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  1. An enterprising cybersquatter who is not Patrick deWitt has commandeered patrickdewitt.net in an attempt to attract attention for their own novel (as first reported by LitHub). And while the squatter has backed off some of his more audacious demands by scrubbing them from the website, screenshots and archived versions of the site still exist because this is the internet and that’s how things work around here. It’s slightly different than what most people think of as cybersquatting, since the person currently in control of patrickdewitt.net doesn’t appear to be asking for payment to return control of the site. The person actually seems disappointed that so far, deWitt hasn’t even acknowledged the situation. They just really, really want deWitt to read the excerpt of their unpublished novel, In God’s Silence, Them Devils Sang, which the morbidly curious can read on the fake website (with disclaimers on every page stating “this is not Patrick deWitt”). “I DON’T THINK [DEWITT] EVEN USES THE INTERNET...” The problem with the scheme is that, as the squatter discovered, deWitt apparently doesn’t really use the internet much. ”I kinda thought I could blackmail his publishers into reading it,” the squatter told Willamette Week. “Turns out I was wrong. No one gave a fuck. No one’s really emailed that website, except the odd confused person trying to tell him off for his characters being cruel to animals or some similar gibberish. I don’t think [deWitt] even uses the internet.” The Verge reached out to the squatter, who didn’t want to be interviewed unless we agreed to keep them anonymous. (We declined). Since our initial email exchange, however, their more aggressive demands have been removed from the website (but they live on elsewhere): 26 people are talking about this The contact page has since been scrubbed of everything except “this is not Patrick deWitt.” Likewise, the “about” page used to have an appeal to deWitt, as an archived version of the page shows: But that’s now gone, too. Overall, the squatter’s plan seemed, at best, a little undercooked; even if deWitt and his people read the manuscript and somehow got it published, what was the next step? Remain anonymous forever? HarperCollins, the actual deWitt’s publisher, did not respond to an email from The Verge seeking comment. It’s not clear what recourse deWitt or his representatives might have if they wanted to pursue the squatter, but under the Anti-Cybersquatting Piracy Act (ACPA), a trademark owner can bring action against someone who registers a domain name for a variety of reasons including a bad faith intent to profit from the mark. It probably would have been easier to just start a blog? read more here : https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/5/21125055/squatter-website-patrick-dewitt-novels-unpublished-author-writer-backfire
  2. Cyberthreats are on the rise. Chances are, your security teams are struggling to keep up. They must contend with a flood of daily alerts from the dozens of security tools they rely on. These disparate tools create siloes and require manual processes to correlate information https://info.infoblox.com/WW-PPC-FY20-CSADummies-20190801.html?ss=google&st=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7Y67q_2x5wIV7P7hCh2N-QEzEAEYASAAEgKsOfD_BwE
  3. The Department of Justice is taking a new approach to robocalls, seeking approval to hold telecommunications companies responsible for calls on their networks instead of just going after the often-overseas criminals who actually do the dialing. The companies identified by the DOJ allowed two groups with ties to India and US offices in Arizona and New York to make hundreds of millions of calls per month, according to Jody Hunt of the DOJ’s civil division. The companies are TollFreeDeals.com, SIP Retail, and their owners, Nicholas Palumbo and Natasha Palumbo in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Global Voicecom Inc., Global Telecommunication Services Inc., KAT Telecom Inc. and owner Jon Kahen of Great Neck, New York. https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/31/21117477/justice-department-telecom-scams-robocalls
  4. Ransomware tops the list of cybersecurity threats for 2020. While there have been efforts to convince individuals, corporations and municipalities not to pay ransoms, the simple fact is that whenever one is paid, the attack becomes a success that encourages cyberthieves to try again. Ransomware attacks increased 18 percent in 2019, up from an average 12 percent increase over the past five years, according to research from cyber risk insurance firm Chubb. It accounted for 40 percent of all manufacturers' cyber claims, and for 23 percent of cyber claims for smaller businesses last year. "Ransomware has not only continued to grow over the years, but it has also attracted more organized criminals who have begun targeting specific industries," said Javvad Malik, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. That "has not only increased successful infections, but has also made criminals more brazen in the demands they've been making," he told TechNewsWorld. Easy PreventionOne irony of ransomware is that it remains among the easiest threats to control. Prevention would be effective if users would refrain from going to untrusted websites or from opening suspicious email attachments. "Ransomware will continue to be an issue until such time