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Security

  • Update: DDoS attack on Dyn DNS leaves internet crippled

    Update #5, 22 October, 12.30am: Dyn has issued its lengthiest update yet, revealing a few more details about the DDoS attack on its DNS service. "On Friday October 21, 2016 at approximately 11:10 UTC, Dyn came under attack by a large Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against our Managed DNS infrastructure in the US-East region," the update reads. "Customers affected may have seen regional resolution failures in US-East and intermittent spikes in latency globally. Dyn’s engineers were able to successfully mitigate the attack at approximately 13:20 UTC, and shortly after, the attack subsided." "At roughly 15:50 UTC a second DDoS attack...

  • EFF: 4 big security concerns for WhatsApp

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been on WhatsApp's case this year, taking the platform to task over its new data-sharing policy with Facebook. Now, the US watchdog has hit out at WhatsApp, listing four major security concerns it should tackle. Unencrypted backups The first issue raised by the EFF was the way WhatsApp handles backups to the cloud. "In order to back messages up in a way that makes them restorable without a passphrase in the future, these backups need to be stored unencrypted at rest," the watchdog noted. The watchdog says users should never back up their WhatsApp data to the cloud "since...

  • Employees download malware every four seconds

    A new pair of studies reveals that employees are downloading unknown malware at a staggering rate. The Check Point 2016 Security Report and the SANS 2016 Threat Landscape Study revealed "critical challenges" facing businesses, Check Point wrote in an emailed press statement. The Check Point report saw the company analyse the activity of 31 000 Check Point "gateways" around the world. The SANS study, on the other hand, saw 300 IT security professionals being surveyed. "Researchers found a 9x increase in the amount of unknown malware plaguing businesses. This was fuelled by the employees -- who downloaded a new unknown malware every four...

  • FBI chief suggests you tape over your webcam

    People might call you paranoid if you encrypt your smartphone, or boast an endless array of 12+ character passwords, but new comments made by the FBI chief James Comey's webcam comments will make you feel a little more normal. Comey, while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called taping over your laptop's webcam -- to prevent potential prying eyes from snooping -- one of the "sensible things" human beings should be doing, akin to locking your house, or patting your wallet before disembarking the plane. "You go into any government office and we all have the little camera...

  • Nokia report: phones see 96% increase in malware

    Finnish company Nokia may no longer be a staple in the smartphone manufacturing space, but that doesn't mean it's totally out of the loop regarding software. The company's latest edition of its malware paper-- officially dubbed the Nokia Threat Intelligence Report -- uncovers some dark numbers in the world of malicious smartphone software. How dark? Well, for one, smartphones are becoming increasingly targeted in malware attacks. The report, which covers the first half of 2016, discovered a 96% increase in the average smartphone infection rate, up from 0.25% to 0.49%. This number peaked in April, when one out of every 120...

  • Google login pages aren’t safe at all, research finds

    Those comforting Google login pages might not be safe at all, according to a security researcher's latest findings. Taking a deeper look at Google's service login pages, researcher Aidan Woods discovered that it's "possible to seamlessly insert any Google service at the end of the login process". In short, this flaw allows dark lords of the web to insert additional parameters, websites or even Google Docs files into the URL of a login page. The website would be hidden aesthetically, instead showing a Google login page. To use Woods' much simpler explanation: Using an existing open redirect, it is now possible to send...

  • Cyber security, protecting data backups should go hand in hand

    In the always-on enterprise, cyber security is an ongoing concern. More importantly, it has evolved to become not just a threat to desktop computers but the modern data centre as well. This should not come as a surprise. Given the amount of data companies have come to rely on, a data centre provides an attractive target for malicious users. And while many threats come from external sources, disgruntled employees leaving the organisation can never be discounted. An organisation has to contend with a large surface area when it comes to effective cyber security implementation. And while implementing a traffic light system...

  • Security vs productivity: the mobile device management conundrum

    Given the significant productivity benefits delivered by mobility, it is unsurprising to note that it is fast becoming a way of life in many organisations. In fact, Gartner predicts that as many as half of all employers will have instituted mandatory bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies within the next year. There are many reasons why mobility, and therefore BYOD, is taking off within enterprises. While employees can clearly be more productive in an office environment when using a laptop or PC, being able to utilise a mobile device for the same tasks means they are able to work from anywhere, and at...

  • Quadrooter: 900m Qualcomm Android phones vulnerable to security flaw

    The latest set of smartphone nasties floating around the internet has a pretty cool name, but could very well leave your own phone at risk. Dubbed Quadrooter, the set of four flaws affect all Qualcomm-powered smartphones running Android, which means around 65% of the LTE smartphone market, or 900-million smartphones in total. According to CheckPoiunt, the vulnerabilities could leave users' devices rooted, and open to remote access. These vulnerabilities can be targeted through the installation of a malicious app. But only one vulnerability needs to be exploited. In that event, an "attacker can trigger privilege escalations for the purpose of...

  • Don’t lose yourself: avoid identity theft on social media

    More than three-quarters of American adults are active on social media, and the numbers total approximately 2.3-billion people worldwide. By living with and through our technology, it is easier than ever before to reconnect with friends, stay in touch with family and meet new people across previously unassailable physical distances. But this also means that the likes of identity theft is becoming a bigger problem. Unfortunately, in stark contrast to real-world interactions, there are few reliable ways to be sure a person is who they purport to be on the internet. The proliferation of social media tools has created new space...

  • Niantic CEO John Hanke hacked by OurMine

    We've seen Google's, Twitter's and even Facebook's CEOs suffer social media account hacks this year, but it seems that hackers have an appetite for game development companies too. In what seems to be OurMine's latest attack, the CEO of Niantic John Henke woke Sunday to find the lock of his Twitter account picked. Niantic -- known as the developer of Pokemon Go -- is currently enjoying some monumental success after the game's staged release, but while its CEO might have a taste for inventive games, his password creation skills are apparently less than competent. OurMine has hacked Niantic CEO John Hanke's...

  • Edward Snowden working on spy-proof smartphone case for cyber-sleuths

    Notorious public whistleblower Edward Snowden and famous hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang are co-developing a smartphone case that aims to protect users from wireless device snooping. According to the duo's paper "Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance", the device will prevent journalists falling foul to their "own tools". "Front-line journalists are high-value targets, and their enemies will spare no expense to silence them. Unfortunately, journalists can be betrayed by their own tools. Their smartphones are also the perfect tracking device," they add. The device, called the introspection engine, will clip onto a device, and checks if a phone is transmitting radio signals....

  • South African travellers connect to unsecured WiFi at any cost – study

    A new study by Kaspersky has found that many South African travellers connect to unsecured WiFi networks in no time flat, shedding light on their reasons for doing so. The study saw 11 850 people around the world polled, but when focusing on local results, Kaspersky found that over half of all South Africans (55%) are already online when they leave the airport. Additionally, 81% of SA travellers hopped online to notify loved ones of their safe arrival, while 38% used the internet access to download travel information. "Pressure from work (42%) is also a strong factor, as is the desire to get up to...

  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account briefly hijacked by OurMine

    The latest high-profile CEO to wake up to a social media account breach is none other than Twitter head Jack Dorsey. The world's first tweeter and founder of Square rather ironically this weekend found his Twitter account hijacked by Robin Hood security collective OurMine. While the collective didn't post anything incriminating or embarrassing, OurMine was sure to use Dorsey's account to advertise its own security business, a trend that we've seen from the group's previous attacks. This year, the collective has targeted Google's CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Other celebrities including musician Deadmau5 and actor Channing Tatum, have also...

  • 1 in 5 South Africans don’t care about passwords, 8.8m hit by ‘cyber crime’

    South Africans have a lot to deal with. Whether its political news, the scourge of crime or one of its national sporting teams' latest dismal performance, it's tough being South African. Symantec's Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report has just given South African internet users another thing to worry about. The report's findings suggest that 8.8-million South Africans fell victim to online crime in the past year -- that's around 18% of South Africans. According to Symantec, South Africans also really love dinner and dating: "58% would rather cancel dinner plans with their best friend than have to cancel their credit/debit cards after...