The 2016 U.S. presidential primaries are well under way and the candidates are a hot topic in the media, social media and in real life discussions. With all the buzz, I was curious to see how Android app developers are taking advantage of the candidate’s popularity and what permissions the apps request. So with this mission in mind, I started downloading and testing these apps.
When I searched for “Trump” in Google’s Play Store, I wasn’t really too surprised to see a lot of silly apps. Mr. Trump has a certain reputation, and it seems like app developers are taking advantage of that.
Here are the top apps that appear when you search for “Trump” in the Play Store:
Preparing for a summer trip used to be pretty simple. The biggest challenge was remembering
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It’s never a pleasant experience to find yourself roaming around a foreign city unable to find Wi-Fi hotspots, especially when you’re unable to use your own data plan to begin with. In these cases, wouldn’t it be great to have a tool that could simply work its magic and locate nearby hotspots?
Last night, I was chatting with a friend from home via WhatsApp, when a message appeared within my chat informing me that my messages and calls in WhatsApp were now secured with end-to-end encryption.
Think of encryption as a high-tech form of scrambled eggs -- when you send messages, make a call, or send photos or videos with the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are randomly mixed and secured. Only the person receiving your message has the key to unscramble your message so that it can be read. This makes it impossible for hackers, governments and even WhatsApp itself to access any of your messages. In the case that messages are intercepted by criminals or authorities, encryption renders messages unreadable to the unauthorized viewers.
Ransomware has been a hot topic recently. The latest PC ransomware, Locky, made its rounds in late February and multiple hospitals were infected with ransomware, which forced an online shutdown. Not only is ransomware continually attacking PCs, but this nasty form of malware is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and common in the mobile space as well.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks a device or encrypts the data on it and then demands a ransom payment to unlock the device or to decrypt the data.
Ransomware is typically spread using social engineering tactics, meaning that people are tricked into downloading it. In social engineering schemes, victims think they are downloading innocent content or a crucial service, such as antivirus software or a bill they need to pay, when they are really downloading ransomware. Once downloaded, ransomware displays a fake message accusing the user of illegal activity (downloading illegal porn or something similar). -- The ransomware then encrypts files or locks the device and demands a ransom payment to unencrypt the files or to unlock the device. Once a payment is made, often with Bitcoins via Tor, the ransomware communicates with a C&C (command and control) server, which then sends the victim the decryption key.
“Ransomware boomed because it has an immediate effect on the infected user's psychology. Fear and anxiety are two main emotions that criminals can evoke to get their victims to pay ransom,” said Nikolaos Chrysaidos, mobile malware analyst at Avast. “Social engineering plays a significant role in developing fear. Images and text can lead the victim into believing they are being accused of performing illegal activities. Anxiety can be caused by countdown timers that limit the time the victim has to pay the ransom and decrypt the device or files.”
(Image via Enterprise Security Today)
Last summer, it was nearly impossible to avoid the news about the Stagefright vulnerability. At the time of its unveiling, security researchers believed Stagefright to be the worst Android vulnerability to be discovered. Nearly a year after its discovery, Metaphor is the most recent embodiment of the vulnerability to rear its ugly head.
Social engineering, a popular technique used to lure victims into becoming infected with malware, plays a key role in encouraging victims to open web pages that allow the exploit to take place and for Metaphor to be fully effective.