Google’s Crackdown on Ad Blockers Continues to Evolve

Google initially proposed strict restrictions on this API, but has now eased these in the new version of Manifest V3. Originally, the plan was to allow browser extensions to create 5,000 content-filtering “rules,” but this has been increased to 30,000 rules. AdGuard, an ad blocker, has cautiously welcomed some of the revised changes. Elsewhere, uBlock Origin, which uses around 300,000 filtering rules, has released a “lite” version of its extension in response to Manifest V3. The developer behind uBlock Origin notes that the lite version is not as “capable” as the full version. Meanwhile, browser makers Brave and Firefox say they are introducing work-arounds to prevent ad blockers from being affected by the changes.

Supply chain attacks, where malware is implanted in a company’s legitimate software and spread to the firm’s customers, can be incredibly hard to detect and can cause billions of dollars in damage if successful. Hackers from North Korea are increasingly using this sophisticated attack method.

This week, Microsoft revealed that it has discovered hackers from North Korea implanting malicious code inside an installer file for photo and video editing software CyberLink. The installer file used legitimate code from CyberLink and was hosted on the company’s servers, concealing the malicious file it contained. According to Microsoft, once installed, the malicious file would deploy a second payload. More than 100 devices have been impacted by the attack, Microsoft states. It has attributed the attack to the North Korea-based Diamond Sleet hacking group.

Following the revelation of the attack, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and the Republic of Korea’s National Intelligence Service issued a warning, stating that North Korea’s supply chain attacks are “growing in sophistication and volume.” The two bodies say the tactics support North Korea’s broader objectives, such as stealing money to aid its struggling economy and nuclear programs, espionage, and stealing tech secrets.

According to a report by The New York Times, some flights have experienced changes in course or lost satellite signals in midair due to electronic warfare. The ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza have seen GPS jamming and spoofing technologies disrupt the daily operation of flights in and around the areas. While the incidents thus far have not posed a danger, they underscore the increase in electronic warfare capabilities, which aim to interrupt or disrupt the technologies used for communications and infrastructure, and how the technology required to launch them is becoming more affordable. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, electronic warfare tactics have become increasingly prevalent on both sides, with drones used for surveillance and reconnaissance experiencing signal interruptions and rockets being diverted off course.

One of Russia’s most audacious hacking groups, Gamaredon, has consistently targeted Ukrainian systems. Now, one piece of its malware, a worm that spreads via USB stick and is known as LitterDrifter, has spread internationally. The worm has been detected in the US, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, and Vietnam, according to researchers at security firm Check Point. The company’s researchers indicate that the worm includes two elements: a spreading module and another module that communicates with Gamaredon’s servers. The Check Point researchers suggest that it’s evident LitterDrifter was designed to support a large-scale collection operation and is likely to have “spread beyond its intended targets.”

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