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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 15

Anti-snooping server sails past $1m crowdfunding target in hours

A German startup that's promising to deliver a secure private server free from government snooping has reached its $1 million crowdfunding target in just under an hour and a half.

 

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Protonet hit over 100,000 euros on the crowdfunding service Seedmatch in minutes, before sailing past the $1 million mark 89 minutes after going live, IBTimes reports. Protonet's product aims to combine the best of server capabilities, according to the company, with the security and control of local hardware.

 

"We offer location independent data access, a though through social collaboration platform and all this with no necessary maintenance and installation," the company says on its website.

Simplelocker ransomware targets Android, encrypts your SD card

A recently discovered Trojan targeting Google Android turns out to be a nasty piece of ransomware, encrypting files on a compromised user's device. The Android/Simplelocker ransomware demands a small payment of about $22 in that must be paid to the Eastern European cybercriminals behind the malicious software.

 

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The Trojan scans for the following file formats on a phone's SD card: jpeg, jpg, png, bmp, gif, pdf, doc, docx, txt, avi, mkv, 3gp, mp4, which will be encrypted and made inaccessible.

 

"File-encrypting malware has proved to be a lucrative criminal enterprise so it is unsurprising that Android has become a new target," said Dr. Steven Murdoch, University of Cambridge security researcher, in a statement. "Smartphone users should be very cautious of installing software from sources other than the operating system-provided application store, and should pressure their phone supplier to promptly provide security updates to defend against known vulnerabilities."

Continue reading 'Simplelocker ransomware targets Android, encrypts your SD card' (full post)

Privacy campaigner creates Google Glass jamming device

A privacy campaigner for "Stop The Cyborgs" has come up with a novel way to prevent being recorded by a Google Glass wearing Glasshole - a simple program that knows when Glass is being used and prevents it from connecting to a network.

 

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The program will no doubt be to the chagrin of the Valley's Glass-wearing enthusiasts, as it prevents it from connecting to the cloud completely. But Stop The Cyborg's Julian Oliver claims it's a hassle-free approach to gaining some privacy in public places.

 

"To say 'I don't want to be filmed' at a restaurant or playing with your kids is perfectly OK," he said, speaking with Wired. "But how do you do that when you don't even know if a device is recording? This steps up the game. It's taking a jammer-like approach."

Continue reading 'Privacy campaigner creates Google Glass jamming device' (full post)

Bitdefender helps Community Emergency Response Team fight cybercrimes

Security software company Bitdefender plans to become more proactive in helping Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and police authorities fight cybercrimes. The company hopes its botnet mapping and malware reverse-engineering will provide a method to identify - and disrupt - cyberattacks before they victimize users. Bitdefender has experience working with law enforcement, so disabling command and control servers, with the help of forensic analysis, also is possible.

 

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Here is what Catalin Cosoi, Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist, in a press statement: " Bitdefender has been in the fight against cyber crime since the beginning, so we find ourselves with more knowledge and capabilities than we can use in our regular business. We want to use that capacity and expertise to contribute to bolster the work of other well-meaning groups who are seeking to make the internet a cleaner, safer place to work, play and socialize."

 

There is an ongoing fight against cyberattacks, though many companies are simply overwhelmed due to increasingly sophisticated attacks. The U.S. federal government is targeting organized cybercriminal groups, but tend to only operate in damage control after a breach occurs.

Microsoft faces new difficulties in China over Windows 8

The Chinese government decided to ban Microsoft Windows 8 from government PCs last month, expressing fears of cyberespionage by the U.S. government. As Microsoft tries to build support for its software, the company quickly opened up discussions with the Chinese government - and the headaches still haven't gone away. The state-run China Central Television criticized Microsoft during a noon news broadcast, opening questioning Windows 8 security.

 

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"Whoever controls the operating system can control all the data on the computers using it," the broadcast claimed.

 

Ironically, Microsoft and security specialists have recommended upgrading to Windows 8 because increased security. This is just another step for the Chinese government to torment the U.S. government - and major tech companies - which have been accused of providing the NSA access to Chinese technologies.

