Category Archives: Hackers

We will cover current issues about hacker groups around the world who act behind the scenes and commit cybercrimes.

Emotet: Where are we today?

By the end of January 2021, thanks to international collaboration, the authorities had succeeded in dismantling the infrastructure that was being used by hackers as part of the organization.

Emotet, 'one of the largest botnets of zombies in the world. While this has been presented as a major step forward in the fight against cybercrime, experts are calling it into the fact that this could only be a respite for organizations that had been hit hard.

4 months is what dismantling could leave businesses as a respite. Because it is very likely that other hackers will take over this juicy business. This not to mention the alternative that the gangs behind Emotet can on launch.

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Let's go back to the beginning of this case. On 27 January, European police cooperation enthusiastically declared that it had succeeded in dismantling one of the world's largest zombie networks. The group behind Emotet is believed to be guilty of thousands of computer attacks around the world. To succeed, all the police authorities cooperating in this case have seized in their respective states, all servers used by hackers to control their network of infected machines around the world.

In such a situation, the hackers found themselves unarmed. This situation would be exacerbated by the erasure of all their malware installed in contaminated devices. "It was the most active group, the number 1, so it's definitely going to give us a break," said David Kopp, head of the European security company's threat response team at Trend Micro. However, the latter is under no illusions. He knows the work is not yet finished: "Certainly the operations will be stopped for a while… and it is certain that others will resume the same type of operations by the end of the year. This environment works like that of drug dealers: when the police dismantle one network, another will take its place. ».

The situation, it must be admitted, is quite disturbing for many computer security specialists. Indeed, their role finds meaning in protecting against computer attacks, while their opponents find their own in computer attacks, which pays much more. Recently a Russian hacker had confided in an exchange, that he had decided to be a hacker because he earns much more than as a computer security professional. However, he mentioned that if he could earn much more by being a cybersecurity specialist, he was sure he would change jobs.

From a practical point of view, we know that cybersecurity and cybercrime are very important markets for their players. For hackers, their activities have become like normal work. An activity like any other followed by remuneration that corresponds to the efforts made. For the latter, selling computer data where extorting money from Internet users is a market like any other. A market that is becoming more and more attractive. Indeed, hackers are constantly raising more and more money. With what these hackers earn in their various attempts, they are able to recruit better hacker, much more than the security companies themselves. They are also able to equip themselves with state-of-the-art equipment to not only remain competitive and efficient, because at this level there is also competition, but also to expand their activities as a company would.

"The dismantling of Emotet's infrastructure can be compared to the shutdown of a normal company's production line. Cybercriminals will have to deal with the issue of resilience, and face the same issues that their victims face," says Kopp. To some extent, it is safe to say that the operators behind Emotet had an excellent place in this business. He was considered the number one. The key question facing security specialists at the moment is whether they will be able to restart their business after a hit. Or of course if another competitor will take advantage of the situation to expand its influence. According to David Kopp: "Even if the infrastructure has fallen, if cybercriminals are not stopped, they will simply deport themselves to another infrastructure." However, on the issue of the arrest of members of this group, Europol has not disclosed enough information.

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Ransomware: French authorities concerned about complexity of computer attacks

The National Information Systems Security Agency continues to sound the alarm.

The cause: ransomware attacks are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to manage.According to the authorities, these are no longer just for-profit cyberattacks. These software programs designed to extort money by taking computer systems hostage are more advanced than ever. According to Anssi, they should no longer be "relegated to the status of mere for-profit attacks." "Their sophistication, their interest in victim data and the loss of business continuity they generate bring them closer to espionage or sabotage attacks by state-level attackers," the independent administrative authority said in a 34-page memo last week.

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"Attacks on hospitals show that a ransomware attack can have consequences for patients in the real world, putting their lives at risk," notes National Information Systems Security Agency. As far as attacking them against companies is concerned, there is a much greater tendency to observe the risks of "destabilization of several large groups" or even of an "entire economic activity" across some important organizations.

