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Kaspersky to defend ATMs

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Kaspersky Lab has announced the availability of Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security, a targeted enterprise-grade solution designed to protect ATMs, Point-Of-Sale systems and point of service machines.

Aimed at protecting a diverse variety of Windows-based platforms, handling the most sensitive financial operations, Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security brings world-leading detection capabilities as well as new specialised security options.

ATM threats: physical + virtual

Financial organisations report that the most prevalent threats targeting their ATM fleets are of a physical nature, including skimming and ATM theft. However, cyberthreats or attacks on a software level are catching up: banks are reporting an increasing number of incidents involving ATM malware. This aligns with our threat intelligence: Kaspersky Lab observes dedicated ATM malware starting from 2009. The most recent example actually replaces hardware card skimmers, but also allows attackers to force the infected ATM to dispense cash. One of the most damaging cybercriminal campaigns of 2014-2015, known as Carbanak, also included cash dispensing functionalities as well as other ATM-targeted malware. This year we have observed the rapid development of these high-tech bank robberies.

Unique hardware and compliance specifics

Although ATMs and Point-of-Sale terminals are very diverse, they share similar qualities. Typically these machines are dedicated to one specific task and carry a very limited number of software. Most likely these machines are limited-performance computers, often running outdated operating systems and software like Windows XP. It is also likely for ATMs to connect to the network via slow 3G and wireless channels and they are always geographically scattered. This presents additional security and management challenges. At the same time, compliance requirements including PCI DSS are very broad, and do not necessarily bring the required level of protection. This landscape calls for a specialised solution.

Product highlights

“The first challenge we had to solve was to squeeze in the most up-to-date security technologies in a product designed to run on machines with very limited capacity,”comments Dmitry Zveginets, Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security Solution Business Lead, Kaspersky Lab. “Upgrade cycles for ATM and PoS fleets are slow, and it is not uncommon to find a perfectly working machine that was built more than ten years ago, running similarly outdated software. We’ve created a new product compatible with seven generations of computer hardware, which protects the system, even without an internet connection, and is highly flexible, in order to meet the unique demands of financial organisations as well as regulations such as PCI DSS. On top of this we have included advanced protection technologies like the Default Deny mode that bring financial security to a higher level”.

Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security protects ATMs, PoS terminals and other specialised systems like ticket dispensers from all kinds of threats, with high reliability and a low footprint. It supports all Windows versions starting from Windows XP as well as Windows XP Embedded, Windows Embedded 8.0 Standard and Windows 10 IoT. The solution has the lowest system requirements and can run on systems with only 256 megabytes of memory and just 50 megabytes of disk space. It protects machines from cyberthreats, be it remote attacks, or the on-site compromise of a system via USB sticks.

Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security brings centralised reporting and management as well as a special Default Deny mode that blocks attempts to run any unauthorised executable code or drivers on ATMs and PoS terminals. The solution is also integrated with the cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network to provide the most up-to-date threat intelligence and quickly respond to the latest attacks.

To learn more about Kaspersky Embedded Systems Security visit our corporate website. The solution is available worldwide as a part of Kaspersky Lab’s enterprise portfolio.

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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