European Banking Authority (EBA) Microsoft Exchange Servers Hacked

Paris Looks to Charm London's Brexiles

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has confirmed it has fallen victim to the ongoing Microsoft Exchange attacks.

With a total of four highly valuable zero-day exploits, previously unreported vulnerabilities that give cybercriminals a head start in any attack campaign, the attacks against on-premises Microsoft Exchange servers were always going to be a big deal. Those initial attacks, which prompted Microsoft to publish an emergency out-of-band security update, were attributed to a nation state-sponsored group identified as HAFNIUM. The nation in question is China. However, Microsoft has now confirmed that it “continues to see increased use of these vulnerabilities in attacks targeting unpatched systems by multiple malicious actors beyond HAFNIUM.”

As I reported on March 6, credible sources were suggesting that the attacks against vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers were thought to have compromised ‘hundreds of thousands’ of servers, more than 30,000 in the U.S. alone.

One of those attacked outside of the U.S. was the European Union’s banking regulator, the European Banking Authority. On March 7, the EBA issued a statement confirming that it had “been the subject of a cyber-attack against its Microsoft Exchange Servers.”

While stating that a full investigation was underway, the EBA went on to add: “As the vulnerability is related to the EBA’s email servers, access to personal data through emails held on that servers may have been obtained by the attacker. The EBA is working to identify what, if any, data was accessed. Where appropriate, the EBA will provide information on measures that data subjects might take to mitigate possible adverse effects. As a precautionary measure, the EBA has decided to take its email systems offline. Further information will be made available in due course.”

Further information was, indeed, made available by way of an update on March 8. “The EBA investigation is still ongoing and we are deploying additional security measures and close monitoring in view of restoring the full functionality of the email servers,” it read. “At this stage, the EBA email infrastructure has been secured and our analyses suggest that no data extraction has been performed and we have no indication to think that the breach has gone beyond our email servers.”

“The exploitation of the 0days in question required some specific conditions and thus raises questions what exactly happened at the EBA,” Ilia Kolochenko, chief architect at ImmuniWeb, said. “Another key question is when exactly the EBA was compromised?” Kolochenko points out that if the intrusion happened after the disclosure but prior to the emergency patch, the vulnerable systems should have been immediately disconnected to prevent exploitation in the wild. “The EBA is likely not the last victim of this hacking campaign,” he warns, “and more public authorities may disclosure incidents stemming from exploitation of the same vulnerabilities.”

I have approached the EBA for further comment.

Meanwhile, Mark Bower, a senior vice-president at comforte AG, said that “the capacity for attackers to extract sensitive data from emails, spreadsheets in mailboxes, insecure credentials in messages, as well as attached servers presents an advanced and persistent threat with multiple dimensions.”

Although it should be reiterated that, at this point in the investigation, the EBA is saying that “no data extraction has been performed and we have no indication to think that the breach has gone beyond our email servers.” Bower, like Kolochenko, warns that more incidents will be reported. “Affected entities and their supply chain partners will see a persistent secondary impact as a result over a long period of time,” he said.

I’ll leave the final word to John Hultquist, vice-president of analysis with Mandiant Threat Intelligence. “Though broad exploitation of the Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities has already begun, many targeted organizations may have more to lose as this capability spreads to the hands of criminal actors who are willing to extort organizations and disrupt systems.

The cyber espionage operators who have had access to this exploit for some time, aren’t likely to be interested in the vast majority of the small and medium organizations. Though they appear to be exploiting organizations in masses, this effort could allow them to select targets of the greatest intelligence value.”

Update March 9

The EBA has now published a third update, which I reprint here in full:

“The European Banking Authority (EBA) has established that the scope of the event caused by the recently widely notified vulnerabilities was limited and that the confidentiality of the EBA systems and data has not been compromised.

Thanks to the precautionary measures taken, the EBA has managed to remove the existing threat and its email communication services have, therefore, been restored.

Since it became aware of the vulnerabilities, the EBA has taken a proactive approach and carried out a thorough assessment to appropriately and effectively detect any network intrusion that could compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of its systems and data.

The analysis was carried out by the EBA in close collaboration with the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) for the EU institutions, agencies and bodies, the EBA’s ICT providers, a team of forensic experts and other relevant entities.”

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at if you have a story to reveal or research to share.

Source: European Banking Authority (EBA) Microsoft Exchange Servers Hacked



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Windows 10 Users Beware New Hacker Attack Confirmed By Google, Microsoft

As Microsoft confirms a Google-disclosed and unpatched zero-day vulnerability is being targeted by attackers right now, here’s what you need to know.

Microsoft has confirmed that an unpatched ‘zero-day’ vulnerability in the Windows operating system, affecting every version from Windows 7 through to Windows 10, is being actively targeted. Microsoft was first informed of the vulnerability by Google’s Project Zero team, a dedicated unit comprised of leading vulnerability hunters, which tracks down these so-called zero-day security bugs.

Because Project Zero had identified that the security problem was being actively exploited in the wild by attackers, it gave Microsoft a deadline of just seven days to fix it before disclosure. Microsoft failed to issue a security patch within that hugely restrictive timeframe, and Google went ahead and published details of the zero-day vulnerability, which is tracked as CVE-2020-17087.

The bug itself sits within the Windows Kernel Cryptography Driver, known as cng.sys, and could allow an attacker to escalate the privileges they have when accessing a Windows machine. The full technical detail can be found within the Google Project Zero disclosure, but slightly more simply put, it’s a memory buffer-overflow problem that could give an attacker admin-level control of the targeted Windows computer. Recommended For You

While attackers are known to be actively targeting Windows systems right now, that doesn’t mean your system is going down. Firstly, I should point out that, according to a confirmation from Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, the attackers spotted exploiting the vulnerability are not targeting any U.S. election-related systems at this point. That’s good news, and there’s more.

While Microsoft has confirmed that the reported attack is real, it also suggests that it is limited in scope being targeted in nature. This is not, at least as of yet, a widespread broad-sweep exploit. Microsoft says that it has no evidence of any indication of widespread exploits.

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Then there’s the attack itself which requires two vulnerabilities to be chained together for a successful exploit to happen. One of them has already been patched. That was a browser-based vulnerability, CVE-2020-15999, in Chrome browsers, including Microsoft Edge. As long as your browser is up to date, you are protected. Microsoft Edge was updated on October 22 while Google Chrome was updated on October 20.

There are no known other attack chains for the Windows vulnerability at this point. Which doesn’t mean your machine is 100% safe, as an attacker with access to an already compromised system could still exploit it. However, it does mean there’s no need to hit the panic button, truth be told. Microsoft has also confirmed that the vulnerability cannot be exploited to affect cryptographic functionality.

I reached out to Microsoft, and a spokesperson told me that “Microsoft has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and update impacted devices to protect customers.”

As for that seven-day disclosure deadline from the Google Project Zero team, the Microsoft spokesperson said that “while we work to meet all researchers’ deadlines for disclosures, including short-term deadlines like in this scenario, developing a security update is a balance between timeliness and quality, and our ultimate goal is to help ensure maximum customer protection with minimal customer disruption.”

Although Microsoft has not commented on the likely timing of a security patch to prevent exploitation of this Windows vulnerability, the Project Zero technical lead, Ben Hawkes, has tweeted that it is expected as part of the Patch Tuesday updates on November 10.

How big a threat is this to your average Windows user? That remains to be seen, but currently I’d classify it as a be aware but don’t panic situation. Hang-fire, ensure your web browsers are bang up to date, and you should be fine. There are far more significant risks to your data than this zero-day attack, in my never humble opinion. Risks such as phishing in all forms, password reuse, lack of two-factor authentication and software that isn’t kept up to date with security patches.

