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Twitter Spear Phishing Attack Highlights Security Weaknesses Of Social Media – Forbes



On Friday, the FBI, IRS, U.S. Secret Service and Florida law enforcement arrested 17-year-old Graham Clark of Tampa, Florida and accused the teen of being the “mastermind” behind the largest security and privacy breach in Twitter’s history. Two other individuals were also charged by the U.S. Department of Justice including 22-year-old Nima Fazeli of Orlando, and 19-year-old Mason Sheppard in the UK according to a report from The Verge.

It was also only Friday that the micro-blogging service finally addressed some questions about this month’s unprecedented spear phishing attack, which allowed hackers to tweet from some of its most high-profile accounts.

“The social engineering that occurred on July 15, 2020, targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack,” Twitter announced via a blog post. “A successful attack required the attackers to obtain access to both our internal network as well as specific employee credentials that granted them access to our internal support tools. Not all of the employees that were initially targeted had permissions to use account management tools, but the attackers used their credentials to access our internal systems and gain information about our processes.”

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The social media company also admitted that a few of its employees were targeted in a phone spear phishing attack – potentially posing as colleagues or possibly members of the company’s security team.

The three hackers subsequently gained access to the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, tech visionary Elon Musk and musician Kanye West among others as part of a huge bitcoin scam.

“This situation highlights the importance of cybersecurity cultural awareness within an organization’s end-user community,” warned Bill Santos, President & COO, Cerberus Sentinel. “The reality is you are only secure as your most naive employee, and constant training, testing, and reinforcement are the single most important action an organization can take to defend itself against these kinds of attacks.”

Known Threat

What is especially upsetting about this particular case is that Mr. Clark had already been in the crosshairs of law enforcement, and that highlights the fact that cyber crime still isn’t being taken seriously enough.

“As we’re learning, one of the young men arrested today was previously investigated back in April, and the Secret Service previously took 700K bitcoin from him,” explained Chloé Messdaghi, VP of Strategy at Point3 Security

The current Covid-19 pandemic, which has many individuals working remotely as well as many companies understaffed, has created a perfect storm for such attacks.

“We’re in a time when people are generally overwhelmed and attackers know this and are actively exploiting it,” added Messdaghi.

“That’s why we’re seeing a rise in mobile phishing in particular,” she noted. “Think about it: now more than ever, if someone gets a text on their mobile from a boss who doesn’t usually reach out that way, they’re likely to chalk it up to the interoffice lines of communications that have been blurred and rewritten by the pandemic. And if an employee is then asked by someone purporting to be their boss with a message saying ‘we have a serious problem’ and to please call a helpdesk number immediately, they’re more likely to comply before thinking things through – again, because the pandemic has made people overwhelmed and eager to respond to security threats.”

Mobile Threats

It is also true that while we’ve all been taught about the dangers of unsolicited email and our desktop/laptop computers are loaded with anti-virus/anti-malware software, our mobile phones are open gateways for bad actors.

“On top of that, mobile is a much better way to phish someone versus laptop computing – studies say that even well informed users are three times more likely to fall for a phishing link on a small screen vs. a desktop, because it’s harder visually and logistically to double check a link,” said Messdaghi.

She laid out some common phishing-through-mobile approaches, which include SMS messages that warn of a security situation or ask the recipient to ‘click here to validate’; URL padding, where a bad actor takes a legitimate domain and adds malicious extensions onto it; malicious Tiny URLs that take the unsuspecting recipient to an insecure and dangerous site; and mobile verification code scams.

“There needs to be a lot more conversations about mobile phishing in particular, and any phishing really,” added Messdaghi. “Rule number one: Always question everything you get, including and especially anything from your employer.”

Social Being Targeted

In this most recent attack the hackers used the Twitter accounts as part of a rather simple bitcoin scam, but what is worrisome is that it could have been used to impact the stock market, discredit individuals during an election year or even cause an international incident.

While this latest exploit may have cost some individuals money, the situation could have been far worse. The accessed accounts could have provided untold personal information, including those of contacts, to the hackers.

“Social media platforms like any other online service are vulnerable to data compromise or account impersonation from multiple vectors,” explained Santos.

“Trusting information posted on social media without independent verification is subject to manipulation by attackers whether through hacking or disinformation campaigns,” Santos added.

Fortunately attackers went for the proverbial low-hanging fruit.

“Cyber criminals are typically after monetary scams like the fraudulent bitcoin related tweets sent out during the recent Twitter hack, but they also routinely compromise ordinary accounts and send out messages asking their contacts for money by claiming to be the victim stuck in a foreign country,” said Santos. “Nation states continuously bombard social media with disinformation campaigns to further their own interests, whether that be garnering support for preferred policy initiatives or inciting social unrest by stoking fear and hate. As a rule, you should question any information presented over social media and seek outside confirmation before sending money or blindly believing narratives presented, especially if they seem designed to be inflammatory or upsetting.”

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai calls for ‘patient’ democracy fight after release



Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai said on Thursday he was overwhelmed by the support he got after becoming the most high-profile person to be arrested under a new national security law and urged patience in a “long-term fight” for democracy.

Lai, a staunch supporter of the city’s democracy movement, was arrested on Monday on suspicion of collusion with foreign forces as police raided the offices of his Apple Daily tabloid.

He was released on bail early on Wednesday, and greeted by a throng of supporters chanting “fight till the end”.

In a #LiveChatWithJimmy video appearance on Twitter, Lai thanked his supporters and said their action showed the police raid was a “violation of Hong Kong people’s belief” in wide-ranging freedoms, which he likened to oxygen.

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“The oxygen is getting thin, and we are all choking, but when we’re choking we’re still taking care of each other and keep resisting and keep fighting for our rule of law and freedom,” he said.

Lai, who China sees as a “traitor”, was arrested under a new security law imposed by Beijing on June 30 in response to a year of pro-democracy unrest in the former British colony, which returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula aimed at preserving its autonomy.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, fuelled by fears Beijing has been eroding city freedoms, has enjoyed and sustained broad support in the city.

Lai said pro-democracy activists had to play a long game.

“We cannot be radical, we cannot confront them face-to-face because we’re just like an egg and they are a high wall,” he said.

“We have to flexible, and innovative and patient, but persist.”

The law punishes whatever China considers subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

Critics say the law brings semi-autonomous Hong Kong closer to mainland China’s authoritarianism, while its supporters say it will bring stability to the city and safeguard its prosperity.

Since Lai’s arrest people have been queuing up early in the morning to buy his Apple Daily, and many have also bought shares in Next Digital, Lai’s media company that publishes his newspaper, sparking a rally of more than 2,000% at its peak.

Lai called the rise in share price an “ephemeral phenomenon” and urged people “not to touch it”.



Source:- Global News

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The Counterintuitive Way Social Media Can Reduce Stress – Entrepreneur



12, 2020

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s no secret that staying off of social media can be good for you — personally, professionally and even physically. We need some time away from our devices to succeed in both our personal and professional lives.

The adverse impacts of social media have been widely discussed. So why does it remain such an important aspect of the way we do

A 2019 study from Lancaster University shows that people who are frequent users of social media might even be addicted to it. This remains true even when it causes them stress and creates obvious adverse effects. 

Related: 5 Things To Do To Advance Your Networking During the Crisis

Work-related social media use

This is particularly relevant to work-related social media use. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and more have become indispensable tools for business, especially with the rise in remote work due to the current health crisis. Entrepreneurs continue to invest in the system, considering it a necessary evil. And in one sense that’s correct: Consistent online engagement is essential for running a business, marketing yourself and staying current in your field. 

Of course, you don’t want to become addicted to social media, so it’s crucial to know when to log off. Still, social media use may actually help reduce its negative effects. When one aspect of a social media platform causes stress for a user, the user often attempts to de-stress by going to a different part of the platform. 

