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Let's face it: Having “2022 election” in the headline above is probably the only reason anyone might read this story today. Still, while most of us here in the United States are anxiously awaiting the results of how well we've patched our Democracy, it seems fitting that Microsoft Corp. today released gobs of security patches for its ubiquitous Windows operating systems. November's patch batch includes fixes for a whopping six zero-day security vulnerabilities that miscreants and malware are already exploiting in the wild. Probably the scariest of the zero-day flaws is CVE-2022-41128, a "critical" weakness in the Windows scripting languages that could be used to foist malicious software on vulnerable users who do nothing more than browse to a hacked or malicious site that exploits the weakness. Microsoft credits Google with reporting the vulnerability, which earned a CVSS score of 8.8. CVE-2022-41073 is a zero-day flaw in the Windows Print Spooler, a Windows component that Microsoft has patched mightily over the past year. Kevin Breen, director of cyber threat research at Immersive Labs, noted that the print spooler has been a popular target for vulnerabilities in the last 12 months, with this marking the 9th patch. The third zero-day Microsoft patched this month is CVE-2022-41125, which is an "elevation of privilege" vulnerability in the Windows Cryptography API: Next Generation (CNG) Key Isolation Service, a service for isolating private keys. Satnam Narang, senior staff…

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Responding to a recent surge in AI-generated bot accounts, LinkedIn is rolling out new features that it hopes will help users make more informed decisions about with whom they choose to connect. Many LinkedIn profiles now display a creation date, and the company is expanding its domain validation offering, which allows users to publicly confirm that they can reply to emails at the domain of their stated current employer. LinkedIn's new "About This Profile" section — which is visible by clicking the "More" button at the top of a profile — includes the year the account was created, the last time the profile information was updated, and an indication of how and whether an account has been verified. LinkedIn also said it is adding a warning to some LinkedIn messages that include high-risk content, or that try to entice the user into taking the conversation to another platform (like WeChat). "We may warn you about messages that ask you to take the conversation to another platform because that can be a sign of a scam," the company said in a blog post. "These warnings will also give you the choice to report the content without letting the sender know." In late September 2022, KrebsOnSecurity warned about the proliferation of fake LinkedIn profiles for Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles at some of the world’s largest corporations. A follow-up story on Oct. 5 showed how the phony profile problem has affected virtually all executive roles at corporations, and how…

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A 25-year-old Finnish man has been charged with extorting a once popular and now-bankrupt online psychotherapy company and its patients. Finnish authorities rarely name suspects in an investigation, but they were willing to make an exception for Julius "Zeekill" Kivimaki, a notorious hacker who — at the tender age of 17 — had been convicted of more than 50,000 cybercrimes, including data breaches, payment fraud, operating botnets, and calling in bomb threats. In late October 2022, Kivimaki was charged (and arrested in absentia, according to the Finns) with attempting to extort money from the Vastaamo Psychotherapy Center. On October 21, 2020, Vastaamo became the target of blackmail when a tormentor identified as "ransom_man" demanded payment of 40 bitcoins (~450,000 euros at the time) in return for a promise not to publish highly sensitive therapy session notes Vastaamo had exposed online. In a series of posts over the ensuing days on a Finnish-language dark net discussion board, ransom_man said Vastaamo appeared unwilling to negotiate a payment, and that he would start publishing 100 patient profiles every 24 hours "to provide further incentive for the company to continue communicating with us." "We're not asking for much, approximately 450,000 euros which is less than 10 euros per patient and only a small fraction of the around 20 million yearly revenues of this company," ransom_man wrote. When Vastaamo declined to pay, ransom_man shifted to extorting individual…

