BadRabbit: NotPetya Hackers Likely Behind Ransomware Attack, Say Researchers

BadRabbit: NotPetya Hackers Likely Behind Ransomware Attack, Say Researchers

Technical indicators suggest a cyber-attack which hit Russia and other countries this week was carried out by hackers behind a similar but bigger assault on Ukraine in June, security researchers who analysed the two campaigns said on Wednesday.

Russia-based cyber firm Group-IB said the BadRabbitvirus used in this week’s attack shared a key piece of code with the NotPetya malware that crippled businesses in Ukraine and worldwide earlier this year, suggesting the same group was responsible.

The BadRabbit attack hit Russia, Ukraine and other countries on Tuesday, taking down Russia’s Interfax news agency and delaying flights at Ukraine’s Odessa airport.

Multiple cyber-security investigators have linked the two attacks, citing similarities in the malware coding and hacking methods, but stopped short of direct attribution.

Still, experts caution that attributing cyber-attacks is notoriously difficult, as hackers regularly use techniques to cover their tracks and sometimes deliberately mislead investigators about their identity.

Security researchers at Cisco’s Talos unit said BadRabbit bore some similarities with NotPetya as they were both based on the same malware, but large parts of code had been rewritten and the new virus distribution method was less sophisticated.

They confirmed BadRabbit used a hacking tool called Eternal Romance, believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) before being stolen and leaked online in April.

NotPetya also employed Eternal Romance, as well as another NSA tool called Eternal Blue. But Talos said they were used in a different way and there was no evidence Bad Rabbit contained Eternal Blue.

“It is highly likely that the same group of hackers was behind (the) BadRabbit ransomware attack on Oct. 25, 2017 and the epidemic of the NotPetya virus, which attacked the energy, telecommunications and financial sectors in Ukraine in June 2017,” Group-IB said in a technical report.

Matthieu Suiche, a French hacker and founder of the United Arab Emirates-based cyber security firm Comae Technologies, said he agreed with the Group-IB assessment that there was “serious reason to consider” that BadRabbit and NotPetya were created by the same people.

But some experts have said the conclusion is surprising as the NotPetya attack is widely thought to have been carried out by Russia, an allegation Moscow denies.

Ukrainian officials have said the NotPetya attack directly targeted Ukraine and was carried about by a hacking group widely known as Black Energy, which some cyber experts say works in favour of Russian government interests. Moscow has repeatedly denied carrying out cyber attacks against Ukraine.

The majority of BadRabbit’s victims were in Russia, with only a few in other countries such Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey and Japan.

Group-IB said some parts of the BadRabbit virus dated from mid-2014, however, suggesting the hackers used old tools from previous attacks. “This corresponds with BlackEnergy timeframes, as the group started its notable activity in 2014,” it said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apps to Provide Peace of Mind With a Teenager Behind the Wheel

Q. I have a new teenage driver in the family. What’s the best way to keep tabs on his whereabouts when he is out with the car? Will regular location-tracking phone apps work?

A. As long as you and the teenage driver agree to use a location-tracking app on your phones, the software should give you an idea of where he is at any given moment. Several apps and services for monitoring location through a smartphone can be found online. But keep in mind that you may not get the latest updates if the teenager loses his phone, its battery runs out or a network signal is unavailable.

Some location-tracking services include features specifically for keeping tabs on young drivers. For example, Life 360’s Driver Protect for Android and iOS is one option in this category and includes roadside assistance, a “Safe Drive Review” report for parents to see where the driver went (and how fast), arrival alerts, crash detection and emergency response tools. A Driver Protect subscription is $7.99 a monthbut comes with a free seven-day trial.

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The Life360 Driver Protect app, one of several subscription services that track drivers, guides a new user through setting up a “circle” for family members to see one another on a map. Once configured, the app collects GPS and other data from the driver’s phone to show location, route and other information. Credit The New York Times

For parents who do not want to rely solely on information collected from the phone, a number of companies make vehicle-monitoring kits that use a small gadget that plugs into the car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) port, usually found under the dashboard. Through its companion smartphone app, the device reports the car’s location, speed, braking information, driving history and more. You need to buy the OBD-II adapter (typically less than $80) and pay a monthly subscription fee. Prices vary based on the company, but Bouncie, Hum and MotoSafety are three car-tracking products to consider.

Newer vehicles may have optional tracking tools and custom apps available, so check your car’s user manual if you think these may be available. If the car already has the OnStar vehicle-safety service, you can add its FamilyLink monitoring feature for $3.99 a month.

