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Twitter surveys users about features for its subscription service such as undoing sent tweets

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twitter surveys users about features for its subscription service such as undoing sent tweets

Twitter recently confirmed the addition of a subscription platform and is surveying its members to determine what features are worth an extra fee.

A tweet surfaced on the platform showing a number of features that could be part of the paid model, including a 30 second window to undo tweets and profile customization.

The survey asks users to select features they believe are most important and those considered to be least significant.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey affirmed plans for the service last month in a call conference call with analysts, saying ‘you will likely see some tests this year’ of new revenue-generating approaches on the Twitter platform.’

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Twitter recently confirmed the addition of a subscription platform and is surveying its members to determine what features are worth an extra fee

Twitter recently confirmed the addition of a subscription platform and is surveying its members to determine what features are worth an extra fee

.A tweet surfaced on the platform showing a number of features that could be part of the paid model, including a 30 second window to undo tweets and profile customization

.A tweet surfaced on the platform showing a number of features that could be part of the paid model, including a 30 second window to undo tweets and profile customization

Twitter recently confirmed the addition of a subscription platform and is surveying its members to determine what features are worth an extra fee. A tweet surfaced on the platform showing a number of features that could be part of the paid model, including a 30 second window to undo tweets and profile customization.

Until now, Twitter has offered a free service — creating revenue instead by enabling other firms to purchase targeted ads deployed to appropriate sections of the platform’s millions-strong userbase.

However, the platform’s advertising income has suffered financially from both the effects of coronavirus pandemic and from recent advertising boycotts linked to the racial justice protests in the United States.

‘We want to make sure any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business,’ Dorsey said in July, according to CNN Business.

‘We do think there is a world where subscription is complementary, where commerce is complementary, where helping people manage paywalls […] is complementary.’

Rumors of a potential subscription model first surfaced when a job posting went live on Twitter’s main site. The listing said the firm was working on a subscription platform dubbed ‘Gryphon’ and is looking for engineers to help with the development

Rumors of a potential subscription model first surfaced when a job posting went live on Twitter’s main site. The listing said the firm was working on a subscription platform dubbed ‘Gryphon’ and is looking for engineers to help with the development

Rumors of a potential subscription model first surfaced when a job posting went live on Twitter’s main site. The listing said the firm was working on a subscription platform dubbed ‘Gryphon’ and is looking for engineers to help with the development 

The survey asks users to select features they believe are most important and those considered to be least significant

The survey asks users to select features they believe are most important and those considered to be least significant

The survey asks users to select features they believe are most important and those considered to be least significant

Twitter user Andrew Roth shared a snapshot of the survey, which reveals a number of features available in the subscription model, as first reported on by The Verge.

Users could undo sent tweets, customize profiles with different colors, links and icons, publish videos up to five times longer and there is also an option for recruiters to find potential employees on the site.

There is also a possibility of paying to see few or no ads on the platform, which has been the main source of revenue for Twitter.

Rumors of a potential subscription model first surfaced when a job posting went live on Twitter’s main site.

The listing said the firm was working on a subscription platform dubbed ‘Gryphon’ and is looking for engineers to help with the development.

‘We are building a subscription platform, one that can be reused by other teams in the future,’ reads the listing.

‘This is a first for Twitter! Gryphon is a team of web engineers who are closely collaborating with the Payments team and the Twitter.com team.’

‘We are looking for a full-stack engineer to lead the Payment and Subscription client work.’

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey affirmed plans for the service last month in a call conference call with analysts, saying ‘you will likely see some tests this year' of new revenue-generating approaches on the Twitter platform'

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey affirmed plans for the service last month in a call conference call with analysts, saying ‘you will likely see some tests this year' of new revenue-generating approaches on the Twitter platform'

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey affirmed plans for the service last month in a call conference call with analysts, saying ‘you will likely see some tests this year’ of new revenue-generating approaches on the Twitter platform’

The company briefly edited the job listing to remove references to ‘Gryphon’ and the ‘subscription platform’.

