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Instagram is testing service outage notifications

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Notifications will only come in case of crashes causing confusion among users.

A week after a massive disruption to Facebook services that remained unavailable for more than six hours, Instagram stated testing notifications warning users about “temporary problems” in the service.

New notifications along with all others will be displayed in the activity section. They will report specific issues, such as a story download not working or a larger failure. As noted by Instagram, the service will not warn about all problems, but only about those that could cause confusion among users.

“We will not send notifications every time there is a problem, but only if we see that people are confused and looking for answers, we will determine if something like this can help clarify such things,” – said Instagram.

Testing of the new notifications will continue for several months among US users.

Among other things, Instagram is testing a new “account status” section of the app designed to let users know what’s going on with their accounts. In particular, the section will display notifications about the deletion of publications or about the risk of disabling the account due to violation of the terms of use of the service.

Although Instagram had previously notified users about the deletion of publications, what was the reason and what rule of use it violated, it was not reported. The Facebook Oversight Board has repeatedly emphasized the need to better educate users about rules and policies, and a new “account status” section should help.

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Security

Vulnerability in WinRAR allows code to run without the user’s knowledge

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To carry out an attack, you need to create a malicious Wi-Fi access point, hack a router, and spoof DNS.

Positive Technologies Igor Sak-Sakovsky discovered a dangerous vulnerability in the WinRAR file archiver. An issue identified as CVE-2021-35052 exists in the WinRAR web notifier, which is used to display trial period expiration messages. The vulnerability affects WinRAR versions prior to 6.02 beta 1.

To display a message about the expiration of the trial period, the web component redirects to HHPS: //notifier.win-rar.com/. The vulnerability allows a remote unauthorized person to intercept requests sent to them and thereby carry out a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, create a backdoor, and even remotely execute code.

As explained by the researcher, the vulnerability exists due to the use of the incorrectly configured webbrowser module by the web notifier component.

According to Sak-Sakovsky, in order to carry out an MITM attack through this vulnerability, an attacker needs to create a malicious Wi-Fi access point, hack a router and spoof DNS, or be on the same network with the victim.

An attacker can use an SMB server to execute code remotely, but there are restrictions on the black list of executable file extensions. So, when you run files with the bat, vbs, exe and msi extensions, a message about the malicious file will appear, suggesting possible actions with them. However, since WinRAR does not have an automatic update mechanism, and vulnerable versions are common, attackers can bypass the restrictions and hide the launch using old exploits for WinRAR or Microsoft Office.

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Security

Vodafone is suing the UK over a contract to develop a hacker-proof communication line

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The company considers it unfair that the contract was awarded to Fujitsu, although both bidders did not meet the requirements.

Mobile operator Vodafone filed in court against the UK government after losing a tender to develop a hacker-proof communications system, in which the Japanese company Fujitsu also took part.

Although both bidders were found to have failed to meet the government’s minimum requirements, Vodafone believes Fujitsu was unfairly awarded a £ 184m ($ 254m) contract to improve the communications system used by 532 British embassies and other agencies.

The Echo 2 project aims to provide secure communications for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, employees and agents in over 170 countries.

According to the government, the current communications system operated by Vodafone is “outdated” and poses a risk to national security.

Vodafone went to court after Cable & Wireless, acquired by the operator in 2012, lost its long-term contract for the Echo 1.

“We do not believe that the procurement process was carried out correctly. The contracting authority itself admitted that the Fujitsu Solution was ‘not fit for purpose,’ said a Vodafone spokesman.

According to foreign ministry lawyers, Fujitsu’s proposal had problems with two requirements, but generally met the terms of the tender. Fujitsu representatives did not comment on the situation.

The trial in this case is scheduled for January 2022. The court allowed the UK government to enter into a “conditional contract” with Fujitsu. The details of the contract were not disclosed due to security concerns.

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Security

FIN7 recruits specialists to carry out ransomware attacks

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FIN7 created a fictitious information security company with the aim of hiring experts, ostensibly to conduct penetration tests.

It appears that cybercriminal group FIN7 is trying to find a new source of income by joining the ranks of ransomware hackers. In particular, FIN7 created a fictitious information security company with the aim of hiring cybersecurity experts, ostensibly to conduct penetration testing, but in fact – to carry out ransomware attacks.

According to investigation specialists Gemini Advisory (a division of the information security company Recorded Future), the group posted hiring advertisements on the website of a company called Bastion Secure, allegedly specializing in providing penetration testing services to companies and organizations around the world. The “company” was interested in specialists in the field of reverse engineering, system administrators, programmers with knowledge of C ++, Python and PHP. The proposed salary ranged from $ 800 to $ 1200 per month.

Gemini Advisory managed to get an insight into Bastion Secure’s work with the help of an “insider”. As it turned out, job seekers were asked to complete a three-stage interview, which, however, did not include any explanation or legal documents authorizing penetration tests.

In practical terms, applicants were only allowed to use certain tools that were not detectable by security solutions, and to search for backups and file storage systems on the company’s network. At the same time, the tasks set “coincided with the steps taken in the preparation of ransomware attacks.” During the attacks, the ransomware Ryuk or REvil was installed, experts say.

Proposed testing tools included Carbanak and Lizar / Tirion malware, which security experts have linked to FIN7 attacks.

This is not the first time the group has used fictitious companies to attract specialists. For example, a few years ago FIN7 set up a company called Combi Security that looked for pentesters to hack companies’ networks and install malware on PoS terminals.

Although creating and running fictitious companies is a laborious process, hiring an information security expert will cost FIN7 much less than partnering with hackers or hacker groups recruited through cybercriminal forums, which are likely to demand a share of the proceeds from ransomware attacks, the researchers explained.

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