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Tips to Secure Data Access

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Understanding LeakerLocker Ransomware Attack

LeakerLocker is a ransomware that affects mobile devices running on android platform. Unlike other mobile ransomwares that encrypt user data, LeakerLocker Ransomware doesn’t encrypt your data but locks your screen. Cybercriminals claim that the user’s private & confidential information will be transferred to their secure cloud and sent to the victim’s phone contacts if he fails to pay a ransom amount.

The mobile malware research team at McAfee identified the LeakerLocker ransomware on July 7, 2017. It was spotted that the ransomware was spreading via two apps:

  • Wallpapers Blur HD
  • Booster & Cleaner Pro

The apps function like any legitimate app; however once installed, a malicious code is loaded via a command-and-control server. When the access permission is granted, the code collects sensitive data from the user’s phone and blackmails him against it.

What Type Of Data Is Collected?

  • Personal photos
  • Contact numbers
  • Sent and received SMS
  • Phone call history
  • Facebook messages
  • Chrome history
  • Full email texts
  • GPS location history

How To Protect Your Device From LeakerLocker Ransomware?

  • Install An Antivirus Software: Protect your phone from any ransomware attack by installing a reputed antivirus software. These software scan the websites as well as apps to ensure that they are safe and do not contain any type of malware.
  • Update Your Phone: Make sure that you check your phone for android system updates available and download them regularly.
  • Back-up Your Files: It is important to back-up your files regularly to recover them in case of any data loss. You can back-up the information to the cloud or store your data on an external hard drive.
  • Don’t Download Apps From Unknown Sources: Whenever you download an app, make sure that you download it from a trusted source. Avoid downloading third party apps as they may pose a security threat. Also change your system settings and disable them to perform unofficial app installations.
  • Ignore Pop-Up Installations: Be wary of pop-up installations and avoid installing an update or plug-in.
  • Know Before Clicking On A Link: Make sure that you do not click on any links which you receive via an email or text from an unknown source.
  • Check The App Reviews: Read the reviews before downloading any app and also ensure that it is from a reputable developer. Do not download the app if you find something suspicious in the comments

For more information about ransomware attacks and ways to protect yourself from them, call the team of Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

Security Risks Concerning Virtual Personal Assistants

VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) software application follow commands of a user intelligently and performs a variety of tasks such as searching information on the web, scheduling an appointment, monitoring health data, initiating online shopping, searching for addresses & location, etc. Also known as Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPAs); Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Cortana, etc. are the most commonly used ones.

Although Virtual Personal Assistants are of great use, there are certain security risks concerning them. Here we have discussed the most prominent security threats associated with VPAs

  • Eavesdropping: A VPA is programmed to follow voice commands. So, it passively listens to everything being said, if the user forgets to turn it off when not in use. Thus, it ends up collecting user’s voice data without his knowledge. This recorded data always poses a risk of hijacking because cybercriminals might collect & use it unlawfully.
  • Vast Exposure Of Personal Information: VPAs resort to different databases on the web in order to respond to user’s query. Although it is highly convenient, it can pose a serious security threat.
  • Data Theft: VPA keeps a track of the user’s activity and stores that information on the device as well as a remote database. When an VPA hijacker gets hold of this information, he can extract the data and exploit it to offend the user.
  • Voice/Audio Hijacking: This technology recognizes voice to take commands. Even though it understands different words & their pronunciations, it does not distinguish the voices of different users. This can be used against the user, as an impersonator might command the VPA to perform tasks that may harm the user. Even if it recognizes the user’s voice, there is a possibility that a cybercriminal might use the actual user’s voice recording and issue commands to the VPA.
  • Remote Malware Downloading: A compromised VPA might be instructed to visit certain sites containing a malicious link. Once clicked, this link installs a malware in the device which continues to operate & damage the device remotely without the user’s knowledge.
  • Undertake Tasks Autonomously: Users might register automated commands with a VPA. This can be exploited by the hijacker to victimize the user.  For example, the user may direct his VPA to pay his phone bill every month. The VPA further takes the command and connects it to an authorized payment gateway. If the VPA is compromised, the hacker might dismiss the bill payment and transfer funds to his remote account.

There is no denying the fact that virtual personal assistants provide numerous benefits. However, it is important to stay cautious in order to avoid security risks.

For more information about IT, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

Factors That Affect Internet Speed

Users, nowadays, enjoy numerous web enabled services for entertainment, education, business, marketing etc. Studies suggest that there were 4,100,667,287 internet users worldwide as on January 1, 2019. As internet has become an integral part of our life; so a good internet speed is of due importance.

Fast internet connection enables you to browse the web, install new programs & software, stream videos & listen to music without any snag. However, a slow internet connection on the other hand can lead to frustration.

Let us gain some insight on factors that affect internet speed:

  • Connection Type: Your internet speed significantly depends on the type of connection available. You can opt for any internet connection type such as modem, 4G wireless, hotspots, DSL, mobile satellite, fiber, cable, etc. Also, the speed of your internet connection depends largely on the technology being used by your internet service provider.
  • Network Congestion: Another reason for a slow internet speed is internet traffic. So, when large number of people are using the internet then the internet speed is bound to slow down. Also, when multiple members of your family are using the internet & hogging the bandwidth by downloading, streaming or playing games online then the internet speed might reduce. Even though, the modern network connections are designed to handle a high volume of connections, the internet speed tends to slow down during the peak hours.
  • Faulty Devices: A slow internet speed might also be a result of your faulty device. An old device with outdated program & software might not be able to support modern websites that feature lot of multimedia content. This may lead to slow buffering. Another reason of a slow connection could be presence of a malware or virus on the device.
  • Location Of Wi-Fi Router: The location of your router also makes a considerable difference on the speed of internet. Factors such as distance from the devices, height at which the router is placed above the ground, proximity to materials that may obstruct Wi-Fi signals, etc. have an impact on the speed of internet. It is always advisable to place your router at a central position away from walls & obstructions. This helps in easy transmission of the signal and reduces the distance to be travelled by it.
  • Presence Of Other Networks: There is a possibility that the internet speed might slow down because of conflicting transmissions in an area having a large number of different Wi-Fi networks.
  • Internet Plan: The speed of your internet also depends on the internet plan bought by you. Choose a plan on the basis of your need & usage as well as the number of people who would share the network connection.

For more information about IT, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213-4740.

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