Welcoming a new motorist into the family these days involves more than just driver’s education classes and adding the teenager to the insurance policy. Distracted driving incidents from texting or fiddling with other technology in the car are dangers that most older generations of drivers did not experience. The National Safety Council has information and app suggestions online for reducing distracted driving. Additionally, the council’s DriveItHome.org site hosts a series of detailed guides for parents of new driver

Even for parents who opt for less electronic surveillance of their teenage drivers, there is software to suggest for the new driver. Apps for the family’s insurance company, navigational aids and roadside-assistance tools can provide help when needed and minimize that invasive feeling.

Higher Brain Connectivity Behind Intelligence, Creativity

Higher Brain Connectivity Behind Intelligence, Creativity

People with higher connectivity between different parts of the brain are more intelligent and creative.

LONDON:  People with higher connectivity between different parts of the brain are more intelligent and creative, scientists who are defining and measuring human intelligence for the first time have found.

Led by Professor Jianfeng Feng of University of Warwick in the UK, researchers are trying to quantify the brain’s dynamic functions, and identify how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times – to discover how intellect works.

Jianfeng finds that the more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a person’s IQ and creativity are.

More accurate understanding of human intelligence could lead to future developments in artificial intelligence (AI), researchers said.

Currently, AI systems do not process the variability and adaptability that is vital to the human brain for growth and learning, they said.

This discovery of dynamic functions inside the brain could be applied to the construction of advanced artificial neural networks for computers, with the ability to learn, grow and adapt.

This study may also have implications for a deeper understanding of another largely misunderstood field: mental health.

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Altered patterns of variability were observed in the brain’s default network with schizophrenia, autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients.

Knowing the root cause of mental health defects brings scientists exponentially closer to treating and preventing them in the future.

Using resting-state MRI analysis on thousands of people’s brains around the world, researchers found that the areas of the brain which are associated with learning and development show high levels of variability, meaning that they change their neural connections with other parts of the brain more frequently, over a matter of minutes or seconds.

On the other hand, regions of the brain which are not associated with intelligence – the visual, auditory, and sensory-motor areas – show small variability and adaptability.

“Human intelligence is a widely and hotly debated topic and only recently have advanced brain imaging techniques, such as those used in our current study, given us the opportunity to gain sufficient insights to resolve this and inform developments in artificial intelligence, as well as help establish the basis for understanding and diagnosis of debilitating human mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression,” Feng said.

The findings appear in the journal Brain.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

[“source-ndtv”]

Higher Brain Connectivity Behind Intelligence, Creativity

Higher Brain Connectivity Behind Intelligence, Creativity

People with higher connectivity between different parts of the brain are more intelligent and creative.

LONDON:  People with higher connectivity between different parts of the brain are more intelligent and creative, scientists who are defining and measuring human intelligence for the first time have found.

Led by Professor Jianfeng Feng of University of Warwick in the UK, researchers are trying to quantify the brain’s dynamic functions, and identify how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times – to discover how intellect works.

Jianfeng finds that the more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a person’s IQ and creativity are.

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More accurate understanding of human intelligence could lead to future developments in artificial intelligence (AI), researchers said.

Currently, AI systems do not process the variability and adaptability that is vital to the human brain for growth and learning, they said.

This discovery of dynamic functions inside the brain could be applied to the construction of advanced artificial neural networks for computers, with the ability to learn, grow and adapt.

This study may also have implications for a deeper understanding of another largely misunderstood field: mental health.

Altered patterns of variability were observed in the brain’s default network with schizophrenia, autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients.

Knowing the root cause of mental health defects brings scientists exponentially closer to treating and preventing them in the future.

Using resting-state MRI analysis on thousands of people’s brains around the world, researchers found that the areas of the brain which are associated with learning and development show high levels of variability, meaning that they change their neural connections with other parts of the brain more frequently, over a matter of minutes or seconds.

On the other hand, regions of the brain which are not associated with intelligence – the visual, auditory, and sensory-motor areas – show small variability and adaptability.

“Human intelligence is a widely and hotly debated topic and only recently have advanced brain imaging techniques, such as those used in our current study, given us the opportunity to gain sufficient insights to resolve this and inform developments in artificial intelligence, as well as help establish the basis for understanding and diagnosis of debilitating human mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression,” Feng said.

The findings appear in the journal Brain.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

[“source-ndtv”]