News

Android is now much harder to crack than iOS

Huawei’s P20 Pro is the hardest to crack

Published

on

Governments are looking for ways to break into smartphones for criminal investigations. Getting access to valuable information can prove critical to solving certain cases.

As such, governments are pushing for laws to regulate encryption and make it easier for smartphone break ins. However, most tech companies — especially from Silicon Valley — voiced out against these laws due to the privacy and security risk it pose to their users.

In a recent investigation, VICE uncovered that certain governments are using third-party tools to break in to a certain smartphone. In particular, the US government have been using the Israeli-developed Cellebrite cracking tool to tap in to valuable information from smartphones. Interestingly enough, the investigation also uncovered that Android smartphones are much harder to unlock than their iOS counterparts.

Role reversal

Previously, Android devices were an easier target for governments. However, that has changed so much today. A police detective interviewed by VICE said that their department was not able to access a lot of Android phones today.

iPhones are a lot easier to access, though. All iPhones up to iPhone X yielded a lot of data when the Cellebrite tool was used on it. Personal information such as messages, call logs, contacts, and even data from specific apps like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat were retrieved successfully using the cracking tool with minimum effort.

In contrast, the cracking tool retrieved minimal data from Android phones such as the Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy S9. Huawei’s flagship P20 Pro yielded no data all. Ironically, many governments warn against using Huawei devices for being insecure.

Android devices remain safe for now

The investigation by VICE implies that Android devices are much harder to crack than iPhones. For now, Android remains a much safer system than iOS against illegal cracking tools obtained by hackers. Given that Cellebrite finds flaws and improves its cracking tools, it wouldn’t be a surprise when governments start cracking Android devices successfully soon.

Source: Android Authority

Computers

Cybersecurity threats to lookout for in 2021 and beyond

Threats to intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will increase

Published

on

Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

Researchers from Fortinet have identified several cybersecurity threats for 2021 that will greatly impact both the consumer and enterprise sector. By 2021, cybersecurity threats on intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will double as most companies continue to implement remote working schemes.

A new wave of cybersecurity threats will also arise due to advances in computing. These threats have the potential to disrupt a large number of businesses and consumers in the future. Thus, preparation and eventual mitigation are key to stemming the potential disruption by these threats.

Threats on the intelligent edge are on the rise

Intelligent edge computing is more popular than ever thanks to remote work with most employees making use of personal and interconnected devices to access the company network. However, intelligent edge computing presents new threats as cybercriminals exploit these “edges” (i.e. connected IoTs, personal devices) thanks to a decentralized approach by companies.

These threats can run the gamut from ransomware to malware. As intelligent edge computing booms, cybercriminals can specifically target edge devices with malware that could disrupt corporate networks. They can design malware that could understand usage patterns, adapt accordingly, and attack networks with little to no risk of suspicion. Moreover, sophisticated malware may spread through networks to propagate additional attack commands or disrupt more networks and devices.

Ransomware on the rise

This 2021, consumers and businesses should be more concerned with social engineering-based attacks and ransomware. One of the most common forms of social engineering-based attacks is phishing. In phishing, cybercriminals send fake emails supposedly from legitimate entities coercing users into sending their personal information. For example, a user may receive a fake bank email notice warning of impending account closure but contains malicious links instead.

Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

These attacks may even lock users from their personal data, holding them hostage until they pay a hefty amount of cash. Ransomware attacks do just that, affecting not only consumers but also the enterprise sector. As more businesses rely on edge devices for critical operations, the potential for a future ransomware attack rises significantly posing more risks than ever before.

Human lives are also at stake with ransomware attacks that blow out of control. An example of this happened last year when several hospitals across the US were hit by a variant of the Ryuk ransomware. As a result, several hospitals have to transfer their patients to other facilities since their systems cannot perform patient monitoring and other critical operations.

Advances in crypto mining and attacks on satellite-based networks

Bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning could also open up advances in crypto mining. While not inherently bad, cybercriminals can infect consumer devices more easily and gain access to system resources. When abused, crypto mining could potentially impact any device and affect users’ experience.

