Malicious advertising menace in social media!

A surging motivated political confabulation and speculations in the social networking sites simply suggest a trend of unabetted malicious advertisement these days. These are, beyond doubt, paid political advertisements which gather momentum in the most visited social networking sites on the planet. Take the example of Facebook where scores of swindlers are picking up the first buck targeting the polarized people in the USA.

Experts in this field also agree that the undeclared political ads are most watched among the people who can use it for both good and bad purposes. That’s the unscrupulous mechanism to entire the Facebook viewers. Provocation is another key here if one goes former President Barack Obama, Ivanka Trump, Sean Hannity, Kellyanne Conway et al.

Catchy headlines come next to lure the Facebook goers who discover a lot just at the click of the mouse where even a lesser known web portal has a striking resemblance to Fox News. The visitors who are keen to go with this must have credit card information for an access to payment which stands more or less $100 a month.

This is a tiny example of the political ads where Facebook lacks a mechanism to regulate these paid political elements in the form of a message which is no less misleading and malicious. Long before these are uploaded to the social networking sites, the users in the line up allow more such scams to take place. The sites, mostly, get registered within the 30 days ahead of the users who start sending political ads. The new websites are shady since the fraudsters don’t open the portals beforehand.

The picture is emerging as clear as broad daylight the more the days slated for the midterm polls are nearing. Cons start operating with new tools of information techniques.

Facebook officials are in the know that they need to stop these dubious advertisements. But it's not simple and easy to regulate the deceptive ads. Some of them have been struck off while some others in the pipeline. Experts here said malicious advertisement can’t be stopped overnight. This is applicable to other social networking sites apart from Facebook.

Android ransomware kits are on rise

The popular Android operating system powers more than two billion devices and cybercriminals have their fingers on the pulse, with an uptick in Android ransomware kits appearing in underground markets.

Also Sophos, a global leader in network and endpoint security, recently announced its SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast in which it stated that while ransomware predominately attacked Windows systems in the last six months, Android, Linux and MacOS platforms were not immune.

This report recaps ransomware and other cybersecurity trends based on data collected from Sophos customer computers worldwide from April 1 to October 3.
Android ransomware kits are selling at a premium and are expected to grow in volume and price, according to the report.

“Ransomware has become platform-agnostic. Ransomware mostly targets Windows computers, but this year, SophosLabs saw an increased amount of crypto-attacks on different devices and operating systems used by our customers worldwide,” said Dorka Palotay, SophosLabs security researcher and contributor to the ransomware analysis in the SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast.

More than 5,000 Android ransomware kit listings have been spotted so far this year, with the median price that is 20 times higher than the $10 median price of Windows ransomware kits, said Carbon Black’s Param Singh. And at the high-end, Carbon Black this year found 1,683 Android ransomware kits out of a total of 5,050 that cost anywhere from $250 to $850.

Earlier this year, for example, cybercriminals launched DoubleLocker ransomware for Android devices to not only lock up their data but also change their pin. One cybercriminal wanted $854 for the Locker Android ransomware kit, according to Carbon Black.

The report also tracks ransomware growth patterns, indicating that WannaCry, unleashed in May 2017, was the number one ransomware intercepted from customer computers, dethroning longtime ransomware leader Cerber, which first appeared in early 2016. WannaCry accounted for 45.3 percent of all ransomware tracked through SophosLabs with Cerber accounting for 44.2 percent.

WhatsApp for Business: Standalone App Set for Release

It seems like WhatsApp is finally ready to launch its new standalone app for businesses to interact separately on their platform. In an FAQ on its website, it detailed how WhatsApp for Business is going to work and its features. 

The interface of the app remains the same, but the features afforded to businesses differ from the original messaging app. 

To communicate with customers using this new messaging app, businesses will first have to register using their business number, separate from their normal WhatsApp messenger number. Once they are registered, they will have a ‘business account’ which will be marked by a gray question mark symbol beside their name showing that the business has neither been confirmed or verified by WhatsApp.

Once a business confirms their business number, they become a ‘confirmed account’ and a gray tick appears next to their name. A green check-mark means it is a ‘verified account’ used by a business that is authentic and verified by WhatsApp. 

The new app is already live in Play Store but is yet to be released to general public. 

Back in September, WhatsApp announced that it was experimenting and beta-testing ‘WhatsApp Business’ with few pilot-testers. Users may remember communicating with brands like BookMyShow, MakeMyTrip, or Goibibo using the messaging app.

Kshitija Agrawal

Kaspersky Lab is closing its Washington DC office

Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has had a rough season stateside amid claims the company’s software scans for and steals documents of interest to the Kremlin. With the use of its products at US government agencies now banned, the company has elected to shut down its D.C. area headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

The D.C. office specialized in developing Kaspersky’s relationship with the U.S. government and supplying its software for federal contracts. The company has lost a lot of federal business this year. However, while its government business seems to be dead in the water, the company intends to continue the rest of its non-governmental U.S. operations normally and will be opening offices in Chicago and Los Angeles next year. 

“We are closing our facility in Arlington as the opportunity for which the office was opened and staffed is no longer viable,” a Kaspersky spokesperson told TechCrunch.
In September, the Department of Homeland Security issued a ban on Kaspersky products, coupled with a statement expressing its concerns regarding “the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks.” The concern grew as part of an overall security reassessment tied to accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. The Wall Street Journal reported one incident of particular interest in which its signature security suite allegedly identified files on a National Security Agency contractor’s computer, allowing Russian operatives to target the device for an attack.

Plenty of drama ensued, including a revelation that the Israeli government itself had compromised Kaspersky’s antivirus software and found evidence that the software maker was spying on its U.S. clients, a claim that the company openly disputed. In the months following the initial public crackdown on its products, Kaspersky founder Eugene Kaspersky has fiercely defended his company from the allegations, dismissing them as “completely unfounded,” demanding that the U.S. government provide detailed proof of its damning claims and pledging to open its code for review.

Security breach encountered in Perth international airport

A Vietnamese hacker infiltrated Perth international airport's computer system and swiped away sensitive security details. Le Duc Hoang Hai, 31 , utilized credentials of a third party contractor to unlawfully get to the airport's system in March a year ago.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbell's cyber security adviser Alastair Macgibbon told the West Australian that the Vietnamese figured out how to steal "a significant amount of data". He added the hack to be "a close miss" that could have been a considerable measure more terrible. The programmer could get the data on the Airport's building security yet luckily not radars. The authorities at the Airport detected a security breach and informed the federal cyber security authorities in Canberra who at that point tipped-off Vietnam.

 The 31-year-old was then arrested in Vietnam after the authorities got the information about the tip-off from the Australian federal police. He has been convicted in a Vietnamese military court and condemned to 4 years behind the bars. Aside from this, the travellers were not placed in threat as he was not able access radars, computer data related with air traffic or even the personal details of said travellers.

 Kevin Brown,Perth Airport CEO,later assured that no personal data of members of the public,such as details of credit card numbers, was accessed but other Perth Airport documents were taken. Brown said the airport has completed a full risk assessment of the data stolen and concluded that there was no threat or risk to the travelling public.The Perth international airport was in any case, the main Australian focus of the hacker, who had prior succeeded in compromising the website of the Vietnamese banks and telecommunications also including an online military newspaper.

 Macgibbon further added saying that right now there is no confirmation whether Hai, was working with a bigger hacking group or whether the data stolen in the breach was sold off or leaked online. In any case, he commented on the incident saying that it is indeed a warning sign that crisis like these are going to be encountered a lot in the coming future.