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The Weekly Briefing - 05/21

Apple Warns of Three iOS Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Apple on Tuesday released updates for iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS with fixes for three security vulnerabilities that it says may have been actively exploited in the wild.

Reported by an anonymous researcher, the three zero-day flaws — CVE-2021-1782, CVE-2021-1870, and CVE-2021-1871 — could have allowed an attacker to elevate privileges and achieve remote code execution.

The iPhone maker did not disclose how widespread the attack was or reveal the identities of the attackers actively exploiting them.

While exact details of the exploit leveraging the flaws are unlikely to be made public until the patches have been widely applied, it wouldn't be a surprise if they were chained together to carry out watering hole attacks against potential targets.

Such an attack would involve delivering the malicious code simply by visiting a compromised website that then takes advantage of the aforementioned vulnerabilities to escalate its privileges and run arbitrary commands to take control of the device.

Hezbollah Hacking Group Targeting Telecoms

A "persistent attacker group" with alleged ties to Hezbollah has retooled its malware arsenal with a new version of a remote access Trojan (RAT) to break into companies worldwide and extract valuable information.

In a new report published by the ClearSky research team on Thursday, the Israeli cybersecurity firm said it identified at least 250 public-facing web servers since early 2020 that have been hacked by the threat actor to gather intelligence and steal the company's databases.

The orchestrated intrusions hit a slew of companies located in the U.S., the U.K., Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, with a majority of the victims representing telecom operators (Etisalat, Mobily, Vodafone Egypt), internet service providers (SaudiNet, TE Data), and hosting and infrastructure service providers (Secured Servers LLC, iomart).

Authorities Seize Dark-Web Site Linked to Netwalker

U.S. and Bulgarian authorities this week took control of the dark web site used by the NetWalker ransomware cybercrime group to publish data stolen from its victims.

"We are striking back against the growing threat of ransomware by not only bringing criminal charges against the responsible actors, but also disrupting criminal online infrastructure and, wherever possible, recovering ransom payments extorted from victims," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

"Ransomware victims should know that coming forward to law enforcement as soon as possible after an attack can lead to significant results like those achieved in today's multi-faceted operation."

In connection with the takedown, a Canadian national named Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins from the city of Gatineau was charged in the U.S. state of Florida for extorting $27.6 million in cryptocurrency from ransom payments.

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