Archive for Atlas VPN

Guest Post: Trojans Targeting Mobile Banking Grew By Over 110% In H1 2022

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 22, 2022 by itnerd

The majority of the population in developed countries has integrated mobile banking into their everyday lives surprisingly quickly and seamlessly. The adoption of mobile banking was successful because financial institutions and fintechs ensured that the applications were user-friendly, convenient, and extremely secure.

However, since financial gains from finding loopholes in mobile banking applications tend to be sky-high, hackers are working day and night to figure out how to break into these apps.

While the mobile banking industry is in its golden age, the amount of attention from cybercriminals is also at an all-time high. 

According to Atlas VPN investigation, the number of mobile banking trojans reached a record-breaking 109,561 detections in H1 2022, representing a 117% increase over the 50,450 detections in H2 2021.

The data for the analysis was extracted from Kaspersky’s official website, where the company shares data collected from its users. 

Nearly half (49.28%) of the detections in H1 2022 were part of the Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Bray family. This malware type is considered to be a severe threat to the infected system. 

Mobile trojans are designed to target mobile financial applications in order to commit on-device fraud and siphon cash straight from victims’ accounts.

Victims (sometimes) get their funds back

Cybercriminals tend to backward-rationalize their fraudulent acts by stating that their victims usually get their funds back, so the actual losses are incurred by the banking institutions instead. 

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Guest Post: Top 10 Educational iOS Apps That Collect The Most Personal Data

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 19, 2022 by itnerd

Educational apps are popular year-round, but they come in especially handy with the start of the school season. However, while they might benefit your or your kids’ learning, they can harm your privacy. To help mobile users understand what information such apps collect, the Atlas VPN team decided to investigate the privacy of 50 popular educational apps for iOS.

The Atlas VPN team found that 98% of iOS apps within the education category collect user data. On average, one educational application for iOS harvests data across more than 8 data segments, such as name, email, phone number, location, payment information, and search history, to name a few.

A segment is a data point such as name, phone number, and precise location that are grouped in broader data types such as contact information, financial information, and location. In total, Apple’s App Store distinguishes 14 data types and 32 segments.

Duolingo, the leading language learning app, came out on top as the most data-hungry, collecting user information across 19 segments. Yet another language learning app Busuu and the learning platform Google Classroom are also not far behind with 17 data segments. 

The third spot on the list is occupied by gamified online learning tool Chegg Study and flashcard solution Quizlet. These apps gather information from 16 data segments.

What data are apps collecting?

When it comes to the types of data that apps collect, there is a lot of variation. However, some types are more common than others.

Identifiers, such as user ID and device ID, are the most frequently collected data type at 88%, followed by contact information, such as name, email, phone number, or physical address, at 84%. 

Out of the studied apps, 74% also gather usage data, such as product interactions, 64% of apps collect user content, such as audio data, photos, or videos, meanwhile 52% garner diagnostic information.

Additionally, 42% of apps harvest purchase data, such as payment history, 28% do so with location data, including coarse and precise location, and 22% of apps with search history.

The picture is clear: most apps collect data in one way or another. While not all of them do so for nefarious purposes, such as sharing it with third parties and data brokers, knowing what kind of data apps gather can help you decide whether you want to continue using those apps or change to more privacy-conscious alternatives.

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Atlas VPN Introduces Linux Support

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 13, 2022 by itnerd

Atlas VPN, has announced today that it has introduced support for Linux operating systems. 

Atlas VPN service for Linux comes with the state-of-the-art WireGuard® protocol, streaming-optimized servers, as well as advanced protection SafeSwap and MultiHop+ servers unique to the VPN provider. 

SafeSwap servers allow users to have many rotating IP addresses without having to switch between different VPN servers. Meanwhile, MultiHop+ servers tunnel user’s connection via multiple rotating VPN locations, protecting online traffic behind several layers of encryption to further enhance user privacy and anonymity online.

