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Sophos Reveals Cyber Threat Patterns for 2021

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Sophos, next-generation Cyber Security Company,  has revealed the pattern cyber attackers will adopt to ravage and corporate in 2021.

Sophos Reveals Cyber Threat Patterns for 2021

According to the company, the report provides a three-dimensional perspective which includes the gap between ransomware operators at different ends of the skills and resource spectrum will increase.

It said: “At the high end, the big-game hunting ransomware families will continue to refine and change their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to become more evasive and nation-state-like in sophistication, targeting larger organizations with multimillion-dollar ransom demands. In 2020, such families included Ryuk and RagnarLocker.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Sophos anticipates an increase in the number of entry level, apprentice-type attackers looking for menu-driven, ransomware-for-rent, such as Dharma that allows them to target high volumes of smaller prey.

Another ransomware trend is “secondary extortion,” where alongside the data encryption the attackers steal and threaten to publish sensitive or confidential information, if their demands are not met. In 2020, Sophos reported on Maze, RagnarLocker, Netwalker, REvil, and others using this approach.

“The ransomware business model is dynamic and complex. During 2020, Sophos saw a clear trend towards adversaries differentiating themselves in terms of their skills and targets.

Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist of the company, said: “We have also seen ransomware families sharing best-of-breed tools and forming self-styled collaborative ‘cartels,’. “Some, like Maze, appeared to pack their bags and head for a life of leisure, except that some of their tools and techniques have resurfaced under the guise of a newcomer, Egregor.

The cyberthreat landscape abhors a vacuum. If one threat disappears another one will quickly take its place. In many ways, it is almost impossible to predict where ransomware will go next, but the attack trends discussed in Sophos’ threat report this year are likely to continue into 2021.”

In another dimension, the company said that everyday threats such as commodity malware, including loaders and botnets, or human-operated Initial Access Brokers, will demand serious security attention.

It said: “Such threats can seem like low-level malware noise, but they are designed to secure a foothold in a target, gather essential data and share data back to a command-and-control network that will provide further instructions.

If human operators are behind these types of threats, they’ll review every compromised machine for its geolocation and other signs of high value, and then sell access to the most lucrative targets to the highest bidder, such as a major ransomware operation. For instance, in 2020, Ryuk used Buer Loader to deliver its ransomware.

Also, it noted that in the last dimension, “All ranks of adversaries will increasingly abuse legitimate tools, well-known utilities and common network destinations to evade detection and security measures and thwart analysis and attribution.

The abuse of legitimate tools enables adversaries to stay under the radar while they move around the network until they are ready to launch the main part of the attack, such as ransomware.

For nation-state-sponsored attackers, there is the additional benefit that using common tools makes attribution harder.

 

 


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The dematerialized office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace by Ericsson

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The Ericsson IndustryLab report, The Dematerialized Office explores the white-collar employee perspective on a potential future reality where digital technology by 2030 could interact with our senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

The pandemic as a digital tipping point

Welcome to the future workplace. But what does that workplace look like?

We surveyed over 8,400 white collar workers who are early adopters of AR, VR or virtual assistants from 16 countries, representing around 133 million people, about their expectations of the future workspace. They anticipate:

  • A digital workstation that transforms with each task
  • A virtual cake from a colleague that you can even taste
  • Interactive digital meetings with people rather than being passively stuck behind a screen all day
  • But also, future business that takes place digitally, where you can visit virtual stores and warehouses

This year’s pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. In our report we present a vision of the internet of senses in the 2030 workplace and explore the challenges and opportunities that this could present.

Key findings from the report

  1. Employees want an internet of senses for work

Imagine a fully immersive office experience, where all sensory experiences are digitally interactive. By 2030, the dematerialized office may be a reality. And for those working from home, the full-sense digital home office will also get a boost.

In fact, half of respondents want a digital workstation allowing full-sense presence at work from anywhere. Today, companies direct their funds into maintaining physical office space, but in the future, respondents hope this will be geared towards improving their home office environment.

  1. The pandemic has become a digital tipping point

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. After months of working on their computers at home, constantly engaged in video meetings in their sometimes chaotic home environments, nearly 6 in 10 foresee a permanent increase in online meetings.

They are also realizing that while connectivity is more important than ever before, digital meetings need to evolve before they become as effective as the real thing. There is simply a need for tools that better support remote interaction

  1. The sustainable dematerialized office

Dematerialization of the office will be driven by efficiency gains and sales, but the environment is also expected to benefit. With virtual offices for example, there would be no need to commute, or for companies to keep physical office spaces running. As many as 77 percent indicate that an internet of senses for business use would make companies more sustainable.

