Brits arrested for SIM swapping attacks on US celebs

The National Crime Agency led a UK investigation into a series of SIM-swapping attacks that resulted in criminals gaining access to the phones of high-profile individuals in the US including sports stars, influencers, musicians and their families. SIM swapping attacks involve a malicious actor hijacking a victims phone number by deactivating their SIM and transferring the phone number over to a different SIM belonging to the criminal network. This enables them to then take control of apps, masquerade as the victim on online accounts by changing passwords as well as steal money, bitcoin and personal information.

The NCA worked with US law enforcement organisations and officers to uncover the network of UK criminals responsible for the attacks.  The NCA also notified victims who were targeted and, where possible, warned them before any damage could be caused by the malicious actors.

Eight men have now been arrested in England and Scotland as part of the investigation.
Researchers uncover a Facebook phishing campaign that tricked nearly 500,000 users in two weeks

An investigation into fraudulent Facebook messages has exposed a large scale phishing campaign. The ‘is that you’ phishing messages has been circulating on Facebook in different forms since 2017.  The campaign involves being sent a Facebook message from what appears to be one of your Facebook friends. The message claims to have found an image or video with you in it, but when clicked, the link masquerading as a video sends you through to malicious infected websites. Following this, these scripts are able to identify the device you use, the operating system used and your location. You will then be lead to a fraudulent Facebook phishing page in order to harvest credentials and potentially infect your device with malware.

On the 8th February the number of potential victims were close to 500,000 since this specific phishing campaign began on the 26th January 2020.  Most of the campaigns victims reside in Germany.
New phishing attack uses Morse code to hide malicious URLs

A new targeted email phishing campaign, involving a unique technique of using Morse code to hide malicious URLs, has emerged.

This new technique was first utilised by malicious actors last week.  The use of Morse code to hide malicious URL attachments in phishing emails also serves as a means of bypassing mail filters and secure email gateways.

Hacker tries to poison water supply of Florida city

A threat actor hacked into an Oldsmar, Florida water treatment facility to attempt to add a dangerous amount of chemicals to the water supply. After gaining access, the hacker was able to briefly increase the levels of lye (sodium hydroxide) in the water. A small amount of lye is used in water treatment to control acidity but in large amounts can have severe adverse effects due to its corrosive nature.

Fortunately, a worker at the plant noticed the change in lye levels and was able to immediately reduce the levels back to normal. Currently no arrests have been made and it is unclear as to whether that attack originated from inside the US or not.

Romance Fraud

Romance fraud is a commonly reported scam that involves a malicious individual manipulating and faking romantic interest towards a victim online in an attempt to gain their trust. The criminal may then attempt to exploit the victim for money, access to bank accounts/credit cards, to force the victim to commit financial fraud on their behalf or to collect personal information for identity fraud.

The UK has seen a rise in romance fraud with UK Finance reporting a 20% increase in bank transfer romance fraud from January to November 2020, in comparison to the previous year, with the total loss equating to £18.5 million (a 12% rise compared to the previous year). Action Fraud have also reported a rise in the number of individuals falling victim to romance fraud last year with losses totalling over £68 million. They report that victims lost money by sending gift cards/vouchers, purchasing physical gifts (e.g. phones, laptops), carrying out money and bank transfers and by providing them with access to their personal bank accounts or cards.

How you can protect yourself and loved ones from Romance Fraud this Valentine’s Day

Know the warning signs

Fraudsters and criminals adopt a variety of tactics and may:

  • Request that you move your communications away from dating apps or websites to text, instant message, email or phone calls.
  • Ask a lot of personal questions but be reluctant to reveal much about themselves or tell you details that don’t add up.
  • Attempt to equally establish a bond by being complimentary, using endearing nicknames or stating that they have ‘never felt like this before’.
  • Prey on your emotions for financial gain, for example they may request money so they can care for a poorly family member.
  • Make plans to see you but cancel or offer excuses.

Top Cyber Tips

  • Be cautious and trust your instincts.
  • Protect your privacy, don’t reveal too much personal detail online, especially via social networks.
  • Never send money to people you have not met.
  • If you use internet dating, keep all communication via that website.
  • Perform a reverse image search of their profile photo to make sure they are who they claim to be. This can be easily done on a desktop by going to the google image search bar, pressing the small camera icon and uploading the photo.
Google Play Boots Barcode Scanner App After Ad Explosion

Google Play has removed a barcode scanner app, which has been downloaded over 10 million times, after user complaints of an overload of advertisements. The designers of the app intentionally and maliciously altered the apps code through an update, transforming it from a harmless app to an adware Trojan.

Cyberpunk 2077 makers CD Projekt hit by ransomware hack

CD Projekt Red, the maker of popular and highly anticipated video game Cyberpunk 2077, has been hit with a ransomware attack. CD Projekt stated that malicious actors had gained access to their internal network and scrambled some data servers in an attempt to blackmail the company.

A statement put out by CD Projekt Red on Twitter included a copy of the ransom note left by the hackers claiming that they had copied code from Cyberpunk 2077, Gwent and Witcher 3 (including an unreleased version of Witcher 3). The game company have refused to negotiate.

Microsoft urges customers to patch critical Windows TCP/IP bugs

Microsoft has advised customers to install security updates for three Windows TCP/IP vulnerabilities that have been rated critical and high severity. The vulnerabilities impact computers operating Windows client and server versions from Windows 7. The advice was given as a result of heightened risk of exploitation and potential for DoS attacks that could possibly target these bugs.

Researcher hacks over 35 tech firms in novel supply chain attack

An ethical hacker was able to breach over 35 large companies internal systems including those belonging to Microsoft, PayPal, Tesla, Netflix and Apple in a novel software supply chain attack. The attack involved uploading malware to open source repositories which then were distributed automatically into the company’s internal applications. For his ethical research the individual responsible has earned over $130,000 in bug bounties.

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Cyber Aware - Training for staff: Sports Organisations

Join our monthly online webinars aimed at sports organisations and discover the latest attacks businesses are facing, the social engineering tactics being used to gain data and the latest awareness training that staff need to know.

Please note: All participants are screened before being invited to the event. Please use your corporate sports email address when registering.

If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or cybercrime and incurred a financial loss or have been hacked as a result of responding to a phishing message, you should report this to Action Fraud 

Spotted a suspicious email? If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS):

Alternatively you can call 0300 123 2040
to report and obtain advice about fraud or cyber crime
Our lives are relying on technology more every day. Join us each week for your bitesize cybersecurity podcast. In this increasingly technical world we deliver non-technical cyber news, and identify the current threats we’re facing.


The WMCRC work with local Universities and Police forces in Staffordshire, West Midlands, West Mercia and Warwickshire to provide you access to the latest information on emerging cyber threats, criminal trends and best practice to protect your business.
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