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    TrendLabs Security Intelligence Blog(breadcrumbs are unavailable)

    Author Archive - Rowena Diocton (Technical Communications)

    As we’ve seen in the case of PCs, social engineering schemes and cybercriminal activities ride on what’s popular. This quarter, we saw how the threat landscape put a price on popularity.

    We have observed a sixfold increase in the number of Android malware as the sales of Android-based devices rise. There are now almost 175,000 malicious and potentially dangerous or high-risk Android apps—showing a drastic growth from the mere 30,000 apps we saw in June. A significant increase in the mobile adware is seen. These adware are known to display ads and gather user information without their consent. With the continuous adoption of mobile devices, predictions regarding mobile attacks are becoming a reality. Amid all these, an important question persists: Do you realize that the mobile apps you use every day are basically web clients? But do you allot the same effort to secure them?

    We also discovered that cybercriminals are not letting up on what they know people will bite. They know you will continue downloading stuff from peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. That’s why they’ll continue to plague those sites. One of the most dangerous things you can end up with is ZeroAccess malware infection. ZeroAccess malware silently runs when you use Adobe Flash Player. We recorded more than 900,000 ZeroAccess malware detections to date. Popular social media sites were still plagued by survey scams. Apart from social media top-of-mind Facebook, the bad guys also targeted the highly popular photo-blogging sensation Tumblr.

    Cybercriminals also continued to trail their sights on well-known programs, Java and Internet Explorer, even using them for sophisticated advanced persistent threat (APT) campaigns. Attackers also added malicious Android application package (APK) files, the file format used to distribute and install application software and middleware in Android OSs, to their toolkits.

    We’re seeing the same pattern. The popular always comes under siege. It pays to be aware, so read more in “3Q 2012 Security Roundup: Android Under Siege: Popularity Comes at a Price” and be in the know.

    Posted in Bad Sites | Comments Off

    The vast number of users on the Internet definitely makes for a lucrative market for businesses. We see more companies offering social media, gaming, e-Commerce, banking, and other services online. At 2.6 billion, the world’s web surfers exceed the population of China and India combined! That’s a big potential market!

    With more services available, online activity every 24 hours has risen by the millions, even billions. Here are some examples:

    • The number of email messages sent every day almost quadrupled from 97 billion in 2007 to 419 billion today.
    • There are almost thrice as many active Starcraft players today (500,000) as there were active users (200,000) in 2004.
    • Since its release in 2004, the often phished online role-playing game, World of Warcraft now has 9.1 million subscribers.

    Apart from entrepreneurs, cybercriminals have also taken advantage of the dramatic increase in online engagement. The 150,000 average unique daily threats we see today dwarfs the mere 57 count we saw back in 2006. As a result, more spam, malware, and bad URLs now exist in cyberspace.

    The threats nowadays are not only increasing in quantity, but in sophistication as well. The basic protection we used to rely on is not enough against new generation threats. Along with virus protection and rootkit detection, social networking security is a must in this age of digital interaction. Users need to have a good web reputation service to block access to malicious URLs and configure privacy settings in their social networking accounts so as to keep critical information safe.

    Also, old spam filters may not work as well as combined anti-spam and optimized firewall can against threats like the Blackhole Exploit Kit that target users through spam messages bearing links to exploits, among others. Specialized platform security is also relevant, especially as more threats will likely aim at the upcoming Windows 8 Metro and the growing Mac OS market.

    Find out more on how you can revive security through redefined basic protection through our new infographic, “Are You Safe Online?

    Posted in Bad Sites | Comments Off

    Once, we used to talk about the cloud when we think of the weather. Today, we talk of the cloud that stores data, runs applications, and houses software. You often hear it in conversations. You read about it online. You know the cloud exists, but really, what is it?

    Whenever you store photos on Facebook or upload files on Google Drive, you interact with the cloud. On a smaller scale, consumers like you are contributing to the growing ecosystem of the cloud. It is a concept as real as the threats cybercriminals exert in trying to steal the data it stores.

    There is more to the cloud than virtually infinite storage or real-time communication. Blindly using the cloud without fully grasping it can give you more trouble than good. It isn’t just about trying out the fanciest apps. It is about knowing the pros and cons of “putting your data out there.”

    Before you let go of data in your desktop or mobile devices, explore the risks you’ll go through when you put it in the cloud. Find out what the cloud is, why it is fast becoming a revolutionary tool for technology and business, and how you can also safely soar like the millions who benefit out of it through our fresh perspective e-guide: Files in Flight: What You Need to Know About Cloud Storage.

    Coming Soon: The TrendLabs Security Intelligence Blog will be the new Malware Blog

    Posted in Social | Comments Off

    Your online activities say a lot about who you are.

    A majority of Americans use search engines. Billions of email and instant messaging accounts are created worldwide. One in five minutes spent online is spent on social media. There are almost six billion mobile subscribers in the entire world. A considerable number of those who immerse in games, e-commerce, and banking now do it online.

    If we believe numbers don’t lie, we can only conclude the obvious: If anyone would want to reach us, the best place is on the cloud. Marketers, evangelists, even educators got the drift.

    Cybercriminals are not far behind. They glean knowledge according to popular online activities then they create scams that will catch your attention. Do you know that the simple act of misspelling a popular website’s URL can lead you to download malware? This is how some users came to download fake AV variants when they searched about the Olympics.

    Find out who you are in the cloud. Our latest eguide lists down four online personas according to the activities they’re fond of. The Web Wiz is that guy who sees the cloud as an information source. You will see your elders or such who just go online if the need arises when you read about the Optimal Prime. The Chatter Bug is that friend who’s always first to get the most social media followers. The Virtual Jock is a sports buff, that is, in the online realm.

    Each of these personas uses different activities in varying degrees. We noted the risks their immersion for each activity incurs, and saw that the most chilling effects include identity fraud, data theft, and financial loss.

    Find out how you can keep your head safe while on a digital high with our tips and suggestions on the latest TrendLabs Digital Life e-guide On A Digital High: Who Am I in the Cloud?

    Posted in Malware | Comments Off

    In just a month, the number of Android malware doubled from 10,000 to 20,000. The fast paced growth of Android threats is a reason for concern.

    We predicted that Android malware will reach the 11,000 count by this time of the year, an uncanny projection easily scoffed at. As it turned out, the excessive outlook doesn’t even come close to the 25,000 Android malware we found in the wild.

    We also reported various tactics cybercriminals use to trick users into downloading malicious apps. Official Android app store Google Play became host to infected apps. Fake versions of Skype, Instagram, Angry Birds Space, Farm Frenzy, and other legitimate apps were used to send messages to premium numbers at the users’ cost. Users’ curious nature was monetized by spying apps like Spy Tool and Spy Phone Pro+. The particularly sophisticated BotPanda strain opens rooted devices for remote access while hiding its routines.

    We listed seven malware types for Android devices this quarter. Almost half of these are premium service abusers that subscribe users to services they did not sign up for. Adware, recently added due to persistent pushing of ads as urgent notifications, came second. Data stealers, malicious downloaders, rooters, click fraudsters, and spying tools follow respectively. These apps put personal and financial information most at risk of theft.

    Android malware rises alongside the growing market for Android devices. However, we found that only one in five Android devices have a security app installed. Users should also learn how threat actors use apps to steal information to avoid being lured into their scams. Google also keeps the Android ecosystem secure on its end using known features like the Bouncer service or automated scanning, sandboxing, permissions system, and remote malware removal.

    Discover what’s behind the menace that is Android malware through our detailed infographic here:

    Posted in Mobile | Comments Off


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