Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, August 31, 2019

Subject: Career Services urges students to use caution to avoid fraudulent job postings
Source: Penn State University Newswire

PARK, Pa. — Financial and phishing scams are happening more frequently on job posting sites or via email. These scams impact Penn State students daily, and it’s important for students to know how to avoid falling prey to sophisticated scams.

Career professionals are urging students to look carefully before applying and to be on alert while searching for opportunities. Scammers know what they’re doing. It takes diligence and some effort to spot a scam, but there are certain characteristics that are common.


Common scams, tips and more information can be found online at

Subject: Cyber team busts global malware unit that hijacked 850K computers
Source: UPI World News

French authorities said the infiltration they performed had never been done before.

Aug. 28, 2019 (UPI) — French authorities say they have dismantled an international cyberattack program they say was responsible for seizing control of 850,000 computers.

The attacks aimed to infect other computers and secretly set up space to mine for cryptocurrencies on various servers, a malware intrusion experts say is very lucrative for hackers.


Subject: US waged cyberattack on database used by Iran to target tankers
Source: NYTimes via AFP via Yahoo

The newspaper, quoting senior US officials, said the June 20 attack had degraded the ability of Iran’s paramilitary force to target shipping in the Gulf.

It said Iran was still trying to recover information and restart military communications networks and other systems knocked offline.

The Times said the cyberstrike was the latest in an ongoing cyberconflict between the United States and Iran.

It said the cyberattack went ahead after President Donald Trump had called off a retaliatory military airstrike against Iran for shooting down a US drone.

The newspaper said the White House viewed the cyberattack as a proportional response to the destruction of the unmanned drone.

Subject: Google finds evidence of attempted mass iPhone hack
Source: CNN Wire via WPMT FOX43

Google has uncovered evidence of a sustained effort to hack large numbers of iPhones over a period of at least two years, its researchers said.

Earlier this year, Google cybersecurity experts “discovered a small collection of hacked websites” that exploited vulnerabilities in Apple’s smartphone software, Ian Beer, a researcher with Google’s Project Zero, said in a blog post published Thursday. He did not name the websites.

The implant was capable of giving hackers access to iPhone users’ contacts, photos and location, as well as data from apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram, Gmail and Google Hangouts, according to the Project Zero researchers.

“For this one campaign that we’ve seen, there are almost certainly others that are yet to be seen,” he said. “All that users can do is be conscious of the fact that mass exploitation still exists and behave accordingly; treating their mobile devices as both integral to their modern lives, yet also as devices which when compromised, can upload their every action into a database to potentially be used against them.”

Filed in: News, Technology

Topics: Google, hack, iPhone

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Subject: Hijacked Reviews on Amazon Can Trick Shoppers
Source: Consumer Reports

Like many consumers, I do a lot of my shopping on Amazon, skimming and sorting through listings by looking for items with lots of user reviews and high average ratings.

But over the past few years, I’ve grown more cautious as reports have exposed the problem of fake reviews on Amazon and other reviews-based sites. Recent articles by the Wall Street Journal, as well as Consumer Reports, have also exposed potentially dangerous products lacking important safety certifications being sold on Amazon’s site.

I reported on fake Amazon reviews myself back in December 2017, while working for New York Magazine, highlighting products such as iPhone headphone adapters that had hundreds of 5-star reviews from users who had never bought the product in question.

More CR articles on Online Shopping


Posted in: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Education, Privacy, Spyware