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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: COVID-19

5 Security Lessons for Small Security Teams for the Post COVID19 Era

5 Security Lessons for Small Security Teams for the Post COVID19 Era

February 23, 2021The Hacker News
A full-time mass work from home (WFH) workforce was once considered an extreme risk scenario that few risk or security professionals even bothered to think about. Unfortunately, within a single day, businesses worldwide had to face such a reality. Their 3-year long digital transformation strategy was forced to become a 3-week sprint during which offices were abandoned, and people started working from home. Like in an eerie doomsday movie, servers were left on in the office, but nobody was sitting in the chairs. While everyone hopes that the world returns to its previous state, it's evident that work dynamics have changed forever. From now on, we can assume a hybrid work environment. Even companies that will require their employees to arrive daily at their offices recognize that they have undergone a digital transformation, and work from home habits will remain. The eBook "5 Security Lessons for Small Security Teams for a Post-COVID19 Era" ( download here ) helps companies prepare
North Korean Hackers Trying to Steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research

North Korean Hackers Trying to Steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research

December 23, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors such as the notorious Lazarus group are continuing to tap into the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine research to steal sensitive information to speed up their countries' vaccine-development efforts. Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky  detailed  two incidents at a pharmaceutical company and a government ministry in September and October leveraging different tools and techniques but exhibiting similarities in the post-exploitation process, leading the researchers to connect the two attacks to the North Korean government-linked hackers. "These two incidents reveal the Lazarus group's interest in intelligence related to COVID-19," Seongsu Park, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky, said. "While the group is mostly known for its financial activities, it is a good reminder that it can go after strategic research as well." Kaspersky did not name the targeted entities but said the pharmaceutical firm was breached on September 25, 2020, with the attack again
How to Defend Against Malware, Phishing, and Scams During COVID-19 Crisis

How to Defend Against Malware, Phishing, and Scams During COVID-19 Crisis

December 23, 2020The Hacker News
As if the exponential rise in phishing scams and malware attacks in the last five years wasn't enough, the COVID-19 crisis has worsened it further. The current scenario has given a viable opportunity to cybercriminals to find a way to target individuals, small and large enterprises, government corporations. According to Interpol's  COVID-19 Cybercrime Analysis Report , based on the feedback of 194 countries, phishing/scam/fraud, malware/ransomware, malicious domains, and fake news have emerged as the biggest digital threats across the world in the wake of the pandemic. Image source: interpol.int There are primarily two reasons for emerging cyber threats in 2020: Most of the population is working, learning, shopping, or running their business from home, where they're using personal devices from the home/public internet connection, which are usually unsafe and hence highly vulnerable to cybercrimes. The cybercriminals are using the COVID-19 theme to exploit people and
Russian APT28 Hackers Using COVID-19 as Bait to Deliver Zebrocy Malware

Russian APT28 Hackers Using COVID-19 as Bait to Deliver Zebrocy Malware

December 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A Russian threat actor known for its malware campaigns has reappeared in the threat landscape with yet another attack leveraging COVID-19 as phishing lures, once again indicating how adversaries are adept at repurposing the current world events to their advantage. Linking the operation to a sub-group of APT28 (aka Sofacy, Sednit, Fancy Bear, or STRONTIUM), cybersecurity firm Intezer said the pandemic-themed phishing emails were employed to deliver the Go version of Zebrocy (or Zekapab) malware. The cybersecurity firm told The Hacker News that the campaigns were observed late last month. Zebrocy is delivered primarily via phishing attacks that contain decoy Microsoft Office documents with macros as well as executable file attachments. First spotted in the wild in 2015 , the operators behind the malware have been found to overlap with GreyEnergy , a threat group believed to be the successor of BlackEnergy aka Sandworm , suggesting its role as a sub-group with links to Sofacy and
Hackers Targeting Companies Involved in Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution

Hackers Targeting Companies Involved in Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution

December 04, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A global spear-phishing campaign has been targeting organizations associated with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines since September 2020, according to new research. Attributing the operation to a nation-state actor,  IBM Security X-Force researchers  said the attacks took aim at the vaccine cold chain, companies responsible for storing and delivering the COVID-19 vaccine at safe temperatures. The development has prompted the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to  issue an alert , urging Operation Warp Speed ( OWS ) organizations and companies involved in vaccine storage and transport to review the indicators of compromise (IoCs) and beef up their defenses. It is unclear whether any of the phishing attempts were successful, but the company said it has notified appropriate entities and authorities about this targeted attack. The phishing emails, dating to September, targeted organizations in Italy, Germany, South Korea, the Czech Republic, greater Europe
New Report Explains COVID-19's Impact on Cyber Security

