Security News

Zoom begins offering end-to-end encryption

Avast Security News Team, 30 October 2020

Plus, cyberattacks continue hitting hospitals and Amazon suffers a data leak

Delivering on its promise to do better after it was criticized this past April for using substandard encryption, Zoom announced on Tuesday that free end-to-end encryption (E2EE) is now available to all users for the next 30 days as a technical preview, after which the service will only be available to paying subscribers. The announcement stated that E2EE is available for Mac, PC, and Android platforms, with the Zoom iOS app pending approval from the Apple App Store. “This has been a highly requested feature from our customers, and we’re excited to make this a reality,” commented Zoom CISO Jason Lee. 

The new E2EE protocol offers tighter security because it prevents the Zoom servers themselves from being able to decrypt the data they are relaying. When users enable E2EE, each individual participant in the meeting has access to that meeting’s encryption keys, but the servers do not. “Users are demanding more privacy,” commented Avast Security Evangelist Luis Corrons. “And in these times where privacy is so hard to keep, encryption is the key. Encryption makes sure nobody can spy on us while we meet via Zoom. A stronger encryption means that even if someone intercepts our calls, they won’t be able to access the call’s content.”

Hospital attacks skyrocket during pandemic

The health services sector has proven an easy and all-too vulnerable target during the pandemic, and while cybercriminals of all stripes have already attacked, extorted, destabilized, and disabled various hospital systems around the world, more attacks are expected as we move into an autumn and winter of more coronavirus cases. The Hill reported that the Covid-19 CTI League, an international watchdog group made up of 1,500 tech professionals from over 80 countries, has been tracking the attacks, which one member described as “a cyber gold rush” for “bad guys of all shapes and sizes.” Threat groups, nation state groups, and individual cybercriminals are all launching their own attacks fueled by their own motivations. Ransomware is among the most common, as it can completely debilitate a hospital. All health care facilities should follow these anti-ransomware defensive measures to protect against ransomware attacks. 

Questions surround Amazon data leak 

Last weekend, Amazon sent emails to a number of its customers alerting them that their email addresses had been compromised by a corrupted employee who had since been terminated, but customers were left wondering how large or small the data breach actually was. Bleeping Computer reported that confused customers launched queries about the breach on Twitter, but Amazon has not responded to the questions. Interesting to note is that Amazon informed customers that the leak was caused by a single employee, but it said in a statement to Motherboard that multiple individuals were fired for the incident.

Link previews in messenger apps pose security risk

Researchers have disclosed new data security risks associated with the link previews offered in some messaging apps like Apple iMessage, Signal, Viber, and WhatsApp. Link previews are common in most chat apps, displaying a visual preview and brief description of the link being shared. The security risk occurs when a device receives the shared link. Upon receiving it, the messenger app automatically opens the URL to generate a preview, disclosing the phone’s IP address to its external server in the process. Learn more about this issue on The Hacker News

Zerologon Windows flaw puts company systems at risk

A vulnerability discovered in August continues to threaten the security of company systems that use the Windows Netlogon protocol. Netlogon allows the domain controller to authenticate computers and update passwords in a company network. The vulnerability, known as Zerologon, when exploited can allow hackers to impersonate any computer within the network and begin making administrative edits, such as changing passwords and locking others out of their systems. Microsoft is in the process of rolling out a series of patches to eliminate the problem, which the company hopes can be achieved in the early months of 2021. For more, read the report on Security Boulevard

This week’s ‘must-read’ on The Avast Blog

We're less than a week away from the 2020 U.S. election, and there has been news of a ransomware attack in northern Georgia. Check out our final election security update of the year.