Hackers Slickly Spoof URLs, Use NSA Tools and Steal Credit Cards Numbers from Hotels


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Google Chrome Update Addresses Super Sneaky URL Trick

The latest version of Google’s Chrome web browser addresses 29 vulnerabilities, including one that allowed hard-to-detect URL spoofing.

Outside researchers discovered 12 of the vulnerabilities in the Chrome release Wednesday and were paid bounties totaling $14,000. One flaw, reported by Xudong Zheng, dealt with the way some browsers display punycode, a behind-the-scenes process of converting words into ASCII characters for internationalized domain names.

Zheng’s discovery showed how malicious parties could register names of well-known companies, such as apple.com, using international letters. Instead of a Latin “a,” the website address could use the Cyrillic “a” character but still look like apple.com to web users due to autoconversion—if they used Chrome, Firefox or Opera browsers, Zheng wrote on his blog. Thinking they're on a trusted site, users could be tricked into entering personal or payment information.

Some browsers try to avoid this type of homograph attack by displaying the punycode, which looks more like a random string of dashes and characters and could give users a visual clue they may be on the wrong website, according to a Naked Security report.

Mozilla also released Firefox 53 fixes, but the punycode issue was not “patched.” The company instead took a stance against favoring one alphabet over another.

“IDN was invented so that everyone could have domain names in their own scripts and languages, not just people who speak languages which use the Latin script,” according to a frequently asked questions page. “People have been working hard for decades to make this happen. We support that admirable goal, and isn't going to give up on it now.”

Oracle Releases 299 Patches Including Fixes for NSA Cyber Tools

Oracle’s April security update featured 299 fixes for multiple products the company encourages users to apply “without delay.”

The long list includes patches for alleged National Security Agency hacking tools leaked by the Shadow Brokers group. Oracle offered a fix for the Solaris 10 operating system and said version 11 was unaffected by the leaked tools, The Register reported. Older versions of Solaris are no longer supported by Oracle, and the update urged users to remain on “actively-supported versions.”

Oracle also addressed an Apache Struts vulnerability hackers actively exploited in recent weeks, InfoWorld reported.

InterContinental Hotel Group Finds Credit-Card Swiping Software—Again

A hotel chain alerted customers to review payment card statements carefully after it found unauthorized charges on payment cards used at more than 1,000 of its locations.

The InterContinental Hotels Group announced it discovered malware designed to steal credit and debit card information operating at some locations from Sept. 29 to Dec. 29. The malware grabbed “track data,” the information read on a card’s magnetic stripe. The group hired an unnamed cybersecurity firm to eliminate the malware from its systems and had already been implementing a point-to-point encryption payment system.

Last year, the group’s Kimpton Hotel brand suffered a breach of its hotels and restaurant payments systems from February 2016 to July 2016, according to Krebs On Security. IHG operates about dozen other hotel brands including Holiday Day Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites.