Security researchers have revealed hackers spent years burrowing into ten different telecoms. Using a common method of an email with a link leading to malware, the hackers then used sophisticated techniques to target specific individuals.
Security researchers at Cybereason revealed details of years-long attempts to break into telecom services (cell phone carriers). Starting in 2017, and possibly before, hackers sent emails to unsuspecting telecom employees with malicious links. The initial payload gave the hackers access to the telecom networks.
Once in, the hackers ultimately compromised the network, gaining administrative privileges, and even creating a VPN on the system that let hackers access large amounts of data and empowered them even to shut down the telecom network entirely. The hackers had so much power that Amit Serper, Principal Security Researcher at Cybereason, described them as essentially a “de facto shadow IT department of the company.”
Sabotage doesn’t seem to be the goal. Instead, the hackers downloaded data about 20 or so specific individual’s Call Detail Records. The information stolen would have contained call history, location history, what device the person is using, and so on. With this hack, the perpetrators achieved similar results to stealing a person’s phone, without the person knowing about it.
Cybereason didn’t reveal which telecoms the group hacked, though they did specify the locations of the targeted individuals as Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. [ZDNet]
In Other News:
- Amazon Prime Day is now two days: Amazon’s year tradition of discounting ninety things you don’t need and one thing you’ve been thinking about is back. This year Prime Day will start on July 15th and end July 16th, a full 48 hours later. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Prime Week. [TechRadar]
- Apple releases public betas of upcoming software: iOS 13, iPadOS, macOS Catalina, and tvOS 13 are moving along quite nicely, and we found lots to love in the new features the company is promising. The next step is here; Apple released public betas for just about all your iDevices. But, remember it is a beta. You probably shouldn’t download it, wait for the release. [Thurott]
- Ubuntu wants Steam and changed its mind about 32-bit: Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, planned to remove 32-bit packages and libraries in its upcoming 19.10 update. With that announcement, Steam said it would drop support for Ubuntu. Unsurprisingly, Canonical is reversing course. [Engadget]
- KitchenAid’s new $3,200 oven is now available: KitchenAid is now selling a smart oven with Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility. It also includes an LCD, a grill attachment, and other optional accessories. And unlike other Smart Ovens, it’s full-sized as opposed to a toaster oven form factor. [Digital Trends]
- FedEx Sued the U.S. over Huawei shipments: The Huawei news never seems to stop. FedEx recently received bad press when it refused to ship a package containing a Huawei phone. Now it wants the U.S. to stop requiring it to monitor packages for more Huawei phones, calling the process virtually impossible and a potential privacy violation. [CNN]
- SpaceX caught a nosecone for the first time: Launching rockets is expensive, and one of the most costly parts is building new rocket hardware after every launch. SpaceX’s goal is to reuse as much as possible, and it just pulled off a new trick in pursuit of that aim. For the first time, the company successfully caught a nosecone. The company estimates each nosecone costs six million dollars, so now it just needs to repair the used one for less. [The Verge]
- USB Cords weren’t reversible because of money: If you’ve ever felt incredibly accomplished because you successfully plugged in a USB Cord the right direction on the first try, Ajay Bhatt, the leader of the team that designed USB, understands your pain. As he explained to NPR, they could have made USB reversible from the beginning. But that meant doubling the wires and increased costs; the goal was to be as cheap as possible. It could have been worse; they considered a round USB design. [NPR]
- Google promises palm detection for Pixel’s Ambient Display: Like other Android phones, Pixels have an ambient display that shows minimal information at all times. That prevents you from waking up the phone, showing the lock screen, and wasting energy. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to wake up the lock screen right now, defeating the point. Google says it will solve the problem with palm detection. Pixel lovers rejoice. [9to5Google]
Eighty years ago Physicist Eugene Paul Wigner predicted that hydrogen could turn into an electricity-conducting solid at the right temperature.
The idea is fascinating on many levels. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, so we have plenty to work with and as a solid metal, it might transmit electricity without heating up. That would be perfect for use in superconductors, which typically get very hot.
Creating metallic hydrogen might also tell us more about giant planets like Jupiter, as we suspect the substance fills the planet’s core.
Researchers in France have posted on the arXiv physics preprint server describing a process using pressure greater than those inside the Earth’s core to create metallic hydrogen. The process involved a combination of diamond tips to compress the gas and supercooling to just 80 degrees above absolute zero.
What we don’t have yet is peer reviews or independent verification. Both those steps are extraordinarily important both to ascertain the truthfulness of the study, but also to confirm the accuracy of the methods. Peer review and independent verification can often reveal mistakes leading to a wrong conclusion.
But scientists who studied the paper are cautiously optimistic about what they’ve seen. Only time, study, and science will tell in the long run if we’ve finally confirmed an eighty-year-old theory. [Gizmodo]