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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 71

Malwarebytes will now cost $25 per year following extensive update

For many years now, Malwarebytes has been a staple in many Windows users anti-virus / anti-malware toolbox. It gained this position not only because it works so well, but because it was a powerful solution that was completely free. Today the company announced that Malwarebytes 2.0 will be moving away from its free to download model be moving away from a lifetime licence model, and will instead move to an annual subscription licensing model.

 

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The company says that Malwarebytes 2.0 will cost users $24.95 per year with a licensing covering three separate PCs, a fee that is much cheaper than many of the big-name anti-virus programs on the market. "As more and more people have come to rely on us for malware protection and cleanup, our costs in bandwidth, hosting fees, infrastructure, salaries of our researchers, QA department, and more have grown immensely," explained Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes. "Though our company is about more than just making money, we are a company and we do have to make money to pay our staff to continue doing what they love, which is fighting malware. The subscription model will help us to be sustainable for the future while staying true to our roots that we will always make malware cleanup free for everyone"

 

Malwarebytes says that its customers who have already purchased lifetime licenses will not need to pay the annual subscription fee, and the company will continue to offer lifetime licenses for a short period to ease the transition for those users who have wanted to take the lifetime plunge, but have yet to do so. What do you think about Malwarebytes moving to a paid version only model to a annual subscription over lifetime license model, and will you be jumping in to grab one of the few lifetime licenses left?

Continue reading 'Malwarebytes will now cost $25 per year following extensive update' (full post)

Chewbacca point-of-sale threat steals your debit, credit card info

A point-of-sale malware designed to steal debit and credit card information has been found on systems in 11 different countries, according to security company RSA. Dubbed ChewBacca, the malware was first discovered in late October, and has been found on in-store POS, directly blamed for stealing at least 49,000 account numbers to date.

 

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The Tor-based malware threat communicates with the Command and Control (C&C) server using the anonymous Internet network - protecting the IP addresses of controllers. ChewBacca has proven successful in encrypting traffic and slipping through network-level detection, despite being a relatively simple piece of malware.

 

In-store POS threats, typically malware to steal customer information, typically go unnoticed, but consumers are becoming more aware of current threats. Criminals want to do whatever is necessary to steal data that they can either use, trade, or sell to other criminals - at the expense of retailers and consumers.

U.S. officials think reporters are Edward Snowden's "accomplices"

U.S. officials are still trying to come to terms with former NSA analyst Edward Snowden's spying disclosures, with James Clapper, the Director of the National Intelligence, demanding his journalist "accomplices" return leaked documents.

 

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Clapper didn't place blame on specific "accomplices," but reporters at The Guardian, for example, would likely be an obvious choice.

 

Clapper's spokespeople later clarified and said the U.S. official "was referring to anyone who is assisting Edward Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs."

 

Snowden may have recently been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, but government officials would still like to see him face espionage-related charges. Trying to equate journalists to accomplices clearly is a long stretch for a government administration desperate to make sure similar whistle blower actions don't take place in the future.

SpyEye malware creator pleads guilty, prepares for time in prison

The founder of the SpyEye malware, Aleksandr Andreevich Panin, recently pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and bank fraud charges. The Russian citizen was extradited to the United States early last year, and will be sentenced on April 29, where he will almost certainly receive a prison sentence.

 

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SpyEye was reportedly created in 2009 and remotely infected PCs so cyber criminals could access personal information, including bank accounts, usernames and passwords. Panin sold licenses to the software from $1,000 up to $8,500, with more than 150 global clients using the malware to steal information.

 

"As several recent and widely reported data breaches have shown, cyber attacks pose a critical threat to our nation's economic security," said Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Georgia, in a statement. "Today's plea is a great leap forward in our campaign against those attacks."

 

Developing malware and other malicious software for profit has become big business for savvy cyber criminals, and will continue to be a lucrative underground business.

Possible security threat coming to a touch-enabled device near you

A new proof-of-concept malware targeting touchscreen devices shows a potential security threat in which user finger swipes could be used to see exactly how consumers interact with their devices, according to security firm Trustwave.

 

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Specifically, the malware is able to log the X and Y coordinates of touch swipes on a device, along with capturing screenshots to help record touch coordinates. The proof-of-concept also allows the cyber criminal to only capture screenshots when a user enters a specific app, and a full demonstration and disclosure will be made at the RSA security conference next month.

 

"The more interesting thing is, if you get a screenshot and then overlay the touch events, you're looking at a screenshot of what the user is seeing, combined with dots, sequentially, where the user is touching the screen," according to Neal Hindocha, Trustwave senior security consultant.