MORE FROM FORBESHacker Uploads Own Fingerprints To Crime Scene In Dumbest Cyber Attack EverBy Davey Winder Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website

Davey Winder

Davey Winder

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at if you have a story to reveal or research to share.



Business News

As Microsoft confirms a Google-disclosed and unpatched zero-day vulnerability is being targeted by attackers right now, here’s what you need to know. Microsoft has confirmed that an unpatched ‘zero-day’ vulnerability in the Windows operating system, affecting every version from Windows 7 through to Windows 10, is being actively targeted. Microsoft was first informed of the vulnerability by Google’s Project Zero team, a dedicated unit comprised of leading vulnerability hunters, which tracks down these so-called zero-day security bugs. Because Project Zero had identified that the security problem was being actively exploited in the wild by attackers, it gave Microsoft a deadline of just seven days to fix it before disclosure.

Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: Find CNBC News on Facebook: Follow CNBC News on Twitter: Follow CNBC News on Google+: Follow CNBC News on Instagram:

#vulnerability #newsupdate #newstodayheadlines #newsworldnow #newstodaybbc #newstodayoncnn #newstodayusa

A Business Leader’s beginner Guide to Cybersecurity

According to Statista, there are about 4.57 billion active internet users globally as of July 2020. This number is great for businesses, especially those that are powered by the digital economy.

As businesses continue to embrace the tech age as well as the opportunities that come with it, the presence of cybercriminals is increasing, too. The activities of these criminals cannot be ignored, as they are capable of crashing any business. Business leaders who wish to remain in business must pay better attention to cybersecurity.

Related: The Real Cost of a Data Breach for Your Brand (and How to Best Protect Yourself)

Whilst there is no definitive solution to what is seen as the biggest threat to modern businesses – cybercrime — business owners like you can take advantage of available cybersecurity solutions and knowledge to protect your business and its digital assets. Below are three things to help you get started:

1. Get everyone involved

The days when cybersecurity was seen as just the job for the IT team are over. Business leaders all over the world are realizing this and you need to do the same.

In a Harvard Business Review, cybersecurity experts Thomas J. Parenty and Jack J. Domet insist that no amount of technology, resources, or policies will reverse the trend that has seen cybercrimes rise. “Only sound governance, originating with the board, can turn the tide. Protection against cyberattacks can’t be treated as a problem solely belonging to an IT or cybersecurity department. It needs to cast a wide and impenetrable net that covers everything an organization does–from its business operations, models, and strategies to its products and intellectual property.”

Related: Why IT Security Will be a Prime Concern for Businesses in the Next Decade

A cyberattack can occur when an innocent employee clicks a malicious link from a device belonging to the business. The drill has to affect the least person associated with the business. There is a real threat out there, your business and her assets are at stake. Everyone in your business needs to understand this as much as you do.

2. Develop a policy on cybersecurity

Preaching about the importance of cybersecurity alone may not get the job done, a policy that spells out your business’ protocols with regards to cybersecurity is necessary. A cybersecurity policy sets the standards of behavior for activities such as the encryption of email attachments and restrictions on the use of social media.

Non-IT employees are usually the weakest links in cybersecurity efforts. These employees typically share passwords, click on links, download attachments, with little knowledge about encrypting data. All of these open the door to cyberattacks and can comprise the security of your business.

Setting up a policy on cybersecurity would help your employees and third parties with access to your digital assets understand how to keep your data secured and safe from the prying eyes of cybercriminals. You must take responsibility for creating a culture that prioritizes security; this would enhance the credibility status of your business.

Related: Why Small Businesses Must Deal With Emerging Cybersecurity Threats

According to FCC, adhering to the following tips would help to ensure the security of your business and her digital assets:

  1. Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks
  2. Create a mobile device action plan
  3. Make backup copies of essential business data and information.
  4. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
  5. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
  6. Employ best practices on payment cards
  7. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
  8. Passwords and authentication

Setting up a policy on cybersecurity for your business might seem like another tedious task or process to execute, but the benefits outweigh the cost: do it now!

