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Spectre, Google, and the Universal Read Gadget

Spectre, a seemingly never ending menace to processors, is back in the limelight once again thanks to the Universal Read Gadget. First seen at the start of 2018, Spectre emerged alongside Meltdown as a major potential threat to people’s system security. Meltdown and Spectre Meltdown targeted Intel processors and required a malicious process running on the system to interact with it. Spectre could … [Read more...]

Hacker destroys VFEmail service, wipes backups

An email service called VFEmail was essentially put out of business after a hack intended to delete everything in (and out of) sight. “Yes, @VFEmail is effectively gone. It will likely not return. I never thought anyone would care about my labor of love so much that they’d want to completely and thoroughly destroy it.” This wasn’t “just” a simple webpage compromise, … [Read more...]

Collection 1 data breach: what you need to know

Yesterday, news broke that the largest data dump in history had been discovered, with more than 770 million people’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) decrypted, catalogued, and up for grabs on the Internet. The files, which are being dubbed Collection 1, were originally found on cloud service MEGA, and later posted to a popular hacking forum. The Collection 1 folder contains more … [Read more...]

The Advanced Persistent Threat files: APT10

We’ve heard a lot about Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) over the past few years. As a refresher, APTs are prolonged, aimed attacks on specific targets with the intention to compromise their systems and gain information from or about that target. While the targets may be anyone or anything—a person, business, or other organization—APTs are often associated with government or military … [Read more...]

Luas data ransom: the hacker who cried wolf?

In a terrible start to the year for Irish tram firm Luas, their site was compromised a week ago and adorned with a stark ransom warning: Click to enlarge You are hacked. Some time ago I wrote that you have serious security holes. You didn’t reply. The next time someone talks to you, press the reply button. You must pay one bitcoin in five days. Otherwise I will publish all data and send emails to … [Read more...]

Assessing the security of a portable router: a look inside its hardware, part deux

In part two of our blog assessing the security of a portable router, we will acquire the tools and equipment to make a copy of the firmware on our target router so that we can assess the full firmware. Sometimes, the manufacturer has an updated firmware that is available on their website. It could be just that—an update—and therefore incomplete. We want to be able to compare the updated and … [Read more...]

All the reasons why cybercriminals want to hack your phone

When people think of hacking, most imagine desktop computers, laptops, or perhaps even security cameras. However, in recent years, cybercriminals have expanded their repertoire to include smartphones, too. Here are 10 reasons why they may be looking to hack your phone. 1. To infect it with malware Many smartphone users assume they can stay safe from malware and other threats by installing … [Read more...]

Compromising vital infrastructure: transport and logistics

Back when I was a dispatcher for a courier and trucking company, we used to joke that it only took a few strategically-placed accidents to cause a traffic jam that could completely stop circulation around the city of Rotterdam. Rotterdam is one of the major ports in the world and consequently, there is a lot of traffic coming in and out. The roads around the city can handle normal traffic, but … [Read more...]

Tomorrowland festival goers affected by data breach

Tomorrowland, a major international music festival, has revealed a data breach potentially affecting around 60,000 attendees. This one is a little different though, as the data accessed without permission isn’t recent. In fact, it dates back four years to an event long since come and gone. According to a Tomorrowland spokesperson, the managers of the Paylogic ticketing system noticed … [Read more...]

Compromising vital infrastructure: how voting machines and elections are vulnerable

In our first post in a series about vital infrastructure, we aim to explore how secure our voting machines—and our votes in general—are ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. Here, we ask ourselves: How can our infrastructure be compromised? What are the consequences, and how can we prevent attacks or limit the damage? The outcome of elections has an enormous impact on the political and cultural … [Read more...]