In short, our psychological instinct to simply switch gears within a social media platform may be the key to staying engaged while simultaneously mitigating stress levels. When one activity is stressing you out, trust your instinct and simply switch to another. 

If implemented correctly, this strategy has the potential to make your social media use more productive and efficient, and in the long term can help grow your company. Here are the two ways that you can shift your use of a social media platform so you don’t burn out.

Related: Keep These 7 Strategies in Mind as You Reopen Your Business

Switch from business to personal, and from personal to business

One of the best ways to use social media consistently and avoid is to switch off between business-related activity and more personal use. Time spent chatting with personal connections or even looking at silly memes may not only give you a much-needed break from the workday, but it can also surprisingly make you more productive. 

Here’s why: A constant, dogged pursuit of work tasks without a break may feel productive, but at some point, it’s just “busy.” For enhanced productivity, especially in deep work that requires extended focus, you need to take a break every now and again. A short social connection or a bit of levity can do wonders for both your attitude and your ability to focus. 

Taking a bit of time throughout the day to unwind on a social media platform can turbocharge your networking skills and connection-building. Forming those personal connections online could also be a first step to finding new employees, independent contractors and even potential partners. 

Personal use of social media on an intermittent basis between business exchanges also helps you to maintain connections you might otherwise lose. Even without in-depth direct , you can get a sense of what your peers are doing and whether or not it could relate to your business merely by sharing casual posts and information and responding to their content. 

Related: Why You Should Speed Up Your Digital Transformation During the Crisis

Maintaining connections is important on any social media platform, but it’s especially effective on LinkedIn. Maintain a personal approach and connect with anybody you know, whether it be an old boss, a college professor or even a childhood friend, no matter what their field or profession. 

In fact, connections outside of your industry might have different perspectives that can provide invaluable ideas and insights. An acquaintance or follower might be involved with something relevant to your business that you might never have known about otherwise. If so, you have the basis of a connection that will help you reach out directly. 

Switch off between advertising and networking

Taking time for personal social media can have surprising business-related benefits, but sometimes you need to stay focused on what will help your company grow. 

One of the predominant ways social media helps you in this mission is through paid social advertising, but perhaps not strictly in the traditional sense. Although direct outreach might help you procure new clients or customers, it can quickly become exhausting. Sometimes, it is actually more effective to build and maintain connections with people who already support you. If you’re feeling burnt out on creating content to build your brand, try private messaging with followers or chatting with them in the comments section.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

Direct public contact on social media transforms networking into advertising. That’s true whether you’re adding commentary to a mass post or publicly tweeting a response to somebody who has reached out to you. When communicating with loyal clients on a public platform, all interaction is visible and can attract new clientele if executed properly. 

While it is certainly not ideal to spend too much time on social media platforms, you can use these strategies and other ways of moving within a platform to stay productive without getting overwhelmed. If you find yourself feeling truly addicted, it might be time to log off and seek help. 

However, in moderation, social media is an effective way to grow and expand your reach. And especially now during the health crisis and shelter-in-place/remote work restrictions, social media can help you and your remote team feel more connected — with each other and the rest of the world.

Related: 5 Smart Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business in 2019


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Media mogul Sumner Redstone dies at 97 –



The elder Redstone’s battles with his own family were as dramatic as his corporate manoeuvrs. Son Brent Redstone once sued his father to break up his media empire — then settled for a princely sum to give up his voting shares.

A lanky man with a thick Boston accent, Redstone often told interviewers that “content is king.” And he was right. Despite sagging TV ratings at Viacom, his vast shareholdings in Viacom and CBS led Forbes magazine to estimate his net worth at $4.6 billion.

Besides being ruthless, Redstone was known for dogged determination. In 1979, he survived a fire at Boston’s Copley Plaza Hotel by gripping a third-floor window ledge with his right arm still inside. He suffered third-degree burns over half his body, his right wrist was nearly severed, and he was told he would never walk again. But he eventually recovered, and was even able to play tennis by strapping the racket to his wrist.