3. Get a trusted Virtual Private Network (VPN)

The risks of going online are enormous. The reality is this: if you are not online then cybercriminals stand no chance with you. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a tool that allows you to interact with the internet anonymously, thereby drastically reducing your exposure to cybercrimes.

With leading VPN providers like Express VPN, Nord VPN, and Switcherry offering unlimited speed, unlimited Bandwith, and free servers in the US help individuals and businesses tackle the prevalent cyber threats and keep their digital assets free from prying eyes by providing a secure connection from all types of tracking.

Cybersecurity is necessary for the survival of your business in the world of today. Get started on your journey to cybersecurity with the vital tips shared in this post.

By: James Jorner / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Fake Accounts Are Constantly Manipulating What You See on Social Media Here’s How


Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram started out as a way to connect with friends, family and people of interest. But anyone on social media these days knows it’s increasingly a divisive landscape.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard reports that hackers and even foreign governments are using social media to manipulate and attack you. You may wonder how that is possible. As a professor of computer science who researches social media and security, I can explain – and offer some ideas for what you can do about it.

Bots and sock puppets

Social media platforms don’t simply feed you the posts from the accounts you follow. They use algorithms to curate what you see based in part on “likes” or “votes.”

A post is shown to some users, and the more those people react – positively or negatively – the more it will be highlighted to others. Sadly, lies and extreme content often garner more reactions and so spread quickly and widely.

But who is doing this “voting”? Often it’s an army of accounts, called bots, that do not correspond to real people. In fact, they’re controlled by hackers, often on the other side of the world. For example, researchers have reported that more than half of the Twitter accounts discussing COVID-19 are bots.

Fake accounts like this are called “sock puppets” – suggesting a hidden hand speaking through another identity. In many cases, this deception can easily be revealed with a look at the account history. But in some cases, there is a big investment in making sock puppet accounts seem real.

For example, Jenna Abrams, an account with 70,000 followers, was quoted by mainstream media outlets like The New York Times for her xenophobic and far-right opinions, but was actually an invention controlled by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian government-funded troll farm and not a living, breathing person.

Sowing chaos

Trolls often don’t care about the issues as much as they care about creating division and distrust. For example, researchers in 2018 concluded that some of the most influential accounts on both sides of divisive issues, like Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, were controlled by troll farms.

More than just fanning disagreement, trolls want to encourage a belief that truth no longer exists. Divide and conquer. Distrust anyone who might serve as a leader or trusted voice. Cut off the head. Demoralize. Confuse. Each of these is a devastating attack strategy.

Even as a social media researcher, I underestimate the degree to which my opinion is shaped by these attacks. I think I am smart enough to read what I want, discard the rest and step away unscathed.

Still, when I see a post that has millions of likes, part of me thinks it must reflect public opinion. The social media feeds I see are affected by it and, what’s more, I am affected by the opinions of my real friends, who are also influenced.

The entire society is being subtly manipulated to believe they are on opposite sides of many issues when legitimate common ground exists.

I have focused primarily on US-based examples, but the same types of attacks are playing out around the world. By turning the voices of democracies against each other, authoritarian regimes may begin to look preferable to chaos.

Platforms have been slow to act. Sadly, misinformation and disinformation drives usage and is good for business.

Failure to act has often been justified with concerns about freedom of speech. Does freedom of speech include the right to create 100,000 fake accounts with the express purpose of spreading lies, division and chaos?

Taking control

So what can you do about it? You probably already know to check the sources and dates of what you read and forward, but common-sense media literacy advice is not enough.

First, use social media more deliberately. Choose to catch up with someone in particular, rather than consuming only the default feed.

You might be amazed to see what you’ve been missing. Help your friends and family find your posts by using features like pinning key messages to the top of your feed.

Second, pressure social media platforms to remove accounts with clear signs of automation. Ask for more controls to manage what you see and which posts are amplified. Ask for more transparency in how posts are promoted and who is placing ads. For example, complain directly about the Facebook news feed here or tell legislators about your concerns.

