How 3 Million ‘Hacked’ Toothbrushes Became a Cyber Urban Legend

Documents obtained exclusively by WIRED reveal that AI surveillance software tracked thousands of people using the London Underground to detect crimes or dangerous situations. The machine learning software scoured live CCTV footage to detect aggressive behavior, brandished weapons and people dodging tickets. The documents also detail errors made during the trial, such as mistakenly identifying children walking with their parents as fraudsters.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, cryptocurrency tracking firm Chainalysis released a report revealing that ransomware payments in 2023 reached more than $1.1 billion, the highest annual total on record. The record amount of extorted funds was due to two things: the high number of ransomware attacks and the amount of money hackers demanded from victims, many of whom were specifically targeted due to their ability to pay and their inability to withstand prolonged exposure. disruption of services.

A technology company known for keeping websites containing far-right and other content online was bought last year by a secretive company whose business is to help build companies, often in ways that keep secret details of these companies, WIRED reported Thursday. . Registered Agents Inc.'s acquisition of Epik could allow the obscure company to offer its customers another level of anonymity.

Over the past month, security journalist Matt Burgess stopped using passwords to log into his hundreds of online accounts. Instead, it uses passwords, a more secure form of authentication that uses generated codes stored on your device to log into websites and apps using a biometric identifier like a fingerprint, facial scanner or PIN code. When it works, it's transparent and secure. When that’s not the case, it’s a mess.

WhatsApp is developing a feature that allows its users to send messages between apps, while maintaining its secure end-to-end encryption. In theory, the move would allow users to chat with people on WhatsApp using apps like Signal or Telegram. It's unclear which companies, if any, will bundle their services with WhatsApp.

And there's more. Each week, we highlight the news that we haven't covered in depth ourselves. Click on the headlines below to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

In the real world, hackers have caused power outages, burned down a steel mill, and released worms that destroyed medical records systems in hospitals. across the United States and the United Kingdom. It therefore does not seem necessary to invent new nightmares where they grab our toothbrushes.

However, when the Swiss newspaper Aargau newspaper published a story that cybercriminals infected 3 million Internet-connected toothbrushes with malware, then used them to launch a cyberattack that took down a website for four hours and caused millions of dollars in damage, the story was in somehow irresistible. This week, media outlets around the world picked up the story, citing cybersecurity firm Fortinet as the source, presenting it as the perfect illustration of how hackers can exploit the most mundane technology for epic malevolence. “This example, which resembles a Hollywood scenario, really happened,” writes the Swiss newspaper.

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