(CNN) A winter storm and lengthy cold snap have crippled power facilities in Texas and caused about 2.3 million outages as of Wednesday evening, leaving residents in the cold and dark for several days.
An unidentified hacker has accessed the computer systems for the water treatment facility in the city of Oldsmar, Florida, and has modified chemical levels to dangerous parameters.
News of the attack was disclosed today in a press conference by city officials.
The intrusion took place on Friday, February 5, when the hacker accessed a computer system that was set up to allow for the remote control of water treatment operations.
The hacker first accessed this system at 8 am, in the morning, and then again for a second and more prolonged intrusion at 1:30 pm, in the afternoon.
This second intrusion lasted for about five minutes and was detected right away by an operator who was monitoring the system and saw the hacker move the mouse cursor on the screen and access software responsible for water treatment.
HACKER MODIFIED LYE LEVELS
“Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is the main ingredient in liquid drain cleaners. It’s also used to control water acidity and remove metals from drinking water in the water treatment plant,” said Oldsmar Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
“The hacker changed the sodium hydroxide from about 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. This is obviously a significant and potentially dangerous increase.”
Oldsmar city staff said that no tainted water was delivered to local residents as the attack was caught in time before any lye levels could be deployed.
According to Sheriff Gualtieri, the hacker disconnected as soon as they modified the lye levels, and a human operator set the chemical level back to normal right away.
Officials didn’t attribute the attack to any specific hacker group or entity. The timing of the attack is also of note as the city of Oldsmar is located near the Tampa urban center, which hosted the Super Bowl LV game on Sunday.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
This is the second incident of its kind where a hacker has accessed a water treatment facility and modified chemical levels.
A similar incident was reported back in 2015-2016 at an unnamed water treatment facility, but investigators said the intruders didn’t seem to know what they were doing, making random changes, and investigators classified the intrusion as an accident rather than an intentional attack.
Another set of attacks took place earlier this year, but without as dire consequences. In the spring and summer of 2020, Israeli officials reported attacks against local water treatment facilities, water pumps, and agricultural irrigation systems.
Tel Aviv officials, which blamed the attacks on the Iranian government, said hackers tried to access the management panels of several types of smart water management systems and asked local organizations to change their passwords.
None of the attacks were successful, officials and local media reported at the time.
Have you ever googled yourself? A crush? Your neighbors? 57% of Americans admit to keeping an eye on their online reputation, and 46% admit to using the internet to look up someone from their past.
But Google is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding personal information. There’s a new website going around that users are calling “creepy,” “scary,” and “awesome.”
Have you ever been issued a speeding ticket? Failed to stop at a stop sign? Do you know someone who’s had a run-in with the law? If you’re like most of us, the answer to at least one of those questions is “yes.” Most of us have slipped up at least once or twice. In fact, one in four Americans has an arrest or a criminal record.
An innovative new website called Truthfinder is now revealing the full “scoop” on millions of Americans.
TruthFinder can search through hundreds of millions of public records in a matter of minutes. TruthFinder members can literally begin searching in seconds for sensitive data like criminal, traffic, and arrest records. Plus, they are able to check as many records as they want (think: friends, family, neighbors, enemies, etc. etc.).
Previously, if you needed to research somebody’s arrest records, it involved a lot of work. First, you’d need to know where the arrest records were located. Then you’d have to travel to the appropriate county court office — in person! After filling out long and boring paperwork, you’d have to wait for the results.
Searching arrest records could take days, weeks, or even months. And what if somebody was hiding an arrest in an unknown county? You might never find it.
But with websites like TruthFinder, a background check is simple and easy. With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can find detailed and explicit information not readily available through a standard search engine.
I decided to test it out for myself and discover what information TruthFinder might expose about me. The search was easy, and after a few minutes, I found myself staring at my background report — and it wasn’t pretty!
There was that mortifying blog that I’d started in high school, still up for all the world to see! My report even included embarrassing photographs of myself that I’d totally forgotten about. I couldn’t believe that TruthFinder even found my secret social media profiles that I’d created under an alias. The sheer volume of data about me was definitely scary. I feel like a perfect stranger could look me up on TruthFinder and find out my entire life story.
