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FEB 12th 2018
BBC News

Criminals hide 'billions' in crypto-cash - Europol

Three to four billion pounds of criminal money in Europe is being laundered through cryptocurrencies, according to Europol.

The agency's director Rob Wainwright told the BBC's Panorama that regulators and industry leaders need to work together to tackle the problem.

The warning comes after Bitcoin's value fell by half from record highs in December.

UK police have not commented to the programme.

Mr Wainwright said that Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, estimates that about 3-4% of the £100bn in illicit proceeds in Europe are laundered through cryptocurrencies.

"It's growing quite quickly and we're quite concerned," he said.

There many different types of cryptocurrencies but the best known is Bitcoin. They are intended to be a digital alternative to pounds, dollars or euros.

FEB 12th 2018
BBC News

Hackers hijack government websites to mine crypto-cash

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) took down its website after a warning that hackers were taking control of visitors' computers to mine cryptocurrency.

Security researcher Scott Helme said more than 4,000 websites, including many government ones, were affected.

He said the affected code had now been disabled and visitors were no longer at risk.

The ICO said: "We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it."

Mr Helme said he was alerted by a friend who had received a malware warning when he visited the ICO website.

Bitcoin rival

He traced the problem to a website plug-in called Browsealoud, used to help blind and partially sighted people access the web.

FEB 11th 2018
The Register

UK ICO, Thousands of websites hijacked by hidden crypto-mining code after popular plugin pwned

Biz scrambles to shut down crafty coin crafting operation

Thousands of websites around the world - from the UK's NHS and ICO to the US government's court system - were today secretly mining crypto-coins on netizens' web browsers for miscreants unknown.

The affected sites all use a fairly popular plugin called Browsealoud, made by Brit biz Texthelp, which reads out webpages for blind or partially sighted people.

This technology was compromised in some way - either by hackers or rogue insiders altering Browsealoud's source code - to silently inject Coinhive's Monero miner into every webpage offering Browsealoud.

For several hours today, anyone who visited a site that embedded Browsealoud inadvertently ran this hidden mining code on their computer, generating money for the miscreants behind the caper.

FEB 9th 2018
SC Magazine

DarkSky botnet spotted evading security measures

A new botnet has been discovered by security researchers that has anti-virtual machine capabilities to evade security controls such as a sandbox.

According to a report released by Radware, the malware, dubbed DarkSky, features several evasion mechanisms, a malware downloader and a variety of network- and application-layer DDoS attack vectors. The company said that the bot is now available for sale for less than US$ 20 (£15) over the Darknet.

According to Yuval Shapira a security researcher at Radware, DarkSky is capable of running under Windows XP/7/8/10, both x32 and x64 versions, and has anti-virtual machine capabilities to evade security controls such as a sandbox, thereby allowing it to only infect ‘real' machines.

The company has been tracking the malware since its early versions in May 2017. Shapira said that developers of the malware have been enhancing its functionality and released the latest version in December 2017. He added that its popularity and use is increasing.

FEB 5th 2018
BBC News

Lloyds Bank bans Bitcoin purchases on its credit cards

Lloyds Banking Group has banned its customers from buying Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies on their credit cards.

The ban, starting on Monday, applies to Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA customers.

It will not apply to debit cards, only to the banking group's eight million credit card customers.

The move follows a sharp fall in the value of digital currencies, prompting fears about people running up debts.

Lloyds is concerned it could end up footing the bill for unpaid debts should the price continue to fall.

Explaining the ban, a Lloyds spokeswoman said: "We continually review our products and procedures and this is part of that."

FEB 3rd 2018
The Register

Google code reckons it's smarter than airlines, AI funding, and lots more

It's this week in machine learning

Roundup It has been an interesting week in the AI world. There's a whole treasure trove of research papers to read, fresh AI problems to crack, and a new fund for startups.

ICLR 2018

The list of papers accepted for this year’s International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) are out and they make interesting reading.

The conference will take place in Vancouver from the April 30 - May 3. It’ll showcase the latest trends and developments in AI and machine learning. It looks like General Adversarial Networks, often used for vision tasks, are still in fashion and have progressed enough to keep people’s interest.

