Cybercriminals abusing legitimate cloud hosting services in malware campaigns, warns Microsoft

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.

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Teacher, 36, jailed for eight years after abusing more than 30 vulnerable teenage girls

‘Extremely manipulative’ married father-of-two teacher, 36, is jailed for eight years after abusing more than 30 vulnerable teenage girls

  • Richard Cottyn, 36, from Sheffield, was charged with a staggering 90 offences 
  • He targeted 32  teenage girls for sex with ‘extremely manipulative behaviour’
  • Father-of-two was sentenced to eight years in jail at Guildford Crown Court

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

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.’ 


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WA man charged with sexually abusing two girls denied bail in Perth court

A 67-year-old Western Australian man accused of multiple sexual abuse offences against two girls has been refused bail in the Perth Magistrates Court.

Peter Frederick Humes has been charged with sexually assaulting one of the girls over a six-month period, which is alleged to have begun in November last year.

It is alleged the girl — who was 10 years old when she was first abused — was tied up and physically assaulted.

The man has also been charged with indecently dealing with another girl — who was five years old when the abuse allegedly began — between August 2018 and May this year.

He appeared in court this morning, but details of the hearing were supressed by Magistrate Donna Webb.

Detectives from WA’s child abuse squad recently charged the man with 17 offences, including:

  • Four counts of indecently dealing with a child under 13 years;
  • Four counts of aggravated assault;
  • Three counts of deprivation of liberty;
  • Persistent sexual conduct with a child under 16; and
  • Possessing methamphetamine.

He was remanded in custody.

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University of Washington professor with amnesia shoots dead his wife because she was ‘abusing me’

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

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

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

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

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.  

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Aboriginal man Korey Penny accuses Victoria Police officers of assaulting, racially abusing him

A construction worker has accused police officers of knocking him off his bike, assaulting him and calling him a “black c***” while he was riding his bike to work in inner Melbourne.

Korey Penny, 32, said he was trying to slow down to speak to the officers when he was tackled and “bashed” in Southbank early on Thursday morning.

Victoria Police rejected his account and said Mr Penny’s race was not a factor when he was stopped — but said the officers’ bodycams were not turned on because of the “dynamic nature” of the incident.

“The police members involved in this incident were not aware of the man’s ethnicity until it was later confirmed after they had a verbal interaction with him,” a police statement said.

The force, which maintains Mr Penny refused to stop when asked, said it had conducted an “internal debrief” into the incident.

“At this stage we are satisfied with the use of force in relation to this incident.”

But Mr Penny, a Noongar man from Armadale in Western Australia, said he was slowing down and did not have a chance to stop before he was allegedly tackled.

He said he was an essential worker and had the appropriate permits required during Melbourne’s stage 4 lockdown.

“They didn’t even ask for a permit, they didn’t ask for anything,” Mr Penny said. “I just got bashed.

“It was not like I was trying to evade them. I didn’t have a chance to get off my bike.”

Police officer ‘not able’ to activate body camera

The two diverging accounts of what happened may not be easily resolved because of the lack of footage.

“Due to the dynamic nature of the incident, the officer was not able to activate his body worn camera at the time,” Victoria Police said.

It happened about 5:30am when Mr Penny, who is in Melbourne to work on the city’s Metro Rail Tunnel project, was riding his bike to his job when he noticed police lights.

Victoria Police said Mr Penny was seen riding along the footpath without functioning lights and refused to stop when asked. They then took him into custody before he was taken to hospital.

But Mr Penny said he was initially stopped by an officer who told him to “f***ing walk your bike”.

Mr Penny was riding his bike to work when he claims he was “spear tackled” and circled by about 10 police officers.(Supplied)

Mr Penny said he told the officer that he was riding to work. He said he was slowing down so he could stop, when he was “spear tackled” to the ground, landing on his arm.

“It happened so quick,” he said.

“When I hit the ground, [the police officer] put his two hands on me, grabbed my t-shirt and smashed me up and down on the ground,” Mr Penny said.