Currently, Atlas VPN for Linux is available for Ubuntu. However, the company plans to add support for other distributions, as well as more features such as Kill Switch, in the near future.

Linux is the latest addition to the Atlas VPN premium bundle, which also includes VPN apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV, as well as advanced privacy and security features, such as data breach tracking tool Data Breach Monitor, and third-party tracker blocking tool Tracker Blocker. Atlas VPN also offers Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS apps for both free and premium users.

Guest Post: Over 45% of Gen Zers are victims of cyberbullying

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 7, 2022 by itnerd

Bullying has been a part of us for ages. The youngest generation started using computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices to threaten or harass others. According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, over 45% of Gen Zers are victims of cyberbullying.

In January 2014, 34.6% of teens experienced cyberbullying. Next year, in 2015, the percentage of cyberbullied students slightly decreased to 34%. For the third year in a row, in 2016, the lifetime cyberbullying victimization rate remained similar, decreasing minimally to 33.6%.

After 3 years, in 2019, another survey revealed that the percentage of teens experiencing cyberbullying increased to 36.5%. The latest statistics from 2021 showed a 25% increase in cyberbullying since 2019, reaching a 45.5% victimization rate. In addition, 23.2% admitted they had been cyberbullied in the last 30 days.

Despite the increase in cyberbullying victims, fewer Gen Zers admitted to cyberbullying others over the recent years. In 2019, 14.8% of students offended someone online, while 6.3% did so in the past 30 days. In the study from 2021, 14.4% revealed they had cyberbullied others during their lifetime, while 4.9% acknowledged doing so in the previous 30 days.

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Guest Post: Cloud servers are now the most common method of entry for cyberattacks at 41%

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 1, 2022 by itnerd

Several years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic shook the world, forcing companies worldwide to adopt remote work. Many companies even made this move a permanent feature of their business models. However, changes in IT infrastructure brought about by remote work, such as a move to cloud solutions, also shifted the focus of cyberattacks.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, based on the Cyber Readiness Report 2022 by Hiscox, cloud servers are now the number one way in for cyberattacks, with 41% of companies reporting it as the first point of entry — a 10% increase from the year before. 

The top cyberattack vector in 2021, corporate-owned servers, now occupies the third spot on the list. According to the 2022 survey results, 37% of businesses reported them as the main cyberattack entry method. 

Meanwhile, the second spot belongs to the business emails. They were named as the main access point for attackers by 40% of businesses.

Nearly half of companies experienced cyberattacks in the last year

While the pandemic led to a shift in IT infrastructure in organizations, such as the wider adoption of cloud solutions, the security strategies of businesses fall behind the new technologies. 

In total, 48% of companies reported having experienced at least one cyberattack in the last 12 months. Even with a 60% higher cybersecurity spending, cyberattacks rose by 5% compared to the year before. 

Out of the surveyed countries, companies in the Netherlands suffered the most. There, 57% of companies reported having experienced cyberattacks in the last 12 months. Organizations in the Netherlands also saw the most significant rise in cyberattacks which increased by 16%.

The Netherlands is followed by France, where 52% of organizations had cyberattacks in the last 12 months. Cyberattacks targeting French businesses rose by 3% compared to 2021. 

Next are organizations in Spain. Spain is the only country surveyed where cyber attacks decreased compared to the year before. Cyberattacks targeting Spanish businesses dropped by 2%, from 53% in 2011 to 51% in 2022.

Meanwhile, 49% of companies in Ireland went through cyberattacks in the past 12 months, followed by the United States with 47%. Cyberattack numbers there grew by 10% and 7%, respectively.  

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Guest Post: Cybersecurity unicorns projected to reach an all-time high in 2022, data suggests

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 31, 2022 by itnerd

Global markets, including the technology sector, encountered significant declines in the first half of 2022 due to various macroeconomic challenges. Yet, the cybersecurity software industry continues to produce unicorns at an unprecedented rate. The upsurge of cyberattacks on a global scale creates new addressable markets and opportunities for cybersecurity companies to tackle.

