Archive for September 21, 2021

Facebook Is Using Its Newsfeed To Make Itself Look Better…. This Is The Best Reason To #DeleteFacebook Ever

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

From the “this is really low, even for Facebook” department comes this New York Times story that Facebook is using its own newsfeed to push positive stories about the company. Check this out:

The effort, which was hatched at an internal meeting in January, had a specific purpose: to use Facebook’s News Feed, the site’s most important digital real estate, to show people positive stories about the social network.

The idea was that pushing pro-Facebook news items — some of them written by the company — would improve its image in the eyes of its users, three people with knowledge of the effort said. But the move was sensitive because Facebook had not previously positioned the News Feed as a place where it burnished its own reputation. Several executives at the meeting were shocked by the proposal, one attendee said.

Project Amplify punctuated a series of decisions that Facebook has made this year to aggressively reshape its image. Since that January meeting, the company has begun a multipronged effort to change its narrative by distancing Mr. Zuckerberg from scandals, reducing outsiders’ access to internal data, burying a potentially negative report about its content and increasing its own advertising to showcase its brand.

That’s really bad. Clearly Facebook isn’t even pretending to give a damn anymore. It’s clearly all about the profits no matter what the cost. Despite the fact that racism, anti-vaccine info and other sorts of bad things are running rampant on Facebook.

Here’s what Facebook had to say about this when asked about it by the New York Times:

Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, denied that the company had changed its approach.

“People deserve to know the steps we’re taking to address the different issues facing our company — and we’re going to share those steps widely,” he said in a statement.

This isn’t the way to go about doing this. If you combine this with this other story that I wrote earlier today, Facebook has really sunk to a new low. Even by their standards. Thus the option to #DeleteFacebook looks like the best option as I cannot see Facebook changing their ways.

Facebook Makes Changes To Stop People From Monitoring The Platform…. Which Is An Excellent Reason To #DeleteFacebook

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

From the “this seems underhanded” department comes the news that Facebook has begun rolling out an update that is interfering with watchdogs monitoring the platform:

The Markup has found evidence that Facebook is adding changes to its website code that foils automated data collection of news feed posts — a technique that groups like NYU’s Ad Observatory, The Markup, and other researchers and journalists use to audit what’s happening on the platform on a large scale. The changes, which attach junk code to HTML features meant to improve accessibility for visually impaired users, also impact browser-based ad blocking services on the platform. The new code risks damaging the user experience for people who are visually impaired, a group that has struggled to use the platform in the past.

The updates add superfluous text to news feed posts in the form of ARIA tags, an element of HTML code that is not rendered visually by a standard web browser but is used by screen reader software to map the structure and read aloud the contents of a page. Such code is also used by organizations like NYU’s Ad Observatory to identify sponsored posts on the platform and weed them out for further scrutiny. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment before press time. Following the changes, the Citizen Browser project experienced a drop in data collection rates from early September, prompting the investigation that uncovered these changes to the code. At around the same time, users of certain ad blockers noticed a decrease in their effectiveness.

What we are seeing is that Facebook appears to be actively taking steps to prevent other groups from holding them accountable in any meaningful way. I can’t say that I’m surprised by this as Zuckerberg or some other Facebook official has said in public over and over again that they want to make things better on the platform. But then they then pull a stunt like this. I am glad that this is being highlighted so that it makes it clear that the best way to deal with Facebook is to #DeleteFacebook.

Fresh City Farms Raises Impact Capital to Expand Services & Scale Sustainable Food Options for Healthier Communities

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

Fresh City Farms (Fresh City), the award-winning urban farm and omni-channel grocer whose mission is to provide a better life through food, today announced the support of several impact-focused investors. Together with TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, investment participants also included Good & Well, Dragonfly Ventures, Bennett Church Hill Capital, and other private investors. The funding will help Fresh City expand their services to include faster delivery, improved online experience, and wider product assortment. 

