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Beware! Don’t Borrow Chargers, Your Phone Can be Hacked

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Cybersecurity experts have advised the general public to stop borrowing smartphone chargers from others, according to Forbes.

 

It is common practice for people to borrow phone chargers from others when they either misplace or forget theirs at home, never minding the consequences of such acts.

 

At the annual DEF CON Hacking Conference in Las Vegas, USA, Charles Henderson, Global managing Partner and head of X-Force Red at IBM Security, advised against such practice

 

“Being careful about what you plug into your devices is just good tech hygiene,” says Mr Henderson.

 

He narrated how he set up a team of hackers to try and deter clients from trusting third party chargers.

 

According to Mr Henderson, cyberhackers have learnt the skill of implanting malwares on charging cables.

 

At the conference, a certain hacker, MG, demonstrated how modified charging cables work.

 

When connected to a device, the hacker remotely gains access and takes over the device. The hacker could also delete any trace of evidence from the system.

 

Mr Henderson further explained this sort of hack is yet to become a global problem “but attention should be paid most especially when the tech is cheap and really small”.

 

He also advised against charging devices with public USB ports especially at the airports, train stations and other public outlets.

 

Mr Henderson said with such technology in play, sharing cables was equivalent to sharing your passwords.

“If you were on a trip and realised you forgot to pack underwear, you wouldn’t ask all your co-travelers if you could borrow their underwear. You’d go to a store and buy new underwear,” Mr Henderson cited a possible situation he likened to sharing cables.

 

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Kaspersky Detects over 100m Attacks on Smart Devices

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Kaspersky honeypots – networks of virtual copies of various internet connected devices and applications – have detected 105 million attacks on IoT devices coming from 276,000 unique IP addresses in the first six months of the year.

This figure is around nine times more than the number found in H1 2018, when only around 12 million attacks were spotted originating from 69,000 IP addresses. Capitalising on weak security of IoT products, cybercriminals are intensifying their attempts to create and monetise IoT botnets. This and other findings are a part of the ‘IoT: a malware story’ report on honeypot activity in H1 2019.

Cyberattacks on IoT devices are booming, as even though more and more people and organisations are purchasing ‘smart’ (network-connected and interactive) devices, such as routers or DVR security cameras, not everybody considers them worth protecting.

Cybercriminals, however, are seeing more and more financial opportunities in exploiting such gadgets. They use networks of infected smart devices to conduct DDoS attacks or as a proxy for other types of malicious actions. To learn more about how such attacks work and how to prevent them, Kaspersky experts set up honeypots – decoy devices used to attract the attention of cybercriminals and analyse their activities.

Based on data analysis collected from honeypots, attacks on IoT devices are usually not sophisticated, but stealth-like, as users might not even notice their devices are being exploited. The malware family behind 39% of attacks – Mirai – is capable of using exploits, meaning that these botnets can slip through old, unpatched vulnerabilities to the device and control it.

Another technique is password brute-forcing, which is the chosen method of the second most widespread malware family in the list – Nyadrop. Nyadrop was seen in 38.57% of attacks and often serves as a Mirai downloader.

This family has been trending as one of the most active threats for a couple of years now. The third most common botnet threatening smart devices – Gafgyt with 2.12% – also uses brute-forcing.

In addition, the researchers were able to locate the regions that became sources of infection most often in H1 2019. These are China, with 30% of all attacks taking place in this country, Brazil saw 19% and this is followed by Egypt (12%). A year ago, in H1 2018 the situation was different, with Brazil leading with 28%, China being second with 14% and Japan following with 11%.

“As people become more and more surrounded by smart devices, we are witnessing how IoT attacks are intensifying. Judging by the enlarged number of attacks and criminals’ persistency, we can say that IoT is a fruitful area for attackers that use even the most primitive methods, like guessing password and login combinations.

This is much easier than most people think: the most common combinations by far are usually “support/support”, followed by “admin/admin”, “default/default”. It’s quite easy to change the default password, so we urge everyone to take this simple step towards securing your smart devices” – said Dan Demeter, security researcher at Kaspersky.

To keep your devices safe, Kaspersky recommends users:

– Install updates for the firmware you use as soon as possible. Once a vulnerability is found, it can be fixed through patches within updates.

– Always change preinstalled passwords. Use complicated passwords that include both capital and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols if it’s possible.

– Reboot a device as soon as you think it’s acting strangely. It might help get rid of existing malware, but this doesn’t reduce the risk of getting another infection.