“I intend to live forever!” he told Upstart Business Journal in 2009.

Born in 1923 in Boston, Redstone was the oldest son of Michael and Belle Rothstein, who changed the family name to Redstone.

Redstone graduated first in his class from Boston Latin School in 1940 and completed his education at Harvard in less than three years. He was selected to work on an Army intelligence team during World War II that cracked Japan’s military codes.

After three years in the Army, he went to Harvard Law School and became a partner at a Washington law firm. He gave it up to join his father’s drive-in movie business in 1954. Redstone grew it into a major chain of multi-screen movie houses.

The privately held company became the base for his media empire, and the source of all his family’s feuds.

He made a killing by trading in the stocks of Hollywood studios and in 1987 — the year he turned 64 — bought Viacom in a hostile takeover for $3.4 billion, most of it borrowed, ousting founder Ralph Baruch as chairman.

Critics said that a cable network based on music videos was doomed, but Redstone disagreed and rebuffed efforts from the company’s bankers to unload the fledgling MTV. Instead, he expanded its reach, bringing it into Europe, Asia, Latin America and Russia.

Redstone next went after Paramount Pictures, a four-year process that ended with a friendly offer from Viacom for $10 billion in 1993. He scooped up the Blockbuster video rental chain for its then-healthy cash flow, not knowing then that videotape rentals would collapse.

Viacom then swallowed CBS Corp. for $34.5 billion in September 1999, then the largest media merger until the AOL-Time Warner union came months later.

The deal brought Redstone together with CBS chief Mel Karmazin, another tough-talking executive from humble origins. By June 2004, Karmazin was out, later to become head of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. CBS and Viacom were split into two public companies both under his control in 2006.

Another victim of Redstone’s rise: Tom Cruise, whose couch-jumping on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and embrace of Scientology led Redstone to cut short a deal with Cruise and his production company.

“We don’t think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 2006. The two later patched things up ahead of the making of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.”

By 2010, Redstone’s hand in the business became unwelcome. He shepherded onto TV a show featuring a scantily-clad girl group, the Electric Barbarellas, over protests from within. The day it aired, MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath resigned. Then he was scandalized further after reporter Peter Lauria made public a voicemail in which Redstone offered to bribe him to reveal the leaker of the story about his meddling.

Redstone was married and divorced twice — first to Phyllis Gloria Raphael, mother of his children — then to schoolteachers Paula Fortunato, a woman 39 years his junior.

In May 2015, he released a statement saying that after he dies, his ownership stakes in CBS and Viacom, through National Amusements, would be managed by a seven-person trust. The trust listed as trustees Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, daughter Shari, her son Tyler Korff and four lawyers. It is for the benefit of his five grandchildren.

Redstone kicked Dauman and board member George Abrams out of the trust in May amid legal squabbling.

In late 2015, former companion Manuela Herzer sued Redstone after he kicked her out of his estate. The suit revealed a strange, secluded life in his Beverly Park mansion that included frequent demands for sex and steak.

The suit alleged Redstone was hospitalized numerous times in 2014, leaving him with a feeding tube, catheter and severe speech impediments. Herzer described him as a “living ghost.” A judge rejected the suit, but Herzer continued to pursue legal action against Shari Redstone, alleging criminal racketeering.

Shari Redstone was locked in a legal battle to merge CBS and Viacom. In May 2018, she sued CBS for trying to strip her of control in a series of manoeuvrs orchestrated by CBS CEO Les Moonves, who opposed the merger because it would be detrimental to non-Redstone CBS shareholders.

Her aim was reportedly to re-unite the companies and then sell them off or merge them with a third company.

Moonves was fired by the board after The New Yorker reported on allegations that he assaulted multiple women; Moonves denied the reports.

CBS and Viacom agreed to merge in 2019, undoing the split Redstone carried out 13 years earlier. National Amusements gave unanimous approval to the deal, with Redstone among the directors voting in favour.


Business Writer Seth Sutel in New York contributed to this report.

The Associated Press

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