Twitter declined to comment on the reason behind the temporary changes.

The job posting was enough to spark a fury among Twitter’s users, as many oppose the idea of having to pay to use the app.

One user said: ‘The day I pay for a Twitter subscription is the day I start supporting Trump.’

Others believe the move may be the end of Twitter and some hope the fee would be for new users joining the site.

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Facebook merges Messenger and Instagram Direct Messages as part of its plan to integrate services 

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facebook merges messenger and instagram direct messages as part of its plan to integrate services

Facebook has officially slid Messenger into Instagram’s Direct Messages.

The social media giant announced an update that merges the two messaging services into one unified system.

The roll out includes more than 10 new features including stickers, Watch Together and a vanish mode that allows users to set messages to automatically disappear after they are seen. 

The most notable change is that people using Messenger can communicate with those on Instagram without having to download the app – and vice versa. 

News of the integration first surfaced in 2019 when Facebook revealed plans to merge Messenger, Instagram Direct Messages and WhatsApp.

The company was still in the early stages of the work last year, but had set 2020 for when the move would be complete.

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Facebook has officially slid Messenger into Instagram's Direct Messages. The social media giant announced an update that merges the two messaging services into one unified system

Facebook has officially slid Messenger into Instagram's Direct Messages. The social media giant announced an update that merges the two messaging services into one unified system

Facebook has officially slid Messenger into Instagram’s Direct Messages. The social media giant announced an update that merges the two messaging services into one unified system

Although WhatsApp did not make the cut, Facebook has kept to part of the plan. 

‘More than a billion people already use Messenger as a place to share, hang out and express themselves with family and friends,’ Facebook shared in a blog post.

‘That’s why we’re connecting the Messenger and Instagram experience to bring some of the best Messenger features to Instagram – so you have access to the best messaging experience, no matter which app you use.’

The merge was rolled out last month to a few users, but now ever Instagram user can update the app for access.  

The most notable change is that people using Messenger can communicate with those on Instagram without having to download the app - and vice versa

The most notable change is that people using Messenger can communicate with those on Instagram without having to download the app - and vice versa

The most notable change is that people using Messenger can communicate with those on Instagram without having to download the app – and vice versa

The roll out includes more than 10 new features including stickers, Watch Together and a vanish mode that allows users to set messages to automatically disappear after they are seen

The roll out includes more than 10 new features including stickers, Watch Together and a vanish mode that allows users to set messages to automatically disappear after they are seen

The roll out includes more than 10 new features including stickers, Watch Together and a vanish mode that allows users to set messages to automatically disappear after they are seen

Facebook rolled out an update that merges Instagram with Messenger, providing users with access to a list of features in Direct Messages.  

Users have access to new colorful look for chats, a new list of emojis, the swipe to reply to message option and the ability to chat with friends on Facebook – bringing the messaging services into one platform.

The update includes Message Controls that allows people to decide who can message them directly and who cannot message them at all. 

The move also comes as CEO Mark Zuckerburg battles with government regulators who are investigating the possibility of breaking up the social giant. 

The update includes Message Controls that allows people to decide who can message them directly and who cannot message them at all

The update includes Message Controls that allows people to decide who can message them directly and who cannot message them at all

The update includes Message Controls that allows people to decide who can message them directly and who cannot message them at all

Facebook recently went in front of Congress, which is investigating the social media site’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

However, Zuckerberg is hitting back stating the claims are based on Instagram’s present-day success.

‘It was not a guarantee that Instagram was going to succeed,’ he said.

‘The acquisition has done wildly well, largely because not just of the founders’ talent, but because we invested heavily in building up the infrastructure and promoting it.’

With the merge, it will be more difficult for government officials to break up the social media giant.

In July, Florida Rep Matt Gaetz has called for the Justice Department to investigate Zuckerberg for allegedly lying to Congress about political bias in the social media giant’s content moderation practices.

