didn’t forget anything in our pockets that will set off the alarm. When security personnel can’t immediately identify what is triggering the alarm, the process is halted for a pat down. Though this slows the screening process significantly for people waiting in line and can be an uncomfortable experience for the individual being screened, it is an essential element of keeping all travelers safe.

xTo improve airport security, both for screeners and for those being screened, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) continually invests in research and development (R&D) to build solutions for the future. S&T’s Screening at Speed Program partners with government, academia, and industry to increase security effectiveness at the airport from curb to gate, while dramatically reducing screening wait times and improving the passenger experience

image - china tech

 

China’s AI Deployment in Africa Poses Risks to Security and Sovereignty

source: aspistrategist.com

The competition to dominate Africa’s artificial intelligence and critical infrastructure markets is geopolitical and Beijing is racing for the lead. During the past 20 years, China has been rapidly building its communications infrastructure and advancing data-surveillance capabilities globally, and has taken a strong interest in spearheading development of Africa’s technology markets. President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative has been the primary conduit for China’s expansion on the continent.

When the BRI was first introduced in 2013, many African leaders shared Xi’s view that inadequate infrastructure was the greatest barrier to economic development. So far, 40 out of 54 African countries have signed BRI agreements.

Continue reading “China’s AI Deployment in Africa Poses Risks to Security and Sovereignty”

source: securityweek.com

Researchers Abuse Apple’s Find My Network for Data Upload

Security researchers have discovered a way to leverage Apple’s Find My’s Offline Finding network to upload data from devices, even those that do not have a Wi-Fi or mobile network connection.

Using Bluetooth Low Energy, the data is being sent to nearby Apple devices that do connect to the Internet, and then sent to Apple’s servers, from where it can be retrieved at a later date.

The technique could be used to avoid the costs and power usage associated with mobile Internet, or to exfiltrate data from Faraday-shielded sites visited by iPhone users, researchers with Positive Security, a Berlin-based security consulting firm.

Continue reading “Researchers Abuse Apple’s Find My Network for Data Upload”

 

source:  nytimes.com

A Guantánamo detainee is seeking information from two former government contractors in connection with a Polish criminal inquiry into a facility there.

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether the government can block a detainee at Guantánamo Bay from obtaining information from two former C.I.A. contractors involved in torturing him on the ground that it would expose state secrets.

The detainee, known as Abu Zubaydah, sought to subpoena the contractors, James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, in connection with a Polish criminal investigation. The inquiry was prompted by a determination by the European Court of Human Rights that Mr. Zubaydah had been tortured in 2002 and 2003 at so-called black sites operated by the C.I.A., including one in Poland.

Continue reading “Supreme Court to Rule on Whether C.I.A…”

source: wired.com

Faces of the Riot used open source software to detect, extract, and deduplicate every face from the 827 videos taken from the insurrection on January 6.

WHEN HACKERS EXPLOITED a bug in Parler to download all of the right-wing social media platform’s contents last week, they were surprised to find that many of the pictures and videos contained geolocation metadata revealing exactly how many of the site’s users had taken part in the invasion of the US Capitol building just days before. But the videos uploaded to Parler also contain an equally sensitive bounty of data sitting in plain sight: thousands of images of unmasked faces, many of whom participated in the Capitol riot. Now one website has done the work of cataloging and publishing every one of those faces in a single, easy-to-browse lineup.

Late last week, a website called Faces of the Riot appeared online, showing nothing but a vast grid of more than 6,000 images of faces, each one tagged only with a string of characters associated with the Parler video in which it appeared. The site’s creator tells WIRED that he used simple open source machine learning and facial recognition software to detect, extract, and deduplicate every face from the 827 videos that were posted to Parler from inside and outside the Capitol building on January 6, the day when radicalized Trump supporters stormed the building in a riot that resulted in five people’s deaths. The creator of Faces of the Riot says his goal is to allow anyone to easily sort through the faces pulled from those videos to identify someone they may know or recognize who took part in the mob, or even to reference the collected faces against FBI wanted posters and send a tip to law enforcement if they spot someone. Continue reading “This Site Published Every Face From Parler’s Capitol Riot Videos”

The Biggest Security Threats to the US Are the Hardest to Define

source: wired.com

In a Senate briefing, the heads of the major intelligence agencies warned the public about dangers that offer no easy solutions.

