Cryptocurrency market players have seen rapid ups and dramatic downs of Bitcoin price over the past few years. Having taken a nosedive from nearly $20,000 down to $6,000 in 2017–2018, and even below a $4,000 threshold in early 2019, the value of this popular crypto coin started bouncing back this spring and reached $8,000. Furthermore, experts predict a new BTC boom in another two years’ time.

Whereas the recent trend looks promising for hungry investors, it appears to have also become a major driving force for cybercriminals to reactivate their shenanigans in the Bitcoin ecosystem. In the not-so-distant past, cryptocurrency…


Did you know that every file we download from the Internet with a browser’s help stores in its extended attributes (in the inode, not in the file itself) a full web link leading to where it was downloaded from? When I first found it, I was very excited and wanted to immediately rush to save the world. Later, having studied this issue a bit, reading “commits” and “comments”, I understood this feature was introduced into the GNU / Linux kernel at least 10 years ago. …


The situation when the home users come to their wit’s end attempting to remove stubborn malware can be rather tiresome. The constant progress of computer viruses poses serious challenges even to computer security specialists. This industry often lacks responsiveness to new threats that are not yet cataloged.

Authors of modern infections like adware, ransomware, and crypto-miners use obfuscation techniques to hide their components. So, relying on antivirus solutions that are based solely on signature-based detection methods is an inefficient defensive strategy. New malware can withstand commonplace detection and removal practices.

When you are tired of unsuccessful attempts to clean your…


I want to talk today about tools a modern information security specialist should have in his or her arsenal in 2019. I will also touch upon cyber threats that we face now the most, and technologies that can help us fight those threats.

These days, cyberattacks are already perceived as something ordinary. Crooks with no tech knowledge can buy sophisticated malware or order cheap DDOS services without any problems. On the other hand, professional cybercriminals have become more selective and comprehensively investigate future targets before attacking them.

What tools come to the aid of security specialists when the “best defense…


File-encrypting ransomware has gone through significant ups and dramatic downs over the past few years. Overshadowed by the influx of malicious cryptocurrency mining applications in late 2017, this area of cybercrime took a nosedive only the most durable strains could survive. A sample called GandCrab made its debut in the midst of this hiatus and became a game changer.

With the first infection instances documented in January 2018, this lineage quickly gained traction and came to dominate the extortion landscape. Its original variant was crafted competently enough to prevent free decryption, so the users who suddenly discovered their personal files…


Censorship is closely related to politics. The annual global ranking of Internet freedom clearly illustrates this dependence. States that violate human rights also block undesirable websites or block access to the global network.

Only 13 of the 65 countries analyzed by the Freedom House researchers do not interfere with the information freedom of their citizens. Most of the rest of the world’s Internet users can access blocked websites only via VPN services. Residents of China have hard times with this as the hunt for unlicensed VPNs has recently increased there.

Chronology of restrictions

Back in 2008, YouTube was blocked in…


There are plenty of operating systems aimed at achieving online anonymity. But how many of them are really good? I think that not many. Below I want to suggest several Linux distributions that can help to solve numerous privacy\anonymity issues. Let’s go!

Tails OS

Tails is a Debian-based Linux distribution designed to provide privacy and anonymity. All outgoing connections are routed through the Tor network, and all non-anonymous connections are blocked. The system is designed to boot from Live CD or Live USB and leaves no traces on the machine on which it was used. The Tor project is the main sponsor…


From adult content to crypto ransomware, these are the latest spam schemes cybercriminals are using to booby trap you.

The goal of spam distributors went beyond shady advertising and annoyance a long time ago. Many of the junk emails you receive nowadays carry dangerous payloads thoroughly disguised as something innocuous, benign, and eye-catching. Powered by massive botnets, spam is a major source of contamination with ransomware, computer worms, and Trojans.

Cybercriminals have created infrastructures capable of spewing out millions of these booby-trapped messages at a time. Although such an activity might seem like a shot in the dark, the huge volumes of spam in circulation always end up converting into a bevy of infections. This makes the phenomenon a…


Despite its utopian reputation, Scandinavia is a cyber battlefield with data breaches and malware campaigns wreaking havoc.

In addition to geographic, historical and cultural ties, another noteworthy hallmark shared by Scandinavian countries is the ubiquitous digitalization of their economies and the citizens’ day-to-day activities.

This region boasts some of the highest Internet penetration rates across the board, reaching 97%. Moreover, Sweden and Norway rank the second and third in the world by average connection speeds, respectively. The large-scale deployment of fiber optic and LTE infrastructure ensures that even people living on remote islands have unrestricted access to top-notch technologies.

If you put two and two together, you get a juicy potential target for malicious actors. Being in…


Have you ever heard the saying “Safety starts at home”?

It’s true, especially in the context of the Internet. For the bad guys, no target is too small as long as data is concerned. This was certainly the case in April 2018 when it was reported that Russian hackers targeted home routers.

Once a hacker gets access to an unprotected home network, they’re pretty much free to do what they want. Malware campaigns, data and identity theft, and botnets are just a few of the possible ways a hacker can exploit a vulnerable home network. …

David Balaban

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software.

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