Android picture and video kidnapping malware found

smartphones2-700x400Security expert Robert Lipovsky, of the antivirus firm Eset, has located a Trojan called Simple Shocker. This dangerous malware blocks infected users’ mobile devices, cyphering their pictures, documents and other contents and requesting money to perform a system restore.

So far, the main victims have been in Eastern Europe, in countries such as Ukraine, where users are being asked an amount equivalent to 21 USD to unlock their devices, something that would occur 24 hours after the transaction has been completed.

Source: Alta Densidad

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What to do in case of kidnapping or extortion

conas-gnbcorpThe Bolivarian National Guard Anti-extortion and Kidnapping Commando (CONAS – GNB) has made some recommendations to avoid becoming a victim of extortion or kidnapping. Here are the ten most important tips:

  1. Don’t give your financial information to friends or relatives.
  2. Don’t use relationships to identify relatives in your mobile device, use their names.
  3. Never expose personal information on social networks, use security settings.
  4. Avoid entering information in shared computers, especially in internet cafes.
  5. Guide your family so they are not naïve informants by avoiding talking about their recreational activities or the goods they own.
  6. Don’t frequent the same public places.
  7. Try not to brag about what you have; proving you’re wealthy will only catch the attention of unscrupulous people.
  8. Change your routes to work or back home to prevent kidnapping or extortion.
  9. Stay alert on the road, at Banks and nightlife establishments.
  10. If you become a victim of extortion or kidnapping, report to the a

Source: CONAS – GNB

309 kidnappings between January and October of 2013, according to CICPC

conasgnb2309 kidnappings involving 341 victims were reported between January 1 and October 31 of 2013 at the different subdivisions of the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations Corps (CICPC) throughout the country, for an average of one case per day.

Most reports occurred in the Capital District, 113, equivalent to 33% of all cases. Miranda was second with 71 kidnappings reported, that is 22.9% of all cases.

Although these numbers do not include kidnappings reported before the National Guard’s National Anti-extortion and Kidnapping Commando (CONAS), the cases received by CICPC in 2013 could be smaller than the year 2012, when they registered at least 562 kidnaping reports.

However, it is important to know not all cases are reported to the authorities.

According to the scientific police’s statistics, of the 341 people kidnapped in Venezuela between January and October, five remained captive and 17 passed away while kidnapped. So far this year, the states of Amazonas, Delta Amacuro, Trujillo and Vargas are the only ones where there haven’t been any kidnapping reports.

7 security mistakes most commonly committed on Facebook

Facebook perforadoFacebook is a public virtual place many people find entertaining, but a simple mistake or imprudence could become the cause of many problems, and not precisely virtual… but quite real.

For that reason, over the last few years experts have insisted in a series of recommendations to safeguard the privacy of the users and their families in a network with more than 700 million people.

If you’re one of those people who visit their Facebook profile every day, then you should check and make sure you’re not making one of the 7 security mistakes most commonly committed in this social network, summarized by AllFacebook.com:

  1. Don’t disclose your date of birth

According to financial experts, your year of birth is an excellent starting point for identity theft, as from your birth date it is possible to deduct user preferences and passwords.

It is recommended only to disclose your day and month of birth, not the year.

  1. Don’t announce you’ll be out of town

Nothing is better for a real world criminal than knowing when your home will be empty. After all, no one would put up a sign on the door stating “Left town for 2 weeks.”

  1. Avoid using obvious passwords

Kid and pet names, birthdays, addresses or favorite football teams are some of the worse security bars you can set between a stranger and your profile information.

It is best to use a strong password containing 8 or more characters mixing numbers and upper/lower case letters.

  1. Don’t underestimate privacy settings

It makes no difference to demand more and better privacy options from Facebook administrators if most users have never even checked them.

Currently, this social network allows users to determine who they would like to share not only posts but also personal information and pictures with, as who you can communicate with.

No one should use Facebook before having checked the menu’s Account —–> Privacy Settings.

  1. Think before you post

It is very dangerous to use social networks when you’re angry or without first thinking what you’re going to post. Also, before sharing personal issues or involving other people, it is best to think twice whether it’s worth sharing such information or what the consequences might be.

In fact, a study carried out by the firm Proof Point proved that at least 8% of companies have fired someone for “inappropriate use of social networks.”

It is frequent hearing about cases in which reckless posting generated legal problems or even put someone in jail.