After conducting just one search, I was totally hooked. I just couldn’t believe that it was legal to have this many personal details online! One of my friends from back home has pretty much dropped off the map entirely for the past three years. I’ve been kind of worried about him, and nobody seemed to know where he had gone. So, I typed his name into TruthFinder and was absolutely devastated by the search results.
My “friend” had gone to jail. TruthFinder had every single detail on the case, from the date he was arrested to which prison he was currently in. But the gruesome description of his offence made me realize that I probably needed to reevaluate who my friends were. This guy’s records listed charge after charge for battery, assault, and child abuse. His criminal record read like an infinite scroll of total depravity. I just couldn’t believe it.
From now on, I’m looking up everybody — no matter how normal they seem. Luckily for me, TruthFinder offers unlimited searches, so I’ll never be fooled again.
Although TruthFinder can show deeply shocking criminal records, I’ve really been surprised by just how practical it is as an everyday tool. I’ve used it to look up addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, estimated income levels, assets — heck, I’ve even found Amazon wishlists on TruthFinder. One time I looked up Todd Kohlhepp, the scary serial killer from South Carolina who confessed to seven murders. Well, guess what? His Amazon profile came up in his background report, and let me tell you, it was downright chilling. He literally left reviews on knives and shovels, discussing how he used them in the murders. It was one of the creepiest things I’ve ever found online.
My own report came back with an interactive map of local sex offenders in my neighborhood, complete with mugshots and explicit details of their crimes. I was seriously grossed out to learn that my last apartment building was absolutely infested with perverts, rapists, and total scumbags.
It isn’t all scary — After reading more about TruthFinder, I’ve heard lots of positive stories, too. Apparently, people have reunited because of this website. Estranged families have used public records to contact long-lost family members to get back in touch. Military friends have reunited after years of lost contact because they found the right phone number or email address on their report.
All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend TruthFinder to my friends and family. In today’s world, you need to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. But if you’re going to look up someone that you know using TruthFinder, I have to warn you: the information you might find could forever change how you feel about someone. Make sure that you’re emotionally prepared for the consequences if you find something you don’t want to see. To get started with your search, click here.
Apple is urging iPhone and iPad users to promptly update their operating systems to fix security bugs that may have already been exploited by hackers.
Don’t laugh, this could save your life one day!
- Add a Don’t Show Again button to the security notification when starting Tails in a virtual machine.
Update Tor Browser to 10.0.9.
Update Thunderbird to 78.6.0.
Update Linux to 5.9.15. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).
Fix support for the Ledger hardware wallets in Electrum. (#18080)
Fix sharing mobile data, also called USB tethering, on iOS 14 or later. (#18097)
Clarify the error message when starting from a USB stick that is too small. (#18073)
For more details, read our changelog.
None specific to this release.
See the list of long-standing issues.
Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.2 or later to 4.15.
If you cannot do an automatic upgrade or if Tails fails to start after an automatic upgrade, please try to do a manual upgrade.
Follow our installation instructions:
The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.
If you don’t need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.15 directly:
Tails 4.16 is scheduled for February 23.
Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.
The year 2020 has become remarkable in many ways, especially when it comes to the surge in cyber attacks. The Covid-19 pandemic has given an unprecedented opportunity to cyber attackers to hack and break down the organizations’ IT infrastructure. The work-from-home working module adopted by such organizations has been attributed to the rise of cyber attacks.
The security gap between the home and office network has played a key role to make way for the data breaches in 2020. This issue has resulted in the theft of confidential information, leading to the loss of millions of dollars for breached organizations.
Today, cyber attackers have come up with more innovative ideas to set a new trend in phishing, cryptojacking, ransomware attack, IoT attack, etc. According to a security research firm, 81 global firms from 81 countries reported data breaches in the first half of 2020 alone.