 

It seems if this security threat hit the wild, it would be used against specific targeted users and companies, and won't end up becoming a widespread threat to the average smartphone or tablet user.

Edward Snowden concerned U.S. government might try to kill him

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) IT contractor now hiding in Russia, is worried about the U.S. government trying to retaliate against him. Following his initial revelations starting last May, a number of rather shady NSA-related spying tactics have popped up, including efforts to snoop on foreign citizens and government leaders.

 

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"There are clear threats, but I'm not losing any sleep over them," Snowden recently told foreign journalists.

 

If Snowden remains under the protection of the Russian government, it seems less likely the U.S. government would try to launch a covert operation to silence him. However, if he ends up seeking amnesty in a Central or South American nation, personal security must be a significant concern to the U.S. citizen.

 

Meanwhile, Russia isn't in a big hurry to try and send Snowden out of the country, with officials noting he's welcome to stay as long as he feels comfortable. The 30-year-old also said he wouldn't receive a fair trial in the U.S., and his lawyer wants a guarantee of amnesty before he tries to head home again.

NSA uses insecure mobile apps to view and collect user information

The National Security Agency (NSA) and British spies use popular mobile games such as Angry Birds to covertly collect information on player location, age, sex and additional personal details, recent documents indicate.

 

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The NSA and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHW) also accessed address books, phone logs, and embedded geographic information during their joint efforts.

 

As more personal information is posted and shared online, with users accessing the Internet from PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and a variety of other devices - this is a significant problem that will plague users in the future - because the NSA and other spy agencies aren't going to suddenly stop their invasive activities.

 

Following months of continued public backlash, President Obama said NSA reform will take place, though critics still don't believe it's enough.

Craft store Michaels investigating possible credit card data breach

Arts and crafts store Michaels is the latest to suffer a data breach, with the Secret Service now lending a hand in the follow-up investigation, the store confirmed over the weekend. Suspected cyber criminals have stolen credit and debit card numbers, immediately sharing news of the breach once it was confirmed.

 

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At least four financial institutions have identified fraudulent activity for card holders after recently shopping at Michaels.

 

"We are concerned there may have been a data security attack on Michaels that may have affected our customers' payment card information and we are taking aggressive action to determine the nature and scope of the issue," said Chuck Rubin, Michaels CEO, in a statement. "While we have not confirmed a compromise to our systems, we believe it is in the best interest of our customers to alert them to this potential issue so they can take steps to protect themselves, for example, by reviewing their payment card account statements for unauthorized charges."

 

There are a growing number of companies working their way through significant data breaches, which open up customers to possible credit fraud. High-end boutique retailer Neiman Marcus confirmed a data breach impacting 1.1 million customers, while Target is still dealing with fallout from a data breach affecting more than 70 million shoppers. The FBI noted that these type of attacks targeting brick and mortar retail stores will likely only increase in the future, so shoppers need to be vigilant in monitoring bank account statements.

U.S. court system also plagued by cyber attacks, as threat risk grows

An organized denial-of-service attack recently targeted the U.S. federal court system, temporarily stopping access to government websites, according to media reports. Specifically targeting uscourts.gov and other federal court websites, lawmakers were unable to access and upload legal documents, according to someone in the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

 

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The U.S. Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security didn't confirm the cyber attack, though U.S. government agencies are under continued attacks. The U.S. federal court, which handles its own cyber security, didn't disclose where the cyber attacks originated from. Additional details of the brief cyber attack remain unknown, in yet another incident that disrupts U.S. activity.

 

There is growing concern, especially from foreign-based cyber threats, as the U.S. infrastructure is increasingly targeted.

Russia snubs U.S. wishes, not in big hurry to end Snowden's asylum

Former National Security Agency (NSA) IT contractor Edward Snowden could be able to stay in Russia for more than one year, as the Russian government said they don't plan to send him packing.

 

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Snowden, currently in Russia on a temporary one-year asylum, has offers from Brazil and several Central American countries interested in taking him in - but Alexy Pushkov, the Russian Foreign Affairs Committee legislator, noted that Snowden could stay longer. The 30-year-old American is now free to stay in Russia, working for private Russian companies, until he is ready to return back to the U.S.

 

During a recent online chat, Snowden said he would like to one day return to the United States, but that cannot happen unless he's granted protection under the federal Whistleblower Protection Act - which doesn't apply to former government contractors. Meanwhile, Snowden continues to claim he didn't carry out actions for Russia or any other foreign government, though some U.S. lawmakers still aren't so sure about that.

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