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India Witnessed 37% Spike in Cyber Attacks in First Three Months of 2020: Report

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(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

India also ranks 11th worldwide in the number of attacks caused by servers that were hosted in the country.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 23, 2020, 4:16 PM IST

India has seen a 37 percent increase in cyberattacks in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, as compared to the fourth quarter (Q4) of last year, a new report revealed on Saturday. The Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) report showed that its products detected and blocked 52,820,874 local cyber threats in India between January to March this year.

The data also shows that India now ranks 27th globally in the number of web-threats detected by the company in Q1 2020 as compared to when it ranked on the 32nd position globally in Q4 2019. “There has been a significant increase in the number of attacks in 2020 Q1 that may continue to rise further in Q2 as well, especially in the current scenario where we notice an increase in cybercriminal activities, especially in the Asia Pacific region,” said Saurabh Sharma, Senior Security Researcher, GReAT Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

The number of local threats in Q1 2020 in India (52,820,874) shows how frequently users are attacked by malware spread via removable USB drives, CDs and DVDs, and other “offline” methods. Protection against such attacks not only requires an antivirus solution capable of treating infected objects but also a firewall, anti-rootkit functionality and control over removable devices.

According to the firm, the number of local threats detected in Q4 2019 was 40,700,057. India also ranks 11th worldwide in the number of attacks caused by servers that were hosted in the country, which accounts of 2,299,682 incidents in Q1 2020 as compared to 854,782 incidents detected in Q4 2019, said the report.

“We see smartphone users being targeted more due to mass consumption and increased digitalisation,” Sharma said. “Risks like data leakage, connection to unsecured wi-fi networks, phishing attacks, spyware, apps with weak encryption (also known as broken cryptography) are some of the common mobile threats that Android users face,” he added.

“In order to mitigate some of the major risks like data breaches, targeted ransomware attacks, large scale (distributed denial-of-service) DDoS attacks, etc, businesses will need to allocate their budgets correctly to build a stronger security infrastructure,” said Dipesh Kaura, General Manager for South Asia, Kaspersky.



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Kerala Sees Record Surge in Phising Attacks Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

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Image for Representation.

These attacks aimed to compromise computers and mobile devices to gain access to users confidential data, banking details and cryptocurrency accounts.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: May 21, 2020, 5:04 PM IST

The COVID-19-induced lockdown saw a spurt in cyber crimes in India with Kerala recording the highest number of cyberattacks during the period, according to an analysis of IT security solutions provider K7 Computing. The report analyses various cyberattacks within India during the pandemic and reveals that threat actors targeted

the States with COVID-19-themed attacks aimed at exploiting user trust.

The sudden surge in the frequency of attacks witnessed from February 2020 to mid-April 2020 indicates that scamsters across the world were exploiting the widespread panic around coronavirus at both the individual and corporate level, the company said in a statement. These attacks aimed to compromise computers and mobile devices to gain access to users confidential data, banking details and cryptocurrency accounts. The key threats seen during this period ranged from phishing attacks to rogue apps disguised as COVID-19 information apps that targeted users sensitive data.

Phishing attacks were noticed more in Tier-II and Tier-III cities while the metros fared better. Smaller cities saw over 250 attacks being blocked per 10,000 users. Users from Ghaziabad and Lucknow seem to have faced almost six and four times the number of attacks, respectively, as Bengaluru users.

“In Kerala, regions like Kottayam, Kannur, Kollam, and Kochi saw the highest hits with 462, 374, 236, and 147 attacks respectively, while the state as a whole saw around 2,000 attacks during the period the highest thus far in the country. This was followed by Punjab with 207 attacks and Tamil Nadu at 184 attacks,” the statement said.

A majority of the recorded attacks were phishing attacks with sophisticated campaigns that could easily snare even the most educated users, it said. These attacks were aimed at heightening users fears and creating a sense of urgency to take action. The report noted phishing attacks where scamsters posed as representatives of the United States Department of the Treasury, the World Health Organisation, and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Users were encouraged to visit links that would automatically download malware on the host computer such as the Agent Tesla keylogger or Lokibot information-stealing malware, infamous banking Trojans such as Trickbot or Zeus Sphinx, and even disastrous ransomware. Other attacks included infected COVID-19 Android apps like CoronaSafetyMask that scam users with promises of masks

for upfront payment; the spyware app Project Spy; and seemingly genuine apps that are infected with dangerous malware like banking Trojans such as Gimp, Anubis and Cerberus, it was stated.



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Tech

Money Remains Motivating Factor for Hackers Around the World: Verizon

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Image for Representation.

Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report found that confirmed data breaches doubled from the prior year.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: May 19, 2020, 12:35 PM IST

Money trumped spying as the top motivator for data breaches last year, according to Verizon’s annual report on cybercrimes published on Tuesday. About nine out of 10 breaches were financially motivated, based on an examination of more than 32,000 incidents and nearly 4,000 confirmed break-ins in 81 countries, the report said.

Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report found that confirmed data breaches doubled from the prior year. As the coronavirus pandemic has forced people indoors, cyber attacks on businesses are expected to climb. The report found that 86% of breaches were for money, not for purposes of spying. Credential theft, phishing and compromising business emails caused 67% of the cyber attacks.

As more businesses moved to web-based solutions, so did hackers. According to the report, breaches on web and cloud applications rose to 43%, double the previous year. Companies like Facebook Inc and Salesforce have extended working remotely to at least the rest of the year, with more businesses expected to follow suit. Verizon Business Group CEO Tami Erwin said the “digital transformation” to the work-from-home model during the coronavirus pandemic has presented a number of security red flags.

“A lot of people ended up sending workers to work from home without really thinking through what were some of the security elements in the future,” Erwin told Reuters. “I think employees working from home are probably more vulnerable to attacks,” Erwin said businesses can protect themselves from cyber attacks by keeping employees educated on phishing and other fraudulent tactics to access sensitive information.




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Indian Firms Forked Out Rs 8 Crore on Average To Fix Ransomware Attacks: Report

(Image only for representational purpose)

(Image only for representational purpose)

The report revealed that data was encrypted in 91 per cent of attacks that successfully breached an organisation in India.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 19, 2020, 6:15 PM IST

Indian firms paid over Rs 8 crore ransom on average to mitigate the impact of ransomware on its operations and overall, 82 percent Indian firms were hit by ransomware in the past 12 months, a 15 percent increase from 2017, a new report said on Tuesday. Two out of three (66 percent) organisations hit by ransomware in India admitted paying the ransom. Data was encrypted in 91 percent of attacks that successfully breached an organisation in India. The average cost of addressing the impact of such an attack in India, including business downtime, lost orders, operational costs, and more, was a little over Rs 8 crore.

Delhi topped the list as 85 percent organisations in the national capital were hit by ransomware attacks in the past 12 months, followed by Bengaluru (83 percent) and Kolkata (81 percent). At fourth spot was Mumbai-based firms (81 percent), Chennai (79 percent) at sixth place and Hyderabad (74 percent) seventh, according to the “state of ransomware 2020” global survey by cybersecurity firm Sophos.

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the files. According to Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, Sophos, organizations may feel intense pressure to pay the ransom to avoid damaging downtime.

“On the face of it, paying the ransom appears to be an effective way of getting data restored, but this is illusory. Paying the ransom makes little difference to the recovery burden in terms of time and cost,” he said. This could be because it is unlikely that a single magical decryption key is all that’s needed to recover.

“Often, the attackers may share several keys and using them to restore data may be a complex and time-consuming affair,” said Wisniewski. According to the report, only 8 per cent of victims in India were able to stop the attack before their data could be encrypted, compared with a global average of 24 percent.

Nearly 29 percent of the IT managers surveyed were able to recover their data from backups without paying the ransom. Globally, the average cost of recovery is $1.4 million if organisations pay the ransom and $730,000 if they don’t. The survey polled 5,000 IT decision-makers in organisations in 26 countries across six continents. Every organization in India that paid the ransom got their data back, although this was not always the case elsewhere.

