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    Hackers stole ancestry data of 6.9 million users, 23andMe finally confirmed / ArsTechnica · 7 days ago - 22:48

Hackers stole ancestry data of 6.9 million users, 23andMe finally confirmed

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg / Contributor | Bloomberg )

It's now been confirmed that an additional 6.9 million 23andMe users had ancestry data stolen after hackers accessed thousands of accounts by likely reusing previously leaked passwords.

This is a much larger number of accounts than 23andMe previously disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing , which estimated that 0.1 percent of users—approximately 14,000, TechCrunch estimated —had accounts accessed by hackers using compromised passwords.

After the cyberattack was reported, Wired estimated that "at least a million data points from 23andMe accounts" that were "exclusively about Ashkenazi Jews" and data points from "hundreds of thousands of users of Chinese descent" seemed to be exposed. But beyond those estimates, for two months, all the public knew was that 23andMe's filing noted that “a significant number of files containing profile information about other users’ ancestry" were also accessed.

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    Google researchers report critical zero-days in Chrome and all Apple OSes / ArsTechnica · Friday, 1 December - 00:38

The phrase Zero Day can be spotted on a monochrome computer screen clogged with ones and zeros.

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Researchers in Google's Threat Analysis Group have been as busy as ever, with discoveries that have led to the disclosure of three high-severity zero-day vulnerabilities under active exploitation in Apple OSes and the Chrome browser in the span of 48 hours.

Apple on Thursday said it was releasing security updates fixing two vulnerabilities present in iOS, macOS, and iPadOS. Both of them reside in WebKit, the engine that drives Safari and a wide range of other apps, including Apple Mail, the App Store, and all browsers running on iPhones and iPads. While the update applies to all supported versions of Apple OSes, Thursday’s disclosure suggested in-the-wild attacks exploiting the vulnerabilities targeted earlier versions of iOS.

“Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been exploited against versions of iOS before iOS 16.7.1,” Apple officials wrote of both vulnerabilities, which are tracked as CVE-2023-42916 and CVE-2023-42917.

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    2 municipal water facilities report falling to hackers in separate breaches / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 30 November - 00:42 · 1 minute

2 municipal water facilities report falling to hackers in separate breaches

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In the stretch of a few days, two municipal water facilities that serve more than 2 million residents in parts of Pennsylvania and Texas have reported network security breaches that have hamstrung parts of their business or operational processes.

In response to one of the attacks, the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania temporarily shut down a pump providing drinking water from the facility’s treatment plant to the townships of Raccoon and Potter, according to reporting by the Beaver Countian. A photo the Water Authority provided to news outlets showed the front panel of a programmable logic controller—a toaster-sized box often abbreviated as PLC that’s used to automate physical processes inside of industrial settings—that displayed an anti-Israeli message. The PLC bore the logo of the manufacturer Unitronics. A sign above it read “Primary PLC.”

WWS facilities in the cross hairs

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Administration on Tuesday published an advisory that warned of recent attacks compromising Unitronics PLCs used in Water and Wastewater Systems, which are often abbreviated as WWSes. Although the notice didn’t identify any facilities by name, the account of one hack was almost identical to the one that occurred inside the Aliquippa facility.

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    ownCloud vulnerability with maximum 10 severity score comes under “mass” exploitation / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 29 November - 00:38 · 1 minute

Photograph depicts a security scanner extracting virus from a string of binary code. Hand with the word "exploit"

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Security researchers are tracking what they say is the “mass exploitation” of a security vulnerability that makes it possible to take full control of servers running ownCloud, a widely used open-source filesharing server app.

The vulnerability, which carries the maximum severity rating of 10, makes it possible to obtain passwords and cryptographic keys allowing administrative control of a vulnerable server by sending a simple Web request to a static URL, ownCloud officials warned last week. Within four days of the November 21 disclosure, researchers at security firm Greynoise said , they began observing “mass exploitation” in their honeypot servers, which masqueraded as vulnerable ownCloud servers to track attempts to exploit the vulnerability. The number of IP addresses sending the web requests has slowly risen since then. At the time this post went live on Ars, it had reached 13.

Spraying the Internet

“We're seeing hits to the specific endpoint that exposes sensitive information, which would be considered exploitation,” Glenn Thorpe, senior director of security research & detection engineering at Greynoise, said in an interview on Mastodon. “At the moment, we've seen 13 IPs that are hitting our unadvertised sensors, which indicates that they are pretty much spraying it across the internet to see what hits.”

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    Hackers spent 2+ years looting secrets of chipmaker NXP before being detected / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 28 November - 12:56 · 1 minute

A cartoon man runs across a white field of ones and zeroes.

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A prolific espionage hacking group with ties to China spent over two years looting the corporate network of NXP, the Netherlands-based chipmaker whose silicon powers security-sensitive components found in smartphones, smartcards, and electric vehicles, a news outlet has reported.

The intrusion, by a group tracked under names including "Chimera" and "G0114," lasted from late 2017 to the beginning of 2020, according to Netherlands-based NCR, which cited “several sources” familiar with the incident. During that time, the threat actors periodically accessed employee mailboxes and network drives in search of chip designs and other NXP intellectual property. The breach wasn’t uncovered until Chimera intruders were detected in a separate company network that connected to compromised NXP systems on several occasions. Details of the breach remained a closely guarded secret until now.

No material damage

NCR cited a report published (and later deleted) by security firm Fox-IT, titled Abusing Cloud Services to Fly Under the Radar . It documented Chimera using cloud services from companies including Microsoft and Dropbox to receive data stolen from the networks of semiconductor makers, including one in Europe that was hit in “early Q4 2017.” Some of the intrusions lasted as long as three years before coming to light. NCR said the unidentified victim was NXP.

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    Cisco security appliance 0-day is under attack by ransomware crooks / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 19:50 · 1 minute

Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, California, US, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. Cisco Systems Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on August 16. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Enlarge / Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, California, US, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. Cisco Systems Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on August 16. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cisco on Thursday confirmed the existence of a currently unpatched zero-day vulnerability that hackers are exploiting to gain unauthorized access to two widely used security appliances it sells.

The vulnerability resides in Cisco’s Adaptive Security Appliance Software and its Firepower Threat Defense, which are typically abbreviated as ASA and FTD. Cisco and researchers have known since last week that a ransomware crime syndicate called Akira was gaining access to devices through password spraying and brute-forcing. Password spraying, also known as credential stuffing, involves trying a handful of commonly used passwords for a large number of usernames in an attempt to prevent detection and subsequent lockouts. In brute-force attacks, hackers use a much larger corpus of password guesses against a more limited number of usernames.

Ongoing attacks since (at least) March

“An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by specifying a default connection profile/tunnel group while conducting a brute force attack or while establishing a clientless SSL VPN session using valid credentials,” Cisco officials wrote in an advisory . “A successful exploit could allow the attacker to achieve one or both of the following:

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    The International Criminal Court will now prosecute cyberwar crimes / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 17:23 · 1 minute

Karim Khan speaks at Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace during the visit of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in Bogota, Colombia, on June 6, 2023.

Enlarge / Karim Khan speaks at Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace during the visit of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in Bogota, Colombia, on June 6, 2023. (credit: Long Visual Press/Getty )

For years, some cybersecurity defenders and advocates have called for a kind of Geneva Convention for cyberwar , new international laws that would create clear consequences for anyone hacking civilian critical infrastructure, like power grids, banks, and hospitals. Now the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the Hague has made it clear that he intends to enforce those consequences—no new Geneva Convention required. Instead, he has explicitly stated for the first time that the Hague will investigate and prosecute any hacking crimes that violate existing international law, just as it does for war crimes committed in the physical world.

In a little-noticed article released last month in the quarterly publication Foreign Policy Analytics, the International Criminal Court’s lead prosecutor, Karim Khan, spelled out that new commitment: His office will investigate cybercrimes that potentially violate the Rome Statute, the treaty that defines the court’s authority to prosecute illegal acts, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.


“Cyberwarfare does not play out in the abstract. Rather, it can have a profound impact on people’s lives,” Khan writes. “Attempts to impact critical infrastructure such as medical facilities or control systems for power generation may result in immediate consequences for many, particularly the most vulnerable. Consequently, as part of its investigations, my Office will collect and review evidence of such conduct.”

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    Apple patches “clickless” 0-day image processing vulnerability in iOS, macOS / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 22:47

Apple patches “clickless” 0-day image processing vulnerability in iOS, macOS

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Apple has released security updates for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS today to fix actively exploited zero-day security flaws that can be used to install malware via a "maliciously crafted image" or attachment. The iOS 16.6.1, iPadOS 16.6.1, macOS 13.5.2, and watchOS 9.6.2 updates patch the flaws across all of Apple's platforms. As of this writing, no updates have been released for older versions like iOS 15 or macOS 12.

The CVE-2023-41064 and CVE-2023-41061 flaws were reported by the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Also dubbed "BLASTPASS," Citizen Lab says that the bugs are serious because they can be exploited just by loading an image or attachment, which happens regularly in Safari, Messages, WhatsApp, and other first- and third-party apps. These bugs are also called "zero-click" or "clickless" vulnerabilities.

Citizen Lab also said that the BLASTPASS bug was "being used to deliver NSO Group’s Pegasus mercenary spyware ," the latest in a long line of similar exploits that have been used to infect fully patched iOS and Android devices.

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