Our advice: if you’re upset over something, take a minute and think whether you should post about it. If it concerns your work, think about the kind of post that could bring you trouble.

  1. Use private messaging

Many reflections, thoughts and other things can be shared with all your Facebook contacts, including those you barely even know. However, when it comes to intimate situations or invitations, you should use the private messaging option.

  1. Avoid posting information about your children under 13

Many people share sensitive information about their small children, their names, the school they attend and places they frequently visit.

Facebook is home to all kinds of people and you can never be really sure that whoever’s accessing your family’s information will not use it for their own advantage.

It’s not about getting paranoid, but if we’re always telling our kids to be careful with information, we should lead by example.

If an extortion is paid, the fact can be repeated

Extorsión“We know that you have two children, we know where you live and where they study. We also know where you work and we have many details of your intimacy… so, be good and pay us”.

At a first glance the information provided by these individuals seems to be precise, so convincing that the person receiving the call has enough reasons to panic and thinking in paying.

But… what can be done? Most of the experts recommend to disconnect the phone and not conduct any negotiations because this can lead to much more critical situations. Of course that the threats should not be ignored and the security profile should immediately be raised by breaking routines, seeking additional protection, perhaps getting out of the city for a while, among other measures but above all, do not respond to new calls coming from those phone numbers. Entering into discussions or seeking to negotiate with these people is not advisable.

It is good to know that most extortionists in the cities have neither the capacity nor the logistics to carry out their threats.

A high percentage of extortion calls that occur in cities such as Caracas, Valencia, Barquisimeto, Maracaibo and Puerto Ordaz, come from criminals who are serving sentences in jail. They look for information in classified sections of newspapers and magazines, and then they call these local numbers by posing as other people, looking for ways to get more specific information about the potential victim and his family. Their “involuntary” accomplices are usually domestic workers or secretaries who release valuable information to the extortionists. Later, those criminals communicate directly with the person they want to extort and ask them to purchase phone cards and pass the codes with the excuse that they will call later from other numbers in order to avoid detection.

People who have been victims of this type of crime, have paid thousands of Bs. on phone cards. With these codes, the criminals will carry balances on their cell phones and sell calls in prison.

In addition to this mode, there’s also another one that begins with the involvement of people close to the potential victim, family or workers who know details about fortune, family issues and concerns, places they frequently go to, private relations and more. All that goes to the extortionist and the most insignificant movement or event within the family group is immediately known by the criminals; for that reason is so important to get professional advice, to detect or at least to establish barriers to avoid leakage of information

There are many cases where authorities have found out that domestic employees with years of service with the family, despite of been treated as a family member, beloved and appreciated by the family, have been forced to provide information under death threat or any other pressure of different nature. In other cases simply this domestic servants are part of a gang.

In both referred cases, the recommendation is avoiding any conversation and not conduct any negotiations, not answering calls from unknown numbers and raise the security profile, breaking routines as well as increasing communications among affected family members. Seek professional advice and depending on the severity, report it to police authorities as GAES.

As a precaution, it is important to train the family, domestic staff and other employees in what to say and not to, when receiving inquires of information.

Source: El Universal

Telephone extortion, how to prevent it and what to do in case of being a victim

extortionHere G4S Venezuela presents a few preventive measures you can take against this crime as well as some recommendations on how to react in case of being a victim.

Preventive measures against telephone extortion:

  1. Do not provide personal information to strangers regarding your family and neighbors’ schedules.
  2. Do not accept interviews with strangers and do not answer surveys or telemarketing promotions of any kind.
  3. Do not recommend relatives or friends to strangers.
  4. Keep a detailed registry, preferably in your phone, with caller Id.
  5. When making a purchase, do not provide your home number for the billing information.
  6. Setup a family strategy to come up with some kind of telephone identification, such as a keyword.
  7. Do not publish privileged information in websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Hi5, Tucarro.com, etc.
  8. Know and identify your employees and do not share privileged information with them.

Recommendations in case of being a victim of telephone extortion:

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Do not establish a conversation with the criminal, hang up the phone.
  3. They will call you again a few times from the same unknown number or from a different number, DO NOT PICK-UP THE PHONE.
  4. Contact your Security Advisors, they will help you.
  5. In 90% of the cases, criminals will give up and call a different victim (they have a victim data base; you’re just one of them)
  6. Request your phone operator to change your line immediately if the calls continue.
  7. It is always recommendable to report the case to the competent authorities.