– Keep access to IoT devices restricted by a local VPN, allowing you to access them from your “home” network, instead of publicly exposing them on the internet.

Kaspersky recommends companies to take the following measures:

– Use threat data feeds (www.Kaspersky.co.za) to block network connections originating from malicious network addresses detected by security researchers.

– Make sure all devices software is up to date. Unpatched devices should be kept in a separate network inaccessible by unauthorised users.

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9mobile Moreblaze Data Package Offers More with 150% Data Bonus

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In keeping with its commitment to provide superfast and affordable data packages for all categories of its customers, the innovative and customer-friendly telecommunications company 9mobile, has again increased value on its daily data subscription packages. Henceforth, subscribers will enjoy as much as 150% more data flux for the same price on 9mobile’s daily data plans.

With the reloaded Moreblaze daily data plans, 9mobile subscribers get a 150% increase in data value at no extra charge. They can also get 650mb data at the newly introduced rate of N200 to enable customers enjoy faster browsing and streaming experience without tearing their pockets.

Moreblaze is 9mobile’s mobile broadband data portfolio available in a range of options that afford subscribers the opportunity to choose their preferred data plan. It comes in variants of daily, weekly or monthly subscription, smartpaks, and video streaming plans. Any of these plans enables data-dependent businesses and individuals to do more through reliable, consistent and superfast internet connection.

Speaking on the data service, Layi Onafowokan, 9mobile’s Acting Director, Marketing, said in addition to making internet access pleasurable for all, the telco is offering this increase in data volume for the same price as an avenue for more subscribers to join the network and enjoy the best-in-class internet experience that Moreblaze offers.

“At 9mobile, we are always delighted at seeking innovative ways to wow our existing and potential customers, hence, we continuously revamp our data offerings so that all categories of customers on our network can have access to fast and reliable broadband service that suit their needs”, he said.

Onafowokan added, “Moreblaze offers all categories of users fast and reliable broadband internet to enjoy a richer online experience while surfing the internet.

“Students can livestream online course content seamlessly; content creators, bloggers and small businesses that make a living online can also upload their content without interruptions, simply by relying on the unrivalled experience that Moreblaze offers.”

He stated further that aside offering superior quality data experience, Moreblaze stands out for granting access to all social media and chat platforms, and it also allows customers to pause and resume their plans on 9mobile’s streaming plans.

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Microsoft kicks off LEAP Engineering Acceleration Program with Ten Female Software Engineers

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Ten female Software Engineers from Nigeria have been admitted into Microsoft LEAP Engineering Acceleration Program (LEAP).

Led by the Global Innovation Team at Microsoft (Redmond, USA), and sponsored by Kevin Scott, chief technology officer at Microsoft, LEAP is an immersive 16-week program that provides female individuals with experiences through project management and development courses.

The program combines traditional classroom learning with hands-on engineering projects.

Skills development remains at the heart of Microsoft’s mission to empower everyone to achieve more.

Through a combination of strategic partnerships, trainings, real-world experiences and online classrooms environments, we have been able to provide future skills to those entering the industry and those already in the workforce.

The LEAP finalists were selected at a hackathon hosted in June, where each participant was immersed in a one-week intensive programme comprising two-day classroom work, two-day hacking and the final day for presentation of their solutions.

Now each participant is to receive 4-weeks classroom training on Software Support Engineering and 12-weeks hands-on projects training involving real life scenarios at a partner organization.

During the training period, the participants will also be mentored by the engineering team in Nigeria (Lagos) and Redmond (USA).

“We believe that contributing to human capital development, empowering the youth, and creating opportunities for individuals and organisations will cultivate an environment that allows for growth of the knowledge-based economy,” says Akin Banuso, country manager at Microsoft in Nigeria.

The company says rapid digital transformation across industries has changed the way we work and live, as technological advancements spanning artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning have entered the mainstream – accelerating the journey to transform economies, and ultimately redesigning the future of work.

Following the LEAP program, participants will get an opportunity to take up employment at Tek Experts, a partnering company for the program.

“As a technology company, we are acutely aware of the responsibility we have to ensure all workers have a path to gain relevant skills – no matter where they are in their careers.

“For this reason, we will continue to – in partnership with non-profit organisations, government bodies, learning institutions and other entities – to empower those already in the workforce with the capabilities needed to ensure financial stability, economic prosperity and opportunities for personal growth,” concludes Banuso.

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