FEB 2nd 2018
BBC News

Tech Tent: Will crypto-crime end the Bitcoin bubble?

On Friday, Japanese regulators staged a raid on the offices of Coincheck, a crypto-currency exchange that has been hit by what could be the biggest bank heist in history.

On the Tech Tent podcast this week, we ask whether a crime wave hitting the crypto-currency industry is sapping confidence in the whole project.

The Japanese regulators wanted to know just what kind of security measures were in place when hackers stole $530m (£375m) worth of crypto-currencies from Coincheck.

On Tuesday, America's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) received a court order to close down an initial coin offering (ICO), which encourage people to buy into new crypto-currencies before they launch, which was aiming to raise $1bn. The SEC said the plan to create a new currency to fund what was called a decentralised bank was a scam.

FEB 2nd 2018
The Register

On the NHS tech team? Weep at ugly WannaCry post-mortem, smile as Health dept outlines plan

Apparently, senior NHS Trust managers will be held accountable...stop giggling

The WannaCry outbreak has forced the UK's national health service to overhaul its crisis planning to put new measures in place to avoid further crippling cyber attacks.

A UK Department of Health and Social Care postmortem on the May 2017 WannaCry outbreak, published on Thursday, repeats the findings of previous UK government studies that the attack was preventable in retrospect and caused all sorts of problems for NHS England, including delaying the first appointments of suspected cancer patients.

The study, Lessons learned review of the WannaCry Ransomware Cyber Attack, concluded the failure to apply available patches on Windows systems combined with poor isolation of vulnerable services from the open internet was to blame for a malware outbreak that affected one in three English NHS Trusts to a lesser or greater extent.

JAN 30th 2018
The Register

Maybe you should've stuck with NetWare: Hijackers can bypass Active Directory controls

'DCShadow' attack lets attackers add their own controllers, do some wrecking

Two security researchers have demonstrated an attack on Active Directory that let them insert their own domain controller into an existing enterprise setup.

France-based duo Benjamin Delpy, a contributor to Mimikatz, and Vincent Le Toux took their attack, dubbed DCShadow, to Microsoft's Blue Hat conference in Israel last week.

DCShadow allows an attacker to create a rogue domain controller in an Active Directory environment, and use it to push malicious objects.

How? Le Toux tweeted a summary:

JAN 29th 2018
BBC News

TomTom ditches map updates for some sat-navs

A number of customers with TomTom sat-navs have been told that their devices will no longer receive map updates.

"Your maps will become out-of-date and as such navigation will be less accurate," the firm told customers.

"It has become clear that some of our older generation navigation devices do not have sufficient resources to run the newest maps and software."

A spokesman for TomTom told the BBC the company had been "proactively" communicating with customers.

"A full list of those affected devices is available on our website," he said.

TomTom has said active subscriptions to map updates will continue until subscriptions run out, but customers will not be able to renew maps or receive new software updates.

JAN 29th 2018
The Register

UK infrastructure firms to face £17m fine if their cybersecurity sucks

Oh boy, measures will also cover IT outages

Infrastructure firms could face fines of up to £17m if they do not have adequate cybersecurity measures in place, the UK government has announced today.

The plans follow proposals earlier this year from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport intended to comply with the EU Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive, which comes into effect next May.

The government intends to use those powers on grounds of national security; a potential threat to public safety; or the possibility of significant adverse social or economic impact resulting from a disruptive incident.

The powers will also cover other threats affecting IT such as power outages, hardware failures and environmental hazards. Critical infrastructure firms will also be required to show they have a strategy to cover such incidents.

JAN 29th 2018
BBC News

Fitness app Strava lights up staff at military bases

Security concerns have been raised after a fitness tracking firm showed the exercise routes of military personnel in bases around the world.

Online fitness tracker Strava has published a "heatmap" showing the paths its users log as they run or cycle.

It appears to show the structure of foreign military bases in countries including Syria and Afghanistan as soldiers move around them.

The US military was examining the heatmap, a spokesman said.

How does Strava work?

San Francisco-based Strava provides an app that uses a mobile phone's GPS to track a subscriber's exercise activity.

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