The move also comes as CEO Mark Zuckerburg battles with government regulators who are investigating the possibility of breaking up the social giant Facebook recently went in front of Congress, which is investigating the social media site's acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp

The move also comes as CEO Mark Zuckerburg battles with government regulators who are investigating the possibility of breaking up the social giant Facebook recently went in front of Congress, which is investigating the social media site's acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp

The move also comes as CEO Mark Zuckerburg battles with government regulators who are investigating the possibility of breaking up the social giant Facebook recently went in front of Congress, which is investigating the social media site’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp

The Republican congressman sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday accusing Zuckerberg of making ‘materially false statements to Congress while under oath’ during two hearings in April 2018.

‘On both occasions, members of Congress asked Mr. Zuckerberg about allegations that Facebook censored and suppressed content supportive of President Donald Trump and other conservatives,’ Gaetz wrote.

‘In his responses, Mr. Zuckerberg repeatedly and categorically denied any bias against conservative speech, persons, policies, or politics. Mr. Zuckerberg also dismissed the suggestion that Facebook exercises any form of editorial manipulation.’

Gaetz cited a recent investigation from Project Veritas, a right-wing activist group, which found that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of content filtered by Facebook’s artificial intelligence was in support of Trump and other Republicans and conservative ideals.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Greenland on track to lose ice faster than in any century for over 12,000 years

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greenland on track to lose ice faster than in any century for over 12000 years

Greenland is on track to lose ice mass faster this century than during any other century over the last 12,000 years, according to a new study. 

US researchers simulated high-carbon-emission scenarios of the Greenland Ice Sheet – a 660,000 square mile body of ice that covers around 80 per cent of the surface of the island.

Under a scenario of high greenhouse gas emissions, ice mass loss could be four times higher than anything experienced over the past 12,000 years. 

Their new prediction is conditional on whether human societies ‘sharply curb’ emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which cause global warming

Reducing carbon emissions is needed to decrease the contribution of the Greenland Ice Sheet to rising sea levels, which could flood cities in the next 50 years.   

The edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet - the second-largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic Ice Sheet. If human societies don't sharply curb emissions of greenhouse gases, Greenland's rate of ice loss this century is likely to outpace that of any century over the past 12,000 years

The edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet - the second-largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic Ice Sheet. If human societies don't sharply curb emissions of greenhouse gases, Greenland's rate of ice loss this century is likely to outpace that of any century over the past 12,000 years

The edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet – the second-largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic Ice Sheet. If human societies don’t sharply curb emissions of greenhouse gases, Greenland’s rate of ice loss this century is likely to outpace that of any century over the past 12,000 years

‘Basically, we’ve altered our planet so much that the rates of ice sheet melt this century are on pace to be greater than anything we’ve seen under natural variability of the ice sheet over the past 12,000 years,’ said lead author Jason Briner at the University at Buffalo in the US.

‘We’ll blow that out of the water if we don’t make severe reductions to greenhouse gas emissions.’ 

Scientists used new, detailed reconstructions of ancient climate for their simulation model, which was focused on southwestern Greenland.

The model was validated against real-world measurements of the ice sheet’s contemporary and ancient size, taken from samples in the field. 

Samples from Greenland boulders, for example, contain chemical isotopes that can help scientists determine the ancient boundaries of Greenland Ice Sheet. 

The experts simulated changes in the sheet from the beginning of the Holocene epoch, around 12,000 years ago, and extending into the future up to 2100.   

Although the current rate of ice loss in Greenland is comparable to the highest rates during the Holocene, the researchers believe future rates are likely to exceed them. 

The research team’s data shows Greenland ice loss has veered below zero at points throughout the last 6,000 years, but is set to soar upwards at the end of the 21st century.   