Third, be aware of the trolls’ favorite issues and be skeptical of them. They may be most interested in creating chaos, but they also show clear preferences on some issues.

For example, trolls want to reopen economies quickly without real management to flatten the COVID-19 curve. They also clearly supported one of the 2016 US presidential candidates over the other. It’s worth asking yourself how these positions might be good for Russian trolls, but bad for you and your family.

Perhaps most importantly, use social media sparingly, like any other addictive, toxic substance, and invest in more real-life community building conversations. Listen to real people, real stories and real opinions, and build from there. The Conversation

By: Jeanna Matthews, Full Professor, Computer Science, Clarkson University



Anonymous Hackers Target TikTok


This has been a week that TikTok—the Chinese viral video giant that has soared under lockdown—will want to put quickly behind it. The ByteDance-owned platform was under fire anyway, over allegations of data mishandling and censorship, but then a beta version of Apple’s iOS 14 caught the app secretly accessing users’ clipboards and a backlash immediately followed.

Whether India had always planned to announce its ban on TikTok, along with 58 other Chinese apps, on June 29, or was prompted by the viral response to the iOS security issue is not known. But, as things stand, TikTok has been pulled from the App Store and Play Store in India, its largest market, and has seen similar protests from users in other major markets around the world, including the U.S.

One of the more unusual groups campaigning against TikTok is the newly awakened Anonymous hactivist group. As ever with Anonymous, it’s difficult to attribute anything to the non-existent central core of this loosely affiliated hacker collective, but one of the better followed Twitter accounts ostensibly linked to the group has been mounting a fierce campaign against TikTok for several weeks, one that has now gained prominence given the events of the last few days.

The account linked to a story that has been doing the rounds in recent days, following a Reddit post from an engineer who claimed to have “reverse engineered” TikTok to find a litany of security and privacy abuses. There has been no confirmation yet as to the veracity of these allegations, and TikTok did not provide any comment on the claims when I approached them.

The original issue that prompted Anonymous to target TikTok appears to be the “misrepresentation” of Anonymous on TikTok itself, with the setting up of an account. “Anonymous has no TikTok account,” the same Twitter account tweeted on June 6, “that is an App created as spyware by the Chinese government.”

Those affiliated with Anonymous take exception to copycat accounts, which is complicated by the lack of any central function. In the aftermath of the Minneapolis Police story, someone affiliated with the group took exception to a Twitter account that was monetising the brand, telling me: “We do not appreciate false flag impersonations. There will be consequences.”

This has now become an interesting collision of two completely different viral stories in their own right. Anonymous hit the headlines a month ago, when the “group” seemed to mount a comeback in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. A video posted on Facebook threatened to “expose the many crimes” of the Minneapolis Police unless the officers responsible were held to account.

There have been various stories since then, with reports of DDoS attacks on police service websites, the hacking of data and even the compromise of radio systems. But, as ever, with Anonymous, it is always critical to remember that you are seeing that loose affiliation of like-minded individuals, with Anonymous used as a rallying cry and an umbrella for claims and counter-claims. Attribution, as such, is not possible.

This also puts TikTok in the somewhat unique position of having united various governments, including the U.S., and Anonymous behind the same cause.

For TikTok, whether there is any hacking risk following these social media posts we will have to wait and see. Again, you have to remember the way this works. A rallying call has gone out to like-minded hacking communities worldwide. A target has been named and shamed. It would not be a surprise if claims of hacks or DDoS website attacks followed. That’s the patten now.

So, why does this matter? Well, it’s one thing for the U.S. government or even the Indian government to warn hundreds of millions of users about the dangers of TikTok, but various celebrities and influencers have also been swayed by the latest claims and have publicly expressed their concerns. Anonymous is a viral movement that is targeting some of the same user base that has driven TikTok’s growth. It is campaigning against TikTok, and that campaign will drive its own viral message.

