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Android-Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow Protects against Ransomware

It’s becoming more and more common for malicious applications on Android to use ransomware as a means of attack. It is one of the most worrying threats to mobile users as it renders the device unusable until the fee is paid and is sometimes difficult to eliminate completely. Google is aware of this issue and has finally decided to face it head on.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is already available on selected terminals, makes it more difficult for cyber-criminals to hijack users’ phones. This is thanks to the company’s experts designing a more advanced operating system to manage the permissions asked by different applications.

Until now, users accepted all of the permission requests at once when they installed the apps. Due to this, seemingly inoffensive apps such as a simple flashlight were able to access features that were not related to its sole purpose. Not all of these apps were dangerous and for the most part companies were only trying to fine tune their advertising. However, by allowing access to other functions and domains on the mobile devices – users opened the door for malware to infect the device as well.

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45% of Ex-Employees Continue to Have Access to Confidential Corporate Data

It is essential for companies to take steps in order to maintain their security, especially when changes occur within the company’s staff.

Employees looking for a change of scene, suppliers who do not pay on time or companies that go out of business – there are numerous reasons as to why business relationships may come to an end and companies should control what information is retained by those who are leaving and obtained by those who are entering.

It seems that many companies don’t pay much attention to this matter. There are few organisations that take the necessary precautions to prevent ex-employees from keeping information that belongs to the company. According to a study carried out by Osterman Research, 89% of the ex-employees keep the login and the password which gave them access to at least one of their former company’s services.

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Protect Yourself against the Growing Cyber-Crime Black Market

Global IT Vendor Panda Security has launched a campaign against the ever growing world of cyber-crime. The campaign aims to educate both businesses and home users about the dangers of cyber-crime, and the ways in which becoming a victim of its growth may be avoided.

“Cyber-crime preys on unsuspecting users”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “That’s why these campaigns are so important-they provide very necessary and useful information that may help many individuals and businesses avoid becoming victims.”

Trojans: The Tools of the Trade

The year 2003 saw the creation of the first banker Trojan. Since then, Trojans have become one of the most common types of malware, accounting for 71% of all threats, because they are the best tool for hackers and organisations involved in identity and detail theft. Every day, increasingly sophisticated variants emerge, designed to evade the security measures put in place by banks, online stores, pay platforms, etc. The reason for this rapid growth is clearly profit based.

How the Cyber-crime Black Market Works

Online mafias are highly organised and strategic with regards to their operations and deployment. Not only do they seem like real companies, they operate across the globe, throwing their nets wide.

The cyber-crime black market works in a two step process. Step one involves the creation of malware and it distribution to potential victims. The heads of the criminal organisations hire hackers and programmers to create malware like Trojans, bots and spam. This malware is then usually spread through email and social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Twitter. Once a victim has been caught in the trap, their confidential information is stolen and then stored for sale on a server.

In step two, the confidential data is sold on underground sites. The black market offers confidential personal data from as little as $2 but it can reach prices exceeding $700. Often, money is stolen directly from victims’ bank accounts. In this case, money mules are used to forward the stolen funds in exchange for commission. Sometimes these mules do not know that they are moving funds illegally until they are caught and used as scapegoats in the event of arrests being made. Finally, the stolen funds are transferred into the hands of the gang leaders through services like Western Union.

Panda’s Security Advice

While the spread of cyber-crime is increasing, there are a few precautions one can take to stave off becoming a victim.

Precautions such as memorising your passwords, instead of saving them on your PC can minimise your risk. Users are also advised to never give away personal information telephonically or on the internet if the company or website is unknown.

Closing all your browser sessions and working with just one at a time can also decrease your chance of being lured into a fake website.

Lastly, if you get any suspicious messages from the bank, an online store or a payment platform, contact the customer relations department from the company it was supposedly sent from. If this suspicious activity persists, or if you notice any unusual account transactions, do not hesitate to inform your bank.

“Cyber-crime is a scary reality but those who take the time to inform themselves and then take the necessary precautions advised on the mini-site should remain safe”, concludes Matthews.

The mini-site also includes a link to scan your personal or business PC for infections and is available at: http://cybercrime.pandasecurity.com/blackmarket/index.php

For more information about Panda, visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/.

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How Digg and YouTube are used to spread malware

Panda Security has revealed that malware creators are using popular social media sites such as Digg.com and YouTube to distribute VideoPlay, a code designed to download a worm aimed at stealing confidential information. The global IT security vendor detected over 400% more examples of the adware VideoPlay in February than in January.

VideoPlay is distributed through comments on news stories (in the case of Digg.com) or videos (with YouTube). You can see an example of this here. The comments claim that users will be able to see pornographic videos if they click on a link provided in the comment. However, users that click the link will be redirected to a page where they will be asked to download a codec in order to watch the video. Users that do this will actually be allowing the adware onto their systems.

Once installed, VideoPlay downloads the worm to the affected computer. The aim of this worm is to spread through the system drives and steal the information stored in the Internet browser, such as email accounts and the login passwords to different web services.

“This is another example of how cyber-crooks are using the most popular Web pages and social engineering to distribute malware on a massive scale,” says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “Users should remember that even though they may be visiting trusted websites, they should always be on their guard, and in particular, watch out for sensationalist headlines because these are typically used to trick users and infect the computers.”

Malware on Digg, YouTube

By Sean-Paul Correll of PandaLabs

A few weeks ago we talked about cyber-criminals using Digg.com to spread malware. Today we see that the very same group responsible for the Digg.com incident was using the same tactic on YouTube through the use of YouTube’s Annotations feature. Video Annotations is a way to add interactive commentary to videos on YouTube.

The following image displays a video using the annotations feature to guide users over to a malware ridden website:

Although the YouTube description malware is not as prevalent as the Digg.com comment abuse, it does show that Social Media websites are increasingly being used to spread Malware. We expect to see plenty of new examples similar to this throughout 2009.

Thanks to Dancho Danchev for the information.