Cyber ​​Week in Review: August 26, 2022

Facebook and Twitter end pro-Western influencer campaign

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and Telegram have disrupted a pro-Western influence campaign focused on promoting US interests abroad, according to a report by Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory. The accounts used in the influence operation targeted the Middle East and Central Asia, frequently criticized Russia over the war in Ukraine, and often shared content from US government-affiliated media such as Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Some of the accounts appear to be part of the Trans-Regional Web Initiative, a US Special Operations Command-led propaganda operation that has been active for over a decade. The campaign is the first publicly known, US-led influence operation on social media. The campaign doesn’t appear to have been very effective, as most posts only received a handful of likes or retweets, and only 19% of accounts had more than a thousand followers.

Ransomware Gang Attacks UK Water Organization

The Cl0p ransomware gang claimed to have infected a major water treatment company, South Staffordshire Water, in the UK. Cl0p first infected systems in South Staffordshire on August 15, although there was some initial confusion as the gang believed it had compromised the systems of a larger utility, Thames Water, which serves most of south-east England. Cl0p did not deploy ransomware on the network, citing ethical concerns, but instead stole data and threatened other consequences unless a ransom was paid. The hackers may have gained access to industrial control systems in South Staffordshire. Attacks on water supply systems have become increasingly common in recent years, and in some cases these attacks could have caused active harm to civilians.

Lloyd’s of London excludes state-sponsored cyberattacks from insurance

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Lloyd’s of London, a major insurance market in England, has announced that it will not allow insurers to cover catastrophic cyberattacks perpetrated by nation states from March 31, 2023. Lloyd’s currently defines a catastrophic cyberattack as a attack which of a state to function or… which significantly compromises the security capabilities of a state. While some welcomed the move to greater clarity on what will not be covered, others noted that the Lloyd’s standard of catastrophic is vague and cyber attacks are often difficult to conclusively attribute to a nation state. specific. In recent years, insurance companies have grappled with how to deal with major cyberattacks, and in December 2021 Lloyd’s announced the exclusion of attacks by nation states from policies held in a small subset of countries, China, France, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, although it seems that this exclusion has not yet been tested.

Former Twitter security chief becomes whistleblower

Former Twitter security chief Pieter Zatko, also known as Mudge, filed a whistleblower complaint against the company earlier this week. Zatko made a series of claims about the state of Twitter’s security, including that Twitter unknowingly employs agents from foreign countries, that deleted data may still be accessible, and that the loss of a few key data centers could permanently delete the entire site. Zatko also alleged that Twitter’s security practices violated an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission that prohibited Twitter from misleading the user about its security or privacy practices. Zatko, which developed L0phtCrack in 1997, a password recovery tool still used in updated form today, is highly respected in the cybersecurity community for its work over the past three decades. Zatko’s revelations will likely affect the legal case between Twitter and Elon Musk over whether the tech entrepreneur can walk back on his offer to buy the company without significant penalty, although experts are divided on whether the Zatko revelations will help or hurt Twitter.

Baidu unveils the first quantum computer

Chinese internet company Baidu announced that it had built its first quantum computer on Thursday this week. The computer, dubbed Qianshi, has a ten-qubit processor, well behind Google’s Sycamore at fifty-four qubits, and Zuchongzi from the University of Science and Technology of China at sixty-six qubits. Baidu said it has also developed a thirty-six qubit processor, although it appears that this processor has yet to be used. Quantum computing has been a major research focus for China, the United States, and the European Union in recent years, with each country investing billions of dollars in quantum computing research. The Biden administration recently announced a series of initiatives to expand quantum research in the United States.

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