FixMeStick’s Weekly Cybersecurity Round-Up: Feb 3rd – 9th

Hello everyone! Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and there’s no better way to win somebody’s heart than to impress them with some updates on the world of cybersecurity. If news about Google updates don’t do the trick, then information about Coronavirus scams and Chinese government hackers might help you out.

On February 4th, Google Chrome released version 80 of its browser, which comes equipped with new security and notification updates. 

Version 80 of the Chrome browser is notably different from previous versions, as Google has since updated how its browser handles cookies. For those that don’t know, cookies are essentially small files that websites store in your browser. They allow websites to identify you for future visits. Some cookies are used for pretty annoying purposes, such as telling advertising companies what sort of activity you are up to, while some cookies simply help you have a better online experience.

However, what Google is aiming to do is limit how third-party cookie controls, so that sketchy sites won’t have direct access to your cookies, which could pose as a threat to your security.

This update won’t happen to everyone at once, but will be released to specific users in waves. You can read more about the update here.

With the coronavirus making headlines across the world, many people are worried about human viruses rather than computer viruses, which has given an amateur group of scammers a couple ideas. 

Recently, people have been receiving emails from individuals claiming to be from the World Health Organization, asking recipients for their personal information so that they can find more information about the infamous virus. The email typically goes like this:

Go through the attached document on safety measures regarding the spreading of corona virus.

Click on the button below to download

Symptoms common symptoms include fever,cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

While many people may notice that the email is rampant with spelling and grammar errors, it’s been shown to trick countless others due to its inclusion of an official logo of the World Health Organization. If you follow the link in the email, it will then prompt you to input your email address and password, which will effectively be used by the scammers.

Words of advice: keep your wits about you! Most scam emails are easy to figure out, but keep an eye out for any spelling errors or inconsistencies in the website and email. Most official organizations won’t email you out of the blue.

Recently, four members of the Chinese government have been charged for their involvement in the hack of credit card agency Equifax; nearly 150 million individuals in the U.S. were impacted.

The defendants, Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Kei and Liu Lei. had apparently spent several weeks figuring out how exactly they could hack into Equifax, making over 9000 inquiries to obtain data and information to help with the process. 

As well as stealing credit card information, they effectively stole Equifax’s trade secrets, which included its database designs and its structural information.

While it’s good to hear that the criminals are being brought to justice, it’s still an opportunity to take the time to learn about cybersecurity and ways in which you can protect yourself online. 

You can read more into the trial here, and learn more about protecting yourself online by reading one of our Internet Safety series articles here.

That’s a wrap for this week. We’ll keep you updated on any big security events, and how to keep yourself protected as we progress into 2020!