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Each user that views a compromised profile image with the malicious code then ends up sending a GET request to targeted websites. The group responsible also posted comments on large quantities of other videos, to ensure the profile image was viewed as many times as possible.
Smartphone users face a growing list of security problems, and many of them are simply ignoring the risks, according to a recent study completed by security company Avast.
Men are more likely than women to face vulnerabilities on their smartphones, 36 percent compared to 32 percent, with more than one-third surveyed saying they don't use any type of anti-theft or security software.
"The findings suggest an ongoing disconnect people have with their phone and computer when it comes to security protection," Avast said in a blog post. "Many smartphone users have not yet grown accustomed to thinking of their devices as small computers that store valuable, sensitive, and often priceless data. One can now perform the same functions on their phone as the trust PC or laptop, but the majority of people are still learning about the necessary to protect their phones from viruses and hacking."
Eight defendants have been charged with one count of conspiracy for their role in a sophisticated identity theft fraud scheme using stolen information from AT&T. In total, there are 22 counts in the indictment, with some defendants charged with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
One of the defendants charged, Couman Emily Syrilien, 25, from Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, worked for Interactive Response Technologies (IRT), an outsourced call center that provided sales and customer support for AT&T.
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, while the access device fraud charge carries a 10-year max sentence, and each aggravated identity theft charge carries two years.
The western world is closely watching North Korea's military ambitions, with government leaders in Pyongyang investing a large amount of research into cyberwarfare capabilities, the US government recently warned.
Although not sophisticated as cyber arsenals from China or Russia, North Korea can still find partners to help foster its cyberattack capabilities. If matured further, the attacks will likely focus on South Korea, the United States and Japan, military advisors warned in the past.
"North Korea brings risk to the world's fastest-growing economic region, which is responsible for 25 percent of the world's [gross domestic product] and home to our largest trading partners," said Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, in a Department of Defense press release. "Against this real threat, our nation is committed to the security of South Korea and to our national interests."
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden stirred an international debate about privacy rights, with 80 percent of those polled recently saying Congress should reign in NSA snooping, according to a new Harris Interactive survey.
However, over half also said the NSA-related snooping helps reduce the likelihood of terrorism, while believing Internet companies should cooperate with the US government. Ironically, two out of three respondents said ISPs betrayed them while working with the NSA secretly, as a growing number of users aren't trusting of ISPs and other major tech companies.
"People clearly are thinking more about the relationship between privacy and security," said Stephen Cobb, Eset Senior Security Research, in a statement. "What the Snowden revelations have done is to surface the unresolved tension over this issue. People would like, on the one hand, to think the surveillance is necessary. But there is push back against unnecessary surveillance."
Ransomware is becoming a major business for cybercriminals, and users can expect sophisticated attacks that go beyond just Cryptolocker, according to Web security company KnowBe4.
Cybercriminals are developing next-generation malware designed to infect users and steal information, or hijack the computer with ransom demands to unlock affected machines.
"There is furious competition between cybergangs," said Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 CEO, in a press statement. "They did their test-marketing in countries like the UK, Canada and Australia and are now targeting the US. CryptoDefense doesn't seem to be a derivative of CryptoLocker as the code is completely different, confirming this is a competing criminal gang."
Not enough websites and Internet browsers utilize the HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) policy to keep Internet users secure, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
HSTS forces encryption by opening HTTPS sessions instead of just HTTP, so information to and from the website is encrypted. Using HSTS, websites never allow Internet users to interact with an HTTP session, with everything automatically converted.
The EFF believes not enough web developers know about HSTS, while browser support has also only increased slowly but surely. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera have long-supported HSTS, while Microsoft said it will use the Web standard with Internet Explorer 12.
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently released a security notice of required steps that must be followed by banks and financial institutions operating in the United States. All banks under federal government regulation have to beef up security and pay attention to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks which plague bank servers.
Specifically, these companies need to try and mitigate DDoS attacks to the best of their ability, to keep subscribers more secure.
"In the latter half of 2012, an increased number of DDoS attacks were launched against financial institutions by politically motivated groups," according to the FFIEC statement. "These DDoS attacks continued periodically and increased in sophistication and intensity. These attacks caused slow website response times, intermittently prevented customers from accessing institutions' public websites, and adversely affected back-office operations."
Customer information is a valuable commodity to cybercriminals, with the ability to steal identities, transfer money from accounts, and financially ruin victims. Cybercriminals enjoy using the brand names and logos of well-known companies, making it easier to lure users into clicking fraudulent links.
"Phishing attacks are so popular because they are simple to deploy and extremely effective," said Sergey Lozhkin, Kaspersky Lab Senior Security Researcher, in a press statement. "It is often not easy for even advanced Internet users to distinguish a well-designed fraudulent site from a legitimate page, which makes it even more important to install a specialized protection solution."
Former CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern believes Edward Snowden isn't a traitor to the United States, nor is he a hero.
McGovern discussed how Snowden didn't appreciate a "clear violation of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution," which is one of the reasons the data disclosures were made public. Also, the former CIA analyst noted that National Intelligence Director James Clapper didn't face punishment for lying under oath in front of Congress.
"He's a patriot," McGovern recently said during a speech at Missouri Southern State University. "He took his oath seriously. He took the Constitution seriously."