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Submission + - Online Security: Dumb WhatsApp Scam Spreads Malware - Beware

jamilnaws writes: Dumb WhatsApp Scam Spreads Malware, Touting 'Free Internet' Without Wi-Fi: Beware

A pretty dumb WhatsApp scam is making rounds in chain mail form, promising "free internet" without Wi-Fi on an invite-only basis.

First of all, the scam is quite dumb to begin with because the only way to use WhatsApp without Wi-Fi is to have a cellular data connection and WhatsApp cannot offer data — it's just an app, not a provider.

Secondly, the scam is spreading because it prompts victims to forward the message to 13 friends or five groups on WhatsApp to activate the "free internet."

How It Works

"As usual, the message spreads via WhatsApp groups or comes from a friend who 'recommends' the service — often unaware of it. In this case, you receive a special invitation with a link," explains the WeLiveSecurity blog of antivirus and security firm ESET.

"You can already get Internet Free Without WI-FI with Whatsapp, and it is by means of invitations, here I give you an invitation," reads the poorly written message.

Upon clicking on the included link, users are taken to a website mimicking the WhatsApp domain. It detects the device's language based on the browser settings and invites users to pass along the invitation to more people, ensuring that the scam keeps spreading.

The message also shows fake reviews from fake users, claiming to be incredibly satisfied with this amazing offer. Those users don't even exist, much like this "free internet" invite-only deal. Don't fall for it, or you'll get more than you bargained for — and not in a good way.

Surprise! Malware

After sharing the message with at least 13 people or five groups, users who have fallen victim to this sham end up on various sites where a number of malicious actions can wreak havoc.

According to WeLiveSecurity, such actions range from subscriptions to premium and expensive SMS services to installing third-party apps on the device, of course aiming to generate some money for the scammer on the victims' expense.

Victims will see various offers, but they obviously will not get any "free internet." The only way to use WhatsApp to communicate with people is to have an active internet connection, be it cellular data or Wi-Fi, and the scam does absolutely nothing to change this reality.

At best, victims waste their time and end up disappointed that the magical chain message didn't work. At worst, they end up with malicious software on their phones.

How To Avoid Such Scams

First of all, keep in mind that any message that shows up out of the blue, poorly written and making seemingly attractive promises are most likely fake, part of a scam. Raising awareness regarding these scams plays a crucial role in limiting their damage and slowing their spread rate.

If you've received this "free internet" offer or some other dubious message that looks like a scam, warn the sender and your friends so that they're aware it's a scam. Moreover, reporting the fraud is also important and it's not that big of a hassle — just flag it in your browser as you'd normally report any phishing campaign.

Submission + - Obama commutes the sentence of Chelsea Manning (nytimes.com)

mi writes: President Obama on Tuesday commuted all but four months of the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, a sexually-confused army intelligence analyst convicted of a 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted his administration and brought global prominence to WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures.

The original 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

Submission + - Google Maps Starts Showing Parking Availability For Some Users (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Back in August, Cody found strings in his teardown of Google Maps v9.34 beta that hinted at an upcoming display of parking difficulty. The option may have crept up for some users since then, but now we have our first glance into how the feature will work since it has started showing up for more users on Maps v9.44 beta. Parking availability will be shown as a small rounded P icon next to your route duration estimate when you search for driving directions, followed by more descriptive text. As Cody's teardown showed, there are three levels to look for: Limited, Medium, and Easy. Limited parking will get the P icon to turn red. Once you start driving toward your destination, you can expand the directions to get a more descriptive explanation of the parking situation. Our tipster tells us that according to his tests, parking availability shows up for public destinations like malls and airports and various attractions. The option doesn't seem to be live for everyone on Maps v9.44 beta (APK Mirror link), so you may need to be patient to see it on your phone.

Submission + - President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence 1

bbsguru writes: From NBC News:
President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving 35 years for giving classified information to Wikileaks.

The decision, made in the last days of his presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into her sentence.

More than 117,000 people signed a petition asking Obama to cut short the sentence. Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden said in a tweet that if Obama could only free one person, it should be Manning.

Comment Driving is the Kind of Task Humans Do Badly (Score 2) 198

I find it curious that AI-guided vehicles appear to be held to a standard- perfection- that is never expected of humans. This is especially important given that driving is the kind of task that humans do especially poorly: it requires extended attention to something that is, for the most part, repetitive and boring. Given those kinds of tasks, humans easily lose focus, where computers do not.

Given that the US has averaged 35480 deaths on the road over the last 10 year (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year) I have a hard time seeing how AI *couldn't* make the roads safer.

-Z

Submission + - 'The Wolf of Wall Street' Movie Was Financed With Stolen Money, Says DOJ (nydailynews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Federal officials charged a $3.5 billion Malaysian money-laundering scheme helped finance the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “Wolf of Wall Street” — the Hollywood tale that parallels the corruption charges. U.S. officials seek to recover $1.3 billion of the missing funds, including profits from the Martin Scorsese-directed movie that earned five Oscar nominations. The conspirators used some of their illicit cash to fund Scorsese’s tale of “a corrupt stockbroker who tried to hide his own illicit profits in a perceived foreign safe haven,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. DiCaprio famously played the lead role of convicted fraudster Jordan Belfort, who was ordered to repay $110 million to 1,500 victims of his scam. The identified conspirators included movie producer Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, the prime minister’s stepson, and businessman Low Taek John, a friend of Najib’s family. A third scammer identified only as “Malaysian Official 1” was widely believed to be Najib. Court papers indicated that $681 million from a 2013 bond sale went directly into the official’s private account. The nation’s attorney-general, Mohamed Apandi, came to Najib’s defense Thursday, expressing his “strong concerns at the insinuations and allegations” brought against the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Apandi’s office, after investigating the $681 million bank deposit, announced in January that the funds were a donation from the Saudi royal family. The prime minister wound up returning most of the cash. Federal officials, in their California court filing, indicated they were hoping to seize proceeds from the 2013 movie, along with luxury properties in New York and California, artwork by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, and a $35 million private jet. Investigations of 1MDB are already underway in Switzerland and Singapore, with officials in the latter announcing Thursday that they had seized assets worth $176 million.

Submission + - Police 3D-printed a murder victim's finger to unlock his phone (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Police in Michigan have a new tool for unlocking phones: 3D printing. According to a new report from Flash Forward creator Rose Eveleth, law enforcement officers approached professors at the University of Michigan earlier this year to reproduce a murder victimâ(TM)s fingerprint from a prerecorded scan. Once created, the 3D model would be used to create a false fingerprint, which could be used to unlock the phone.

Because the investigation is ongoing, details are limited, and itâ(TM)s unclear whether the technique will be successful. Still, itâ(TM)s similar to techniques researchers have used in the past to re-create working fingerprint molds from scanned images, often in coordination with law enforcement. This may be the first confirmed case of police using the technique to unlock a phone in an active investigation.

Submission + - WSJ reporter has phones seized by DHS at border (facebook.com)

v3rgEz writes: A Wall Street Journal reporter has shared her experienced of having her phones forcefully taken at the border — and how DHS insists that your right to privacy does not exist when reentering the United States. Indeed, she's not alone: Documents previously released under FOIA show that the DHS has a long standing policy of warrantless (and even motiveless) seizures at the border, essentially removing any traveler's right to privacy.

Submission + - Facebook Took Its Giant Internet Drone On Its First Test Flight (fastcompany.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A year ago, Facebook unveiled Aquila, its effort to put giant drones in the skies to beam Internet connectivity to areas in the developing world without mobile broadband Internet. Today, the company announced it has completed the first full-scale test of its Aquila drone, after months of testing one-fifth-size models. On June 28, the experimental aircraft (featuring a V-shaped wingspan the width of a Boeing 737) took off from the Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona, and flew for 96 minutes at low altitude, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg and many others watched in the dawn sunlight. (There's a video of video of the flight, too.) Possibly years of work remain before Facebook's connectivity effort fully takes off, according to a head engineer, including figuring out how to keep the drones aloft for hours at a time, and how to effectively send Internet with lasers.

Comment 4th Amendment protections (Score 1) 183

This issue is much simpler than it's being made out to be. The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So, if the US Government got a proper search warrant, then Apple is legally obligated to do as legally ordered and unlock the phone- in this instance. Just as a single instance of issuing a search warrant doesn't allow for all future searches to take place without one, any future requests to unlock phones require their own proper search warrants. If the US Government doesn't have a proper search warrant to unlock the phone, then Apple has the perfect legal right to tell them to pound sand.

Comment From the wisdom of Sherlock Holmes... (Score 1) 412

"We must fall back upon the old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." – The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

Translation: if no other explanations work, then "weird alien megastructure" could well be the last standing contingency, and therefore, the truth.

Discuss.

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