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.
HONOR Intros HONOR X6
HONOR has announced the official launch of the HONOR X6, the latest addition to HONOR’s reliable X Series line up, bringing HONOR’s latest cutting-edge technology to more users in the Middle East. Boasting a myriad of compelling features, the HONOR X6 is equipped with an ultra-large 5000mAh battery, a triple camera system consisting of a 50MP Main Camera, and large expandable storage to go with its 4GB+64GB memory, making smartphone innovations more accessible.
Equipped with a 5000mAh battery, the HONOR X6 delivers up to 17 hours of online video streaming, 18 hours of social media browsing, or 31 hours of music playback, all enabled by a single charge to power users throughout the day. The HONOR X6 features a rear triple camera system comprising a 50MP Main Camera, a 2MP Macro Camera, and a 2MP Depth Camera. The impressive combination of cameras allows users to easily capture and record all their favorite memories, fulfilling their appetite for creative expression anytime, anywhere.
Alongside the 64GB ROM, the HONOR X6 also supports large expandable storage of up to 1TB MicroSD, meeting the different storage requirements of users. Delivering a smart and seamless user experience, the HONOR X6 runs on HONOR Magic UI 6.1 based on Android 12. Featuring HONOR Share, the HONOR X6 enables speedy wireless file transfers across HONOR devices including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. With the Efficient Smart Desktop feature, users can customize widgets on the home screen and access information without opening the apps, further boosting efficiency and productivity.
Boasting a 6.5-inch HONOR FullView Display, the HONOR X6 delivers an immersive viewing experience. Coupled with a host of eye care features including Eye Comfort Mode, and Dark Mode, the HONOR X6 offers an extremely pleasant viewing experience in different types of user scenarios, perfect for reading articles, streaming videos, or browsing photos, even in direct sunlight or in dimly lit environments.
Packed with the unique eBook Mode, HONOR X6 can convert the screen to black and white, improving the reading experience for smartphone users.
Lamborghini Announces the New Urus S
Automobili Lamborghini has announced the Urus S: the successor to the original Urus that established a new Super SUV niche in the luxury segment. The Urus S delivers increased power combined with luxurious versatility and presence to confirm its status as the ultimate lifestyle Lamborghini Super SUV, alongside the new Urus Performante for those seeking maximum sports performance.
“The Urus has proven its appeal for those seeking the decisive combination of the sportiest SUV and a Lamborghini to drive every day: the Urus S sits perfectly alongside the new Urus Performante, for those choosing the purest sublimation of performance, luxury, and versatility,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman, and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “The Urus’ commercial success, with more than 20,000 vehicles produced, is testament to its credentials as the first and enduring Super SUV: the Urus S elevates that reputation.”
The twin-turbo V8 engine with increased power to 666 CV matches that of the Urus S’ Performante stablemate, delivering an improved weight-to-power ratio of 3.3 kg/CV. Acceleration is improved, with the Urus S propelling from 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and 0-200 km/h in 12.5 seconds. With a top speed of 305 km/h, the Urus S brakes from 100 km/h back to zero in just 33.7m. Its twin-turbo engine delivers 850 Nm of maximum torque already at 2,300 rpm up to a maximum 6,000 rpm. A retuned exhaust system reminds us that the Super SUV is a true Lamborghini, with a more distinct sound at start-up and a sharper note in each drive mode.
The Urus’ chassis with adaptive air suspension ensures super sports driving enjoyment but smooth handling on road surfaces, with immediately-available torque response and body balancing according to the particular requirements of its off-road drive selectors. With the same powertrain calibration as the Urus Performante, the Urus S delivers optimum responsiveness and performance when required, alongside luxurious everyday driving pleasure from the Urus’ finely-tuned chassis settings.
The Urus S introduces specific and sophisticated design enhancements advocating its sporty but luxurious lifestyle persona, distinguishing the Super SUV’s presence in every environment. The interior of the Urus S is presented with a fully-revised color and trim offer. Both the new Bi-color Sportivo and a new Bi-color Sophisticated option feature the new Urus Performante stitching pattern.
The Bi-color Sportivo delivers a more discreet and stylish use of the complementary color; the Sophisticated black leather trim comes with new contrast color options in conjunction with refined new Blu Leandro and Verde Aura alongside tan, cream, and brown. Providing optimum opportunities for owners to specify their Urus S according to their lifestyle, the new color and trim options underline the high-performance credentials of the Urus S while delivering understated and timeless luxury.
Acer Launches the EMEA Predator League 2022 eSports Tournament for Rocket League Fans
Acer has announced the EMEA Predator League 2022, bringing its commitment to grassroots eSports to the next level: a new game, more countries, bigger prize pool. From September to November, teams from the EMEA region, regardless of their skill level, can compete in the high-powered arcade-style soccer and vehicular mayhem game “Rocket League” in the popular 3 vs 3 modes.
In addition to action-packed eSports fun and fantastic prizes, the 2022 edition will also offer exclusive promotions from 15 local retail partners, as well as community giveaways, raffles, and much more. “We are very excited to announce the second season of the EMEA Predator League after its initial season in 2020,” said Hajo Blingen, Vice President Marketing, Acer Europe, Middle East & Africa. “With our World Leading Gaming Portfolio, it is important to always reinvent ourselves. The EMEA Predator League 2022 ties in with our commitment to make eSports accessible for everyone competing in Rocket League. At the same time, fans can look forward to special offers and promotions from our involved retail partners.”
Eligible for the National Qualifier are teams from the following countries and regions:
- Europe: Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden), Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, United Kingdom (UK)
- Middle East: Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia (KSA)
- Africa: South Africa
Two out of three players need to be residents of the respective country. The matches on the virtual pitch are played 3 vs 3. In the first stage, teams compete in the National Qualifiers. There are two qualifier rounds per country. The two best teams from each round qualify for the National Finals. The winner of the finals will participate in the EMEA International Final competing against the champions from other countries. The National Finals in the Middle East will be on 12th November and will be broadcasted live on TWITCH with the grand final taking place November 20th on twitch.tv/PredatorGaming
Registration for the Predator League starts on September 26th and runs through October 21st, 2022. All other dates, information, stream, and details can be found at www.predatorleague.gg.
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