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More Than 22 Billion Records Revealed in Data Leaks in 2020

 

A new record has been set with regards to the data breach, ‘more than 22 billion records were revealed globally amid 730 publicly leaked data violations in 2020’, as stated in a report published on Friday. A major chunk of data breaches was linked to ransomware attacks which are nearly thirty-five percent.

Cyber exposure company Tenable’s Security Response Team (SRT) analyzed that 14 percent of data leaks were the outcome of email compromises in the period of January 2020 to October 2020. The main tactics used by threat actors was the dependency on unpatched susceptibilities in their strikes, meanwhile, encompassing multiple other vulnerabilities. 

While giving insights, Satnam Narang, a Staff Research Engineer at Tenable stated “every day, cybersecurity professionals in India and the rest of the world are faced with new challenges and vulnerabilities that can put their organizations at risk. The 18,358 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2020 alone reflects a new normal and a clear sign that the job of a cyber defender is only getting more difficult as they navigate the ever-expanding attack surface”. 

The growth rate of common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) increased at an average of 36.6 percent from 2015 to 2020. In 2020 it shot up to 183 percent as compared to 2015; 18,358 CVES were reported in 2020 as compared to 6,487 in 2015. 

“Pre-existing vulnerabilities in virtual private network (VPN) solutions - many of which were initially disclosed in 2019 or earlier – continue to remain a favorite target for cybercriminals,” Narang told. 

Search engines such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer resulted in 35 percent of all zero-day susceptibilities abused in wild by the threat actors. 

“In 2021, we must have the tools, awareness, and intelligence to effectively reduce and eliminate blind spots” Narang concluded. 

Patrons Become Victim to Depop Hacks

 

Since the lockdown started in March, there has been a significant spike in online shopping. This has become a big attraction for people looking for items on famous sites and apps. However, like every online shopping app, there could be issues for consumers, such as hacking, data breach, cyber fraud, etc. And this pandemic came out as a golden opportunity for the Scammers since they have managed to continue plaguing a variety of internet resources. 

One "have a go" tactic of the hackers is "credential stuffing" which requires the use of automated software to log into accounts repeatedly, entering previously uncovered usernames and login information from data breaches of other common online services. However, this dupe won't work if a person doesn't have the same password on many sites or has changed their passwords after being subjected to a data breach. 

One such incident of hacking and data breach has happened with 21 years old, Birmingham based law student, Amelia Strike who was unknowingly logged out of her Depop social shopping app account in October. Regarding which she said that "I thought I had just forgotten my password when I couldn't get back in, but a couple of days passed and I realized something wasn't right”, further adding, "I just felt so violated”. 

Later she received a post from a stranger on Instagram, alerting that her account had been taken over by a hacker auctioning Apple Air Pod headphone for £50. She also figured out that the hacker was scamming a lot of Depop customers under her name. The hacker was instructing the patrons to make the payment via PayPal’s “Friend and Family” option. Well, this method of payment overrides Depop's fees and does not offer any protection to buyers. 

She was fast enough to act against the scammer by using her brother’s Depop account and commenting on the offending post and contact for help from the app firm. Her query was noticed, and the firm removed the posts done by the hacker, within few hours and her password was reset. Amelia Strike notices at least three Depop patrons who had made payment by the unauthorized method to the hacker. 

In Amelia Strike's case, to get users to believe scam listing, the hacker even uploaded a picture of her name to a post-it note next to the headphones that were allegedly for sale. This is a common technique used by people selling second-hand goods online to show that images have not been taken from another listing. 

Nevertheless, she is not only the one whose Depop account was hacked, other 14 users have also reported similar cases. And in all such cases, the fraudsters insisted that they be charged directly rather than via the app. Further Depop has requested the patrons to pay via the authentic method and has stated, “We consistently communicate this to our community and reinforce that the only safe way to purchase is on the Depop app or website via the buy button.”

Hackers Altered the Covid-19 Vaccine Records

 

The European Union's drug regulator has said that COVID-19 vaccine documents that were purloined from its servers in a cyberattack have been not only leaked on the web but "manipulated" by hackers.

A cyber-attack hit the European Medicines Agency (EMA). At the hour of the divulgence of the hack, the EMA didn't give technical insights concerning the attack, nor any information on whether the attack will affect its operations while it is evaluating and approving COVID-19 vaccines. 

The European agency plays a vital role in the evaluation of COVID-19 vaccines across the EU, it has access to sensitive and confidential data, including quality, safety, and effectiveness of information coming about because of trials. The European Medicines Agency said on Friday that a continuous investigation concerning the cyberattack demonstrated that hackers got emails and records from November identified with the evaluation of experimental Covid vaccines. 

The agency, which regulates medications and drugs across the 27-part EU, had troves of confidential COVID-19 information as a feature of its vaccine approval process. 

"A portion of the correspondence has been manipulated by the culprits before distribution in a manner which could sabotage trust in vaccines," the agency said. It didn't clarify what data was altered — but cybersecurity experts state such practices are typical of disinformation campaigns launched by governments. 

Italian cybersecurity firm Yarix said, "the intention behind the leak by cybercriminals is sure: to cause critical harm to the reputation and credibility of EMA and Pfizer." The agency said that given the overwhelming toll of the pandemic, there was an "urgent public health need to make vaccines accessible to EU residents as quickly as time permits." The EMA demanded that despite that urgency, its decisions to recommend the green-lighting of vaccines were based "on the strength of the scientific proof on a vaccine's safety, quality and efficacy, and nothing else.” 

The agency, which is situated in Amsterdam, went under hefty criticism from Germany and other EU part nations in December for not approving vaccines against the virus all the more rapidly. The EMA gave its first recommendation for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine weeks after the shot got approval in Britain, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. 

The EMA said law enforcement authorities are taking necessary action in response to the cyberattack.

Russian hackers hacked the first level Olympiad in a second

A new Olympic season has begun in Russia. Many competitions have been moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first level Olympiad allows the winner to enter the university without exams.

It turns out that the hacker could theoretically ensure admission to the best universities in the country, putting graduates in unequal conditions.

SQL injections and XSS vulnerabilities were discovered on the site, which make it is possible to influence the results of the competition. As a result, according to the hacker, it is easily possible: 1) find out the tasks in advance and change the answer data during the Olympiad; 2) see the sessions and data of other users; and 3) massively upload user information, including personal information (information from the passport, registration, phone, e-mail).

"SQL injection is one of the easiest ways to hack a site. Indeed, in a very short period of time and by replacing several characters, an attacker can gain access to all personal data of the Olympiad and to all tasks," said Oleg Bakhtadze-Karnaukhov, an independent researcher on the Darknet.

According to the researcher, most likely, there was not enough time to detect such errors during the programming of this site, although it takes little time to find and fix them.

"If the site contains vulnerabilities, then a command in a specific programming language can be inserted, for example, in a link, and the page will display information that was not intended for users initially," explained Dmitry Galov, Cybersecurity Expert at Kaspersky Lab.

According to Alexei Drozd, head of the information security department at SearchInform, the reason may be design errors, as a result of which the site, for example, poorly checks or does not check incoming information at all.

"Unfortunately, when developing websites and applications, security issues are always in the background. First, there is a question of functionality," concluded Alexey Drozd.