Cybercriminals are increasingly abusing legitimate cloud hosting services in malware campaigns, according to security experts.
Microsoft recently detailed such attacks in a Twitter thread.
“In the past weeks, researchers have noted the increased abuse of legitimate cloud hosting services in malware campaigns. Microsoft threat intelligence shows this trend persists, w/ a number of known malware incl. BazarLoader, Zloader, Lightbot, Hancitor, etc. using the technique,” tweeted the official Microsoft Security Intelligence account.
According to experts, these email campaigns use a wide range of topics to lure victims. These include “threats of job dismissal, exposing illegal activity, other fear tactics,” Microsoft security experts said.
Also read: Microsoft launches programme for health-tech start-ups, collaborates with Social Alpha
These emails would contain links that lead to a malicious document or archive file hosted on a legitimate service. Downloading and opening the file leads to the payload.
The Microsoft Security Intelligence team further shared an example of one such campaign that used the Google Drive service.
The campaign used password-protected .zip files hosted on Google Drive, with the password in the email.
Also read: Cyber frauds to see an uptick in India in 2021: Report
Users should avoid clicking on suspicious links and leverage advanced security tools to protect themselves from such malware attacks.
“To help protect against these attacks, Microsoft Defender for Office 365 uses machine learning and detonation technology to automatically analyse new and unknown threats in real time, backed by Microsoft researchers closely monitoring the trend to ensure continued coverage,” Microsoft tweeted.
An assistant headteacher who targeted teenage girls for sex and indecent images with ‘extremely manipulative behaviour’ has been sentenced to eight years in jail.
Teacher Richard Cottyn, 36, of Forres Avenue, Sheffield, was charged with a staggering 90 offences involving more than 30 teenage girl victims.
The father-of-two appeared at Guildford Crown Court today and was sentenced to eight years in jail after a judge heard his catalogue of offences spanning four years.
He will remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for the rest of his life.
A spokesman for Surrey Police said that Cottyn had been charged with 90 separate offences relating to 32 victims. The offences took place between September 2013 and September 2017.
Teacher Richard Cottyn, 36, of Forres Avenue, Sheffield, was charged with a staggering 90 offences involving more than 30 teenage girl victims
‘The charges were subsequently condensed into 31 indictments. Cottyn pleaded guilty to 27 of these indictments at an earlier hearing.
‘An investigation by Surrey Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team began in September 2017 following a report from a victim.
‘Cottyn was subsequently arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a child. Following examination of his laptop and mobile phone, it was found to contain thousands of chat logs with a number of girls between the ages of 14 and 17 years.
‘In some cases Cottyn had met some of them. An indecent image of a female was also found on the device.
‘He was further arrested in June 2018 for offences relating to meeting children and the indecent image offence. Officers seized a further phone belonging to him which contained over 2,500 chat logs. Additional material, including hundreds of indecent images of girls, were also found on his laptop.’
Guildford Crown Court, Guildford, Surrey, where Cottyn was sentenced to eight years in jail
Detective Constable James Tibbs, from Surrey Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team, said: ‘Cottyn abused his position of authority as a teacher to target vulnerable young girls under the guise of offering them emotional support.
‘Using extremely manipulative behaviour, he met some of his victims for a sexual purpose. Hundreds of indecent images, including of the girls he communicated with, were found on his various devices.
‘When Cottyn’s predatory behaviour came to light we launched an investigation which uncovered the huge scale of his offending.’
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Martin Goodwin added: ‘The fact that Cottyn is behind bars after pleading guilty to these horrific crimes is testament to the bravery of the victims who supported our investigation and I would like to commend each and every one of them.’
Detective Inspector Goodwin continued: ‘No-one should have to suffer any kind of sexual abuse – and we want to reassure anyone in a similar position that if they come forward, they will be taken seriously and a full investigation will be carried out.’
A retired University of Washington professor is in custody after confessing to shooting dead his wife in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Thomas Jarboe, 75, allegedly shot his wife Kay Saw, 63, in their Bellevue home but told cops he was acting in ‘self-defense’ as she was ‘abusing me’ and ‘destroying me’.
Jarboe, who has advanced Parkinson’s disease and amnesia, was waiting for cops on the porch to hand himself in as they responded to his 911 call, according to KOMO News.
