Hey there, FixMeFans and StartMeStars! We’re back with another edition of our weekly cybersecurity roundup where we deliver the most recent comings and goings of the cybersecurity world.
This week we’re coming to you with news about how a government surveillance lab has created tech that guesses your name just by looking at your face. As well as how an Italian man has been accused of hiring a hitman on the dark web. And finally how a recent ransomware attack has caused Dutch supermarkets to run out of cheese!
As facial recognition technology continues to be developed by security labs around the world, one of the U.S. government’s research labs has developed tech that seeks to guess someone’s name by just looking at their facial features.
The company, Mitre Corp, has been steadily producing advanced government tech for quite some time, having previously created autonomous surveillance drones, smartwatch hacking tech, and tools to take fingerprints from social media images. This time around, the research lab has developed technology based on the research from Hebrew University of Jerusalem that suggests a person’s name may be reflected in their facial appearance, a phenomenon dubbed “The Dorian Gray effect”.
In this case, Mitre suggests its tech can work both ways – either a face can be used and analyzed to guess a name, or a name can be taken and a face selected by the technology as the best possible match. However, whether the US government has access to this technology yet is currently unknown. Mitre’s only customer, though, is the federal government, from which it has received between close to $2 billion of taxpayer money over recent years.
You can read more about the situation here!
The dark web is a mysterious and foreboding place – while it’s not something the average user accidentally stumbles upon, we do sometimes hear about the types of activities that take place there. Recently, Europol announced the arrest of an Italian man who is accused of “hiring a hitman on the dark web”.
The Italian man, Tommaso Girotti, had paid a hitman $12,000 in bitcoin to attack his ex-girlfriend. Luckily, Europol was able to trace the payment and identify the hitman’s client before any hit took place. In order to intercept the attack, the policing agency apparently carried out “an urgent, complex crypto-analysis to enable the tracing and identification of the provider from which the suspect purchased the cryptocurrencies.”
While Girotti has since been apprehended, there has yet to be any news regarding the identity of the hitman, nor the website used to place the hit. However, in many cases, dark web hitman sites often turn out to be scams, even if their customers are real.
Curious? You can read more about the situation here!
In more dire news, a recent ransomware attack against warehousing and transportation provider Bakker Logistiek has caused a major cheese shortage in Dutch supermarkets.
Bakker Logistiek, one of the largest services providers in the Netherlands, recently suffered a cyberattack that encrypted devices on their network and disrupted food transportation and fulfillment operations. According to statements made by the company, they could no longer receive orders from customers, locate products, or plan transports. Unfortunately, one of the main food products affected by the disruption, was cheese.
While Bakker Logistiek has since restored the affected systems via secure backups they had and have resumed deliveries, the ransomware gang behind the attack is still unknown. This goes to show how important it is to back up your devices regularly.
You can read more about the ransomware attack here!
That’s all for this week’s roundup folks! We hope you’re staying safe with all that’s going on, especially when it comes to your cybersecurity!