Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, hacker of laughter

Actor Robin Williams knew what commands should be executed to make us smile or what combination of keys he had press to provoke a good laugh. It was the best hacker of laughter for a generation that grew up wishing to fly like Peter Pan, to have a nanny as Mrs. Doubtfire or to play the incredible Jumanji. Unfortunately, versatile Mr. Williams died yesterday afternoon at the age of 63 years old. With him they also go away his thousand and one voices.


Unfortunately, some hackers have less laudable intentions. For instance, the Russian cybercriminal group called CyberVors which accumulated 1.2 billion user credentials, as we told you last week. Now it seems that at least 2,285,295 of them belong to accounts of 5,929 Australian websites.

Other cybercriminals prefer using ransomware, such as Synolocker, which hijacks the data stored on Synology NAS devices by encrypting it with a secret key. To recover such files, attackers request a $250 - $350 ransom. One of its latest victims has been the Faculty of Medicine of a Chinese University in which the medical records of 10,000 patients were stored.

Malicious Internet players are based not only in Eastern Europe, Russia, USA or China. Unfortunately cybercrime is a business that has also taken root in Africa. In the north of this continent (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria and Egypt) there are the most active groups. Many of them began defacing websites as a protest for specific political events, but now they also use remote access Trojans (RATs) and botnets to steal user credentials, or perform denial of service attacks (DoS).

It is even possible that some African malicious hacker is behind any of the hundreds of fake websites that claim to help user to hack Whatsapp. The number of such sites is increasing rapidly due to the popularity of this instant messaging app and Google and Facebook are the best showcase for them. But actually their goal is always to distribute malware or trick the user to subscribe to SMS premium services.

Internet has become a kind of Jumanji in which we are all trapped. Although this game does not seem to finish ever, companies like Google are trying make things a little easier for us. Therefore the most popular search engine in the world will boost websites using HTTPS encryption by default in its search results in order to enhance the World Wide Web’s security.

However, in the jungle of technology not all threats come from viruses and hackers. There are also common criminals whose only goal is simply to steal your electronic devices. A place where these thieves are very active is London. A third of the robberies reported in the British capital are related to these devices. In fact, 42% of the 290,651 registered thefts of computer equipment throughout the UK last year occurred in the city of the Big Ben.

We could tell you with a voice like an alien or with the accent of an Indian immigrant, but it has been just one Robin Williams, so we are going to tell you this in our usual tone: It is extremely important to stay informed to survive in the Internet’s Jumanji, so we invite you to follow us through our social channels (find the links  at the end of the article) or on our blog (www.cigtr.info).

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