Retired University of Washington professor Thomas Jarboe, 75, allegedly shot dead his wife Kay Saw, 63, in their Bellevue, Washington, home in the early hours of Thursday morning
He told officers that his wife was his caregiver but that he was angered as she hated his children.
‘It was on purpose but in self defense, Jarboe told the 911 operator, stating that he had shot his wife with a 12-gauge shot gun.
‘She has been abusing me, she is my caretaker, and is completely destroying me. She hates all my kids, my kids all hate her,’ he added.
It is not clear if the couple had children together or if they had children with previous partners.
Saw’s body was found inside their home on the 17100 block of 60th street at around 4.30am Thursday.
She has suffered two gunshot wounds.
‘The man came out of the house willingly and turned himself in to the officers,’ police spokesperson Meeghan Black said. ‘When they went inside, they found his wife deceased inside.’
Neighbors have paid tribute to Saw who they said was a ‘hospitable person’.
‘She was very hospitable. Brought fruit over. Befriended my son,’ Mike Hopkins told KOMO News.
Yet he added that something had seemed off with the couple in the past year.
‘We heard the two gun shots,’ he said.
Officers responding to the 911 call found Jarboe waiting on the porch to hand himself in
The former university professor was suffering with advanced Parkinson’s and amnesia
Jarboe, pictured bottom right with students, retired last year and his wife was his caregiver
‘Often times yelling about medications. Not taking medications. Or altercations thereof,’ he added over their arguments.
‘I think everyone in the neighborhood is broken up to say the least. My heart goes out to the family. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.’
Jarboe had retired from the University of Washington last year where he worked as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, an adjunct professor in physics, and a researcher with the University of Washington’s nuclear fusion experiment.
Jarboe said that his caregiver wife was ‘abusing me’ and ‘destroying me’ when cops arrived to their home Thursday morning
He was a well-regarded scientist and had contributed to the likes of CNN.
The University confirmed with KOMO News that he retained the title of professor emeritus when he retired which still allowed him to stay connected to the school.
He did not have any teaching assignments.
Jarboe was due to appear in court Friday but waved his right to his first hearing. A judge set his bail at $2.5million.
He will remain behind bars until his next court hearing later this month.
The motive for the crime is still unclear. Jarboe had no criminal history.
Saw’s death was the fifth domestic violence killing in Bellevue this year.
‘The three years prior to that, we had zero,’ Black said. ‘So, this is extremely unusual.’
The city has also had a 28 percent increase in felony domestic violence assaults.
A local group that works to prevent domestic violence believes it may be as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We think that has everything to do with the COVID pandemic and the fact people are isolated and are at home with abusive partners under increasing stress and isolation,’ said Rachel Krinsky, executive director of LifeWire.
Amnesty International has accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to Croatian police violence targeting migrants and called for a probe into alleged abuses.
Thousands of migrants from Asia, the Middle East and Africa go through the Balkans every year in a bid to enter European Union member state Croatia and then move to western Europe.
While most manage to continue their journey, several thousand were thwarted last year by Croatian border police and are now stranded in migrant centres in neighbouring Bosnia.
Amnesty International cited an incident which allegedly took place in late May near the Bosnian border.
An injured migrant.
Danish Refugee Council/Amnesty International
A group of 16 Pakistani and Afghan asylum-seekers were “bound, brutally beaten and tortured” by Croatian police after having illegally entered the country, the human rights monitor said in a statement.
Police also “smeared food on their bleeding heads to humiliate them”, it said.
Amnesty cited Bosnian doctors and some of the migrants who said they were beaten with metal sticks, batons and pistols before being sent back to Bosnia.
“EU can no longer remain silent and wilfully ignore the violence and abuses by Croatian police on its external borders,” it said.
“Their silence is allowing, and even encouraging, the perpetrators of this abuse to continue without consequences”, Amnesty said, calling for Brussels to investigate what it called “horrifying police violence”.
Croatia’s interior ministry rejected the allegations and the notion “that a Croatian police officer would do such a thing or have a motive for it”.
It said that on 28 May, when the alleged incident took place, a fight between migrants took place in Bosnia, which left two migrants dead and many injured.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported another incident in which Croatian police allegedly spray-painted the heads of asylum seekers with crosses.