And while until now that user base has remained steadfastly resilient to any of those warnings, sticking with the video sharing app in droves, you can start to get the feeling now that come of this might stick. It’s subtle, and it’s always risky to judge the world by the twitter-sphere, but there’s a change now in the wind.

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I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers—developing advanced surveillance solutions for defence, national security and counter-terrorism. I write about the intersection of geopolitics and cybersecurity, and analyze breaking security and surveillance stories. Contact me at



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FCC Calls Chinese Telecom Giants Huawei, ZTE Threats To National Security


The Federal Communications Commission has officially designated Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE as threats to U.S. communications networks, claiming the companies have close ties to the Chinese government and its military services.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai noted that the two telecom equipment makers posed a risk to America’s 5G future “based on the overwhelming weight of evidence.”

Pai added that both companies are “broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services.”As a result of the order, U.S. telecom companies cannot use the FCC’s $8.3 billion subsidy fund to purchase any equipment made by the two companies.


The move is likely to affect rural network providers who rely on the FCC’s subsidies and have purchased equipment from the Chinese makers in the past, as it can be cheaper than ones built by European companies like Ericsson and Nokia.

In May, the agency had invited public comments on how it could reimburse carriers who chose to remove and replace existing Huawei and ZTE products in their networks.


Critical Quote

“We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” FCC Chairman Pai said in a press release.

Key Background

The FCC had voted unanimously last year to prevent telecom equipment makers it deemed to be threats from receiving money from its Universal Service Fund, which is earmarked for expanding internet access to underserved regions of the country. The Trump administration has pushed countries around the world to not use network equipment from Chinese manufacturers in their next-generation 5G wireless networks. Following pressure from Washington, the U.K. government on Tuesday indicated that it would reconsider its decision to allow Huawei to supply 5G technology to the country.

Following the U.K. government’s initial decision in February, Attorney General William Barr had suggested that the U.S. should consider acquiring a controlling stake in European telecom equipment makers Nokia and Ericsson to “blunt” Huawei’s “drive to domination.” Later in February, the U.S. Senate had voted unanimously to pass a bill that banned the purchase of telecom equipment from Chinese manufactures like Huawei and ZTE. The bill, which was signed and enacted by the President in March, also included $1 billion in funding to help rural telecom providers “rip and replace” existing equipment from the Chinese manufacturers.

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I am a Breaking News Reporter at Forbes, with a focus on covering important daily news stories, tech policy and digital media platforms. Graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Business and Economics Journalism in 2019. Worked as a journalist in New Delhi, India from 2014 to 2018. Have a news tip? DMs are open on Twitter @SiladityaRay.


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Why Traditional Identity Verification Methods Are On Their Way Out


When was the last time you provided your mother’s maiden name, or perhaps the name of your first pet, to prove your identity to access an online account? Probably not that long ago. This type of online identity verification, known as knowledge-based authentication, is little more than a speed bump to the modern fraudster. More modern methods, such as SMS-based two-factor authentication, also have their own set of vulnerabilities that today’s cybercriminals can exploit.

Simple social media searches can reveal the answers to supposed secret questions used by KBA solutions and the 4- and 6-digit codes from SMS-based 2FA can be intercepted. Because cybercrime and the dark web have evolved and become far more sophisticated, traditional forms of authentication that were once effective can no longer reliably ensure that the person logging into their online account is the actual account owner.

Hitting the headlines

In many cases fraudsters don’t even need to comb your Facebook account or intercept your text verification code for your personal information — they often already have it. This is because of massive data breaches that have sent millions of sets of personal data spilling into the ether. Names, usernames, passwords, telephone numbers, dates of birth and security answers — cyberspace is awash with it.

Data breaches happen on a near-daily basis and include global names like Yahoo!, Facebook, Quora, and Marriott/Starwood. One recent example is a December 2019 Microsoft data breach that exposed 250 million customer records — that’s a quarter of a billion people impacted by just one data breach alone.