  1. Virtual interaction with clients and colleagues

How about a team building trip to Pompeii? What if Vesuvius suddenly erupted and engulfed you in lava, there would be a lot to talk about around the virtual water cooler later.

Team building becomes more important when there are fewer physical meetings, but virtual interaction has other benefits for companies too. 50 percent are saying that digital temperature will be used to more immersively engage customers by 2030. Providing immersive full-sense sales environments, such as a virtual shopping mall or warehouse will enable customers to digitally try before they buy.

  1. A taste of the future

Not a fan of the food in the canteen? Respondents think internet of senses technology will also be used inside companies and could help with this. 73 percent of senior managers believe that food in the company canteen can be digitally enhanced to taste like anything by 2030, opening up for optimization of both cost and perceived quality.

  1. Security and privacy are key barriers

Privacy is increasingly set to become a critical challenge filled with paradoxes over the next decade. While many employees see the benefits of enhanced technology there is also a lot of fear.

As digital interaction moves beyond sound and vision to incorporate all our senses, and potentially also enables functionality such as thought control of devices, the avenues for fraud, manipulation and identity theft will grow exponentially.

While 66 percent think that by 2030, technology will enable them to sense when a colleague is upset, that also means their employer will know when they themselves are upset. The challenge will be in finding a balance that allows for fast adoption of digital technology in the workplace, while also respecting the integrity of employees.


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FG Makes NIN Compulsory for Foreign Diplomats

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Federal government has said that National Identity Number (NIN) is mandatory for foreign diplomats who will reside in Nigeria for a continuous period of two years or more.

FG Makes NIN Compulsory for Foreign Diplomats

Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said this in a statement by Dr Femi Adeluyi, his technical assistant, on Sunday.

He said that an enrolment centre has been established for the foreign diplomats at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement read, “The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has approved the setting up of a National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment centre at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The desk will be set up by Tuesday, 19th of January, 2021.

“This enrolment centre will provide support for members of the Diplomatic Corps and will be managed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, through the National Identity Management Commission.

“The centre is being set up based on the request of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in order to simplify the process for diplomats.

“The National Identity Number is mandatory for diplomats who will reside in Nigeria for a continuous period of two years or more.

“It is also mandatory for all other lawful residents in the country as stated in Section 16 of the National Identity Management Commission Act 2007.

“The Law has made it mandatory for Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN since 2007. However, compliance has been low, until recently.”


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Security Expert Raises Alarm Over New Feature on Telegram

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Mr Ahmed Hassan, a security researcher, has warned Telegram users to be careful of the new feature on the messaging platform called People Nearby.

Security Expert Raises Alarm Over New Feature on Telegram

The latest feature shows a list of other nearby users and their approximate proximity, letting them create group chats based on geographic location.

The feature is turned off by default and must be manually enabled by the user, but it’s an “idiosyncratic addition for an app that markets itself as a private, end-to-end encrypted messaging service,” according to Mr Hassan, who noted that it’s a major security risk.

He warned in a recent blog post that users can fake their geographic location on Telegram, opening them up to potential scams.

In his words, “Many scammers spoof their location and try to sell fake bitcoin investments, hacking tools, SSNs that are used for unemployment fraud, and so on. The number of illegal activities I saw there make the Silkroad look like amateurs ran it.”

Mr Hassan further identified a flaw in the People Nearby feature that could let people with ulterior motives triangulate the exact location of other app-users by using two accounts with fake addresses. This opens users up to hacks, stalking, or worse—and Telegram has announced it has no plans to fix the problem.

Mr Hassan reported the vulnerability to Telegram, but the company says it won’t be patched since it is an optional feature.

In fact, Telegram told Mr Hassan that discovering a user’s specific location is an “expected” outcome of the People Nearby feature in certain cases.

Mr Hassan claimed that the response feels out of character for an encrypted messaging app that sells itself on its privacy features. Even adding a more detailed warning that other users could find your precise location would be helpful, but it doesn’t look like that will happen either.

Although Telegram is generally more secure than other chatting apps, and since the  People Nearby feature is turned off by default, this may not seem like a serious issue.

However, users could turn the feature on without knowing, thinking they’re simply broadcasting their general proximity to someone else, and not their exact location, which is why a warning would be warranted. It is believed that if many know about this and stake a claim, it might spur the app to action.

Experts have warned that if users value their privacy, they should not use Telegram’s People Nearby feature.


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