Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Incident & Breach Response

Breach Roundup: Flipper Pushes Back on Proposed Canada Ban

Also: UnitedHealth Group, Nemesis Market, Phishing Tricks and AceCryptor
Breach Roundup: Flipper Pushes Back on Proposed Canada Ban
Image: Shutterstock

Every week, Information Security Media Group rounds up cybersecurity incidents and breaches around the world. This week, Flipper Devices petitioned Canada, UnitedHealth Group dealt with its attack, German police seized Nemesis Market, phishers fooled ML, AceCryptor returned to Europe, Brazil and Ukraine made arrests, another Ivanti flaw was found, a London office was rebuked for possible data exposure, and Fujitsu reported a malware attack.

See Also: Ransomware Response Essential: Fixing Initial Access Vector

Flipper Zero Maker Asks Canada to Drop Proposed Ban

Flipper Devices, makers of the Flipper Zero wireless pen-testing device, is pushing back against an intended Canadian ban by launching an online petition that calls the government's ban "absurd."

Canadian officials in February thrust Flipper into the national spotlight by linking its device to a rash of car thefts. Company executives and third-party researchers immediately responded that the device can't actually be used to steal cars (see: Canada's Planned Flipper Zero Crackdown Provokes Backlash).

"Flipper Zero isn't used by car thieves or other criminals, who use specialized equipment that has nothing to do with Flipper Zero," says the petition, which calls on Ottawa to cancel the proposed ban. It also asks for a commission of security experts and politicians to "engage in comprehensive discussions and deliver informed conclusions collectively."

A company blog post partially blames misleading viral videos made by kids promising to "hack the Pentagon" with a Flipper device for the unwanted attention being thrust on it. "It's not surprising that some politicians have started to propose bans based on false information," the post says.

The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada department - whose head, François-Philippe Champagne, first announced the proposed ban told Information Security Media Group the agency has modulated its position somewhat. "The intent is to move forward with measures to restrict the use of such devices to legitimate actors only, and therefore the importation, possession, sale, and use by illegitimate actors will not be permitted," a department spokesperson said in an email.

"The government of Canada will work with law enforcement agencies and vehicle manufacturers to identify devices such as remote key programmers and code grabbers which can intercept, copy and/or emulate wireless signals and pose security concerns," the spokesperson added.

White House Asks UnitedHealth Group to Seek 3rd-Party Validation

The Biden administration urged UnitedHealth Group to seek third-party validation of its cybersecurity as it restores systems taken offline in the aftermath of a Feb. 21 cyberattack on its Change Healthcare financial billing middleman subsidiary.

Top Biden officials - including Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden and White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger - met with UnitedHealth Group and other insurers for a second time, on Monday. The UnitedHealth Group cyberattack disrupted hundreds of U.S. healthcare organizations, and ransomware-as-a-service group BlackCat claimed responsibility for the attack (see: BlackCat Ransomware Group 'Seizure' Appears to Be Exit Scam).

A meeting readout shows that Neuberger encouraged United Health Group to "communicate to providers about efforts to safely secure claims systems and the timeframe for those third-party assessments."

The healthcare giant Monday said it expects to have third-party attestations available before services are again operational. The firm said its electronic payment functionality became available for connection starting March 15, and it began testing and reestablishing connectivity in a phased manner to its claims network and software this week.

Some providers, especially smaller clinics and doctor practices, continue to struggle with the sudden collapse of claims processing and dearth of payments caused by the Change Healthcare IT outage.

UnitedHealth Group said its privacy and security teams are still assessing the impact of the incident on health information protected by HIPAA (see: Feds Launch Investigation Into Change Healthcare Attack).

German Police Seize Nemesis Market

German police said Thursday that it seized the server infrastructure of dark web criminal bazaar Nemesis Market with the assistance of U.S. and Lithuanian police.

German police said the market, in operation since 2021, had more than 150,000 users and more than 1,100 seller accounts at the time of confiscation. More than 20% of the sellers were German.

The operation, which seized servers in Lithuania and Germany, also confiscated 94,000 euros in the form of cryptocurrencies.

'Conversation Overflow' Attack Is New Cyberthreat

Threat actors are employing a new phishing tactic called "conversation overflow," identified by SlashNext researchers. This method embeds hidden text in emails to fool machine learning controls by making automated review think the email is authentic communication. Automated tools see the hidden text and disregard the obvious attempt at harvesting credentials through a request for the user to click on a link leading to an attacker-controlled portal.

"This is not your same old credential harvesting attack, because it is smart enough to confuse certain sophisticated AI and ML engines," SlashNext said.

