Plus, hackers target Ring devices for sport and Apple turns to satellite tech as an alternative to wireless networks
The U.S. Navy issued a bulletin announcing that the widely used social app TikTok is now seen as a cybersecurity threat and will no longer be allowed on any government-supplied devices. Reuters reported that the bulletin, posted on a Facebook page used by military personnel, warned government members that any device with the TikTok app installed would be blocked from the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. TikTok is a highly popular video-sharing app owned by the Beijing company ByteDance, which is currently under a U.S. national security review. The Navy is the second U.S. military branch to flag TikTok after Army leadership instructed cadets not to use the app last month.
This week’s stat
The FBI’s cybercrime report found that the second-costliest category of crime, behind only compromised business email, was confidence and romance fraud, with an annual cost of $363 million. The scams happened 18,493 times last year, the FBI reports – an average of more than 50 times a day.
Ransomers release some Pensacola files as proof
The Maze ransomware group, which earlier this month locked up municipal computer systems in Pensacola, Fla., and demanded a million dollar ransom, has released 2GB of the ransomed data to prove that they stole files in addition to encrypting them. The group explained to Bleeping Computer that the release was in response to a doubting news media, writing, “This is the fault of the mass media who writes that we don’t exfiltrate data more than a few files.”
New Orleans increases cyber insurance policy to $10M
The City of New Orleans, which also suffered a ransomware attack this month, is planning to boost its cyber insurance policy up to $10 million in light of expectations that this recent attack will surpass its current policy of $3 million. City officials claim they never received a ransom request and that all the encrypted data can be recovered, but the cost of the recoupment will exceed $3 million. Read more on CBS news affiliate site WWLTV.
Thousands of Ring credentials posted online for fun
Amassing Ring usernames and passwords and posting them in forums on the dark web has increased over the last few weeks, with many hackers encouraging others to post hacked videos and account info just “for the giggles.” ZDNet reported that a surge of hacking activity surrounding Ring devices and data was catalyzed by a Vice article earlier this month that reported on certain tools being expressly developed for that purpose. According to ZDNet, the sport of Ring hacking reached such high levels that a couple of criminal forums have placed moratoriums on the topic in efforts to prevent inquiries from law enforcement.
This week’s quote
“My 8-year-old recently asked for his own device, and when I let him use my old phone we stumbled into 21st century parenting predicament.” – Whitney Glockner Black walked into her son’s room and found him watching adult content on his phone. They were both panic-stricken. Read what she did next on The Avast Blog.
Convicted cybercriminal found teaching high school in China
Yu Pingan, a Chinese national who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer hacking before serving 18 months in a San Diego penitentiary, is now living back in Shanghai where he teaches high school computer classes. Pingan was indicted as part of a conspiracy that hacked Qualcomm, Riot Games, and Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Co. After his time served, he was allowed to return to China, where he was welcomed back to the same job he held prior to his U.S. arrest. When Pingan was discovered at the school by a Reuters reporter, he called a school official who escorted the reporter off campus. Read the whole story on Reuters.
Apple special projects include satellite tech
Insiders at the Cupertino giant have confirmed that Apple has assembled a team of specialists from the aerospace, satellite, and antenna design industries for a top secret project aiming to show results in the next five years. The goal of the project could be to beam internet services directly to customers’ devices, eliminating the need for wireless services, Apple employees confided to Bloomberg anonymously, adding that while the effort is still in early stages, it is a company priority for CEO Tim Cook.
This week’s ‘must-read’ on The Avast Blog
Read the weirdest cybersecurity stories of 2019 on The Avast Blog, which include a thumb drive you insert into your leg, cybercriminals stealing school lunch info, and using AI to impersonate a CEO.
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