Over 30,000 entities, including local governments, small businesses, defense contractors, and education institutions, have been breached because of unpatched exploits in Microsoft Exchange, reported journalist and investigative reporter Brian Krebs on his blog, KrebsOnSecurity.
“In each incident, the intruders have left behind a ‘web shell,’ an easy-to-use, password-protected hacking tool that can be accessed over the Internet from any browser. The web shell gives the attackers administrative access to the victim’s computer servers,” Krebs wrote.
According to Microsoft, the attack was orchestrated by notorious Chinese hacking group Hafnium, and they started on January 6th, the day when rioters stormed the United States Capitol in a violent attack against the 117th United States Congress.
Microsoft released emergency security updates to patch the vulnerabilities on March 2nd, which means that the attackers had nearly two months to infiltrate vulnerable systems. The tech giant has been working closely with the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), as well as other public and private organizations, to secure all unpatched servers running Exchange Server 2013, 2016, or 2019 (Exchange Online hasn’t been affected).
“The best protection is to apply updates as soon as possible across all impacted systems,” said Microsoft spokesperson in a written statement. “We continue to help customers by providing additional investigation and mitigation guidance. Impacted customers should contact our support teams for additional help and resources.”
While most known victims of the attacks were located in the United States, breaches related to the Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities were also detected on the other side of the Atlantic. For example, the Prague municipality and the Czech Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs were forced to shut down some of their systems and install emergency patches. No data was stolen during the attack, said Czech government officials.
Attacks like this one highlight the importance of timely patching and modern intrusion detection tools, which are able to detect unusual activity while it’s still time to act.
Matchmaking App Hawaya Lets Users Connect Based On Lifestyle Choices
Hawaya currently operates in 12 new countries, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States, and Canada.
Finding love is not easy, especially for singles in the Middle East, where conservative cultural norms don’t approve of any but the most traditional forms of matchmaking, which don’t seem all that appealing to many members of younger generations. But it’s not like young men and women in the Middle East are without modern options when it comes to finding the partner of their dreams. Hawaya, a Cairo-born matchmaking app, has recently celebrated 4 million users, and it’s now rolling out a feature that has the potential to expand its userbase even further: the ability to connect based on lifestyle choices with people from other regions.
Hawaya currently operates in 12 new countries, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States of America, and Canada. So far, it has resulted in 18,000 commitments, with 5,000 in Egypt alone.
“We’re seeing singles all over the region, women in particular, trusting in Hawaya to find their life partner more than ever before, which displays greater social acceptance for mobile matchmaking as an empowering tool for women to find their ideal life partner,” said Shaymaa Ali, Hawaya’s co-founder and Marketing Manager in the MENA region.
The new “Lifestyle Preferences” feature allows users to find their other half based on shared interests, likes, and dislikes. Users can now specify the geographic area they would like to explore, instead of always receiving matches that are located as close to them as possible.
“Through innovation, tech, and cultural respect, Hawaya prides itself to be a progressive app that aims to destigmatize the taboo of online matchmaking, and empowering women to take their time and spark a real connection with the love of their lives,” added Sameh Saleh, Hawaya’s founder and CEO.
Since the 2017 launch of Hawaya, social acceptance of online matchmaking in the MENA region has seen a measurable improvement, but there’s still a long way to go before all users of matchmaking apps like Hawaya won’t feel the need to hide their identities.