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Mobile ransomware trebles

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The global nightmare of ransomware shows no sign of slowing down, with the volume of mobile ransomware rising over three-fold (3.5 times) during the first few months of the year, according to Kaspersky Lab’s Malware Report for Q1, 2017.

The number of mobile ransomware files detected reached 218,625 during the quarter, compared to 61,832 in the previous quarter, with the Congur family accounting for more than 86%. Ransomware targeting all devices, systems and networks also continued to grow, with 11 new cryptor families and 55,679 new modifications making their appearance in Q1.

Congur ransomware is primarily a blocker – setting or resetting the device PIN (passcode) so this requires the attackers to have administrator rights on the device, and some variants of the malware take further advantage of these rights to install their module into the system folder from where it is almost impossible to remove.

Despite the popularity of Congur, Trojan-Ransom.AndroidOS.Fusob.h remained the most widely used mobile ransomware, accounting for nearly 45% of all users attacked by this threat during the quester. Once run, the Trojan requests administrator privileges, collects information about the device, including GPS coordinates and call history, and uploads the data to a malicious server. Based on what it receives, the server may send back a command to block the device.

The USA became the country hardest hit by mobile ransomware in Q1, with Svpeng ransomware the most widespread threat.

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In all, 55,679 new Windows ransomware modifications were detected during the quarter representing a near two-fold increase on Q4, 2016 (29,450). Most of these new modifications belonged to the Cerber family.

“The mobile threat landscape for ransomware was far from calm in Q1. Ransomware targeting mobile devices soared, with new ransomware families and modifications continuing to proliferate. People need to bear in mind that attackers can – and increasingly will – try to block access to their data not only on a PC but also on their mobile device,” notes Roman Unuchek, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Other online threat statistics from the Q1, 2017 report include:

·         Kaspersky Lab solutions detected and repelled 479,528,279 malicious attacks from online resources located in 190 countries all over the world.

·         79,209,775 unique URLs were recognised as malicious by web antivirus components.

·         Attempted infections by malware that aims to steal money via online access to bank accounts were registered on 288,000 user computers.

·         Crypto-ransomware attacks were blocked on 240,799 computers of unique users.

·         Kaspersky Lab’s file antivirus detected a total of 174,989,956 unique malicious and potentially unwanted objects.

·         Kaspersky Lab mobile security products also detected:

  • 1,333,605 malicious installation packages;
  • 32,038 mobile banking Trojans (installation packages).

 

To reduce the risk of infection, users are advised to:

·         Use robust security solutions and make sure they keep all software up to date.

·         Regularly run a system scan to check for possible infection.

·         Stay wise while online. Do not enter personal information into a website if you are at all unsure or suspicious.

·         Back up valuable information.

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Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser

Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, which features a built-in virtual private network service.

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Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.

A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.

The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.

“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.

When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.

The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.

“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”

According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.

The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.

“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”

Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.

The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.

Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.

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Future of the car is here

Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.

The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.

Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.

Jaguar i-Pace

The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.

Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.

And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.

The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.

Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h in 4.8s
  • 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
  • Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
  • Two-year/34 000km service intervals

Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.

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