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Malware Disguised as Billie Eilish Attacks UAE Users

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Cybercriminals are actively abusing the names of artists and songs nominated for a Grammy 2020 award, in order to spread malware. Kaspersky protection technologies detected a 39% rise in attacks (attempts to download or run malicious files) under the guise of nominees’ work in 2019, compared to 2018. Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Post Malone were attackers’ favorites, with these nominees’ names used most often in 2019 as a disguise for malware.

Music has universal appeal – it is not just entertainment, but a form of therapy and education, as well as providing an atmosphere and message platform. Its popularity and widespread availability is the reason why, even in the age of streaming services, music is not free from the malicious activity: criminals use popular artists’ names to spread malware hidden in music tracks or video clips.

In light of the biggest music awards of the year, to show the extent of the problem, Kaspersky researchers analyzed Grammy 2020 nominated artists’ names and song titles for malware1. As a result, Kaspersky found 30,982 malicious files that used the names of artists or their tracks in order to spread malware, with 41,096 Kaspersky product users having encountered them. Analysis of the nominated artists showed that the names of Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Post Malone were used most to disguise malicious files, with over half (55%) of detected malicious files named after them.

Unique malicious files using selected Grammy nominees’ names detected by Kaspersky products The connection between the rise in popularity and malicious activity is very evident in the case of newer artists such as Billie Eilish. The teenage singer became hugely popular in 2019, and the number of users who downloaded malicious files with her name has risen almost tenfold compared to 2018 – from 254 to 2171, the number of unique distributed malicious files – from 221 to 1,556.

For instance, while the number of users attacked by Malware disguised as Billie Eilish songs in The United Arab Emirates accounted for only 139 in 2018, 2019 saw this number increased to 31,782. Overall, United Arab Emirates saw 61 of such malicious files distributed in this region in 2019, with 100,961 attacks. However, while nomination for a prestigious award and recognition connected to it affects users’ interest in specific artists and, as a result, a growth in malicious activity, this is not necessarily the case for more established artists such as Lady Gaga, whose name use also experienced a rise in attacks in the past year.

Kaspersky also analyzed which records and songs, nominated for a Grammy in 2019, received the most attention from cybercriminals. Post Malone’s ‘Sunflower’, Khalid’s ‘Talk’ and Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’, led the way for songs with the most malware attacks. “Cybercriminals understand what is popular and always strive to capitalize on that. Music, alongside TV shows, is one of the most popular types of entertainment and, as a result, an attractive means to spread malware, which criminals readily use. However, as we see more and more users subscribe to streaming platforms, which do not require file download in order to listen to music, we expect that malicious activity related to this type of content will decrease,” comments Anton Ivanov, Kaspersky’s security analyst.

To avoid falling victim to malicious programs pretending to be popular music files, Kaspersky recommends taking the following steps:

  • If you want to listen or download famous artists’ songs, use reputable services like Apple Music, Spotify Premium, and Amazon Music. Or try to find a recognized free music site that allows you to download songs legally.
  • Try to avoid suspicious links, promising exclusive music content. Check musicians’ official social media accounts or read reputable music blogs like Pitchfork, to make sure that such content exists.
  • Look at the downloaded file extension. Even if you are going to download an audio or video file from a source you consider trusted and legitimate, the file should have an mp3, .avi, .mkv or .mp4 extension among other music and video formats, definitely not .exe or .lnk.
  • Use a reliable security solution for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats.
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Digital SLR Cameras

Sony Launches FE 24-50mm F2.8 G, a Compact, Large Aperture F2.8 G Lens with High-Performance Optics

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Sony Middle East and Africa has announced the release of its new compact 35mm full-frame compatible α (Alpha) E-mount lens, FE 24-50mm F2.8 G (product name SEL2450G) standard zoom with F2.8 maximum aperture over the entire zoom range. Despite its small and lightweight body, it achieves the high-resolution performance and beautiful bokeh that can be expected from a large aperture G Lens with F2.8. It covers a focal length of 24 mm to 50 mm, allowing you to capture everything from still images such as everyday snapshots, and portraits to video shooting, all in high quality but with a design that will easily fit in the smallest of kit bags.

With the latest optical and mechanical design, the dimensions have been kept compact with a filter diameter of φ67 mm, maximum diameter of 74.8 mm, length of 92.3 mm, and weight of approximately 440 g. Sharp and detailed images at all focal lengths are achieved thanks to the arrangement of four aspherical lenses and two pieces of ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass, so that aberrations such as chromatic aberration, are reduced, achieving high-resolution performance from the centre to the corner. FE 24-50mm F2.8 G uses an 11-blade circular aperture which together with the optimisation of spherical aberration provides the beautiful, soft and smooth bokeh that is characteristic of the G Lens series. It has a minimum shooting distance of 0.19 m (AF) at the wide end and a maximum magnification of 0.30 x (AF) offering high-quality close-up shooting.

The quality is evident through the AF (auto focus) whereby, equipped with two linear motors, it achieves high speed, high precision, high tracking, and quiet focusing. It also supports high-speed continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking of up to 120 frames per second for the full-frame mirrorless camera Alpha 9 III. For those wanting a solid video performance, AF tracking is available for high frame rate 4K 120p or FHD 240p movie recording where critical focus control is required, plus it supports in-body Active Mode image stabilisation for steady shooting while walking. It is also compatible with the focus breathing compensation on camera bodies, allowing for high-quality video expression.

Intuitive manual focus is achieved thanks to the adoption of linear response MF which allows smooth and superior image expression. FE 24-50mm F2.8 G is equipped with user-friendly functions such as a customisable focus hold button, aperture ring, aperture click ON/OFF switch, and focus mode switch, offering high operability and comprehensive control. Plus, for further ease of use, they are designed to be dust and moisture-proof with a fluorine coating which prevents dirt from sticking to the front surface of the lens.

 The new FE 24-50mm F2.8 G will be available in the region from Q2 2024.

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Gadgets

CORSAIR Intros New 75% Keyboard for Enthusiast Gamers

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CORSAIR has launched a standout addition to its lineup of award-winning gaming keyboards: the K65 PLUS WIRELESS. Beautifully built, and loaded with the essentials needed to win, this 75%-layout keyboard maxes out both performance and personality. When you deploy the K65 PLUS WIRELESS, your gaming persona and your keyboard enthusiast side come out to play.

Powerful performance now resides in a cleverly compact 75% profile. The space-saving K65 PLUS WIRELESS optimizes the important desk space needed for your mouse, while including the essential arrow and utility keys that put game controls right where you want them. Pre-lubricated CORSAIR MLX Red linear switches are buttery smooth and register every input with crisp responsiveness. The switches are also hot-swappable, so you can customize the keyboard by subbing in your switches easily – how you play is completely up to you.

The K65 PLUS WIRELESS offers ultra-satisfying typing, with no modding required. Each keystroke is tempered by two layers of integrated sound dampening that hushes internal pings and clacks. The result is precisely tuned acoustics that you – and everyone nearby – will appreciate. The PBT dye-sublimated keycaps’ midnight grey and silver accents complement any desktop; you will want to make K65 PLUS WIRELESS your primary board for daily use.

Connect and play, more adeptly than ever. Make ultra-fast moves over a reliable, low-latency 2.4GHz wireless connection for gaming, or Bluetooth for tablets, mobile, and more, all with secure AES encryption and up to 266 hours on a single charge with RGB off. Toggle from PC to Mac layout by simply flipping a switch, and connect to multiple devices seamlessly with a single keystroke.

For RGB fanatics, the K65 PLUS WIRELESS comes alive with a shiny array of per-key RGB, endlessly customizable with CORSAIR iCUE software. Use the power of iCUE to record macros, remap keys, and sync your keyboard to the rest of your setup’s RGB and iCUE Murals profiles, for a lighting ambience that makes your space a haven for gaming and working.
Equip the infinitely intriguing K65 PLUS WIRELESS keyboard, and match your superior skill with stunning style.

To celebrate the launch of K65 PLUS WIRELESS, CORSAIR is excited to offer an exclusive deal on DROP Holy Panda X tactile switches. For a limited time, when you buy a K65 PLUS WIRELESS keyboard on the CORSAIR webstore, you can get a set of Holy Panda X switches for 50% off from DROP.com. When brought together, this keyboard and key switch combo makes tactile gaming and typing a delightful experience. (Offer only available in North America)

The CORSAIR K65 PLUS WIRELESS gaming keyboard is available immediately from the CORSAIR webstore and the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized online retailers and distributors. The K65 PLUS WIRELESS is backed by a two-year warranty, alongside the CORSAIR worldwide customer service and technical support network.

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Cars

HONOR Says its Eye-Tracking Features Can Move a Car

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HONOR has introduced an AI-powered eye-tracking feature that can move a car without a driver inside. This experiment, demonstrated by an automotive engineer, uses the eye-tracking feature of the HONOR Magic6 Pro to control a car based on the user’s eye movement.

A video by Autocar, available on YouTube, showcases this innovative technology. The HONOR Magic6 Pro is equipped with four commands that can be activated by eye gaze, allowing the car to start the engine, turn it off, and move forward or backwards. After focusing on a specific button for 2-3 seconds, the corresponding command is activated, and the car responds accordingly.

HONOR says that this demonstration is a testament to the company’s belief that AI can transform the way humans interact with devices in the future. HONOR has announced that its MWC Launch Event will be on February 25th. HONOR will also host an AI Panel with industry partners such as Qualcomm to unveil more discoveries about the future of AI. This event will take place on February 26th at 17:00 (CET) at MWC 2024. Find out more at this link: https://www.hihonor.com/ae-en/events/honor-mwc/

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