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ESET Records A New Wave Of Multi-lingual E-mail Based (s)extortion scams Scaring Victims Into Payment

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Sextortion scams have typically been used as part of large-scale spam campaigns, but now many of these attacks are getting more sophisticated and are bypassing email gateways.

In these scams, the attacker sends out emails claiming to have hacked the intended victim’s device and has recorded the person while watching pornographic content. The email also asserts that the video has not only captured the user’s behavior in front of the webcam, but also which videos were played

“In order to conceal the compromising materials, the attacker asks for a sum of around 0.43-0.45 Bitcoin – US $2000, however we’ve already seen other messages asking for other amounts,” explains OndrejKubovic, ESET Security Awareness Specialist. “The victim is directed to pay within 48 hours of opening the email or the cybercriminal threatens to send the incriminating video to all the contacts he/she has managed to steal from the infected device,” adds Kubovič.

In the previous waves detected by ESET, these sextortion scam emails were mostly in English, however in the last few days, we have seen multiple new localizations focusing on Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic and Russia.

Over the years sextortion cases have escalated. In 2017, it was reported that nearly one-sixth of the 338 sexual assault cases seen by the Association of Women for Action and Research’s (Aware) drop-in centre involved the use of technology.

In December 2018, the Singapore Police Force reported receiving 70 police reports since September, by victims who were blackmailed by scammers that had claimed they had screenshots of them watching porn.

Similar e-mail scams are nothing new and have been appearing for years. What makes the current scam different from its predecessors is the effectivity of the social engineering involved, mainly thanks to its focus on users who secretly watch pornography on their devices.

The scam is also effective due to the sensitive theme of pornography. Many users secretly visit pages with pornographic content and the idea that their family, acquaintances, colleagues or business partners may learn about their behavior is extremely unpleasant.

“If you find such an email in your mailbox, act slowly, deliberately and avoid rash steps. First of all, do not reply to the scam, do not download its attachments, do not click on embedded lines, and certainly do not send money to attackers. If an attacker lists your actual password, I recommend changing it and activating two-factor authentication on that service. Indeed, in many cases, attackers actually test the login information and use the hacked account at least to spread their messages. Also, scan your device with reliable security software that can detect real infections and other issues, such as the misuse of the built-in webcam. This can be done, for example, by simply adding tape over its lens,” Kubovič advises users.

ESET is sharing news of this scam as a warning to the public. The scam is an attempt at extortion, and the attackers do not really have any such video of the victim. ESET protects its users from similar threats through its antispam technology.

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Dinesh Nair Appointed as Director for Consumer Business Lenovo India

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Global technology leader Lenovo has appointed Dinesh Nair as Director, Consumer Business for India region. Dinesh succeeds Mr. Shailendra Katyal, who has recently been appointed Site Leader for Lenovo India and Managing Director of Lenovo’s PC and smart device business in India. 

Dinesh Nair has been an integral part of the Lenovo India consumer business for more than 11 years and has worked successfully across several roles. His most recent role was as the sales & channel management lead for Lenovo’s consumer segment in India. He has handled leadership responsibilities across offline general trade retail, distribution management, field sales, eCommerce, large format retail and category management, and has been a key contributor to the company’s growth journey in India. 

“During this difficult time in India, we are working hard to ensure the safety of our employees, partners and customers and I am grateful that we have excellent leaders in place to bring our team together and offer this support. I am proud to hand over the reins of the consumer business to Dinesh. At the same time, this is a demonstration of our commitment to developing talent internally. I am sure he, along with the consumer leadership team, will propel the business to new heights,” said Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo India.

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ASUS ROG Announces ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports Tournament

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ASUS ROG will host its first ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports tournament from March to April 2021. Due to COVID-19 pandemic affecting travel around the region, the tournament will be conducted entirely online, with quarterfinal to final matches livestreamed.

The ROG Masters tournament will feature Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) as the official game title will provide opportunity to teams with enthusiastic players to pitch their skills against each other, as well as the best professional teams from their market and in the region.

Tournament Structure

The tournament will see various teams from 15 markets across the region vying for the chance to be crowned as the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific Edition CS:GO Champion. 

The tournament will be played in three stages played over the course of 2 months:

  • Country qualifiers
  • Country finals
  • Asia Pacific finals

Country qualifiers matches for India will start in the second week of April 2021; 8th April and the finals to be held on the 10th April. The India finals to find the top three teams to represent the country will be livestreamed live on 10th April.

Professional teams from across the region will be automatically placed into seeded positions in the country finals. This gives a greater chance for non-professional, enthusiast teams from India to get through the qualifiers and meet the pro teams in the country finals. 

Country Champions will then go on to experience battling winning teams from other APAC markets in the finals that will be livestreamed during 22nd to 25th April 2021.

Prizes

3 qualifying teams from India finals will stand to win US$800 for first place, US$400 for second place, US$200 for third place. They will then go on to the Asia Pacific finals with the chance to win the following prizes for the championship:

ROG Masters APAC ChampionshipAPAC Finals (USD/ team)
1st$10,000
2nd$3,500
3rd$1,500

Registration and Official Tournament Website

Registration for the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific tournament opens on February 8, 2021 at the tournament’s official website.

Registration closes on February 28, 2021 Further details, match schedules, pro team information as well as rules and regulations can also be found on the tournament website.

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Garena Launches Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars

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Garena has announced the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Free Fire’s first-ever esports tournament for the South Asia region. Taking place on 6 February, the tournament will feature some of the gaming community’s favourite Free Fire streamers and personalities from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

The Free Fire community has continued to expand in South Asia and across the world, with the mobile battle royale game the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2020, according to App Annie. Through the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Garena will look to continue its efforts to excite and delight its fast-growing South Asian community with exciting Free Fire content, and to support and develop the incredible online community in the region.

Tournament Format

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature a total of 12 teams. Each team will be led by one of the top 3 streamers from each of the 4 participating nations – chosen by public voting – in this epic clash to determine the best in the region. 

The 12 teams will compete in the Battle Royale Squad mode for a slice of the 1 million diamond prize pool. The ultimate winner of this star-studded tournament will receive 500,000 in-game diamonds; the first and and second runners-up will be awarded 300,000 and 200,000 diamonds respectively. 

Invited Teams

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature some of the most popular streamers and personalities from across South Asia. 

The team captains for each nation are: 

India

  • Total Gaming (19.4 Million YT Subs)
  • Desi Gamers (7.8 Million YT Subs)
  • Two-Side Gamers (6.85 Million YT Subs)

Bangladesh

  • Gaming with Nayeem (1.6 Million YT Subs)
  • Illusionist YT (479K YT Subs)
  • Gaming With Zihad (698K YT Subs)

Nepal 

  • Sooneeta (3.26 Million YT Subs)
  • Bshow Mgr (399K YT Subs)
  • Tonde Gamer (2.37 Million YT Subs)

Pakistan

  • RKG ARMY (1.77 Million YT Subs)
  • Unusual Gamer (81K YT Subs)
  • The Skinzo FF (75.5K YT Subs)

Broadcast Details:

Fans can witness all the high-octane action by tuning in to the live broadcasts of the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars. These will be hosted on Free Fire Esports India YouTube and Facebook, Free Fire Bangladesh Official YouTube and Facebook, as well as on BOOYAH!. 

To cater to the diverse South Asian community, the matches will be streamed with live commentary in 5 languages – Bengali, English, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu.

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