The first month of Q2 was by no means uneventful – particularly where cyber crime is concerned. From hacked tornado sirens to virtual reality, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the month that was.
Dallas Gets a Wakeup Call
If you live in Dallas, you probably didn’t sleep well on the night of April 8. This is because for nearly one and a half hours, every one of the city’s 156 tornado sirens blared uncontrollably. The good news is that there were no tornados. The bad news is that this is yet another example of hackers infiltrating components of critical infrastructure. According to The Washington Post, this isn’t the first time Dallas’ critical infrastructure was breached (in 2016, someone hacked traffic lights, and hijacked road signs to splay spam messages. But it was definitely the loudest – and that may have been the point. Wired ventured to guess that perhaps this was a symbolic wake-up call, alerting us that it’s time to improve security.
BrickerBot Is Breaking the IoT
Of all the Internet of Things botnets to crop up in the past year, BrickerBot stands alone. BrickerBot malware corrupts a device’s storage to transform it into a permanent DDoS device, a tactic known as “bricking.” According to the gray-hat hacker who is responsible for crafting the source code (known only as janit0r), BrickerBot has already incapacitated 2 million IoT devices. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that janit0r appears to have created the malware for the same reason someone woke up 1.3 million Dallas residents: to raise awareness. Needless to say, we’re at attention. Remember what happened when Mirai’s source code became available a few months ago? If you need a refresher, click here.
Nearly 9,000 C&C Servers Identified in ASEAN Region
On April 24, Interpol discovered that approximately 8,800 servers had been infected with various forms of malware. These included strains that are used against financial institutions, ransomware and DDoS malware. According to Reuters, 270 websites based in the ASEAN region were found to have been infected with malware. Among them were government websites believed to have access to personally identifiable information. As of this writing, the story is late and breaking. We expect to hear more about it in the coming weeks.
F8 Developer Conference: What’s Next for AR and VR?
Last but not least, Facebook held its annual F8 conference this month in San Jose, California, and augmented and virtual reality were the belles of the ball. They talked about Facebook Spaces, a VR social network exclusively for Oculus Rift. Other highlights includes Facebook’s new “Camera Effects” platform, which like Snapchat, provides an AR experience for users. By and large, these are early iterations of the AR and VR. According to the Oculus Rift team, full AR and VR are five to 10 years in the making. Until then, though, we’ll just have to be content to use these devices for recreation purposes, like making sharks swim in circles around our cereal.