This injection of capital will not only allow the company to invest further in overall organizational infrastructure but also enable Fresh City to build out a new 11-acre urban farming destination in Toronto near Downsview Park bringing its vision of a “co-farming” space to life, while moving the needle on the fight for food justice and accessibility to benefit people who experience systemic forms of marginalization.

TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good is one of the largest global corporate impact funds focusing its investments on for-profit companies and founders committed to driving social innovation. Its mandate is to leverage the power of technology to support environmental, agricultural, and community-minded businesses. 

Founded in 2011 by Ran Goel, Fresh City believes farming can change the world by reintroducing people to how real food is made. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Fresh City has supplied Ontarians with an assortment of fresh, organic produce, chef-inspired prepared foods, freshly baked bread and pastries from Mabel’s Bakery, organic and 100 per cent grass fed meat from The Healthy Butcher and drip coffee from Propeller Coffee. In 2020, the company launched a new store at the corner of Bay and Gerrard streets in Toronto, serving the grocery needs of thousands of front-line workers at nearby hospitals. This opening marked Fresh City’s eighth location across all three brands under the company’s umbrella, and recently expanded to include a Bottle Shop featuring organic and vegan wine, beer, and spirit offerings.

About the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good

The $100 million TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good is one of Canada’s largest corporate impact funds, and will focus its investment on for-profit companies and founders committed to driving social innovation. The TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good is an extension of TELUS’ long-standing commitment to leveraging the power of technology to drive positive social and environmental outcomes for all Canadians by funding the development of solutions for transforming healthcare, caring for our planet, supporting responsible agriculture and enabling inclusive communities. To learn more about the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, please visit: telus.com/pollinatorfund.

About Fresh City

Fresh City is an award-winning urban farm and omni-channel retailer whose mission is to create a better life through food. Fresh City delivers organic produce, prepared foods, and bespoke meats to thousands of Greater Toronto Area families weekly. Chef-inspired meals, salads, snacks and breakfasts are prepared from scratch daily.

In 2018, Fresh City acquired Mabel’s Bakery, a popular bakery in Toronto producing artisan breads and pastries, and shortly after acquired The Healthy Butcher, a pioneer in organic and 100% grass-fed beef, in 2019. With eight retail locations between the three brands, Fresh City continues to bring makers and eaters together to deliver a food experience that respects our bodies, our planet, and our shared tomorrow.

For more information, please visit: https://www.freshcityfarms.com/.

GRIMM Private Vulnerability Disclosure Program Reveals Netgear SOHO Devices Vulnerability

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

GRIMM today announced they performed dedicated vulnerability research against a series of Netgear SOHO devices and discovered a vulnerability that allows remote code execution (RCE) as root. This research stems from GRIMM’s Private Vulnerability Disclosure (PVD) Program where research targets are selected based on extensive threat modeling and our team’s deep background in reverse engineering and vulnerability research.

To mitigate the risk of similar vulnerabilities, GRIMM recommends the use of virtual private network (VPN) clients that encrypt all traffic before it passes through a network device. Additionally, reducing the number of services running on your router is another mitigation strategy for those with direct access to their routers.

This vulnerability is significant because the routers impacted are Small Offices/Home Offices (SOHO) devices. These devices aren’t frequently found inside enterprise networks, and thus security issues within them may be overlooked. However, with the increase in remote work due to COVID-19 precautions, many organizations now have a greater number of their employees connecting to internal networks through their own, personal SOHO devices. In these cases, SOHO device vulnerabilities provide a potential vector through which remote attackers can gain access to the data sent in and out of corporate networks.

The security research is done entirely by GRIMM’s internal PVD team. The GRIMM PVD team has decades of experience in the most sensitive environments. Because GRIMM has a strong commitment to partnership, the PVD program welcomes requests to look into specific software or hardware. GRIMM is able to offer this service to a limited, trusted clientele to ensure that the program is used appropriately while the team works with the vendors for patches.

Salesforce Launches Health Cloud 2.0

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

Salesforce today announced Health Cloud 2.0, technology designed to empower businesses and governments to deliver better health and safety for their employees, customers and communities.

As we navigate a future that’s a hybrid of digital, in-person, and on-site, focus has shifted to ensuring health, safety, and effective business operations in the new normal — which is key to building trust and business continuity. Now, COVID-19 testing, vaccination, contact tracing, wellness assessments and delivering healthcare from multiple settings are critical as organizations in every industry are looking for ways to be together safely with their customers and employees.

Salesforce understands these needs intuitively. This week the company is deploying Dreampass, a new part of the Health Cloud 2.0 portfolio, at its three-day, hybrid digital and in-person Dreamforce conference. Dreampass enables robust and scalable COVID-19 safety protocols to be implemented for in-person attendees, including managing proof of vaccination, integrating with testing vendors and delivering automated personalized communications throughout the process to help ensure a safer environment for attendees, staff, and the community.

Empowering connected experiences for health and work

The Health Cloud 2.0 portfolio of products will be available to any business in any sector: 

  • Dreampass is designed to help deliver safer in-person events for employees, customers, and communities with capabilities including attendee registration management, COVID-19 vaccine and/or testing status verification and testing vendor integration to help issue testing kits. Dreampass then allows admission upon integrated test results with a personalized QR code. In the case of protocol changes or possible exposure, notifications and messaging also can be sent to the attendee directly.
  • Contact tracing allows organizations to manually contact trace more safely and securely by collecting only limited, necessary data from individuals who are infected or potentially exposed and creating visual maps of contacts to monitor for potential outbreaks.
  • Vaccine management helps governments and organizations manage vaccine programs at scale quickly, including inventory management, appointment scheduling, outcome monitoring, public health notifications, and more.
  • Value-based care from anywhere enables healthcare organizations topersonalize patient experiences and deliver hybrid healthcare experiences in multiple care settings. It is also designed to help bring care teams together to achieve better patient outcomes, helping to improve business productivity and public health operations.

For more on Health Cloud 2.0, watch the Dreamforce ‘21 keynote here.

Infosec Institute Announces 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees 

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

Infosec Institute, a leading cybersecurity education company, today announced four new 2021 Infosec Hall of Fame inductees. Established in 2020 to recognize and celebrate the professional successes and industry leadership of Infosec alumni, the Infosec Hall of Fame committees selects top candidates from hundreds of nominations each year.

Hall of Fame inductees were selected based on their career successes and contributions to the cybersecurity industry, as well as their future career goals. The 2021 Infosec Hall of Fame inductees are: 

  • Sal Salisbury, Federal Modern Work Solutions Specialist, Microsoft
  • Lili-Ann Mitchell, Global Head of Security, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) and President, Consultation Lili-Ann Mitchell Inc. 
  • Jayce Hill, Principal Software Engineer, Microsoft
  • Josh Hamit, CIO, Altra Federal Credit Union

Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized during the Infosec Inspire Awards ceremony held on October 19, 2021, during the virtual Infosec Inspire User Conference. The only event of its kind, Inspire is hyper-focused on building a culture of security — equipping cybersecurity leaders with knowledge and insights to develop employee cyber skills, strengthen security awareness and make a lasting impact. Learn more about Infosec Inspire here.

Profiles on each 2021 Infosec Hall of Fame inductees will be released over the coming months and featured on the Infosec website. To follow their stories and receive other Infosec news, subscribe to the Infosec newsletter. 

Marketron Radio Pwned By Hackers Impacting 6000 Customers

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

InsideRadio reporting of Marketron Radio hit by a cyberattack. It’s so bad virtually all of its systems are offline. The cyberattack hit over the weekend and is impacting all 6,000 customers. CEO Jim Howard has stated Russian criminal organization BlackMatter is responsible. And if you’re keeping track, BlackMatter seems to be pwning all sorts of companies:

“Marketron recently discovered a cyberattack involving certain aspects of our network infrastructure that is causing an interruption in our normal business operations,” VP of Marketing Bo Bandy told Inside Radio. “Immediately upon learning of this event, we took swift action to notify law enforcement, secure our systems and information, and contain the event.”

The company, which manages $5 billion in annual U.S. advertising revenue, says it’s working with third-party specialists to assist in its response and recovery efforts, which include working to investigate the source and root cause, understand the full nature and scope of the event, and to restore full functionality. “We are also working to confirm the security of our systems and to assess the existing security measures we have in place to protect the integrity of our systems and data,” Bandy said.

Marketron’s customers were informed about the breach Sunday night in an email from CEO Jim Howard. 

“This issue comes despite significant recent investments in separating backup and disaster recovery in different physical and network environments, instituting ‘zero trust’ access management policies, and new security detection and recovery tools,” Howard said in the email. “We have not yet discovered how the hackers exploited our networks.”

Howard said the company is communicating with both BlackMatter and the FBI and using all of its resources to restore systems as quickly as possible. The company has set up a status page to keep clients informed and set up a help line for customers at 888-239-8878 or via email at help@marketron.com.

Saumitra Das, CTO and Cofounder, Blue Hexagon had this to say about this epic attack:

Blackmatter is the resurgence of folks associated with the DarkSide and REvil group (famous for the Colonial pipeline attack). Both of these groups were either shutdown or went dark after the high profile attacks they pursued brought pushback from the US and other government entities. They operate a ransomware-as-a-service platform which includes initial access brokers (IAB) and ransomware affiliates doing the initial legwork.  As is common, these always occur during the weekend where it is the hardest to get staff back in to respond quickly.

Expect to hear more from DarkMatter as this criminal organization clearly has some momentum. Which is bad news for everybody else.

Guest Post: Crypto miners were the most detected malware family in H1 2021 According To Atlas VPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of someone else’s device to mine cryptocurrency. It typically happens when a victim unknowingly installs cryptocurrency miner malware through a phishing link, malicious website, or software download, enabling the criminals to access the victim’s device.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, cryptocurrency miners were the most common malware family, with 74,490 such threats detected in the first half of 2021.

Crypto-mining malware is not easily discoverable on victims’ devices, making it a continuouslyprofit-generating cyberattack. The anonymity of cryptocurrencies is very convenient for threat actors, as they can benefit from their victims without being caught.

In addition to cryptocurrency miners, WannaCry ransomware threats were seen 61,068 times in the first half of 2021. WannaCry is a ransomware cryptoworm, which targets devices running the Windows operating system and spreads across networks.

What is more, malware detection infrastructure identified 39,612 webshell threats in H1 2021. A webshell attack happens when a malicious user successfully exploits web servers and enables remote access to the affected machines.  

Security infrastructure also detected 39,095 Downad adware threats and 35,276 Nemucod trojan threats.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword shares his thoughts on cryptocurrency mining malware:

“Cryptocurrency mining malware has allowed cybercriminals to earn profit with more efficiency and less effort. Unfortunately, attack victims are often left with higher electricity bills and slower device performance, the latter of which can make them more susceptible to information theft, hijacking, and other subsequent cyberattacks. 

Most active crypto miners

Cybercriminals seek to infect as many computers as possible to increase their profits. Different types of crypto miners help hackers turn computers into robots with one task only — generating more cryptocurrency. 

The most active cryptocurrency miner in the first half of 2021 was MalXMR, with 44,587 detections.

Coinminer came up second with a total of 8,533 detections in H1 2021. Coinminer can usually be found on Android phones in fake versions of popular apps from third-party sources. Some crypto miners were even found on Google Play Store apps.  

Other active crypto miners in the top five include ToolXMR (6,419), CoinMine (4,082), andMalBTC (2,328).

