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TECHNOLOGY

Kaspersky unmasks active malicious campaigns targeting Android and iOS users in APAC

September 2, 2022 6:19 p.m.

Global cybersecurity company shares how to secure smartphones from “Anubis” mobile Trojan and the infamous “Roaming Mantis” campaign

With the continued uptick in the adoption of mobile banking in Asia Pacific (APAC), global cybersecurity company Kaspersky warns of more attacks against Android and iOS devices.

Particularly, active monitoring shows the notorious Anubis Trojan now delivers a combination of mobile banking Trojan with ransomware functionalities to its target smartphones.

Mobile banking Trojans are one of the most dangerous species in the malware world.

This type of threat steals money from mobile users’ bank accounts usually by disguising the Trojans as legitimate apps to lure people into installing the malware.

Kaspersky’s elite researcher – Suguru Ishimaru – zeroed in on the mobile threat landscape in APAC to answer: what if there are no smartphones? Sharing the reality that users cannot live without a mobile device, he unmasked the latest malware targeting iOS and Android users in APAC during the company’s 8th Cyber Security Weekend in Phuket, Thailand.

Suguru Ishimaru, Senior Malware Researcher for Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky 

Anubis is a mobile banking Trojan targeting Android users as early as 2017. Its worldwide campaigns targeted users from Russia, Turkey, India, China, Colombia, France, Germany, the US, Denmark, and Vietnam.

This malware family continues to be one of the most common mobile bankers, according to Kaspersky’s latest mobile statistics in the second quarter of 2022. In this period, one in 10 (10.48%) of unique Kaspersky users globally who encountered a banking threat have encountered Anubis mobile banking Trojan.

Initial infections are done through multiple ways – legitimate-looking and high-ranking but malicious apps available on Google Play, smishing (phishing messages sent through SMS), and Bian malware, another mobile banking Trojan.

Once in, this infamous mobile banker can do a complete device takeover. It can steal personal information and identity, access private messages and login credentials, record sound, request GPS, disable play protection, lock the device’s screen, and more.

“Anubis is known for compromising hundreds of bank customers per campaign, proving that it’s among the most active malware targeting Android users right now. Our recent findings show that the cybercriminals behind this threat have started implementing ransom functionalities. If this modification proves to be successful, chances are other malicious groups will copy the same technique of stealing data and holding devices hostage. As a result, I expect to see more of such attacks in APAC due to cybercriminals’ strong financial motivation,” says Ishimaru, Senior Malware Researcher for Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky.

The threat against Android and iOS users: Roaming Mantis

Another prolific threat actor targeting mobile banking users, globally and in the APAC region, is Roaming Mantis.

The group carries out malicious campaigns that target Android devices and spreads mobile malware initially via DNS hijacking and currently through smishing.

Kaspersky experts have been tracking its operations since 2018 and detected almost half a million attacks in APAC from 2021 to the first half of 2022.

Most numbers of the malware were blocked from infecting Kaspersky users in Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, and China.

Ishimaru also underlined that while the cybercriminal group is known for targeting Android devices, Roaming Mantis’ recent campaign showed interest in iOS users.

Using the same techniques, the smishing messages targeting iOS users contain a very short description and a URL to a landing page.

If a user clicks on the link and opens the landing page, there are two scenarios: iOS users are redirected to a phishing page imitating the official Apple website, while the Wroba malware is downloaded on Android devices.

If a victim inputs his credentials to the phishing website, it will then proceed to the 2FA (two-factor authentication) phishing website.

This allows the attacker to know the user’s device, credentials, and 2FA codes.

“There is a notion that iOS is a more secure operating system. However, we must take two things into account – the increasing sophistication of mobile bankers’ social engineering techniques and malware arsenal and the possibility for human errors. Remember that both Anubis and Roaming Mantis require user’s participation before they can take over a device. With more than half (63%) of digital payments in APAC doing their financial transactions online through mobile devices, awareness is no longer enough. Protecting our smartphones is a step that everyone should be doing by now,” adds Ishimaru.

Kaspersky expert suggests two layers of protection for smartphones

  • Basic security
    • Keep phones up-to-date and install the latest patches 
    • Reboot daily
    • Do NOT trust third-party apps and mobileconfig
    • NEVER click on links sent through SMS
    • Install a security solution like Kaspersky Total Security
  • Advanced protection
    • Use a VPN to mask your traffic
    • Check live network traffic using live Indicator of Compromise (IOCs)
    • Use Lockdown Mode for iOS 16 users

TECHNOLOGY

Ultra tough HONOR X9a 5G gets tested in an experiential launch in Philippines; priced at P16,990

January 23, 2023 3:01 p.m.

Celebrities, guests from the media, and partners have been gathered in an overnight event at Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay to experience the toughness of the new HONOR X9a 5G.

“To see is to believe, that’s why we came up with this launch that really puts HONOR X9a 5G’s toughness to the test. Our guests have seen first-hand how durable our new phone is and we are very confident that the activities we laid out for have showcased the top-of-the-line performance of HONOR X9a 5G,” said Stephen Cheng, HONOR Philippines Vice President for Marketing.

During the afternoon festivities, guests were challenged to participate in games that highlighted HONOR X9a 5G’s top specs such as shooting its screen with a toy gun and in a paired drop test where one has to throw and the other catches. A selfie area in front of Taal also brings out the best in HONOR X9a 5G’s super triple camera capturing the crisp and accurate colors of the famous volcano. The viral phone has also withstood the outdoor badminton and smash challenges.

HONOR X9a 5G Specs

Sporting a 120Hz Premium OLED Curved Display, the HONOR X9a 5G brings users a large screen of 6.67-inch with an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 93%, guaranteeing an immersive viewing experience for all your favorite content.

An ultra-large 5100mAh battery in a compact body awaits you too. So far, the HONOR X9a 5G is the thinnest and lightest smartphone to feature a battery larger than 5000mAh, which allows it to support up to 2 days of daily use for a truly uninterrupted user experience. With just 30 minutes of charging, the HONOR X9a 5G delivers 12.5 hours of video streaming, sparing users from having to worry about their battery.

Designed for a style conscious audience, the HONOR X9a 5G is available in two stunning colors: Titanium Silver and Emerald Green. Starting from January 20 to February 3, the HONOR X9a 5G will be available to purchase via all HONOR kiosks and partner online stores –  Lazada (http://bit.ly/3XHFPIC), Shopee (http://bit.ly/3XzEfrS), Tiktok Shop (http://bit.ly/3kfHhTS), and Home Credit.

HONOR fans can finally avail the HONOR X9a 5G via Home Credit, for as low as Php 661 per month with insurance, Php 765 without insurance, and on a 0% interest installment payment.

HONOR X9a 5G is priced at P16,990 with FREE HONOR Earbuds X3 Lite worth P3,999.

For more information and announcements, you may visit HONOR’s website www.hihonor.com or social media platforms: Facebook (Facebook.com/HonorPhilippines), Instagram (Instagram.com/honorphilippines/) and TikTok: (Tiktok.com/@honorphilippines).

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TECHNOLOGY

Miscommunications in IT security lead to cybersecurity incidents in 62% of companies

January 12, 2023 5:58 p.m.

More than half of top-tier managers (62%) admit that a miscommunication with the IT department or IT security team has resulted in at least one cybersecurity incident in their organizations.

In terms of personal attitudes, the majority of non-IT executives cited a diminished sense of cooperation between different teams (34%) and said this situation makes them question their colleagues’ skills and abilities when communication with their IT-security employees was unclear (33%).

The recent Forrester analytics survey says that companies spend an average of 37 days and $2.4 million to detect and recover from a cybersecurity breach. To determine how much mutual understanding between executives and information security teams affects a company’s cyber resilience, Kaspersky conducted a global survey of more than 1,300 business leaders. 

According to the results of the study, 98% of non-IT respondents experienced miscommunications regarding IT security. With regards to consequences, most often a breakdown in communications leads to serious project delays (67%) and cybersecurity incidents (62%). Almost one-third of respondents (30% and 27% respectively) even said that they had even encountered these issues more than once. Among other negative effects are a wasted budget, the loss of a valued employee and deteriorating relationships between teams –situations that occurred to 61% of respondents.

In addition to worsening business indicators, unclear communication with IT-security employees also affects the emotional state of the team and makes executives question IT-security employees’ skills and abilities. Also, 28% executives admit that misunderstandings make them lose confidence in the business’ safety and 26% of them find this situation makes them nervous, which affects their work performance. 

“Clear communication between a company’s executives and IT security management is a prerequisite for corporate business security,”  comments Alexey Vovk, Head of Information Security at Kaspersky.

 ”The challenge here is to put oneself in the others’ position, to anticipate and prevent serious misunderstandings. This means that, on the one hand, CISOs should know the basic business language to better explain the existing risks and need for safety measures. On the other hand, a business should also understand that information security in the 21st century is an integral part of business and budgeting for it is an investment in protecting company assets,” adds Vovk.

To make the communication between IT security and business functions within the company more transparent, Kaspersky recommends the following: 

  • Understanding professionals from another sphere requires not only empathy but also additional knowledge. While IT security workers could get more information about basic business terms and concepts in various training courses, non-IT executives have an opportunity to walk in a CISO’s shoes to get insights on the most relevant IT security challenges. 
  • Both IT and non-IT managers should not lock themselves in a professional “information bubble”. Staying aware of the agenda in both the business and cybersecurity worlds is another key to successful communication and mutual understanding between them.
  • Cybersecurity specialists should use reliable and understandable arguments when communicating their needs to the board and justifying their cybersecurity budget. Use information about the threats and security measures most relevant to your particular industry and company size to prove the probability of risks and the protective measures needed. Resources such as IT Security Calculator and reports based on experts’ observations can significantly ease this task.
  • Today when cyber threats are becoming more and more relevant and companies are forced to increase their information security budgets, it’s extremely important to allocate cybersecurity investments to tools with proven efficacy and ROI. This means tools that lower the level of false positives and reduce the time of attack detection, the time spent per case, and other metrics are important to any IT security team.

The full report and more insights on communications issues between C-level and IT security managers are available via the link.

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TECHNOLOGY

WIKO to release Huawei-developed smartphones

January 2, 2023 5:46 p.m.

A few days ago, the French technology brand WIKO made its debut on Weibo, and its China official website was launched simultaneously.

According to the teasers, last December 27, WIKO release its flagship phone in China, which not only supports 5G, but also a device thats equipped with Harmony OS, with a 108-megapixel main camera, 66W super-fast charging and other familiar configurations.

The new flagship–WIKO 5G, uses a 6.78-inch 120Hz high-refresh screen, equipped with a Snapdragon 695 processor, a rear-mounted 108megapixel main camera + 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle + 2-megapixel macro + 2-megapixel depth-of-field lens, and the front camera is 16 million pixels, built-in 4000mAh battery.

It uses a 2.0GHz Octa Core CPU processor using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, an Adreno 619 graphics processor paired with 8GB of RAM, 128GB/256GB of internal memory and runs on the HarmonyOS operating system.

Equipped with 4 rear cameras, Quad Camera with LED flash consisting of

  • Main camera, 108 megapixel resolution, Samsung HM2 sensor, aperture f / 1.9, 1 / 1.52) and PDAF system
  • The second camera, Ultra Wide lens, 8 megapixel resolution, f / 2.2 aperture
  • 3rd camera, depth lens, 2 megapixel resolution, f / 2.4 aperture
  • 3rd camera, macro lens, 2 megapixel resolution, f / 2.4 aperture

According to reports, WIKO is officially licensed to release smartphones developed by Huawei technology. WIKO is a local mobile phone brand in France. Later, the mobile phone business of this brand was jointly acquired by Tianyin Holdings and Dongguan Financial Holdings. In addition, WIKO took the second place in the French mobile phone market in 2014, second only to Samsung in terms of local market share.

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