Cyber Security Today: Dec. 12, 2018 — Ransomware, router attacks and pirated software

Ransomware author bails on payback,  another round of router attacks and pirated Mac software has malware

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday December 12th. To hear the podcast, click on the arrow below:

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With ransomware spreading around the world, it’s really important to have good backups of your data. Some people might think, ‘What the heck, if I’m hit I’ll pay the ransom and get access back to my data.’ But not always. Security vendor Coveware says one attacker has apparently abandoned the payment web site victims were directed to. Now victims have no way to get back their data. The best way to protect yourself from malware is to backup your data either to the cloud or to a separate hard drive or USB drive you keep in a safe place. Even better is to have two backups, stored separately.

Another malware package targeting home and small office routers is being used by attackers. According to security vendor Trend Micro, once a router is infected it turns on the owner, enabling attacks on their mobile devices or desktop computers through web applications they’ve authenticated with – like a bank, to get their login passwords. The first version was aimed at Portuguese speaking people in Brazil, but the newest package has changed and is going after people in other languages. For example, after some routers are infected when the owner tries to go to they get shifted to a fake page called Google Protections that asks them to down load protection software. Affected are certain versions of routers from D-Link, Motorola, Realtron, Secutech and TP-Link. To protect yourself, make sure your routers are running the latest software, make sure every password you use is strong. And when online make sure sensitive websites you go to start with HTTPS.

Finally, there are lots of reasons to avoid pirated software. The best reason is that it can be used to spread malware. Mac owners should keep this in mind if they are thinking of getting a free pirated application. According to a report this week from security company Malwarebytes, there’s pirated Mac software being distributed that secretly downloads a backdoor to victims’ computers. So far, the malware downloads a cryptomining application, which uses the computer’s power to mine for digital currency. That makes money for someone else. But that backdoor could be used to download really harmful stuff that steals your data and passwords. So don’t create, buy or distribute pirated software.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. As always there are links to more detailed reports for this podcast on our website, Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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