This Week In Malware

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Here’s a round up of all the cyberthings to be terrified of this weekend. It’s the Halloween Special edition of ‘This Week in Malware’, so it’s recommended that you listen to ‘Monster Mash‘ as you read these.

Firstly, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta doubled down on his recent warning of an imminent “cyber Pearl Harbor‘, by calling cyberspace the “battlefront of the future“, and warning that international cyber thugs could “go after our grid, our power grid, our financial systems, our government systems, and virtually paralyze this country.”

As if to prove his point, we learned that spammers have been manipulating URLS with .gov domains. So people think they’re visiting a government-sanctioned website, and may be more inclined to enter personal information, but it’s all a big fat fake. Be careful out there!

As you may have heard, there was a Presidential debate on Monday night, and for the first time, cybersecurity got a mention. No, I mean literally a mention. As in one mention. Tech bloggers aren’t impressed. Some sort of cybersecurity executive order is due soon, but social networks will not be affected by it.

A new iPad Mini was announced recently, mostly to shrugs, but don’t worry: there are still creeps who target people looking for all the latest gadgets. Scammers have been working on fake news sites and fake shopping sites, promising news or even discounts on the iPad Mini, and again taking advantage of less vigilant internet users.

Finally, this week’s big story involves oil company Saudi Aramco, supposedly “the world’s most valuable company”, which suffered a massive cyberattack recently. On a Muslim high holiday – when nobody would have been monitoring the computers, hackers did some significant damage. As the NYT reports:

a person with privileged access to the Saudi state-owned oil company’s computers, unleashed a computer virus to initiate what is regarded as among the most destructive acts of computer sabotage on a company to date. The virus erased data on three-quarters of Aramco’s corporate PCs — documents, spreadsheets, e-mails, files — replacing all of it with an image of a burning American flag.

Yikes. And once again: Yikes. No official word as to who was behind this attack, but the U.S. seems pretty certain that it was Iran.

Have a great weekend!

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