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'The Hacker News' Weekly Roundup — 14 Most Popular Stories

'The Hacker News' Weekly Roundup — 14 Most Popular Stories
September 28, 2015Swati Khandelwal
To make the last week's top cyber security threats and challenges available to you in one shot, we are once again here with our weekly round up. Last week, we came across lots of cyber security threats like the XCodeGhost malware in Apple's App Store and lockscreen bypass bug in iOS 9 and iOS 9.0.1 that made us sad, but… …we were also thrilled by latest developments such as Microsoft's new Linux-based operating system  Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) , unhackable MicroKernel " SeL4 ", and Facebook ' Dislike or Empathy Button '. I recommend you to read the entire thing (just click ' Read More ' because there's some valuable advice in there as well). Here's the list: 1. Microsoft Developed its Own Linux Operating System One of the trending news of last week. Microsoft built its own Linux-based operating system known as Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) . The company described ACS as a "cross-platform, modular operating system for data center n

Lenovo Caught (3rd Time) Pre-Installing Spyware on its Laptops

Lenovo Caught (3rd Time) Pre-Installing Spyware on its Laptops
September 25, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Lenovo has once again been caught installing spyware on its laptops and workstations without the user's permission or knowledge. One of the most popular computer manufacturers is being criticized for selling some refurbished laptop models pre-installed with invasive marketing software that sends users data directly to the company. This is not first time Lenovo has allegedly installed spyware onto consumers PCs. Earlier this year, Lenovo was caught red-handed for selling laptops pre-installed with Superfish malware that opened up doors for hackers. In August, Lenovo again got caught installing unwanted and non-removable crapware into part of the BIOS reserved for custom drivers. Lenovo Laptops comes Pre-installed with 'Spyware' Now, the Chinese computer manufacturer is making news once again for embedding tracking software into its laptops and workstations from Lenovo ThinkPad, ThinkCentre, and ThinkStation series. Michael Horowitz from Comput

26 Android Phone Models Shipped with Pre-Installed Spyware

26 Android Phone Models Shipped with Pre-Installed Spyware
September 03, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Bought a brand new Android Smartphone? Don't expect it to be a clean slate. A new report claims that some rogue retailers are selling brand-new Android smartphones loaded with pre-installed software. Security firm G Data has uncovered more than two dozens of Android smartphones from popular smartphone manufacturers — including Xiaomi , Huawei and Lenovo — that have pre-installed spyware in the firmware. G Data is a German security firm that disclosed last year the Star N9500 Smartphone's capability to spy on users, thereby comprising their personal data and conversations without any restrictions and users knowledge. Removal of Spyware Not Possible The pre-installed spyware, disguised in popular Android apps such as Facebook and Google Drive , can not be removed without unlocking the phone since it resides inside the phone's firmware. "Over the past year, we have seen a significant [growth] in devices that are equipped with firmware-level [m

Hacking Team: We're Victim of a Criminal Cyber Attack

Hacking Team: We're Victim of a Criminal Cyber Attack
July 22, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Hacking Team , the Italy-based spyware company that sells spying software to law enforcement agencies worldwide, says the company has always operated with the law and regulation in an ethical manner. However, there was only one Violation of Law in this entire event, and that is – " the massive cyber attack on the Hacking Team. " company stated. The recent hack on Hacking Team exposed nearly 500GB of massive internal documents including internal emails, hacking tools, zero-day exploits , surveillance tools, source code for Spyware and a spreadsheet listing every government client with date of purchase and amount paid. Hacking Team Hack and Media Reports: The attack on Hacking Team was really huge in every sense. The team finally shows its disappointment with media on its hacking incident saying, the company that helps government fight crimes is being treated as the culprits, and the criminals who attacked the company are not. " Had a media company

Hacking Team Spyware preloaded with UEFI BIOS Rootkit to Hide Itself

Hacking Team Spyware preloaded with UEFI BIOS Rootkit to Hide Itself
July 14, 2015Mohit Kumar
Last Week someone just hacked the infamous Hacking Team , The Italy-based cyber weapons manufacturer and leaked a huge trove of 400GB internal data , including: Emails Hacking tools Zero-day exploits Surveillance tools Source code for Spyware A spreadsheet listing every government client with date of purchase and amount paid Hacking Team is known for its advanced and sophisticated Remote Control System (RCS) spyware , also known as Galileo , which is loaded with lots of zero-day exploits and have ability to monitor the computers of its targets remotely. Today, Trend Micro security researchers found that the Hacking Team " uses a UEFI  (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)  BIOS Rootkit to keep their Remote Control System (RCS) agent installed in their targets' systems ." That clearly means, even if the user reinstalls the Operating System, formats the hard disk, and even buys a new hard disk, the agents are implanted after Microsoft Windows is

CASPER Surveillance Malware Linked to French Government

CASPER Surveillance Malware Linked to French Government
March 05, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Last month, cyber security researchers spotted a new strain of french surveillance malware, dubbed " Babar ," which revealed that even French Government and its spying agency the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) is dedicatedly involved in conducting surveillance operation just like the United States — NSA and United Kingdom — GCHQ . A powerful piece of surveillance malware, known as " Casper ," has recently been discovered by the Canadian security researchers that once again point fingers at the French government. CASPER SURVEILLANCE MALWARE LINKED TO FRANCE The newly discovered sophisticated Casper surveillance malware is believed to be developed by France based hacking group suspected to have ties with the French government, according to the report published by Motherboard . Report suggests that French hacking group have developed ' Swiss Army knife of spying tools ' which has been used by French government to conduct multipl

Sony Xperia Devices Secretly Sending User Data to Servers in China

Sony Xperia Devices Secretly Sending User Data to Servers in China
October 29, 2014Mohit Kumar
If you own a Sony smartphone either the Android 4.4.2 or 4.4.4 KitKat firmware then inadvertently you may be transmitting your data back to the servers in China, even if you haven't installed any application. Quite surprising but it's true. I know many of you haven't expected such practices from a Japanese company, but reports popping up at several forums suggest that some new Sony Xperia handsets seem to contain the Baidu spyware . MYSTERIOUS BAIDU SPYWARE About a month ago, a group of community users of Sony smartphone detected the presence of a strange folder, named " Baidu ", mysteriously appeared from among those present in various versions of Android for these handsets. The creepy part is that the folder is created automatically without the owners permission and there is no way of deleting it. Even if someone tries to remove it, it instantly reappears as well as unticking the folder from device administrator equally seems to do nothing, neither does starting t

Chinese Android Smartphone comes with Pre-installed Spyware

Chinese Android Smartphone comes with Pre-installed Spyware
June 17, 2014Mohit Kumar
If US has banned its several major government departments, including NASA, Justice and Commerce Departments, from purchasing Chinese products and computer technology due to suspected backdoors, then they are not wrong at all. A popular Chinese Android Smartphone comes pre-installed with a Trojan that could allow manufacturer to spy onto their users' comprising their personal data and conversations without any restrictions and users knowledge. GOOGLE PLAY STORE OR A SPYING APP? According to the researchers at the German security firm G Data , the Star N9500 smartphone, a popular and cheap handset device in China, comes pre-installed with Uupay.D Trojan horse, disguising as a version of the Google Play Store. The trojan camouflage as the Google Play Store , so it enables Chinese Company to secretly install malicious apps, which creates the whole spectrum of abuse. STEALING WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS The nasty Spyware runs in the background and has capability to steal

German Aerospace Center targeted by Self-Destructing Spyware

German Aerospace Center targeted by Self-Destructing Spyware
April 15, 2014Swati Khandelwal
It's not so far when Germany confirmed its biggest Data theft in the country's history with the usernames and passwords of some 18 million email accounts stolen and compromised by Hackers, and now German space research center has been reportedly targeted in a cyber attack. The new story broke by the German press, Der Spiegel on Sunday revealing that the German Aerospace Centre ( DLR - Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V. ), the country's national center for aerospace, energy and transportation research located in Cologne has been reportedly targeted in a cyber attack out " coordinated and systematic ", apparently launched by a foreign intelligence agency. The systems used by administrators and scientists of the space research center have been found to be infected with Malware and spyware software, and as mention in the report, the attack was " co-ordinated and systematic " with the perfection of Trojan used. SELF-DESTRUCTING MALWARE, WITH LOVE FROM CHI

Project TURBINE: NSA spreads sophisticated Malware Worldwide

Project TURBINE: NSA spreads sophisticated Malware Worldwide
March 13, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Besides collecting metadata and inserting backdoor to the devices and softwares, the US National Security Agency (NSA) has an eye on each post, picture, message you have ever sent on Facebook. I know you won't be feeling free considering your privacy, but, this is what the NSA is doing to you. The new revelation from the Glenn Greenwald 's desk remove the mask from one more secret surveillance operation carried out by the US intelligence agency NSA, the extensive program dubbed as ' TURBINE ', according to the classified files provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden . Yes, the NSA, who has been working with its dedicated hacking unit, Tailored Access Operations (TAO) from the past several years on enlarging its caliber to infect devices with spyware and creating its own command-and-control servers to manage millions of infected systems at a time. The secret documents presented by The Intercept  website shows that the NSA with its British counterpart G

Sophisticated Russian Malware 'SNAKE' and 'Turla' targets Governments and Military Networks

Sophisticated Russian Malware 'SNAKE'  and 'Turla' targets Governments and Military Networks
March 08, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Last week, the Researchers at the German security company G Data Software have reported about the most complex and sophisticated rootkit  malware, Uroburos which is designed to steal data from secure facilities and has ability to take control of an infected machine, execute arbitrary commands and hide system activities. Recently, British cyber specialist BAE  has disclosed the parent Russian malware campaign dubbed as ' SNAKE ' that remained almost undetected for least eight years while penetrating highly secured systems. Uroburos rootkit was one of the components of this campaign. In a separate Investigation, Western intelligence officers have found another piece of spyware , infecting hundreds of government computers across Europe and the United States, known as ' Turla '. Researchers believed that  Turla  campaign is linked to a previously known campaign ' Red October ', a massive global cyber spying operation targeting diplomatic, military and nuclear

Uroburos Rootkit: Most sophisticated 3-year-old Russian Cyber Espionage Campaign

Uroburos Rootkit: Most sophisticated 3-year-old Russian Cyber Espionage Campaign
March 05, 2014Swati Khandelwal
The Continuous Growth of spyware, their existence, and the criminals who produce & spread them are increasing tremendously. It's difficult to recognize spyware as it is becoming more complex and sophisticated with time, so is spreading most rapidly as an Internet threat. Recently, The security researchers have unearthed a very complex and sophisticated piece of malware that was designed to steal confidential data and has ability able to capture network traffic. The Researchers at the German security company G Data Software , refer the malware as Uroburos , named after an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail, and in correspondence with a string ( Ur0bUr()sGotyOu# ) lurking deep in the malware's code.  The researchers claimed that the malware may have been active for as long as three years before being discovered and appears to have been created by Russian developers. Uroburos is a rootkit designed to steal data from secure facilit

Hacking Team sold Spyware to 21 Countries; Targeting Journalists and Human Right Activists

Hacking Team sold Spyware to 21 Countries; Targeting Journalists and Human Right Activists
February 24, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Spying on the world by injecting sophisticated backdoors in software, systems, and mobile phones, leads to violation of the Privacy and Security of every individual. Yes, we are talking about Surveillance , but this time not about NSA . Instead, Countries including some with poor human-rights records and a much less technically advanced nation are the likely culprits, as they apparently used commercial spyware in making surveillance capabilities that once were the exclusive expertise of the known spy agencies, such as National Security Agency (NSA) and GCHQ. Citizen lab , a nonprofit research lab has  found traces of a remote hacking tool  in 21 countries , developed by  Hacking Team,  including Ethiopia, Sudan, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia, which the team had already  denied  back in 2013. Hacking Team, also known as HT S.r.l , is an Italian company, which is known for its powerful surveillance software, Remote Code System (RCS) that it sells to Governments and law enforcement

Screenlogger - A keylogger app for Android and iOS Smartphones

Screenlogger - A keylogger app for Android and iOS Smartphones
February 01, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Are you using a pattern lock for your Smartphone to remain untouched from cyber criminals? But you are not aware that even your swipe gestures can be analyzed by hackers. Neal Hindocha, a security adviser for the technology company Trustwave , has developed a prototype malware for the Smartphones that works the same as a keylogger software for desktop. The malware dubbed as ' Screenlogging ', is capable of monitoring finger swipes on the screen of your smart devices in combination with taking screenshots to know exactly how the user is interacting with their phone or tablet, reported by Forbes . The concept used by him is the same that of Keyloggers, a critical type of malware for cyber criminals, which records the input typed into the keyboard and can easily detect passwords for email, social media and of online bank accounts. In the same way the ' Screenlogger ' take care of the inputs taped and swiped on the screen. It logs the X and Y coordinates where the user ha
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