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Not just “WannaCrypt,’ a cryptocurrency attack is generating digital cash fast

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Cyber Attack

San Francisco, May 17 : As the world gets together to contain “WannaCrypt” ransomeware attack that exploited a vulnerability in a Microsoft software, the same Windows vulnerability (MS17-010) has been exploited to spread another type of virus that is fast generating digital cash from machines it has infected.

According to a report in The Registrar on Wednesday, tens of thousands of computers globally have been affected by the “Adylkuzz attack” that target machines, let them operate while generating digital cash or “Monero” cryptocurrency in the background.

“Monero” — being popularised by North Korea-linked hackers — is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy, decentralisation and scalability.

It is an alternative to Bitcoin and being used for trading in drugs, stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods.

“Initial statistics suggest that this attack may be larger in scale than WannaCry[pt], because this attack shuts down SMB networking to prevent further infections with other malware (including the WannaCry[pt] worm) via that same vulnerability,” US-based cyber security firm Proofpoint researchers were quoted as saying in the report.

According to the researchers, the “Adylkuzz” attack is still growing.

“Once infected through use of the ‘EternalBlue’ exploit, the cryptocurrency miner ‘Adylkuzz’ is installed and used to generate cybercash for the attackers,” Robert Holmes, Vice President of products at Proofpoint, was quoted as saying.

According to experts, the Adylkuzz began its attack on or before May 2, more than a week before “WannaCrypt” arrived and hit 150 countries, including India.

“Indications are that the crooks behind ‘Adylkuzz’ have generated a lot more money than the ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware fiends,” the report noted.

“Unlike ransomware, no demands for money are made of victims. The malware is deliberately stealthy; users will only notice their Windows machine is running slowly and that they don’t have access to shared Windows resources,” the researchers said.

According to cyberscoop.com, “Monero” doubled in price over the last month to around $23 while other digital currencies, including bitcoin, saw a mixed month.

“Cybercriminals intrigued by the currency’s promises of greater anonymity are using it more often on black markets.” it said.

(IANS)

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WhatsApp sees 40% increase in usage in time of pandemic

Supporting hospitals (41 per cent) and being helpful to government (35 per cent) is an expectation of significant minority of consumers, the study says.

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London, March 28 : As COVID-19 pandemic envelopes the world, WhatsApp has seen a 40 per cent increase in usage, according to a study by Kantar, a data and consulting company.

Across all stages of the pandemic, WhatsApp is the social media app experiencing the greatest gains in usage as people look to stay connected. Overall WhatsApp has seen a 40 per cent increase in usage.

Kantar conducted the largest global study into consumer attitudes, media habits and expectations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Kantar estimates that for WhatsApp in the early phase of the pandemic usage increases 27 per cent, in mid-phase 41 per cent and countries in the late phase of the pandemic see an increase of 51 per cent.

Spain experienced a 76 per cent increase in time spent on WhatsApp. Overall Facebook usage has increased 37 per cent. China experienced a 58% increase in usage of local social media apps including Wechat and Weibo.

According to a study, there is a crisis in trust. Traditional nationwide news channels (broadcast and newspaper) are the most trusted sources of information with 52 per cent of people identifying them as a ‘trustworthy’ source.

Government agency websites are regarded as trustworthy by only 48 per cent of people, suggesting that government measures are not providing citizens around the world with assurances and security.

Also reflecting the loss of trust from recent election cycles, social media platforms are regarded by only 11 per cent of people as a source of trustworthy information.

As countries move deeper in to the pandemic so media consumption increases across all in-home channels. According to Kantar, in the later stages of the pandemic web browsing increases by 70 per cent, followed by (traditional) TV viewing increasing by 63 per cent and social media engagement increasing by 61 per cent over normal usage rates.

Increased usage across all messaging platforms has been biggest in the 18-34 age group. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced a more than 40 per cent increase in usage from under 35-year olds.

Consumers expect the brands they choose to look after their employees first and foremost with 78 per cent saying take care of employees’ health and 62 per cent saying implement flexible working.

Supporting hospitals (41 per cent) and being helpful to government (35 per cent) is an expectation of significant minority of consumers, the study says.

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Facebook launches Messenger chatbot to share COVID-19 info

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New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Social media giant Facebook on Friday launched Messenger Chatbot with Health Ministry and MyGov in India to raise awareness around CIDIC-19 disease.

The Corona Helpdesk Chatbot on Messenger will help provide authentic and accurate information and bust fake news about new coronavirus.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to support the government across ministries with communications tools and resources to share timely, accurate information on the coronavirus to keep people safe and informed. We will continue to do everything we can to help the country’s efforts,” Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director of Facebook India said in a statement.

Facebook users can start accessing the Corona Helpdesk Chatbot and reach out to Health Ministry for authentic news, official updates, precautionary measures and emergency helpline numbers through this Chatbot.

The Chatbot has both English and Hindi language capabilities.

To contact the Chatbot, users can go to the Facebook page on MyGov Corona Hub and then start a chat by typing ‘Get Started’, which will prompt them to either type in a query or choose from a list of frequently asked questions.

Depending on the question, users will receive verified information in the form of a video, infographic or text.

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MTNL to Provide 1-month Free Access to Corporate Servers for Work From Home During Nation-wide Lockdown

Generally, MTNL charges Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 per connection for accessing corporate servers located on its network.

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State-owned telecom firm MTNL on Thursday started offering free access to office server to its enterprise customers’ employees to support work from home during the lockdown.

The employees of MTNL’s corporate customers using its broadband connection will be able to avail this service free for one month, MTNL Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Kumar told PTI.

“Many organisations have their main server on MTNL MPLS Network. Employees of such organisations who have MTNL Broadband can be enabled with MTNL VPNoBB (Virtual Private Network Over Broadband). Through this, they can access their office servers. This will be a secure medium,” Kumar said.

He said this system will give them access to all service that their company offers in office to carry out their task.

“Using this, corporate employees can do all the works for which otherwise they have to come to office. It will be just extension of office up to their home. No access limitations. MTNL will be extending this facility for one month without any additional charge, just to enable smooth work from home,” he said.

Generally, MTNL charges Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 per connection for accessing corporate servers located on its network.

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