The project focused on southwestern Greenland. The largest ice mass losses in the past, between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, were at rates of around 6,000 billion tonnes per century

The project focused on southwestern Greenland. The largest ice mass losses in the past, between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, were at rates of around 6,000 billion tonnes per century

The project focused on southwestern Greenland. The largest ice mass losses in the past, between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, were at rates of around 6,000 billion tonnes per century

In their simulations, the researchers found that the largest ice mass losses in the past, between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, were at rates of around 6,000 billion tonnes per century. 

This is similar to the estimated rates of the first two decades of this century (2000–2018) of around 6,100 billion tonnes per century. 

However, projected mass losses for the rest of this century are expected to exceed those maximum rates, they say.  

The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is also currently causing sea levels to rise by about 0.02 inches (0.7mm) per year. 

But the new model predicts it could reach somewhere between 0.07 inches and 0.27 inches (2mm to 7mm) per year by 2100. 

a) Map of the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet, showing commonly used domains (as labelled) and our model domain (outlined in red). NO, north; NE, northeast; NW, northwest; CW, central–west; SE, southeast; SW, southwest. b) and c) show moraine sequences - accumulations of unconsolidated glacial debris

a) Map of the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet, showing commonly used domains (as labelled) and our model domain (outlined in red). NO, north; NE, northeast; NW, northwest; CW, central–west; SE, southeast; SW, southwest. b) and c) show moraine sequences - accumulations of unconsolidated glacial debris

a) Map of the present-day Greenland Ice Sheet, showing commonly used domains (as labelled) and our model domain (outlined in red). NO, north; NE, northeast; NW, northwest; CW, central–west; SE, southeast; SW, southwest. b) and c) show moraine sequences – accumulations of unconsolidated glacial debris

A rise in sea levels would see many cities around the world exposed to coastal flooding, which could lead to mass evacuations. 

Researchers also took into account the different climate eventualities as outlined in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s ‘RCP’ system.

The RCP trajectory ranges from RCP1.9 – where global warming is limited below 2.7°F (1.5°C) as per the goal of the Paris Agreement – to the dreaded RCP8.5, where emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century in a worst case scenario. 

Researchers used RCP2.6, where carbon dioxide emissions start declining by 2020 and reach zero by 2100, as a best case scenario. 

In the RCP2.6 scenario, the predicted mass loss is around 8,800 billion tonnes per century, the team found

But this increases to around 35,900 billion tonnes in the scenario with the highest emissions, RCP8.5 – where emissions would continue to rise throughout the 21st century.

‘If the world goes on a massive energy diet, in line with RCP2.6, our model predicts that the Greenland Ice Sheet’s rate of mass loss this century will be only slightly higher than anything experienced in the past 12,000 year,’ said Professor Briner. 

Scientists collect samples from boulders in Greenland. These samples contain chemical isotopes that can help scientists determine the ancient boundaries of the ice sheet

Scientists collect samples from boulders in Greenland. These samples contain chemical isotopes that can help scientists determine the ancient boundaries of the ice sheet

Scientists collect samples from boulders in Greenland. These samples contain chemical isotopes that can help scientists determine the ancient boundaries of the ice sheet

‘But more worrisome is that under a high-emissions RCP8.5 scenario – the one the Greenland Ice Sheet is now following – the rate of mass loss could be about four times the highest values experienced under natural climate variability over the past 12,000 years.’  

The amount of ice lost this century could also reverse 4,000 years of cumulative ice growth and exceed previous mass-loss rates by about fourfold. 

Professor Briner said the findings are ‘yet another wake-up call’, especially for countries like the US that produce huge amounts of carbon-sourced energy. 

The US has produced more of the carbon dioxide that currently resides in the atmosphere than any other country, while Americans use more energy per person than any other nation in the world. 

‘The most affluent Americans, who have the highest energy footprint, can afford to make lifestyle changes, fly less, install solar panels and drive an energy-efficient vehicle,’ he said.   

The authors conclude that unprecedented rates of mass loss will occur unless a low-carbon-emission scenario is followed. 

Researchers say the study highlights the ‘extreme and unusual’ projected Greenland ice sheet losses for the 21st century.

