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Google to Slash Poor Performing Apps, F5 Releases IoT Botnet Research Paper and More in This Week's News

Google Takes Aim at Poor Performing Apps

Google has recently announced that they’re will be taking further measures on penalizing poor performing apps in their Google Play store.

Simply put, those apps that don’t meet performance standards will get down-ranked and increasingly hard to find within the store. The company hasn’t specified how its algorithm will judge and rank apps but experts predict it will consider mainly app outages, uninstall frequency, battery consumption, user engagement and store ratings as primary factors.

The measures are bound to put even more pressure on developers to ensure high levels of app performance, making it increasingly difficult to meet the demand for new features and follow the high tempo set by big players that push new releases twice or more a week.

Read More:

Dynatrace Blog

F5 Releases Comprehensive IoT Botnet Research Report

Last week, F5 published their latest research paper. Their report focuses on IoT devices turned into massive cyber-weapons by hackers, much like the Mirai botnet that shook the world last year.

The third semi-annual paper on the topic follows the impact of IoT devices exploited for building botnets which are then used for launching large-scale DDoS attacks. In the report, IoT botnets are called “thingbots” (as they are built exclusively from IoT devices) and are expected to become the base for the infrastructure of a future darknet.

Key findings from “The Hunt For IoT: The Rise Of Thingbots” report based on data collected between January 1 through June 30, 2017:

  • Telnet attack activity grew 280% compared to the previous period
  • The level of attacking activity doesn’t equate to the current size of Mirai or Persirai, suggesting there are other thingbots being built
  • 93% of attacks occurred in January and February, with a significant decline in March through June
  • Spain has been the top attacking country in the studied period with 83% of all attacks

For more details, get the whole report by following the link below.

Read More:

F5 Labs Report

Android App Stores Flooded With Spyware Apps

Over 1,000 spyware were found throughout Android app stores, including Google Play. Unknown actors have managed to publish more than a thousand malicious apps able to track almost all user activities on their mobile devices.

The spyware spreading through app stores, dubbed SonicSpy, has been active since at least February and pretends to be a messaging app. The malware is able to record calls and audio, hijack the camera, make outbound calls and even send text messages to numbers chosen by the attacker.

It was discovered by security researchers at Lookout, who tracked its activities within Soniac, Hulk Messenger and Troy Chat apps and many others. The malware is also expected to reappear. For that matter, the best way to defend from it is by checking the permissions given to downloaded apps, verifying other user’s reviews and keeping antiviruses and devices up-to-date.

Read More:

Hacker News, Lookout Blog

Facebook’s New Feature Will Attempt to Take Over Youtube and TV

The latest feature announced by Facebook, the “Watch” tab, is expected to take over a chunk of Youtube’s and classic TV’s audience.

Watch will be providing original TV shows for Facebook’s two billion users.

"We hope Watch will be home to a wide range of shows -- from reality to comedy to live sports. (...) Some will be made by professional creators, and others from regular people in our community."

Mark Zuckerberg CEO @ Facebook

The feature has currently been made available to a small part of US but its worldwide launch is expected to follow soon. The company announced that the new feature will be available on mobile, desktop, laptop and in the company’s TV apps. As for the content, Zuckerberg said it will a mixture of live content, one-off spectacles and series.

Read More:

Cloud Pro, Facebook Newsroom

HBO Hackers Offered $250,000 to Delay Further Leaks

Late last month, unknown hackers managed to get their hands on over 1.5 terabytes of stolen HBO data. They leaked upcoming episodes of many shows as well as a script of the fourth episode of "Game of Thrones."

A week after the leak, the perpetrators published another half-gigabyte sample of stolen HBO data, such as company's emails, employment agreements, and financial balance sheets, only to follow up with a ransom demand at nearly $6 Million in Bitcoins.

According to certain sources, an HBO executive wrote that they had not been able to acquire the demanded amount of Bitcoin and requested to extend the ransom payment deadline by one more week. Reuters sources suggest that it’s all a stall technique and that the company has no intention whatsoever to pay the actual ransom.

It is still unclear who stands behind the hack and how it will all unfold.

Read More:

Hacker News, Reuters

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