At a glance.
- Fakecalls malware.
- Three recent healthcare breaches.
- Apple's Cook calls for improved attention to privacy.
Press 0 for cybercriminal…er, representative.
Researchers are spreading the word about a new banking Trojan, dubbed Fakecalls, that allows attackers to hijack calls to a bank’s customer support line. Bleeping Computer explains that Fakecalls is cleverly disguised as a mobile app from a legitimate bank, complete with convincing branding, but when a victim attempts to call the customer support number, they are redirected to a fake call screen that directs the call to the cybercriminals controlling the malware. The attackers then impersonate the bank’s customer support staff and trick the victim into handing over sensitive bank account details. The Trojan pulls this off by requesting permissions at the time of the fraudulent app’s installation that give it access to the device’s contact list, microphone, camera, geolocation, and call handling.
“These permissions allow the malware not only to spy on the user but to control their device to a certain extent, giving the Trojan the ability to drop incoming calls and delete them from the history. This allows the scammers, among other things, to block and hide real calls from banks,” a report from Kaspersky reads. First detected last year, Fakecalls has been targeting customers of leading South Korean banks like KakaoBank or Kookmin Bank.
A tale of three health data breaches.
HealthITSecurity reports that Tennessee hospital system Ballad Health suffered a data breach that potentially exposed patients’ protected health information (PHI). Ballad Health first detected unusual activity on an employee email account on January 13 and a subsequent investigation determined that an outside party had gained unauthorized access to the account. The exposed email messages and attachments contained names, birth dates, medical conditions, medical history, treatment information, diagnosis codes, patient account numbers, and medical record numbers, but it is unclear how many individuals were compromised. Ballad Health stated, “Security measures have been taken to secure the employee’s email account, including issuing a new password, and Ballad Health continues to educate the workforce on the importance of security measures each person must take to protect access to the Ballad Health email system.” In other healthcare breach news, a threat actor infiltrated two email accounts associated with Wellstar Health System in the US state of Georgia, and Pennsylvania-based mental health nonprofit Resources for Human Development (RHD) has disclosed that a hard drive containing patient and staff information was stolen. The incident impacted 46,673 individuals, but RHD says there’s no evidence yet of misuse of the data.
Tim Cook speaks out for user privacy and against sideloading.
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at this week’s International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Global Privacy Summit in Washington, DC, and he emphasized the need for tech companies and government to shield users from companies seeking to gather user data without permission. "At this very moment, companies are mining data about details of our lives,” Cook stated, “Who would stand for such a thing if it was unfolding in the physical world? Imagine opening your computer and a stranger is watching your every keystroke. You wouldn't call that a service, you would call that an emergency." The Telegraph adds that he also spoke out against US and EU lawmakers’ push for Apple to allow sideloading, a process for transferring apps between two devices. Lawmakers feel the activity will bolster competition by giving users the freedom to download apps from alternative providers outside of Apple’s official App store. But according to Cook, sideloading could let apps onto iPhone devices without the vetting required for purchase on the App Store. "That means data-hungry companies would be able to avoid our privacy rules and once again track our users against their will,” Cook stated. “It would also potentially give bad actors a way around the comprehensive security protections we have put in place, putting them in direct contact with our users. If we are forced to let unvetted apps onto iPhone, the unintended consequences will be profound.”