Wednesday Newsbytes: Routers under attack; Chinese-Apple Cars; New scam uses your phone number; Phishing gang busted and more…
Every day we scan the tech world for news that affects all of us who use Windows computers. Every Wednesday, we feature some of the news articles that grabbed our attention over the past week. We hope you find this week’s “Wednesday Newsbytes” informative and interesting!
Router-stalking ZuoRAT is likely the work of a sophisticated nation-state, researchers say.
An unusually advanced hacking group has spent almost two years infecting a wide range of routers in North America and Europe with malware that takes full control of connected devices running Windows, macOS, and Linux, researchers reported on Tuesday.
So far, researchers from Lumen Technologies’ Black Lotus Labs say they’ve identified at least 80 targets infected by the stealthy malware, infecting routers made by Cisco, Netgear, Asus, and DayTek. Dubbed ZuoRAT, the remote access Trojan is part of a broader hacking campaign that has existed since at least the fourth quarter of 2020 and continues to operate.
A high level of sophistication
The discovery of custom-built malware written for the MIPS architecture and compiled for small office and home office routers is significant, particularly given its range of capabilities. Its ability to enumerate all devices connected to an infected router and collect the DNS lookups and network traffic they send and receive and remain undetected is the hallmark of a highly sophisticated threat actor.
Gadget manufacturers are getting into the car-making business. That could shake up the auto industry, global trade, and geopolitics.
China’s Electric Dream
Western automakers built their fortunes on the internal combustion engine. Now China has ambitions to define the electric vehicle age.
RUMORS OF AN Apple electric car project have long excited investors and iPhone enthusiasts. Almost a decade after details of the project leaked, the Cupertino-mobile remains mythical—but that hasn’t stopped other consumer electronics companies from surging ahead. On the other side of the world, people will soon be able to order a vehicle from the Taiwanese company that mastered manufacturing Apple’s gadgets in China. Welcome to the era of the Foxconn-mobile.
In October 2021, Hon Hai Technology Group, better known internationally as Foxconn, announced plans to produce three of its own electric vehicles in collaboration with Yulon, a Taiwanese automaker, under the name Foxtron. Foxconn, which is best known for assembling 70 percent of iPhones, has similar ambitions for the auto industry: to become the manufacturer of choice for a totally new kind of car. To date it has signed deals to make cars for two US-based EV startups, Lordstown Motors and Fisker.
Foxconn’s own vehicles—a hatchback, a sedan, and a bus—don’t especially ooze Apple-chic, but they represent a big leap for the consumer electronics manufacturer. Foxconn’s ambitious expansion plan also reflects a bigger shift across the auto world, in terms of technology and geography. The US, Europe, and Japan have defined what cars are for the last 100 years.
New scam tries to use your phone number to fleece others
It’s a new scam that tries to use your phone number to scam others. If you post your phone number in any public forum, you could be at risk.
An ABC11 viewer discovered the scam in a quest to get rid of baby equipment that he no longer needed. He posted an ad on Craigslist trying to sell a baby swing. It didn’t take long for the seller to get requests to buy this swing.
In the first text, the buyer agreed to pay cash, but to make sure the post is not fake, the buyer texted he wanted to send a Google code to the phone number listed on the ad.
When the buyer did this, our ABC11 viewer got these texts from Google phone service, also known as Google Voice. The text included a six-digit code.
Here is where the scam comes in.
If you give the verification code to the buyer as they asked, they use that code along with the phone number you posted in the ad to get their own free Google phone number. With that new number, cyber crooks could use it for illegal activities, and you would never know about it. An even bigger risk, scammers could get access to your Google account if they have enough information.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, if you get a text like this from Google phone with the six-digit code, don’t share it with anyone.
Instead, recognize it’s just scammers. When Google sent the verification code, it does state do not share the code with anyone, but for some reason, people ignore that warning.
If you do fall victim to this Google phone scam, you can take control of your number.
HowToRemove.Guide.com provides step by step what you need to do…
Google flags worrying effects to Android victims
Google has confirmed reports of the existence of an extremely potent Android malware(opens in new tab), and notified victims that they’re being targeted.
In a blog post(opens in new tab), Benoit Sevens, and Clement Lecigne of the company’s Threat Analysis Group said cybersecurity researchers from Lookout were right when they discovered, and warned users, of the existence of a dangerous Android virus(opens in new tab) called Hermit.
Hermit is allegedly built by an Italian software development company RCS Lab, and was initally used by state-sponsored actors to target certain individuals both in Italy and in Kazakhstan.
Extremely potent malware
The malware(opens in new tab) is extremely potent, and once installed on the device, can reach out to its command & control (C2) server to pick up numerous modules, including call loggers, audio recorders (both ambient and phone calls), photo and video harvesters, SMS and email readers, and location trackers.
Hermit works on all versions of Android, and is even capable of rooting the device to grant itself even more privileges.
The spacecraft’s software was originally designed over 19 years ago.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is performing an overdue upgrade on its Mars orbiter.
Engineers from ESA are preparing to upgrade the software for their Mars orbiter, called Mars Express, from Windows 98, a press statement reveals.
The Mars Express spacecraft launched in 2003, and has been orbiting the red planet for more than 19 years. All that time, Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument has been using software built with Windows 98.
“We’ve faced a number of challenges to improve the performance of MARSIS,” Carlo Nenna, MARSIS on-board software engineer at Enginium, who is responsible for the upgrade, explained in the statement. “Not least because the MARSIS software was originally designed over 20 years ago, using a development environment based on Microsoft Windows 98!”
The software upgrade to the MARSIS instrument means the Mars Express will be able to “see beneath the surfaces of Mars and its moon Phobos in more detail than ever before,” according to the ESA statement. That’s particularly exciting, as the MARSIS instrument was a key component in the spacecraft’s 2018 discovery of a massive underground aquifer of liquid water on Mars.
An overdue upgrade for Mars Express
The Mars Express spacecraft beams low-frequency radio waves down to the surface of Mars with a 40-meter-long (130-foot) antenna to search for water and investigate the red planet’s atmosphere. The radio waves allow the spacecraft’s instrument to probe three miles below the surface of Mars. The new upgrade will improve the data quality, according to the ESA.
Members of a phishing gang behind millions of euros in losses were arrested today following a law enforcement operation coordinated by the Europol.
‘A cross-border operation, supported by Europol and involving the Belgian Police (Federale Politie) and the Dutch Police (Politie), resulted in the dismantling of an organised crime group involved in phishing, fraud, scams and money laundering,’ the Europol announced on Tuesday.
The police officers apprehended 9 suspects after searching 24 houses in the Netherlands and seizing firearms and ammunition, jewellery, electronic devices, cash, and cryptocurrency.
According to the investigation, the group’s members stole several million euros using banking credentials harvested as part of large-scale email, SMS, and mobile messaging phishing campaigns.
‘These messages were sent by the members of the gang and contained a phishing link leading to a bogus banking website,’ Europol added.
‘Thinking they were viewing their own bank accounts through this website, the victims were duped into providing their banking credentials to the suspects.’
Money mules used to cash out stolen funds
The cybercriminals, some of them also linked by investigators to drugs and firearms trafficking, used money mules to empty their victims’ bank accounts of all funds and cash out the fraudulently obtained money.
Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday Newbytes. We hope you found these articles useful, informative, interesting, fun, and/or helpful. Darcy & TC