Cyber and Information Security News: Your Friday Roundup

Your Friday cyber and infosec news update is back after a short hiatus.

Lots to catch up on, so let’s get going…

Would you like chips with that?

We started to hear reports on the 3rd January that a serious flaw had been discovered in the design of millions of Intel chips, leaving systems vulnerable to an attack.

It is thought that the issue is something to do with the way central processing units handle memory – although the exact flaw is being kept under wraps. This has resulted in Apple, Microsoft and Linux issuing updates to patch the operating systems of millions of computers and mobile phones.

Interestingly, a number of security researchers have revealed on Twitter that they have made a ‘secrecy pact’ with Intel.

Although Intel has issued a statement in response to security research findings, saying that the security flaw was not exclusively affecting Intel products. The statement goes on to say “many types of computing devices — with many different vendors’ processors and operating systems — are susceptible to these exploits.”

They are of course referring to the security flaw known as Spectre, which is thought to be causing vulnerabilities to other manufacturers like ARM. Whereas, Intel processors made after 1995 are thought to be affected by the Meltdown flaw.

Twitter account of John McAfee gets hacked

While taking a trip on a boat, the founder of one of the largest anti-virus software products made a worrying discovery that the security of his mobile phone had been compromised.

John McAfee initially discovered the issue when the below message appeared on his home screen

Attention

(SIM not provisioned MM#2)

“All that the hacker did was compromise my Twitter account. It could have been worse” said McAfee. The hacker Tweeted using his account, to promote a particular crypto-currency. Many followers have suggested the hacker may have profited from the inevitable rise in the value of said currency.

Reaction has been mixed…

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It baffles me how a guy who tweeted high resolution photos of his own passport could get hacked.https://t.co/SvRwC2htqq

— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) December 27, 2017

Also, Twitter itself declined to comment but referred press to their Safety and Security guide. and advised that all users should turn on the 2-factor authentication option on their accounts.

Battling Artificial Intelligence bots

This week the Technology of Business surveyed a number of companies on their thoughts on tech trends for 2018. The popular subject of cyber security was only beaten by the rise of AI.

What is artificial intelligence helping with?

Currently, we are seeing huge benefits from AI in the following areas:

  • Transport – driverless cars and other vehicles
  • Detecting diseases and developing new drugs
  • Helping with operations
  • Air traffic control management
  • Machine learning
  • Translation software
  • Chatbots

Artificial intelligence’s bad press

What with the recent reports about Tesla’s autopilot tragedy and 800 million jobs being lost, coupled with humanity’s fear of a robot takeover, it’s not surprising that we have doubts about handing over power to the machines.

“It’s inevitable that attackers will begin to incorporate machine learning and AI at the same rate as network defence tools. We may already be at this point, with online Twitter bots able to react to emerging events and crafting messages to respond.” This statement comes from the head of threat intelligence at BAE Systems, Dr Adrian Nish. Food for thought.

So what do you think of the rise of AI machines? Could it be man’s new best friend or a biometric Big Brother? Only time will tell.

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The information in this blog is for general guidance and does not constitute legal advice.

Julia Heron is the ISMS Solutions Specialist for ISMS.online and is responsible for customer adoption and success.

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