This week, we You mentioned that Signal has moved ahead with its controversial cryptocurrency integration. All users of the crypto-messaging app now have access to MobileCoin, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency that US exchanges still do not offer. The intent is to give cash transactions the same protection from monitoring that Signal brought to messaging. But skeptics worry that introducing a financial component will lead to unwanted complexity and regulatory scrutiny of Signal, an app that millions of people have come to rely on.
In news hacking, the criminal campaign has infected thousands of victims in more than a hundred countries, which in itself is not necessarily unusual. Microsoft fixed the vulnerability exploited by attackers nearly a decade ago. Problem: The patch is optional, and most users won’t know where to get it even if they wanted to. If anything, it’s surprising that it took this long for someone to benefit.
It’s a new year, which means it’s a great time for a few refreshments on how to stay safe online. We looked at how to send messages that disappear automatically on different chat apps. And we’ve given you a few ways to delete yourself from the Internet completely, if the occasion calls for it.
As part of this year’s virtual WIRED HQ at CES, we had an extensive chat with former Congressman Will Hurd about the future of cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, metaverses, and more.
And that’s not all! Each week we round up all the security news that WIRED hasn’t covered in depth. Click on the titles to read the full stories.
Norton, what are you doing! Several months ago, the antivirus giant hacked encryption software into its consumer software, author and digital rights activist Cory Dokoro noted earlier this week. The idea is that you can opt in to let Norton mine cryptocurrency on your computer while you’re not using it; The program will even set up a secure wallet for you, all for only 15 percent of the proceeds. To be clear, you should never do this. Not only does encryption drain the environment, but it introduces complex security issues and potential problems for users who likely don’t know what they’re getting into. Some Norton customers have also reported issues with the feature turning off after subscription.
For years, the publishing world has suffered from an evolving spearfishing frenzy that has led to the theft of hundreds of manuscripts of unpublished books. This week, the FBI made an arrest in the case, and charged 29-year-old Filippo Bernardini with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Bernardini himself worked as a rights coordinator at publishing giant Simon & Schuster UK, a role that gave him insider knowledge that allegedly helped him craft more persuasive phishing emails.
Nearly a thousand schools were affected by ransomware in 2021 alone. But 2022 launched 5,000 school websites that are going down, after ransomware operators hit third-party website provider FinalSite. The company has preemptively taken down many of these sites to prevent the spread of malware, and losing access to an online portal for a few days is not as bad as having to pay the ransom money directly. However, it is another reminder of how much damage ransomware gangs can do when they strike at widely used software-as-a-service companies rather than individual targets.
A wave of NFT thefts confirmed the tension in decentralized markets. Platforms like OpenSea can help victims in some cases, but only with mechanisms that show how central things really are. In other words, the promises of Web 3 aren’t really as advertised, which Signal Moxie founder Marlinspike has explained better than anyone here has said so far. Long story short: Learn about the new web, like the old web.
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