This past week was actually quiet on the security front. More than usual, at least. The media was mostly concerned with the FBI vs Apple debate (yes, that’s still hot) and the U.S. presidential campaign (that’s about to get hotter). As for us, in this first spring week we chose to cover a subject not as “hot” but completely necessary. Our latest blog post is about essential cyber security mistakes our parents are making and how you can help them out. Make sure you check it out (and even forward it to those who might be concerned) before disconnecting for the weekend. Here is the weekly security articles roundup:

Security articles of the week


1. IRS issues warning over phishing scam

With tax season on, we’ve been having plenty of news on tax fraud. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued another warning over phishing scams, this time aimed at payroll and human resources professionals. They also recently reported that more than 700.000 U.S. taxpayers were hacked in the past couple of years:

“The IRS has filed an amended statement on the ‘Get Transcript’ hack — which reports that 700,000 U.S. taxpayer accounts were accessed or targeted, and 47 million transcripts have been ordered to date.”


2. UK and US users were hit with credit card-themed spam that spreads ransomware

A credit card-themed spam campaign that has been spreading ransomware was discovered by Symantec researchers:

“The attackers aren’t after credit card data. They want the recipient to download the attached ZIP archive which supposedly contains a Total Rewards Visa white paper, but in fact holds a JavaScript file. When run, the script downloads a variant of the TeslaCrypt ransomware. The malware will encrypt the victims’ files, and asks for $500 in Bitcoin to decrypt them (the sum doubles if the ransom isn’t paid within 160 hours of infection).”


3. Ads on websites are dangerous to more than your sanity

In the heated debate concerning adblocks let’s not forget an important security issue: malvertising.

“Many prominent sites are becoming unwilling distributors of malware through a system called malvertising. This is where a seemingly innocent website is used as a base for pop-up ads that install malware on the viewer’s computer. This type of campaign is ruining the trust reputable websites have built up over the years, and needs more attention as many users don’t even know malvertising exists.”


4. Children could sue their parents in the future for privacy breach if they upload photos of them to social networks

Parents, please stop posting photos of your kids on social networks.

5. Social networks are after women abusers

In UK, the social networks are gathering their forces to help prevent online abuse against women and girls. The initative also concerns fake social media accounts or websites that are used for harassment (including for revenge pornography).

6. How to track your Facebook friends’ sleeping habits

Just a reminder that the amount of information collected by social networks on users can be used in such creepy ways. This article will probably make you want to close all your online accounts and just go hide your head in the sand.

7. Latest Snapchat data breach was caused by human error

The latest data breach at Snapchat exposed payroll information of current and former employees. This just shows why sometimes it’s good to say NO to your CEO:

“The attacker pretended to be Snapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel and tricked an employee into emailing over the information, according to a blog post the company posted Sunday about the incident.”


8. White Hat Hackers stole crypto keys from an offline laptop in another room

Cyber security researchers found a way to steal data from air-gapped machines while their equipment is in another room.

9. Businesses are still scared of reporting cyberattacks to the police

A recent report shows that businesses are covering up cyber attacks, instead of reporting them. Reporting would benefit everyone involved, so just get over the embarassment already.

“The research suggests that only 28 percent of cyberattacks against businesses were reported to the police, despite many police forces now having dedicated cybercrime divisions.”


10. “Hack the Pentagon” competition launched

In case you have hacking skills, check out Pentagon‘s latest challenge: they recently launched a competition called “Hack the Pentagon”. They encourage people to… yeah, you guessed it, hack the Pentagon. The purpose of this campaign is to help the U.S. Defense Departament identify vulnerabilities in its websites and boost their security.


Benjamin Franklin used to say that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Stay up to date with the latest information on privacy and security and may the odds be never in the cyber criminals’ favor.

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