This week we witnessed a continuation of growing concern around the concept of potential election tampering in the United States. The FBI was able to find evidence about hackers evaluating the defensive capabilities of voter registries across the country, and maybe more interestingly, stalking on a number of Democratic Party officials and hacking into their cell phones.However, election officials are joined by a long slate of different people on high alert recently. The Federal Communications Commission began reassessing its guidelines of emergency text alerting following a New York City bombing. Tesla went on the offensive and made an opportunity out of a hacking against its Tesla S and launching code signing, known to be a significantly more secure method to verify the code. As news around last week’s hacking controversy involving half a billion Yahoo accounts continued, experts have begun to question the sheer effective nature of raising security questions, urging people to provide random answers and strings of meaningless characters whenever needed to launch such mechanisms. Ordinary users may not be as worried about these issues after all. Researchers at RAND have recently discovered that users with personal data compromised in data hacks have a general tendency to actually stick to the hacked institutions. In the meantime, an announcement was made by an exploit broker to pay an eye-opening $1.5 million for vulnerabilities dubbed “zero-days” that have been undisclosed in the newly released Apple iOS 10. Researchers have also recently discovered evidence that artificial intelligence systems that have undergone machine learning training are potential targets of reverse engineering, reconstruction and even theft.
Newsweek temporarily downed by DDoS attack
Hackers went on to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack against Newsweek.com after the website published a controversial piece on Thursday, September 29th, on whether the hotel company of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had in 1998 breached an embargo imposed on Cuba. The DDoS attack had brought down the website for a number of hours, prompting Editor-in-Chief Jim Impoco to confirm the attack. A list of IP addresses are involved in DDoS attacks, and Russia is the suspected home of such attacks. But of course, suspicion never proves anything and further investigations are needed, as explained by Impoco.
Voter registration databases remain ideal targets for hackers: FBI
On Wednesday, September 28th, FBI Director James Comey informed Congress the bureau is observing the concerning issue of voter registration databases being probed and remotely monitored. This is an indication that hackers may actually be targeting the sites. ABC News, CNN and other media outlets were informed by official sources that the FBI is suspicious of a Russian connection in this regard. Illinois and Arizona voter databases were previously compromised during the summer season. A variety of different scanning activities had been reported, considered a prelude to dangerous cases of intrusion in the near future. The FBI Director called on state authorities in charge of voting processes to request Department of Homeland Security resource and support, already being provided to some extent to 18 states. The FBI continues to assess the U.S. voting system to be secure, Comey underlined, emphasizing the diverse nature of this establishment in its entirety helps actually provide security, and the fact that the system is not connected to the Internet.
Cloud-based service for software bug checking launched by Microsoft
Project Springfield is a tool introduced this week by Microsoft Research allowing developers to scan for vulnerabilities in new applications before their release. A certain type of fuzzing, or probing systematically, is used by the service to evaluate source codes and seek possible attack vectors, including inputs that lead to program crashes or provides the ability to attackers to launch malware. A previous iteration of this project was used by Microsoft to review Windows 7 before its release seeking security bugs in the process. For the time being developers have to gain approval to be provided access to this tool.
FBI probing possible hacking attempts targeting cellphones of Democratic Party officials
Hackers attempting to infiltrate into the smartphones of a number of Democratic Party officials has also been another issue the FBI is looking into. There are voices being heard that fueling mistrust and uncertainty is the objective of these hacking attempts as we reach the final stretch of the campaign season. Reuters has been informed by some sources that these hacking attempts targeting smartphones were originated in Russia, while Moscow denies any such involvement. The FBI is seeking to image the phones it believes may have been targeted in the attack. This method provides law enforcement officials the ability to scan for malware evidence.