Globally, nearly 5 percent of public sector organizations paid the ransom but didn’t get their data back. In fact, 13 percent of the public sector organizations surveyed never managed to restore their encrypted data, compared to 6% overall. “An effective backup system that enables organizations to restore encrypted data without paying the attackers is business critical, but there are other important elements to consider if a company is to be truly resilient to ransomware,” informed Wisniewski.



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Tech

Google Chrome Flaw With Unknown Risk Affects 2 Billion Users: Update App Right Away

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Image for representation.

Google has asked its users to upgrade to the latest version of the Chrome browser if they have not already downloaded.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: April 21, 2020, 8:09 PM IST

Google was carrying a serious vulnerability for which it has released the much-awaited Chrome update v81.0.4044.113. In a blog post, Google also divulged that there existed an exploit identified as CVE-2020-6457, while adding a vague description: Use after free in speech recognizer. However, the tech giant has not revealed anything else on the aforementioned vulnerability, but after security specialists have dug into the details, they found that the exploit has been marked ‘Reserved’ by the National Vulnerability Database of the United States. This suggests that the exploit in question may be a zero-day vulnerability.

While Chrome 81.0.4044.113 is being rolled out for Windows, Mac and Linux based systems automatically, you can check your version by yourself too. To do so, click on the three dots at the right top corner of the browser window. Then, click on Help — About Chrome Browser. This reveals the present version, following which users can manually check for updates.

As for the flaw itself, cyber security experts suspect that the issue at hand is a zero-day hack because of the way Google is disclosing the issue. For such threats, if a hacker gets to know about the vulnerability code, they can easily tap into the source code, unearth the flaw and use it to breach a wide variety of data through the Chrome browser. Web browsers, as we have come to know, store a vast trove of personal data, which makes the situation more serious.

Alongside a new tab organisation feature that the update is bringing, it is imperative that users look out for this update keenly, and push the update to their systems promptly. Going forward, it remains to be seen if a future disclosure would reveal exactly what this threat may have brought with itself, and how this may have affected us had it not been for Google’s apparently timely update.

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Adware Accounts for Major Chunk of Mobile Malware: Avast Cybersecurity Report

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(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

There are two main types of adware: adware apps, which cause distraction and annoyance; and ad-fraud/ad-clickers, a more malicious type of adware.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: March 12, 2020, 4:13 PM IST
  • Edited by: Chhavianshika Singh

Adware or software that hijacks a device in order to spam the user with unwanted ads now accounts for 72 per cent of all mobile malware, says a new report from cybersecurity firm Avast. The remaining 28 per cent consist of banking trojans, fake apps, lockers, and downloaders, according to statistics gathered by Avast’s Threat Lab experts. The data showed that the share of adware among all Android malware types increased by 38 per cent in the past year alone.

“No one likes getting served with incessant ads; they’re often unwanted and can ruin our enjoyment of an app. They could also pose a threat to users as cybercriminals can use them as a backdoor to a device – whether it’s to make money from advertisers or steal your personal information,” Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Head of Mobile Threat Intelligence and Security at Avast, said in a statement. “We’ve been tracking this issue for a number of years and the increased use of mobile devices is likely fuelling its growth,” Chrysaidos said.

Adware often disguises itself in the form of gaming and entertainment apps, or other app types that are trending and therefore are interesting targets with a high potential to spread far. These apps may appear harmless, but once they have infected a device they will surreptitiously click on ads in the background. Sometimes, adware also serves ads with malicious content.

There are two main types of adware: adware apps, which cause distraction and annoyance; and ad-fraud/ad-clickers, a more malicious type of adware. To prevent mobile adware attacks, users should only download apps from official app stores, like Google Play, as they have security measures in place to check apps before developers upload them, or from the app’s website directly for extra assurance, Avast recommended. It is also important to carefully review the permissions an app requests before downloading an app.