open source and cybersecurity news

July 18, 2023

Account Takeovers using Evil QR
Anatomy of a SIM Swap Attack
Crypto scams have dropped faster than Twitter’s user base
Navy Unveils New Cyber Operations Roles
This Day in Tech History

In this Episode:

Episode Transcription:

Edwin Kwan: Account Takeovers using Evil QR

This is Edwin Kwan from Sydney, Australia.

Logging in via QR code is something that more websites are starting to embrace. Some of those websites include Discord, Telegram, WhatsApp, Stream, and TikTok. Rather than having to enter a username password in the website, you use the application’s mobile app to scan the QR code.

Security researcher. Kuba Gretzky, from published an article demonstrating how attackers could take over accounts by convincing users to scan supplied QR codes using phishing techniques. He did so by creating the Evil QR Toolkit, which is a browser extension and a web server combination.

The toolkit kit captures the QR code that the attacker is presented and displays them to the victim using phishing techniques. Should the victim take the bait and sign in using the QR code, the attacker would be automatically logging into the website as them. All this without the knowledge of the victim.

While such attacks results in account takeovers, the security researchers commented that this is a sophisticated attack, with a lot of prerequisites to be successful. One of which being that the QR code session tokens expires after 30 seconds and a new code needs to be generated.

Read more about it at


Olimpiu Pop: Crypto scams have dropped faster than Twitter’s user base

Chainalysis’ 2023 mid-year report was like a surprise party for law enforcement. It revealed a general decline in cryptocurrency related crimes. It’s like the scammers have suddenly decided to take a sabbatical. Did AI take their jobs too?

Specifically, revenues from crypto scams have dropped faster than Twitter’s user base, going from $4.3 billion in the first half of 2022 to a mere $1 billion in 2023. In the scamming business, the bear market came early.

The reasons behind this trend are about as numerous as the flavors at the gelateria, ranging from stricter law enforcement and regulators, improved crime solving tech, and people just becoming smarter about the risks of the crypto universe. However, there is one little black sheep: ransomware.

The sector is going against the trend collecting nearly $450 million in the first half of 2023 alone. So while Chainalysis is popping the cork to celebrate the decline in crypto crimes, they are also keeping an eye on the party pooper.

Ransomware is expected to reach record highs this year, proving once again that it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

The reasons behind it’s surge? That’s really the question.

You know the place, don’t you? It’s the resources sections of, where you can find the transcript and resources. Olimpiu Pop reporting from Transylvania, Romania.


Katy Craig: Navy Unveils New Cyber Operations Roles

Remember those days when the Navy was the only kid in school without a dedicated cyber role? Those days are history. The Navy unveiled new cyberspace operations roles for officers and enlisted personnel with a little prodding from Congress.

This is Katie Craig in San Diego, California.

These new additions to the cyber fleet, “The Cyber Warfare Technician” and “Maritime Cyber Warfare Officer”, emerged from the depths of Congressional tasking. Congress, not unlike a stern school master, nudged the Navy to join the cyber centric crowd.

This move marks a significant shift. Until this point, the Navy cyber personnel juggled signals intelligence, electronic warfare, and information operations along with their cyber duties. Quite a balancing act. Critics warned of the risks of cyber neglect and lack of expertise akin to trying to navigate a ship without knowing the forecastle from the fantail.

The Navy may have pulled back on contributing teams to the cyber mission force due to readiness issues, but the focus on training is a smart pivot. Consider it a moment of pause to shore up any leaks in the hall before getting underway.

So what does all this mean for us? This move signals the Navy is setting a new course in its cyber strategy. With cyber threat swirling like a tempest at sea, that’s some seriously reassuring news. Here’s to smooth sailing for Navy cybersecurity.

This is Katie Craig, stay safe out there.


Julie Chatman: Anatomy of a SIM Swap Attack

I am Julie Chatman in Washington DC.

SIM swap is a unique form of identity theft, which involves smartphones. Last year, the FBI issued an alert about SIM swap schemes, which caused millions in losses to members of the public. Recently, two people were sentenced to jail for engaging in these schemes.

Smartphones are now an integral part of our lives, with over 6.92 billion users worldwide, encompassing about 86% of the population. We rely on smartphones for everything from communication and shopping to banking and to travel.

Imagine waking up one day to find that your smartphone is not working. You can’t make calls, send text messages, or access your bank account, and it’s not because you forgot to charge your phone overnight or because the internet is down. It is due to a SIM swap attack.

A SIM, or Subscriber Identity Module, is a tiny card in your smartphone that enables calls and text messages. In a SIM swap attack, cyber criminals trick your mobile carrier into activating their SIM card as if it were yours. This grants them control over your phone number. They can reset your email and then reset your account passwords, bypassing two factor authentication since their device appears as if it’s yours.

How can attackers answer security questions that your mobile carrier or bank account representative may ask to confirm your identity? They gather information about you from social media, purchase your data from the dark web, or send phishing emails posing as your cellular provider.

Remember when Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account was hacked? It was due to a SIM swap attack.

The good news is that some smartphones have eSIMS, embedding SIM data into the phone and bypassing physical cards. Though not universally supported, most major carriers can work with eSIMs.

If your phone doesn’t have eSIM, watch for the signs of an attack; social media posts that you didn’t make, inability to make calls or send text messages, restricted or no account access, or notifications from your carrier that your telephone number has been activated on another device.

If any of this happens, contact your carrier immediately.

If you are a cybersecurity leader, educate employees about SIM swapping and find additional protection measures in the FBI alert. For more steps on how to protect yourself, visit for a link to the FBI alert.


Marcel Brown: This Day, July 18, 2023, in Tech History

This is Marcel Brown with some technology history for July 18th.

July 18th, 1968. Robert Noyce, Andy Grove and Gordon Moore incorporate Intel in Santa Clara, California to build microprocessors. Their first processor, the 4004, was released in 1971 for use in calculators.

IBM’s choice of Intel’s 8088 processor for use in the IBM PC led to Intel’s emergence as the premier manufacturer of processors in the PC era.

July 18th, 2001. Apple announced Mac OS 10-10.1, the first update to Mac OS 10. 10.1 was code name Puma, although the public did not know of Apple’s cat-themed code names until the next version 10.2, Jaguar.

Apple then continued the cat name theme until Mac OS 10.8, Mountain Lion, before they switched to naming their operating systems to places in California.

Fun fact, the original Mac OS 10 was code named Cheetah.

That’s your technology history for today. For more, tune in tomorrow and visit my website



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