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A 26-year-old Ukrainian man is awaiting extradition from The Netherlands to the United States on charges that he acted as a core developer for Raccoon, a popular "malware-as-a-service" offering that helped paying customers steal passwords and financial data from millions of cybercrime victims. KrebsOnSecurity has learned that the defendant was busted in March 2022, after fleeing mandatory military service in Ukraine in the weeks following the Russian invasion. Ukrainian national Mark Sokolovsky, seen here in a Porsche Cayenne on Mar. 18 fleeing mandatory military service in Ukraine. This image was taken by Polish border authorities as Sokolovsky's vehicle entered Germany. Image: KrebsOnSecurity.com. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas unsealed an indictment last week that named Mark Sokolvsky as the core developer for the Raccoon Infostealer business, which was marketed on several Russian-language cybercrime forums beginning in 2019. Raccoon was essentially a Web-based control panel, where — for $200 a month — customers could get the latest version of the Raccoon Infostealer malware, and interact with infected systems in real time. Security experts say the passwords and other data stolen by Raccoon malware were often resold to groups engaged in deploying ransomware. Working with investigators in Italy and The Netherlands, U.S. authorities seized a copy of the server used by Raccoon to help customers manage their botnets. According to the U.S. Justice…

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On October 10, 2022, there were 576,562 LinkedIn accounts that listed their current employer as Apple Inc. The next day, half of those profiles no longer existed. A similarly dramatic drop in the number of LinkedIn profiles claiming employment at Amazon comes as LinkedIn is struggling to combat a significant uptick in the creation of fake employee accounts that pair AI-generated profile photos with text lifted from legitimate users. Jay Pinho is a developer who is working on a product that tracks company data, including hiring. Pinho has been using LinkedIn to monitor daily employee headcounts at several dozen large organizations, and last week he noticed that two of them had far fewer people claiming to work for them than they did just 24 hours previously. Pinho's screenshot below shows the daily count of employees as displayed on Amazon's LinkedIn homepage. Pinho said his scraper shows that the number of LinkedIn profiles claiming current roles at Amazon fell from roughly 1.25 million to 838,601 in just one day, a 33 percent drop: The number of LinkedIn profiles claiming current positions at Amazon fell 33 percent overnight. Image: twitter.com/jaypinho As stated above, the number of LinkedIn profiles that claimed to work at Apple fell by approximately 50 percent on Oct. 10, according to Pinho's analysis: Image: twitter.com/jaypinho Neither Amazon or Apple responded to requests for comment. LinkedIn declined to answer questions about the account purges, saying only that…

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When people banking in the United States lose money because their payment card got skimmed at an ATM, gas pump or grocery store checkout terminal, they may face hassles or delays in recovering any lost funds, but they are almost always made whole by their financial institution. Yet, one class of Americans — those receiving food assistance benefits via state-issued prepaid debit cards — are particularly exposed to losses from skimming scams, and usually have little recourse to do anything about it. California's EBT card does not currently include a chip. That silver square is a hologram. Over the past several months, authorities in multiple U.S. states have reported rapid increases in skimming losses tied to people who receive assistance via Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), which allows a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant to pay for food using SNAP benefits. When a participant uses a SNAP payment card at an authorized retail store, their SNAP EBT account is debited to reimburse the store for food that was purchased. EBT is used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. EBT cards work just like regular debit cards, in that they can be used along with a personal identification number (PIN) to pay for goods at participating stores, and to withdraw cash from an ATM. However, EBT cards differ from debit cards issued to most Americans in two important ways. First, most states do not equip EBT cards with…

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AMLBot, a service that helps businesses avoid transacting with cryptocurrency wallets that have been sanctioned for cybercrime activity, said an investigation published by KrebsOnSecurity last year helped it shut down three dark web services that secretly resold its technology to help cybercrooks avoid detection by anti-money laundering systems. Antinalysis, as it existed in 2021. In August 2021, KrebsOnSecurity published "New Anti Anti-Money Laundering Services for Crooks," which examined Antinalysis, a service marketed on cybercrime forums that purported to offer a glimpse of how one's payment activity might be flagged by law enforcement agencies and private companies that track and trace cryptocurrency transactions. "Worried about dirty funds in your BTC address? Come check out Antinalysis, the new address risk analyzer," read the service’s opening announcement. "This service is dedicated to individuals that have the need to possess complete privacy on the blockchain, offering a perspective from the opponent’s point of view in order for the user to comprehend the possibility of his/her funds getting flagged down under autocratic illegal charges." Antinalysis allows free lookups, but anyone wishing to conduct bulk look-ups has to pay at least USD $3, with a minimum $30 purchase. Other plans go for as high as $6,000 for 5,000 requests. Nick Bax, a security researcher who specializes in tracing cryptocurrency transactions, told KrebsOnSecurity at the time that Antinalysis…

