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Phishing for Apple IDs

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Kaspersky Lab has published a phishing report that analysed the dramatic increase of cybercriminal campaigns designed to steal users’ Apple IDs and account information by creating fraudulent phishing sites that try to imitate the official apple.com site.

Cybercriminals are using the fake Apple sites to try and trick users into submitting their Apple ID credentials, which would enable the criminals to steal the account login and access the victim’s personal data, information and credit card numbers stored on their iCloud and iTunes accounts.

From January 2012 through May 2013, Kaspersky Lab’s cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) detected an average of 200,000 attempts per day of users trying to access the phishing sites, which were triggered each time a user running Kaspersky Lab’s products was directed to one of the fraudulent sites.

The increase in average detections is a marked increase compared to 2011, which averaged only 1000 detections per day. Kaspersky Lab’s web antivirus module successfully detected and prevented its users from accessing the sites: however, the increase in detections shows how these scams are becoming more commonly used by cybercriminals for phishing campaigns.

Kaspersky Lab’s experts analysed the cybercriminals’ behaviour and patterns on a daily and monthly basis, noticing that fluctuations and increases in phishing attempts often coincided with large events from Apple. For example, on December 6, 2012, immediately following the opening of iTunes stores in India, Turkey, Russia, South Africa and an additional 52 countries, Kaspersky Lab detected an all-time record of more than 900,000 phishing attempts directing to fake Apple sites in a single day.

Phishing Emails Posing as Apple:

The main distribution method used by cybercriminals to direct users to the fraudulent Apple sites are predominantly phishing emails posing as Apple Support with fake alias names in the ‚”Sender‚” field, such asservices@apple.com. The messages would typically request users to verify their account by clicking on a link and entering their Apple ID information. These emails are deceptively clever and professionally designed in order to make them appear authentic, including the use of Apple’s logo and presenting the message with similar formatting, colouring and style that Apple uses.

Another variation of these phishing emails are designed to steal Apple customers’ credit card information. This is done by sending users an email requesting that they verify or update the credit card credentials attached to their Apple IDs, which can be done by clicking on a link in the message. The link directs the user to a phishing site that imitates how Apple requests credit card information from their customers to fool users into inputting their credit card information and other personal information.

Guidance to Users – Identifying Phishing Websites and Emails:

One way to distinguish between real websites and counterfeit ones created for phishing purposes is to look at the address bar of the website. While most counterfeit sites have the word ‚”apple.com‚” as part of their address (URL), the address would not be verified by Apple and would include additional text in the URL.

However, identifying phishing sites becomes harder when users can’t see the full URL address, which is typically the case when iOS users are running Safari on their iPhone or iPad devices. When users click on links from email messages on iOS devices the complete URL address is hidden from them when the page is downloaded and opened through Safari.

How Apple Users can Protect Themselves against Phishing Scams:

Users should verify email address aliases from Apple by checking the original sender address first. On a computer this can be done by mousing over the sender address field, which reveals the sender alias’ true email address. When using a mobile device, users should touch the email alias from the sender, which expands the alias to show the full address of the sender.

To guard against fraud attempts, Apple also provides a two-step authentication process for Apple IDs. This process involves sending a four-digit code to one or more previously selected devices belonging to the user. This serves as an additional verification and prevents undesired changes being made on the ‚”my Apple ID‚” site or, for example, third parties making unauthorised purchases using your Apple ID.

Unfortunately, this does not yet prevent cybercriminals from using stolen credit card data. Users should not follow links in questionable emails to access websites. Instead, they should manually enter website addresses into browser windows. Users who still want to use such links should carefully check their content and the address of the website they link to. In addition, Mac users should use a security software package likeKaspersky Security for Mac as standard. This will protect Mac users in real-time against viruses, trojans, spyware, phishing attempts and harmful websites, as well as preventing Macs from distributing Windows malware to friends and colleagues.

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A career in data science – or your money back

The Explore Data Science Academy is offering high demand skills courses – and guarantees employment for trainees

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The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has announced several new courses in 2020 that it says will radically change the shape of data science education in South Africa. 

Comprising Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, each six-month course provides vital digital skills that are in high demand in the market place.  The full time, fully immersive courses each cost R60 000 including VAT. 

The courses are differentiated from any other available by the fact that EDSA has introduced a money back promise if it cannot place the candidate in a job within six months of graduation and at a minimum annual starting salary of R240 000.

“For South Africans with drive and aptitude, this is the perfect opportunity to launch a career in what has been called the sexiest career of the 21stcentury,” says Explore founder Shaun Dippnall.

