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Cybercriminals

 

Image: Pexels

 

Cybercriminals have become huge stumbling blocks for business owners. They've been stealing assets and customer identities from companies, interfering operations, and inflicting other forms of damage.

 

In 2020, we can only expect cybercriminals to continue being as relentless and consistent with their attacks.

 

If your IT network is defenseless, you can easily fall prey to their ploys and suffer major losses.

 

And so the question becomes, how on earth are we supposed to protect our business?

 

The answer... Cyber Essentials.

 

If you're not familiar with Cyber Essentials, it's a data security accreditation program the UK government set for businesses and websites.

 

The government launched the Cyber Essentials framework to encourage organizations from various industries to bolster their IT defenses and guard their data and networks.

 

To understand Cyber Essentials better, let's talk about some of the biggest breaches and threats, as well as the program's strategies to keep cyber crimes at bay in 2020.

 

Famous Breaches

 

Thousands of data breaches have occurred within the decade. Many of these cases remained discreet and unreported, and some caught worldwide public attention.

 

Yahoo, for one, suffered multiple hacking incidents for four years, including these among the largest and most famous breaches.

 

The hackers, though, behaved differently in the breaches that took place for specific years. 

 

In 2012, two separate hijackers broke into Yahoo's online infrastructure but didn't take anything. Hackers then stole records from all accounts, summing to about three billion, in 2013.

 

The year after, cybercriminals targeted the user database which involved around 500 million holders. 

 

Reports say they obtained account details like people's names, passwords, email addresses, birthdays, and phone numbers.

 

These multiple breaches resulted in Yahoo agreeing for a settlement of almost 118 million dollars in April 2019.

 

Yahoo-1

 

Because of a software glitch or API bug, Google+ also experienced breaches from 2015 to 2018, compromising data of around 52 million users. 

 

Due to the repeated instances, Google declared closing down Google+ permanently in April 2019.

 

While cybercriminals have hijacked mostly email and social media accounts, they targeted something more advanced in 2019, proving their makings of bringing far greater danger.

 

They exposed passwords and biometrics of a million users of BioStar 2, a web-based, open, and integrated security platform with access control, time, and attendance functionalities.

 

The hijackers launched a cloud vulnerability attack to leak data containing users' fingerprints and photos, which researchers discovered were unencrypted.

 

This incident is riskier because while you can replace passwords and ID numbers, you can't change your biomarkers, which are permanent.

 

Once hackers acquire your DNA prints, who knows how they can exploit them for identity fraud, profit, and other motives.

 

Prominent and Emerging Threats Ensue

 

Hackers can unleash a wide array of cyber threats and attacks to carry out data breaches. 

 

Many of these crimes have become prominent for repetitively affecting various victims, whether individuals or small and established companies.

 

Ransomware, a type of malware, for instance, has nastily hit thousands, even millions, of organizations. It locks your data, threatening to delete it until and unless you pay the hacker.

 

Cyber hijackers also frequently launch malware through many attacks, like phishing, one of the most prevalent social engineering methods deceiving you into exposing critical information.

 

Hackers usually do that through official-seeming emails that ask you to access malicious links or attached files, or provide personal data to receive a prize, see fake log-in alerts, etc.

 

Hackers-2

 

They can even inject malware through malicious or fake advertising, often in the form of pop-ups with celebrity scandals, pornographic content, or too-good-to-be-true prizes.

 

If you access public WiFi often, you can be at risk of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks where hackers can intercept your private emails and chats and send replies as if it's you or the other person.

 

Cyber crimes then have even advanced as hackers leverage cutting-edge technologies.

 

One modern onslaught, for example, is formjacking. This happens when hackers insert a piece of code onto your ecommerce site to steal private details of your customers filling in your forms. 

 

Another is cryptojacking. Here, cybercriminals infect your site or online ads, or trick you into clicking malicious links with codes that let them mine cryptocurrencies from your device.

 

Now if you're a company executive, you can be a victim of whaling, a social engineering scheme asking you to authorize invoices and money transfer.

 

Chatbots can even become malicious when cybercriminals hack them and implant malware. They can also make one, release it, and mimic legitimate business chatbots.

 

Thus, with these and other prominent threats still ensuing, plus new ones emerging in 2020, Cyber Essentials can serve as your main defense mechanism.

