Security News

US & UK issue security warning and tech giants join forces

Avast Security News Team, 20 April 2018

A large-scale cyberattack may be imminent, warns US & UK governments, and a groundbreaking cybersecurity accord is formed

US & UK on alert for possible cyberattack

On Monday, the US Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the UK National Cyber Security Center issued a first-ever joint statement warning businesses and residents of both nations that a wide-scale cyberattack could be imminent.

The government watchdogs did not go into specifics about the possible threat, except to say that it would most likely focus on routers and man-in-the-middle attacks, where cybercriminals secretly insert themselves into the communication between a computer and server in order to spy on and collect information going out and coming in. By infecting the router, cybercriminals enable themselves to attack any device connected to it — computers, mobile devices, IoT devices, etc.

Along with the warning, the agencies also included suggestions for how businesses and residents can protect themselves, such as by keeping all software updated. Now is a good time to take stock of your own security, just to be sure you’re as safe as can be in case “the cyber big one” hits.

Cybersecurity Tech Accord forms

On Tuesday, Avast joined Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco, and thirty other tech giants in what is being considered a “Digital Geneva Convention.” The companies have formed an alliance called the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, which dedicates itself to the following four principles:

  • Protecting their users and customers from cyberattacks
  • Opposing all cyberattacks on innocent civilians and enterprises
  • Empowering users, customers, and developers to strengthen cybersecurity protection
  • Partnering with each other and likeminded groups to enhance cybersecurity

The accord, championed by Microsoft president Brad Smith, is a pledge of unity amongst all the signatories at a time when world governments are frequently pushing hard for access to user data. “Today is just an initial step and tomorrow we start the important work of growing our alliance and take effective action together,” stated Smith in his blog. There is no telling if other enterprises will join the accord, but Google and Amazon are noticeably missing from the group at present.

IKEA’s TaskRabbit reports “cybersecurity incident”

While details have not yet been shared, the IKEA-owned help-for-hire app TaskRabbit sent a note to all of its users Tuesday suggesting that their info may have been compromised and urging all to change their passwords, particularly if those same passwords are used to access other accounts.

“While our investigation is ongoing, preliminary evidence shows that an unauthorized user gained access to our systems. As a result, certain personally identifiable information may have been compromised,” wrote TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot in an update Wednesday evening. The company took down the app and website temporarily to investigate, but both are now back up and running. Updates to this matter will be posted on the TaskRabbit website.

NY launches inquiry into cryptocurrency

In an effort to “improve transparency and accountability” in the sector of cryptocurrency, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched inquiries into thirteen cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, one of the largest.

Calling the probe “the Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative,” Schneiderman states the purpose of the inquiries is not to shake down the exchanges in the search for illegal activity, but simply to gather information about the nature of digital currency in order to more clearly and comprehensively explain how it all works to the public. That said, Schneiderman also acknowledged the tide of cybercriminals that have begun orbiting the sector, and stated this probe will help his office better protect consumer and investors.

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