Security News This Week: Even the CIA and NSA Use Ad Blockers to Stay Safe Online

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everything was old It’s new again this week as ransomware came back into the limelight, hitting a vital Iowa grain cooperative, among other targets. And Nerdshala sat down with DeSnake, the former number two of dark web marketplace AlphaBay, to hear about the re-emergence and relaunch of AlphaBay four years after its expulsion by law enforcement. “Alphabe was tarnished after the raid. I’m here to make amends,” Desnek said.

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Groundhog Day vibes continued with the annual release of iOS 15, Apple’s latest mobile operating system. The new OS comes with a number of privacy features, including more granular details about your apps, a mechanism to block email trackers, and a sort of VPN-Tor Frankenstein monster called iCloud Private Relay that keeps track of your browsing activity. protects the. Use Nerdshala’s handy guide to get up to speed and start changing a few settings.

And if you want a DIY project that doesn’t feel tied to the wall of a tech company, we’ve got tips on how to set up your own network attached storage (NAS) that plugs directly into your router. And gives you a place to share. Store files or backup easily between your devices.


There is so much more! Each week we round up all the security news Nerdshala didn’t cover in depth. Click on the headlines to read the full news and stay safe.

A letter from Congress shared with Motherboard reveals that the US National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and other members of the intelligence community use ad blockers as a form of security protection on their networks. IC’s chief information officer wrote in the letter, “IC implements network-based ad-blocking technologies and uses information from multiple layers, including domain name system information, to block unwanted and malicious advertising content. “

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You can use an ad blocker to make your browsing experience more enjoyable, but the tool also has potential defense benefits. Attackers who try to run malicious ads on unscrupulous ad networks or taint legitimate-looking ads can steal data or malware on your device if you click through, or sometimes take advantage of web vulnerabilities . The fact that IC sees advertisements as an unnecessary risk and even a threat speaks to the long-standing problems with the industry. The NSA and the Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Security Agency have issued public guidance in recent years advising the use of ad blockers as a security protection, but the IC itself was not required to adopt the measure. Its members voluntarily deployed ad blockers.

The security division of Russian telecom giant Rostelecom this week removed a portion of an infamous botnet due to a flaw introduced by the developers of the malicious platform. The error allowed Rostelecom to “sinkhole” part of the system. A botnet is a zombie army of devices that have become infected with malware to centrally control coordinated operations. The platforms are often used for DDoS attacks, in which actors direct an attempt to overload a firehose of junk traffic on the target’s web system.

The Meris botnet is currently the largest botnet available to cybercriminals and is believed to be made up of approximately 250,000 systems working collectively. It has been used against targets in Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Partial removal of Rostelecom is important, as Meris’ attacks are powerful and challenging to counter targets. Earlier this month, Meris’ attack on Russian tech giant Yandex broke the record for the largest DDoS attack ever. Yandex managed to defend itself against the attack.

European law enforcement in Italy and Spain have arrested 106 people on suspicion of running a massive fraud campaign over the years, with profits totaling more than $11.7 million in the past year alone. And police said this week that the men involved had ties to an Italian mafia group. The suspects reportedly ran phishing schemes, conducted business email compromise scams, launched SIM-swapping attacks, and generally carried out credit card fraud against hundreds of victims. The activity was also reportedly linked to drug trafficking and other property-related offences. To actually extract money from these digital scams, the suspects allegedly laundered the stolen money through a system of money mules and shell companies. In addition to the arrests, law enforcement sealed 118 bank accounts and confiscated computers, SIM cards, 224 credit cards and entire cannabis plantations.

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