Virus vs Virus

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What do you know, it turns out that there are two completely different types of viruses, which live in the different parts of our smartphones. On the one side, we have the good old cyber viruses, which like to move inside our shiny little gadgets we hold so dear and sometimes literally precious.

On the other side, you should be fully aware that there are some unwanted guests, which like to set up a camp on our smartphone’s surface. Both of them are equally dangerous and harmful for our health. The cyber viruses can seriously influence your mental health once they get into your smartphone.

When it comes to the living viruses, you cannot imagine what your smartphone represents for them. There is no more suitable surface for all kinds of the most serious viruses and bacteria you can possibly think about than your beloved smartphone. So, what is the moral of this story? What can we do about it?

Well, for what is worth, we should be equally careful about both sides of protection from the inside and on the outside. It is a nice thing to install and run an efficient antivirus software on your smartphone. However, you should also clean the extremely compromised surface every now and then. Right?

The Positive Collateral Damage

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We just cannot close the final chapter of our controversial and intriguing story about the Interview, can we? Here is the latest news. In some strange and quite an unorthodox way, it turns out that this was a win-win situation for both parties. How could this be? Well, it is surprisingly simple and obvious.

On the one side, we have the North Korea, which was able to demonstrate both willingness and capacity in order to protect the image if their indisputable leader. In addition, the North Korean cyber capacities have been underestimated and even ridiculed, for quite some time. What happened?

The notorious hacker’s group called the Bureau 121 proved them all wrong. On the other side, Sony Pictures had a unique opportunity to enjoy itself in a free advertising on a global scale. They just could not ask for a better chance to promote their newest film than this annoying hacking trouble, could they?

When you put the things in this way, it seems that actually no one got hurt. However, this is not entirely true. Sony has some questions to ask about its cyber security system. The North Korean regime is in a serious trouble, if a movie can shake its foundations. Maybe, this was a lose-lose situation.

Permissions = Troubles

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Here is how the absolute majority of all cyber troubles begins for us. We like to install new apps. We hate to check a permissions list. You either do not have time or nerves to do it for each app you are about to install. Some busy little bees have done us a huge favor. Check out the infographic we included in this post.

Does this ring a bell? As you can see, it is not such a big deal, if an antivirus app asks for dozens of permissions. We can see a reason in that. In order to work properly an antivirus software needs to move freely inside your smartphone. Right? It would be crazy to deny or limit the full access for this app.

However, we are really having some difficulties in understanding why some of the most popular social network apps demand the wide scope of authorizations. For example, you have Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, or Skype, which literally breathe down the neck of any antivirus app in the number of required permissions.

As always, it all comes down to you and your choices you have to make, this way or another, sooner or later. If a certain app asks too many and quite unusual permissions, then you have to ask yourself for a moment, do you really need this app, in the first place. Too many permissions. Not enough privacy.

PoC Schock

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We have already written about the extremely problematic security flaw with the Windows 8.1, which allows a hacker to gain administrative privileges in an almost undetectable way. To make things even worse for Microsoft the busy little bee, who has discovered this trouble, published the PoC, as well.

The PoC is actually the Proof of Concept, which gives you a step-by-step guide how to do it yourself. In the meantime, Microsoft has come up with a patch to fix this annoying problem. However, this meantime actually took three months to happen. Why? Is it a really complicated problem? What could it be?

For what is worth, Microsoft has to offer a solution for more than platform. That is why you cannot build a Rome in a day. On the other hand, some comments have pointed out that it was not an advisable thing to publish this vulnerability with the PoC. Microsoft would have reacted either way. Right?

This one comes without saying, that is for sure. We should be also aware what is happening in our brave new IT world. It seems that we are not as safe as we thought we are. We should not discourage the future cyber whistleblowers under any circumstances. Otherwise, we will end up living in the dark of harmful cyber ignorance.

The Death Red Star

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What in a world is that? Well, prepare yourself for some more mind blowing surprises made in North Korea. For quite some time, we have neglected and even underestimated the North Korean cyber capacities. Now, all of these hit us back like a boomerang. There are no more amateurs in the cyber universe.

The Red Star is a cloned OS from A to Z, and what is even more important fully controlled by the state itself. Although, the Red Star OS strongly resembles Microsoft’s Windows, it is actually based entirely on Linux. So, what do you know the North Koreans know how to develop an entire OS.

Impressive? Whatever you think or do about this one, just do not say anything against their leader. Otherwise, you can end up like Sony Pictures. Because of the Interview movie, they are trembling because of the constant cyber attacks conducted by the notorious government group the Bureau 121.

The next thing you know the North Koreans will come up with the Internet of their own. One of the serious rumors has it that China and Russia have the “national” Internet fully operational and ready to be launched at any given moment. Can North Korea join this big boys club for real? Let us see.

Don’t Click!

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As simple as that. And yet, you just cannot believe how successful a phishing season can be on Facebook. We are helplessly reckless and surprisingly impulsive. We tend to follow calls for help or action with no serious consideration. As a result, our passwords are being offered on a hacker’s plate.

So, how does this malicious system work in the real life? First, you get a heartbreaking message that you have to follow a certain link so your friend can do this or that. You say to yourself, how hard can it be? No harm in that. So, you hit a button, and the next thing you know you are on a phishing website.

It looks like a Facebook official page, but you can rest assured it certainly is not. And, you disclose your password with a hacker behind this entire operation just like that. We do not have to say to you what is going to happen next with your Facebook account, do we? So, did you get the message?

Before you click, you should blink, at least twice. Otherwise, there is no security system in the world, which can save you from the phishing net. Right? Before you accept someone’s friendship request or follow this link request, you should really give it a serious thought. How hard could it really be?

What’s Up WhatsApp?

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If you see something like this on your smartphone’s screen in English, or some other more suitable language for the users in your own country, then you should think twice about your next most likely action. Why? For the time being, we have not heard a thing about the most recent WhatsApp update.

This is a simple and very costly Internet scam. Even if there is such a thing as the WhatsApp, its notification will certainly will not include these eye-catching and warning colors, including the payment option for it. Therefore, the best things online are still free. In most of the cases, more or less.

How come there quite a few WhatsApp users, who allow themselves a luxury to become victims of these humiliating Internet fraud schemes? Well, for hackers the business is as usual. Their most trusted ally and most profitable partner in crime is undoubtedly is our reckless and irrational behavior.

So, we sure hope that the next time when you ask your WhatsApp what is up, you will not get a notification such as this one. Can we blame the WhatsApp or your Internet provider for all the trouble? No, in this case, no. This is something you should ignore from the very first moment. WhatsApp something else.

Skype + Android + Bug = ?

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Do you know the solution to this question? A spy trouble. This is what you get as a result, when you combine these three elements. Why? Well, there is this annoying and potentially dangerous bug, which allows the unwanted guests to spy on your conversations and messages. Only on Android devices.

For the time being there is only one efficient solution available. You have to log out as soon as you are done with your Skupe communication. Unfortunately, this is not an extremely practical thing to do, is it? If Skype cannot be on all the time on your smartphone, then what is the use, in the first place?

For what is worth, Microsoft is fully aware of this problem. While we are writing this, its development teams are already on it, fixing it. The trouble with the curve in this story is actually a simple one. You cannot never be safe, enough. Which brings us to one of our most used sayings in the field of cyber security.

If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about. Right? At least this is what the NSA has to say to you. Nothing more. Nothing less. However, this is a weak comfort for the millions of Skype users, who are sharing their most intimate thoughts through it. You have a Skype call? Are you going to answer it, or what?

Wear Gloves

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When? Why? Well, it turns out that the Apple Touch ID is not as safe as we thought it was. Why? Some busy little cyber bees managed to trick the system itself. How? For what is worth, you can use pictures of someone’s fingerprints to clone the actual fingerprint and use it for a safe passage through the Touch ID system.

It sounds simple, but it is actually a tough rocket science. You need the top quality of photos, including the right angles. At the end of the day, if someone allows him or herself a luxury to expose the fingerprints for hacker’s cloning, then does he or she have the right to complain, in the first place?

This is not supposed to be our contribution to the android paranoid behavioral patterns. However, you should be fully aware that these things are the bitter reality. Do you really need to wear the gloves, all the time? Yes and no. At least you should know that even the Touch ID cannot offer you the absolute protection.

Maybe, the moral of this story is that we should not mess with the eye scanners at the next level. There has to be a way to provide a proper protection for your smartphone with no SF scenarios and gadgets. You do not need to impress anyone. All you have to do is to be efficient. Right?

Rent Your Own Cyber Lizard

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Unbelievable. One more time we have realized that there is no such category called the dumb hacker. Why in the world, would you attack some of the most popular gaming networks during the Christmas week? It just does not make any sense. Unless. Unless, you are promoting yourself, for real.

Let us put it this way. If you are making weapons, what is the best possible way to promote your products? Oh dear, you either have to shoot someone or even worse to initiate a war. Forget about the ethics for a moment, and focus on the effectiveness itself, shall you? What is the result?

The Lizard Squad, which literally played with both the PSN and Xbox Live, was actually promoting its DDoS tools. Now, just like you are buying a legit software or a book online, you can acquire a DDoS package, which can guarantee you down time for a certain server for no less than 100 seconds.

In addition, for an affordable price of just six bucks you can do such a nasty thing. If you want to eliminate a website for the period of eight hours, then you will have to pay $130. How about that for a change? They are selling DDoS attacks per kilos. Unbelievable. What is next? Renting viruses or Trojans?