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Congratulations, we all survived Star Wars day! Now for some security headaches

Schools hacked, voters DDoSed, Apple's Linux fix, IBM Java patch, and more

Roundup May is already upon us, and as usual it has been a busy week for security news. Here's a summary of what didn't make it into El Reg this week, well, until now.

Son of a glitch!

Brainiacs at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam have detailed an attack called GLitch. It exploits Adreno GPUs built into Qualcomm-powered system-on-chips inside Android devices to executable arbitrary malicious code. Viewing a webpage with some clever JavaScript can be enough, in theory, to run evil code smuggled into the page.

It's a Rowhammer-style caper to flip bits in memory to change the flow of execution. GLitch uses WebGL graphics interfaces to reach the GPU and its caches to get a handle on the device's physical memory to manipulate. How successful this kind of attack would be outside of a uni lab, on a normal real-world handheld, is not entirely certain at this stage.

In any case, it's been assigned CVE-2018-10229, and a mitigation is to disable EXT_DISJOINT_TIMER_QUERY in WebGL: Chrome and Firefox have since done this in their latest versions.

Mass. school spends $10k to stop wicked-bad ransomware

Hackers get a Boston BTC party this week as a school district in Massachusetts paid them $10,000 in cryptocurrency to remove a WannaCry malware infection.

Officials with the Leominster Public School district confirmed to ABC News they had agreed to hand over the Bitcoin ransom after the small town's schools became infected with the malware earlier this month.

Just a reminder, paying ransoms is generally a pretty bad idea, as you are just as likely to lose your files as actually get them back. Instead, back up often and be ready to restore infected systems.

Tennessee voter site goes to school of hard Knox

Officials in Knox County, Tennessee, USA, are calling for investigations after the county's voting portal went down on election night earlier this week under an apparent denial of service attack.

No vote tallies were compromised, and the county does not believe the outcome of the election was affected, but it wants to get to the bottom of things ahead of this November's mid-terms.

"I want to know what happened, and I think an independent review will help to determine that so we can move forward and work to prevent similar issues in the future," says Mayor Tim Burchett.

Apple patches Ubuntu bug, and no that is not a typo

Apple has taken the rare step of issuing a security patch for something other than MacOS or iOS.

The Cupertino giant on Friday issued Security Update 2018-001 Swift 4.1.1 for Ubuntu 14.04.

The update addresses CVE-2018-4220, a bug in the Ubuntu version of the Swift developer kit that would allow libraries to gain read and write access permissions, potentially allowing for a remote code execution attack.

Apple noted that the update only applies to Ubuntu 14.04, versions 16.04 and 16.10 are already protected.

GPON gets GPwnd

Over one million home routers from GPON are now at risk as hackers have begun to target authentication bypass and command execution vulnerabilities in the routers' firmware.

Researchers with VPNMentor disclosed the bug earlier this week, and roughly one day later, 360 Netlab said it was spotting active exploits.

As GPON routers are typically sold by ISPs as part of fiber service packages, VPNMentor advises users contact their service providers for info on how to get a fix.

IBM sounds the Java alarm

Big Blue is advising companies running anything that uses its Java SDK to be on the lookout for updates. IBM issued multiple alerts over fixes for high-severity flaws in the Java SDK.

Affected products Include AIX and Emptoris. The SDK is also present in the WebSphere Application server.

The hackers went down to Georgia, looking for a server to kill

The controversial anti-hacking bill being considered by the state of Georgia has drawn the wrong kind of attention for local businesses.

The Augusta Chronicle says a hacktivist group has been taking down the sites of local businesses and schools, including that of Georgia Southern University.

A hacker associated with the group that calls itself SB315 (after the senate bill itself) said the takeovers were a warning to the state and Governor Nathan Deal, who would sign the bill into law. ®

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