Even in the GDPR era, these breaches are coming at a rapid-fire pace, and it’s therefore vital that we move away from traditional identity verification methods. This is where facial biometrics need to be considered as a safe and secure alternative for accessing accounts and verifying certain transactions or activities online.

Out with the old

None of the traditional methods of identity verification come without weakness and the risks are far more widespread than you think — including methods you might have considered sophisticated not so long ago. This is indicative of the speed of tech innovation and the evolving nature of online fraud, which underlines the current lack of innovative security methods.

Password-based logins are problematic because passwords are easily forgotten and inherently insecure. Out-of-Band or SMS-based 2FA also continues to be a common form of authentication, but hackers are able to easily intercept the 4- and 6-digit SMS codes via the SS7 telecommunication protocol network, or through phishing attacks.

Token-based authentication is also failing to meet the mark as a modern form of verification. An obvious drawback is that tokens must be carried at all times and are non-transferable — a characteristic that’s outdated in today’s user experience-focused world. There is also the simple weak point that tokens or fobs can be lost or stolen, presenting a further argument for more secure methods, such as biometric authentication.

Despite this, biometrics are not necessarily a silver bullet solution. Innovative fraudsters are now capable of deploying spoofing techniques, sophisticated enough to beat many kinds of biometric security once deemed robust. However, liveness detection in tandem with facial biometrics is presenting a very real solution to the problem, and with the help of Apple’s Face ID, millions of people are more familiar and comfortable with the process of using your face as a security measure.

The new dawn

The sun may be setting on the wide range of traditional verification methods that no longer cut it, but this doesn’t leave us alone in the dark. Providers of innovative identity proofing and authentication are bringing about a step change for businesses across the industrial spectrum. Using cutting-edge AI and video selfie technology, the identity of the user accessing the associated account can be linked — this is a glimpse into the future of online identity verification.

This powerful technology is available today, and it’s reliable and fast enough to eliminate variables that would once have skewed results and enabled hackers to gain access. For example, weight loss and weight gain, wearing glasses or the loss or growth of facial hair have previously been changing factors that have disrupted less sophisticated tools.

The technology’s power to restore confidence, safety and successfully analyse variables are not the only trailblazing characteristics. It will also clear a path for innovation across a range of industries. To bring this to life, it could allow you to confirm your identity in a range of situations where necessary, from checking into a hotel room you’d booked, or unlocking the keys to a car you had rented using just your selfie. It even unlocks the possibility of doing away with passwords all together. In terms of evolution, the process will take a few mere seconds to complete and will require nothing more than a smartphone, relegating the need to remember tens or hundreds of passwords to a thing of the past.

The vital need for this security enhancement is being realised by leading companies, from industries like financial services, healthcare, travel, entertainment and gaming. Modern businesses are understanding that in light of cybercrime, the dark web and the global nature of online fraud, they need to dispense with traditional, insecure and unreliable methods of authentication, and adopt modern biometric-based methods.

Philipp facilitates Jumio’s product strategy and, with his team, turns visions into products. Prior to Jumio, Philipp was responsible for paysafecard, Europe’s most popular prepaid solution for online purchases.



A Hotbed for the Virus..What Travelers Experienced Returning From Europe to Overwhelmed U.S. Airports

Eric DiMarzio and his fiancé returned home to Houston after a one-week vacation in Iceland. They were only supposed to be at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for a one-hour layover.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he would suspend all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days to prevent the rising spread of the new coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The ban did not apply to U.S. citizens and it prompted a stampede of Americans out of the continent. Those returning would be subject to “enhanced” health screenings, however.

DiMarzio and his fiancé were waiting in line, along with what they estimated as a “few thousand” others, for hours at the Chicago airport on Saturday. They stood alongside couples with infants, college students traveling back from disrupted study abroad programs and elderly people, who are particularly high-risk for COVID-19. About 3,000 Americans returning from Europe were stuck for hours inside the customs area at O’Hare International Airport on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Return flights from Europe were being funneled through 13 airports in the U.S.