New Report Explains COVID-19's Impact on Cyber Security

September 16, 2020The Hacker News
Most cybersecurity professionals fully anticipated that cybercriminals would leverage the fear and confusion surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic in their cyberattacks. Of course, malicious emails would contain subjects relating to Covid-19, and malicious downloads would be Covid-19 related. This is how cybercriminals operate. Any opportunity to maximize effectiveness, no matter how contemptible, is taken. While many have anecdotally suggested ways in which Covid-19 related cyberattacks would unfold, we have little data supporting the actual impact of Covid-19 on cybersecurity. Several have reported that the number of malicious emails with the subject related to Covid-19 has grown several hundred percent and that the majority of Covid-19 related emails are now malicious. Beyond the anticipated increase in Covid-19 related malicious emails, videos, and an array of downloadable files, which we all anticipated, what else is going on behind the scenes? Interestingly, cybersecurity
How COVID-19 Has Changed Business Cybersecurity Priorities Forever

How COVID-19 Has Changed Business Cybersecurity Priorities Forever

August 07, 2020The Hacker News
For much of this year, IT professionals all over the globe have had their hands full, finding ways to help businesses cope with the fallout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In many cases, it involved a rapid rollout of significant remote work infrastructure. That infrastructure was called into service with little to no warning and even less opportunity for testing. Needless to say, the situation wasn't ideal from a cybersecurity standpoint. And hackers all over the world knew it. Almost immediately, Google reported a significant increase in malicious activity, and Microsoft noted trends that appeared to back that up. The good news is that the wave of cyberattacks unleashed by the pandemic peaked in April and has since died down. Fortunately, that's allowing IT professionals and network administrators everywhere to take a deep breath and take stock of the new security environment they're now operating in. The trouble is, there's still so much uncertainty
How Cybersecurity Enables Government, Health, EduTech Cope With COVID-19

How Cybersecurity Enables Government, Health, EduTech Cope With COVID-19

May 21, 2020The Hacker News
The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on our society has resulted in many dramatic changes to how people are traveling, interacting with each other, and collaborating at work. There are several trends taking place as a consequence of the outbreak, which has only continued to heighten the need for the tightest possible cybersecurity. Tools for Collaboration There has been a massive spike in the adoption of Tools for Collaboration as a consequence of COVID-19. Concerns about the coronavirus have caused an enormous increase in remote working, with many organizations requiring or at least encouraging their workers to stay at home—especially when cities, states, and even some entire nations are ultimately into lock down in a bid to spread the stem of the disease. Meanwhile, with millions working from home for many weeks now, there has been a spike in the video conferencing and online collaboration software, many of which are fortunately entirely free, allowing orga
Hackers Targeting Critical Healthcare Facilities With Ransomware During Coronavirus Pandemic

Hackers Targeting Critical Healthcare Facilities With Ransomware During Coronavirus Pandemic

April 14, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
As hospitals around the world are struggling to respond to the coronavirus crisis, cybercriminals—with no conscience and empathy—are continuously targeting healthcare organizations, research facilities, and other governmental organizations with ransomware and malicious information stealers. The new research, published by Palo Alto Networks and shared with The Hacker News, confirmed that "the threat actors who profit from cybercrime will go to any extent, including targeting organizations that are in the front lines and responding to the pandemic on a daily basis." While the security firm didn't name the latest victims, it said a Canadian government healthcare organization and a Canadian medical research university both suffered ransomware attacks, as criminal groups seek to exploit the crisis for financial gain. The attacks were detected between March 24 and March 26 and were initiated as part of the coronavirus-themed phishing campaigns that have become widespr
Webinar: How MSSPs Can Overcome Coronavirus Quarantine Challenges

Webinar: How MSSPs Can Overcome Coronavirus Quarantine Challenges

April 14, 2020The Hacker News
The Coronavirus quarantine introduces an extreme challenge for IT and Security teams to maintain secure environments during the mass transition of employees working remotely and the surge in cyberattacks targeting its inherent security weaknesses. In a webinar for security service providers taking place on April 22nd ( register here ), a leading MSSP will share how they conquer and overcome the coronavirus quarantine challenges to grow their customer base. The webinar sheds light on the opportunities and challenges this new reality introduces to MSSPs from the perspective of a leading Canadian MSSP. While it might sound strange to discuss the opportunities Coronavirus brings, especially with the changes it imposes on the IT environment, but it does bring a shift in priorities. It turns out that cyber threats that were normally considered a reasonable risk to contain, suddenly become regarded as a critical need to address. Thus, organizations that did not have advanced threat
Google and Apple Plan to Turn Phones into COVID-19 Contact-Tracking Devices

Google and Apple Plan to Turn Phones into COVID-19 Contact-Tracking Devices

April 10, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Tech giants Apple and Google have joined forces to develop an interoperable contact-tracing tool that will help individuals determine if they have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. As part of this new initiative, the companies are expected to release an API that public agencies can integrate into their apps. The next iteration will be a built-in system-level platform that uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons to allow for contact tracing on an opt-in basis. The APIs are expected to be available mid-May for Android and iOS, with the broader contact tracing system set to roll out "in the coming months." "Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders," the companies said. The rare collaboration comes as governments worldwide are increasingly turning to technology such as phone tracking and facial recognition to
7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

April 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
In our previous stories, you might have already read about various campaigns warning how threat actors are capitalizing on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to infect your computers and mobile devices with malware or scam you out of your money. Unfortunately, to some extent, it's working, and that's because the attack surface is changing and expanding rapidly as many organizations and business tasks are going digital without much preparation, exposing themselves to more potential threats. Most of the recent cyberattacks are primarily exploiting the fears around the COVID-19 outbreak—fueled by disinformation and fake news—to distribute malware via Google Play apps , malicious links and attachments, and execute ransomware attacks. Here, we took a look at some of the wide range of unseen threats rising in the digital space, powered by coronavirus-themed lures that cybercriminals are using for espionage and commercial gain. The latest development adds to a l
Secure Remote Working During COVID-19 — Checklist for CISOs

Secure Remote Working During COVID-19 — Checklist for CISOs

April 07, 2020The Hacker News
Coronavirus crisis introduces a heavy burden on the CISOs with the collective impact of a mass transition to working remotely coupled with a surge of cyberattacks that strive to monetize the general chaos. Security vendors, unintendedly, contribute to this burden by a relentless generation of noise in the form of attack reports, best practices, tips, and threat landscape analysis. Here we have a new " CISO Checklist for Secure Remote Working " ( download here ) that has been built to assist CISOs in navigating through this noise, providing them with a concise and high-level list of the absolute essentials needed to ensure their organization is well protected in these challenging times. The Coronavirus quarantine forces us to face a new reality. It is critical to acknowledge this new reality in order to understand how to successfully confront these changes. Make no mistake – these changed apply to any organization, regardless of its former security posture. For exa
COVID-19: Hackers Begin Exploiting Zoom's Overnight Success to Spread Malware

COVID-19: Hackers Begin Exploiting Zoom's Overnight Success to Spread Malware

March 30, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
As people increasingly work from home and online communication platforms such as Zoom explode in popularity in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the spike in usage by registering new fake "Zoom" domains and malicious "Zoom" executable files in an attempt to trick people into downloading malware on their devices. According to a report published by Check Point and shared with The Hacker News, over 1,700 new "Zoom" domains have been registered since the onset of the pandemic, with 25 percent of the domains registered in the past seven days alone. "We see a sharp rise in the number of 'Zoom' domains being registered, especially in the last week," said Omer Dembinsky, Manager of Cyber Research at Check Point . "The recent, staggering increase means that hackers have taken notice of the work-from-home paradigm shift that COVID-19 has forced, and they see it as an opportunity to deceive, lure,
Watch Out: Android Apps in Google Play Store Capitalizing on Coronavirus Outbreak

Watch Out: Android Apps in Google Play Store Capitalizing on Coronavirus Outbreak

March 26, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Preying on public fears, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is proving to be a goldmine of opportunity for attackers to stage a variety of malware attacks, phishing campaigns, and create scam sites and malicious tracker apps. Now in a fresh twist, third-party Android app developers too have begun to take advantage of the situation to use coronavirus-related keywords in their app names, descriptions, or in the package names so as to drop malware, perpetrate financial theft and rank higher in Google Play Store searches related to the topic. "Most malicious apps found are bundle threats that range from ransomware to SMS-sending malware, and even spyware designed to clean out the contents of victims' devices for personal or financial data," Bitdefender researchers said in a telemetry analysis report shared with The Hacker News. The find by Bitdefender is the latest in an avalanche of digital threats piggybacking on the coronavirus pandemic. Using Coronavirus-Relat
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