According to Guillaume Poupard, head of the National Information Systems Security Agency, in early January, the independent administrative authority for cybersecurity increased these interventions fourfold by 2021. Ransoms have also risen on their side. hackers no longer hesitate to demand millions of dollars as ransom. "The amount of a ransom (from the darkSide group) can range from $200,000 to $2 million, while a ransom (from the group) WastedLocker can range from $500,000 to $14,000," the Anssi document notes.

On a slightly larger scale, it has also been observed that the perpetrators of these cyberattacks have come together in much more sophisticated and professional groups, often with the ability to excise certain tasks and resources. There is also the availability of certain programs that are available to on-demand operators. This allows potential hackers to have access "in the form of a subscription or partnership to a ransomware, its payment and distribution infrastructure, as well as a set of back-office services (technical support, exchange interface with victims…) according to the National Information Systems Security Agency.

Given the evolution of things as well as the cyberattacks that we have encountered during the year 2020, it is clear that the year 2021 promises to be quite rough, much more than those predecessors. Hoping then that all the alerts and safeguards put in place by the authorities as well as the organizations will be able to minimize the consequences of the evolving cyber-pollution.

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What if Telegram disclosed your location to hackers

Messaging services are very delicate in that because of the massive use they are subjected to, users are generally exposed to several types of generality.

This is exactly the case with Telegram, the popular messaging app. A computer security specialist recently discovered a vulnerability that affected the application. If one of the arguments of the application is that it allows its users to communicate safely through the encryption of their data, it does not prevent that this security problem can be put in harm. In a way.

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As a reminder it must mean that Telegram Messenger and an app that runs under the operating system iOS and Android. It allows, like WhatsApp, to exchange videos of photos and even text or audio messages. It uses what is called end-to-end encryption for trade security. Unfortunately, it would appear that a feature would allow hackers to accurately determine a user's geographic location. Indeed, when you use an Android smartphone, while activating the feature that allows your loved ones to connect to you when they are at a reasonable geographical distance, the cybercriminal can know exactly where you are. This is not typical only for Android smartphones. Some iPhones are also affected by this problem. The computer security specialist who discovered this security flaw says he has already notified Telegram officials, however they may have no intention of fixing the vulnerability.

Everything would be lm caused by the feature known as "People Nearby" in French "People nearby. By default, the feature is not active. However, users when active can see how far a person close to them is. In a way in terms of privacy the functionality poses no problem for me. However, it is very convenient for a person with harassment intentions, as he can know where exactly his victim is.

Contacted by the cybersecurity researcher named Ahmed Hassan, an independent in the sector, who sent them proof of vulnerability via video, the structure behind the messaging app responded: "Thank you for contacting us. Users in the "People Nearby" section intentionally share their location, and this feature is disabled by default. It is expected that it will be possible to determine the exact location under certain conditions. Unfortunately, this case is not covered by our bug premium program."

According to the independent researcher, he would have earned a bounty in when he discovered a similar security flaw on another famous messaging app, LINE. A feature that can also be found on this application. However in their case the problem has been solved.

How did the researcher operate? It's pretty simple. Indeed, he used software that is accessible to all interested people. Subsequently, it sent three false positions to the Telegram app server based on the approximate location of the target. Thanks to a smartphone that worked on Android, a phone rooted. Thanks to this process, he was able to determine almost precisely the position of the target user.

Another problem with location sharing via the Telegram app. The messaging service allows its users to create local groups based on location. And that's using the location. The researcher explains that these types of groups are quite vulnerable. Especially for people who unfortunately can't measure the impact of the problem.

"Most users don't understand that they share their location, and perhaps their personal address," the independent researcher wrote in his emailed statement. "If a woman uses this feature to chat with a local group, she can be tracked down by unwanted users."

The researcher did not release his video explaining the geolocation hack. However, he insists on being wary.

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Whoever discovered US President Donald Trump's password will not be prosecuted

This is the story of a man in his 40s who discovered a security breach on the Twitter account of several U.S. authorities.

Especially that of US President Donald Trump. He is of Dutch origin and his name is Victor Gevers. He discovered Donald Trump's password. He then used it to log in on October 16, just to check.