“Just being around that many different people in that close quarters was worrying,” DiMarzio tells TIME, adding that he and his fiancé, both 31, were at the airport from about 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. One older woman who appeared to be tired kept almost falling asleep as the line kept trudging along slowly, he added.

Travelers across American airports have raised concerns this weekend that the screenings designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, may actually be making the disease more likely to spread as passengers are crammed in with people from different flights and countries as they make their way through long, winding lines. These packed spaces run counter to federal COVID-19 guidelines that recommend “social distancing” and avoiding large gatherings of people. The virus typically spreads between people who are in close contact — within about six feet of each other — through respiratory droplets that are produced when a person coughs or sneezes.

As situations at airports grew more concerning, some state officials blasted the federal government for allowing the build up of big crowds. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was quick to criticize the Trump administration for the long lines at O’Hare and sent out a series of frustrated tweets on Saturday night, saying that “The federal government needs to get its s@#t together. NOW.”

On Sunday, Pritzker said that federal officials told him U.S. Customs and Border Patrol would be increasing staff at O’Hare today.

But passengers who had to deal with earlier crowds wonder if the experience may have increased the possibility of exposure. DiMarzio said in a Facebook post that “if there was someone with coronavirus on any of the international flights that arrived today, you could not plan a better way of exposing them to as many people as possible.” He wrote that he was kept in a customs room with thousands of other international travelers for four hours and the the line was “shuffled so many times” that “we frequently found ourselves beside more and more different travelers from different flights.”

DiMarzio and his fiancé missed a connecting flight from Chicago to Texas and ended up having to pay for a hotel out-of-pocket.

He told TIME he didn’t mind the long wait time if it helped contain the disease but worried that the cramped lines could have led to the spread of the coronavirus. “If (waiting) is the part that we have to play in all of this to lower the impact of this disease, then we’re happy to do our part,” DiMarzio said. “We just hope that something like this didn’t make things worse,” he added. DiMarzio says he hoped that “lessons are learned quickly” and that “the consequences from this weekend are not any bigger than just an inconvenienced day of travel for us.”

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was also packed with long lines this weekend and even those who flew back from outside Europe were caught in the crowd.

“There was total confusion. It was chaos,” Nasreen Zeb told TIME. Zeb is a Dallas resident who identified her age as “above 50” and had just flown back from Pakistan. She said it took about five hours from the moment she exited the plane until when she got her luggage and that she and other travelers were not offered food or water.

Zeb wore a mask but said she was still nervous being within less one foot of other travelers, which included elderly people and young babies crying. She was also “shocked” that no one took her temperature before she went home.

College students whose study abroad programs were abruptly cut short were also among those stuck in O’Hare’s long lines. Sophie Bair, a 19-year-old Columbia University student who was studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam told TIME she booked a flight for Saturday, “not knowing how crazy it would be.” She spent more than four hours standing in lines. “It was concerning being around that many people,” Bair said but notes that she was less worried about herself as she is young and more worried about older travelers.

Tim Clancy, a 20-year-old University of Southern California student was studying abroad in Greece and flew back to the U.S. on Saturday morning.

Clancy said the lines at O’Hare “snaked around” and in some areas it would be a “huge clump of people together so i just felt like it was a hotbed for the virus to travel around.”

“I was more nervous that I contracted coronavirus in the span of getting on the flight and going through customs than I did through my entire time in Greece,” Clancy said.Clancy’s mother tweeted that “if he’s not sick now, odds are he will be soon.”

Clancy is now back home in Madison, Wisc., with his parents and sister but he is staying isolated from them in a guesthouse for the time-being.

By Sanya Mansoor March 15, 2020

Source: ‘A Hotbed for the Virus.’ What Travelers Experienced Returning From Europe to Overwhelmed U.S. Airports

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A day before the Europe travel ban went into effect, passengers arriving to Dulles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport describe their anxiety and travel woes. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube: Follow us: Twitter: Instagram:… Facebook:
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