‘We have long timelines of temperature change, past to present to future, that show the influence of greenhouse gases on Earth’s temperature,’ said Professor Briner.

‘For the first time we have a long timeline of the impacts of that temperature – in the form of Greenland Ice Sheet melt – from the past to present to future and what it shows is eye-opening.’ 

Though the project focused on southwestern Greenland, research shows that changes in the rates of ice loss there tend to correspond tightly with changes across the entire ice sheet.              

The study has been published in Nature.  

SEA LEVELS COULD RISE BY UP TO 4 FEET BY THE YEAR 2300

Global sea levels could rise as much as 1.2 metres (4 feet) by 2300 even if we meet the 2015 Paris climate goals, scientists have warned.

The long-term change will be driven by a thaw of ice from Greenland to Antarctica that is set to re-draw global coastlines.

Sea level rise threatens cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives.

It is vital that we curb emissions as soon as possible to avoid an even greater rise, a German-led team of researchers said in a new report.

By 2300, the report projected that sea levels would gain by 0.7-1.2 metres, even if almost 200 nations fully meet goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Targets set by the accords include cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the second half of this century.

Ocean levels will rise inexorably because heat-trapping industrial gases already emitted will linger in the atmosphere, melting more ice, it said.

In addition, water naturally expands as it warms above four degrees Celsius (39.2°F).

Every five years of delay beyond 2020 in peaking global emissions would mean an extra 20 centimetres (8 inches) of sea level rise by 2300.

‘Sea level is often communicated as a really slow process that you can’t do much about … but the next 30 years really matter,’ lead author Dr Matthias Mengel, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Potsdam, Germany, told Reuters.

None of the nearly 200 governments to sign the Paris Accords are on track to meet its pledges.

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Microsoft: Russia is behind most nation state cyber attacks 

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microsoft russia is behind most nation state cyber attacks

More than half of nation-state cyber attacks in the last year have originated from Russia, Microsoft has revealed in a new report. 

According to the firm’s annual Digital Defense Report, 52 per cent of state-sponsored hacking attempts from July 2019 and June 2020 were Russian in origin.

Exactly a quarter during this time period came from Iran, 12 per cent from China and the remaining 11 per cent from North Korea and other countries.  

Cyber operations have targeted global events, including elections and individuals tied to political campaigns, as well as the Olympic Games and the current pandemic.

Every country in the world has seen at least one Covid-19-themed attack since the pandemic began, Microsoft claims.

The number of successful attacks has increased along with Covid-19 outbreaks as ‘fear and the desire for information’ has grown. 

The themes of dodgy links and scamming attempts are a reflection of ‘the contemporary issues of the day’ Microsoft said.  

52 per cent of nation-state cyber warfare hack attempts from July 2019 and June 2020 were from Russia, Microsoft said. Pictured: Stock image of a hacker

52 per cent of nation-state cyber warfare hack attempts from July 2019 and June 2020 were from Russia, Microsoft said. Pictured: Stock image of a hacker

For example, clicking a link to a purported Covid-19 cure can result in a computer becoming infected with viruses.  

WHAT ARE NATION STATE CYBER ATTACKS? 

 Nation state cyber attacks are assaults launched by cybercriminals who have the backing of their nation state.

Nation state attackers work for a government to compromise target governments in another country or organisations.

British defence and security company BAE Systems describes them as agents with a ‘licence to hack’.

‘They can work without fear of legal retribution – they will be highly unlikely to be arrested in their home country for what they’re doing,’ the company says.

Nation state actors are well-funded, well-trained, and watch their targets and change techniques to increase their effectiveness, Microsoft said. 

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Microsoft’s annual report analyses trillions of threat signals from PCs, ‘smart home’ devices, and emails to estimate total cyber security over the course of a year. 

‘Cybercriminals are opportunistic and have capitalised on interest and fear related to the Covid-19 pandemic and other disruptive events,’ said Mary Jo Schrade at Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia. 

