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Account information belonging to 569,703 players of the Mortal Online massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) has been sold online several times since it was leaked as a result of a data breach. On June 17, an unauthorized third party accessed a server holding shop and forum databases, and pilfered the data. The developers made the announcement four days after they learned about the breach, following an investigation that found evidence of an intrusion. "We do not store any credit card information on our servers so that information is still completely safe," the developers informed. What the intruder(s) managed to get, though, were more than half a million usernames, and passwords that appear to have been saved as MD5 hashes. MD5 is a hashing function that is currently used mostly as a checksum to verify data integrity against non-intentional corruption. It is susceptible to collision attacks that take seconds to find with low computing power. The MD5 hash algorithm was declared "not safe" by its own creator in 2012 after research showed how susceptible it was to brute-force attacks. The Mortal Online database has been added recently to Troy Hunt's Have I Been Pwned collection, provided by Adam Davies, data analyst and security researcher. Users whose data has been exposed online can use Hunt's website to check whether their usernames have been compromised in breaches. We have more posted on OUR FORUM.

A global network of intelligence agencies wants easier access to your private and encrypted messages. In a barely veiled warning to tech companies, it has promised to make things tough for those that don’t comply. After a meeting on Australia’s Gold Coast last week, ministers for the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – known as the ‘Five Eyes’ – have shared their vision for worldwide snooping in a joint statement. In the official communique, the ministers outline the importance of reading private messages in the fight against terrorism and crime, citing “the urgent need for law enforcement to gain targeted access to data.” The spy chiefs paid lip service to the importance of encryption for privacy purposes, but went on in another statement to call for increased powers to access private data. Cracking your files, they argue, is no more sinister than a patrol cop searching your vehicle or house. “Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute,” they said. Recognizing that some encrypted data can be nearly impossible to crack, the agency chiefs called on tech companies to turn over the keys voluntarily. read more on our Forum

Despite Google's defenses for protecting Android's official marketplace, cybercriminals still manage to sneak in a banking Trojan, or two, or three, security researchers have discovered. Recently, security researchers from different security companies based in Europe disclosed on Twitter that they found several banking Trojans in Google Play. Lukas Stefanko of ESET antivirus vendor found three such malicious apps posing as astrology software that offered the horoscope. What they really divined, though, was theft of SMS and call logs, sending text messages in the victim’s name, downloading and installing apps without user approval, and stealing banking credentials. Before tweeting his findings, Stefanko reported the offensive entries to Google, who booted them from the store; but by the time of the removal, one of them had been downloaded more than 1,000 times, and over 500 users had added the other two to their Android devices. One of the malicious apps, which Stefanko noticed in its code that had been named Herobot, displayed a fake warning saying that it was incompatible and has been removed as a result. The malware remained on the device and acted in the background, requesting banking targets based on the apps present on the device. The malware researcher said that the command and control (C2) server was still alive when he tweeted about it. An important aspect is that all three Trojans discovered by Stefanko enjoyed a low detection rate. At the time of writing, the malware piece with the highest detection rate on VirusTotal was recognized by 12 out of 60 antivirus products; for the least detected one, only six saw its true colors. Complete details can be found on OUR FORUM.

Fraudulent tech-support services that buy online advertising space have grown in sophistication to a level that Google cannot distinguish them from legitimate providers. Operators of tech-support scams often operate just like a legitimate business to avoid detection and to ensure their success for a longer time. Sometimes even employees are unaware of the illegal activity. Over the past few years, scammers have begun to promote their activity through search ads, claiming to be an authorized service center for products from popular companies such as Apple, Microsoft or Dell. Playing on the user's trust in the results and ads provided by Google, most of the times the scammers just have to wait for the victim to call. The tactic is powerful because the potential victims are the ones placing the call, so they have already shown some trust in the service. Tech-support scammers have become more proficient at what they do. Apart from creating websites that instill trust, they also try to obtain as much information as possible about the victim or their machine, to help them make the deceit more difficult to spot. Symantec published at the beginning of August a report on how fraudulent tech-support activity has started to integrate call optimization, a service that allows them to dynamically insert phone numbers in web pages. There is more to this post on OUR FORUM.

Windows 7 has had a pretty good run and like all good things, Windows 7’s time in the spotlight must come to an end. Microsoft is supposed to end support for the old operating system in less than 500 days. Starting mid-January 2020, Microsoft will no longer offer any additional updates or support for the old platform. “Support for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020. Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for devices running Windows 7 operating systems,” Microsoft writes in a page that recommends Windows 10. As Windows 10 is getting better with every update, more and more users are finally upgrading to this version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system. It remains to be seen whether the Windows 7 would be a distant memory or not. According to Microsoft, Windows 7 PCs will stop receiving security updates after January 14, 2020, and you would need to upgrade to Windows 10 to keep your data safe. It’s worth noting that you can continue to use Windows 7 even beyond the end of support date but without any support from Microsoft, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks. We'll keep this thread updated when updates become available on OUR FORUM.

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for. But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement. Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Inc. and others. But the deal, which has not been previously reported, could raise broader privacy concerns about how much consumer data technology companies like Google quietly absorb. "People don’t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,” said Christine Bannan, counsel with the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). "There’s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they’re doing and what rights they have.” Extensive details are posted at W10NI FORUM.