 

Your Primary Defense

 

Cyber Essentials empowers you to bolster your IT security through rock-solid techniques you must actively and continually implement.

 

For one, it emphasizes that you install and periodically update your anti-virus and anti-malware software, as well as firewalls, which act as your first defense layers.

 

These programs can block malicious code, spam, viruses, and other suspicious activities from permeating your IT environment.

 

Updating these patches also enables them to detect new advanced forms of viruses, malware, and other risks.

 

This step is crucial because hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in your configurations in your web app firewalls and others.

 

Such was the case for the infamous Capital One breach, affecting 106 million users in the US and Canada and making it one of the most massive incidents ever.

 

Cyber-2

 

Human error also accounts for a noteworthy percentage of breaches. Hence, it's crucial that you educate your staff on phishing, other deceptive tactics, and the proper responsive measures.

 

The Yahoo data breach, after all, happened because the phishing scheme worked.

 

Security configuration through tested and proven practices is also vital, like creating stronger passwords, encrypting your email domains and website, authenticating log-ins, etc.

 

If you have an ecommerce store and you use plugins, you should be careful, too, and install only the legitimate ones.

 

For example, if you're on Shopify, you can stick to browsing only among the best Shopify apps, those with high scores, excellent reviews, and other safety-verifying indicators.

 

Fake plugins can look official and secure but carry harmful components without your knowing.

 

Finally, you must establish access governance controls, authorizing only the personnel with directly related jobs to obtain specific types of company data.

 

If or when you experience data breaches, access control will help you more easily probe into and reinforce accountability for information management.

 

Making Cyber Essentials Your 2020 Priority

 

The Cyber Essentials program is a rock-solid defense mechanism your business would do well to invest in.

 

When implemented, the scheme can improve your chances of winning against cybercrimes or experiencing only little damage.

 

Besides your data, you also protect your sales, customers' trust, brand image, competitive edge, and more.

 

That said, this 2020, make Cyber Essentials your priority and successfully keep cybercrimes at bay.

 

Did you find this post useful? Share this with your colleagues then. Cheers!

 

 


HTC elevate

Getting OTA updates out the door is no easy task, especially with carriers standing between the OEM and users. That's why Motorola has long used soak tests with small groups of users to hammer out out bugs before the final certification. HTC has just posted details of its own Preview program called "HTC Elevate" that does essentially the same thing.

 

The information was posted in HTC Elevate, which is HTC's private community where it works with users to promote its devices and services. Members of Elevate also get the occasional freebie for participating in the community.

 

 

HTC Elevate FAQ

 

HTC elevate

 

Q. What do I need to do after completing the registration?
A. At this time, just sit back and relax. As soon as we are able to match you to an upcoming user trial, we will reach out to you directly.

 

Q. Will I need to sign an NDA?
A. If you are invited to participate in a user trial, you will be required to sign an NDA before starting.

 

Q. I have a friend/relative/co-worker who would be great for this program. Can I ask them to register?
A. At this time, we are only making this registration open to select groups, one which is Elevate US users. Please do not share the details of this program with anyone else at this time. When the program launches publicly in the future, you'll be more than welcome to invite them.

 

Q. Will I be using my own device or will one be provided during a user trial?
A. It depends on the user trial. In some cases, we will provide loaner devices and in other cases, you will use your own. This will be communicated up-front when we invite potential candidates.

 

Q. What happens if my device requires warranty services during the user trial?
A. Your device may encounter an issue which will require warranty service in such cases, please contact HTC Care for immediate attention. You may encounter problems going through your carrier due to the unofficial software loaded on your device.
Note: This is only for warranty service, that is, if the device has any physical damage you would need to file an insurance claim (if applicable).

 

Q. What if I want to leave the user trial before it ends?
A. If you choose to leave a user trial early and are using your own device, you will need to send your device in to HTC Care to have it flashed back to the latest commercial SW. 
If you are using a loaner device, you will just need to return the device (a prepaid shipping label will be provided).

 

Q. What type of user trials would be conducted? Would it just cover maintenance release (MR) or new products as well?
A. Most of the user trials will be of the software nature (i.e. MR updates and HTC app Play store updates) but there will also be user trials for hardware when we launch new products as well.

