SKY ECC August 2019 Newsletter

Hello, and welcome to the August 2019 edition of the SKY ECC newsletter…blog edition! This month we view an internet under attack as Neo-Nazis attack journalists with SWATting, ransomware attacks Germans, Facebook plans on attacking the encryption of WhatsApp, over 65,000 attacks against your credit card info were stopped in July, and four major telecom companies in the US are being attacked for their poor data retention policies by a US Senator.

Neo-Nazis targeting dozens of journalists

In news that should bother everyone, not just vulnerable journalists doing dangerous work, dozens of journalists have been targeted by Neo-Nazi hackers with swatting attacks. What’s a swatting attack? It’s when a hacker finds out information about where you live or are and sends the local SWAT team to your house with a bogus report of a serious crime at the location of the targeted victim.

Internet hero Brian Krebs uncovered Doxbin, an internet site where these types of ‘people’ gather and pool information about targets they want to attack. One such victim is Leonard G. Pitts, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist who Doxbin users described as “Anti-white race/politics writer”, and thus worthy of having the police show up suspecting him of murder, forcing him outside to his knees, and handcuffing him.

Not horrible enough? How about the ordeal of Carey Holzman:
  • Calls to his phone at all hours of the night from people saying they were going to hire a hitman to kill him
  • Threats that he was going to be framed for drug possession by having cocaine bought off the dark web sent to his house.
  • A package arrived filled with a white powder, which Mr. Holzman turned over to the police.
  • A swatting incident involving 10 police cars and a helicopter showing up while he was live streaming a computer build he was building was to give away for free to a viewer of his who didn’t have the money for a new computer.

These are all examples of why you need a secure messaging service as hackers love to intercept metadata which shows you location. Important figures especially must take note of this in today’s volatile and vicious political environment.

Germany under attack by ransomware

Most ransomware encrypts data so that people have to pay for the decrypt key. A very dangerous new ransomware is sweeping German right now with terrible results. Instead of encrypting the information of victims it is simply replacing the data with zeroes, completely erasing it.

This means that even if you pay for the ransomware to be unlocked you will not get your information back. The malware is spread by an email claiming to be from a woman applying for a job. Downloading her CV downloads the malware. Here’s a screenshot:

Being careful with what you download at all times is crucial. Downloads impacting the integrity of systems is an aspect of why we lock our own devices down so hard.

Facebook planning to turn WhatsApp into wiretapping service

Facebook plans on turning WhatsApp into an always-on wiretapping service. This comes from AG Barr once again flapping his completely uneducated gums on encryption backdoors needing to be built in to devices, as well as a Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s idea for backdoor access.

Here’s Facebook’s vision for WhatsApp:
  • Embedded content moderation and blacklist filtering algorithms will be installed on devices.
  • These algorithms will be continually updated.
  • Messages sent and received will be analysed by these algorithms.
  • Flagged content will be sent back to the WhatsApp servers for further analysis.

If this is successful, how long will it be until the government starts adding filters to the algorithm to pick up messages which they’re interested in? How many innocents would be flagged and have their privacy violated for no reason?

Malwarebytes stops 65,000 credit cards thefts

These 65,000 credit card thefts were stopped in just July 2019 alone by Malwarebytes. They were coming from compromised online stores, underscoring the need to vigilance while you shop online.

These attacks broke down heavily towards the USA, with 53.5% attacks happening against ‘Muricans, followed by those Canuck-ing Canadians with 15.7% percent, and ‘don’t make fun of their name’ Germans with 6.8%:

Telecom companies attacked for poor data retention policies

In a big case of “ya, no duh. This is why we’re using SKY ECC!”, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon have all had a bit of a wake up call from US Senator Ron Wyden after he wrote an open letter to them about their dismal customer privacy policies.

His main concerns were centered around spying by foreign governments being made easier thanks to the data storage. He is asking them to limit how long they store data, citing a report that data is still being kept for international call records from 1987. He stated in his letter “firms do not need 20 years worth of customer records to manage their networks.” He is, of course, correct. They don’t even need 20 days worth of records.

The last word…

Are you using your Windows machine for gaming on Steam? If so, there’s a new privilege escalation attack which “allows running any program with the highest possible rights on any Windows computer with Steam installed.” You may want to protect yourself as the Hacker reported it as a serious issue, but Steam responded thusly…

Links to stories mentioned: