Week Ending: 26th November - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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It’s our last round up of November, and this week has been a particularly frosty one, and we’re not just talking about the weather…

From Apple’s latest lawsuit against spyware firm, NSO Group, the flaws in smartphone chips and the data breach of hosting service, GoDaddy, it’s been another busy week in the world of I.T. and tech. If you missed all of that, don’t worry, our trusty roundup will bring you right up to speed.

Apple sues Israeli spyware company for hacking iPhones

Technology giant, Apple, has launched a lawsuit against the recently blacklisted spyware company, NSO Group. Previously, Apple has downplayed the level of threat posed by NSO, so the complaint makes a sharp U-turn for them. In their complaint, Apple said that NSO’s signature spyware, known as Pegasus, has been used to ‘attack a small number of Apple users globally, using malicious malware and spyware’.

Ivan Krstic, head of Apple security engineering and architecture said:

“Apple are always working to defend our users against even the most complex cyber-attacks…and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our users from abusive state-sponsored actors like NSO Group”.

The lawsuit comes as a significant one due to Apple’s dominant position in the global technology industry, but it is also significant because the company has chosen to target the creator of the spyware -NSO- and not the company’s government clients.

NSO group retaliated by stating that they will continue to “provide governments with lawful tools to fight” and that “NSO group will continue to advocate for the truth” because “thousands of lives were saved around the world thanks to NSO Group’s technologies”.

Upon discovery of the breach, Apple released a patch to fix the vulnerability and assured users that the attacks were “only aimed at a small number of users”.

Notably, this isn’t the first time the Israeli spyware firm has faced lawsuit allegations. In 2019, WhatsApp chose to sue because Pegasus was used to target 1,400 of its users, including government officials and diplomats.

Discover more here.

Flawed Chips Left A Third Of World Smartphones And IOT Devices Vulnerable to Eavesdropping

MediaTek, the Taiwanese tech giant who manufacture chips, failed to identify a vulnerability which left a third of all the world’s smartphones and Internet of Things devices susceptible to remote snooping of phone calls and spying via the device microphone.

According to cybersecurity company and our partners, Check Point, the problem with the MediaTek chips laid within handling the audio signals, and that a remote cyber attack could be carried out by installing malware on the targeted device or by being able to access the MediaTek audio firmware. Once installed, the malware would be able to write malicious code onto the device memory to exploit it and eavesdrop on users or install more malicious software.

Many users have been advised by Check Point’s researchers to check with their mobile manufacturers if they haven’t received an update, but MediaTek chips can be found in smartphones made by Android giants like Xiaomi and Oppo.

MediaTek is reportedly the largest supplier of mobile chips in the world and whilst they have not provided a comment, researchers believe that most users are protected as Android phones download security updates automatically or will prompt users to do so.

Learn more here.

Hosting Service, GoDaddy breached - 1.2m user profiles exposed

The personal data of more than 1.2 million GoDaddy customers was exposed after cybercriminals breached its WordPress hosting services. Whilst the intrusion was blocked by WordPress, it wasn’t until the exposure of a range of sensitive information which included email addresses of active and inactive Managed WordPress customers. In addition to this, Users’ FTP and database usernames and passwords were all exposed. It is known that these passwords have since been reset. GoDaddy are also in the process of issuing and installing new certificates since a subset of active customers also had their SSL private key leaked.

The internet infrastructure firm confirmed the breach on November 17 after detecting ‘suspicious activity’, but an external I.T. forensics firm uncovered that the breach actually dated back two months, with an initial intrusion dating back to September 6th. According to the domain registrar and web hosting firm the user was able to use a “compromised password and an unauthorised third party, to access the provisioning system in our legacy code based for Managed WordPress”.

Independent security experts advised that the best practice, in normal circumstances, would be to deploy multi factor authentication WordPress environments, which would be particularly useful for GoDaddy customers, in the aftermath of the breach.

Read more here.

Those were just some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: