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Nasty New Malware Waits Until You Visit A Pornsite, Then Starts Recording

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At the end of last week, ESET’s security researchers disclosed the discovery of a new strain of malware that takes the trend for sextortion to a new level. Varenyky, as the malware was named by its finders, monitors the activity on infected computers, watching until a pornographic website is visited, and then starts recording the screen.

According to the ESET team, Varenyky first came to light in May, when a malware spike was identified in France. And this is the other twist with Varenyky—it has been designed to specifically target French computer users. For now.

Varenyky is aimed at Orange customers in France, sending out fake invoices as Microsoft Word attachments to load the malware. When those documents are opened, a macro is executed which ensures the computer and its user are indeed French, if not the malware slips away with no damage done. But if the targeted computer ticks its boxes, Varenyky checks back with its C&C to determine what elements of malware to download, executing further macros to install software that can “steal passwords and spy on victims’ screens using FFmpeg when they watch pornographic content online.

When trigger keywords (a myriad of common and more specialised sexual terms) or websites (including YouPorn, PornHub and Brazzers) are detected, “the malware records a computer’s screen using an FFmpeg executable—the recorded video is then uploaded to the C&C server.” The clear risk is for advanced levels of sextortion or even blackmail. And while the current findings appear relatively generic (at least to the French), there is the potential for the malware to be targeted at individuals.

The spam emails—as many as 1500 per hour have been sent—focus on “win a smartphone competitions—an iPhone X, a Galaxy S9 or S10.” The victim is asked for personal information and then, as the scam progresses, credit card details as well. None of this is related to the video capture of sex sites, it is a broad-brush approach.

Varenyky is interesting because of its specific national targeting and its mix of credential theft and sextortion campaigning. The triggered screen recording, though, is grabbing the headlines. Not because of this particular campaign—there is no evidence of the videos having been used maliciously yet, but because it’s a nasty twist on a theme, and we can expect to hear more about it. As ESET warns, “this shows that operators are inclined to experiment with new features that could bring a better monetization of their work.”

A week ago, I reported that phishing defense specialist Cofense had published more than 200 million email addresses, that the company says are “being targeted by a large sextortion scam.” You can actually search the database for your own email address here. The usual sextortion concept of operations is to take breached email accounts—user names and passwords—and include those in a large-scale mail-out campaign to attempt to trick account holders into thinking they have been compromised, with passwords used as a convincer. It’s a numbers game. Small percentages returning lucrative rewards.

Now there is the potential for the use of video as a twist on what we have seen before—shades of Black Mirror episodes coming to life.

And so, the usual advice pertains. Don’t fall for scam promotions. Think before you click on attachments from unfamiliar senders. Don’t share personal information and definitely don’t share credit card details. And always keep your software and virus protection up to date.

There are many functions of Varenyky, ESET warns, “related to possible extortion or blackmail of victims watching pornographic content.” And the hackers behind the malware are already in the sextortion business even though the videos have not yet been used. ESET reports that Varenyky “is under heavy development and it has changed a lot since the first time we saw it,” which suggests functionality and sophistication will increase.

What we know for sure, though, is that this malware is now out there, and so the risk is very real.

Find me on Twitter or Linkedin or email zakd@me.com. Disclosure: I cover security and surveillance, the sector in which Digital Barriers operates. Direct conflicts are highlighted.

I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers, a provider of video surveillance and analytics technologies to security and defense agencies as well as commercial organizations. I cover the sectors in which DB operates, potential conflicts are highlighted.

 

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This Maps Shows Which Cities Are Using Facial Recognition Technology—And Which Have Banned It

As government use of facial recognition technology becomes more widespread, the digital rights nonprofit Fight for the Future has created an interactive map that shows where in the United States it’s being used and where it’s being resisted.

The map draws on news reports and research to show the ways that state and local governments have rolled out facial-recognition-related initiatives, like where agencies are scanning driver’s license databases or screening passengers on international flights, as well as which cities have banned local government from buying or using the technology or are considering legislation to that effect.

The map also shows all the places where police have formed partnerships with Amazon’s home security subsidiary, Ring. Police departments across the country have given residents free or discounted doorbell camera systems and encouraged people to share their security footage, creating what privacy advocates describe as an unprecedented surveillance network.

A spokesperson said that the Ring system does not use facial recognition technology.

Fight for the Future launched the map as part of its push for a nationwide ban on facial recognition technology, which it says threatens civil liberties and would have a chilling effect on free expression.

“The goal of the map is to educate people about where facial recognition technology is being used across the country and the different ways that it’s happening and then give them the tools to do something about it,” Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer tells Forbes. People who sign up on the group’s website will receive advocacy tool-kits to help them organize around the issue.

Proponents of facial recognition—which typically identifies people from video or photos by comparing their facial features with those in a database—says it can help solve crimes (or stop them before they happen), while critics point to studies that show the technology to be error-prone, particularly for people of color, and say the negative consequences of ubiquitous surveillance outweigh possible benefits.

Lawmakers recently held a series of hearings on facial recognition technology, with senators on both sides of the aisle expressing concerns about potential consequences of government usage, though without any real agreement on what national regulation could look like. 