 

Q. How long does a user trial run?
A. This depends on the purpose of the user trial and again, this will be communicated up-front when we invite potential candidates. Generally, user trials last between 6 - 10 weeks, with some ending earlier and others getting extended beyond that.

 

Q. I have more questions about this program. Who can I contact?
A. Feel free to sound off in the thread below.

 

 

Source



Google has decided to hurry things up with Android N and the first step towards that was taken today when they officially declared that beta versions of Android N will be made available, starting today. The preview is released in accordance with Google's plan to get the latest iteration of the Android OS ready by summer. The beta program welcomes enthusiasts and developers alike to try out the pre-release version of Android N via registration. This is an OTA update and all pre-release versions are available for users to choose from.


If you are wondering if there is a catch to this, unfortunately, there is. This preview is only available to select Nexus devices. Most manufacturers use their own custom UI over the particular version of Android the phone or tablet is running on. Therefore, in order to update a device by a particular manufacturer, it is necessary for the manufacturer to first rebuild its entire UI on the new version of the base Android OS. You can probably see by now the reason as to why the Android N preview will only be available to vanilla Nexus devices.


If however, you happen to own one of the listed Nexus devices, then just head on over to


https://www.google.com/android/beta


Select your compatible Nexus phone or tablet and after a while, check for "System Update" if you haven't already been notified about the update automatically on your device. Before you start the download, remember that the size of the file is about a gigabyte so Wifi is recommended. Follow the steps thereafter and reboot accordingly to complete the setup.



 


CIA

 

Another secret program where the US government compiled and stored mountains of call data was revealed in a filing related to a case alleging a man was attempting to illegally export electronic equipment to Iran.

 

In the filing, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), stated that it used "administrative subpoenas" to gather meta-data of US-based calls to foreign countries that were determined to have a demonstrated nexus to international drug trafficking and related criminal activities.

 

As to which foreign countries were on the list was not revealed, but the DEA did grant that Iran was one of those nations. The filing outlines outgoing call activity, but the program also gathered data of incoming calls to the US from foreign exchanges.

 

The data collection for this program began in the 1990s and was shut down in August 2013, with the DEA saying that it no longer collects bulk records and that the database has since been deleted.

 

Naturally, civil liberties and privacy advocates are not pleased with the revelation of this news. Patrick Toomey of the ACLU says this activity proves "the government has extended its use of bulk collection far beyond" terrorism and national security investigations.

 

The DEA embarked on this program following what could be argued as unintended consequences from a laws passed by Congress to empower the agency in the so-called "war on drugs." However, it is being argued that the DEA has pushed the envelope away from what was intended to be "specific, targeted requests for information" and instead turned things into a dragnet of data collection.

 

VIA



Samsung has done a many things that makes it an innovative OEM. The Koreans giant invest a lot of resources to incorporate best possible design in the devices launched by them in the recent past. They also lay emphasis on safety and overall performance of their devices. As per reports, Samsung is planning to make the best software too, as the company is launching beta test program for Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the latest version of TouchWiz.


Those who want to participate in the beta test program need to fill up a form to become eligible. Then they are supposed to download the Galaxy Care app from Google Play, and finish the registration process for the Galaxy Beta Program.


Android 6.0 is mostly the first version of Google's mobile operating system that is officially tested by large number of users across the globe. Samsung will select two devices for tests - the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. But, don't get too excited, as the requirement says that you have to live in either the UK or South Korea and you should be having connection from KT or LG U+ carriers. It's not clear whether the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ will also be included in the beta testing program or not. Even if they are included, the hardware of these devices is almost similar to Galaxy S6's, so Samsung might prefer to test only the two devices mentioned above.

Source



The beta version of Samsung's Android Nougat 7.0 based firmware for the S7 and S7 Edge went live on select devices in China, South Korea, the UK and the US about a week ago and some of them have even started to receive the second build by now. The good news is, Samsung could also be extending the program to other countries as well, according to a report by SamMobile.


In what was a conversation between a Samsung Philippine's Customer Support executive and one of the aforementioned site's readers, it was indicated that Philippines could be next in line to receive the opportunity to test out pre-release versions of the Android 7.0 based firmware on the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge. While this little piece of info only concerns the devices in Philippines, we cannot help but feel that it could also be applicable to other regions as well, albeit a while later.


