Weekly News Roundup September 29 - October 4, 2019

Posted on by Kacy Zurkus

 In addition to the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), AustCyber has also coordinated Australian Cyber Week 2019, being help October 7-11. RSAC Unplugged Sydney, taking place on October 10, will be part of Cyber Week.

This week’s headlines echo the overarching theme of NCSAM. In order to protect privacy and ensure security, we all need to Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.  

The leaked copy of a two-hour audio recording of internal Q&A sessions serve as a stark reminder that even Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is vulnerable. After Zuckerberg’s comments about Senator Warren’s plans to break up big tech were exposed, Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri granted an exclusive interview to Stephanie Gosk of NBC News’ TODAY. 

“Those comments were in an internal meeting, so he was being very candid, but generally I really do agree…things that we're trying to do on bullying, would become much more difficult for us to do…if you broke us up. There are more than twice as many engineers that work on safety and integrity at Facebook broadly, than there are engineers that work on anything at Instagram. So, if you split us up, it sets us back,” Mosseri said.

In other news, the encryption debate continues and cryptocurrency is making investors nervous while ransomware targets hospitals. Here’s a quick roundup of what else made the cybersecurity headlines this week:

Oct. 4: Government officials from the US, UK and Australia have rallied together in an effort to stall – if not completely stonewall – Facebook’s plan to add end-to-end encryption to its messaging services.

Oct. 3: A former IT contractor, Stephen Bruce Grant of Rozelle, Australia, who worked for the property valuation firm LandMark White, has reportedly been charged with five counts of unauthorized manipulation of data and seven counts of intending to use identity information to commit  fraud and two counts of damaging electronic communications. 

Oct. 2: Bitcoin continues to flounder with fears that Google’s “quantum supremacy” could break the encryption that underpins the cryptocurrency. According to The Wall Street Journal, Visa, Mastercard and other supporters of Facebook’s cryptocurrency-based payments network, Libra, are having second thoughts about their involvement in the project. Meanwhile, police in the UK were auctioning off the pot of cryptocurrency gold they had seized from the TalkTalk hacker.

Oct. 2: A new report from Kaspersky examines stalkerware, which has reportedly seen a startling rise as a tool of abuse against domestic partners, colleagues and even strangers. According to “The State of Stalkerware in 2019,” use of the spyware grew by 35 percent in the first 8 months of 2019.

Oct. 2: After observing cybercriminal activity in which attackers used phishing emails to infect victims with ransomware, the FBI issued a ‘high-impact’ warning to US businesses.

Oct. 1: Only a day after the Senate passed a bill to strengthen defenses against ransomware attacks, a series of attacks froze the computer systems of three US hospitals. The DCH Health System released a statement that the affected hospitals had implemented “emergency procedures to ensure safe and efficient operations in the event technology dependent on computers is not available.”  

Oct. 1: Former Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff and former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, were among the many security experts and cybersecurity industry leaders discussing evolving cyber issues and threats at the Cybersecurity Summit hosted by The Washington Post.

Sep. 30: Reyes Daniel Ruiz, a former Yahoo software engineer, pleaded guilty to, “hacking into the accounts of thousands of Yahoo users in search of private and personal records, primarily sexual images and videos of the account holders,” according to the Department of Justice.

Sep. 30: Those who are looking for a book recommendation might enjoy Ben Rothke’s pick, Transformational Security Awareness: What Neuroscientists, Storytellers, and Marketers Can Teach Us About Driving Secure Behaviors (Wiley ISBN: 978-1-119-56634-2), authored by Perry Carpenter, who will also be featured as a guest on the October RSAC podcast.

Sep. 29: The serial hacker known online as Gnosticplayers revealed to The Hacker News that he had successfully hacked the popular “Words With Friends” game developed by Zynga. As a result, he gained access to “a massive database of more than 218 million users.”

Kacy Zurkus

Senior Content Manager, RSA Conference

RSAC Insights

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