Malicious chargers can exploit mobile devices

The Australian government’s Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Technology has reported in their email newsletter Stay Smart Online that some modified chargers for Apple products can exploit the mobile devices.

A vulnerability has been discovered in Apple iOS devices, such as iPhones and iPads, allowing a modified USB charger to compromise the device.

Researchers have demonstrated how connecting an iPhone or iPad to a specially built USB charger has allowed malware or unwanted apps to be installed on the device.

Once connected to the charger, the phone’s software essentially recognised the device as belonging to the attacker, enabling access.

A good tip is to always use official Apple chargers to avoid unwanted issues.

Malware found in Android apps

The Australian government’s Deaprtment of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy‘s Stay Smart Online site has published a concerning post regarding the possibility of apps in the Google Play store containing malware.

The post explains:

Google has removed 32 apps from Google Play after the apps were discovered carrying a new form of malware (BadNews).

Globally, the apps have been downloaded millions of times.

Although the apps are no longer available from Google Play, if you have already downloaded any of these apps on your device you will need to uninstall them, they contain malware which may access your personal information or introduce further costly malware.

Read more here. It’s worth considering subscribing to the Stay Smart Online alerts service, where items of concern are emailed to all subscribers.

Gamers advised to avoid downloading hacks

Stay Smart Online, part of the Australian government’s Department of Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy has just released the following information about the danger of gamers downloading hacks:

Antivirus vendor AVG has issued a warning to gamers following research which suggests that more than 90 per cent of ‘hacks’ available online contain some form of malware or malicious code.

Hacks and cheats are commonly incorporated into games; however, the sheer popularity of online multiplayer games has made gamers prime targets for cybercriminals.

The research suggests more than 90 per cent of hacks, cracks, patches, cheats, key generators, trainers and other downloadable game tools contain malware or executable code.

These hacks are commonly delivered via unregulated torrents and file sharing sites, an easy vector for malware. 

Malware inadvertently downloaded with hacks can give attackers easy access to your online gaming account as well as other sensitive information such as online backing details, personal data and passwords for other online services. 

What should you do?

The best advice is to not download any unofficial hacks, patches, cracks or other gaming software (or any unofficial software whatsoever). 

Only download patches from the game’s official site.

Always be suspicious of any files downloaded from torrents and file sharing websites. 

Ensure you always have uptodate security software installed on your computer. 

Use unique account logon and password information for each of your online gaming accounts (and every other online service you use). 

If you think you’re affected

If you think you might have been infected by a downloaded hack: 

Change your password immediately for the game and any associated or similar online accounts.

Contact the game provider to confirm access to your account. 

Run a scan of your computer using up-to-date security software. Most security software should identify and remove common malware. 

You might also consider seeking additional local technical support.

Please share this information with the gamers in your life.

Stay smart online

The Australian Government’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has an excellent site to help all ages called Stay Smart Online. Tips include:

  • using your credit card safely online
  • banking security tips
  • cyber security awareness
  • information session
  • cybersafety help for children and young adults
Advice is tailored for:
  • home users
  • businesses
  • school
  • kids and teens
There is also the option to sign up for alerts about the latest scams.  Access the whole site here.

Cybersafety help and advice

The Australian Government’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has an online help page where users who need to talk, report or learn about unwelcome behaviours can do so quickly and easily.

As Australian students prepare for the summer holidays, it is a great time to introduce them to or remind them of this type of support.

The easy guide to socialising online

The Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has developed a fantastic resource for parents that offers in depth explanations about:

  • social networking
  • search engines and
  • online games
Games or platforms such as:
  • World of Warcraft
  • XBox Live
  • Nintendo DSi
  • Second Life

and more are covered. There are answers to the following questions:

  • who can access the site?
  • is my information safe?
  • what are the terms and conditions of each site?
  • how can I report cyberbullying or abuse?
A great resource that spells out the safety settings for a number of popular resources. Check it out here.