Meanwhile, network operators should prepare for more advanced attacks as they become reliant on satellite-based systems. Cybercriminals could infect a satellite base station and propagate malware to connected devices. Satellite-based networks could become a conduit for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in this way.

As an example, a cybercriminal could hijack a base station and inject scripts into other devices. In turn, infected devices could run malicious commands that could disrupt the connection of other networks.

Quantum computing, preparing for present and future threats

Quantum computers are the next big thing in computing, relying on qubits instead of the traditional binary bit present in all devices today. Research in quantum computing has made significant progress over the years, with working quantum computers not too far on the horizon.

Quantum computers, however, could also pose a new problem in the future. In the future, these can break traditional encryption algorithms rendering encryption moot. Fortinet advises businesses to adapt accordingly by using the principles of crypto agility.

Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

In the meantime, businesses can readily adapt to these threats through a careful combination of technology, people, training, and partnerships. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are also key technologies for preparing against and mitigating future cybersecurity threats. Businesses can train AI to spot attack patterns and identify threats even before they become a reality.

Partnerships are also vital in stemming the tide against cybercriminals. The enterprise sector, for example, could partner with law enforcement agencies for information sharing and dismantling of malicious networks.

Cybersecurity threats are here to stay

Connected devices have transformed society by enabling instant communication and richer user experiences. However, it also opens up new threats from cybercriminals willing to exploit and gather sensitive data.

There’s an old adage that says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same adage applies all the more in cybersecurity. Threats are here to stay, so consumers and businesses should prepare and mitigate potential impacts as much as possible. Thankfully, it is easy to stay safe and protected by following best practices.

SEE ALSO: 6 tips to make your phone more secure and private

Continue Reading

Enterprise

Google completes acquisition of Fitbit despite antitrust probes

EU has approved the deal though

Published

on

Fitbit is a household name in the fitness tracking segment, and Google is among the world’s most famous websites. The two giants are now closer than ever since Google has finished the acquisition of Fitbit for US$ 2.1 billion.

However, the acquisition is still under investigation from the US Department of Justice over anti-competition and anti-trust charges. The Department of Justice said, “it has not reached a final decision about whether to pursue an enforcement action.”

In response, Google says, “it complied with the DOJ’s extensive review for the past 14 months, and the agreed-upon waiting period expired without their objection.”

Thankfully, Google won an EU antitrust approval last month for its bid after agreeing to restrictions on using customers’ health-related data. The Fitbit deal could have potentially given Google access to a huge amount of data. But Google has agreed not to use users’ health and location data for advertising.

In a blog published this week, Google outlined how it would protect users’ data, saying its purchase was “about the devices, not the data.” Google has also agreed that Fitbit data will sit alone, virtually quarantined, away from the marketing business.

Fitbit users will be able to continue connecting to third party services. If they prefer another health app, they will still have an option to connect their Fitbit account.

Continue Reading

Gaming

PeSO announces partnership with Mineski Philippines

Now comes with more opportunites for the youth in Esports

Published

on

The Philippines continues to build on a promising future for Esports and Mineski is leading the charge. In their eyes, the youth will carry the torch for many years to come. Now, with their latest partnership, the future will be within reach for the young ones.

One of the Philippines’ premier Esports organizations formalized their partnership with the Pilipinas ESports Organization (PeSO). Specifically, the partnership centers around Mineski’s Youth Esports Program as one of PeSO’s flagship activities. The YEP, in itself, already brings together a network of over 200 schools all over the country.

In essence, PeSO looks to promote the YEP as a training ground for future Esports superstars. Furthermore, they’re also looking to endorse the program to other schools in the country, and even to the International Esports Federation. In return, Mineski will assist PeSO member organizations to promote their future events and activities. As such, the two organizations hope to cultivate and motivate the youth to explore opportunities in Esports.

Continue Reading

Trending