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CyberSecurity Newsletter | March 2019

google password extension

Google Chrome Extension Detects Unsafe Passwords

Data breaches compromising usernames and passwords have become common, making it harder and harder to keep on top of your passwords and knowing when to change them. Google has jumped onto this problem and is releasing an extension to Chrome that runs the entire time you are browsing the web or entering passwords.

This new extension, called Password Checkup is not a password manager, or a program that gauges how strong or weak your passwords are. You won’t even notice the extension. reported, “It just sits quietly until it detects a credential pair that is known to be exposed, and then shows a warning.”

Bursztein and Kurt Thomas, a Google security and anti-abuse research scientist emphasize, “While the company is releasing Password Checkup as a regular Chrome extension for people to start using, it’s still an experiment and isn’t necessarily finalized.”

png image android hack

Looking at PNG Images on Your Android Phone Can Get You Hacked

Android users beware! Three newly discovered vulnerabilities are affecting devices running recent versions of Google’s mobile operating system, ranging from Android 7.0 Nougat to the current Android 9.0 Pie. Simply opening an image file on your smartphone, regardless whether it’s from the Internet or messaging or email, can result in your being hacked.

“The vulnerabilities, identified as CVE-2019-1986, CVE-2019-1987, and CVE-2019-1988, have been patched in Android Open Source Project (AOSP) by Google as part of its February Android Security Updates.”

According to the advisory, one of the three vulnerabilities, which Google considered to be the most severe one, could allow a maliciously crafted Portable Network Graphics (.PNG) image file to execute arbitrary code on the vulnerable Android devices. Attackers trick users into opening the PNG image.

ein tax scam

2019 Tax Scams Targeting Your Small Business

Tax season is in full swing and with more and more businesses going digital, the risk of cybercrime is increasing.

The W-2 Scam has hackers luring payroll and human resource professionals to share tax information via bogus emails. Another scam is attacking companies that are applying for Employer Identification Numbers (EINs). They are being tricked into signing up via fraudulent websites. Your EIN number is as critical as your personal Social Security Number. It’s needed for business bank loans, credit accounts and for tax filing.  Apply for a SS-4 Form only through the IRS.

Following are some red flags indicating that your business identity has been stolen:
• You’re rejected from requesting a tax extension or sending an e-filed return because a return with your company’s EIN is already on file.
• Your business receives an unexpected tax transcript receipt or IRS notice that doesn’t correspond to your return.
• You fail to receive expected communication from the IRS because fraudsters have changed the address on your application.

cyber criminals caught

Online Market for Cyber Criminals Shut Down

Law enforcement authorities from the United States and several European countries banded together for an international operation to shut down xDedic, an online underground marketplace and three suspects were arrested in the Ukraine.

The illegal online marketplace let cybercriminals buy, sell or rent out access to thousands of hacked computers and servers across the world and personally identifiable information of U.S. residents. It impacted multiple industries “including local, state, and federal government infrastructure, hospitals, 911, and emergency services, call centers, major metropolitan transit authorities, accounting and law firms, pension funds and universities.”

The underground website had been around for years with its administrators strategically maintaining and concealing the locations of its servers all over the world to facilitate the operation of the underground site.

equifax scandal update

Equifax – 17 Months Later

The Equifax data breach happened way back in September of 2017 and has been tagged as the data security scandal of the decade. The information that was stolen included Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and other personal details. That was the last anyone heard about it.

The breach was over 17 months ago and to date the stolen data of 143 million people has never been found. This has turned into a modern day mystery. CNBC spoke with “experts, intelligence officials, dark web data ‘hunters’ and Equifax to discover where they expect the data has gone and what it’s being used for.” No one has a clue, as the data has never appeared on any underground websites or anywhere else for that matter.

The top theory is that the data was stolen by a nation-state for spying purposes, not by criminals to cash in on stolen identities. Many now believe that the thieves, working for a foreign government, are using the information to try to identity and recruit spies.

Stay tuned – it may be awhile before this mystery is solved.

This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your company’s cyber insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.