Tag Archives: blockchain

AVIEN resources update 10th October 2018

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

Catalin Cimpanu for ZDnet: Google sets new rules for third-party apps to access Gmail data – “All Gmail third-party apps with full access to Gmail user data will need to re-submit for a review by February 15, 2019, or be removed.” Meanwhile, according to the Hacker News: Google+ is Shutting Down After a Vulnerability Exposed 500,000 Users’ Data.

“The vulnerability was open since 2015 and fixed after Google discovered it in March 2018, but the company chose not to disclose the breach to the public—at the time when Facebook was being roasted for Cambridge Analytica scandal.”

The Register comments: Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama – “Project Zero would have been all over this – yet it remained under wraps”

Pierluigi Paganani: Hackers can compromise your WhatsApp account by tricking you into answering a video call

The Register:  Rap for WhatsApp chat app chaps in phone-to-pwn security nap flap – “Memory corruption flaw present in Android, iOS builds. Aaand it’s been fixed”

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Cecilia Pastorino for ESET: Blockchain: What is it, how it works and how it is being used in the market – “A closer look at the technology that is rapidly growing in popularity”

Help Net, citing a report by Webroot: Cryptomining dethrones ransomware as top threat in 2018

Updates to GDPR page

Amber Welch for Security Boulevard: Phishing the GDPR Data Subject Rights – “Companies across the globe are now working toward compliance with the EU GDPR, while phishers may be preparing to exploit their new compliance processes. Airbnb first fell prey to a GDPR-related scam, with more surely to come. Unfortunately, many GDPR security efforts have focused primarily on Article 32 while overlooking new ancillary compliance program risks.”

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

[Many of the Things that crop up on this page are indeed necessary. But that doesn’t mean that connecting them to the Internet of Things (or even the Internet of Everything) is necessary, or even desirable, given how often that connectivity widens the attack surface.]


Shaun Nichols for The Register: World’s largest CCTV maker leaves at least 9 million cameras open to public viewing – “Xiongmai’s cloud portal opens sneaky backdoor into servers….Yet another IoT device vendor has been found to be exposing their products to attackers with basic security lapses.”

Netlab 360: 70+ different types of home routers(all together 100,000+) are being hijacked by GhostDNS – “Just like the regular dnschanger, this campaign attempts to guess the password on the router’s web authentication page or bypass the authentication through the dnscfg.cgi exploit, then changes the router’s default DNS address to the Rogue DNS Server[3]through the corresponding DNS configuration interface.”

Tomáš Foltýn for ESET: Most routers full of firmware flaws that leave users at risk
– “If you own a Wi-Fi router, it may well be riddled with security holes that expose you to a host of threats” There’s a comment to this piece by TrevorX that’s well worth reading.

The Register: Which? That smart home camera? The one with the vulns? Really? – “Which? Magazine has been called out for recommending a line of smart home cameras with known vulnerabilities.”

Pierluigi Paganini: Expert presented a new attack technique to compromise MikroTik Routers – “The experts at Tenable Research presented the technique on October 7 at DerbyCon 8.0 during the talk “Bug Hunting in RouterOS” at Derbycon, it leverages a known directory traversal flaw tracked as CVE-2018-14847.”

Updates to Meltdown/Spectre and other chip-related resources

Thomas Claburn for The Register: Intel’s commitment to making its stuff secure is called into question – ‘In an email to The Register in response to our report about the problems posed by the Manufacturing Mode in Intel’s Management Engine (ME), which if left open leaves processors vulnerable to local attack, Kanthak called Intel’s statement “a blatant lie.”‘

Updates to: Ransomware Resources

Help Net, citing a report by Webroot: Cryptomining dethrones ransomware as top threat in 2018

Updates to Tech support scams resource page

Probably won’t get to be a full post, but a comment on one of my ESET blog articles pointed out that “A similar variation is still going round starting with the assertion that your broadband speed is below par and he was working on behalf of my ISP. When we got as far as typing “assoc” in the command window I looked for proof of identification (which I should have asked for at the start!). As tempers flared I hung up the line.”

