NEWS - March 29, 2016

Petya ransomware goes for broke and encrypts hard drive Master File Tables

"Chances are you'll notice you've got a problem when the red skull appears during boot-up..."

A new strain of ransomware replaces the Master Boot Record (MBR) and encrypts the Master File Table on an infected Windows computer's hard drive, thereby essentially locking a victim out of all of their files.

Jasen Sumalapao, a malware analyst at Trend Micro, explains in a blog post that attackers were distributing the ransomware, which has been dubbed Petya, via a malicious email campaign targeting the human resource departments of German companies:


Petya Ransomware Encrypts Master File Table
Ransomware now using disk-level encryption

@ TrendLabs Security Intelligence Blog:
PETYA Crypto-ransomware Overwrites MBR to Lock Users Out of Their Computers
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FBI Breaks into Terrorist’s Encrypted iPhone

A six-week public standoff between Apple and the FBI ended today when the Department of Justice said it had accessed encrypted data stored on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone.

The DOJ said in its motion that it no longer needed Apple’s help as mandated in a Feb. 16 court order and asked that the order be vacated.

“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court’s Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016,” today’s motion says.


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Facebook Fixes Instagram Issue That Allowed Account Takeover

After receiving a critical bug report from Belgian security expert Arne Swinnen, Facebook patched Instagram in less than a day and awarded the researcher $5,000 (€4,500) for his diligence and expertise.

According to a blog post Swinnen penned this past Sunday, the issue affected only Instagram accounts that were locked for security reasons, either due to a long period of inactivity, spam, or repeated failed password attempts.


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MedStar Health's network shut down by malware

A large healthcare provider in the Washington, D.C., area said it has resorted to paper transactions after malware crippled part of its network early Monday.

MedStar Health, a not-for-profit that runs 10 hospitals, said its clinical facilities were functioning and that it did not appear data had been compromised. The malware prevented "certain users from logging into our system."

"MedStar acted quickly to prevent the virus from spreading throughout the organization," it said in a statement posted on Facebook. "We are working with our IT and cybersecurity partners to fully assess and address the situation."


Virus hits MedStar Health hospital network; denies data theft
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1 million Gmail accounts victim of state-sponsored hacking

Google is improving its Gmail warning service to help protect the customers from state-sponsored hacking and surveillance activities.

Google confirmed that one million Gmail accounts might have been targeted by nation-state hackers.

The news is worrying, the company is observing a significant increase in the number of hacking attacks on user email accounts.

Google announced that it is able to identify operations carried out by state-sponsored hackers and it is its intention to notify potentially affected customers.


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