ZDNet - "Adware-based malware can root your Android device without your consent"

Nov 04, 2015 - 3:05 PM - by janner43
ZDNet just carried the following article which should concern every Android user. Also take note of the risks you "rooters" take & what you open yourself up to if you root your device...

Mobile threats just raised their game with adware-based malware which can root your device without your consent.

In the past, adware was little more than a nuisance. Whether by PC or mobile device, the only real gateway cyberattackers could take advantage of was enticing viewers to click on a banner or ad, resulting in the download of fake software or malicious applications.

Times have now changed and it may only take a victim viewing a compromised Web page for third-party apps to be installed without user consent.

The adware and advertising revenue model for mobile devices relies on eyeballs and clicks. Web marketing companies also pay out through a Cost Per Install model in which individuals can be paid every time an ad viewer downloads a sponsored app. This revenue model, however, is open for exploit -- with cyberattackers adding their own malware elements which enforce these downloads, giving them a better chance of cashing in with relatively little effort.

If hackers gain access to the root of a device, they can download whatever they please on them -- not only in order to enforce downloads of third-party apps, but also in order to conduct surveillance and steal data.

The rates of adware-based malware campaigns, known as malvertising, are low but still a threat. According to Blue Coat, five percent of mobile threats users face were through malvertising campaigns -- nothing in comparison to adult websites loading up devices with junkware and malicious code -- but techniques are refining and adware is becoming more sophisticated over time.

A new report released by Lookout says auto-rooting apps installed through malicious mobile campaigns is a recent and "worrying" development within Google's Android ecosystem. The security team revealed that adware is now becoming trojanized, with malicious adware masquerading as legitimate apps in order to load up malicious code and steal consumer data -- after rooting the victim's device to become firmly entrenched in smartphones and tablets.

The team discovered over 20,000 apps swimming around the ecosystem which appear to be legitimate in order to dupe consumers into downloading them from areas other than the Google Play store.

Repackaged and malicious apps found in the wild include Candy Crush, Facebook, GoogleNow, NYTimes, Okta, Twitter, Snapchat and WhatsApp, to name but a few.

The cyberattackers repackage and rebuild these apps with malicious code before releasing them back into the wild and third-party app stores. The problem? It's not easy to tell what is legitimate and what isn't.

"Indeed, we believe many of these apps are actually fully-functional, providing their usual services, in addition to the malicious code that roots the device," Lookout says.

The app manipulators load trojanized adware which works silently in the background, rooting the device and burying itself in system files to make removal by the average user unlikely.

The Shuanet, Kemog -- also known as ShiftyBug -- and Shedun are adware families which Lookout has traced over the past year. While technically classified as... [Read More]
  5 Replies | 2,638 Views

Google Announces YouTube Red Subscription Based Premium-Style Streaming Membership

Oct 21, 2015 - 1:45 PM - by dgstorm

It was probably only a matter of time before this occurred. The big wigs at Google have decided to offer a different version of YouTube that will basically be akin to a "Netflix for Youtube" product. It's called YouTube Red, and it will use a $9.99 per month subscription model to access any and all content with NO Ads.

That's not all you get for your monthly fee. Google also promises that the service also applies across all devices, anywhere you sign into YouTube. This will include YouTube's recently launched Gaming app, and will also apply to a brand new YouTube Music app, that they officially announced today.

The YouTube Music app has been floating around the rumor-mill for a while, and it is basically a streaming music service. As an extra bonus, YouTube Red will also work with Google Play Music, which means that when you subscribe to one you automatically get access to the other.

Finally, it looks like Google/YouTube is investing heavily in the future of the service. They are planning on offering unique, premium, original content that will only be found on YouTube Red. This is basically like the original shows and movies that you find on Netflix, except that Google is the one investing in and hosting them. Here's a link to the first spate of original content that YouTube Red has planned: YouTube Blog

For more info, here's a link to the YouTube Red blog post: Official YouTube Blog: Meet YouTube Red, the ultimate YouTube experience

You can also check out a YouTube video in the thread below describing the service.
  2 Replies | 3,391 Views

Windows 10 sends identifiable data to Microsoft despite privacy settings

Aug 17, 2015 - 8:10 AM - by janner43
According to a report in UK newspaper The Guardian...

Windows 10 sends identifiable information to Microsoft, even if a user turns off its Bing search and Cortana features, and activates the software’s privacy-protection settings.

Analysis by technology site Ars Technica has shown that Windows 10 still contacts Microsoft even when these features are disabled, although some of this is simple and non-identifiable testing for an internet connection.
In other reports both in the Guardian and elsewhere, MS have already come under attack for a somewhat invasive approach to end user privacy...

Hundreds of commenters on sites such as Hacker News and Reddit have criticised default settings that send personal information to Microsoft, use bandwidth to upload data to other computers running the operating system, share Wi-Fi passwords with online friends and remove the ability to opt out of security updates.
You can read more here...
Windows 10 sends identifiable data to Microsoft despite privacy settings | Technology | The Guardian

and here...

Even when told not to, Windows 10 just can?t stop talking to Microsoft | Ars Technica UK

What is your opinion?
Will you stop using Windows and switch to a different OS entirely, or don't you care?
  4 Replies | 4,823 Views

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