3 Ways to Avoid Olympic-Themed Malware and Scams

Earlier this week, F-Secure Labs found a malicious Olympic-themed PDF. So we thought this would be a good time to talk about a topic comes up whenever an event like the World Cup, a celebrity death or even a tsunami captures the world’s attention.

Online criminals know millions of us are bound to be obsessed with the Olympics. So they’re going to use our interest to lure us into doing dumb things we would not normally do.

Here’s what you can to do help avoid current event threats.

1. Be wary of any email or private message that includes attachments or links.
Everyone knows opening an email attachment you weren’t expecting is dangerous. However links in emails can easily lead to malicious attacks or scams. Be extra suspicious of any emails related to topical events and celebrities. If you must click the link, check it with Browsing Protection first. Also keep in mind that private messages in Twitter with links often lead to phishing scams. While these scams probably won’t lead to malware, they could end up with a very embarrassing spamming of all your friends and followers.

2. Keep your system patched and protected.
The Olympic-themed malicious PDF the Labs found relied on an exploit in older versions of Adobe Reader. Other attacks will use other exploits. This is why it’s crucial you keep your Adobe Reader, Java, browsers, operating system and security software updated. Our Health Check makes this easy on your PC.

3. If a message is about a current event or seems to good (or bad) to be true, pause for a moment.
If you are looking for information on breaking news use the Google News search when available. If you get an email from your bank or credit card company that seems odd, call your institution. If you get a message that says someone has been saying bad things about you, don’t click on the link. Because this is the Internet. Of course someone is saying bad things about you somewhere. Clicking on the link can only lead to bad things, like a scam.

Events like the Olympics bring the world together. With some savvy, you can enjoy the games without the trouble of a comprised computer.

Cheers,

Anna

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Why your Apple Watch will probably never be infected by malware

On Tuesday Apple announced its latest iPhone models and a new piece of wearable technology some have been anxiously waiting for -- Apple Watch. TechRadar describes the latest innovation from Cupertino as "An iOS 8-friendly watch that plays nice with your iPhone." And if it works like your iPhone, you can expect that it will free of all mobile malware threats, unless you decide to "jailbreak" it. The latest F-Secure Labs Threat Report clears up one big misconception about iOS malware: It does exist, barely. In the first half of 2014, 295 new families and variants or mobile malware were discovered – 294 on Android and one on iOS.  iPhone users can face phishing scams and Wi-Fi hijacking, which is why we created our Freedome VPN, but the threat of getting a bad app on your iOS device is almost non-existent. "Unlike Android, malware on iOS have so far only been effective against jailbroken devices, making the jailbreak tools created by various hacker outfits (and which usually work by exploiting undocumented bugs in the platform) of interest to security researchers," the report explains. The iOS threat that was found earlier this year, Unflod Baby Panda, was designed to listen to outgoing SSL connections in order to steal the device’s Apple ID and password details. Apple ID and passwords have been in the news recently as they may have played a role in a series of hacks of celebrity iCloud accounts that led to the posting of dozens of private photos. Our Mikko Hypponen explained in our latest Threat Report Webinar that many users have been using these accounts for years, mostly to purchase items in the iTunes store, without realizing how much data they were actually protecting. But Unflod Baby Panda is very unlikely to have played any role in the celebrity hacks, as "jailbreaking" a device is still very rare. Few users know about the hack that gives up the protection of the "closed garden" approach of the iOS app store, which has been incredibly successful in keeping malware off the platform, especially compared to the more open Android landscape. The official Play store has seen some infiltration by bad apps, adware and spamware -- as has the iOS app store to a far lesser degree -- but the majority of Android threats come from third-party marketplaces, which is why F-Secure Labs recommends you avoid them. The vast majority of iPhone owners have never had to worry about malware -- and if the Apple Watch employs the some tight restrictions on apps, the device will likely be free of security concerns. However, having a watch with the power of a smartphone attached to your body nearly twenty-four hours a day promises to introduce privacy questions few have ever considered.    

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