 

IT’S BEEN TWO years since the heads of the top US intelligence agencies last came to Congress for an update on global threats; they skipped 2020 amid tensions with former president Donald Trump. In the Biden administration, though, the public hearing was back on Wednesday. Their message: With sprawling crises like the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change, the gravest threats to US national security have ballooned into complicated and interconnected specters that the intelligence community can only warn about.

In a public hearing before the Senate intelligence committee, and a corresponding report released on Tuesday, directors of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA, and FBI laid out their agencies’ assessments. They highlighted cybersecurity and offensive hacking as a major topic in light of the SolarWinds attacks, which they firmly attributed to Russia. They also pointed to technological innovation, particularly advances from China, that threaten to undermine the security of US infrastructure. 

 

Continue reading “The Biggest Security Threats to the US Are the Hardest to Define”

Roughly 200 million people using Microsoft services already have made the jump past passwords

Microsoft Promises to Ease the Pains of Going Passwordless

source: cnet.com

Microsoft is updating its widely used cloud computing technology to make it easier for millions of us to dump our passwords.

The tech giant is making passwordless login a standard feature for Azure Active Directory, a cloud-based service customers can use to handle their employees’ login chores, the company said at its Ignite conference on Tuesday. The three-day conference, held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is geared for IT and other tech staff who use Microsoft’s products. Continue reading “Microsoft Promises to Ease the Pains of Going Passwordless”

 

A Look Into the Pricing of Stolen Identities For Sale on Dark Web

source:  securitymagazine.com

 

After a data breach, much of that stolen personal and sometimes highly personally identifiable information (PII) is sold on markets residing within the dark web. But, how much does the sale of stolen information work, exactly, and how much money are criminals making from stolen data?

Comparitech researchers analyzedlistings across 40+ dark web marketplaces gathering data on how much stolen identities, credit cards and hacked PayPal accounts are worth to cybercriminals. 

Here are some key findings:

  1. Americans have the cheapest “fullz” (full credentials e.g. SSN, name, DOB etc), averaging $8 per record. Japan and the UAE have the most expensive identities at an average of $25. Not all fullz are the same. While SSN, name, and DOB are all fairly standard in fullz, other information can be included or excluded and thereby change the price. Fullz that come with a driver’s license number, bank account statement, or utility bill will be worth more than those without, for example. Some fullz even include photos or scans of identification cards, such as a passport or driver’s license.
  2. Prices for stolen credit cards range widely from $0.11 to $986. Hacked PayPal accounts range from $5 to $1,767.
  3. The median credit limit on a stolen credit card is 24 times the price of the card.
  4. The median account balance of a hacked PayPal account is 32 times the price on the dark web.

Credit cards, Paypal accounts, and fullz are the most popular types of stolen information traded on the dark web, but they’re far from the only data worth stealing, says Comparitech. Other types of stolen information usually for sale are: passports, driver’s licenses, frequent flyer miles, streaming accounts, dating profiles, social media accounts, bank accounts, and debit cards.

This data – most often stolen through phishing, credential stuffing, data breaches, and card skimmers – is bought and sold on dark web marketplaces. Here’s a few tips for avoiding those attacks, from Comparitech researchers: 

  • There’s not much an end user can do about data breaches except to register fewer accounts and minimize your digital footprint.
  • Keep an eye out for card skimmers at points of sale, particularly unmanned ones such as those at gas stations.
  • Learn how to spot and avoid phishing emails and other messages.
  • Credential stuffing can be avoided by using strong, unique passwords on all of your accounts.

For the full blog, please visit https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/dark-web-prices/