Phishing drills critical to better cyber resilience

Phishing sent through emails is the most common form of cyber attack because it is easy to pull off. And the high level of digital connectivity in every business today, opens organisations to attacks. Every Chief Information Security Officer has reason to fear a phishing attack because through it, cybercriminals can steal company or personal data, delete files and even deploy ransomware.

Dust Identity secures $10M Series A to identify objects with diamond dust

The idea behind Dust Identity was originally born in an MIT lab where students developed a system of uniquely identifying objects using diamond dust. Since then, the startup has been working to create a commercial application for the advanced technology, and today it announced a $10 million Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins, which also led its $2.3 million seed round last year.

More than 805,000 systems are still exposed to BlueKeep, study finds

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Since May, security researchers have been sounding the alarm about the “BlueKeep” vulnerability in old Microsoft Windows operating systems. There has been a large movement to get users to patch for the flaw, which could be exploited at scale. Data released Wednesday by cybersecurity-ratings company BitSight Technologies show a mixed report card on how well organizations have closed that security hole.

Enterprise Mobility Management Gets Personal

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is now widely adopted, with more than three-quarters of enterprises deploying the technology, according to IDC survey data. However, there are still roadblocks to end user adoption and penetration of the technology in terms of enrolled devices among users.

The Man With the Real Power in Brazil

(Bloomberg) — Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.While Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro complains that lawmakers want to make him a ceremonial head of state like the Queen of England, the real power rests with Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of Congress’s lower house.Pale, paunchy, and soft-spoken — with occasional ferocious flashes of temper — Maia sees his mission as defending the democratic institutions that some of Bolsonaro’s more radical supporters favor scrapping, Simone Iglesias and Samy Adghirni report. Bolsonaro’s son Carlos has repeatedly whipped up his massive social media following against him.Maia, 49, showed his authority this month when he united 17 fractious parties to approve a crucial revamp of a social security system that is dragging on Latin America’s biggest economy. After the Chamber of Deputies passed the measure and sent it to the Senate, he wept as supporters gave him a standing ovation.The speaker backs pro-market aspects of the president’s program, but has blocked more inflammatory proposals such as loosening gun-control laws. Without a strong democratic system, he argues, Brazil won’t attract essential investment.Attacks on Brazil’s institutions by some in Bolsonaro’s camp don’t help.“They’re a movement, an antidemocratic fringe and this doesn’t pressure me,” Maia says. “But it does worry me.”Global HeadlinesRare rebuke | The Democratic-led U.S. House responded to Donald Trump’s sustained attacks on four female Democratic lawmakers by taking the extraordinary step of rebuking the president for racism. The resolution accused the president of having “legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” It is a serious accusation that sharpens the battle lines going into the 2020 elections.Read about how Republicans objected to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling Trump’s comments racist.Making the case | The incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said in interview she aims to persuade Trump that Europe and the U.S. still have many common interests. One person hoping she succeeds will be her successor as German defense minister. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to use the job to revive her chances of becoming chancellor and the last thing she needs is a long-running battle with the White House.Initial penalty | Trump confirmed reluctantly that Turkey won’t be able to buy U.S. F-35 fighter jets because it is taking delivery of a Russian missile-defense system. The U.S. is still weighing economic sanctions, even as Trump inaccurately said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was “forced” into buying the S-400 because Obama’s administration would not sell him the Patriot system.Sudan deal | The ruling military council and civilian opposition alliance in Sudan signed a political accord today as part of a power-sharing agreement meant to end a crisis that followed the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in April. A second, constitutional accord is expected to be ratified on Friday that will lead to the formation of an 11-seat sovereign council with executive responsibilities and the holding of elections in three years.Economic cost | Hong Kong’s protracted protests might be starting to hurt its economy. The Hong Kong Retail Management Association reported that most of its members saw a single-to-double-digit drop in average sales revenue between June and the first week of July, amid fears the city’s political chaos could impact its status as a global financial hub.What to WatchThe signs of summer have arrived in the Chinese resort town of Beidaihe: Umbrellas are out, traffic controls are in place and the regional Communist Party chief has stopped by to check everything’s ready for President Xi Jinping’s visit. Click here for what to look for at this year’s conclave. A clash over digital taxation could overshadow a meeting near Paris of Group of Seven finance chiefs, as France digs in on imposing levies that will hit American tech giants Saudi Arabia says it will allow some businesses to stay open 24 hours a day, news that triggered confusion over whether it was ending rules that require shops to shut for Islam’s five daily prayers.And finally…Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died yesterday aged 99. Appointed in 1975 by a Republican president, only to become a leading liberal voice on presidential powers, Stevens retired in 2010 as the second-oldest justice in American history. He frequently spoke for his wing of the court in high-profile dissents, including the 5-4 decision stopping the Florida ballot recounts that might have led to Democrat Al Gore’s election over George W. Bush in 2000. \–With assistance from Karen Leigh, Kathleen Hunter and Ben Sills.To contact the author of this story: Karl Maier in Rome at kmaier2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at, Anthony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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Ransomware Attack Disrupts Some Services at Onondaga County Libraries

A crypto-ransomware attack has disrupted some services at all library locations across Onondaga County in New York State.On 16 July, the Onondaga County Public Library system published a tweet in which it explained that many of its public services were unavailable.07/16/19 UPDATE: Library services continue to be unavailable. We apologize for the frustration, and are working toward a solution. We thank you for your patience.— OCPL (@OCPL_CNY) July 16, 2019
WSYR-TV reported that these unavailable services consisted of Wi-Fi connectivity, access to public computers and phone service availability at central and city branch locations. For all sites (including central and city branch locations), the scope of disruption was even greater. The library system’s catalog and databases were down at all of those branches as was access to eBook distributor OverDrive, digital library media streaming platform Hoopla and free downloadable music service Freegal.“We have our member [suburban] libraries and those are still up and operational and we are referring people to go there if they need internet access in the meantime,” explained former library chair Ginny Biesiada.As of this writing, it’s unclear when the ransomware attack occurred, when the library system will be able to restore the availability of all its services and what the cost of this recovery will be to taxpayers. That said, WSYR-TV did confirm that the offending ransomware strain was a Ryuk sample.Ryuk has been very active over the first half of 2019. Back in June, for instance, this family of crypto-malware joined trojans Emotet and Trickbot in infecting the computer systems of Lake City in Florida. The municipality subsequently decided to pay $460,000 in Bitcoin to those responsible for the attack.Together with Sodinokibi, Ryuk also helped drive a 184 percent increase in the average ransom amount demanded by ransomware attackers between Q1 2019 ($12,762) and Q2 2019 ($36,295), as observed by Coveware.News of this attack comes just a week after the Syracuse City School District, also in Onondaga County, suffered an infection at the hands of Ryuk. All evidence suggests that these attacks weren’t connected in any way aside from the offending ransomware strain.

Best Practices Companies Can Take to Stop Crypto-Miners from Hijacking Servers

Crypto-jacking is often considered the silent killer. Instead of stealing valuable IP, data, or funds, attackers are after CPU cycles. Attacks can persist for months or years, unrecognized, running in the background and consuming processing power. You may think it’s not a danger or exclaim thoughts like: “that’s not bad,” or “no one took anything” or “it’s ok since there was no data exposed or exfiltrated.” In reality, crypto-jacking is something to be taken quite seriously.

Central America’s Wars of the ’80s Still Haunt the U.S.

Forty years ago this week, on July 19, 1979, rebels who called themselves Sandinistas overthrew the Nicaraguan dynasty of the Somoza family that was first installed by U.S. Marines in the 1930s. By 1983, Reagan was using the largely Marxist leadership of the Sandinista regime to feed paranoia about Communist encroachment, as if Central America represented an existential threat to the United States. His policies included overt support for business and military elites, tacit support for death squads, and covert backing for anti-Sandinista Contra rebels accused of gross human rights abuses. If Congress would not back him, Reagan warned, there would be “a tidal wave of refugees—and this time they’ll be ‘feet people’ and not ‘boat people’ [like those who fled South Vietnam after the Communist takeover in 1975]—swarming into our country.”