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 Chinese hackers are using Facebook to target Uyghurs with powerful iPhone and Android spyware. As well as how a ransomware gang is demanding $40 million from Florida schools. Finally, how Facebook has recently suffered a massive data breach affecting nearly 530 million users.
In a recent blog post, Facebook has announced that it plans to take action against a group of hackers who have been using Facebook to launch malware attacks against various Uyghur populations.
The hacking group, known as Earth Empusa or Evil Eye, has set up fake accounts posing as pro-Uyghur activists and journalists covering the cause. After building rapport with their targets, they would send links to malicious websites that were hacked and laced with iOS malware. Many of the attacks took place throughout 2019 and 2020, and typically targeted Uyghurs activists and journalists living abroad in the United States, Australia, Canada and Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.
The Uyghur population mostly live in the region of Xinjiang in north-western China, and have been identified by the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and others as a repressed group. While Chinese authorities have allegedly used widespread surveillance technology to monitor the Uyghur population, Facebook did not link the blocked China hacking group to the Chinese government.
Curious? You can read more about the situation here.
Rather than target large and lucrative organizations, it seems that cybercriminals are beginning to look elsewhere. Recently, a ransomware gang has set its sights on the Broward County Public Schools district, where the cybercriminals have demanded a $40 million payment following a cyberattack.
Last month, Broward County Public Schools had to shut down their IT systems following a cyberattack. While the school system did not disclose any further information regarding the attack, the ransomware gang known as Conti has since claimed responsibility for the attack and have posted screenshots of the ransomware negotiations online. After initially demanding a cool $40 million to decrypt the school’s data, the ransom has since been lowered to $10 million, which is still considerably higher than the $500,000 that the Broward Country Public Schools have offered.
You can read more about the situation here!
Over the weekend, it was revealed that a hacker published an online database which contains the personal information of nearly 533 million Facebook users. The breach was posted through an online hacking forum, and includes users’ full names, Facebook IDs, phone numbers, locations, birth dates, biographies, and email addresses.
This data breach is the result of a security vulnerability that allowed user information including phone numbers to be scraped from Facebook’s database of personally identifiable information. The vulnerability was initially reported in September of 2019, but was apparently discovered and patched during August of the same year. While this does mean that the data linked to the breach is a few years old, the data leaked is still significant and poses a threat to users’ cybersecurity.
While the breach is currently being investigated by several cybersecurity organizations, many Facebook users are left wondering if their data has been compromised in the breach. In this case, we recommend users using the website Have I Been Pwned?, which allows users to search databases from dozens of breaches, and they have even added the Facebook dataset to its collection. Go to the site’s home page and enter any addresses you use with Facebook to see if they’re included.
You can read more about the data breach 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!