Security Roundup: New Mac backdoor, Rise in ‘Brexit’ spam emails, Lenovo PCs security flaw

PCR rounds up some of the developments in IT security over the past week.

New backdoor allows full access to Mac systems, Bitdefender warns

Bitdefender has discovered that a new piece of malware, dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor, allows full access to Mac systems.

The backdoor is embedded into a fake file converter application that is accessible online on reputable sites offering Mac applications and software.

Tiberius Axinte, technical leader at Bitdefender Antimalware Labs at Bitdefender, stated: “This type of malware is particularly dangerous as it’s hard to detect and offers the attacker full control of the compromised systems.”

You can read the full report here.

92% of IT security pros believe data should remain in UK

Research has found that while 92 per cent of respondents thought it was very or fairly important that data is stored, accessed and backed up in the UK, only 27 per cent were very certain that this was indeed the case.

The data is from CNS Group, a UK-based independent cyber security consultancy, which published the results of its 2016 Data Sovereignty Study, carried out at InfoSecurity Europe 2016.

Business travelers more likely to be robbed of data than travel money

New research from Kaspersky Lab suggests that business travellers are more likely to be mugged of valuable private and corporate data, rather than their travel money.

The study from Kaspersky Lab polled 11,850 people from across Europe, Russia, Latin America, Asia Pacific and the US. It found that three in five (59 per cent) of people in senior roles say they try to log on as quickly as possible upon arrival abroad, because there is an expectation at work that they will stay connected.

Almost half (48 per cent) of senior managers and more than two in five (43 per cent) of mid-level managers use unsecure public access Wi-Fi networks to connect their work devices when abroad.

Twice as many (47 per cent) think that, if employers are to send staff overseas, they must accept any security risks that go with it.

Lenovo PCs’ security flaw

Researcher Dymtro "Cr4sh" Oleksiuk has revealed details of an apparent flaw in Lenovo systems that could let hackers into Windows’ security protocols.

He says a vulnerable firmware driver was copy-and-pasted from data supplied by Intel, and he is concerned other vendors might have adopted the same code, reports Engadget.

The vulnerable code was found inside the firmware of an HP Pavilion dv7-4087cl laptop, and it apparently exists in the firmware of some motherboards (Z77X-UD5H, Z68-UD3H, Z87MX-D3H and Z97-D3H) made by Gigabyte.

Lenovo says the vulnerable code originated in a UEFI package provided to the company by one of its independent BIOS vendors.

3-in-4 public WiFi hotspots ‘vulnerable’

A survey carried out by Broadband Genie with Avast has found many of us risk giving sensitive personal information to cyber hackers by insecurely accessing services, such as online banking, through public Wi-Fi.

Key findings include:

  • 44 per cent surveyed frequently use public Wi-Fi hotspots
  • 62 per cent feel secure using them, many accessing online banking and shopping accounts
  • Data supplied by Avast suggests 75 per cent of hotspot in the UK are vulnerable
  • Despite risks of surfing unprotected, 85 per cent surveyed do not use a VPN on public
  • Wi-Fi 

Rise in ‘Brexit’ spam emails

Symantec has uncovered 392 per cent increase in spam emails that use Brexit as a news hook. 

Between June 9th and 23rd, the number of emails detected and blocked by Symantec was 81,323. This number increased considerably to 399,892 from June 24th to July 5th.

Peter Coogan of Symantec Security Response said: “Threats such as spam, phishing, and malware that surf on major current events, to try to scam people out of money, continue to be a lucrative method used by cybercriminals to entice consumers and organisations to share sensitive or financial information.

"Scammers and spammers are constantly devising new e-mails and weaving current events to play on emotions, and the marked increase in Brexit-related spam does not come as a surprise considering the high international attention it is receiving."

‘Celebgate’ nude photo hacker pleads guilty

The University of Salford’s expert in cyber security, Dr Ali Dehghantanha, has the made the following comment on the back of the ‘Celebgate’ nudes hacker pleading guilty.

“Advancements in cyber security technology have made attackers move directly from targeting servers and systems to targeting the weakness of people themselves," Ali said.

"This type of attack is a classic example of attacks that start with phishing emails and end up with the hacker gaining full access to a system. If the victims had followed the basic cyber sanity rules (i.e. NOT clicking on unknown source links), the attackers would never have been given a chance to compromise someone’s personal life.

"People are strongly urged to follow cyber hygiene rules to stay safe and secure online. Interestingly, a lack of sufficient evidence has been mentioned in this case which is the same in many cybercrime investigation cases. This contributes to a rewarding career for cyber criminals, unfortunately."

National Crime Agency warns businesses

The National Crime Agency has warned that UK businesses and law enforcement agencies are losing the ‘cyber arms race’ with online criminals.

It found that the technical capabilities of criminal gangs are outpacing the UK’s ability to deal with their threat – and that there were 2.46 million "cyber incidents" last year, including 700,000 frauds.

Luke Brown, VP and GM EMEA, India and LatAm at Digital Guardian, said: "It’s no surprise that the NCA warns that criminals are winning the cyber arms race: the IT security industry simply doesn’t have the troops to fight back.

"For many years, the industry has faced a recruitment drought and individuals who meet the required training standards are hard to come by and highly sought after. In fact, the unemployment rate amongst information security professionals is effectively zero.

"The issue is that businesses can’t simply deploy security technologies and expect to be protected from every kind of attack, they need to work with security experts. The UK government’s plan to open a new National Cyber Security Centre is certainly a step in the right direction, but without more widespread investment to train more cyber security recruits, this war will continue to rage on."

IT security pros raise concerns over home entertainment systems

Cyber security professionals are fearful of their home entertainment systems leaking their data, according to a new Lastline survey carried out at Infosecurity Europe, that took into account the views of over 300 professionals.

The same study showed a great concern for security risks related to Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices on the whole, and found that respondents also viewed healthcare devices (such as wearables) and connected cars as top risks. 

The hacking of children’s toys was not a high priority, ranking the lowest out of all connected devices. This comes despite several big name breaches in the toy industry in the last 12 months, including VTech, a manufacturer of electronic devices that can be used as educational tools, was breached last November and over 11 million customer records were compromised.

“Headlines in hackers spreading ransomware in Smart TVs may have fuelled the concern for people when it comes to home entertainment systems being compromised,” said Brian Laing, VP of product development at Lastline. “But it’s also important to consider the risk to our children with toys that are connected to wi-fi. We take such care to protect them on the internet and make sure they can’t access anything potentially dangerous, while almost forgetting the dangers that connected toys present.” 

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