This major criminal hacking group just switched to ransomware attacks

A widespread hacking operation that has been targeting organisations around the world in a phishing and malware campaign which has been active since 2016 has now switched to ransomware attacks, reflecting how successful ransomware has become a money-making tool for cyber criminals.

Dubbed FIN11, the campaign has been detailed by cybersecurity researchers at FireEye Mandiant, who describe the hackers as a ‘well-established financial crime group’ which has conducted some of the longest running hacking campaigns.

The group started by focusing attacks on banks, retailers and restaurants but has grown to indiscriminately target a wide range of sectors in different locations around the world, sending thousands of phishing emails out and simultaneously conducting attacks against several organisations at any one time.

For example, in just one week, Mandiant observed concurrent campaigns targeting pharmaceuticals, shipping and logistics industries in both North America and Europe.

But despite attacks targeting a wide variety of organisations around the world, many of the initial phishing campaigns are still customised on a target by target basis for the maximum possible chance of encouraging a victim to download a malicious Microsoft Office attachment which says macros must been enabled.

This starts an infection chain which creates multiple backdoors into compromised systems, as well as the ability to grab admin credentials and move laterally across networks.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic) 

FIN11 campaigns initially revolved around embedding themselves into networks in order to steal data, with researchers noting that the hacking group commonly deployed BlueSteal, a tool used to steal banking information from Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals.

With finances being the focus of the group, it’s likely FIN11 sold this information to other cyber criminals on the dark web, or simply exploited the details for their own gain.

Sen. Ernst’s Dem challenger seen backing Black Lives Matter group, despite no position on campaign website

EXCLUSIVE: Theresa Greenfield, the Democrat challenging Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst for her Senate seat, has admitted to supporting the Black Lives Matter organization in a video obtained exclusively by Fox News, even though her campaign website made no mention of her thoughts toward the group.

Greenfield previously has backed the movement and activists peacefully protesting, but had kept relatively quiet about the organization, which has courted controversy in the past.

“Yeah,” Greenfield said in a video shot in Des Moines on Sept. 17 by media watchdog Accuracy in Media while shaking her head in the affirmative when asked if she supported the BLM organization.

“I don’t know if there’s any reason it doesn’t appear on the website,” she said when asked why the words “Black Lives Matter” did not appear on her campaign’s website. “Let me take a look at it, ’cause I talk about it all the time.”

IOWA REPUBLICAN FILES FEC COMPLAINT OVER ‘DARK MONEY’ GOING TO SEN. ERNST’S DEM RIVAL

Greenfield’s husband, Steve Miller, added that she has “been working with all the Black leaders” across the state. He said Republicans were “using that law-and-order thing and we know all about that bull—-.”

Campaign staffer Brittan Ostby also confirmed Greenfield supported BLM.*

The Greenfield campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Black Lives Matter has pursued controversies in the past. Among them: Co-founder Patrisse Cullors described fellow organizers as “trained Marxists” in a newly surfaced 2015 video, and the group apparently deleted a page on its website that called for changes to “the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement” in favor of “extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

Matthew Bruce, the leader of the organization in Iowa,

The Pandemic Has Benefited One Group Of People: Billionaires

Other than Netflix, Andrew Cuomo and the virus itself, no one has benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic more than American billionaires.

Over the last six months, roughly 3 out of 4 members of America’s 10-digit-wealth club have seen a rise in their net worths. Sixteen American billionaires are worth at least twice as much now as they were in March. And Jeff Bezos, who was already worth $113 billion at the start of 2020, is heading into the year’s final stretch $73 billion richer.

Michael Bloomberg and Charles Koch are both up by $7 billion, and Mark Zuckerberg has added another $46 billion to his already staggering $54 billion in wealth. Elon Musk found time between COVID truther tweets and CPAP machine donations to take his fortune from $25 billion to $92 billion.

Some billionaires have gotten richer as a direct result of the pandemic. Amazon, for example, was one of the few companies in the United States to expand as consumers locked down at home and avoided brick-and-mortar retail. Facebook, Google, Tesla and Microsoft have also boomed in the past six months, adding to the fortunes of their respective billionaire founders.


See how much Jeff Bezos has made during the pandemic in 3D. On desktop, use your mouse to zoom and rotate the object in 3D; on mobile, place the object in your space, use your fingers to resize and rotate in augmented reality.

Most billionaires, however, have grown their wealth not as business leaders but as investors. One of the ongoing mysteries of the COVID-19 recession is why it has — so far at least — barely touched the stock market. After falling roughly 35% in February, both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 returned to pre-pandemic levels in just 126 trading days, a turnaround that

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Facebook removes fake accounts linked to conservative group

By David Klepper | Associated Press

Facebook has removed 276 accounts that used fake profiles to pose as right-leaning Americans and comment on news articles, often in favor of President Donald Trump, the company announced Thursday.

The platform also permanently banned an Arizona-based digital communications firm that it said was behind the fake accounts.

The move was prompted by reporting last month in The Washington Post that a pro-Trump group known as Turning Point Action was paying teenagers to post coordinated, supportive messages, a violation of Facebook’s rules.

Facebook and Twitter have been regularly removing fake accounts — both domestic and foreign — that try to insert themselves in the U.S. political discourse and influence the election. But social media companies face broader threats around misinformation and voter suppression that at times come from President Donald Trump himself.

The latest network Facebook removed became active before the 2018 midterm elections and went dormant until June when the accounts began posting on topics including the coronavirus pandemic, criticism of the Democratic Party and its nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as praise for Trump and other Republicans.

“So sick of democrats continuing to make republicans look bad! It makes me tired of politics and I just believe Republicans are much more humble when it comes to money because Democrats will do anything to screw over Americans,” read one post that Facebook cited as an example.

Individuals behind the accounts used stock photos to create fake profiles, many of which were removed by Facebook’s automated detection software. Facebook determined that the accounts were being coordinated by Rally Forge, an Arizona-based firm.

“Although the people behind this network attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation linked this activity to Rally Forge,” Facebook said.

While Facebook’s investigation cited Rally Forge’s