Category Archives: The Coming Storm

This category includes blog posts about computer and Internet security threats now and on the horizon.

Malicious Office 365 Apps Are the Ultimate Insiders

May 5, 2021

Phishers targeting Microsoft Office 365 users increasingly are turning to specialized links that take users to their organization’s own email login page. After a user logs in, the link prompts them to install a malicious but innocuously-named app that gives the attacker persistent, password-free access to any of the user’s emails and files, both of which are then plundered to launch malware and phishing scams against others.

Task Force Seeks to Disrupt Ransomware Payments

April 29, 2021

Some of the world’s top tech firms are backing a new industry task force focused on disrupting cybercriminal ransomware gangs by limiting their ability to get paid, and targeting the individuals and finances of the organized thieves behind these crimes.

Are You One of the 533M People Who Got Facebooked?

April 6, 2021

Ne’er-do-wells leaked personal data — including phone numbers — for some 553 million Facebook users this week. Facebook says the data was collected before 2020 when it changed things to prevent such information from being scraped from profiles. To my mind, this just reinforces the need to remove mobile phone numbers from all of your online accounts wherever feasible. Meanwhile, if you’re a Facebook product user and want to learn if your data was leaked, there are easy ways to find out.

Can We Stop Pretending SMS Is Secure Now?

March 16, 2021

SMS text messages were already the weakest link securing just about anything online, mainly because there are tens of thousands of people (many of them low-paid mobile store employees) who can be tricked or bribed into swapping control over a mobile phone number to someone else. Now we’re learning about an entire ecosystem of companies that anyone could use to silently intercept text messages intended for other mobile users.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday, March 2021 Edition

March 9, 2021

On the off chance you were looking for more security to-dos from Microsoft today…the company released software updates to plug more than 82 security flaws in Windows and other supported software. Ten of these earned Microsoft’s “critical” rating, meaning they can be exploited by malware or miscreants with little or no help from users.

Warning the World of a Ticking Time Bomb

March 9, 2021

Globally, hundreds of thousand of organizations running Exchange email servers from Microsoft just got mass-hacked, including at least 30,000 victims in the United States. Each hacked server has been retrofitted with a “web shell” backdoor that gives the bad guys total, remote control, the ability to read all email, and easy access to the victim’s other computers. Researchers are now racing to identify, alert and help victims, and hopefully prevent further mayhem.

At Least 30,000 U.S. Organizations Newly Hacked Via Holes in Microsoft’s Email Software

March 5, 2021

At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organizations, multiple sources tell KrebsOnSecurity. The espionage group is exploiting four newly-discovered flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server email software, and has seeded hundreds of thousands of victim organizations worldwide with tools that give the attackers total, remote control over affected systems.

Microsoft: Chinese Cyberspies Used 4 Exchange Server Flaws to Plunder Emails

March 2, 2021

Microsoft Corp. today released software updates to plug four critical security holes that attackers have been using to plunder email communications at companies that use its Exchange Server products. The company says all four flaws are being actively exploited as part of a complex attack chain deployed by a previously unidentified Chinese cyber espionage group.

Is Your Browser Extension a Botnet Backdoor?

March 1, 2021

A company that rents out access to more than 10 million Web browsers so that clients can hide their true Internet addresses has built its network by paying browser extension makers to quietly include its code in their creations. This story examines the lopsided economics of extension development, and why installing an extension can be such a risky proposition.