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Cyber criminals are cutting costs

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malicious programs reached a saturation point as the number of new files detected each day fell by 15 000.

According to Kaspersky Lab, 2015 marked the moment when demand for new malicious programmes reached saturation point, as the number of new malware files detected every day by its products fell by 15,000, from 325,000 in 2014 to 310,000. Kaspersky Lab’s experts believe this is mainly due to the fact that coding new malware is expensive and cybercriminals have realised that they can get equally good results using intrusive advertising programmes or legitimate digital signatures in their attacks.

This approach appears to be working, as results show that despite the cost-cutting in malware creation, in 2015 the number of users attacked by cybercriminals increased by 5%.

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Between 2012 and 2013, there was a rapid increase in the number of new malicious files detected by Kaspersky Lab, from 200,000 new files every day in 2012 to 315,000 in 2013.

Thereafter, things started to slow down. In 2014, the total increased by just 10,000 files a day, and in 2015 the overall number has declined from 325,000 to 310,000. Cybercriminals in search of a quick return appear to have decided that complex coding tools such as rootkits, bootkits or replicating viruses, may bring results, but at a cost, reducing their overall margins and revenue.   Moreover, these complex malicious programmes, that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop, do not protect the malicious programme from increasingly sophisticated antivirus software accustomed to detecting and analysing far more complicated malware.

For this reason, 2015 saw adware, essentially harmless but often intrusive, become more prominent among overall anti-virus detections. This marks an evolution in cybercriminal tactics, with many now acting almost as businesses, engaged in selling quasi-legitimate commercial software, activity and other “essentials”.

Another trend is for cybercriminals and even advanced, state-sponsored threat actors to make greater use of legal certificates for digital products. With the help of bought or stolen certificates, attackers deceive security software, which trusts an officially-signed file more than a regular one. The value of the certificate may be only a few tens of dollars.

“Cybercrime has lost the last touch of romance. Today, malware is created, bought and resold for specific tasks. The commercial malware market has settled, and is evolving towards simplification. I think will we no longer see malicious “code for the code”. This trend is also observed among the operators of targeted attacks,” says Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Head of Anti-Malware Team at Kaspersky Lab.

 

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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense for app

DStv Now app expands, FNB gets Snapchat lens, Spotify offers data saver mode, in SEAN BACHER’s apps roundup

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DStv Now for Xbox and Hisense

Usage of DStv Now, the online DStv service available free to DStv customers, is increasing rapidly with more than two million plays of live and Catch Up content per week. In addition to using DStv Now to watch TV on tablets and smartphones, an increasing number of DStv customers are also opting to use it as their primary method of getting DStv on additional TVs in the house. This is set to increase with the release of two new big-screen TV apps, one for Xbox gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X) and another for Hisense smart TVs (2018 and newer models).

Expect to pay: A free download.

Platform: Any of the Xbox One range of gaming consoles and 2018 or later Hisense smart TVs.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your Xbox console or HiSense smart TV.

Santam Safety Ideas

Start-up businesses that have a FinTech or InsurTech business venture brewing are called to enter the third annual Santam Safety Ideas competition. Safety solutions or InsurTech ventures that are ready for piloting could win up to  R150 000 worth of incubation support and R200 000 in seed funding. 

The Safety Ideas competition was launched two years ago in partnership with LaunchLab,  Stellenbosch University’s startup incubator that facilitates valuable connections for corporates and startups sourced from the startup ecosystem and partner universities in South Africa. The previous winners are Herman Bester and Anton Swanevelder, co-founders of MyLifeLine – a wearable panic device that won the competition last year; and Ntsako Mgiba and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, co-founders of Jonga – a cost-effective security system for low income families, which won the competition in 2017.

Entries close on 28 February 2019. For more information on how to enter, visit: www.santam.co.za/safetyideas/

Click here to read about the FNB Snapchat lens, Spotify Free with data saver, and 00:37.

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Fortnite fixes hackers’ hole

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Epic Games has repaired a vulnerability that exposed Fortnite, the world’s most popular game of the moment, to hackers. The hole, which was left in Epic’s web infrastructure,  allowed hackers to target players with email that appeared to come from Epic Games, but would have led them to a phishing site, where their log-in details would have been stolen.

Researchers at cyber security solutions provider Check Point Software alerted Epic to vulnerabilities that could have affected any player of the hugely popular online battle game.

Fortnite has nearly 80 million players worldwide. The game is popular on all gaming platforms, including Android, iOS, PC via Microsoft Windows and consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  In addition to casual players, Fortnite is used by professional gamers who stream their sessions online, and is popular with e-sports enthusiasts.

If exploited, the vulnerability would have given an attacker full access to a user’s account and their personal information as well as enabling them to purchase virtual in-game currency using the victim’s payment card details. The vulnerability would also have allowed for a massive invasion of privacy, as an attacker could listen to in-game chatter as well as surrounding sounds and conversations within the victim’s home or other location of play. 

While Fortnite players had previously been targeted by scams that deceived them into logging into fake websites that promised to generate Fortnite’s ‘V-Buck’ in-game currency, these new vulnerabilities could have been exploited without the player handing over any login details.

Click here to read how the Fortnite hack worked

To win a set of three Fortnite Funko Pop Figurines, click here.

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