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Microsoft today released updates to fix at least 85 security holes in its Windows operating systems and related software, including a new zero-day vulnerability in all supported versions of Windows that is being actively exploited. However, noticeably absent from this month's Patch Tuesday are any updates to address a pair of zero-day flaws being exploited this past month in Microsoft Exchange Server. The new zero-day flaw- CVE-2022-41033 — is an "elevation of privilege" bug in the Windows COM+ event service, which provides system notifications when users logon or logoff. Microsoft says the flaw is being actively exploited, and that it was reported by an anonymous individual. "Despite its relatively low score in comparison to other vulnerabilities patched today, this one should be at the top of everyone's list to quickly patch," said Kevin Breen, director of cyber threat research at Immersive Labs. "This specific vulnerability is a local privilege escalation, which means that an attacker would already need to have code execution on a host to use this exploit. Privilege escalation vulnerabilities are a common occurrence in almost every security compromise. Attackers will seek to gain SYSTEM or domain-level access in order to disable security tools, grab credentials with tools like Mimkatz and move laterally across the network. Indeed, Satnam Narang, senior staff research engineer at Tenable, notes that almost half of the security flaws Microsoft patched this week are…

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When U.S. consumers have their online bank accounts hijacked and plundered by hackers, U.S. financial institutions are legally obligated to reverse any unauthorized transactions as long as the victim reports the fraud in a timely manner. But new data released this week suggests that for some of the nation's largest banks, reimbursing account takeover victims has become more the exception than the rule. The findings came in a report released by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who in April 2022 opened an investigation into fraud tied to Zelle, the "peer-to-peer" digital payment service used by many financial institutions that allows customers to quickly send cash to friends and family. Zelle is run by Early Warning Services LLC (EWS), a private financial services company which is jointly owned by Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, Truist, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. Zelle is enabled by default for customers at over 1,000 different financial institutions, even if a great many customers still don't know it's there. Sen. Warren said several of the EWS owner banks — including Capital One, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — failed to provide all of the requested data. But Warren did get the requested information from PNC, Truist and U.S. Bank. "Overall, the three banks that provided complete data sets reported 35,848 cases of scams, involving over $25.9 million of payments in 2021 and the first half of 2022," the report summarized. "In the vast majority of these…

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A recent proliferation of phony executive profiles on LinkedIn is creating something of an identity crisis for the business networking site, and for companies that rely on it to hire and screen prospective employees. The fabricated LinkedIn identities — which pair AI-generated profile photos with text lifted from legitimate accounts — are creating major headaches for corporate HR departments and for those managing invite-only LinkedIn groups. Some of the fake profiles flagged by the co-administrator of a popular sustainability group on LinkedIn. Last week, KrebsOnSecurity examined a flood of inauthentic LinkedIn profiles all claiming Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles at various Fortune 500 companies, including Biogen, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Hewlett Packard. Since then, the response from LinkedIn users and readers has made clear that these phony profiles are showing up en masse for virtually all executive roles — but particularly for jobs and industries that are adjacent to recent global events and news trends. Hamish Taylor runs the Sustainability Professionals group on LinkedIn, which has more than 300,000 members. Together with the group's co-owner, Taylor said they've blocked more than 12,700 suspected fake profiles so far this year, including dozens of recent accounts that Taylor describes as "cynical attempts to exploit Humanitarian Relief and Crisis Relief experts." "We receive over 500 fake profile requests to join on a weekly basis," Taylor said….

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