Security

Wed
12
Jun
John Lister's picture

Google Play 'Update' May Be Scam

Android scammers are using a creatively nasty way to spread malware. They've disguised it as an update for the Google Play store itself. It's a particularly cheeky way to try to get credibility for a malware scam. Not only is Google Play the ... official place to get Android apps in the first place, but the best and simplest Android security tip is to only use apps from Google Play. In this case, the malware doesn't originate as an app but instead as a bogus link. This could be on a web page, in a text message or in an email. The supposed source is Google itself and the link comes with a message ... (view more)

Wed
05
Jun
John Lister's picture

WinXP Lasts 10 Minutes Before Becoming Infected

An unprotected Windows XP machine lasted just 10 minutes online before being infected. It was an extreme and arguably unrealistic experiment, but does show just how prevalent online threats are. YouTuber Eric Parker carried out the test with a ... virtual machine running Windows XP. A virtual machine is a machine that lives inside of another machine, which makes it appear as if the virtual machine is a separate, physical computer. It's often used by people running two operating systems on the same computer. In fact, this website runs as a virtual machine. At any rate: it's no secret that running ... (view more)

Fri
17
May
John Lister's picture

'Dirty Stream' Floods Android With Malware

A new form of Android malware can hijack legitimate apps. "Dirty Stream" take advantage of a legitimate function designed to make life easier for users. The function is called ContentProvider and allows one mobile app to access data from, or ... communicate with, another app. It makes it possible to, for example, open a PDF attachment from a messaging app in a dedicated PDF reader app. The people behind the DirtyStream malware found a vulnerability in the way ContentProvider worked. This made it possible not only to force another app to open a compromised file, but to then use the contents to ... (view more)

Wed
15
May
John Lister's picture

2.28 Million Rogue Apps Blocked By Google

Google says it blocked 2.28 million potentially malicious apps from getting into the official Play store last year. It stopped or paused a further 200,000 which didn't correctly use the permissions system. The figure for malicious app blocks is up ... almost half compared with 2022. Google didn't say conclusively whether that means more scammers are trying their luck or if it simply did a better job of detecting them. However, it did note the 2023 figure was "in part thanks to our investment in new and improved security features, policy updates, and advanced machine learning and app review ... (view more)

Fri
03
May
John Lister's picture

Windows Fix Breaks Some VPNs

Last month's Windows 10 and 11 updates included a bug that has broken VPN functions for some users. Microsoft is working on a fix but hasn't give a timescale. VPN stands for virtual private network. It's an approach to security and privacy that uses ... a secure connection between the user and the Internet. It's sometimes likened to a traffic tunnel: although the traffic still flows normally without disruption, it's not visible to anyone outside the tunnel. Using a VPN can disguise a user's IP address (which identifies their connection point to the Internet) and makes it much harder for anyone to ... (view more)

Wed
24
Apr
John Lister's picture

Microsoft Issues Mega-Security Patch

Microsoft has released one of the biggest Patch Tuesday updates ever. It includes 149 security fixes, including two "zero day bugs". Some reports suggest this is the most fixes in any monthly Microsoft update while others suggest it is "merely" the ... biggest in the past seven years. Either way, this is not a month for anyone who chooses to install Windows security fixes manually to hang about. Three of the fixes are for bugs Microsoft classes as "critical", meaning attackers could exploit them without requiring any action by the user. Almost all the rest are "important," meaning the attacker ... (view more)

Mon
22
Apr
John Lister's picture

'Find My Device' Works Even if Phone is Off

Google has launched a "find my phone" feature that can work even after the battery has run out. It's part of a major upgrade delayed by a dispute with Apple, though privacy remains a hot topic. The big upgrade is to the "Find My Device" network of ... what Google says is more than a billion Android devices including phones, watches and earbuds. It aims to overcome the problems that it's not necessarily viable (or desirable) for all portable devices to constantly be connected to cellular networks or WiFi, broadcasting their location ready to be tracked by their owner. Instead the idea is that each ... (view more)

Thu
28
Mar
John Lister's picture

Chrome Improves Real-Time Protection

Google says Chrome will now warn users about risky sites using real-time information. The improvements won't compromise user privacy. Chrome already offers a feature called Safe Browsing. The default option, "standard protection," kicks in when ... users are about to visit a site, download a file or install an extension. The feature compares the target URL (website address) against a database of known and suspected security risks and warns the user of a match. The optional "enhanced protection" option will also actively check the target site for any signs that it may be compromised, threaten ... (view more)

Mon
18
Mar
John Lister's picture

Security Experts Call for Ransomware Payment Ban

A former cyber security chief says governments should ban organizations from paying money to ransomware gangs. Ciaran Martin likened such payment to bans on paying terrorist kidnappers. The call has had a mixed response, with critics calling it an ... unfair constraint on business freedoms. Martin was the first head of the United Kingdom's National Cyber Security Centre. That's an organization overseen by the country's intelligence services that advises businesses and the public on cyber security threats. Ransomware has become a business worth an estimated $20 billion a year to criminals who gain ... (view more)

Wed
13
Mar
John Lister's picture

Windows Bug Exploited For Six Months

A Windows bug patched last month had been exploited for six months by hackers linked to North Korea. Microsoft reportedly knew about it and the delay in fixing it may have been down to internal bureaucracy. Security company Avast found the bug last ... August and reported it to Microsoft. At the time it was already a zero-day bug , meaning there was evidence hackers not only knew about the bug but where taking advantage of it. That meant Microsoft had "zero days" head start in coming up with a fix and rolling it out before hackers exploited it. Microsoft released a fix in the February "Patch ... (view more)

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