Tag Archives: Digital and Mobile Security

How to Protect Your Privacy in a Connected World

Protect Your Privacy in a Connected World

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Not so long ago computers were our only connection to the internet, but these days we are almost constantly connected, through our phones, homes, autos, and even our children’s toys. In fact, research firm Gartner estimates that we now have over 8.4 billion connected “things” in use and that number will continue to grow rapidly.

Being connected brings great convenience, of course, but it also opens us up to a much wider range of risks, including the loss of money, data, and property, not to mention privacy. So the question now is, how to protect ourselves as we move through the connected world. Let’s start by talking about one of the newer and less familiar avenues of attack: connected “things.”


The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) is used to describe connected devices such as IP cameras, smart TVs and appliances, and interactive speakers and toys. These things have a built-in connection to the internet, but often don’t come with sophisticated security features—many have password protection at the most. This makes them easy to hack, especially if the password isn’t changed from the factory default. You may remember the Mirai malware incident, in which tens of thousands of IoT devices were infected and used to launch attacks against popular websites. IoT malware has only grown more sophisticated since then, opening the door to dangers such as launching larger attacks, accessing computing power to mine for cryptocurrencies, or leapfrogging attacks to computers and smartphones that store critical information. The bottom line is that IoT devices give cybercriminals a lot of access points to play with, and we have yet to see all the risks that they could bring.

Computers & Smartphones

Just as attacks on devices have become more sophisticated, so too have threats aimed at computers and smartphones. Cybercrooks are no longer satisfied with distributing malware to cause disruption—now they are focused on making money. Cryptocurrency miners are just one example of this; the other is the huge growth we have seen in ransomware. Authors of this type of malware don’t only make money by locking down the data of normal computer users, businesses, and government agencies, and demanding money to release it. They have also created an entirely new industry by selling ransomware products to other would-be cybercriminals online.

Another large and growing threat to smartphone users is malicious apps. We’ve seen a large uptick in risky applications, designed to steal data, rack up premium charges without the user’s permission, or access the device for other malicious purposes. Again, money is a driver, since a large number of the new risky apps we’ve detected have been designed to manipulate mobile ads, generating money for the malware authors.


Our computers and devices aren’t the only things under attack—the networks we use continue to be a growing target. This is no doubt related to our desire to be connected no matter where we go. Public Wi-Fi networks offer bad guys an unprecedented opportunity to intercept multiple users’ data while in transit to and from the network. This data can include credit card numbers, passwords, and identity information, if the network is not secure. What’s more, some attackers are going even higher up in the chain to take advantage of vulnerabilities in network protocols, making secure infrastructure even more important.

With so many risks associated with the connected landscape, it’s up to all of us to take steps to protect our data, devices and privacy.

Here are some key tips to safely navigate the connected world:

  • Always use comprehensive security software on both your computers and mobile devices, and keep all of your software up-to-date. This will safeguard you from the latest threats.
  • When you bring home a new IoT device, make sure that you reset the default password.
  • Look into putting all of your connected home devices onto a separate network from your computers and smartphones, so if one device is infected the attacker cannot access your other data-rich devices. Check your router’s user manual to learn how.
  • To ensure that your home computers and devices stay safe, look for a more secure network solution that includes IoT protection.
  • Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, which may or may not be secure. Instead, consider using a VPN. This is a piece of software that will give you a secure connection to the internet no matter where you go.
  • Only download apps from official app stores and read other users’ reviews first to see if they are safe.
  • Keep up-to-date on the latest threats, since they are constantly evolving, and make sure to share these important security tips with friends and family.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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Warning: Crypto-Currency Mining is Targeting Your Android


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Cryptocurrency, a virtual form of currency designed to work as a secure form of exchange, has gained a lot of traction in the world of finance and technology. But for many, the concept of obtaining cryptocurrency, or “crypto-mining,” is obscure. Investopedia defines crypto-mining as, “the process by which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, known as the blockchain, and also the means through which new currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are released.”

The practice has been around since 2009, and anyone with access to the Internet, the required programs and hardware can participate in mining. In fact, by the end of this month, Forbes Magazine will have published its first “Top Richest” list dedicated to Crypto Millionaires.

With the rise in popularity of digital currency, it’s no surprise that cybercriminals across the globe are leveraging malicious code to obtain it. Hackers would rather develop or utilize mining malware instead of paying the expensive price tag associated with mining machines, which can be upwards of $5000. In China, the ADB Miner malware is spreading and targeting thousands of Android devices for the primary purpose of mining cryptocurrency. The malware is spread through the publicly accessible Android Debug Bridge (abd) on an opened port 5555. This port is typically closed but can be opened by an ADB debug tool. Once infected, a device will look for other devices with the same vulnerability to spread the malware and leverage other Android-based smartphones, tablets, and televisions for crypto-mining.

So why are cybercriminals now targeting Android mobile devices? This could be due to the fact that hackers know they can easily manipulate vulnerabilities in Google Play’s app vetting system. Last year McAfee Mobile Threat Research identified more than 4,000 apps that were removed from Google Play without notification to users. Currently, the app store does not have consistent or centralized reporting available for app purchasers. Even if an app is supported by Google Play at the time of download, it could later be identified as malicious and Android users may be unaware of the fact that they’re harboring a bad app.

Researchers have found over 600 blacklisted malicious cryptocurrency apps across 20 app stores including Apple and Google Play. Google Play was found to have the highest amount of malicious crypto apps, with 272 available for download. In the United States, researchers have found another crypto-mining malware that is so demanding of phone processors, its causing them to implode. Loapi, a newly-discovered Trojan crypto-miner, can cause phone batteries to swell up and burst open the device’s back cover, and has been found in up to 20 mobile apps.

Crypto-mining malware isn’t a new phenomenon. Before the WannaCry attacks last summer, cryptocurrency malware sprung up as another malicious software looking to take advantage of the same Windows vulnerabilities that WannaCry exploited. But, instead of locking down systems with ransomware, these cybercriminals were putting them to work, using a cryptocurrency mining malware called Adylkuzz.

Here are a few tips to ensure your Android-devices are protected from crypto-mining malware:

  • Download your apps from a legitimate source. While some malicious apps may slip through the cracks, app stores like Google Play do have security measures in place to protect users, and it’s much safer than downloading from an unknown source.
  • Delete any apps that you haven’t used over the past 6-months. An app’s security can change over time; applications that were once supported by an app store can be flagged as malicious and removed from the platform without notification. If an app is no longer supported in the app store, you should delete it immediately.
  • Keep all of your software up to date. Many of the more harmful malware attacks we’ve seen, like the Equifax data breach, take advantage of software vulnerabilities in common applications, such as operating systems and browsers. Having the latest software and application versions ensures that any known bugs or exploits are patched, and is one of the best defenses against viruses and malware.
  • Double up on your mobile security software. I can’t stress enough how important is to use comprehensive security software to protect your personal devices.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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MWC 2018: Digital and Mobile Security in the 5G IoT Era

Digital and Mobile Security

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Mobile World Congress 2018 is upon us and the big news includes the launch of a bunch of new devices, including the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, Samsung Galaxy S9, Sony Xperia XZ Premium 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.

In addition to these and dozens of other devices launching at this year’s event in Barcelona, we are seeing the acceleration of the trend for domestic and industrial smart devices, voice-controlled digital assistants and other internet of things (IoT) enabled smart devices.

Google, for example, is using MWC 2018 as a platform to publicise Google Assistant and the Google Home smart speaker, though one thing we still haven’t heard enough about are the many new security threats and issues surrounding new smart devices, digital assistants and IoT technologies.

Biometric Authentication, 5G Realities and IoT security

Another notable trend at MWC 2018 has been the focus from Samsung and some of the other major mobile players on improved forms of biometric authentication, with Samsung releasing a much-improved Iris Scanner as part of the new Galaxy S9 range.

It’s certainly a really positive move to see this focus on identity authentication at this year’s show, with a notable shift at this year’s event from the hype surrounding virtual and augmented reality and voice-controlled smart homes to far more realistic and practical concerns around security, biometrics and the real-world use cases of superfast 5G networking tech.

Much of the conversation around 5G, of course, is still dominated around how edge computing and low latency in 5G networks will actually translate into valuable and useable services for consumers and businesses alike.

These new 5G use cases dominated the IoT news at MWC 2018, with numerous exhibitors talking up their latest 5G IoT applications and concepts. And almost by default digital security has also become one of the hottest topics in Barcelona this year, as small developers and the major multinational mobile brands alike wake up to the fact that security is of paramount importance across the entire IoT supply chain

Evolving Digital Security for the 5G IoT Era

Firms are realising that their digital security strategy has to evolve at the same pace as the many new developments in the current buzzword bingo card such as 5G IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Failure to undertake the appropriate due diligence in these new emerging technologies open them up for significant penalties when the inevitable data breaches occur.

In addition to the focus on improving mobile handset security and raising awareness of digital security issues in the smart home, the onus for 5G network level security really needs to shift back to the telecommunications companies themselves.

The 5G Security Challenge for Telecoms

The bottom line is this: the security of 5G networks presents a fundamental challenge to the telecommunications industry at large. Something that the hype machine surrounding 5G at MWC 2018 generally fails to highlight, for obvious reasons!

The promise of 5G-enabled services in smart cities, connected cars and across the burgeoning e-health sector, for example, is clear. Yet the fact that network-wide security and security across the IoT value chain is fundamental to these types of applications and services operating safely is still too often overlooked.

Driverless cars, smart surgery and IoT applications across the manufacturing sector are good examples to cite, where digital security is crucial.

All of which is why we as an industry have to work better together – from digital security specialists through to 5G IoT app and hardware developers through to the multinational telecommunications companies themselves – to ensure that we are doing all we can to meet the security challenges and the many increasingly sophisticated attacks that are sure to come in the 5G era.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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