Security summary – August 2018

Our short monthly review summarises important news and blog posts, which focus on IT security, cloud computing and privacy protection.

1. User’s location is communicated to Google 340 times a day

A researcher has looked into how often Google receives information about the geographic location of a user and concludes that a smartphone using Android will communicate its user’s location 340 times within 24 hours, even when not moved. Google has criticized the study for being biased and misleading.

Source (German): computerworld.ch

2. Skype has launched end-to-end encryption

Announced in January 2018 by Microsoft, the video and text chat platform “Skype” is now fully launching end-to-end encryption to its many million users. Skype is using the Signal protocol by Open Whisper Systems to encrypt user communication. To start a private conversation, users must manually select the option.

Source (English): wired.com
Source (German): computerworld.ch

3. Fake Facebook accounts created to manipulate elections for US congress

After the initial discovery of 32 fake accounts in July, Facebook now announced new discovery of a further 652 fake accounts, sites and groups public. According to the social media platform, these accounts aim to manipulate other Facebook users to gain political influence in the US and other parts of the world. The discovery and deletion of the accounts happen weeks before the elections for US congress.

Source (English): Reuters

4. Willingness to pay ransomware attackers on the rise

According to a Barracuda survey including 630 companies worldwide, ransomware attacks are on the decrease while the victims’ willingness to pay increase. In 2018, only 30% of the surveyed companies indicate to have been victims of a ransomware attack as opposed to 48% in 2017. However, in 2018 almost 20% of the attacked companies payed the ransom demanded by their attacker. In 2017, only 3% were willing to do so.

Source (German): computerworld.ch

5. Extorted Swiss national councils want to intensify fight against cyber crime

Cyber criminals are using increasingly advanced methods to extort their victims, which include Swiss national councils. Now, politicians, who were victims of virtual blackmailing attacks, push to move forward with the creation of several cybercrime centers.

Source (German): nzz.ch