Continue reading 'Microsoft faces new difficulties in China over Windows 8' (full post)

German government opens investigation into Angela Merkel hacking

German federal prosecutor Harald Range confirmed he has opened an investigation into spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) that targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel. The NSA reportedly accessed Merkel's smartphone, which was unveiled by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and it appeared the case would be dropped. However, members of Parliament and German media immediately criticized the decision, so the investigation will move forward.

 

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"I informed parliament's legal affairs committee that I have started a preliminary investigation over tapping of a mobile phone of the chancellor," Range recently said.

 

Last month, German authorities said they were interested in interviewing Snowden to discuss NSA spying allegations against Merkel. The NSA first snooped on Gerhard Schröder, Merkel's predecessor in office, due to his resistance to George W. Bush's war in Iraq - and close ties with the Russian government.

Chinese media want government to punish Google, Apple, others

Google, Apple and other U.S. tech companies are under fire by Chinese state media, accusing the companies of conducting surveillance on behalf of the U.S. government. It's a fairly common tactic for the Chinese government to use its media resources to criticize political opponents. Some Chinese companies are abandoning U.S. technology suppliers in favor of national software and hardware solutions, helping spur their economy.

 

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"U.S. companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. are all coordinating with the PRISM program to monitor China," according to the People's Daily. "To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draw up international regulations, and strengthen technology safeguards, but we will also severely punish the pawns of the villain. The priority is strengthening penalties and punishments, and for anyone who steals our information, even though they are far away, we shall punish them!"

 

There is an intensifying political game between Beijing and Washington, with both sides continually blaming one another of cyberattacks. Following the U.S. government charging several Chinese Army officers of cyberespionage, Beijing said cyberattack claims were fabricated.

U.S. government accuses Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev of $100m fraud

Accused Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev, known as "lucky12345" and "slavik," has been accused of committing cybercrimes that led to more than $100 million in fraud. Leading a group of cybercriminals, Bogachev helped infect thousands of computers with malware, compromising users by stealing usernames and passwords.

 

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Most of the hackers involved are from the United Kingdom, Russia and the Ukraine, according to U.S. federal investigators.

 

The U.S. government is increasingly going after cybercriminals, though struggle to try to prevent these types of breaches - and can only respond once hacking and theft has already occurred. Still on the run, the Russian is charged with conspiracy, bank, wire and computer fraud, and money laundering, with one victim, Haysite Reinforced Plastics of Eric named. Bogachev reportedly stole $824,000 from the company's accounts in just one day.

Legal alternatives lead Swedish youth to drop file sharing

Despite the country's efforts, Sweden has often been considered an unofficial home to file sharing thanks in part to the Pirate Bay, one of the most notorious indexing services. But now Sweden's youth are actually sharing files less than ever before.

 

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According to a report from the Cybernorms group at Sweden's Lund University, a survey of roughly 4,000 Swedes suggested the number of active sharers decreased over the last couple of years - down from 32.8 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2014.

 

There was a steady increase of online sharing in the 15-24 year-old age bracket, but now it looks like more are flocking to legal alternatives.

Continue reading 'Legal alternatives lead Swedish youth to drop file sharing' (full post)

Palo Alto tries to crack down on cyberthreats hiding in plain sight

Cybercriminals still rely on email, social media, and video to help successfully deliver attacks to compromise users, though can be used as stepping stones for multi-phased attacks, according to networking company Palo Alto Networks. Of the applications observed by Palo Alto Networks, 34 percent can use SSL encryption - but IT administrators often are unaware which applications are using unpatched versions of OpenSSL - leading to possible security threats.

 

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To counter these types of threats, administrators should try to control unknown traffic, with smaller networks typically seeing up to 10 percent of unknown traffic on their networks. Identifying and selecting decryption with additional enablement policies can also help keep customers secure.

 

"Our research shows an inextricable link between commonly-used enterprise applications and cyber threats," said Matt Kell, Palo Alto Netowrks senior research analyst, in a statement. "Most significant network breaches start with an application such as e-mail delivering an exploit. Then, once in the network, attackers use other applications or services to continue their malicious activity - in essence, hiding in plain sight. Knowing how cybercriminals exploit applications will help enterprises make more informed decisions when it comes to protecting their organizations from attacks."

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