Updates to Mac Virus

More commentary on China, Apple, and supply-chain hacking

Android, iOS, and macOS issues


David Harley


3rd May AVIEN resources updates

Updates to Anti-Social Media 

Kaspersky Threat Post: TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MALICIOUS APPS USING FACEBOOK APIS – “At least 25,936 malicious apps are currently using one of Facebook’s APIs, such as a login API or messaging API. These allow apps to access a range of information from Facebook profiles, like name, location and email address.”

The Register:

Talking of Zuckerberg, here’s his summary of the forthcoming ‘Clear History’ control.

Updates to Cryptocurrency/Crypto-mining News and Resources

Catalin Cimpanu for Bleeping Computer: New MassMiner Malware Targets Web Servers With an Assortment of Exploits

The Register: Whoa, Gartner drops a truth bomb: Blockchain is overhyped and top IT bods don’t want it – “Didn’t you know it’s panacea to all corporate woes, bro?!”

Gad Naveh for Help Net: Dig this: The future of crypto-mining botnets

Trend Micro: Cryptocurrency-Mining Malware Targeting IoT, Being Offered in the Underground

Updates to Meltdown/Spectre and other chip-related resources

Hilbert Hagedoorn for The Guru of 3-D: Eight new Spectre Variant Vulnerabilities for Intel Discovered – four of them critical

The Register: Hands off! Arm pitches tamper-resistant Cortex-M35-P CPU cores – “Sneaky processors look to keep lid on sensitive IoT data”

ESET: further updates to Meltdown and Spectre CPU Vulnerabilities: What You Need to Know

Updates to Internet of (not necessarily necessary) Things

The Register: Hands off! Arm pitches tamper-resistant Cortex-M35-P CPU cores – “Sneaky processors look to keep lid on sensitive IoT data”

Trend Micro: Cryptocurrency-Mining Malware Targeting IoT, Being Offered in the Underground


Richi Jennings for Tech Beacon: VW bugs: “Unpatchable” remote code pwnage – “Two security researchers have excoriated Volkswagen Group for selling insecure cars. As in: hackable-over-the-internet insecure.”

Updates to Specific Ransomware Families and Types

Paul Ducklin for Sophos: “SamSam” ransomware – a mean old dog with a nasty new trick

David Harley

Backup and Ransomware – a Contender?

Backup is a critical component of any realistic strategy for countering ransomware.

I’ve been aware of Acronis in the area of backup software for some while but haven’t been familiar with their products, though I seem to remember seeing their trial versions on magazine giveaway CDs back in the days when I actually used to read ‘real’ IT magazines.

Recently I was contacted by their VP of Communications regarding their personal backup program, which apparently includes anti-ransomware and blockchain technology. Well, I can’t endorse the product because I haven’t used it, and I don’t do reviews. Well, not of other security-related products: that would be rather flaky ethically, since much of my income currently comes from providing services to a specific security company. (So if you’re one of the many people who’ve wanted me to tell them which anti-malware product they should buy, that’s why I’ve generally politely declined, in case I didn’t say so at the time.)

But I don’t see any harm in noting it as a possible layer of defence.

Acronis Active Protection  is claimed to ‘Ensure[s] constant data availability even when faced with a ransomware attack.’ As described here, it seems to use techniques not unlike those used by some mainstream anti-malware products* to detect a ransomware attack in process generically and in real time, and take appropriate countermeasures. I can’t, of course, say how effective those measures are, and I’m not going to take Acronis’s claim that it ‘solves…the nightmare’ without a large dollop of salt. However, the product isn’t pitched as replacing other security products, and the press release suggests better understanding of the nature of the ransomware problem than some other backup solution PR I’ve seen. So while I can’t make a recommendation as such, Acronis may indeed be worth looking more closely at if you’re not sure what to do about your backup strategy as one of your concerns about ransomware.

And if you’re not thinking about backup, you don’t understand the ransomware problem.

*However, the site does claim that Active Protection ‘doesn’t conflict with antivirus software and Windows Defender.’

David Harley