In August 2021, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) established the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), a public-private cybersecurity information sharing partnership whose purpose is to unify defensive actions and drive down risk in advance of cyber incidents occurring. Now, one JCDC member, American cybersecurity software company Symantec, has discovered a never-before-seen hacking tool that has been successfully hiding for over a decade.
In its research report, Symantec calls the tool Daxin and describes it as the most advanced piece of malware Symantec researchers have seen.
Based on instances where components of the tool were combined with known Chinese hacking infrastructure, it’s almost certain that Daxin has originated from China. What’s more, the computers on which Daxin was discovered were also infected with other tools Chinese espionage actors are known to use.
“The malware appears to be used in a long-running espionage campaign against select governments and other critical infrastructure targets” explains Symantec’s Treat Hunter Team. “Most of the targets appear to be organizations and governments of strategic interest to China”.
Daxin allows attackers to perform various communications and data-gathering operations, and it appears to be optimized to perform especially well against hardened targets that can withstand less sophisticated attacks.
“Daxin can be controlled from anywhere in the world once a computer is actually infected” said Vikram Thakur, a technical director with Symantec. “That’s what raises the bar from malware that we see coming out of groups operating from China”.
Since the initial discovery of Daxin, the U.S. government has shared the information with foreign partners to collectively stop the tool from spreading from country to country and from network to network.
So far, no organization in the United States has been infected by Daxin, but previous experience with malware like NotPetya, which was created by Russia to attack Ukrainian infrastructure, tells us that heightened caution is appropriate.
Spotify Is Experimenting With Artist NFT Collections
According to a recent survey, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform.
NFT sales may have declined by 92 percent since September 2021, but that’s not stopping Spotify from experimenting with a new feature that lets artists display their non-fungible token (NFT) collections on the music streaming platform.
At the moment, only a small group of artists are taking part in the experiment, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats. What’s more, only select US users of the Spotify app for Android can see NFTs when they visit the profile pages of the aforementioned artists.
“Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles,” said Spotify spokesperson. “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences.”
It’s important to point out that not all Spotify experiments result in new features. It all depends on the feedback the music streaming platform receives from users.
According to a survey some Spotify users have recently received, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform. More specifically, Spotify seems to be thinking about allowing its users to directly purchase NFT art to support their favorite artists.
Considering how polarizing NFTs have been since their inception in 2014, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Spotify users have immediately expressed their dissatisfaction with the idea of NFTs becoming part of the Spotify music listening experience.
Other large tech companies are also experimenting with NFTs. Instagram, for example, started testing NFT integration last week, allowing NFT creators and collectors to display their tokens on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg himself believes that NFTs and digital collectibles in general will play an integral role in the metaverse, the new iteration of the internet.