Naughty Boris

 In ITC's Threat of the Week

A minute doesn’t seem to go by these days without the Prime Minister getting his wrists slapped, or in the case of this week’s Supreme Court decision being given the full treatment from the spider brooch wearing Lady Hale.

As you know we avoid political ranting in this blog, pretty much the only place we do as it happens, so there is no need to worry, keep your ire locked down. What we are concerned about though are all things cyber, and naughty Boris has had the time to intersect with our world not once but twice this week.

You will no doubt have read about BJ taking his ‘friend’ former model Jennifer Acruri on a number of junkets overseas, all on the UK taxpayer. This culminated, although Boris insists that he had nothing at all to do with it (the chin is being scratched at this point), in a £100,000 government grant to open a UK office of her information security training company Hacker House. After the story broke, a higher level of scrutiny has been applied and Hacker House have only got half of the money.

If you try to register with Hacker House, you will almost certainly get a 502 Bad Gateway message, the MPs who took the time to have a look into the business certainly did. All very shady. They are probably best avoided, get your training somewhere else would be our advice.

If you take the time to look at Boris Johnson’s Facebook page and then look at the comments to his ‘Get Brexit Done’ posts, you will notice that many of the comments are very similar, like this:

Brilliant Boris

Amazing Boris

Support Boris

Support Boris 100%

(all with the same emojis, pretty much)

One would have thought that after the Cambridge Analytica debacle that political parties and campaigning groups would be more cautious about manipulating social media. The sheer volume of these rapturous comments and their similarity makes it blindingly obvious that they are being written by Bots, Botises if you like. You may even think that having said they would, Facebook would be doing something about it, it would appear that they aren’t. These comments are more obviously bots than things we know are bots like the annoying automated assistants on customer service pages. The trouble is that these things really work and upset the order of things. This will probably get worse before it gets better. Legislation is the only answer because it doesn’t seem that self-policing and regulating is working.

Bad news this week for the sole user of Microsoft Internet Explorer as an emergency out-of-band patch was released to fix a very serious flaw, being exploited by Boris (the Russian, not the PM, we think). If the user of IE is one of your aged relatives, you should advise them to patch straight away by shouting in their ear trumpet, or just do it for them.

Being serious for a minute, ITC’s crack SOC team have written up a detailed Threat Horizon on the IE issue which is worth a read. Best read using Chrome.

Whilst you are at it, you may want to warn your nearest and dearest kids to be alert for a fake Instagram copyright infringement which says that unless you fill in a copyright infringement form, your account will be suspended within 24 hours. Clearly the suspension of an Instagram account for a teenager would be worse than being called up for the trenches, so it would seem a lot of them are clicking through this phishing scam and getting a dose of the nasties. The excellent Paul Ducklin from Sophos has written it up in detail here, alert your kids (and adult kids who use Instagram) before their dose becomes your dose.

If you would like to discuss Phishing, Bots or anything else Cyber related, please contact our team at: [email protected] or call 020 7517 3900.

Author: Kevin Whelan

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