So far, local governments have led the way. Earlier this week, Oakland, California became the third city to ban its government agencies from buying or using facial recognition technology for any purpose, following San Francisco and Sommerville, Massachusetts. Several states are also considering bills that would place moratoriums on the technology.

Greer says the map—which you can view here—likely isn’t comprehensive due to the secrecy around facial recognition but that Fight for the Future team plans to update it regularly as new information surfaces.

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I’m a San Francisco-based staff writer for Forbes reporting on Google and the rest of the Alphabet universe, as well as artificial intelligence more broadly.

Source: This Maps Shows Which Cities Are Using Facial Recognition Technology—And Which Have Banned It

What Will Happen to Internet Privacy in the Future?

Unfortunately, we have reached a point where the internet doesn’t work correctly unless we sacrifice some of our privacy. Everything from Twitter to cell phones wants access to our personal information, GPS location, and more. To most of us, how companies store and use our information is mostly a mystery. There are constant stories about stolen consumer information, yet we still, willingly, give out ours because the alternative is cloud services and social networks locking us out. If internet privacy has already eroded so much in the present day, what will things be like in the future? Read more…..

Source: What Will Happen to Internet Privacy in the Future?

Haven’t Tried a Password Manager? You Won’t Regret It. – Dashlane Blog

You’ve heard it before—you should use a password manager. A password manager helps you create strong, complex passwords, which are much safer than reusing the same weak passwords across all websites. But did you know that a password manager makes using the internet easier in a lot of other ways, too?…….

Source: Haven’t Tried a Password Manager? You Won’t Regret It. – Dashlane Blog

Colorado Securities Regulators Crack Down on Four More ICOs for Alleged Illicit Practices – Helen Partz

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The Colorado Division of Securities has filed cessation orders against four Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) allegedly involved in fraudulent and illicit practices, according to an official announcement Nov. 20.

Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome issued the new cease and desist orders following investigations by the Division’s ICO Task Force. Rome has issued 18 cessation orders to ICO projects offering unregistered securities since May, 2018. According to the announcement, at least two more orders are still pending.

The recent orders affected four crypto and blockchain-related firms; Global Pay Net, Credits LLC, CrowdShare Mining, and CyberSmart Coin Invest. All the companies were reportedly accessible to Colorado residents and allegedly violated securities laws.

Regulators state that the projects also engaged in fraudulent marketing practices; Global Pay Net allegedly falsely claimed that “investors receive 80 percent of the company’s profits.” CrowdShare Mining promised an “at least 1,000 percent” four-year return on investment for investors who bought its token.

Commissioner Rome stated that the “sheer number” of cease and desist orders against ICOs should be a “red flag […] that there is a real risk that the ICO you are considering is a fraud.” Rome also highlighted the problem of crypto investor protection, claiming that fraudsters “simply create a fake ICO to steal investors’ money,” and “trick investors into wrongfully paying them.”

Earlier this month, the securities regulator issued cease and desist orders to four ICOs for allegedly offering unregistered securities.

On Nov. 19, Italian securities regulator Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) issued enforcement actions against three crypto-related firms for alleged violation of local financial laws by failing to register as financial intermediaries.

That same day, the North Dakota Securities Commissioner issued a cease and desist order against an alleged Russia-based ICO that posed as Liechtenstein Union Bank.

According to a recent study by the University of British Columbia, ICOs face a “compliance trilemma” that limits their potential. Some issuers shirk compliance measures in order to “reach a distributed pool of investors” and have an offering that is “cost-effective.”

The study explains, “If issuers forgo these costs, the risk of being non-compliant rises significantly. The result is a trilemma, whereby issuers currently must forgo one of these goals to realize the other two, or to compromise on all three.”

Alabama’s Regulators Use Cryptographic Hashes to Preserve Evidence Regarding Crypto-Related Scams – Omar Faridi

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Greg Bordenkircher, the first assistant at the United States Attorney’s office, has revealed that the US state of Alabama “issued nine orders shutting down businesses that [were] advertising” potentially fraudulent investment schemes, services, and products. Bordenkircher added that Alabama has so far “got about 20 percent of all the active cease-and-desists” out of all 50 US states. Moreover, there are “another 20, 22” potential crypto-related scams that Alabama’s regulators are currently investigating, Bordenkircher told Coindesk……..

Read more: https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2018/11/alabama-s-regulators-use-cryptographic-hashes-to-preserve-evidence-regarding-crypto-related-scams/

 

 

 

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How An Amateur Rap Crew Stole Surveillance Tech That Tracks Almost Every American – Thomas Brewster

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On a June day last year, a skinny, dreadlocked 29-year-old rapper known as Tony Da Boss lay in bed in a redbrick apartment on a tree-lined street in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was not the kind of place you’d associate with a million-dollar criminal conspiracy. But Da Boss (real name Damonte Withers) was a leader of the FreeBandz Gang, an amateur hip-hop crew of twentysomethings who were into much more nefarious activities than laying down tracks. There were warning signs that things were going to get real…..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2018/10/12/how-an-amateur-rap-crew-stole-surveillance-tech-that-tracks-almost-every-american/

 

 

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

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