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/crypto-miners-were-the-most-detected-malware-family-in-h1-2021

The Republican Governors Association Admits That Its Exchange Server Got Pwned Earlier This Year

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

The Republican Governors Association email server was breached by state hackers. The RGA revealed in a data breach notification letter sent last week that its servers were breached during an extensive Microsoft Exchange hacking campaign that hit organizations worldwide in March 2021:

On March 10, 2021, RGA was alerted to an exploit in Microsoft’s Exchange Service email software. This was a widespread exploit at Microsoft that threat actor(s) utilized to attack companies across the globe. Once RGA learned of the exploit, it immediately launched an investigation, with the assistance of cybersecurity experts, into the nature and scope of the incident. As part of this investigation, RGA determined that the threat actors accessed a small portion of RGA’s email environment between February 2021 and March 2021, and that personal information may have been accessible to the threat actor(s) as a result.

The forensic investigation was unable to identify what personal information, if any, was impacted as a result of this incident. Out of an abundance of caution, RGA commenced a thorough data mining effort to identify potentially impacted individuals. Once impacted individuals were identified, RGA worked to identify addresses, prepare statutorily compliant notification deliverables, and engage a vendor to provide call center, notification, and credit monitoring services. RGA completed its extensive address search on September 1, 2021.

The address search determined that your state resident(s) had name in addition to one of the following accessible to the threat actor(s): Social Security number or payment card information.

Saumitra Das, CTO and Cofounder, Blue Hexagon had this to say about the attack:

The MS Exchange vulnerabilities affected a large number of organizations such as the RGA. Even after the vulnerabilities were announced several servers remained (1) Accessible to the general Internet, and (2) Unpatched. So the attacks likely continued for a long time after the original CVEs were published. In addition, organizations are typically not inspecting East-West internal network traffic and even North-South external traffic is inspected usually with a legacy threat or malware signature-based firewall. Post initial access, detection and response at the network and endpoint layer could potentially thwart such state-sponsored attacks.

It’s time for companies to alter how they defend their Exchange server so that attacks like this aren’t as effective.

Salesforce Achieves Net Zero Across Its Value Chain & 100% Renewable Energy 

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 21, 2021 by itnerd

Salesforce today announced that it is a Net Zero company across its full value chain and has achieved 100% renewable energy for its operations. Salesforce developed emissions reductions strategies across Scope 1, 2 and 3 in four key categories—work from anywhere, infrastructure, business travel, and supply chain. 

Salesforce is also unveiling Sustainability Cloud 2.0 to accelerate customers’ path to Net Zero,

empowering organizations to track and reduce their carbon emissions and become a sustainable business. New innovations include Slack-First Sustainability for better collaboration with suppliers, a carbon-offset ecosystem, and industry specific climate action plans.  

Together, we can sequester 100 gigatons of carbon by restoring, conserving or growing 1 trillion trees; energize an ecopreneur revolution to develop innovative climate solutions; and accelerate the Fortune 1000 to reach Net Zero.”

Sustainability is essential to becoming a trusted enterprise. Customers want to do business with companies that are fully committed to climate action. In fact, 58% of people are willing to spend more with businesses that fight climate change. 

Salesforce Expands Net Zero to its Entire Value Chain (Scope 1, 2 and 3) 

Salesforce is continuing to drive towards a 1.5°C future by focusing on six sustainability priorities: emissions reduction, carbon removal, trillion trees & ecosystem restoration, education & mobilization, innovation, and regulation & policy. 

Today, the company is releasing its Climate Action Plan to offer a blueprint for others to accelerate their journey to Net Zero. 

Salesforce achieved Net Zero emissions by: 

  • Committing publicly to the shared, global goal of achieving a just and equitable transition to Net Zero, in line with a 1.5°C future.
  • Prioritizing reducing emissions as quickly as possible and aligning its own full value chain emissions (Scope 1, 2, and 3) to the global trajectory of ~50% emissions reductions by 2030, and near-zero emissions 2040. With Sustainability Cloud, Salesforce identified the most impactful opportunities to lower its carbon footprint.
  • Compensating for any remaining emissions by purchasing renewable energy and carbon credits of high credibility, impact, and co-benefits. In the long-term using removal credits only and in the near term using a combination of avoidance and removal credits.

