Security News Week: December #2

What's the deal with US and Russia? The Elections

The US Elections are not over. President Obama has ordered an investigation into the pre-election cyber attacks.

President Barack Obama is in his final month of serving as the President of the United States and just recently he has ordered the intelligence agencies to complete a full-scale research on the cyber attacks against the Democratic Party organizations that took place before the elections.

Many people believe that the cyber attacks were one of the reasons that led to the victory of the Republican Party. Most of the cyber attacks are linked to Russia.

The full report on what occurred during the 2016 Presidential Election is expected to be completed before the end of Obama’s term. The 2016 election has been riddled with cyber attacks and the quick spread and rise of false news on many social media websites. The report is expected to show how much both have influenced the results of the election. What is more, the cyber attacks are seen not just as a way to tamper with the politics, but democracy in general.
The new administration is facing more cyber attacks in the future, as it is rapidly becoming one of the biggest national security threats. Meanwhile, the president-elect, Donald Trump claims that Russia is not behind any cyber attacks.

Uber- The most controversial company of the year!

It has been quite a controversial year for Uber and the controversies do not intend to stop affiliating themselves with the company.

Firstly, it was reported that the company was monitoring the battery life of the app users, as it believed that people whose phones were close to dying would end up paying more the cab services. Now it came to the light that Uber is tracking its customers even after it has completed the service.

The company claims that the surveillance can improve the service, but many of the app users are not aware that they are being tracker nor that their data is being collected in the first place.
Any person who updates or has updates the Uber app recently need to be aware that the app location tracking permissions have changed and now allow the app to monitor its customers' location before and five minutes after the trip ends. If anyone wishes for the tracking to stop, then it is possible to turn the feature off in the app’s settings.

Russia introduces a new bill intended to tackle cyber crime.

Last week the Russian government has introduced a draft bill that if passed, would bring prison sentences for hackers and cyber criminals who create malicious software designed to hurt Russian infrastructure.

The bill proposes that such severe punishment would also apply to hackers who have had no part in carrying out cyber attacks. The bill would include amendments to the Russian Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.

Any suspects found guilty of taking part in any hacking operations could face fines between seven thousand and 15 thousand US dollars as well us up to five years in prison. The same punishment would apply if the hacking caused no harm at all.

Cyber attacks that aim and manage to cause more trouble would make the punishment as long as 10 years in prison. Any hackers using cyber crime to obtain access to protected data would face a punishment of 30 thousand dollars fine as well us up to five years of forced labour. The bill has been drafted as part of the recently signed doctrine on Russia’s Information Security.

Popcorn Time - Ransomware that could turn you into a cyber criminal.

Popcorn time is a new ransomware almost straight out of the Black Mirror. It is new ransomware that uses the technique of allowing infected people to either pay ransom to cyber criminals or to spread the infection further in order to receive the decryption keys.
The new malware has been designed the give victim’s a free decryption key to access their files and folders but, only if they choose to become criminals themselves.

Popcorn Time works by infecting someone’s computer and encrypting all the data stored on it. The victims are asked to pay ransom to be able to recover their data, but since not all of us have the money for ransom, hackers give a new solution. The victim can receive a decryption key if he or she agrees to infect two other people with the same virus.

Victims of this ransomware reportedly have seven days to pay a ransom of 750 dollars or to infect other people with the virus. If the tasks are not managed on time, then the decryption key is destroyed and it becomes impossible to retrieve lost data. Anyone who has been infected once will not be infected again, because in those cases the ransomware terminates itself. It is believed that Popcorn Time might evolve as the ransomware is still in development.