News Roundup 5/22: Eddie’s stolen password database, the perfect Twizzler, and new malware
22 May 2017
“Eddie’s” stolen password database discovered
Fraudsters often rely on databases of stolen data to carry out their schemes, buying and selling emails and passwords over the dark web. Security researchers recently found one of these databases…and it’s huge. This particular database contains 560 million stolen passwords and emails. Some of the information was collected from site compromises like those suffered by LinkedIn, Tumblr, LastFM, and Dropbox.
Who does the database belong to? “Eddie” is the creator’s pseudonym, but that’s all we know so far. Now all we need is a database of 560 million Eddies to find the right one.
Hershey’s uses machine learning to make the perfect Twizzler
There’s a Holy Grail in the candy industry, and that’s the perfect Twizzler. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the licorice-making factory has chased after this elusive specimen for years. But perfection might finally be possible, with machine learning.
Each package of candy promises a specific net weight, such as 1 pound per package, but because of differences in temperature, cooking time, and pressure, Hershey’s factories experience variations across batches. To account for the variations, factories often have to adjust or redo batches – an expensive, time-consuming process. But George Lenhart, a senior manager at Hershey’s who oversees technology, set up a system to transmit data back and forth to Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Tracking pressure, temperature, and other factors, the program collected more than 60 million data points over 2 months, learning which data points affected the final weight of the candy. The machine learning system reduced Twizzler weight variability by 50 percent. Hershey’s next quest? The perfect chocolate bar.
Researchers discover new strain of malware
You’re probably familiar with WannaCry, the ransomware that targeted organizations worldwide last week. Researchers have found what might be its descendant, a ransomware they’re calling EternalRocks. Like its predecessor, EternalRocks draws on tools stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA).
According to researchers, EternalRocks uses these tools to spread ransomware from computer to computer through the Windows operating system – but unlike WannaCry, it is bolstered by six other NSA tools. The seven tools work in conjunction to propogate the strain farther and faster than WannaCry is capable of spreading. Unlike WannaCry, the new EternalRocks doesn’t seem to have any malicious elements, like locking or corrupting files. But don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet: EternalRock does leave infected computers vulnerable to remote commands that could enable hackers to carry out these malicious activities. The ransomware also doesn’t seem susceptible to the kill switch that halted WannaCry.