In 2021, Salesforce achieved 100% renewable energy, purchasing enough renewable energy to match all electricity it uses globally. Since first committing to this goal in 2013, Salesforce has been working to accelerate the global transition to clean and renewable sources of electricity with the aim for a future where renewable energy is powering the world around the clock.

To address climate change, businesses need to decrease emissions and increase carbon removals from the atmosphere. Salesforce is focused on deploying natural carbon removal tools, including trees and oceans, while scaling technology-based carbon removal solutions. From ecopreneurs to enterprises—innovation is needed to expedite the path to decarbonization. 

Sustainability Cloud 2.0 Accelerates Companies to Net Zero, Faster

More than 70% of people believe emissions reduction should factor into business operations, yet tracking a company’s full value chain emissions is complex and time consuming. With Sustainability Cloud, Salesforce was able to reduce its carbon accounting process from more than six months to just six weeks.  

Sustainability Cloud is designed to help customers track and reduce their emissions and take action through a full view of their environmental footprint with investor-grade data for customizable ESG reporting. This data is essential for third-party audits, financial filings, corporate reputation, and building trust with all stakeholders. Customers including Clif Bar, Crowley Maritime, ISDI, MillerKnoll, Uhuru Corp, and Xero are already using Sustainability Cloud to track their carbon emissions and take action. 

Today, Salesforce is introducing Sustainability Cloud 2.0 to help businesses accelerate to Net Zero by making progress on the six sustainability priorities and turn commitments into action. In the next generation of Sustainability Cloud, companies will see the following: 

  • Suppliers are a significant part of the carbon reduction equation. Companies will get investor-grade scope 3 reporting with Slack-First Sustainability, allowing them to effortlessly connect and securely collaborate at scale with suppliers around sciencebased emission reduction targets through Slack Connect.
  • Every industry has unique needs. Businesses will be able to visualize their fastest path to Net Zero with Climate Action Planning, which includes forecasting, scenario planning and built-in decarbonization plans.
  • Climate action needs everyone to mobilize and collaborate. Salesforce is investing in building an Open Exchange Ecosystem, in which customers will be able to purchase and manage high-quality carbon credits from ecopreneurs, advocate for science-based climate policies, and democratize sustainability by educating teams.

Nature-Based Solutions Are Critical to Addressing the Climate Crisis

At Salesforce, the environment is a key stakeholder, and we know trees are one of the most effective solutions we have to pull carbon out of the atmosphere. That’s why Salesforce is a founding partner of1t.org, a movement to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees by 2030.

Through Dreamforce Gives, Salesforce is donating $1M tAmerican Forests anOne Tree Planted to advance tree equity and urban canopy in lower income communities and neighborhoods and to reforest disaster-affected areas. 

  • Dreamforce Gives: American Forests will focus its efforts in Dallas, Phoenix and Rhode Island — areas that are grappling with extreme heat and have been identified by

American Forests’ Tree Equity Score as having high disparities in tree canopy — and plant more than 1,700 trees in underserved communities across these areas. One Tree Planted will plant trees globally to support urban reforestation and tree equity in lower income communities and neighborhoods.

  • Global Citizen: As part of the company’s commitment to the planet, Salesforce is partnering with leaders and activists for Global Citizen, a movement to mobilize millions of people around the world to defend the planet and defeat poverty. Inspired by the actions of global citizens and as part of Global Citizen Live event, taking place on September 25th, and in partnership with 1T.org, Salesforce will fund the restoration, conservation, and growth of an additional 30 million trees by this year driving forward its overall goal of 100M trees by the end of the decade. 
  • Trees for Jane: Salesforce is also a proud supporter of Trees for Jane, a new campaign to protect and restore the world’s trees and forests, inspired by Dr. Jane Goodall. Trees for Jane aims to stop deforestation while also empowering individuals to plant and care for their own tree or trees in their backyards, rooftops, or with local community groups.

The protection of our planet requires everyone — governments, investors, businesses, individuals — working together, today, to take climate action.

More Information: