O2 Outage, ISPs take on DNSChanger, Malware apps for Apple & Android

Many UK phone users were left without the use of their mobiles on Wednesday and Thursday, after O2 services went down. Whilst the phone company insisted on Thursday that things were returning to normal, angry users denied this, some saying they could receive texts but not make calls or send texts.

 Digital Marketing Saturday Social: Issue 15

The problem has now been resolved, and was apparently caused by O2 moving its subscriber details to Ericsson’s centralised user database. This meant that whilst the move was intended to support further applications for O2 users, when the database became unavailable, so did making any form of communication for users.

Although it’s expected that many consumers will demand compensation for the outage, O2 are under no obligation to do this, although it’s a different matter for business customers.

o2_digital_marketing Digital Marketing Saturday Social: Issue 15
DNSChanger danger over?

Well, not really. The FBI closed down the temporary servers on Monday, which were put in place to ensure that as many as 4 million people could still get online, after the huge DNSChanger botnet was taken down and those responsible arrested.

However, the court order that meant that the FBI could route infected machines through the temporary server ran out on Monday. This potentially meant that around 300,000 people would have been unable to get online.

DNSChanger worked by infected a machine with a trojan which then rerouted infected machines to advert infested websites, rather than any usual ones they may visit.

However, despite an enormous amount of publicity, lots of people around the world remain infected, although the FBI and a host of other sites have had cleaning instructions and removal tools available since the botnet was taken down in November 2011.

Now, it seems, ISPs have taken matters into their own hands and set up DNS servers of their own, so that infected machines can still get online.

This is despite the fact that an F-Secure poll found that 82% of people thought that those still infected should be left to their own devices as to how to get the problem solved.

Apple and Android infected with dodgy app

Android and Apple stores have both been hit by a malware app called ‘Find and Call’ this week. The app uploads user phonebook details to a server,which is controlled by the maker of the app; it doesn’t ask for permission to use this feature and so it’s not possible to deny it. The app also sends out SMS messages without the user’s knowledge.

The Russian firm responsible for the app were contacted by a Russian blogger, who asked them what they were up to and were told that the suspicious features were a ‘bug’ in the development and the app wasn’t intended to be malicious.

Whilst it comes as no surprise that Google has been hit by yet another malicious app, this is the first one that has managed to sneak past Apple’s more rigorous testing process.

A new Google Play outbreak is thought to be affecting around 100,000 users recently after a number of malicious apps were found to be masquerading as popular games and such like. The app has spread to nine stores and purchases content without the user’s permission from China Mobile. Whilst many of the infected apps are thought to be in overseas’ stores, it’s also thought that the official Google Play store has been affected too.

Firms wasting money on Facebook ads

A report from the BBC has suggested that advertisers on social networking site Facebook are wasting a large amount of money as ‘likes’ are gained from people with no actual interest in the products or services they’re advertising.

The Beeb cited an unknown security expert who said that many of the profiles used to click like were actually fakes which are run by a computer. However, Facebook denied seeing any “evidence of a significant problem”.

According to security firm Sophos’ Graham Cluey: “Spammers and malware authors can mass-produce false Facebook profiles to help them spread dangerous links and spam, and trick people into befriending them.”

“We know some of these accounts are run by computer software with one person puppeteering thousands of profiles from a single desk handing out commands such as: ‘like’ as many pages as you can to create a large community.

“I’m sure Facebook is trying to shut these down but it can be difficult to distinguish fake accounts from real ones.”

Yahoo hacked, user passwords stolen

Hacking group D33DS has claimed that it was behind the attack on Yahoo this week, in which around 450,000 Yahoo user IDs were exposed.

In a statement Yahoo said: “We confirm that an older file from Yahoo Contributor Network… containing approximately 450,000 Yahoo and other company users’ names and passwords was compromised yesterday.”

“Of these, less than 5% of the Yahoo accounts had valid passwords. We are taking immediate action by fixing the vulnerability that led to the disclosure of this data, changing the passwords of the affected Yahoo users and notifying the companies whose users accounts may have been compromised.”

US security experts at Trustedsec said that the stolen passwords were “almost entirely unencrypted”, it’s also thought that even more sensitive personal information such as names, addresses, dates of birth and postcodes may have also been stolen as these were stored in the same database.

Users of Yahoo, Gmail and AOL are all advised that they should change their passwords.

Spanish bank celebrates with Beethoven

A Spanish bank celebrated its 130th birthday this week by putting on a show for passers-by; the performance started with just a couple of double-bass and soon progressed to a full-on orchestra performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, complete with choir.

Needless to say, the performance attracted a lot of onlookers and included 100 participants from the Valles Symphony Orchestra, the Leider, Amics de l’’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs – check it out, it’s pretty cool.


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