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Word Cup ticket scam doubles the trouble

Kaspersky Lab experts have identified phishing emails from fraudsters offering users the chance to snap up much sought after ‘guest’ tickets to the 2018 FIFA World Cup – but at a higher price than fans bargained for.

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Some tickets are on offer at ten times their original price, and while the tickets are likely to be unusable – due to a strict registration and transfer procedure – fraudsters are taking the money and collecting users’ private data, including payment information, to steal more funds in a twofold monetisation scam.

Major events attract fraudsters’ attention, with the noise and excitement around them making it easier for attackers to prey on their potential victims’ lack of vigilance. Recipients are drawn to the seemingly legitimate emails, which focus on global sporting championships watched by big audiences across the world. The upcoming World Cup is no exception.

This event is particularly interesting because there are a number of obstacles complicating the process of buying tickets. For instance, tickets can only be purchased on the official FIFA website and the procedure is multilayered and sophisticated for security reasons. Ordering a ticket takes place in three stages and only 1 ticket per person is allowed. The exception to this is guest tickets, which allows the purchaser to buy up to 3 additional tickets. However, these are registered to specific names and can only be changed if the holder applies to transfer the intended recipient to another. Despite this complicated process, fraudsters have used this to their advantage.

When the window to purchase tickets opened, the official website experienced a massive surge in users attempting to order their tickets, which led to connection problems. During the process, fraudsters bought up as many tickets as they could with the aim of selling them on to a desperate fan base. With tickets now sold out, many people have been left with no alternative but to go to touts or third parties in order to be at a game.

Fraudsters have set up hundreds of domains with wording related to the World Cup, to sell their guest tickets. Many have increased the price to more than double face value, with some tickets available at up to 10 times the original cost, according to Kaspersky Lab experts. With full advance payment required, there is no guarantee that fraudsters will forward the tickets, that guest tickets reserved for other people will work at a stadium, or that they will be genuine. What is guaranteed, however, is that the payment information used to buy the tickets will give scammers all they need to collect additional funds from the user in the future.

“According to our research, there is a real risk that users will pay a lot of money and get nothing in return. This type of cyber fraud can also lead to further money stealing. We urge sport fans to be extra vigilant and savvy when buying tickets. No matter how attractive the offer is, the only way to ensure you won’t get duped is to use authorised sellers,” warns Andrey Kostin, Senior Web-Content Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

To make sure users don’t become victims of this type of scam, Kaspersky Lab’s anti-phishing system detects and blocks fraudulent emails and websites.

There are also a number of simple steps that football fans can follow to keep themselves and their money safe, both during the World Cup and beyond:

– Be vigilant. Only buy tickets from the official sources and always double check the site address and the links you want to follow

– Do not click on links in emails, texts, instant messaging or social media posts if they come from people or organisations you don’t know, or have suspicious or unusual addresses

– Have a separate bank card and account with a limited amount of money, specifically for online purchases. This will help to avoid serious financial losses if your bank details are stolen

– De-risk the data. It is better to install a reliable security solution with up-to-date databases of malicious and phishing sites

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Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall

Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics

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Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.

Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.

Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.

Key report findings include:

  • The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
  • But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
  • Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.

Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.

“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”

Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”

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New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones

Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.

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Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.

Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides. 

But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world 

In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.

Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.

Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.

Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.

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