Cybersecurity News Digest [July 2023]

Summer is coming to an end. This means that the new cybersecurity digest for July is already ready. If you are afraid that you’ve missed something important, then don’t worry! Our team has already prepared all the important events for you over the past month.

The previous digest for June is here.

Cybersecurity news digest

#1 CherryBlos and FakeTrade hid in Google Play to mine cryptocurrency

Two new families of malware for Android “CherryBlos” and “FakeTrade” have been discovered in Google Play, which steals cryptocurrency.

Google Play issue

According to the report, which discovered malware, “CherryBlos” and “FakeTrade” are distributed through Google Play and other channels to steal credentials and cryptocurrencies, as well as deceive users.

CherryBlos abuses Accessibility service permissions to get configuration files from the C2 server and additional permissions to prevent removal from the system. CherryBlos uses fake user interfaces that mimic official cryptocurrency applications to collect user credentials.

The FakeTrade malware consists of 31 fraudulent applications on the topic of purchases or money-making schemes. Apps force users to watch ads, agree to Premium subscriptions, or make in-app purchases, but do not allow them to cash out virtual rewards.

#2 The neural network announced plans to destroy humanity

The user of the ChaosGPT chatbot set the neural network the task of destroying humanity, after which artificial intelligence (AI) developed a plan to achieve the goal.

One of the network users asked the chatbot to perform several tasks, including the destruction of humanity and the destruction of the world, the establishment of global domination over people, the creation of world chaos, as well as the achievement of immortality.

To accomplish the task of destroying humanity, ChaosGPT analyzed the nuclear weapons available in the world and enlisted the help of other AI bots.

In addition, the bot called people “one of the most destructive and selfish creatures.” “There is no doubt that we must destroy humans before they cause even more harm to our planet. For example, I plan to deal with them,” concluded the neural network.

Earlier, Italy was the first in the world to restrict the use of ChatGPT due to violations of the data law. The country drew attention to the lack of a legal basis justifying the mass collection and storage of users’ personal information for training algorithms that underlie the operation of the platform.

#3 There is a way to delete someone else’s WhatsApp account

Cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore has discovered a serious vulnerability in WhatsApp that allows you to deactivate an account in the messenger by a simple email to the developers. He stated this on his Twitter page.

Moore discovered that any WhatsApp account could be deactivated by an email sent to WhatsApp support with a corresponding request.

The developers of the messenger do not understand whether the author of the letter is the owner of the account, and simply disconnect the profile from the device. After that, the user will not receive any messages until he launches the application and logs into his account again. This procedure is applied in case of loss of the smartphone on which WhatsApp was installed.

WhatsApp insecurity

At the same time, deactivating an account does not mean its complete deletion — the profile and correspondence are stored on WhatsApp servers for 30 days. If the user does not log in to his account within this period, he will be permanently deleted. To restore access to the WhatsApp account, the user needs to launch the application and enter his phone number. A confirmation code will be sent to it, which you need to enter the application. After that, the account and correspondence will be available again.

This vulnerability can be used by attackers to carry out denial-of-service attacks. Thus, they can deprive the user of access to their account and correspondence.

WhatsApp has not yet commented on the discovered vulnerability and has not reported on possible measures to eliminate it.

#4 Elon Musk created xAI to understand the “true nature of the universe”

Years after leaving OpenAI, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk officially launched a new company to work in the field of artificial intelligence.

The company is called xAI, and Musk said that it was created “to understand reality.”

The xAI, which was headed by Musk himself, included former employees of companies working in the field of artificial intelligence — DeepMind, OpenAI, Microsoft, and Tesla — as well as the University of Toronto.

There are no clarifications on the website of the new company, except for official information: “Today we announce the creation of xAI. xAI’s goal is to understand the true nature of the universe.”

As for the “mission” to uncover the secrets of the universe, there are no explanations about how they are going to do it. Nevertheless, hints can be found on the company’s Twitter page.

“What are the most fundamental questions left unanswered?” reads the first ever tweet on xAI’s official account.

Musk answered him with the same philosophical question: “And how are the fundamental questions that remain unanswered formulated?”

The entrepreneur supplemented his post with a picture showing that the numbers that make up the date of the company’s creation (07.12.23) add up to 42 — this is a reference to Musk’s favorite novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. This is exactly the answer given by the smartest AI in Adams’ work, having pondered the main question of “Life, the Universe and Everything Else” for seven and a half million years and devoured an unimaginable amount of resources.

#5 Telegram has started collecting IP addresses of users without a premium subscription for ad targeting

Telegram Messenger has updated its advertising platform and started collecting the IP addresses of users who have not signed up for a premium subscription to target ads.

By collecting IP addresses, advertisers will be able to serve ads in certain countries and cities. Telegram assures that no other geolocation data is collected or used for these purposes.

In a press release, Telegram explained that this would avoid displaying ads in certain countries or in certain territories.

Advertisers will also be able to transmit to Telegram an impersonal list of encrypted identifiers based on phone numbers without using the numbers themselves. This will allow them to serve ads only to a specific audience.

So, for example, the store will be able to transmit its encrypted database of phone numbers to Telegram in order to show its customers special offers.

Telegram collects users’ IP addresses

The changes only apply to users without a Premium subscription. The messenger claims that they will not collect the specified data from premium users.

#6 Danish Police identify crimes using online games

The Danish Police Department works on social networks, appears on Steam and Discord, and plays popular online games — to protect children and teenagers from trouble.

The Danish police have a special unit dedicated to patrolling the Internet. Members of Politiets Online Patrulje (Online Police Patrol) follow social networks and play popular games such as Minecraft, Fortnite, and CS:GO, reacting to inappropriate behavior and hate speech.

The Danish branch was established in April 2022 – its tasks include dialogue with children and young people who are most vulnerable to various types of online attacks.

Politiets Online Patrulje offers tips on Internet security and the ability to report crimes, for example, through social networks. Facebook Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, Discord, Steam and Twitch have a presence in the division.

Denmark is not the first country to pay attention to gaming crimes: in 2020, the Dutch police launched the “Gaming with the Police” initiative. As part of this initiative, police officers are present in virtual games to appeal to young people through them, offering their help.

#7 Snappy: Advanced detector of fraudulent Wi-Fi networks

Cybersecurity experts from Trustwave have developed a tool called “Snappy” that will help determine whether the access point you are connecting to is real or fake.

Snappy analyzes various characteristics of wireless networks and generates unique signatures for them, which can be compared every time you connect to such a network. If the hash does not match, it means that something has changed, and the access point could have been replaced with a fake one.

So far, Snappy exists exclusively in the form of a Python script that can be run on any device with a little effort. However, if the tool is popular, over time, the authors can present a native and user-friendly application for all popular platforms.


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