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News Bytes – November

Google Maps Gets Busy
Google has just announced that Google Maps’ “busyness” feature is being expanded so that users can check on how busy or empty any specific location is in real time, e.g., if you’re thinking of visiting your favorite deli, you can find out the numbers of people present in that location.

This new feature will not just save you time standing in line by allowing you to visit places when queue times are lowest, it is also intended to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by alerting users to times when places they might want to visit are crowded so they can be avoided. The coverage of locations has been extended by Google so that essential locations like pharmacies and gas stations are covered as well as outdoor locations such as parks and beaches.

To access the feature, simply open Google maps on your phone or browser and when you hover over the location you’re thinking of visiting you will be told how busy that location is.

Windows Backdoor Hack
Researchers are warning about a new backdoor hack in Windows, named Zerologon, that can allow hackers to access servers holding credentials for all users and administrative accounts within networks. Essentially, hackers can run a script that, on unpatched computers, allows them to access all active directories; these are directories that administrators use for creating, deleting, and managing network accounts. Being able to access these accounts is very much the holy grail for hackers as it means they can order all machines on the network to do whatever they want them to. Worryingly, once the hackers are inside a system, they can remain there controlling processes even after the system has been patched.

The good news about this worrying development is that thus far the hack has only been seen on “honeypot” computers, i.e., computers that researchers leave deliberately vulnerable in order to attract attacks so that they can analyze new threats and develop countermeasures. As always, the expert recommendation is to ensure that all your security is up-to-date and to implement as many layers of protection as possible around your system.

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