August 9, 2022

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Security News This Week: Even the CIA and NSA Use Ad Blockers to Stay Safe Online

Everything previous was new once more this week as ransomware came roaring back into the headlines, hitting an important Iowa grain cooperative, amongst different targets. And WIRED sat down with DeSnake, the previous quantity two of the darkish internet market AlphaBay, to listen to about his reemergence and relaunch of AlphaBay 4 years after its takedown by legislation enforcement. “AlphaBay name was put in bad light after the raids. I am here to make amends to that,” DeSnake mentioned.

The Groundhog Day vibes continued with the annual launch of Apple’s newest cellular working system, iOS 15. The new OS comes with a slew of privacy features, together with extra granular particulars about what your apps are as much as, a mechanism to dam e mail trackers, and a form of VPN-Tor Frankenstein monster referred to as iCloud Private Relay that protects your shopping exercise. Use WIRED’s handy guide to rise up to hurry and begin altering some settings.

And in order for you a DIY undertaking that is not tied to a tech firm’s walled backyard, we have recommendations on how to set up your own network attached storage (NAS) that plugs straight into your router and provides you a spot to share recordsdata between your gadgets or simply retailer backups.

And there’s extra! Each week we spherical up all the safety information WIRED didn’t cowl in depth. Click on the headlines to learn the total tales, and keep protected on the market.

A letter to Congress shared with Motherboard reveals that the US National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and different members of the Intelligence Community use advert blockers on their networks as a safety safety. “The IC has implemented network-based ad-blocking technologies and uses information from several layers, including Domain Name System information, to block unwanted and malicious advertising content,” the IC chief information officer wrote in the letter.

You may use an ad blocker to make your browsing experience more pleasant, but the tools also have potential defense benefits. Attackers who try to run malicious ads on unscrupulous ad networks or taint legitimate-looking ads can steal data or sneak malware onto your device if you click, or sometimes by exploiting web vulnerabilities. The fact that the IC views ads as an unnecessary risk and even a threat speaks to long-standing problems with the industry. The NSA and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have released public guidance in recent years advising the use of ad blockers as a security protection, but the IC itself wasn’t required to adopt the measure. Its members deployed ad blockers voluntarily.

The security division of Russian telecom giant Rostelecom took down a portion of a notorious botnet this week, thanks to a flaw introduced by the malicious platform’s developers. The error allowed Rostelecom to “sinkhole“ part of the system. A botnet is a zombie army of devices that have been infected with malware to centrally control coordinated operations. The platforms are often used for DDoS attacks, in which actors direct a firehose of junk traffic at a target’s web systems in an attempt to overload them. 

The Meris botnet is currently the largest botnet available to cybercriminals and is thought to be made up of about 250,000 systems working collectively. It has been used against targets in Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, among others. The Rostelecom partial takedown is significant, because Meris attacks are powerful and challenging for targets to combat. Earlier this month, a Meris attack on the Russian tech giant Yandex broke the record for largest-ever volumetric DDoS attack. Yandex managed to defend itself against the assault.

European law enforcement in Italy and Spain have arrested 106 people on suspicion of running a massive fraud campaign over many years, with profits totaling more than $11.7 million in the last year alone. And police said this week that the individuals involved have ties to an Italian mafia group. The suspects allegedly ran phishing schemes, conducted business email compromise scams, launched SIM-swapping attacks, and generally perpetrated credit card fraud against hundreds of victims. The activity was also allegedly connected to drug trafficking and other property-related crimes. To actually extract funds from these digital scams, the suspects allegedly laundered stolen money through a system of money mules and shell companies. In addition to the arrests, law enforcement froze 118 bank accounts and seized computers, SIM cards, 224 credit cards, and an entire cannabis plantation in connection with the bust.

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