Brief Summary of February 2020

Written by David Palmer OBE 

Following the UK’s decision to grant a ‘limited role’ in its proposed 5G infrastructure, there have been heated inputs at the highest level between the UK, and the US and its ‘5-eyes’ allies (Canada, Australia and NZ). US officials have made accusations about Huawei’ alleged spying activities, claiming that it regularly puts backdoors in its telecoms networks, to access them remotely. The US Attorney General has filed 16 fresh charges against Huawei, alleging racketeering, conspiracy to steal state secrets, fraud and violating US telecoms regulations. State- sponsored cyber attacks continue, with 4 named Chinese military officers indicted by US Grand Jury of the massive cyber-attack on credit agency Equifax. Personal data on 1,43m US citizens (+ 15m in UK) were stolen, along with 209,000 credit card details and even the most sensitive recovery data. While not the largest cyber-attack, it was the worst in terms of severity. The White House suffered a major data breach, reportedly affecting personal details of 200,000 US military personnel. Iran claims to have bypassed one of the most popular VPNs, stealing data which has since been marketed on the dark web. Fraud and ransomware attacks continue, with gambling companies, hotels, IoT-enabled devices and local government being prime targets. A flaw in Google Pay, leading to suspected fraud, and in Samsung’s UK website have been patched. An Android vulnerability to unauthorised Bluetooth access, a CacheOut flaw, and a Mozilla Firefox access flaw will be rectified this month. Oracle scolds clients for ignoring critical patches.

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