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Ransomware Attack Takes Down Massive Food-Supply Chain Providing Distribution of Temperature-Sensitive COVID-19 Vaccines

 

A company whose cold-storage capacities are extremely integral to the U.S. food-supply chain and the Coronavirus vaccine distribution affirmed an operation affecting cyberattack, as per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Americold is by far the largest cold-storage provider in the U.S. what's more, it operates 183 temperature-controlled warehouses globally, incorporating Argentina, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand; and just got hold of a similar company in Europe. 

For 'an idea of scale’, it holds the agreement for linking the ConAgra food-producing giant to supermarkets and customers. 

The attack appears all the earmarks of being a ransomware episode that began on Nov. 16 and even influenced the organization's phone systems, email, inventory management, and request satisfaction, as indicated by reports on Twitter. 

The filing with the SEC was brief and read that: “As a precautionary measure, the company took immediate steps to help contain the incident and implemented business continuity plans, where appropriate, to continue ongoing operations… Security, in all its forms, remains a top priority at Americold, and the company will continue to seek to take all appropriate measures to further safeguard the integrity of its information technology infrastructure, data and customer information.” 

The attack is probably going to be 'highly targeted' and 'very thought of', as per researchers. 

Chloé Messdaghi, Vice President of strategy at Point3 Security, said by means of email, “Human-operated ransomware attacks begin with trojans or other exploits against unsophisticated vectors. Once a way in is found, malware is planted and privileges are elevated. These attacks often exfiltrate data before encrypting files and the attacks are drawn out, with months of potential compromise adding to the potential harms that can result.” 

She added, “That’s why these types of attacks4 pose a greater threat than automated attacks such as WannaCry or NotPetya – they’re intentional and secretive.” 

Fundamentally, Americold has likewise been in conversion with providing storage and transport to the distribution of temperature-sensitive Coronavirus vaccines, as indicated by reports. 

Andrea Carcano, a fellow benefactor of Nozomi Networks, said through email, “The attack against Americold highlights a concerning trend of attackers targeting larger and more critical organizations, these threats should be a wake-up call for security professionals responsible for keeping not only IT, but operational technology (OT) and internet of things (IoT) networks safe. In the manufacturing business, time is money, so the disruption of IT services as well as manufacturing downtime and shipment delays, translates to lost revenue.”

Cyber Attacks in India At A Steady Rise as Per India's Cybersecurity Chief

 

National Cyber Security Coordinator Lt Gen (retd) Rajesh Pant recently discussed cyberattacks in India 'having gone up a multifold' in the current environment and alluded to 'China' as a "major challenge" from a cybersecurity perspective for India.

"In such unprecedented times, you mentioned two Cs the challenge of corona and the challenge of cyber. Actually, at the perch which I sit, there are 3 Cs. The third 'C' of course is on our northern border, which is another challenge that we are facing”, Pant said at an event coordinated by the largest private sector lender HDFC Bank. 

He had assumed control over the role of India's cybersecurity chief, later added that almost consistently, 4 lakh malwares are found and 375 cyber-attacks are witnessed. 

Apart from falling prey to voice call-based frauds, individuals ought to likewise be cautious about the click-baits, which are conveyed to extract data from an internet user. 

"This disease of just clicking on the link, this is another reason where the malware drops,” he stated, requesting everyone to contemplate the ongoing cases of frauds at City Union Bank where an individual entered the core banking system through a simple click, and furthermore the ones at Bangladesh Bank and Cosmos Bank. 

"The issue is some of us get unaware and that's how problems start occurring. It's a question of being conscious all the time, not a question of not knowing," said chief risk officer of HDFC Bank Jimmy Tata, as HDFC Bank launched the 'Mooh Bandh Rakho' campaign with the Bank authorities stating that the objective is to zero in on the youth, to spread awareness through different mediums, including more than 1,000 secure banking workshops and furthermore even a rap-song.

Pant had likewise before called for setting up a dedicated industry forum for cybersecurity to develop trusted indigenous solutions for check cyber-attacks. 

“Last year, our official figures were Rs 1.25 lakh crore lost due to cybercrimes in India. Ransomware attacks are increasing every day and these criminals have been working from home. They have no qualms. They are heartless people. They are attacking hospitals because they know in an emergency hospital will pay,” Pant had said at an event organized by industry body Ficci.

The Union Government To Come Up With National Cyber Security Strategy 2020

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval announced that the Union government is set to come up with National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 for guaranteeing a safe, secured, trusted, and resilient cyberspace. 

The proposed strategy toward uniting all cybersecurity agencies for making sure about, reinforcing, and synergizing the cybersecurity ecosystem by closely connecting with businesses, citizens, and beyond.

That endeavors were being made by adversaries to exploit the crisis in the wake of the pandemic through different misinformation, fake news, and social media campaigns. 

"For our adversaries, the huge data floating around in cyberspace is a goldmine for extracting information to undermine the privacy of our citizens and add to the vulnerability of protecting data of our critical information infrastructure, “Mr. Doval said.

