Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post this week that Instagram is testing digital collectibles so users can view NFT on their profiles by linking their third-party digital wallets. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique digital files that live on a blockchain, tying ownership of each file to an individual. While a jpeg from the NFT could be copied endlessly, the owner of the original is identified by blockchain data. “NFTs are a thing, that’s for sure,” said Avast security evangelist Luis Corrons. “In fact, Twitter has already taken the first step and, of course, Meta’s Instagram does not want to be left behind.”
The growing popularity of NFTs unfortunately makes them prime fodder for phishing scams. “NFTs move millions of dollars,” Corrons said, “and there is a lot of speculation and easy ways to scam innocent users. being victims of fraudulent schemes around NFTs. Zuckerberg said that in the future, Facebook will also have the ability to share NFTs, as well as other apps from the Meta family. For more on this story, see ZDNet.
Costa Rica declares national emergency over ransomware
In one of his first official acts, Costa Rica’s new president, Rodrigo Chaves, declared a national emergency, saying the country was suffering from cybercriminals and cyberterrorists. The Russian-based Conti ransomware gang has claimed responsibility for ongoing attacks through April against Costa Rica’s Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor and Social Services Agency. Last week, the US State Department offered a $10 million reward for any information leading to the identification or location of Conti executives. The attacks began during the last month in office of the previous president. For more on this story, see The Guardian.
F5 fixes a serious flaw in BIG-IP
Last week, technology company F5 disclosed and corrected a BIG-IP vulnerability that hackers could exploit to execute commands that run with root system privileges. The flaw carries a rating of 9.8 out of 10 and the vulnerable components are used by 48 of the Fortune 50 companies. BIG-IP is a range of appliances that organizations deploy as firewalls and load balancers. Tech-sniffing hackers could find more than 16,000 instances of the gear discoverable online. The threat stems from a faulty authentication implementation of iControl REST, a set of web-based programming interfaces for configuring and managing BIG-IP devices. To see Ars-Technica for more.
Smart homes will run on Matter
In an interview with The edgeGoogle Smart Home Ecosystem Senior Director Michele Turner spoke about Matter, the new smart home interoperability standard that Turner says will be “absolutely foundational” for the proactive smart homes of the future. “The proactive home is really that layer of intelligence,” Turner said, referring to the various devices that connect the home to Wi-Fi and each other. Matter is a standard that will allow devices from different brands to be part of the same smart home network. The project started as a dinner meeting between representatives from Apple, Google, Amazon and Zigbee, and has evolved into the next level of smart home creation.
The White House is looking into quantum computing
Through an executive order and national security memorandum, the Biden administration announced that it was taking steps to advance quantum computing while mitigating its risks. Quantum computing is a rapidly emerging technology that uses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for traditional computers. the Executive Decree states that its goal is “to ensure continued American leadership in quantum information science and its technological applications.” national security memorandum lays out the “key steps needed” to maintain the nation’s home-field advantage “while mitigating the risks of quantum computers to the nation’s cybersecurity, economy, and national security.” To learn more, see CSOs.
The essentials of the week on the Avast blog
Crypto romance scams are relatively new to the United States, but they are already taking their toll. Read on as we explore a scam victim’s story and what to do if you’ve been scammed.