KW 6: Popular barcode scanner app infected by malware, State criminal office warns of fake parcel notifications, German Federal Criminal Office allegedly changed data on infected computers


Popular barcode scanner app infected by malware: Security researchers from „Malwarebytes“ have discovered that a popular barcode scanner app is infected with malware. The app in question, simply called Barcode Scanner, is developed by Lavabird Ltd. Per its title, it’s a free app that enables scanning of barcodes and QR codes. Then all of sudden, after an update in December, Barcode Scanner had gone from an innocent scanner to full on malware. The new update pushed to the app added lines of malicious code. The security firm discovered that this was a trojan, specifically Android/Trojan.HiddenAds.AdQR. The malicious code also used heavy obfuscation to avoid detection, the report adds.,

State criminal office warns of fake parcel notifications: People in Bavaria report that a new scam has been spreading this week, involving fake text messages regarding supposed parcel deliveries. Should a person open the text message and click on the attached link with the ending “”, malware can be loaded onto their smartphone. The Bavarian state criminal office’s IT emergency service, that people can call with such problems, was temporarily overloaded due to the large number of reports. The malware even allows criminals to take over the victim’s smartphone via remote control.

German Federal Criminal Office allegedly changed data on infected computers: At the end of January, investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) reported that they had smashed the infrastructure of „Emotet“, one of the world’s most dangerous malware. Research by now shows that the investigators changed data on 40,000 infected systems in the process. This would be a violation of the „fundamental right to guarantee the confidentiality and integrity of information technology systems“. The legal basis on which the state investigative authorities did this is unclear. At the request of, a spokesman for the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime said that the relevant judicial decisions had been obtained, but could not explain them „in order not to jeopardize the ongoing, internationally coordinated investigations“.

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Safer Internet Day 2021: Safer Internet Day (SID) is organized by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, each February to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people. Celebrated on the second day of the second week of the second month, each year on Safer Internet Day millions of people unite to inspire positive changes online, to raise awareness of online safety issues, and participate in events and activities right across the globe.

Hacker attack on water supply in Florida: A computer hacker gained access to the water system of a city in Florida and tried to pump in a dangerous amount of a chemical, officials say. The hacker briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide (lye) in Oldsmar’s water treatment system, but a worker spotted it and reversed the action. Lye is used in small amounts to control acidity but a large amount could have caused major problems in the water. No arrests have yet been made and it is not known if the hack was done from within the US or outside. A computer controlling Oldsmar’s water treatment system was remotely accessed on Friday.

Google launches database for open source vulnerabilities: Google last week announced the launch of OSV (Open Source Vulnerabilities), which the internet giant has described as a vulnerability database and triage infrastructure for open source projects. OSV should make it easier for the users of open source software to find out which vulnerabilities impact them. It can also help maintainers of open source software accurately identify all versions and commits impacted by a flaw across all their branches.

Security incident: Hackers steal source code from French IT security company and Airbus subsidiary
MacOS: Security gap in Sudo remains open for the time being
Education: Partnership between Check Point and Orange Cyberdefense
Abuse: Plex Media Server used to amplify DDoS attacks
Takeover: Swiss IT Security Group buys AV-Test from Magdeburg

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The annual “Human Risk Review 2021” of the cyber security company SoSafe has shown that up to 4 out of 5 recipients click on phishing emails related to Covid-19.


Challenges in analyzing cyber attacks: Following a cyber attack, what does a successful search for perpetrators look like? As a first step, security companies or authorities create possible groups of perpetrators. All known data is collected and linked to clusters based on technical similarities. Similarities can arise through the use of similar malware or control servers, but also attack methods or groups of victims. A new attack can be added to an existing cluster. From there, further classifications can be made in order to limit the potential perpetrators.

How micro-segmentation can limit damage: One of the most popular shields against cyber attacks is micro-segmentation. The approach followed is that sensitive IT systems are not protected most effectively by central, higher-level security systems, but rather by means of „micro-segmentation“ – that is, the division of the network into small pieces and units. The advantage of such an approach is obvious: In the event of a cyber attack on a network, the attack surface can be significantly reduced using micro-segmentation. If malware penetrates part of the IT infrastructure, the “sideways movement” of the malware can be effectively prevented – the damage from a cyber attack can thus be effectively limited.


„Changing the password makes sense if there was a security incident or it was too weak anyway. But just changing your password once a year out of regularity is nonsense.“
Sven Bugiel, head of the “Trustworthy Systems” research group at the Cispa Helmholtz Center for Information Security in Saarbrücken.

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Smartlife: Researchers find location trackers in 450 apps, Xiaomi and O2 expand their cooperation
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AI: ESA relies on AI systems in space, European research project uses AI to treat Covid patients
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Replying to phishing emails – the right way: The Prince of Nigeria is offering you a million dollar fortune? You won the lottery even though you didn’t buy a ticket? Eternal wealth is just a click away? All these are signs that you have probably been the victim of a phishing email. These should be ignored if you don’t want malware installed on your devices. Or you can use a bit of creativity to get back at the attempted fraudsters: With a little skill and caution, people have created very entertaining dialogues with internet scammers. The technical term is „scambaiting“. With an anonymous e-mail address, more and more people are making it their hobby to respond to fraudsters on the internet without getting involved in their scam. The motto is to steal time instead of data. A “scambaiting community” has existed for a long time, and has given itself fixed online rules for dealing safely with cyber criminals.

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