Atlas VPN predicts that if the upward trend’s growth momentum is sustained for the rest of 2022, the total number of new unicorns is well-positioned to reach an all-time high, dwarfing 2021’s 36 unicorns. 

The data for the research was extracted from the Progress Partners Market Report for 2022 Q2.

In H1 2022, the cybersecurity industry produced 19 companies valued at $1 billion or more. Yet, the figures reveal that the digital defense market began to flourish in early 2021. 

The number of cybersecurity unicorns grew from 6 in 2020 to 36 in 2021, representing a 500% increase YoY.

Global shifts towards remote work and online education were the main driving forces behind the market’s growth.

$1B+ Cybersecurity Exits 

Besides valuations, $1B+ cybersecurity exits also reached an all-time high of 18 in 2021, representing a 2x growth over 2020. 

In H1 2022, we have already witnessed eight $1B+ exits, and if the trend continues, the total for the year will be on par with 2021.

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Guest Post: The Top 10 most privacy-invasive educational apps on Android

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 25, 2022 by itnerd

While it is not secret that app manufacturers collect insights and information about their users, it is a much bigger issue among educational apps since they are highly used by children. As study season is approaching, the Atlas VPN team decided to look at the privacy of 50 popular educational apps and see how much user data they gather.

According to the Atlas VPN research, 92% of educational apps on Android collect user data. Language learning app HelloTalk and learning platform Google Classroom developed by the tech giant, top the chart as the most privacy-invasive, collecting user information across 24 segments within 11 data types. 

A segment is a data point such as name, phone number, payment method, and precise location that are grouped in broader data types such as personal information, financial information, and location.

Meanwhile, the online education subscription platform MasterClass collects user information across 17 segments, followed by the interactive learning platform Seesaw, which gathers data from 15 segments.

Other apps in the top ten include the learning management app Canvas Student (14), education communication app Remind (14), digital education app for children ABCmouse (14), and knowledge-sharing student community app Brainly (14).

The most commonly collected data type includes personal information, such as name, email, phone number, address, user ID, gender, or similar. It is collected by 90% of educational apps. 

Over a third (36%) of apps also collect location data, followed by audio (30%), messages (22%), files and documents (16%), calendar (6%), contacts (6%), health and fitness(2%), and web browsing (2%).

70% of educational applications share your data with third parties

While many apps were found to collect user data, some apps go a step further and share user data with third parties. In total, 70% of educational applications on Android were found to disclose some of their user data to third parties. 

Personal information is the most commonly shared type of user data. In total, 46% of apps were found to share this information with third parties.

All in all, while some of the collected user information might be necessary for the provision of the services of these educational apps, we found many of the collection practices excessive. 

Even more problematic is that most apps transfer sensitive data to third parties, ranging from user name to user location, contact details, and photos, that can be later used to create a profile of who you or your children are. 

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Guest Post: Americans lost an unprecedented $3.56 billion to online fraud in H1 2022

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 23, 2022 by itnerd

A recent analysis by Atlas VPN reveals that US citizens lost a record $3.56 billion to various types of online fraud in the first half of 2022, an increase of almost 53% over the same period last year. 

Americans submitted more than 793 thousand fraud complaints in the first six months, and over 27% of those reports indicated a financial loss, amounting to the aforementioned total sum. 

The data for the analysis was extracted from a publicly accessible database managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). US Citizens can submit fraud reports to the FTC for further investigation. The FTC shares this data to inform the nation about the state of the cybercrime landscape in the US.

This year’s most commonly reported scam category was imposter scams, with more than 361 thousand complaints, 22% reporting a loss and totaling $1.33 billion in damages.

Since 2018, imposter fraud has been the most commonly reported as well as the most damaging type of online fraud.

However, in H1 2022, investment-related scams caused even more financial losses to US citizens than imposter fraud.

Even though the number of investment scam complaints is relatively low at 52 thousand, an average investment scheme lures out $40,000 per victim, while other types of scams rarely swindle more than a three-digit sum. 

The potential to earn a typical half-year salary from a single scam sounds appetizing to cybercriminals, which is why they are focusing more of their efforts in this direction.  

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Guest Post: One in four Russians downloaded VPN apps in H1 2022, a global study reveals

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 17, 2022 by itnerd

The latest updates for the Global VPN Adoption Index created by Atlas VPN reveal that in H1 2022, VPN downloads reached 215 million. The most significant shift in the market was recorded in Russia, where nearly one-fourth of the population downloaded VPN services.

Prior to H1 2022, VPN penetration in the Russian Federation was somewhere between 3% to 9%. However, in March 2022, the Russian court banned Facebook and Instagram, labeling its parent company Meta as “extremist”. 

These restrictions caused an unprecedented upshift in VPN demand. The VPN usage in Russia reached record heights, totaling 35 million downloads in six months, putting VPN adoption at 23.94%. In other words, nearly 1 in 4 Russian citizens downloaded a VPN application in H1 2022. 

On a similar note, Ukraine made it to the tenth position of VPN adopters globally, with 4.2 million downloads and a 9.62% penetration rate. 

The VPN Adoption Index by Atlas VPN overviews country-by-country VPN statistics and explores why VPNs are so prevalent in those nations. 

VPN adoption refers to the percentage of the country’s population that downloaded VPN applications in the given period. The data for the analysis was extracted from Google Play Store and Apple App store using Sensor Tower and App Tweak services. 

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Guest Post: The Top 5 Ransomware Statistics In The Last Year

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 16, 2022 by itnerd

Cybercriminal gangs launch ransomware attacks to encrypt businesses’ sensitive data and get paid a significant ransom. Sometimes hackers even use a method called double extortion. They threaten the organization to sell the stolen information online if the ransom is not paid. In this article, Atlas VPN presents the most significant ransomware statistics from the past year.

#1 Ransomware hackers drained over 30 terabytes of sensitive data in 2022

Ransomware has become more efficient and devastating in its attacks. Ransomware hackers stole over 30 terabytes (TB) of personal and other sensitive data in 320 incidents in 2022. The total number of ransomware attacks could be even bigger. Many companies lack transparency when reporting ransomware incidents.

The largest semiconductor chip company Nvidia suffered one of the most significant ransomware attacks of H1 2022. Hackers from the group Lapsus$ claimed they stole 1TB in exfiltrated company data and demanded a $1 million ransom.

#2 Ransomware volume doubles in 2021, surpassing 600 million

Usually, if an organization has not backed up its information in the cloud, it is doomed for big trouble. They either have to pay a hefty ransom or lose data forever. Research revealed that global ransomware volume surged by 105% in 2021. The total number of ransomware attacks represents nearly 20 attempts every second in 2021.

In addition, The United States suffered significantly more ransomware threats than any other country — 421.5 million. Cybercriminals launched 34.2 million ransomware attacks at Germany and 33.5 million at the United Kingdom.

#3 Over 70% of organizations suffered two or more ransomware attacks in the past 12 months

Once hackers know the company has vulnerabilities they can exploit, cybercriminals target it multiple times. According to Veeam 2022 Ransomware Trends Report, 73% of organizations suffered two or more ransomware attacks in the past 12 months. The majority — 44% of ransomware infections entered through phishing emails, links, and websites. 

One of the reasons why ransomware is so successful is because businesses keep paying the ransom. A whopping 76% of organizations affected by ransomware in the past twelve months went through with the ransom payment. However, nearly one in four (24%) companies still could not recover their data afterward.

Lastly, we have compiled a detailed overview of 60 Worrying Cybercrime Statistics for people who want to obtain a more comprehensive cybercrime landscape.

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