Nevertheless, this chat is far from being "proof" to the fact that the Beta program will be extended to Philippines, let alone other regions. In case it does prove to be so, rest assured that we will let you know as it happens.


Head over to https://forum.youmobile.org/downloads/ to find all the latest updates for your smartphone.



Samsung has released the third update for the devices enlisted in their Galaxy Beta program for the S7 and S7 Edge. To the best of our knowledge, the update has so far been received only in the UK, although the same should be making its way into the other eligible regions soon as well. The third build comes in at a size of around 300MB, with the firmware version G935FXXU1ZPKK.


Here's a look at some improvements and changes that it brings over the current version.


1. The brightness slider can now be moved above the Quick Panel from its original position in the Notification menu
2. It is possible to choose the layout for the Quick Panel Toggles
3. Edge Feeds have been removed
4. Brings the November security patches with it
5. Improvements in stability and a less buggy experience
6. Some devices have "lazy" screens that light up later than they should on waking the phone



Let's see what the next build brings to the firmware and rest assured that we will keep you updated.


Head over to https://forum.youmobile.org/downloads/ to find all the latest updates for your smartphone.


Source


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)



We have strange and unfortunate news for Verizon users today, if you happen to be a part of Samsung's Android Nougat based Galaxy Beta Program for the S7 and S7 Edge. Verizon has officially decided to stop supporting the program altogether for reasons unknown to us. What this means is that any device that's enrolled into the program and under contract from Verizon, will not be receiving any further updates sent out by Samsung as a part of the Galaxy Beta Program.


"Dear Customers, Verizon will stay on the original software for the remainder of this trial. Beta trial users will be upgraded to the commercial N release when it is available early next year. Thanks, Galaxy Beta Program Team"


The users are now left with the choice of either using the current version of the Nougat build with no further upgrades until the final firmware is out and rolling, or they can downgrade back to the stable Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow firmware. If you are not on Verizon though, you don't have anything to worry about. All other carriers and unlocked versions are still supporting the program to the best of our knowledge.


Source


Head over to https://forum.youmobile.org/downloads/ to find all the latest updates for your smartphone.


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)



Samsung has officially confirmed that the Galaxy Beta Program which they had launched earlier in the year will be over by the end of the day. This confirms a report which was circulating on Weibo since yesterday. The confirmation was found in a Beta Notice which reads the following.


"Galaxy Beta programme is ending. (Dec.30 24:00)
Dear customers,
Galaxy Beta programme will end on 12/30 by 24:00 PM.
We would like to thank you for the interest and affection shown during this time, We will try to apply most of the useful opinions shared by all of you in official Nougat OS version.
After the end of Beta programme
-There will be no new Beta version release.
-There will be no individual feedback related to 'Error report' & 'Suggestion' and there is a plan to manage it via "community" only.
We would do our best to distribute the official version in January as soon as possible.
Thanks for all your support during this time and wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year.
Happy New Year ~~
Galaxy Beta Programme Team"


If things go as Samsung has it planned, then the final build of the Android Nougat OS will start rolling out to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge by January, 2017. The good news is that the Nougat firmware updates for the two flagships will be based on the latest Android v7.1.1. Were you a part of the Beta program? If you were, what changes are you waiting to see in the final build?


Head over to https://forum.youmobile.org/downloads/ to find all the latest updates for your smartphone.


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)



Samsung did not release Android Nougat 7.1.1 for the Galaxy S8 and S8+ this year because both phones will be upgraded directly to Android 8.0 Oreo, as per reports. While the official Oreo update will still take a good bit of time before seeing release on any of the Samsung handsets, reports on the internet are indicating that the Beta Program will go live on October 31st in the US.


If you do not live in the United States, does it mean that you won't be able to become a part of Samsung's beta program? No, that's not the situation at all. As long as you own a S8 and S8+ in the UK, US, Canada and South Korea, the beta program will be accessible to you as well. If you own any of the two smartphones in China, India, Germany, Poland, France or Spain, you will still get the beta program, but much later, during the 2nd Phase. Download the Samsung Members App from the Play Store if you want to register for the Oreo beta program when it's announced. Remember that all this information is likely true, but none of it is official yet.


Head over to our firmware section to find all the latest available updates for your Samsung smartphones and tablets.


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)


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