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Cybersecurity researchers have found an interesting piece of malware that, instead of stealing passwords or extorting the owner of a computer for ransom, blocks infected users' computers from being able to visit a large number of websites dedicated to software piracy. However, the malware appears murky. Researchers at Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, have detailed a curious cyberattack campaign that targets users of pirated software with malware designed to block access to websites hosting pirated software.
The developers disguise the malware as cracked versions of popular online games such as Minecraft and Among Us, as well as productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, security software, and others. The disguised malware is distributed via the BitTorrent platform from an account hosted on "ThePirateBay" digital file-sharing website. "Links to the malware are also hosted on Discord. Once installed, the malware blocks the victim's access to a long list of websites, including many that distribute pirated software," the researchers said in a blog post.
The researchers were not able to discern a provenance for this malware. "But its motivation seemed pretty clear: It prevents people from visiting software piracy websites (if only temporarily), and sends the name of the pirated software the user was hoping to use to a website, which also delivers a secondary payload," they explained.
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Andrew Brandt, principal threat researcher, Sophos, said: "Sometimes it is easy to see clearly what an adversary's end game is and why they have chosen a particular approach to achieve it. This is not one of those times". On the face of it, the adversary's targets and tools suggest this could be some kind of anti-piracy vigilante operation. "However, the attacker's vast potential target audience -- from gamers to business professionals -- make the ultimate purpose of this operation a bit murky," Brandt cautioned. At least some of the malware, disguised as pirated copies of a wide variety of software packages, was hosted on game chat service Discord.
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Other copies, distributed through Bittorrent, were also named after popular games, productivity tools, and even security products, accompanied by additional files that make it appear to have originated with a well-known file-sharing account on ThePirateBay. In this malware case, the attackers use an age-old approach of modifying the HOSTS file settings on an infected device to "localhost" a long list of websites, thereby blocking the user's access to them.
The malicious files are compiled for 64-bit Windows 10 and then signed with bogus digital certificates that wouldn't pass more than a very rudimentary check. "Once downloaded and installed by a user, the malware hunts for files named 7686789678967896789678 and 412412512512512. If it finds them it stops any further launch of the attack," said Sophos researchers. The malware also triggers a fake error message to appear when it runs, which asks people to re-install the software, they added. (IANS/JC)
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
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Bitcoin, is the oldest and most solid of the market. | Photo by Executium on Unsplash
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