‘They have expanded the way they leverage computers that are infected with malware, adding modules or changing the nature of the attacks for which they leverage them. 

‘They have also focused on targeting their ransomware activities toward entities that cannot afford to be offline or without access to records during critical periods of the pandemic, like hospitals and medical research institutions. 

‘Concerted efforts from organisations, governments and businesses are key to addressing these wide-ranging online threats.’  

When a Microsoft customer – either a single person or organisation – is targeted or compromised by nation state activities that the firm tracks, Microsoft delivers something called a nation state notification (NSN) to the customer.  

Microsoft said it has issued 13,000 alerts about nation-state hacking attempts to its customers in the last two years.  

Russia, the worst offender for such attempts observed by Microsoft, has a history of launching disruptive and potentially destructive attacks ‘in response to perceived anti-Russian actions in international sport’. 

As the world prepared for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 2020, at least 16 national and international sporting and anti-doping organisations across three continents were targeted

As the world prepared for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 2020, at least 16 national and international sporting and anti-doping organisations across three continents were targeted

Before the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2018, suspected Russia-based threat actors stole and leaked athletes’ sensitive medical data and rendered inoperable the servers comprising the IT backbone of the Olympic Games.

And as the world prepared for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games this year – which has been postponed because of Covid-19 – at least 16 national and international sporting and anti-doping organisations across three continents were targeted.

The US took the brunt of the nation state cyber attacks in the past year, followed by the UK, Microsoft intelligence revealed.  

More than two thirds – 69 per cent – of the NSNs sent by Microsoft from July 2019 to June 2020 were to customers in the US.

19 per cent were sent to UK customers, followed by 5 per cent in Canada, 4 per cent in South Korea and 3 per cent in Saudi Arabia. 

Origin of nation state cyber attacks (top) and their targeted nation (bottom). The UK was the second most targeted nation

Origin of nation state cyber attacks (top) and their targeted nation (bottom). The UK was the second most targeted nation

Iran, which accounted for the second-largest amount of hack attempts behind Russia, was the source of increasing state-backed cyber activity.  

In a 30-day period between August and September 2019, Microsoft observed Iran-based hackers attacking 241 accounts of Microsoft customers.

The targeted accounts were associated with a US presidential campaign, current and former US government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran.  

As the November 2020 US Presidential election gets closer, Microsoft said it’s likely to see this nefarious activity increase. 

As for China, a suspected nation state group operating there compromised accounts at a US university involved in Covid-19 vaccine research in March.

As the US general election gets closer, Microsoft is 'likely to see activity increase after this report was written' in the demand for information. President Donald Trump (left) and Democratic candidate Joe Biden seen here in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29

As the US general election gets closer, Microsoft is ‘likely to see activity increase after this report was written’ in the demand for information. President Donald Trump (left) and Democratic candidate Joe Biden seen here in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29

And nation state actors from both North Korea and Iran targeted global university experts that influence international policy on topics like international security, nuclear weapons and human rights. 

Microsoft said non-governmental organisations are the most heavily targeted, including non-profits, think tanks, advocacy groups and human rights organisations.

32 per cent of nation state attacks between July 2019 and June 2020 targeted non-governmental organisations. 

This was followed by professional services (31 per cent), government organisations (13 per cent), international organisations (10 per cent), IT firms (7 per cent) and higher education (7 per cent).  

The top six targeted industry sectors between July 2019–June 2020, determined by nation state notification (NSNs) delivered to Microsoft custiomers

The top six targeted industry sectors between July 2019–June 2020, determined by nation state notification (NSNs) delivered to Microsoft custiomers

In terms of Covid-themed attacks, China, the US and Russia were hit the worst, showing that some of the worst offenders are in the same nation as some of their victims. 

In the US, Covid-themed malware encounters peaked in March, just as American awareness of the coronavirus was starting to spread, and again in June.

While in the UK, they started to climb dramatically in February and peaked at more than 70,000 on March 14 just over a week before the full lockdown came into effect.   

