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Cybercriminals Lure Victims By Offering Them a Chance to Watch Oscar-Nominated Films for Free

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Popular films gain the attention of cybercriminals, no less than movie fans, with the Oscars in the calendar only upping the stakes. To better understand how cybercriminals try to capitalize on our interest in high-profile movies, Kaspersky researchers looked into the prevalence of such scams. With over 20 phishing websites and 925 malicious files detected under the guise of this year’s nominated films, the findings show that those who are looking for a nice evening in front of the screen watching the latest blockbuster, need to stay on the lookout for much more action, in the form of phishing and malware.

Kaspersky says it found over 20 phishing websites and Twitter accounts offering users the chance to watch nominated films for free. These phishing websites gather users’ data and prompt them to carry out a variety of tasks in order to gain access to the desired film. These can vary from taking a survey and sharing personal details, to installing adware or even giving up credit card details. Needless to say, that at the end of the process, the user does not get the content.

To further support the promotion of fraudulent websites, cybercriminals also set up Twitter accounts, where they distribute links to the content. Coupled with malicious files spread via different channels, this brings them successful results.

Malicious files spread on the internet under the guise of copies of nominated films also provide an indication of the levels of interest towards the nominees. Kaspersky researchers compared malicious activity under the name of nominated films during the first four weeks after the public premiere of the film. As a result, ‘Joker’ took first place among films used – being the most popular film among cybercriminals with 304 malicious files named after the Gotham villain. ‘1917’ was second in this rating with 215 malicious files, The Irishman, third with 179 files. Korean film ‘Parasite’ did not have any malicious activity associated with it.

Kaspersky also looked into whether there was a significant rise in malicious files just after the public release of the film. This showed that most malicious files appeared during the third or fourth week after the public cinema release of the film, although some were distributed even before the premiere.

Kaspersky experts also analyzed whether the availability of a film on a streaming platform influences the likelihood of users searching for an illegal copy of it on the web, by comparing malicious activity after the initial limited cinema release and actual release on Netflix streaming platform.

In the case of ‘Marriage Story’ no malware was found upon and after the initial release of the film in cinemas. However, cybercriminals started using the movie title after its release on Netflix, reflecting the interest that grew towards the film. In the case of Sorrento’s long-awaited ‘The Irishmen’, even though fewer users were engaged in finding a copy of the movie on the internet, they were more determined to do so – the number of detections following the initial limited release of the film on screen was higher than after its release on Netflix.

“Cybercriminals aren’t exactly tied to the dates of film premieres, as they are not really distributing any content except for malicious data. However, as they always prey on something when it becomes a hot trend, they depend on users’ demand and actual file availability. To avoid being tricked by criminals, stick to legal streaming platforms and subscriptions to ensure you can enjoy a nice evening in front of the TV without having to worry about any threats,” comments Anton Ivanov, Kaspersky malware analyst.

To avoid falling victim to malicious programs pretending to be popular films or TV shows, Kaspersky recommends taking the following steps:

  • Pay attention to the official movie release dates in theaters, on streaming services, TV, DVD, or other sources
  • Don’t click on suspicious links, such as those promising an early view of a new film; check movie release dates in the cinema and keep track of them
  • Look at the downloaded file extension. Even if you are going to download a video file from a source you consider trusted and legitimate, the file should have a .avi, .mkv or .mp4 extension among other video formats, definitely not .exe
  • Check the website’s authenticity. Do not visit websites allowing you to watch a movie until you are sure that they are legitimate and start with ‘https’. Confirm that the website is genuine, by double-checking the format of the URL or the spelling of the company name, reading reviews about it and checking the domain’s registration data before starting downloads
  • Use a reliable security solution for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats
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Cars

The Elite Cars Launches Zenvo Aurora in the Region

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The Elite Cars, the authorized distributor of Danish-brand Zenvo Automotive across the MENA region, launched the Zenvo Aurora on February 21, 2024. Inspired by the majestic Aurora Borealis, the newest model comes in two distinct and purposeful derivatives, the Agil and Tur, and will be limited to just 50 pieces of each model. Notably, nearly 50% of the highly-anticipated models have already been booked for pre-production.

Mahmoud Imran, Sales and Operations Manager at The Elite Cars and Chairman of the Board and Chief Commercial Officer of Zenvo, Jens Sverdrup, introduced the eagerly awaited hypercar. The grand reveal was orchestrated by a synchronised light performance that emulated the graceful and impactful movements of the Aurora Borealis. Renowned for crafting artisan hypercars, Zenvo stands out with the Aurora as its lightest and most innovative model to date, starting at Euros 2.590 million (approximately AED 11-12 million). It features the most powerful V12 engine ever fitted to a road car. At the heart, a 6.6-litre quad-turbocharged V12 engine paired with lightweight electric motors produces 1850 hp for the Tur and 1450 hp for the Agil.

Designed by in-house chief designer, Christian Brandt, both derivatives bring Danish artistry and ingenuity to the hypercar market for the first time, inspired by the famous ‘form follows function’ design language. Utilising Formula 1 technologies and processes, the Aurora is designed with driving pleasure in mind, achieving the 0-100km/h sprint in as little as 2.3 seconds, and to a top speed of 450 km/h. With both two- and four-wheel-drive drivetrains, it can travel up to 35 km on pure electric power.

Both models feature a lightweight chassis design, cleanly channelling the airflow through the structure to aid downforce and stability. The aerodynamically aggressive Aurora Agil features a stripped-out cabin and rear-wheel drive system as standard, tipping the scales at 1,300kg, with a clear focus on track driving. The more classically styled Aurora Tur offers elevated luxury and is a permanent four-wheel-drive, with two additional electric motors on the front wheels providing 200 bph each, enhancing speed and stability for road driving.

“We are filled with immense pride as we officially unveil the limited-edition Zenvo Aurora in the UAE as the authorised distributor for the brand across the region. This partnership between The Elite Cars and Zenvo is a natural synergy, as we both share a deep passion for automotive excellence, a commitment to exceeding expectations and a dedication to providing clientele with the greatest in luxury and performance,” said Tamer Abu Khalaf,  Co-Founder at The Elite Cars. “With the UAE as a global hub of luxury, the Zenvo Aurora represents the pinnacle of artisanal craftsmanship for automotive enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, offering an unparalleled ownership experience.”

“We are thrilled to be unveiling the Zenvo Aurora for the first time in the UAE market with our partners The Elite Cars,” explains the Chairman of the Board and Chief Commercial Officer of Zenvo, Jens Sverdrup. “The new model is best described as an equilibrium of extremes. We just wanted to build an uncompromised driver’s car, which delivered on every level, but without any one aspect negatively impacting another. The outcome has given us two models, which complement each other, deliver true driving pleasure and, almost as a byproduct, offer incredible performance.”

Zenvo Aurora will be hand-built at the Zenvo headquarters in Præstø, Denmark, with first deliveries expected in 2026.

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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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