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According to the prosecution in charge of his case, the individual can be classified as an ethical hacker, that is, people who specialize in the discovery of vulnerabilities and who report it to prevent other hackers from taking advantage of it. The prosecutor's office ruled that he had no intention of harming the US president.

The discovery of the password was not so simple. Indeed, according to him he tried several combinations to finally discover the famous password of Donald Trump which was "maga2020", a contraction of his slogan: "Make America Great Again 2020". A password a little far-fetched knowing the ingenuity of hackers.

The vulnerability of the account was discovered before the start of the elections, which was particularly beneficial for the American president. Last October, the ethical hacker explained how he attacked a local media outlet, the Vrij Nederland. This prompted an investigation because cybercrime is severely punished in the Netherlands.

The investigation was entrusted to a "state-of-the-art national police crime team" as the Lower Country Prosecutor's Office served it in a statement. According to the hacker, his action was aimed at testing the security of a password of US President Donald Trump. He wanted to prevent the American president from being hacked as the United States entered the presidential election phase. At no time had he attempted to impersonate the US president when he logged in with his IDs. Indeed he did not make any tweets.

According to the Dutch prosecutor's office, the ethical hacker had simply "attempted to contact the US authorities to alert them to the vulnerability of access to the Twitter account. In these particular circumstances, he cannot be prosecuted.

Warned of the outcome of the investigation, US authorities have literally denied that the hacker may have had access to Donald Trump's account. The US social network also said it did not have any information about any session from outside the White House.

For the time being, if the act of the ethical hacker goes a little unnoticed, it should be pointed out that this draws attention to the importance of knowing how to compose good passwords. No one is therefore immune from computer hacking no matter what social status is the professional position. Not even the American president.

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Cybercrime seems "unstoppable"

Let's say it or not, cybercrime doesn't go back to now.

If the coronavirus pandemic has had a boost effect, it should be recognized, to some extent, that without the health crisis, there is a good chance that computer hacking would have been the scale it is today. Clearly, the evidence before us shows that cybercrime seems to have "no limits" as Emmanuel Cugny, a journalist at Radio France, describes it. You only have to do a general analysis of the situation to realize how cyber-malveillance is a scourge that keeps growing.

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According to recent estimates by the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies, cybercrime is causing the global economy to lose $1 trillion, or 825 billion euros, in 2019 alone. It is estimated that in just one year, this figure would have increased by 50%. The same reflections have determined that one in three companies in the world has ever been the victim of a computer security accident, in terms of cost in terms of loss amounts to up to $500,000 per incident.

In addition, it has been observed that the frequency of computer attacks targeting businesses is increasing. This increase is mainly due to changes in cyberattack techniques. Techniques that continue to evolve every year. With the massive use of new technologies in the professional setting, and the increasing digitization of companies and industries, we must admit that the threats have multiplied. Attack vectors have become much more numerous in that security vulnerabilities are still not under control.

But the aspect that is implicated in all this is telework. The conclusion that the coronavirus pandemic and the one that spread cybercrime clearly put in several sectors. Especially in health care. In practical ways, cybersecurity experts confirm that the global health crisis is playing a major role in this broadening of the sphere of cyber-malveillance. Indeed, last spring, the French company specializing in computer security, Thalès had warned throughout the professional world and users of digital services that half of the domain names that were created since the beginning of 2020 were in some way related to the pandemic of coronavirus. Websites that could allow cyber criminals to inject malware into visitors' terminals. At the moment, hackers have several weapons to put into practice their cyber-malleting campaign. Internet users then had to deal with disinformation campaigns, frauds such as fraud against the president, fake customers and suppliers. Of course, ransomware attacks. The latter has been persistent and persistent always.

Unfortunately, no organization is spared. No individual is safe. And as if that wasn't enough, it was shown that one in two companies was not equipped enough to urgently resume a computer attack. However, it is small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-sized enterprises that are the most vulnerable targets. While investments in COMPUTER security have increased, this is not enough to ensure adequate security in the face of the situation. Having the latest security software is not enough to ensure better security. It is recommended that all IT departments be audited and staff should be educated in order to maintain a certain balance between information and practice. It is also recommended that companies turn to public it security agencies.

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