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Written by Cyber Threat Intelligence Unit on 5 April 2023

Global Operation “Cookie Monster” leads to massive arrest globally after Genesis Market takedown

On Tuesday April 4th 2023, the FBI seized infamous Genesis Market cybercrime platform, one of the most important illicit marketplaces on the dark web. Genesis was reputed for the sale of browser fingerprints stolen from infected computers with malicious software, containing credentials and other data that allow bypassing protection solutions like multi-factor authentication or impersonating victims.

Just after the takedown, a joint operation involving 17 countries lead to the arrest of nearly 120 people. Europol said: “The takedown of Genesis Market was a priority for law enforcement given the platform’s ability to facilitate all types of cybercrime”, adding “with over 1.5 million bots listed on Genesis Market, chances are that your credentials have already ended up for sale on this criminal marketplace.”

Following the operation, Dutch police offer the possibility to check if you’ve been hacked, in the same way of the website haveyoubeenpawned.

Check here:


The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Force (NCF) for accountable offensive cyber operations

The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Force (NCF) published for the first time, on Tuesday April 4th, official guidance on how it delivers cyber operations daily. In the present chaos of cyberwarfare in a context of geopolitical tensions, this paper is the first of its kind from a global perspective, hoping it’s going to offer alignment, transparency, and accountability for other nations engaged in cyber offensive capabilities.

Working closely with academia, the NCF shows greater transparency and democratic cyber power with ethical components, despite the necessary secrecy on its TTPs.


Capita’s UK Defense contractor suffered a cyber incident

The 61 000 employees service provider to the British government and Ministry of Defense (MOD) has been attacked, disrupting its services to clients. Due to the sensitivity of its activities, state-sponsored groups motivated by espionage are suspected to be behind the hack.

On Monday April 3, Capita communicated saying they “experienced a cyber incident primarily impacting access to internal Microsoft Office 365 applications… This caused disruption to some services provided to individual clients, though the majority of our client services remained in operation,”. In a statement, Capita adds “Immediate steps were taken to successfully isolate and contain the issue”.


Western Digital hacked

On April 3rd, the 18 billion dollars revenue cybersecurity firm was the victim of a multiple systems breach, saying that it “has caused and may continue to cause disruption to parts of business operations.”

Users of Western Digital’s “My Cloud” couldn't access their cloud-hosted media repositories. Western Digital’s is a Data storage devices maker company (SANDISK), that sells cloud storage for 42% of its total revenues. The firm suffered a service interruption saying “that is preventing customers from accessing the My Cloud, My Cloud Home, My Cloud Home Duo, My Cloud OS 5, SanDisk ibi, SanDisk Ixpand Wireless Charger service."

The company stated that “On March 26, 2023, Western Digital identified a network security incident involving Western Digital’s systems. In connection with the ongoing incident, an unauthorized third party gained access to several of the Company’s systems. Upon discovery of the incident, the Company implemented incident response efforts and initiated an investigation with the assistance of leading outside security and forensic experts”.

Western Digital says an investigation with law enforcement authorities is ongoing: “Upon discovery of the incident, the Company implemented incident response efforts and initiated an investigation with the assistance of leading outside security and forensic experts,”


Chat GPT temporarily banned from Italy

Despite the recent letter calling for a 6 month AI pause isn’t affecting Chat GPT4, which launched an AI arms race to release new generative AI models and applications such as chatbots and image-creation tools.  However, Italy has shown the way by temporarily banning the popular chatbot, reproaching OpenAi for failing to check the age of users and the "absence of any legal basis that justifies the massive collection and storage of personal data". The Italian request was launched after a nine-hour cyber security breach last March led to people being shown excerpts of other users' ChatGPT conversations and financial information. Other privacy regulators across European countries like Sweden, France, and Germany are considering regulating the same way through the General Data Protection Regulation to protect personal information.

In that way, it is important to underline that the use of ChatGPT is not neutral because every query enriches its database. Users should be aware of it and the blind spot of the search, the things that the tool has overlooked. The tool isn’t mature enough, experiencing problems of information leakage, and needs a specific legal framework, regarding intellectual rights as well, not to mention the malicious use made by threat actors.

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