AceCryptor Malware Surges Across Europe

European organizations face a surge in malware infections obfuscated with the AceCryptor malware crypter, researchers at Eset said. The number of attempted malware infections using AceCryptor to deceive pattern-based detection engines more than doubled during the second half of 2023 compared to the first half. "We also noticed that Rescoms (also known as Remcos) started using AceCryptor, which was not the case beforehand."

Remcos, a short name for Remote Control and Surveillance, is marketed as a legitimate software by Germany-based firm BreakingSecurity for remotely managing Windows systems, but it is widely used in multiple malicious campaigns by threat actors. The majority of Remcos campaigns using AceCryptor spotted by Eset occurred in Poland, Bulgaria, Spain and Serbia.

"Even though well-known by security products, AceCryptor's prevalence is not showing indications of decline: On the contrary, the number of attacks significantly increased due to the Rescoms campaigns," the Czech cybersecurity company said.

Brazil Arrests Grandoreiro Banking Trojan Suspects

Brazilian authorities in January arrested five alleged programmers and operators of a criminal operation that deployed the Grandoreiro banking Trojan operation, Interpol announced Monday. Grandoreiro - in operation since 2016 or 2017 - is a major cybersecurity threat in Latin American countries. It is transmitted through phishing emails that impersonate organizations, courts or telecom and energy companies (see: Spanish-Language Trojan Targets Many Industry Verticals).

Interpol said Brazil and Spain initiated independent investigations into Grandoreiro between 2020 and 2022. Malware samples supplied by both countries allowed Brazilian authorities to close in on the organized crime group, which deployed money mules to launder stolen money before transferring funds to Brazil. Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which assisted the operation, said the operators likely stole at least 3.5 million euros.

Another Ivanti Vulnerability

Corporate VPN maker Ivanti alerted customers to yet another vulnerability in its products, a remote code execution flaw in the Ivanti Standalone Sentry. The flaw, tracked as CVE-2023-41724, potentially allows unauthenticated actors on the same physical or logical network to execute arbitrary commands on the underlying operating system. Although the flaw has a CVSS score of 9.6, Ivanti said hackers would need a valid TLS client certificate obtained through the Ivanti Endpoint Manager Mobile for a hack to succeed. The company said it's not aware of any successful exploits.

Ivanti's products have been attacked multiple times during the first months of this year, after researchers spotted a likely Chinese espionage operation exploiting multiple zero-days in the Utah company's devices (see: Hackers Compromised Ivanti Devices Used by CISA).

Ukraine Arrests Trio Who Hijacked 100M Email and Instagram Accounts

The Cyber Police of Ukraine apprehended three suspects, aged between 20 and 40, for allegedly hijacking over 100 million emails and Instagram accounts globally. The group used brute force attacks and sold stolen credentials to dark web criminal marketplaces. Officials seized 70 computers, 14 phones, and cash exceeding $3,000. If convicted, the accused could face up to 15 years in prison. The agency advised implementing two-factor authentication and using robust passwords.

London Mayor's Office Rebuked Over Data Breach

The London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime was reprimanded by the Information Commissioner’s Office after an error potentially exposed personal details of nearly 400 individuals who submitted complaints about the Metropolitan Police Service, also known as Scotland Yard.

The error occurred when the Greater London Authority mistakenly allowed public access to a database holding two complaint forms - an official intended to only grant four other civil servants access to the information. Potentially exposed data includes complainants' name, address and reason for grievance with the police. There is no evidence that anyone accessed the data.

Fujitsu Discovers Malware Attack

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu on March 15 reported a cybersecurity breach that affected its systems and customer data. A malware attack led to the illicit removal of personal and customer-related information.

The company notice provides little information and does not discuss the nature of the malware and the data potentially affected. The Japanese multinational employs roughly 124,000 individuals worldwide and reported about $24.5 billion in revenue during its fiscal 2023, which ended last March.

Japanese news wire Nikkei in July 2023 reported that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reprimanded Fujitsu after hackers penetrated its Fenics cloud offering in an incident that affected "at least 1,700 companies and government agencies."

Other Coverage From Last Week

With reporting from Information Security Media Group's Marianne Kolbasuk McGee in Massachusetts; Akshaya Asokan in Southern England; Prajeet Nair in Bengaluru, India; Mihir Bagwe in Mumbai, India; and David Perera in Washington, D.C.


About the Author

Anviksha More

Anviksha More

Senior Subeditor, ISMG Global News Desk

More has seven years of experience in journalism, writing and editing. She previously worked with Janes Defense and the Bangalore Mirror.




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