Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Apple recalls older 15-inch MacBook Pros because the batteries could catch fire

Overheating batteries are no laughing matter, so this may be urgent: Apple has just issued a recall for the 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, saying its batteries “may pose a fire safety risk.”

The company says there are a “limited number” of affected units, sold between September 2015 and February 2017. That could easily be quite a number of laptops over that span. But the company sold that third-generation MacBook Pro between 2012 and 2018, so we’re definitely not talking about every 15-inch rMBP ever sold.

The model you’re looking for is the “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015),” whose specs you can find here.

If eligible, the company says it’ll replace your battery for free, meaning your older MacBook Pro may wind up lasting longer than it might have normally — much as older iPhones did when Apple offered $29 battery replacements as an apology for throttling the speed of those phones.

The bad news: You’ll need to send your MacBook to one of Apple’s repair centers, and the company’s estimating the fix could take one to two weeks. That’s quite a while, particularly if you need that machine for work. And Apple says this won’t extend your warranty.

Greater protection and control with three Gmail security tools

Google are making three Gmail security features generally available (GA). The features were previously in beta. Check out the linked announcements for more information on each:

Security sandbox, which detects the presence of previously unknown malware in attachments by virtually "executing" them in a private, secure sandbox environment. Learn more.

Advanced phishing and malware protection, which provides new controls to place emails into a quarantine, protect against anomalous attachment types, and protect your Google Groups from inbound spoofing emails. Learn more.

Gmail confidential mode, which provides built-in information rights management controls in your emails by allowing senders to create expiration dates and revoke previously sent messages. Learn more.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Office 365 Proves Popular with Phishers

With 180 million active users it's no wonder that Microsoft Office 365 has caught the attention of online criminals. According to Microsoft, one in five business workers are now using an Office 365 cloud-based service, with adoption particularly popular in the financial services and manufacturing sectors. And these industries, of course, can provide rich pickings for cybercriminals.

So, it's no surprise to me to learn that phishing attacks targeting Office 365 users outstrip the attacks seen against the likes of Netflix and PayPal, or online banks.

What makes phishing attacks against Office 365 more threatening, of course, is that they're not just after a user's login credentials.

Instead, attackers frequently want to exploit their unauthorised access to an Office 365 account by sending messages from the legitimate account to the victim's business partners or colleagues. A stolen Office 365 password may only raise a tiny amount of money if sold on an underground cybercrime forum compared to the fortunes that can be made through a Business Email Compromise (BEC) attack that requests money be wired to an overseas bank account.

Millions of Dell PCs vulnerable to attack, due to a flaw in bundled system-health software

Millions of Dell PCs and laptops running Windows are vulnerable to attack via a high severity security hole, that could be exploited by malicious hackers to hijack control over devices.

In a support advisory published on its website, Dell reveals that the problem lies within a third-party component of SupportAssist, troubleshooting software bundled with the company’s home user and business PCs. Software which the PC manufacturer describes as “the industry’s first automated proactive and predictive support technology.”

In its promotional material, Dell claims SupportAssist “proactively checks the health of your system’s hardware and software. When an issue is detected, the necessary system state information is sent to Dell for troubleshooting to begin. Dell will contact you to start the resolution conversation, preventing issues from becoming costly problems.”

However, security researcher Peleg Hadar discovered that the PC Doctor component of SupportAssist contains a DLL hijacking vulnerability, which can be exploited during an attack to gain system-level privileges. Through this mechanism a hacker could easily gain control of a targeted computer.

Monday, 24 June 2019

The 70-year-old retiree who became America’s worst counterfeiter

In 1938, a New York cigar shop owner went to the bank to cash his daily profits.

As the teller sifted through the haul, she spotted an unusual $1 bill. It felt like cheap paper in her hands, the lettering was askew, and George Washington looked more like an animated corpse than a noble head of state. It was, no doubt, the worst counterfeit she’d seen in all her years.

The bill was sent to the United States Secret Service. Soon, thousands more just like it came pouring in, each more abysmal than the last.

For 10 years, agents searched far and wide for the source, launching the most extensive (and expensive) counterfeit investigation in American history. The culprit was deemed to be “the most successful counterfeiter of modern times” — a mastermind.

But the bills were made by no master: They were the work of a 73-year-old junk collector.

Read more of this fascinating tale here: 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Quadriga founder transferred clients’ cryptocurrency to his own personal accounts, Ernst & Young finds

It’s looking more and more like QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten mismanaged the digital-asset exchange before he died, with cryptocurrencies from clients ending up at rival marketplaces in his personal accounts.

The latest report from Ernst & Young, which is overseeing the bankruptcy process for Quadriga Fintech Solutions Corp., paints a clearer picture of a Vancouver-based firm that lacked financial reporting and operational controls, run primarily by a founder whose actions ultimately led to its collapse, leaving hundreds of customers owed millions in cash and cryptocurrency.

“Quadriga’s operating infrastructure appears to have been significantly flawed from a financial reporting and operational control perspective,” the June 19 report said. “Activities were largely directed by a single individual, Mr. Cotten, and as a result typical segregation of duties and basic internal controls did not appear to exist.”

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Florida city pays $600,000 to ransomware gang to have its data back

The city council for Riviera Beach, Florida, voted this week to pay more than $600,000 to a ransomware gang so city officials could recover data that has been locked and encrypted more than three weeks ago.

The city's decision, as reported by CBS News, came after officials came to the conclusion that there was no other way to recover the city's files.

Access to Riviera City data has been locked since May 29, this year, when a Riviera Beach police department employee opened an email and unleashed ransomware on the city's network.

The ransomware locked files and shut down all the city's services. Operations have been down ever since, with the exception of 911 services, which were able to continue to operate, although limited.

The city's website, email server, billing system, and everything else has been down ever since, with all city communications being done in person, over the telephone, or via posters.

The city has been having a hard time recovering from the incident ever since.

Do not EVER pay these crooks: you just end up sticking a big target on your head! Instead: keep your system up to date, patch, backup, don't click on random links. Seek professional advice if unsure. Stay safe out there folks!