Tag: Risk Awareness

The attack surface is growing faster than it has at any other point in the history of technology

Avast launched its annual Threat Landscape Report, detailing the biggest security trends facing consumers in 2019 as collected by the Avast Threat Labs team.

“This year, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web. Fast forward thirty years and the threat landscape is exponentially more complex, and the available attack surface is growing faster than it has at any other point in the history of technology,” commented Ondrej Vlcek, President of Consumer at Avast.

Read about the findings of the new Avast report on Help Net Security.

A Dozen Flaws in Popular Mac Clean-Up Software Allow Local Root Access

A passel of privilege-escalation vulnerabilities in MacPaw’s CleanMyMac X software would allow a local attacker to gain root access to an Apple machine in various ways. CleanMyMac X is a cleanup application for MacOS that optimizes the drives and frees up space by scanning for unused, redundant or unnecessary files and deleting them. No fewer than a dozen flaws plague 4.0 and earlier versions of the software, all of them in the package’s “helper protocol.”

The helper functions of the software run as root functions and the flaws arise from the fact that they can be accessed by applications without validation – thus giving those applications root access.

Read more about the critical flaws in CleanMyMac X software on Threatpost.

New Android malware hit more than 100,000 users in 196 countries

Researchers have spotted a new Android malware hidden behind six different Android applications that were available for download in Google Play. The six apps include Flappy Birr Dog, Flappy Bird, FlashLight, Win7Launcher, Win7imulator, and HZPermis Pro Arabe. Out of these six apps, five have been removed from Google Play since February 2018.

However, these applications have been downloaded at least 100,000 times by users across 196 countries with the majority of victims residing in India.

Read more about the massive Android malware campaign on Cyware.

It’s Time to Dispel These Dangerous Password Security Myths

These are exciting times for authentication technologies. We’ve only just begun to explore a new world beyond passwords. Emerging alternatives abound, from biometrics to multifactor authentication (MFA) to behavioral analysis and many other innovative ideas.

Unfortunately, headlines can also lead us to believe a plethora of myths about passwords and the future of authentication. Before we can pick a path to follow into the future of authentication, we must first overcome these myths and misconceptions around passwords that are still widely held, even by security professionals.

Read about 6 prevalent password security myths on SecurityIntelligence.

Cyber attacks a growing threat to cities globally

The potential impact of cyber attacks on the economy of the world’s largest cities has risen by nearly nine per cent in the last year, according to the 2019 update of the Global Risk Index from the Centre for Risk Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School.  Cyber risk has now risen from seventh to sixth place among global threats in the index.

The research is unique in making an annual quantification of the potential GDP impact of unpredictable shocks on the world’s most prominent cities.  The 2019 update to the Global Risk Index sees a uniform rise in GDP@Risk across all the 279 world cities that make up the index and more significant increases in risk for some urban centres.

Read more about the findings of the Global Risk Index on BusinessWeekly.

Windows Zero-Day Bug Allows Overwriting Files with Arbitrary Data

A security researcher has disclosed exploit code for a fourth zero-day vulnerability in Windows operating system in just as many months. The latest bug enables overwriting a target file with arbitrary data.

Running the proof-of-concept (PoC) code provided by the researcher that uses the online alias SandboxEscaper results in overwriting ‘pci.sys’ with information about software and hardware problems, collected through the Windows Error Reporting (WER) event-based feedback infrastructure. The researcher warns that the exploit she wrote works with some limitations and may not have the expected effect on some CPUs. For instance, she could not reproduce the bug on a machine with one CPU core.

Read more about the newly disclosed zero-day on BleepingComputer.

Why have we become desensitised to cyber attacks?

In the past, cyber attacks used to be so infrequent that hearing about just one breach in the news would be reason enough to invest in protection. Nowadays, not a day goes by without news of another hack being disseminated around the world. The temptation to roll your eyes, say ‘not another one’, and shut your browser is palpable.

But according to Real Business’s Mike Smith, becoming fatigued and showing complacency is one of the most dangerous things we can do. And if we need any more evidence than is already in the public realm, a recent report by UK’s National Cyber Security Centre revealed the sheer scale of the problem, admitting to thwarting around 10 attacks every single week.

Read more about the problem of “breach fatigue” on RealBusiness.

How China Helped Make the Internet Less Free in 2018

As democracies around the world struggle to hold back the rising tide of authoritarianism, a similar crisis is unfolding online. Three factors converged this year to make 2018 the eighth straight year that global internet freedom declined, according to an annual report from the nonprofit Freedom House: increasing censorship in response to disinformation, the widespread collection of personal data, and a growing group of countries emulating China’s model of digital authoritarianism.

Not only does China once again rank as the worst abuser of internet freedom, it is actively exporting its techno-dystopian model to other countries according to the report.

Read more about the findings of the Freedom House report on Wired.

18 Months Later, WannaCry Still Lurks on Infected Computers

Eighteen months after the initial WannaCry Ransomware outbreak, the malware continues to rear its head on thousands of infected computers.

When the WannaCry infection was first unleashed, security researcher Marcus Hutchins of Kryptos Logic registered a domain that acted as a kill switch for the ransomware component of the infection. If the infection was able to connect to this kill switch domain, the ransomware component would not activate. The infection, though, would continue to run silently in the background, while routinely connecting to the kill switch domain to check if it was still live. According to Hankins, the WannaCry kill switch domain still receives over 17 million beacons, or connections, in a one week period.

Read more about the lingering WannaCry infections on BleepingComputer.