Cyber security experts warn of ‘malicious’ greetings this holiday

Marje Pelayo   •   December 30, 2019   •   909

FILE PHOTO – A salesman checks a customer’s iPhone at a mobile phone store in New Delhi, India, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Cyber Security Philippines-CERT warns Filipinos against opening suspicious greeting notifications on Facebook messenger this holiday.

According to cyber security experts, these messages usually direct users to malicious websites while accessing the users’ personal data.

Experts say it is better to confirm first with your friends, family or relatives if they indeed sent a message before opening it.

In the event of opening such malicious message, experts recommend to immediately change the passwords of your banking and social media accounts.

PNP-ACG probes suspicious online greetings

Maris Federez   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) is investigating the alleged dubious online greetings on social media.

This, after the online group, Cyber Security Philippines-CERT warned about online links containing holiday greetings that are allegedly being used by hackers to gather personal information of netizens.

The group said this modus used by criminal elements brings the user to another site when the online greeting link is clicked.

Most of these links ask for personal data of the users for them to be able to enter the site.

The PNP-ACG said this kind of scam prevails during the holiday season.

“Tini-take advantage ng mga masasamang loob ‘yung pagkakataon na mayroong pera, bonus ‘yung ating mga kababayan. At syempre, ‘yung ating mga salary, pumapasok na automated na,” said PCpt. Jeck Robin Gammad, PNP-ACG Public Information Office chief.

Authorities advise the netizens not to open any suspicious-looking websites, especially those that ask for personal information.

“Iniimbestigahan pa natin dahil hindi tayo sigurado kung ito ba’y makasasama o makabubuti sa atin personally at sa ating mga personal information, huwag na lang muna natin siyang i-click,” Gammad added.

In case, the link is accidentally clicked and opened, the authorities advise to change the password of all social media accounts, especially online banking account applications; reset web browers; and update the anti-virus and anti-malware software in the computer and smartphones. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

Cyber security firm: more evidence North Korea linked to Bangladesh heist

UNTV News   •   April 5, 2017

Commuters walk in front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab on Monday said it had obtained digital evidence that bolsters suspicions by some researchers that North Korea was involved in last year’s $81 million cyber heist of the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Russian-based Kaspersky released a 58-page report on Lazarus, a group linked to the heist in Bangladesh and the 2014 attack on Sony’s Hollywood studio, which the U.S. government blamed on North Korea.

Among its findings, the report said Lazarus hackers made a direct connection from an IP address in North Korea to a server in Europe that was used to control systems infected by the group.

Kaspersky researcher Vitaly Kamluk told Reuters by telephone that the finding marked “the first time we have seen a direct connection” between North Korea and Lazarus, a hacking group whose activities dating back to 2009 have been documented by the world’s biggest cyber security firms.

The North Korean government has denied allegations of hacking made by officials in Washington and South Korea as well as security firms.

Kamluk said he could not conclusively say that Pyongyang was behind the attacks because it was possible the hackers went to great effort to make it look like they were from North Korea, or that North Koreans were working with others.

Still, he said that North Korean involvement was the most likely explanation.

Separately last month, U.S. officials also cast suspicion on Pyongyang. An official briefed on the probe told Reuters in Washington that the FBI believed North Korea was responsible.

And Rick Ledgett, the deputy director of the National Security Agency, told reporters at an Aspen Institute event on March 15 that private sector research tying North Korea to the Bangladesh bank heist was strong.

“If that’s true, then that says to me that the North Koreans are robbing banks,” Ledgett said. “That’s a big deal.”

The Bangladesh Bank heist was one in a string of financially motivated cyber attacks by a division of Lazarus dubbed Bluenoroff, the Kaspersky report said. Targets included banks, financial and trading companies, casinos and digital currency businesses in at least 18 nations, the report said.

Adrian Nish, head of threat intelligence with cyber security firm BAE Systems PLC , said Kaspersky’s findings were significant, even though they did not conclusively link Pyongyang to Lazarus.

“It is significant further evidence,” said Nish, who led a team at BAE that in May 2016 was the first to link the Bangladesh heist and the Sony hack. — By Jim Finkle

(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; editing by Grant McCool)

Facebook users can now play Pac-Man on Messenger app

admin   •   November 30, 2016

A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015.
REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

For users hooked on to Facebook’s Messenger app, it’s game on.

The social network on Tuesday rolled out a feature that allows users to play hugely popular games such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders, the company’s latest attempt to get users spend more time on its messaging app.

The new feature, initially rolled out in 30 countries with 17 games, will be available on the latest versions of iOS and Android operating systems. (bit.ly/2gSgmMb)

A user, in the midst of a conversation, can tap on a game controller icon to choose a game and start playing. The feature also allows user to challenge their friends for a game.

Facebook made Messenger a standalone app in 2014, a move that initially irked many users. The app, however, gained popularity after the company added a host of features to it.

The social network has also added instant video and payment facilities to the app.

Facebook boasts of having more than one billion users for its messaging app, making it one top three apps in the world.

Its main Facebook app is the most popular, followed by Messenger and WhatsApp, the messaging service it bought in 2014.

(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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