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Hackers, Phone Carriers Charged for SIM-hacking Scam

The alleged hackers face several fraud and identity theft charges, while the phone company employees have been charged with wire fraud and each could face decades in prison if convicted

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Representational image.

In an alleged SIM-hacking scam in the US, a group of nine people have been charged for stealing cryptocurrencies from people and earning a total of $2.4 million by bribing or tricking mobile phone carriers into transferring a phone number into a new SIM card.

In an unsealed indictment, prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan claimed that six of the people, living across the US and Ireland, were members of a group called “The Community”, The Verge reported on Saturday.

Usually, such cyber-fraud cases involve taking control of a victim’s cryptocurrency wallet, giving a hacker access to the funds and “The Community” allegedly used this technique seven times to steal cryptocurrency.

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The hackers, whose identity is still unknown whether they are an independent group or nation-state actors, used public exploits, indicating that “many of the websites they hit weren’t up-to-date and had outdated plugins”. Pixabay

In a separate complaint, prosecutors have also charged three undisclosed mobile phone company operators with accepting bribes as part of the crime, the report said.

With access to the phone numbers, scammers were able to bypass security measures like two-factor authentication, that gave them control over the linked accounts of the victims.

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The alleged hackers face several fraud and identity theft charges, while the phone company employees have been charged with wire fraud and each could face decades in prison if convicted, the report noted. (IANS)

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Microsoft Works To Fix Security Bug Issue in Internet Explorer

The vulnerability was found in how Internet Explorer handles memory

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Overall, Microsoft said all supported versions of Windows are affected by the flaw, including Windows 7, which after this week will no longer receive security updates. Pixabay

 Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers and it is working on a fix, to be released at a later date.

The vulnerability was first reported by US Homeland Security on Friday evening, although the issue is not limited to American devices. Overall, Microsoft said all supported versions of Windows are affected by the flaw, including Windows 7, which after this week will no longer receive security updates.

The vulnerability was found in how Internet Explorer handles memory. An attacker could use the flaw to remotely run malicious code on an affected computer, such as tricking a user into opening a malicious website from a search query or a link sent by email, TechCrunch reported recently.

“The company is only aware of limited targeted attacks for which it is already working on a fix,” the report quoted a Microsoft spokesperson. The tech giant assigned the bug with a common vulnerability identifier, CVE-2020-0674, but specific details of the bug have yet to be released.

Qihoo 360, a China-based security research team helped Microsoft in finding this flaw and it is believed to be a similar vulnerability as one disclosed by Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser.

As per report, neither Qihoo, Microsoft, nor Mozilla said how attackers were exploiting the bug, who the attackers were, or who was being targeted. Microsoft assigned the bug with a common vulnerability identifier, CVE-2020-0674, but specific details of the bug have yet to be released.

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Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers and it is working on a fix, to be released at a later date. Pixabay

Additionally, according to information gathered by PreciseSecurity.com, Microsoft Office products were the most commonly exploited by cybercriminals around the world and nearly 73 per cent of cyber exploits were performed in MS Office products in the third quarter of 2019.

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MS Office products were followed by Browsers with 13.47 per cent of the total number of exploits by cybercriminals, Android with 9.09 per cent, Java with 2.36 per cent, Adobe Flash with 1.57 per cent and PDF with 0.66 per cent. (IANS)