In fact, 80% of firms have seen an increase in cyber attacks this year. Coronavirus is alone blamed for a 238% rise in cyber attacks on banks. Phishing attacks have seen a dramatic increase of 600% since the end of February.
Whereas due to pandemic, ransomware attacks rose 148% in March and the average ransomware payment rose by 33% to $111,605 as compared to Q4 2019. (Source: Fintech News)
We discussed how cyber attacks have dramatically increased today. Let us walk you through the five major cyber attacks that have happened in 2020 till now. These staggering cyber attacks have crippled some famous organizations across the world.
Software AG Ransomware Attack
The second-largest software vendor in Germany and the seventh-largest in Europe, Software AG has been reportedly hit by a ransomware attack in October 2020. ZDNet reported that the German tech firm has been attacked by the Clop ransomware and the cyber-criminal gang has demanded more than $20 million ransom.
The report also says that the company has still not recovered from the attack completely. The company disclosed that the ransomware attack disrupted a part of its internal network. But services to its customers, including cloud-based services, remained unaffected. The company also tried to negotiate with the attackers but it all went in vain.
As per the statement released by Software AG, the company is in the process of restoring its system and database for resuming orderly operation.
Sopra Steria Ransomware Attack
French IT service giant Sopra Steria was attacked by ransomware on the evening of 20th October, as confirmed by the company. Its fintech business, Sopra Banking Software, identified the virus which is a new version of the Ryuk ransomware and previously unknown to cyber security providers.
Sopra Steria claimed that it was able to confine the attack to a limited part of its IT framework, even though it caught the attack after a few days. However, following an in-depth investigation, the company did not identify any leaked data or damage caused to its customers.
Ryuk is one of the most inventive ransomware which has already targeted organizations like EWA, a US defense contractor, and Prosegur, a Spanish logistics firm.
In September 2020, hackers gained access to Telegram messenger and email data of some big names in the cryptocurrency business. Hackers used Signaling System 7 (SS7), which is used for connecting mobile networks across the world, to hack the data.
According to cyber security experts, the hackers were most probably after two-factor authentication (2FA) login codes. They spoofed the short message service center (SMSC) of mobile network operators to send a request on location updates to at least 20 targeted high-profile victims.
This attack is believed to have occurred to obtain cryptocurrency. This type of cyber attack is well known in the cryptocurrency community but the users are generally aware of such requests.
Therefore, there are better authentication methods than just SMS or call-based 2FA in the cryptocurrency community. Cyber security experts think telecom standards must move away from using protocols like SS7, which cannot resolve modern issues.
Seyfarth Shaw Malware Attack
Chicago based leading global legal firm, Seyfarth Shaw LLP became a victim of an “aggressive malware” attack. This attack was later confirmed by the firm as a ransomware attack. The cyber attack reportedly took place on October 10, 2020, and downed the firm’s email system completely, as per a statement published by the company.
The firm claimed in its statement that there was no evidence of client data or firm data unauthorized access or removal. However, many of its systems were found encrypted, following which the firm shut down all of those as a precautionary measure.
The global legal firm notified law enforcement and the FBI has already started investigation. Apart from this, no further information was revealed on how the attack occurred and what family of ransomware hit the firm.
Carnival Corporation Data Breach:
The world’s largest cruise line operator, Carnival Corporation reported a data breach due to a ransomware attack that took place in the month of August 2020. Hackers stole confidential information of customers, employees, and crew members at the time of the attack.
On August 15, 2020, the company detected the ransomware attack that breached and encrypted one of its brand’s IT infrastructure. Following the attack, the cruise line operator notified law enforcement and hired legal counsel and cyber security experts and launched an investigation.
Though the company claimed that no misuse of exposed personal data has come to light, the type of ransomware and how the attack happened have remained unrevealed.
How to Secure Your Organization Against Cyber Attacks?
The global transition to the work-from-home culture has made a way for cyber-criminals to execute incredibly advanced cyber attacks. Moreover, ransomware, phishing, DDoS, malware, etc., are amongst the most prominent forms of cyber attacks that we have experienced this year, till now.
Here are some of the “must follow” measures to secure your organization against emerging cyber attacks:
- Conduct VAPT periodically to check for exploitable security vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure of your organization.
- Back up all the sensitive or confidential data and store it separately from time to time.
- Keep all the systems, software, and applications up to date with the latest security patches.
- Restrict employees from sharing passwords at work openly and encourage them to use unique and strong passwords.
- Block email spoofing, spam, and BEC attack by securing your email domain with email authentication protocols like DMARC, SPF and DKIM.
- Run a cyber attack simulation campaign to assess the level of cyber awareness among employees. Then train them accordingly with the best in class security awareness training tool.
- Make sure to implement the practice of using multi-factor authentication to maintain security and privacy.
- Restrict IT admin and access rights to limited employees. Ensure that they are adequately trained on the safe usage and encrypted storage of sensitive data.
“I’m quitting social media,” you declare. Suddenly a feeling of freedom washes over you as you’re no longer concerned with likes, views and who’s doing what. You stop hunching over your phone and your posture straightens, elongating your spine and immediately you’re an inch taller than just before. You weightlessly drift away from the endless scroll to a trailhead in the mountains. Your free time is filled by strolling through meadows, journaling, meditation, long conversations and lots and lots of “being present.”
Or at least that’s what some of the “I quit social media and it changed my life” blog posts would have you believe. Unfortunately, dropping social media alone will not lead you to full self-actualization. But that doesn’t mean the idea is entirely without merit, either.
In improving your health and wellness, no one change is going to drastically alter your entire life (We know. We’re sorry. We were really hoping it would be green smoothies.). A series of small behavioral changes that lead to positive habits make a lasting impact. Can quitting social media be one of those changes? Absolutely. Some research suggests that social media is harming us in several ways. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad and cutting it off entirely could have both positive and negative effects on your life.
We weigh the pros and cons.
To Quit Social Media …
Quitting social media is not just a trend or something to make you seem ultra-enlightened. Research has revealed some valid reasons why you might want to toss aside your virtual networks.
Happiness and Mood
Our happiness is one of the most important aspects of our lives. Still, we check on the very thing that might be chipping away at our happiness dozens – or hundreds! – of times a day.. Studies have shown that social media can have a negative effect on your life satisfaction and subjective well-being. Evidence also suggests that social media is linked to depressive symptoms.
We know more about the end result, that those who use social media more tend to be less satisfied, than we do about what causes this result. Social comparison is often cited, because your friends are likely posting about the new job they got and not the 14 jobs they applied for and didn’t get before that. Looking at others’ perpetual highlight reel, versus your own behind-the-scenes life, can make you feel inadequate if you don’t feel like you have anything “post-worthy” at the moment. The Happiness Research Institute also found that people on Facebook had trouble concentrating, felt less present and thought they were wasting their time at a higher rate than peers not using Facebook.
If you’re on social media a lot, enough research suggests that you might want to run your own little experiment to see if a social media break or decrease can boost your mood.
What if you can’t hit those selfie angles quite like a Kardashian? (P.s. They hired a photographer for that “selfie.”) Or your entire Facebook community seems to be getting promotions while you can’t seem to impress your boss or get ahead at work?
Social media makes you a lot more aware of what is happening in your world and if you feel like you don’t stack up to those around you it can have a negative effect on your self-esteem. The era of filters, Instagram models and influencers, online fitness celebrities and readily available photo-editing tools can be particularly burdensome on our self-esteem. Two studies looked particularly at the effect of selfies and determined that looking at others’ selfies harmed self-esteem and caused women to compare themselves negatively to others. Another study found that social media use correlated with feeling unattractive.
Going back to social comparisons, Facebook might also be making you feel less successful in your career and relationships.
In just minutes, you can easily be inundated with images of people who seemingly have it better than you in one way or another. Just remember that social media is not real life and every post is made by a person (Well, except for the bots. Actually, there are a lot of bots posting.) and that person has ups and downs, too.
So many of us are not getting enough sleep. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 35 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep a night. But when it comes time to actually go to sleep so many of us get in our comfortable pajamas and cuddle up cozilly with a … cold chunk of glass, metal and plastic that emits a hue of light and messages that inhibit our sleep.
Yes, the light from our devices, particularly the blue hue that is common, is disruptive to sleep in itself. And one study found that young adults who check social media more frequently and for more time, have greater sleep disturbances.
And given the impact sleep has on the rest of our health, it’s wise to find a way to detach your phone from your bedtime routine.
To Not Quit Social Media …
Frankly, this argument is not as common. And you’re not going to shake up your social networks when you post, “I’ve decided to continue using social media at my current pace!” But particularly in our current reality there are advantages to using social media, provided you do it judiciously.
No Mo’ FOMO
We may not love it, but much of the news about our friends and family is communicated via social media. Particularly as we age, spread out geographically from old friends and family and start families, we have less time to check in via the old-fashioned methods. And the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a well-known feeling to certain generations raised with social media as the norm.
So if you disconnect from social networks you’re simply going to miss pregnancy and engagement announcements, baby pictures, birthday invites, good news and the latest and greatest in memes, goofy kids and cat videos. The thing about quitting social media is all the people you care about don’t magically also quit at the same time and spend their newly-found free time texting and calling you with updates.
Yes, you can make other efforts to stay in touch and up-to-date with what is happening with your friends and family. Certainly, previous generations manage this feat. But sometimes social media simply makes keeping up easier and without it your could feel out of touch and isolated.
The Internet is Good, Actually (Sometimes)
We’ll level with you, a lot of content on social media is probably mean, not particularly useful, unwanted ads, false or somehow otherwise bad. But it also doesn’t take that much digging to find some really positive, uplifting content online.
Body positivity is represented, heard and seen on social media in a way it simply wasn’t in previous generations. Writers with relatively modest Twitter followings can cultivate a loyal community that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, including $132,000 to Hurricane Harvey victims. Social media aids in many natural disasters, human rights revolutions and other worthy endeavors. Not to mention crowdsourcing local recommendations for everything from finding a handyman to planning a vacation.
These are just a few ways social media can and has been used for good. You can find your own way. Just remember that you’re in control of your feeds. Bring in the positive and block out the rest. That’s what the mute and block functions are for, or at least that’s how we choose to employ them.
Expand Your Networks
Social media has helped us break down our geographical and ideological barriers and connect with people we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Sure, that means some overly intense political and sports opinions find their way into your feed, but it also allows you to learn about groups and opinions you don’t see in your everyday life.
Particularly if you live in a remote or non-diverse area, social media can expose you to people and viewpoints you simply wouldn’t encounter where you live. Ideas about new books, movies, activities and interests all help to create a more well-rounded view of the world. If you’ve recently moved, social media can help you build a network around common interests or causes.
And while LinkedIn can be kind of a punchline online, if you sift through the spam and use it to your advantage, it can be a worthwhile networking tool and resource for professional development. And depending on your industry, Twitter, Instagram or lesser-known platforms can be just what your business needs to reach that next rung of success.
This is far from a comprehensive list. Do your own research if you’re considering deleting social media.
Yes, social media is bad. It’s also good. Like most things on the internet, it depends on how you use them. Filter out the negativity, limit your social media exposure, use it for the right reasons and bring your own positivity to your online world.
If you feel like social media is making you less happy, then maybe it needs to go. Just make a plan to replace the positive you do find in social media.
Written by: Daniel Jennings – Off The Grid News
China’s EMP threat to America and other nations is far greater than most people believe. Significantly, China’s EMP threat could reduce America to an early 19th Century level of existence.
To elaborate, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon could destroy most electronics along with the electric power grid. An EMP weapon releases an electromagnetic pulse or radiation that fries a wide variety of technology.
Notably, EMP weapons have been around for a long time. For instance, Operation Fishbowl, a 1961 U.S. Air Force study, claims that an electromagnetic pulse from a high-altitude nuclear blast could shut down the United States.
China’s EMP Threat Is Real
In addition, an EMP from Starfish Prime, a 1962 nuclear test, knocked out electrical service in Hawaii, The Hill claims. Amazingly, Hawaii is 1,000 miles from the Starfish Prime test site.
This operation demonstrates that no new technology is even required for a deadly EMP attack. So, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China can conceivably send America back to the stone age with proven off-the-shelf technology.
Moreover, the Air Force had classified details of Operation Fishbowl until 2007, The Hill states. This action may indicate that the Pentagon has been afraid of an EMP threat for decades.
“Nuclear EMP attack is part of the military doctrines, plans, and exercises of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran for a revolutionary new way of warfare against military forces and civilian critical infrastructures by cyber, sabotage, and EMP,” the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack asserts.
To explain, the Commission is examining the EMP threat for Congress, Investor’s Business Daily notes. In particular, the Commission warns that China’s EMP threat could send America back to the stone age.
China’s EMP Threat Can Send America Back To The Stone Age
“The effects of an EMP would be catastrophic and could plunge a nation into indefinite darkness,” blogger Daniel Ashman explains. Specifically, Ashman fears a surprise attack with a nuclear EMP.
An EMP weapon could instantly shut down America’s infrastructure and make most technology useless. Consequently, Investor’s Business Daily warns that “Modern life would simply disappear” after an EMP attack.
To illustrate, vehicles, mass-transit systems, power plants, airports, telephones, electronics, aircraft, railroads, pipelines, sewer systems, water systems, the internet, and hospitals could instantly shut down. As a result, Americans will find themselves in the Stone Age without modern technology.
Moreover, only a small percentage of America’s modern population possesses the skills and resources to survive in such an environment. For example, most Americans don’t even know how to fish, hunt, trap, plant a garden, or use hand tools.
Those With Guns Could Survive China’s EMP Threat
Under these circumstances, most Americans will starve to death. In addition, firearms will be among the few pieces of modern technology that will work after an EMP attack.
To elaborate, chemical explosions rather than electricity power firearms. As a consequence, most guns will still function after an EMP attack.
Those with guns may survive simply because they can force others to give them food. Furthermore, people with guns can create a comfortable lifestyle by forcing those without guns to perform manual labor. So, there’s a good chance that only people with guns will remain free after an EMP attack.
Significantly, The Investor’s Business Daily claims an EMP weapon will drive America back to the early 19th Century. Importantly, slavery was one of the defining features of early 19th Century U.S. society. Is it possible that slavery could make its return in a post-EMP America?
Are America And China Heading To War?
You should fear China’s EMP threat because there are those in Washington who want a conflict with the People’s Republic.
In fact, writer Harry J. Kazianis claims Trump administration officials want to “crush China” in an American Conservative column. Unfortunately, Kazianis presents no proof of his claims and quotes only an “anonymous source.” Furthermore, Kazianis offers no tangible evidence that President Donald J. Trump himself shares those desires.
However, Kazianis claims that an unidentified official says, “America’s strategy when it comes to China is easy to understand: crush them.” For this reason, some in Washington could give the Chinese a reason for launching an EMP attack.
Will A Trade War Unleash China’s EMP Threat?
Notably, some officials believe they can use sanctions and a trade war to crush China. Nonetheless, history proves such sanctions lead to war. Similar sanctions ended up driving the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941.
To explain further, President Franklin D. Roosevelt thought he could end Japanese aggression in Asia by blocking sales of raw materials to Japan. Instead of ending the aggression, the sanctions gave Japanese militarists a reason to attack the United States.
On balance, a conflict between the United States and China is more likely than many people believe. Because of this, everyone should take China’s EMP threat seriously.
For every real criminal out there, there will always be a phony riding on the coattails of his success.
This is especially true when it comes to the vast and largely unregulated dark web, where everyone’s success is someone else’s newest scam.
This has been the case in some of the uncharted areas of the internet where racketeers have jumped aboard the fake ransomware train which, in recent days, has brought them some business.
Normally, legitimate ransomware requires a fee to eradicate from the victim’s computer, an amount that is usually payable in Bitcoin for privacy reasons.
These insurgent racketeers are adopting the same extortion of Bitcoin payment, but with just one crucial modification: they do not deploy any ransomware. They send emails demanding bitcoin.
A number of people have already been bombarded with fake threat emails demanding an amount in Bitcoin, failure to which would lead to grave consequences. The racketeers take blackmail letter examples from the internet and modify them before sending it to you.
heer luck and the law of averages.
One of these fake ransomware emails has surfaced.
The extortionists demand a ransom of 1 Bitcoin and appear to have covered every angle in the email, since it also contains information on how to buy Bitcoin and how to make the payment.
A quick analysis shows that the Bitcoin thieves rely on this single email, seeing that they send it to a large number of individuals at a time in the hopes that at least one or two will take the bait.
Recipients of such emails are advised to simply ignore them.
However, this does not mean that all Bitcoin demanding ransomware emails should automatically be discounted; some may actually carry a real threat to the victim.
Some Ransomware Threats Should Be Taken Seriously
Calling to mind the case of the infamous Ashley Madison breach, it is easy to see how much damage some of these extortionists can inflict.
As usual, the case involved blackmail attempts and ransom demands in Bitcoin in order to resolve the matter. In other cases the receiver of the bitcoin demand was actually given their own passwords to their email meaning the hackers had already been in and through their computer.
Just to enforce the gravity of the situation, the blackmailers carried out their threats on several of the users.
Nevertheless, when approached by ransomware extortionist who demands Bitcoin in payment, the prudent thing to do is to not pay them.
As risky as that might seem, one should also consider the fact that these petty cyber-criminals are not exactly upstanding citizens who will remove the ransomware as soon as you pay the Bitcoin ransom.
And for those who find themselves in the grasp of a Bitcoin-hungry extortionist, there are a number of free ransom removal tools at your disposal, not to mention assistance from the local authorities.
Also, people should refrain from opening strange or unexpected emails, whether they come from reputable sources or otherwise.
Cybersecurity firm Cyren once detected malware that was being spread using emails supposedly from various reputable banks.
Once opened, the malware is usually engineered to auto-install in order to steal information or infect your computer in other ways.
As such, prevention seems like the best option in this scenario.
Employing enough safety measures and caution to prevent becoming a victim is by far the best way to avoid being encumbered by such a situation.
Facebook’s latest screw-up — a programming bug in Facebook website accidentally gave 1,500 third-party apps access to the unposted Facebook photos of as many as 6.8 million users.
Facebook today quietly announced that it discovered a new API bug in its photo-sharing system that let 876 developers access users’ private photos which they never shared on their timeline, including images uploaded to Marketplace or Facebook Stories.
“When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories,” Facebook said.
What’s worse? The bug even exposed photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post or didn’t finish posting it for some reason.
The flaw left users’ private data exposed for 12 days, between September 13th and September 25th, until Facebook discovered and fixed the security blunder on the 25th September.
“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorized to access their photos,” Facebook said.
The social media giant has started notifying impacted users of the flaw through an alert on their Facebook timeline that their photos may have been exposed, which will direct them to its Help Center page with more information.
Facebook also says the social media network will soon be rolling out “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug.”
Facebook also assures its users that the company will be working with app developers to delete copies of photos that they were not supposed to access.
2018 has been quite a terrible year for Facebook with the social media giant found dealing with a slew of security incidents this year—the most significant one being the Cambridge Analytic scandal that exposed personal data of 87 million Facebook users.
The social network also suffered its worst-ever security breach in September this year that exposed highly sensitive data of 14 million users.
In the same month, Facebook also addressed a similar severe API bug that was actively being exploited by unknown hackers to steal secret access tokens and gather personal information for 30 million Facebook users.
In June, Facebook also suffered another security issue affecting 14 million users, wherein users’ posts that were meant to be private became public.
These security incidents came out to be a failure of the social media giant in keeping the personal information of its 2.2 billion users protected while generating billions of dollars in revenue from the same information.