With the news that a couple of Android apps have been pulled as they misrepresented their purpose (they were used as research – duping users into downloading and installing them – to see if people would), it raises an(other) interesting question for IT departments around applications, mobile devices and keeping up with the user.
While companies have been getting stricter at what can and cannot be installed on corporate laptops, the same is not true of smartphones. There are now tens of thousands of apps for phones like the iPhone and Android, and while they do have to go through an approval purpose, it won’t be your corporate one.
I have recently been involved in writing security policies for a number of companies and it becomes very apparent as to the need for up-to-date polices coupled with a suitable education programme. Technology is moving rapidly and care needs to be taken to protect corporate data wherever it is and however it is accessed. Updates to policies are worthless if they are not effectively communicated – this is a case in point – updating the policy on downloading apps won’t stop people from doing it if they don’t know about it. If you have technology to prevent inappropriate apps from being installed on smartphones, great – if not, then you need to remind staff of some of the dangers of just downloading and installing apps from the web.
Cyber criminals go after the low hanging fruit and the smartphone is just that – a simple way into a person’s life and potentially the corporate network.
Cybercriminals can’t wait for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to get underway tonight. No, spamming, hacking and creating botnets haven’t become an Olympic sport, but these malicious attackers are greatly anticipating the millions of followers who will be going online to watch events, read news and obtain updates on the Games.
Key sporting events such as the Vancouver Olympics and the 2010 Football World Cup provide the perfect scenario to dupe victims around the world with Olympics-related spam emails, phishing attacks and other nasty Web tricks – with the sole purpose being to steal personal information and identities. Symantec anticipates seeing a rise in cybercrime activity during the 2010 Winter Games since, as is common surrounding high-profile events.
During the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, spammers enticed users with newsworthy subject lines to open email messages prompting them to click on links hosting malware.
A few of those subject lines included:
• Are Chinese gymnasts too young for Olympics?
• Beijing Olympics cancelled
• Beijing postpones Olympics due to McCain-Dalai Lama meeting
To avoid being a victim during the 2010 Games, Symantec urges you to follow these best practices:
• Purchasing Official Olympic Tickets – When buying tickets online, even from an auction site, be sure it is a reputable online source. For instance, Vancouver2010.com is offering fan-to-fan tickets on a first come, first-served basis.
• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – Many cybercriminals use extravagant promises such as “exclusive” Olympic pins and merchandise to lure victims into clicking through to malicious sites and divulging personal information.
• Use caution when clicking links from within emails or IM messages – Links can contain viruses or Trojans, or lead users to infected websites. Never click a link in a suspicious email. Instead, make it a habit to type the full website URL, such as www.YouTube.com, into your Web browser.
• Never fill out forms in messages – Legitimate 2010 Winter Games organizers/sponsors will never ask for personal, financial or password information through an email message.
• Update your computer – Have a hacker –free Olympic experience by ensuring that all personal and work computers are protected with up-to-date antivirus software and the latest operating system and application patches.
As soon as the announcement was made, we observed that related search terms had become targets for Blackhat SEO attacks and phishing attacks. People interested in finding out more about the iPad over the internet must be on guard.
The excitement over the iPad has been building for months now, so it’s only to be expected that its announcement would spark a huge spike in search traffic relating to certain terms. Sadly, this is just the kind of opportunity fraudsters like to exploit by poisoning search terms, and we can also expect to see iPad-related spam and phishing attacks hitting consumers hard over the coming weeks. We’d advise the curious to be on their guard.
Tips for avoiding iPad pain:
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links in email or IM messages as these may be links to spoofed Web sites
- Symantec security experts suggest typing Web addresses directly into the browser rather than clicking on links within messages.
- If an email offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. Go through authorised and known suppliers or information sources
- Always be sure that your operating system is up-to-date with the latest updates, and employ a comprehensive security suite
- Delete all spam
Once again cybercriminals are at it again spreading rumours and lies to try and trap the unwary. Several news outlets are reporting a set of spam emails circulating about an entirely untrue car crash story, misreporting that Johnny Depp had died over the weekend.
Symantec has investigate the spam and it appears that this is nothing more than yet another Fake AV Scam which attempts to trick users into paying them to remove malware which is not present on their systems. We detect this as VirusDoctor. Symantec customers, both consumer and enterprise, are already protected. As we reported at the end of last year, unfortunately these sorts of fake AV downloads are not uncommon – indeed the Symantec Rogue AV Report suggested we had seen over 43million people download fake security software in a 12 month period.
As ever, it is important that people keep on their guard when searching for information on the Web. Make sure your legitimate antivirus software is updated and if you are ever feel yourself being strong-armed into buying antivirus software from any dubious online sources – Don’t do it! Instead go to a trusted source such as your local physical shop.
Time after time, we see those engaged in the Cybercrime Underworld using major sporting or news events to trap the unwary into letting down their cyber guard. Well it seems to have happened again with interest in the Tiger Woods car accident over the weekend, and rumours of the cause, giving Scareware peddlers ripe opportunity to poison web search engines. The story, which has generated a swell in web traffic and searches, has been one of the top Google searches since the news broke.
The Symantec Response team have observed some search engine results redirecting users to a number of malicious domains:
These websites then take the user through a fake scanning activity before pointing out a host of serious ‘errors’ and ‘threats’ advising that these must be immediately cleaned from the user’s computer. However, the threats are bogus, and users are unwittingly conned into buying illegitimate antivirus software which could then take personal details for criminal gain.
Hon Lau on the Symantec Response blog, said: “From an IT security point of view, this unfortunate incident is just another fruit ripe for the picking as far as malware writers are concerned. It comes as no surprise that the creators of rogue antivirus or misleading application software have already jumped on the bandwagon and attempted to poison web search engine results to take advantage of this spike in web search activity.”
So as ever, be on your guard. When searching for information on the Web, make sure your legitimate antivirus software is updated and if you are ever feel yourself being strong-armed into buying antivirus software from any dubious online sources- Don’t do it! Instead go to a trusted source such as your local physical shop.
Last year we embarked on producing an occasional series of short video’s looking at common internet threats and issues. So far they have covered: Phishing, Botnets, The Underground Economy and Drive-by Downloads.
We wanted them to be educational and have some humour to better educate people using the web at home and at work about how to protect themselves from common threats and risks. So far the initial 4 video’s have gone down well, being posted on sites like YouTube and Facebook, as well as the Symantec website and even a number of online retailers.
The lastest two video’s in the series have just been finished. They are:
- Symantec Guide to Scary Internet Stuff – No 5 Misleading Applications
- Symantec Guide to Scary Internet Stuff – No 6 Denial of Service Attacks
Please have a look at them, and also the other videos in the series, and if you have any thoughts for new topics we should cover, let me know.