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Wannacry hits 83 SA sites

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Check Point Software Technologies has revealed the extent of the widespread outbreak of the “WannaCry” ransomware, with a new Check Point WannaCry Ransomware Infection Map showing at least 83 infections in South Africa.

Check Point researchers have been investigating the ransomware campaign in detail since it was first reported. The researchers were able to track 34 300 attack attempts in 97 countries. The average pace by Wednesday wa one attempt in every three second – indicating a slight decline since the original pace registered on Monday, of one attempt per second. The top country from where attack attempts were registered is India, followed by the USA and Russia.

“Although we see it slightly slowing down, WannaCry still spreads fast, targeting organisations across the world,” says Doros Hadjizenonos, Country Manager of Check Point South Africa. “WannaCry is a wakeup call, showcasing how damaging ransomware can be and how quickly it can cause disruption to vital services.”

The Check Point Threat Intelligence and Research team recently announced the registration of a new kill-switch domain used by a fresh sample of WannaCry. Check Point’s live WannaCry Ransomware Infection Map shows key threat statistics and country-specific data in real time. Registration of the domain activated the kill-switch, safeguarding tens of thousands of would-be victims against the ransomware’s damage.

Check Point researchers found that those affected by WannaCry are unlikely to retrieve their files, even if they do pay the ransom. A problematic payment and decryption system and false demo of the decryption operation puts into question the capability of WannaCry’s developers to deliver on their promises to decrypt files. So far, the three bitcoin accounts associated with the WannaCry campaign have accumulated approximately $77,000. Despite this, and unlike many other ransomware types, not a single case has been reported of anyone receiving their files back.

In February, Check Point’s released its Anti-Ransomware solution, complementing its SandBlast zero-day protection suite for advanced threat prevention. Built on top of the Check Point Infinity architecture, Check Point offers enhanced threat prevention capabilities against attacks such as WannaCry. The Threat Extraction component strips malware that is embedded in infected documents, the Threat Emulation component ensures only safe content is allowed onto endpoints, while the anti-ransomware solution identifies and blocks ransomware from damaging devices and encrypting files.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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