Anglo African weekly news wrap on trending cyber-attacks, to keep you alert

March 23, 2018

Most manufacturers have connected their operational technology – including industrial control systems and robotic equipment –to the internet, yet the lack of basic security protocols leave these companies open to cyberattacks. Industrial security company Malcrawler pinpointed these dangers at Kaspersky Lab’s Security Analyst Summit earlier this month. Dewan Chowdhury, founder of MalCrawler, said that many robotics that work as part of industrial systems on manufacturing floors are still leveraging outdated and unsupported operating systems – such as Windows XP. Chowdhury presented his research at a SAS session titled “Hack Your Robot”.

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KASPERSKY HAS ANNOYED the US once again by revealing a terrorism-targeted spying operation with the reveal of the state-sponsored Slingshot spyware. At least that’s according to Cyberscoop, which claims to have learned that Slingshot is an active, US-led cyber espionage operation designed for counterterrorism. The reveal of Slingshot means Kaspersky has basically burned the US operation, which was found to have cropped up in conflict zones and areas of operation for ISIS including Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan and Somalia.

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The most recent version of the TrickBot banking trojan now includes a screenlocker component, suggesting the malware’s operators might soon start holding victims for ransom if infected targets don’t appear to be e-banking users. The good news is that the screenlocker mechanism is not fully functional just yet, and appears to still be under development. Nonetheless, security researchers have spotted the new module dropped on victims’ computers, suggesting development is advanced enough to have reached field trials.

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A self-proclaimed “mischievous boy” who calls himself “ZENIS” unleashed ransomware attacks that encrypt the files and then purposely deleted the backups. Discovered last week by MalwareHunterTeam, Zenis uses a customized encryption method that warns recipients to pay up or risk losing forever their infected files.

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