Earlier this year WIRED exclusively reported on a Cold War between Taylor, the company that frequently supplies McDonalds with broken ice machines, and Kytch, a startup whose device made it easy for franchisees to fix them. This week we dug into newly revealed internal emails revealing Taylor’s efforts to copy some aspects of the Hacking Widget. It is, you could say, a real eye-catcher.
We also looked at a new type of malware called Tardigrade that targets organic production facilities in North America. It’s a sophisticated hacking tool that can adapt to its environment and works on its own when separated from its command and control server. Security researchers have yet to make an attribution, but the industry has been relentlessly targeted by a number of highly developed players throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finally, as you recover from your turkey coma, be a regular reminder that hackers love few things more than a holiday weekend. Be safe out there.
And there is more! Each week we round up all the security news that WIRED has not covered in detail. Click the headlines for the full stories.
The Pentagon has a new office devoted to investigating and tracking UFOs – or unidentified aerial phenomena as they are now known. The Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, or AOIMSG, if that doesn’t roll off your tongue, will specifically focus on inexplicable phenomena that pass through military airspace. The group is led by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defense for Intelligence and Security. AOIMSG succeeds a naval division called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. In June, the office of the director of the National Intelligence Service released a report of more than 140 sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena by Navy pilots and others. “Intrusions through any airborne object … pose security concerns for flight and operational safety and can pose national security challenges,” the Department of Defense said in a statement. The announcement added that AOIMSG will be established “to address the challenges associated with evaluating UAP on or near DOD training booths and installations”.
On Tuesday, Apple sued notorious Israeli spyware company NSO Group, filing for a permanent restraining order banning the company from using Apple software, services or devices. The lawsuit also seeks more than $ 75,000 in damages. NSO Group is known for selling hacking tools to law enforcement governments, but repressive regimes and other customers have used the tools aggressively, often in violation of human rights. Apple’s lawsuit focuses in particular on the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which was used in a number of malicious hacking campaigns targeting iPhone users. Apple repeatedly had to try to patch vulnerabilities in its mobile iOS operating system, as these are actively exploited by NSO Group’s customers through the company’s tools.
“Apple today filed a lawsuit against NSO Group and its parent company holding them accountable for monitoring and targeting Apple users,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. “Researchers and journalists have publicly documented that this spyware was used against journalists, activists, dissidents, academics and government officials.”