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Attackers are using the global pandemic to broadly target consumers who want information, as well as to specifically target hospitals and healthcare providers

Attackers are using the global pandemic to broadly target consumers who want information, as well as to specifically target hospitals and healthcare providers

‘As the virus spread globally, cybercriminals pivoted their lures to imitate trusted sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other national health organisations, in an effort to get users to click on malicious links and attachment,’ the report says.

‘Adversaries used the Covid-19 theme to socially engineer lures around the anxiety and the flood of information associated with the pandemic.

‘[Cybercriminals] seek to blend their well-established tactics and malware with human curiosity and our need for information… it’s a common understanding to “never waste a crisis”.’   

Microsoft is urging organisations to give staff employee phishing training. Phishing is where targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message to steal personal information

Microsoft is urging organisations to give staff employee phishing training. Phishing is where targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message to steal personal information 

Elsewhere in the 88-page report, Microsoft revealed it blocked more than 13 billion malicious and suspicious mails in 2019. 

Out of this total, more than 1 billion were URL-based phishing threats – URLs set up for the explicit purpose of launching a phishing credential attack.  

Microsoft is urging organisations to tell their staff to ‘say something if they see something’ like a dodgy phishing email.

‘Determining what areas of behaviour are driven by a lack of knowledge will best be addressed with a “training first” approach,’ the report says. 

‘Areas where employees have the knowledge but are still not displaying desired security behaviours should be addressed through other efforts, like targeted campaigns, leadership messaging, outreach events, and a closer look at process and procedures.’

Threat actors are showing an increasing focus on Internet of Things (IoT) devices – home-based objects like fridges, speakers and surveillance cameras that exchange data over the internet. 

The new analysis is based on data from more than 1.2 billion PCs, servers and IoT devices that accessed Microsoft services, as well as data from 630 billion authentication events, 470 billion emails and more than 18 million URLs. 

PHISHING INVOLVES CYBER-CRIMINALS ATTEMPTING TO STEAL PERSONAL INFORMATION

Phishing involves cyber-criminals attempting to steal personal information such as online passwords, bank details or money from an unsuspecting victim. 

Very often, the criminal will use an email, phone call or even a fake website pretending to be from a reputable company. 

The criminals can use personal details to complete profiles on a victim which can be sold on the dark web. 

Cyber criminals will use emails in an effort to elicit personal information from victims in order to commit fraud or infect the user's computer for nefarious purposes 

Cyber criminals will use emails in an effort to elicit personal information from victims in order to commit fraud or infect the user’s computer for nefarious purposes 

Some phishing attempts involve criminals sending out infected files in emails in order to take control of a victim’s computer.   

Any from of social media or electronic communication can form part of a phishing attempt. 

Action Fraud warn that you should never assume an incoming message is from a genuine company – especially if it asks for a payment or wants you to log on to an online account. 

Banks and other financial institutions will never email looking for passwords or other sensitive information. 

An effected spam filter should protect from most of the malicious messages, although the user should never call the number at the bottom of a suspicious email or follow their link. 

Experts advise that customers should call the organisation directly to see if the attempted communication was genuine.  

According to Action Fraud: ‘Phishing emails encourage you to visit the bogus websites. 

‘They usually come with an important-sounding excuse for you to act on the email, such as telling you your bank details have been compromised, or claim they’re from a business or agency and you’re entitled to a refund, rebate, reward or discount.

‘The email tells you to follow a link to enter crucial information such as login details, personal information, bank account details or anything else that can be used to defraud you.

‘Alternatively, the phishing email may try to encourage you to download an attachment. The email claims it’s something useful, such as a coupon to be used for a discount, a form to fill in to claim a tax rebate, or a piece of software to add security to your phone or computer. 

‘In reality, it’s a virus that infects your phone or computer with malware, which is designed to steal any personal or banking details you’ve saved or hold your device to ransom to get you to pay a fee.’ 

Source: Action Fraud

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