Ransomware attacks are taking a bigger toll on victim’s wallets

Hackers spreading ransomware are getting greedier. In 2016, the average ransom demand to free computers hit with the infection rose to $1,077, up from $294 the year before, according to security firm Symantec.

“Attackers clearly think that there’s more to be squeezed from victims,” Symantec said in a Wednesday report

In addition, the security company has been detecting more ransomware infection attempts. In 2016, the figure jumped 36 percent compared with the prior year.  

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Ransomware attacks are taking a bigger toll on victims’ wallets

Hackers spreading ransomware are getting greedier. In 2016, the average ransom demand to free computers hit with the infection rose to $1,077, up from $294 the year before, according to security firm Symantec.

“Attackers clearly think that there’s more to be squeezed from victims,” Symantec said in a Wednesday report

In addition, the security company has been detecting more ransomware infection attempts. In 2016, the figure jumped 36 percent compared with the prior year.  

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Old Windows Server machines can still fend off hacks. Here’s how

If you’re running a Windows Server 2003 machine, you have a problem. Your already-vulnerable computer is now at severe risk of being hacked.

That’s due to the internet release earlier this month of a batch of updates that paint a bull’s-eye on computers running Windows Server 2003, according to security researchers.

“I can teach my mom how to use some of these exploits,” said Jake Williams, founder of Rendition Infosec, a security provider. “They are not very complicated at all.”

Experts are urging affected businesses to upgrade to the latest Windows OSes, which offer security patches that can address the threat.

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There’s now a tool to test for NSA spyware

Has your computer been infected with a suspected NSA spying implant? A security researcher has come up with a free tool that can tell.

Luke Jennings of security firm Countercept wrote a script in response to last week’s high-profile leak of cyberweapons that some researchers believe are from the National Security Agency. It’s designed to detect an implant called Doublepulsar, which is delivered by many of the Windows-based exploits found in the leak and can be used to load other malware.

The script, which requires some programming skill to use, is available for download on GitHub.

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Hackers use old Stuxnet-related bug to carry out attacks

Users that run unpatched software beware. Hackers have been relying on an old software bug tied to the Stuxnet worm to carry out their attacks.Microsoft may have initially patched the flaw in 2010, but it’s nevertheless become the most widespread so…

Suspected CIA spying tools linked to hacks in 16 countries

The suspected CIA spying tools exposed by WikiLeaks have been linked to hacking attempts on at least 40 targets in 16 countries, according to security firm Symantec.

The tools share “close similarities” with the tactics from an espionage team called Longhorn, Symantec said in a Monday post. Longhorn has been active since at least 2011, using Trojan programs and previously unknown software vulnerabilities to hack targets.

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The iCloud hackers’ bitcoin ransom looks like a fake

A group of hackers who claimed to hold millions of iCloud accounts for ransom said on Friday it had been paid. But one bitcoin expert said that’s bogus. 

The Turkish Crime Family grabbed headlines last month by claiming it had the stolen login credentials for more than 700 million icloud.com, me.com and mac.com accounts. The group demanded increasing ransoms from Apple while threatening to wipe the data from devices connected to the affected accounts if it did not.

On Friday, the hackers tweeted that they had been paid $480,000 in bitcoin. As proof, the group posted a link showing a transaction on Blockchain.info, a popular bitcoin wallet.  

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WikiLeaks: CIA used bits of Carberp Trojan code for malware deployment

When the source code to a suspected Russian-made malware leaked online in 2013, guess who used it? A new release from WikiLeaks claims the CIA borrowed some of the code to bolster its own hacking operations.

On Friday, WikiLeaks released 27 documents that allegedly detail how the CIA customized its malware for Windows systems.

The CIA borrowed a few elements from the Carberp financial malware when developing its own hacking tool known as Grasshopper, according to those documents.

Carberp gained infamy as a Trojan program that can steal online banking credentials and other financial information from its victims’ computers. The malware, which likely came from the criminal underground, was particularly problematic in Russia and other former Soviet states.

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U.S. may expand laptop ban to more airports

The U.S. might add other airports to its ban restricting passengers from bringing laptops and other electronics into the cabin for certain flights from the Middle East.

“We may take measures in the not too distant future to expand the number of airports,” said Homeland Security secretary John Kelly on Wednesday during a congressional hearing.

Last month, the U.S. announced the ban, which affects ten airports, all of which are in Muslim-majority countries. Passengers flying to the U.S. are barred from bringing any electronic devices larger than a smartphone into a plane’s cabin, and must instead check them in as baggage.    

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Amazon to refund parents over kids’ in-app purchases, says FTC

Parents with children who ran up bills, sometimes huge, through in-app purchases stand to get some or all of that money back. Amazon could have to hand out more than $70 million in refunds to affected consumers, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

On Tuesday, the FTC and Amazon agreed to end their legal battle over whether the U.S. company unlawfully charged its customers for the purchases.

A year ago, a court found that Amazon had.

The company’s app store can be downloaded to Android devices and it runs on certain Kindle tablets. However, parents had complained that Amazon’s system had made it all too easy for their children to buy virtual items in the apps, without their consent.

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