Mr Penny said while he was on the ground, he told the officers he had come from WA to work.

He said they responded by saying: “You’re not in WA now, you black c***.”

Mr Penny said he was circled by about 10 officers while he was on the ground and, when he asked for their help up, was rebuffed.

“They said, ‘F***ing get up yourself,'” he said.

Mr Penny said he then stood and called a work colleague who arrived at the scene and was searched by police.

Victoria Police said that Mr Penny was expected to be charged on summons with traffic offences including failing to stop, riding on the footpath and riding without lights.

Mr Penny has worn his arm in a sling since the incident.

‘As a blackfella, I’ve been through this before’

Mr Penny said that before yesterday’s incident, he thought Melbourne was “OK”, but now his opinion had changed.

“I hate the place mate, I want to go home,” he said.

He believes he was stopped because of his race.

“Feels like me, as a blackfella, I’ve been through this before,” Mr Penny said.

“We’re the magnet, and the police are drawn to us. It’s how it feels.

“You know, when you’ve done nothing wrong in your life but you feel scared.

“F***ing hell, I’ve just got to live with it for the rest of my life.”

Mr Penny was featured in an ABC story last year for his involvement in an employment program for reformed prisoners.

He said he was angry and planned to lodge a complaint with Victoria’s corruption watchdog, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

He also planned to launch legal action but in the meantime, he was not sure how his family would make ends meet.

“Now we’ve got to suffer and start budgeting,” he said.

Victoria Police has questions to answer, lawyer says

Mr Penny’s lawyer, Jeremy King from Robinson Gill, called for an urgent and independent investigation.

“Victoria Police has real questions to answer,” Mr King said.

“It is extremely concerning that an innocent person has been assaulted pretty viciously by Victoria Police and has been hospitalised.

“The fact that he has also been racially vilified while on the ground is outrageous and extremely concerning.”

Mr Penny is a member of the Australian Workers’ Union, and its Victorian secretary, Ben Davis, said the alleged incident was “appalling and yet far too common”.

“His only crime was to be riding a pushbike to work. Would he have been treated the same way if he had been white and wearing a suit and tie? Obviously not,” Mr Davis said.

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Woman in hotel quarantine granted bail after allegedly abusing staff, refusing to stay in her room

A Tasmanian woman accused of breaching coronavirus quarantine rules has been granted bail and will continue isolating in a Launceston hotel.

Deanece Ann Morrell, 59, of Penguin, was charged with failing to comply with the direction of an emergency management worker.

She had arrived in the state on Thursday on the Spirit of Tasmania and was later arrested at the Best Western Hotel in Launceston.

Police were called to the hotel just after 11:00am, after reports the woman had allegedly become “abusive and aggressive” and was refusing to stay in her room.

Tasmania Police said the officers advised her about the quarantine requirements and left shortly after.

About three hours later, police were again called to the hotel because of the same woman.

She was allegedly again refusing to stay in her room, “being disruptive and throwing food”.

Tasmania Police said officers gave her a formal direction to quarantine, which she refused.

She was then arrested and charged with “Fail to comply with lawful requirement or direction of an emergency management worker”.

Ms Morrell appeared via video link from the Launceston Reception Prison to the Launceston Magistrates Court.

A Justice of the Peace granted her bail and she will reappear in court on August 19.

State Government places new restrictions on essential workers

From Friday morning, the State Government will be cracking down on all essential travellers coming from Victoria and hotspots in New South Wales.

Workers from these areas are now unlikely to be granted exemptions to travel to Tasmania unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as medical treatment or “industry critical circumstances”.

Those that are allowed in will undergo mandatory testing on arrival.

The new rule extends to freight and logistics operations unless they have evidence of having had a test more than seven days before entering the state.

The hot spots will be determined by the New South Wales Government.

At the same time, non-Tasmanians and residents returning from Victoria who are required to stay in hotel quarantine will now have to do so at their own expense, except in cases of extreme hardship.

The cost will be at $2,800 per person, with a reduced per-person rate for couples and families.

People who are currently in hotel quarantine will not be required to pay.

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Jeffrey Bishop found guilty of sexually abusing young girl 15 years after she first told WA Police

A man has been found guilty of sexually abusing a girl he used to babysit, 15 years after the allegations were first raised.

Jeffrey George Bishop was a family friend of the girl, who told police of the abuse in 2005, but he was not charged until 2017.

There was an outpouring of emotion in a Perth court and the victim cried tears of relief after the judge found Bishop guilty on 10 counts.

Outside court, the victim’s mother said she was pleased.

“Astounded after 15 years, finally justice has been served,” she said.

During Bishop’s trial last month, the WA District Court heard he was not charged in 2005 because there was no “particularisation of conduct”.

The court was told the allegations were first raised by the girl when she was on her way to Bishop’s house, when she told her mother she did not want to go and why.

The court was shown three police interviews from 2005, during which the then-eight-year-old, sometimes holding a teddy bear, provided details about the abuse and said Bishop gave her pills.

But at one point, she also said that she did not want to tell them what happened, causing one of the interviewers to say “we can’t sit here all day” and “we’re trying very, very hard to help you”.

Girl was ‘touchy feely’, Bishop claimed

In 2005, Bishop denied abusing the girl but said he did give her sleeping pills because she would act sexually towards him.

Bishop, who was then in his 40s, told WA Police the girl saw him as a “father figure”.

Bishop abused the girl at his home between 2001 and 2005 while he babysat her.(ABC News: David Weber)

He claimed she went through a “touchy feely” stage, would do “rude things to him” and would lie on top of him naked.

He also said she would “hunt him like a dog”.

More than 10 years later, the victim made a further statement, and Bishop was eventually charged in 2017.

Trial delayed after ‘extraordinary’ failures

Bishop was meant to go to trial before a jury in May, 2019, but a series of failures prevented it, leading to a scathing assessment by Judge Mark Herron.

The counsel who was briefed for the matter said he only had three days to prepare, with hours of video footage to review.

A crest on a wall outside the Perth Central Law Courts.
A trial was initially set down for last year but did not go ahead after a series of failures.(ABC)

An investigating officer was also on extended sick leave and had hoped to be excused even though the defence said she was needed.

It turned out she was overseas.

Judge Herron was strongly critical of the lack of preparation, also referring to the fact that editing of interviews had not been completed.

He said the trial could not proceed “because nobody at the DPP office has properly managed this matter and ensured it’s in a position to proceed with a trial”.

“It’s extraordinary that the investigating officer is overseas and may not even have been served with a summons,” he said.

“Certainly, I would expect somebody from the DPP is in a position to respond to all of this [and] needs to provide an explanation to the court why we’ve got to this position.”

Defence lawyer Linda Black said the officer’s failure to attend was a “fundamental breach” of requirements and duties.

Abuse took place over five years

The trial finally went ahead in June, with prosecutor Michael Cvetkoski acting for the state, before Judge John Staude sitting in the District Court without a jury.

Bishop, now 62, was facing 10 offences, including multiple counts of penetration of a child under the age of 13, covering the period from 2001 to 2005.

The court heard detailed descriptions of the abuse, which occurred in Bishop’s home.

Now aged 23, the victim told the court she felt uncomfortable at times during the interviews in 2005 and “didn’t want to be there”.

She said she used to write stories and draw pictures instead of verbalising it.

Judge Staude said he found the complainant believable and did not accept Bishop’s denials.

The victim’s mother said despite the long delays in the case reaching court, she was grateful.

“The state did come through,” she said.

“Give credit where credit is due.”

Judge Staude remanded Bishop in custody and scheduled him to be sentenced in August.

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Human rights group accuses Croatia of abusing migrants, calls for EU probe

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.

The Croatian government denied the allegation. 

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