He said that phishing campaigns utilizing the Coronavirus theme targeted banks, defence, and critical infrastructure during this period. 

Mr. Doval drew attention to how various conspicuous UPI IDs and web portals were produced while fake Arogya Setu applications propped up to misuse individuals' data only hours after the Prime Minister announced the launch of the PM Cares fund. 

He stated, "Malicious domains and websites to the tune of around 5,000 were registered in a short span of time. We have also witnessed an increase of 500% in cybercrime owing to people’s limited awareness and poor cyber hygiene. Financial frauds have also increased tremendously owing to the increased reliance on digital payment platforms...”

He regretted that absence of indigenous digital solutions like information-sharing facilities and social media platforms had antagonistically influenced the country's self-reliance and cybersecurity. 

He encouraged new start-ups to think of solutions linked with the nation's requirements and build-up ability to guarantee that the country's critical cyber assets were being monitored by skillful native professionals in resonance with the Prime Minister's take for Atmanirbhar.

Russian media reported on fake domains for pre-ordering coronavirus vaccine

After the Russian Ministry of Health registered the first coronavirus vaccine, the number of new domains associated with the vaccine increased on the Internet.

Creating a phishing site takes three to four hours thanks to designers and illegal CDNs, and earnings from them can range from thousands of dollars and much more depending on the audience and period, said Andrey Zaikin, head of the Information Security department at CROC IT company.

In the ten days since the vaccine was registered, 113 related domains appeared in the .com and .ru zones, said Eugene Voloshin, Director of the cybersecurity company Bi.Zone. Infosecurity a Softline Company adds that in July-August 2020, 445 domains were registered, which is about nine per day.

Such sites started appearing in March. They offered to buy a non-existent vaccine and medication for coronavirus.

One resource in English offered to pre-order a vaccine in the amount of 10,000 to 1 million doses and pay a quarter of the cost of the batch, reported the Telegram channel @In4security.

According to Check Point, the number of actual attacks related to the coronavirus has decreased: in July, there were about 61 million on average per week, and in June - about 130 million per week. In contrast, Trend Micro believes that the number of Internet threats exploiting the topic of coronavirus is growing, as the number of complaints from citizens has increased three to four times. In the first half of 2020, the company identified 9 million such threats.

The volume of phishing increased as people became much more active on the Internet during the pandemic and this continues to this day, believes expert of Kaspersky Lab. 

The Need for Smart Cities in the Post-Pandemic World


Due to coronavirus pandemic, there has been a lockdown worldwide, and it seems, the streets and the normal life has been put on hold. While many people have complained about not getting to go out and enjoy, some people have also cherished their times at home and say it is a good thing, as it has caused the betterment of the environment and planet earth. Going through this current phase, the common question is, 'What happens after all this ends?' And more importantly, 'The concept of smart cities making these improvements permanent.'


This lockdown showed the importance of technology during times of crisis and has raised the question about the future of smart cities. In Singapore, drones were used to ensure people followed the social distancing protocol. Whereas in North Carolina, drones had delivered emergency health supplies to hospitals and people at home. Daniel Rus, a scientist at MIT, and her lab designed a robot used to disinfect food banks in Boston.

In an interview with BBC News, Daniel said that robots are playing a vital role in the fight against the pandemic. According to her, robots might play an essential role in the future when smart cities are built. In the present times, the cities gather data from sensors all over the city, such as traffic lights, lamp posts, or cameras. The data obtained helps determine the AQI (Air Quality Index) and the traffic situation in an area, all of which allows the human life. The lockdown made people realize the importance of such data. For instance, for the first time, people want to know the transport that has come in and went out of the city. They want to know whether the people around them are healthy or not.

Therefore, the post coronavirus world should consider whether they need such technology or not; that is, should the electric vehicles mandated in cities as they offer a better environment? Companies are starting to think about the "Work from Home" concept, as they have realized the additional resources and money that is spent on offices.

Microsoft Office 365 Users Targeted By a New Phishing Campaign Using Fake Zoom Notifications



As people across the world struggle to survive the onslaught of the corona pandemic by switching to the work-from-home criteria, the usage and demand of cloud-based communication platform providing users with audio and videoconferencing services have seen a sudden upsurge.

Zoom is one such platform that has from the beginning of 2020 has seen an extremely high increase of new monthly active users after a huge number of employees have adopted remote working.

However recently Microsoft Office 365 users are being targeted by a brand new phishing campaign that utilizes fake Zoom notifications to caution the users who work in corporate environments that their Zoom accounts have been suspended, with the ultimate goal of stealing Office 365 logins.

Reports are as such that those targeted by this campaign are all the more ready to believe in such emails during this time since the number of remote workers participating in daily online meetings through video conferencing platforms, as Zoom has definitely increased because of stay-at-home orders or lockdowns brought about by the pandemic.

 As of now the phishing campaign mimicking automated Zoom account suspension alerts has received by more than 50,000 mailboxes based on details given by researchers as email security company Abnormal Security who recognized these continuous attacks.

The phishing messages spoof an official Zoom email address and are intended to imitate a real automated Zoom notification.

Utilizing a spoofed email address and an email body practically free from any grammar blunders or typos (other than a self-evident 'zoom' rather than 'Zoom account') makes these phishing messages all the more persuading and conceivably more viable.

The utilization of a lively "Happy Zooming!" toward the end of the email could raise a few cautions however, as it doesn't exactly fit with the rest of the message's tone.




As soon as the users click the "Activate Account" button, they are redirected to a fake Microsoft login page through 'an intermediary hijacked site'.

On the phishing landing page, they are asked to include their Outlook credentials in a form intended to exfiltrate their account subtleties to attacked controlled servers.

On the off chance that they succumb to the attackers' tricks, the victims' Microsoft credentials will be utilized to assume full control for their accounts and all their data will be ready for the picking, later to be utilized as a part of identity theft and fraud schemes like the Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks.

Despite the fact that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had warned of BEC abusing popular cloud email services, like Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite through Private Industry Notifications issued in March and in April.

Even after this, Office 365 users are continuously targeted by phishing campaigns with the ultimate objective of reaping their credentials.

Regardless Microsoft has warned of phishers' ongoing movement to new types of phishing strategies, like consent phishing, other than conventional email phishing and credential theft attacks.

Microsoft Partner Group PM Manager Agnieszka Girling says, "While application use has accelerated and enabled employees to be productive remotely, attackers are looking at leveraging application-based attacks to gain unwarranted access to valuable data in cloud services,"

The company additionally has made a legal move to destroy some portion of the attack infrastructure used to host malignant 365 OAuth apps utilized in consent phishing to seize victims' Office 365 accounts.

A New and Amazingly Simple Device in an Era of Pandemics to Protect Your Privacy



A period of pandemics and social distancing sent more people than ever into the work-from-home world. These new realities mean average consumers at home wound up confronted with yet another problem. 

A considerable lot of their household internet setups came up short on the security and protection of bigger workplace setups that incorporate upgraded cybersecurity and firewalls. Here steps in a new and incredibly simple on-hand device to plug those privacy gaps at the source. 

The Firewalla cybersecurity unit hit the market before anyone even realized what a coronavirus was. Nobody could've envisioned how ideal its feature would be. It was initially expected to prevent the 'creep next door' from redirecting the user's Wi-Fi sign or taking advantage of their home security cameras. 

The device is made to shield all devices on the system from cyberattacks and alert the user when anything worrying is to such an extent as endeavored. When the user purchases the unit and assigns out its guard duty, there's no monthly fee. 

The magic device additionally comes with a rather one of a kind feature through which it constructs a personal online firewall, there's the "Family Time Social Hour" ability that totally blocks every single social media platform for each hour in turn. 

Regardless of whether the user needs to compel everybody to complete some work or ground kids in some face-to-face interaction, a world without Twitter or Facebook for an hour is indeed a brilliant place. 

Apart from this addition keeping the user's private messages, documents, and other online behavior behind their home's own readymade firewall, this little blue box empowers monitoring of any minor's Wi-Fi use. 

Parents can likewise utilize Firewalla to keep out unwanted sites and online networking intruders. 

Nonetheless, the devices are pretty simple to set up and ready to improve personal and home-based situated online security in numerous ways, the Firewalla is a sensibly evaluated and viable choice for ensuring online privacy regardless of whether your home hasn't become a base for pandemic-time homebound work. 

The Firewalla Blue comes with 500Mb processing power, while the more affordable Firewalla Red offers 100Mb and sells for $109. As of now, only Firewalla Red is accessible at Amazon. Nonetheless, both the versions remain accessible and in stock at the Firewalla website.


Cyberattacks in the U.S. Hit an All-Time High due to Covid-19, Says Black Hat Report.


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, cybersecurity experts suspect a rise in cyberattacks and cybercrimes, says a survey by Black Hat earlier this week. Around 275 cybersecurity professionals (respondents in the study) have expressed concerns about potential breaches in the U.S. infrastructure and the I.T. industry. More than 90% of these experts believe that due to coronavirus, there has been a jump in cyber threats in the U.S., resulting in data leaks and privacy breaches. Around 24% of experts believe that the current danger is very severe and critical.


Among the cybersecurity threats, work from vulnerabilities in the remote access systems tops the list, accounting for 57% of the attacks. Meanwhile, phishing scams and spam attacks account for a hefty 51%. Around 85% of these experts claim that there might be a targeted cyberattack on the U.S. infrastructure in the next two years. The threat figures went up from 69% in 2018 to 77% in 2019. Among these, around 15% of the respondents believe that the government and the private sector is ready to face these attacks. These percentage figures went down from about 20% in 2019.

The majority of the cybersecurity experts believe that their firms would have to take care of the upcoming cybersecurity challenges. More than half of these believe that they currently lack the required staff force to combat cyber threats. Besides this, the budget required to protect their organization's data from cyberattacks is also low. Besides the concerns about the lack of resources to defend against cybercriminals, experts also say that they lack proper technology. According to the survey results, only half of the technology tools could be termed effective.

"The survey results suggest that the world's top cybersecurity professionals are more concerned than ever about cybersecurity risk at the global, national, enterprise, and consumer levels. While cyber threats have been growing in volume and sophistication in recent years, most security professionals believe that the radical shift toward remote access creates unprecedented risk for sensitive data," says the 2020 Black Hat USA report.

Fake applications are replicating "TraceTogether," a Singapore Covid-19 contact tracing application


Recently, these counterfeit apps emerged on the internet, which alarmed the local authorities to warn the general public. A cybersecurity authority named "SingCert," which stands for the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team, issued an advisory saying that cybercriminals have been copying contact tracing apps to spread malware as Singapore is currently on its way to move out from the lockdown phase. Hackers use these counterfeit apps and embed them with malware. Later, if successful, they can steal personal user data and monitor their device activity log, says the cybersecurity firm SingCert.


These fake apps use the same brand logo of the original contact tracing app TraceTogether, to prevent getting caught from the users or cyber authorities. However, the malware embedded in these apps is capable of stealing banking credentials and user data. As far as hacking incidents go, SingCert hasn't received any official user complaints of downloading any fake application. TraceTogether, a contact tracing app, detects people who may have come across in contact with any Covid-19 infected person. The app uses Bluetooth technology to trace these people and is very efficient in cases where the infected patient forgets the people he might have met, when or before he was diagnosed with the virus.

Anomali, a US-based cybersecurity firm, had recently on its blog post said that they had found at least 12 fake contact tracing applications that were used by hackers to spread malware and steal user information. Few of these apps behaved exactly like TraceTogether. Once the user downloads these apps, the apps self-install and download malware that is aimed to steal banking credentials. According to Anomali, these fake apps are not on official app distribution platforms like Google Playstore or iPhone's App store but rather are downloaded via 3rd party websites.

Meanwhile, SingCert has requested the users to install apps only from verified sources and cross-check their originality. It has also warned users to beware of applications that ask too many user access permissions. The users should read user reviews to make sure they have downloaded the right apps, and if the reviews are too poor, they should reconsider using that application. For users who have downloaded apps from 3rd party sources and websites, they should uninstall and run an anti-virus scan.

Red Cross asks the Government to take Preventive Measures on Cyberattacks against Health Departments


Currently, while the whole world is struggling to fight against the coronavirus epidemic, cyberattacks have increased in numbers, targeting health departments like hospitals, research centers, and WHO. According to Reuters, "the Red Cross called for an end to cyberattacks on healthcare and medical research facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, in a letter published Tuesday and signed by a group of political and business figures."

Due to this, a group of 42 top world leaders have come together and requested the Government to take some immediate actions on the increasing attacks against the healthcare institutions. Among the members, there is Madeleine Albright, ex U.S Secretary of State and Brad Smith, president, Microsoft. Peter Maurer, President of International Red Cross Society, says the Government should take some swift measures and step-up to stop these attacks. He hopes that the Government is willing to commit to international obligations to prevent these attacks. He has asked for international cooperation from various health departments to combat this problem. It can be a severe problem for war-stricken countries where the conditions of healthcare departments are already deteriorating, and these cyberattacks will make things even worse.

The various leaders have asked the Government to work side by side with civil society. It comes after the news of cyberattacks on healthcare institutes came out. Ransomware was one of the attacks, that jammed the computers and infected the healthcare systems. It affected the healthcare institutes' functioning, like treating the patients, research, and various tests. Last month, incidents of the cyberattack on health institutes were reported by the Czech Republic government. Another event appeared where the DarkHotel hacking group attacked WHO.

News of various countries reporting attacks on healthcare systems also emerged, where the records of COVID-19 patients were stolen along with lab tests data. "Over the last several months, cybercriminals have targeted hospitals with computer viruses, usually in schemes to extort or hold their data ransom. More sophisticated hacking groups, such as those associated with governments, have also targeted medical research centers to steal valuable data about COVID-19 treatments," reports Reuters on its website.

Email Phishing Scam: Scammers Impersonate LogMeIn to Mine Users' Account Credentials


A Boston, Massachusetts based company, LogMeIn that provides software as a service and cloud-based remote connectivity services for collaboration, IT management and customer engagement has fallen prey to the scammers targeting companies' work from home schemes set up due to the ongoing pandemic, the campaign impersonates the remote access tool (RAT) LogMeIn and mines the unsuspecting users' account credentials.

As the number of people working from home increased rapidly, scammers saw it as a golden opportunity to carry out impersonations of remote tools such as Zoom and LogMeIn more blatantly than ever; the first incident being spotted in the month of May confirms the attributions made by the researchers in regard to COVID-19.

In this particular attack, the phishing email appears to be coming from LogMeIn, cautioning the user at the receiving end, of a zero-day exploit present in the LogMeIn Central and LogMeIn Pro- two of the company's products. It goes unsaid that in reality there exists no such vulnerability and victims' are made to follow a link that claims to be LogMein URL but takes the user to a phishing page where they would enter the credentials that would be obtained by the scammers behind the attack. Additionally, the threat actors are also exploiting the security issues that already existed in remote access platforms as a part of this phishing campaign.

While giving further insights, Abnormal Security said “Other collaboration platforms have been under scrutiny for their security as many have become dependent on them to continue their work given the current pandemic,”

“Because of this, frequent updates have become common as many platforms are attempting to remedy the situation. A recipient may be more inclined to update because they have a strong desire to secure their communications.”

In order to avoid being scammed by such phishing campaigns, Ken Liao, vice president of Cybersecurity Strategy at Abnormal, alerted users, "Many of the recent attacks have masqueraded as updates--even more specifically--security updates,"

"As always, users should default to updating applications via the application itself and not via links in emails to prevent not only credential loss but the potential introduction of malware onto their machines."

Universities Switch to Online Learning but Is it Enough?


With there being no apparent end in view of the pandemic, everyone has been forced to live within a confined space and spend their days not doing anything that needs going out.

Especially students all over the world are having a hard time managing things without the actual physical classes to dote on. Not that online lectures and a virtual education aren’t lucrative but most students find a lack of motivation a common problem.

With the dearth of options, available students are managing to adjust to the online learning life given most institutions have switched to various online mediums like Zoom, which is a great step, globally.

Universities are trying their best to make do with all the possible resources they have at their disposal. But is it okay to consider that online classes shall suffice?

What the students need at such a gloomy time is a way to make education and learning which could provide them technologically rich experience and not just a mere imitation of what otherwise happens in their classes.

The tech-world is overflowing with contemporary ideas of learning. There are hundreds of ways to create and design interactive sessions via podcasts, and virtual reality. Students, from the comfort of their homes, could be better learners if they encourage the right way and could induce better responses.

Online learning or online lectures shouldn’t just be a professor, going on and on for hours like in a physical class. There is such a variety of avenues to follow when it comes to technology-based learning that too, online.


During the past months, the number of students enrolled in online courses has increased substantially. There has also been a rise in the number of students joining full-time online courses.

People who weren’t as tech-savvy as all that lost their jobs and had to get back to studying for any possible chances of a career change.

Per sources, FutureLearn and UofPeople(University of People) have experienced a hike in demand for online courses because of people wanting to be productive in the days of quarantine by acquiring new skills.

According to reports, there has been seen a significant rise in the demand for online courses for the English language, health-related subjects, and mental health topics.

This culture of interactive online learning if does not limit itself to the pandemic times could lead to a better learning mechanism that would prove to be extremely efficacious for students all across the globe.

The availability of online platforms for students to begin or continue their education is massively contributing to lessening the number of chances of students deferring.

Even though the initial online courses that went and probably still do, by the name Moocs (Massive open online courses) weren’t so much of a big hit, but given the times of the “pandemic induced confinement”, people are warming up to them.

The current predicament has everyone bursting with uncertainty. There is no telling if universities would even begin their next sessions any time soon.

Everything can’t certainly be taught online, especially practical-learning which prompts a huge question mark to which no one has the right answer.

Realizing that there is no way to know when the universities would open and commence their normal operations with the added factor of social distancing, ‘the internet is all we have.'

Cybercriminals Spreading Node.js Trojan Promising Relief from the Outbreak of COVID-19


A java downloader going by the extension “Company PLP_Tax relief due to Covid-19 outbreak CI+PL.jar” has been recently detected. Drawing inferences from its name, researchers suspected it to be associated with COVID-19 themed phishing attacks.

Running this file led to the download of an undetected malware sample that is written in Node.js; Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, Javascript runtime environment that executes Javascript code outside of a browser and as it is primarily designed for web server development, there's a very less probability of it being already installed onto systems.

The trojan that is suspected of employing the unconventional platform for bypassing detection has been labeled as 'QNodeService'. The malware has been designed to perform a number of malicious functions including uploading, downloading, and executing files.

It is also configured to steal credentials stored in web browsers and perform file management etc. Currently, the malware appears to be targeting Windows systems only, however, the code signifies a potential for 'cross-platform compatibility', researchers concluded a possibility of the same being a 'future goal' for cybercriminals.

Cybercriminals are devising new methods all the time to design malware such as trojans to infect as many machines as possible without getting noticed.

To stay on a safer side, users are recommended to block malware from acquiring access via all the possible doorways like endpoints, networks, and emails.

French Cyber security Analyst Claims He Could Access Details Of Corona-Infected Persons Via The Government-Mandated Aarogya Setu App


A French cybersecurity analyst by the pseudonym 'Elliot Alderson' on Twitter claims he could access details of Corona infected people via the government-mandated Aarogya Setu app.

Robert Baptiste wrote on Twitter that it was feasible for a remote attacker to know “who is infected, unwell, make a self-assessment in the area of his (attacker’s) choice.” He was able to see “if someone was sick at the PMO office or the Indian Parliament" even with the most recent variant of the Covid-19 contact tracing application.

The creators of Aarogya Setu albeit even issued a statement accordingly in response to dismissing Baptiste's prior claims.

The French cybersecurity analyst asserted that he could gain access to the details of positive cases at a location of his choice. He didn't present any confirmation in this regard however guaranteed a point by point report about the alleged security flaws.

The official statement released by Aarogya Setu said “no personal information of any user has been proven to be at risk by the French ethical hacker”.

The statement earlier gave by the creators of the application said it was feasible for a user to get information for various places by changing the latitude/longitude, which is, at any rate, an accessible data.

The creators, notwithstanding, demanded that mass assortment of this information was unrealistic as “the API call is behind a Web Application Firewall”.

However all this has given rise to a raging debate on the utilization of contact tracing applications by governments, Eivor Oborn, Professor of Healthcare Management at Warwick Business School, UK, says “I think a real breach is made if the professionals are forced to use the app and then are not allowed to discontinue the monitoring after the threshold of the pandemic is over; this to me is a greater concern.”

He included that in a democratic nation like India, citizens ought to have transparency with respect to what, when, and how the information is being utilized. “I think it is good for the governments concerned to tangibly show benefits that accrue from data use,” Prof Oborn stressed.

Nonetheless, the government's chief scientific advisor, Prof K VijayRaghavan, says that the source code of the application will be made open very soon, “India is the only democracy which has made the use of contact tracing app mandatory, so steps should be taken to make the codebase of the app open source, and users should be given the option to delete their data, even from the servers.”


The UK Government Vs Apple & Google API on the New COVID-19 App That Tells Who Near You is Infected!



Reportedly, the United Kingdom declared that their coronavirus tracing application is being run via centralized British servers and that’s how they are planning to take things forward and not via the usual “Apple-Google approach” which is a preferred one for most.

Per sources, the CEO of the Tech unit of the National Health Service mentioned that their new smartphone app will have its launching in the upcoming weeks, with the hopes of helping the country return to normalcy by beating coronavirus.

According to reports, the UK government believes that the contact-tracing protocol created by Apple and Google protects user privacy “under advertisement only”. Hence the British health service supports a system that would send the data of who may have the virus to a centralized server giving all the controls in the hand of the NHS.

The way of the NHS and that of Apple and Google, work via Bluetooth by putting a cell-phone on the wireless network, having it emit an electronic ID that could be intercepted by other phones in the vicinity. If a person tests positive for COVID-19 their ID would be used to warn the others near them.

Meaning, if you were near an affected person, your phone would show flags about their being infected, you’d be notified about it and if you may have caught the novel coronavirus you’d be alerted about that too, mention sources.

Per reports, Google and Apple especially had created an opt-in pro-privacy API for Android and iOS. The feature allows the user’s phone to change its ID on other phones near them and store it across different intervals of time.

Per sources, if a person is discovered to have COVID-19 they can allow the release of their phone’s ID to a decentralized set of databases looked over by healthcare providers and the nearby users would be notified about it.

The above-mentioned approach works best to help ensure that the users aren’t tracked by exploiting the above information. Google and Apple say that their protocol would make it next to impossible for them, the governments, and mal-actors to track people. The data wouldn’t leave the user’s phone unless they want it to, that too anonymously if and when.


A person, to declare themselves infected must enter a specific code from a healthcare provider after being tested positive which is a great way to curb fraudulent announcements about being infected.

The NHS, on the other hand, thought of proposing a centralized approach that makes the government, the party that has the coronavirus related details of all the users on their database for further analysis.

Per sources, for this application to be successful 60% of a population would have to download it and opt for it. Trust plays a major role here, if the users don’t trust the app it would be of no use to others either.

Reports mention that most countries prefer the Google and Apple method better, including Switzerland, Austria, and Estonia. Germany too is in strong support of a decentralized line whereas France had to face criticism for its inclination towards the centralized approach.

Nevertheless, the NHS is hell-bent on going forward with the centralized approach and is adamant that it will safeguard the privacy of people no matter what. In the centralized way of things, the NHS would capture all the IDs of phones with the app active on them and store the details on their database. Later on, if a user is found to be infected the NHS would make the call about all the hows, whens, and ifs of the warning procedure on the other phones.

If things were to work out the way NHS wants it to, the application would advise users to take steps to help them save themselves against the virus, like self-isolating if need be. The advice notified would be customized per the situation. They would also build a better database and help people with first-hand updates. People could also voluntarily provide detailed information about themselves to make the app’s experience more comprehensive.

Moreover, the centralized system would be way easier for conducting audits and analysis of the data that has been stored in the databases for further research about users that are at most risk.

But regardless of all the superficial advantages, the NHS would still be creating a database bursting with people’s personal information like their health statuses, their movements, and that too with the government having complete control of it.

The success of the entire operation dwells on the people’s trust in the NHS, the UK government, and the governments of all the countries for that matter who have opted for the centralized system.

Residents in China under Surveillance amid the Coronavirus Pandemic


According to recent reports, China is alleged for surveilling its residents' homes among the coronavirus epidemic. However, there is no official rule that says China can keep quarantined residents under watch. The incident has been happening since February in China, where few residents have reported cases of security camera equipped right in front of their homes. Three people have already informed of this incident, whereas other similar cases have appeared on social media.


Currently, China doesn't have any national law that allows it to watch its people through surveillance cameras, but still, the cameras are equipped in various public areas in China. According to sources, the authorities are continually keeping a watch on people, whether they are in malls, eating in a restaurant, boarding transport, or even in schools and colleges. According to data by CNN, around 20 Million cameras were installed across china in the year 2020, and this is only a rough estimate. According to some other sources, the numbers can go even higher. As per the reports of IHS Markit Technology, which currently works under Informa Tech, China had around 350 Million surveillance cameras installed in the year 2018, which is five times than of the USA.

What will happen by 2021? 

According to the data, the projection suggests that by the year 2021, China will have equipped six times more surveillance cameras than the US. According to Comparitech, a UK based research organization, "Estimates vary on the number of CCTV cameras in China, but reports range from 200 million up to 626 million in use by 2020. Based on the country's current population of 1.4 billion people, that would mean nearly one camera for every two people. Although this projection might seem vast, it may be a fraction of the actual number."

In the present times, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the Chinese authorities to keep a watch on its residents' private life. According to these residents, it is a complete breach of privacy. Knowing that this issue might appear, the Joint Civil Society issued a statement earlier this month that said, "the COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency that requires a coordinated and large-scale response by governments worldwide. However, States' efforts to contain the virus must not be used as a cover to usher in a new era of greatly expanded systems of invasive digital surveillance."

Facebook's Messenger''s Latest Update Supports 50 Participants In a Video Chat Room!


During these ungodly hours of the pandemic with everyone stuck at home and yearning for some one-on-one time with friends and family stuck elsewhere, Facebook has come through like a Knight in shining armor.

It has booted up Messenger and WhatsApp with fresh and much-needed video-calling features in light of the obvious hike in the “need” for video-calls via social media.

In the areas that are affected to the greatest degrees by Coronavirus, researchers have seen an acute escalation in the usage of Messenger and its video calling feature, as much as double the earlier rate.

With the latest WhatsApp update increasing the number of participants in its video/audio calls, Messenger has made available an update that could let users add up to 50 people in the Messenger Rooms.

Turns out that these fresh features were always on the list of updates but they were rolled out to the users a little earlier than planned because of the pandemic and lock-downs.

This update is scheduled to start reaching people soon and would eventually reach all the users but it is bound to take time.

Per sources, Facebook had been working towards preventing ‘unrequired’ and ‘unneeded’ guests from popping in the chats, as well.

There is no dearth of applications willing to help users get through these tough times by connecting virtually with their loved ones. Zoom, another app that has seen crazy growth in the number of its active users to an astonishing 300 Million.

Houseparty is another one that hit the download charts hard when the news of the lock-down first surfaced everywhere in March.

Much like in the formerly mentioned app, until the Messenger Room is ‘open’, guests can drop in and out per their wishes in the group video chats.


With a very thoughtful idea, Facebook had reportedly wanted to create a realistic atmosphere for the video chat users where people could “bump into each other”.

In fact, rumor has it that Facebook is planning to add the group video chat room feature to WhatsApp and Instagram as well but there is no evidence as to when.

The chat rooms that are open to the public shall be listed at the top of the feed. The person creating the chat room would have control over the privacy of the room, about sending the invitations to people who aren’t on Facebook, who gets added and blocking unwanted participants. Participants could also change their backgrounds in real time, mention sources.

Per reports, the feature was first tested in Argentina and Poland where Messenger is supposed to be used the most. The results showed that up to 20 participants could be added at once, but the number is would increase to 50 according to Facebook.

Having uninvited participants show up in their chat rooms has only caused inconvenience to the users especially in the case of Zoom. Facebook has definitely learned from that.

The chats wouldn’t be encrypted end-to-end at least at the beginning of the launching but it’s surely on the to-do list. Monitoring and listening in on the video calls, says Facebook, is absolutely out of question.

The tech giant has also promised that it will keep working towards making Facebook better in every way possible by collecting data from the users about the overall experience, mention sources.

Premium features are being made available for free by the Microsoft teams for some of their apps owing to the Coronavirus outbreak, per sources.

Per reports, usually, the most whopping product launches of Facebook are done via the blog post by Mark Zuckerberg which in this case was used to announce the Messenger Room’s latest update.

To know about the latest feature update of WhatsApp check out the following link:
WhatsApp's Latest Feature Lets You Add More People To Video Calls!

Digital passes will be introduced in 21 regions of Russia


The Ministry of Communications announced on April 22 that digital passes following Moscow will be introduced in 21 regions. On April 27, the Department plans to start the same in another 14 regions of Russia.

Recall that digital passes began to operate in Moscow and Moscow region on April 15. More than 900 thousand permanent digital passes were issued, and about 400 thousand one-time passes are issued daily.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced last Saturday about additional changes in access control in Moscow due to the situation with coronavirus.

Since April 22, the rules have been tightened by introducing automated surveillance of cars and fines for their unregistered owners. Cameras for the photo-video recording of traffic violations will track the presence of a special pass. Car owners, in order not to get a fine for violation of the pass regime, must include the car's license plate in the digital pass. Cars that are not included in digital passes will automatically be considered violators.

In addition, control over travel by public transport was introduced. Trips on public transport can now only be made if you have a digital pass with a Troika transport card linked to it.
The Moscow Transport Department reported that 15% of motorists drove on the capital's roads without special passes on April 22, while more than 4 million motorists in Moscow have already linked their car numbers to a digital pass.

In addition, about 2.5 thousand people were unable to use the metro in Moscow due to the lack of a pass linked to the card.

The Ministry indicates that a specialized mobile app is used to check passes. The digital pass is valid only upon presentation of an identity document.

Earlier, E Hacking News reported that the system of electronic tracking of people is being introduced into mass use in Moscow right now. And the epidemic is a good reason for such actions.

Around 25,000 Email Addresses and Passwords Belonging to NIH, WHO, World Bank and Others Posted Online


The SITE Intelligence Group, a non-governmental US-based consultancy group that monitors online activities of international terrorist groups and tracks global extremism, recently discovered around 25,000 email addresses and passwords being posted online by unidentified activists. Reportedly, these credentials belong to the World Health Organisation, National Institutes of Health, the Gates Foundation, and various other organizations united in the global battle against COVID-19 – working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

The data of unidentified origins was exposed on Sunday and Monday and straight away used by cybercriminals to make attempts at hacking and take advantage of the posted information by causing incidents of harassment led by far-right extremists. The information made its first appearance on 4chan, an imageboard website where people anonymously post their opinions on subjects ranging from politics, anime, music, video games to sports and literature. It then subsequently appeared on Pastebin, Twitter, and Telegram groups belonging to far-right extremists.

However, the authenticity of the email addresses and passwords is still in question as the SITE said it was unable to verify the data. As per Robert Potter, an Australian cybersecurity expert, the 2,732 emails and passwords belonging to WHO were found to be authentic.

The biggest victim of the incident was NIH with a total of 9,938 emails and passwords being exposed, following NIH was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the second largest number i.e., 6,857 and the World Bank with a total of 5,120, according to the report by SITE. All three organizations were quick to decline the requests of making any comment on the matter.

While providing insights, SITE's executive director, Rita Katz said, “Neo-Nazis and white supremacists capitalized on the lists and published them aggressively across their venues.”

“Using the data, far-right extremists were calling for a harassment campaign while sharing conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic. The distribution of these alleged email credentials was just another part of a months-long initiative across the far right to weaponize the covid-19 pandemic.” She further added.

Meanwhile giving assurance, Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough said, “We’re aware of this account activity and are taking widespread enforcement action under our rules, specifically our policy on private information. We’re also taking bulk removal action on the URL that links to the site in question.”

Android users may face hacker attacks under the guise of applications about coronavirus


Cybercriminals attack users of Android mobile devices using malicious applications disguised as legitimate information software about the new COVID-19 coronavirus infection. After installing the malicious app, the hacker gained control of the victim's Android device through access to calls, SMS, calendar, files, contacts, microphone, and camera.

Hackers continue to exploit people's fear of spreading the virus: malicious applications were found by experts on sites with domains associated with the coronavirus. Researchers have not yet discovered such applications on the Google Play Store.

Experts report that the apps were created using the Metasploit tool used for penetration testing. This software allows anyone with basic computer knowledge to create malicious applications in just 15 minutes: it’s enough to configure Metasploit for your goal, select the exploit and payload.

Such applications can easily gain control of the device. After launching on a device running on the Android operating system, the application hides the icon from the screen so that it is more difficult to detect and remove it.

Vasily Diaghilev, head of Check Point Software Technologies representative office in Russia and the CIS, says that in the current situation, the most alarming thing is how quickly and easily malicious applications can be created and reminds us of the need to follow the rules of digital hygiene.

Check Point researchers previously reported that more than 30,103 new coronavirus-related domains were registered in the past few weeks, of which 0.4% (131) were malicious and 9% (2,777) were suspicious. In total, since January 2020, more than 51 thousand domains associated with the coronavirus have been registered.