that a preventative measure can be found or every user can be educated well enough to not open files from unknown sources," said Tom Thomas, adjunct faculty member in Tulane University's Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management program. Ransomware is particularly nefarious because of its broad targets: individuals, businesses, government agencies and cities. The number of ransomware attacks increased in 2019 -- but worse, 22 of those cyberattacks shut down city, county and even state government computer systems. If it can't be stopped, the next best option is to make it less profitable. As a result of the attacks on municipalities, more than 225 U.S. mayors last summer signed a resolution at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, pledging not to pay the hackers. "Ransomware does not judge nor care if you are an individual, government or organization. It's about greed -- and let's be honest, organizations have more money than individuals," Thomas told TechNewsWorld. "The mayors' pledge is so much political maneuvering and sound bites. Their pledge means nothing to threat actors and criminals," he added. Those pledges are not the end of the story -- they are just the beginning, said KnowBe4's Malik. "Like an animal that acquires the taste of human flesh after its first kill, the rise and success of ransomware has given cybercriminals the taste of data," he remarked. A pressing concern is what those criminals might do with the data. "It will be common to see ransomware coupled with threats of data exposure as ransomware strains developers and expands on new methods to demand payment," predicted Erich Kron, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. "We have seen these threats for years; however, data exposure has already happened late in 2019 and will become a common practice in 2020 for those who don't pay," he told TechNewsWorld. A King's RansomCity leaders may have more leverage in deciding not to pay a ransom than businesses, many of which have succumbed. For some companies, ransomware payouts now are factored in as an added cost of doing business. "From the perspective of a business owner of any size, ransomware is a frightening proposition. Imagine all of the endpoints in an organization failing in a few hours," warned Jason Kent, hacker in residence at Cequence Security. "Given that most organizations have difficulty doing the basics, knowing their assets, knowing if these assets are secured and patched, backing up data, etc. -- the rise of ransomware in the next few years will be most likely a foregone conclusion," he told TechNewsWorld. "If we look at the organizations that have been hit with ransomware, the recovery process was painful and took huge amounts of effort to get back online," Kent added. "If we are to make it through 2020 with our systems intact, we have to watch out for the ever-changing threat landscape." Wipe OutAlthough not new, the very sinister "wiper worms" threat, which first appeared as a new form of malware in spring of 2018, could be on the rise. Wiper worms, which can be very sophisticated programs, generally have three targets: files/data, the boot section of a computer's operating system; and system and data backups. "While not as common as ransomware, this type of malware is a major risk because of the devastating outcomes of such attacks," said Yaron Kassner, CTO of security firm Silverfort. One significant concern is that a wiper could be deployed on a network, and instead of merely locking out a user, it could be function much like an even more insidious form of ransomware. "I see wiper worms as one of the top cyberthreats for 2020," Kassner told TechNewsWorld. Those hit by such an infection may not even be able to rely on backups, which also are infected. If users restore data compromised by the worm, that doesn't resolve the problem, as each resoration attempt only replicates the problem. "Once attackers have a foothold, it's easier for them to encrypt data for ransom than to exfiltrate data to sell on the dark Web," noted Willy Leichter, vice president at Virsec. "Cryptocurrencies now make it easy for criminals to monetize attacks anonymously," he told TechNewsWorld. "Recent attacks have encrypted data and threatened to expose it publicly if the victim doesn't pay up. While this is probably a bluff, it raises the perceived stakes for victims, increasing their desperation and willingness to pay." Recovering Efforts LackingAnother troubling component of ransomware and wiperware is the effort required to recover from such an attack. Few businesses have a strategy in place should such an attack occur. "According to a recent Forrester report, most businesses are in denial about their ability to recover from such an attack," said Sean Beuby, chief architect at Semperis. "Seventy-seven percent are confident or very confident, but only 21 percent have contingency plans in place, and less than half that -- 11 percent -- believed they could recover within three days of an attack," he told TechNewsWorld. "Organizations must take a clear-eyed, hard look at how unprepared they are for a denial-of-availability malware attack and reshuffle their priorities accordingly," Beuby added. "Ransomware and other wiperware is unprecedented in its ability to lay waste to a corporate network without regard to physical location: NotPetya permanently encrypted 55,000 Maersk servers and other devices around the world in 7 minutes." 
