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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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Gadgets

HONOR Intros HONOR X6

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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.

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Cars

Lamborghini Announces the New Urus S

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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.

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Events

Acer Launches the EMEA Predator League 2022 eSports Tournament for Rocket League Fans

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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:

  1. 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)
  2. Middle East: Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia (KSA)
  3. 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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