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The Russian Federation leads in the number of users monitored via smartphones


In the first six months of 2020, the number of gadgets with Stalker software in Russia increased by 28% compared to the same period in 2019.

"This probably happened because as a result of self-isolation, many people began to spend much more time at home,” said Viktor Chebyshev, an expert on mobile threats at Kaspersky Lab.

He explained that such programs are often installed to spy on their loved ones, allowing them to access the contents of a mobile device, as well as to spy on a person through a smartphone camera in real-time. They are often used by initiators of domestic violence. All Stalker software is not free.

"There have always been jealous spouses and those who just want to look into someone else's life, and the development of IT has given such people additional opportunities," said Andrey Arsentiev, head of Analytics and special projects at InfoWatch Group.

According to Kaspersky Lab, the number of users on whose mobile devices Stalkerware is installed is increasing not only in Russia. In Europe, such programs are most often found in German, Italian and British users.

It is interesting to note that the anti-stalker software coalition was formed in November 2019. It was named Coalition Against Stalkerware. In addition to Kaspersky Lab, it includes 20 organizations. One part of them works in the field of information security, the other helps victims of domestic violence. The coalition is working to raise awareness among people about the threat of stalker software, as well as to counter the crimes that are committed using such programs. 

The United Nations Reports Increase in Internet Usage and Cyber Crime during the Pandemic

 

The U.N. counterterrorism chief reported a 350% increase in phishing websites in just the first quarter of the year, mostly targeting hospitals and health care systems and obstructing their work responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 
Vladimir Voronkov told the U.N. Security Council that the upsurge in phishing websites was a part of “a significant rise in cybercrime in recent months” revealed by speakers previous month's first Virtual Counterterrorism Week at the United Nations. 

The weeklong gathering was attended delegates from 134 nations, 88 civil society and private sector organizations, 47 international and regional organizations, and 40 United Nations bodies. 

He said the U.N. furthermore; the global experts haven't yet completely comprehended “the impact and consequences of the pandemic on global peace and security, and more specifically on organized crime and terrorism.” 

Voronkov says, “We know that terrorists are exploiting the significant disruption and economic hardships caused by COVID-19 to spread fear, hate, and division and radicalize and recruit new followers. The increase in internet usage and cybercrime during the pandemic further compounds the problem.” 

Undersecretary-General Voronkov said the discussions demonstrated a mutual understanding and worry that “terrorists are generating funds from illicit trafficking in drugs, goods, natural resources, and antiquities, as well as kidnapping for ransom, extorting and committing other heinous crimes.” 

He said U.N. member nations are rightly focused around handling the currently increasing health and human crisis brought about by COVID-19 however he urged them not to overlook the threat of terrorism. 

In many parts of the world, Voronkov stated, “terrorists are exploiting local grievances and poor governance to regroup and assert their control.” 

Ghada Waly, executive director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, told the council meeting on the linkage among counterterrorism and transnational organized crime that the links are "complex and multifaceted," and “the COVID-19 crisis poses a host of new challenges to national authorities.” 

“Organized criminal groups and terrorists may seek to capitalize on and exploit new vulnerabilities,” she said, “and transit patterns are shifting in view of travel restrictions and lockdown measures, adding further challenges for border security.”

Lastly, she added a rather important point which highlights the fact that during these dark times comprehensive and cooperative responses are needed more than ever.

Security Experts gave tips on how to protect online conferences from hackers

Video conferencing services attracted the attention of hackers because they gained huge popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Thursday, attackers disrupted a court hearing in the case of a Florida teenager accused of organizing the hijacking of a number of Twitter accounts. The hearing was held via the Zoom video conference service. The attackers disguised their names as CNN and the BBC and gained access to the conference, after which they began broadcasting pornographic videos and swearing. After that, the court session was postponed.

According to Artem Gavrichenkov, technical director of Qrator Labs, the phenomenon of Zoom-bombing, when attackers identify vulnerable conferences and enter them with the aim of espionage and hooliganism, became widespread in April, and by May-June it became widespread.

“To limit the access of attackers to sensitive content, all conferences should be password protected, and this password should be provided only to a limited number of people,” advised Gavrichenkov.

Denis Gavrilov, the consultant of the information security Center of Jet Infosystems, also recommends setting up a "waiting room" if there is such functionality in the platform, this will limit user access to the conference without the approval of the organizer.

Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity expert Dmitry Galov noted that it is necessary to download the program for a computer only from the official website, and for a smartphone - from official app stores.

"As our experts found out, in the spring of this year, the number of malicious files whose names contain references to popular services for online conferences (Webex, Zoom, etc.) has almost tripled compared to last year,” said he.

Anastasia Barinova, Deputy head of the Group-IB, advises using Zoom analogs at all. "To minimize the risks, I would recommend considering Zoom analogs: Google Meet, GoToMeeting, or Cisco's WebEx service," advised she.

Earlier E Hacking News reported that Russia will develop a similar Zoom platform for video communication by the beginning of the new school year.


WhatsApp to Allow Users to Sync Chat Between iOS and Android


When switching devices from Android to iOS or the other way round, users were not able to retain the chat histories despite the backup option as WhatsApp didn’t provide a means to synchronize chat histories between the two platforms. Although, for the iOS users the chat histories are backed up on the iCloud and similarly, for Android, Google’s cloud gets the work done as long as the platform remains unchanged, having a method to drag the backup to a new platform would add a lot more convenience to both the universes.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been working on a new feature aiming to resolve the issue pertaining to the syncing of chats across platforms; the company is planning to come up with a functionality that will allow users to use a single phone number, i.e., one account on multiple devices, as per the sources.

Reports suggest that WhatsApp could allow users to use a single account on four different devices simultaneously. However, as per the idea revolving around this new feature, a Wi-Fi facility will become a must for users as a lot of data will be required for the uploading and downloading of all the multimedia along with the messages, while syncing the chat histories between devices.

Notably, the development came in the wake of users' complaints and demand regarding being able to use one account on multiple devices. Once WhatsApp will securely copy the chat history to the other device, users will finally be able to use their account from it. During the process, the encryption keys will be changed and all active chats will be notified about the same.

Referencing from the report by WABetainfo, “When the user wants to use WhatsApp on a second device, there is the need to copy the chat history. In this case, WhatsApp always requires a Wi-Fi connection, because it may use a large amount of your data plan,”

“Note that any message will be delivered to all your family devices, so your chat history will be always synced across platforms, and when you use or remove a device, your encryption key changes,”

“In this case, WhatsApp Desktop was used for the test, but it will work on a second mobile device too, but it’s really possible that WhatsApp will allow mobile devices to be connected to your main device later than WhatsApp Desktop. Note that, using this feature, an Internet connection on your device will no longer be needed to use WhatsApp Desktop,” read the report.