FixMeStick’s Weekly Cybersecurity Round Up: May 20-26

This is our second installment of a new weekly series where we round up the most important events in cybersecurity from this past week.

It’s yet another exciting week in cybersecurity! Main offenders to data privacy this week include social platforms Instagram and Twitter, and we were kept on the edge of our seats following the Baltimore city ransomware attack that has city officials scrambling for answers. Adding new research on the notorious “hackers for hire”, and a highly-anticipated Mozilla Firefox release to the round-up, and it looks like last week might go down in cybersecurity history!

What happened this week?

  • Extremely sensitive data including bios, locations, and profile pictures of over 49 million Instagram users was found in an exposed database. Read our full story here.
  • Baltimore city officials continue to deliberate on a plan of action for the ransomware attack that breached all of their online servers. The hackers are demanding 13 bitcoins (worth around $100,000USD) to release the servers back to the city. This attack has been one of many in the past few years. Read our reporting on the most impactful ransomware attacks of the past 2 years and what we learned from them here.
  • If you read last week’s round-up, you probably remember that Google was only recently in the news for a cybersecurity mess up. This week they revealed that they were storing the unhashed (unencrypted and plain-text) passwords of their G Suite Enterprise product users for 14 years.
A comment by Suzanne Frey from Google, "We made an error when implementing this functionality back in 2005: The admin console stored a copy of the unhashed password. This practice did not live up to our standards."

Comments made by Suzanne Frey in a blog post released by Google.
  • The latest Mozilla Firefox release has us excited about speedier performance and increased privacy and security options. Check out Mozilla’s release article here.
  • In another move by government entities in the US to increase cybersecurity efforts, New York’s Department of Financial Services announced this week that they will be creating a Cybersecurity Division dedicated to “…protecting consumers and industries from cyber threats…”
  • New research published last week by researchers at UC San Diego and a staff member at Google gives an in-depth background on a new and dangerous group of cyber attackers called “hackers for hire”. Read their full publication here.