Dippnall and his team are betting on the explosive demand for data science skills locally and globally.

 “There is a massive supply-demand gap in the area of data science and our universities and colleges are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth and changing nature of specific digital skills being demanded by companies.  

“We are offering specifically a work ready opportunity in a highly skills deficient sector, and one which guarantees employment thereafter.”

The latter is particularly pertinent to young South Africans – a segment which currently faces a 30 percent unemployment rate. 

“If you have skills in either Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics or Machine Learning, you will find work locally, even globally. We’re confident of that,” says Dippnall.

EDSA is part of the larger Explore organisation and has for the past two years offered young people an opportunity to be trained as data scientists and embark on careers in a fast-growing sector of the economy.  

In its first year of operation, EDSA trained 100 learners as data scientists in a fully sponsored, full-time 12-month course.  In year two, this number increased to 400.  

“Because we are connected with hundreds of employers and have an excellent understanding of the skills they need, our current placement rate is over 90 percent of the students we’ve taught,” Dippnall says. “These learners can earn an average of R360 000 annually, hence our offer of your money back if there is no employment at a minimum annual salary of R240k within six months.

“With one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world – recently announced as a national emergency by the President – it is important that institutions teach skills that are in demand and where learners can earn a healthy living afterwards.”

There are qualifying criteria, however. Candidates need to live in close proximity (within one hour commuting distance), or be prepared to live, in either Johannesburg or Cape Town, and need to be between the ages of 18 and 55. 

“Our application process is very tough. We’ll test for aptitude and attitude using the qualifying framework we’ve built over the years. If you’re smart enough, you’ll be accepted,” says Dippnall.

To find out more, visit  http://www.explore-datascience.net.

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Triggerfish launches free digital learning Academy online

Platform designed for anyone wanting to understand more about career opportunities in animation.

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Triggerfish, in partnership with Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has launched Triggerfish Academy, a free digital learning platform for anyone wanting to understand more about the career opportunities and how to get started in the field of animation. 

The website features 25 free video tutorials, quizzes and animation exercises introducing animation as a career and the principles of storytelling, storyboarding and animation, as well as several additional resources to help guide aspiring animators into a career in animation. 

“The South African animation industry is growing – and so is the demand for skilled animators globally,” said Noemie Njangiru, head of Culture and Development at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, pointing to  the success of recent Triggerfish projects like the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes; Mama K’s Team 4, recently announced by Netflix as their first original animated series from Africa; and this year’s New York Children’s Festival and Shanghai International Film and TV Festival winner Zog.  

Njangiru also highlighted the opportunities for animation outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine, and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality

The course was created by Tim Argall, currently the animation director on Triggerfish’s third feature film, Seal Team. He’s roped in many of the South African animation industry’s brightest stars, from Malcolm Wope, character designer on Mama K’s Team 4, and Annike Pienaar, now working at Illumination in Paris on Sing 2, to Daniel Snaddon, co-director of the multi-award-winning BBC adaptations Stick Man and Zog, and Faghrie Coenraad, lead dressing and finaling artist on the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes, as well as Triggerfish head of production Mike Buckland. The featured talent share not just their skills but also their stories, from how they broke the news they wanted to be animators to their parents, to common myths about the animation industry. 

“As kids, animation is part of our lives, so we don’t really think about the idea that animation is actually somebody’s job,” said Argall. “When I was a kid, I loved animation and I loved to draw. I remember when I was about 12, I thought: ‘I really want to see my drawings come to life. I want to be an animator.’ But I had no idea where to even begin.” 

Triggerfish Academy is his attempt to make it easier for the next generation of African animators: an accessible starter kit for anyone considering a career in animation. 

“By the end of working through this course, you’ll have all the background you need to know whether animation is a good choice for your career,” said Njangiru.  

Aspiring animators can also use Triggerfish Academyto learn how to write and animate their own short story, then post their animation on the Academy’s Facebook group for feedback and advice from professional animators. 

Triggerfish Academy is set up so that youth can play with it directly, but it’s also been designed to double as an activity plan for teachers, NGOs and after school programmes to use. Schools, organisations and other animation studios who are interested in using it can contact Triggerfish for additional free classroom resources.

Triggerfish Academy is just one of a number of Triggerfish initiatives to train and diversify the next generation of African animators, like sponsoring bursaries to The Animation School; the Mama K’s Team 4 Writers Lab with Netflix; the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and Industry; Animate Africa webinars; Draw For Life; and the Triggerfish Foundation schools outreach programme. For more information, visit www.triggerfish.com/academy.  

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