  5. UK businesses have reported a significant fall in cyber attacks over the last 12 months. The proportion identifying breaches or attacks in the least year was 32 per cent, compared with 43 per cent in 2018 and 46 per cent in 2017, according to a survey of 1,566 businesses by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) (PDF). Those figures echo the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which found that between September 2017 and September 2018, the number of computer misuse incidents among individuals fell from 1.5 million to 1 million. This was driven, according to Office for National Statistics data, by a significant reduction in computer viruses (down by 45 per cent over the same period). However, the DCMS report said other factors could be at play such as more investment in cybersecurity, better compliance due to GDPR, or a change in attack behaviour. For example, those carrying out cyber attacks could be focusing on a narrower (though still numerous) set of businesses. This fits with another broad trend in the survey showing that, among the 32 per cent of businesses that did identify breaches or attacks, the median number they recall facing has gone up, from two attacks in 2017 to six in 2019. Of those targeted, phishing attacks were the most common, with 80 per cent having been subject to email scams, while 27 per cent said they had been hit by viruses, spyware or malware. However, Ken Munro of Pen Test Partners said there are too many variables to make the findings conclusive. "Are the number of antivirus reports down because organisations (rightly) don't consider them to be attacks/breaches or incidents? Or is it because the antivirus products aren't detecting the types of malware that are being used now?" He added: "Without analysing the quality of phishing attacks, the data is also meaningless. Are untargeted phishing attempts being filtered out upstream? "I don't think anything can be concluded from the report other than that 'cyber stuff is still happening and some businesses are taking it more seriously'.
  6. A Georgia state agency confirmed that a cyberattack has brought offline some court websites. According to local media, hackers infected the systems of the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts with ransomware, “News outlets report hackers demanding a ransom infected computers with malware at the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts.” reported the Associated Press. “Agency spokesman Bruce Shaw said Monday that officials have “quarantined our servers and shut off our network to the outside.” The Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts provides services to some local probate and municipal courts. The website of the agency (www.georgiacourts.org) was offline earlier this week, while the websites for the Georgia Supreme Court and court clerks in the larger counties of the state were up and running. “Hackers have infected computers at a Georgia courts agency, demanding a ransom payment and causing officials to shut down court websites.” reported the AJC website. “The Administrative Office of the Courts was offline Monday as the state government tried to contain the hack.” At the time of writing, it wasn’t clear the extent of the attack in term of impacted Georgia courts and interference with ordinary operations. Agency spokesman Bruce Shaw pointed out that users’ data were not exposed because the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts doesn’t users details apart from information in public court documents. “Personal information wasn’t compromised because the agency doesn’t keep that information, said Michelle Barclay, a division director for the Administrative Office of the Courts.” concludes the AJC website. “Everything is shut down until they tell us to turn it on,” Barclay said. “We’re definitely inconveniencing folks who rely on our applications.” The attack was discovered during the weekend, experts believe it was launched from a foreign country. The attackers sent an email to the agency with instructions to contact them, the message didn’t specify a ransom amount. This incident follows other similar attacks on government systems, such as the one that hit the city of Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. County and state courts were operational, but they were unable to access information provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts, Allen said. He didn’t know how long it will take to recover from the attack.
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