Remote access at risk: Pandemic pulls more cyber‑crooks into the brute‑forcing game – 10 minute mail

Poorly secured remote access attracts mostly ransomware gangs, but can provide access to coin miners and backdoors too

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the nature of everyday work, forcing employees to do large parts of their jobs via remote access. Cybercriminals – especially ransomware operators – are aware of the shift and attempt to exploit the new opportunities and increase their illicit earnings. ESET telemetry confirms this trend in an uptick in the number of unique clients who reported brute-force attack attempts blocked via ESET’s network attack detection technology.

Before the lockdown, most employees worked from the office and used infrastructure monitored and controlled by their IT department. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought a major shift to the status quo. Today, a huge proportion of “office” work occurs via home devices with workers accessing sensitive company systems through Windows’ Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) – a proprietary solution created by Microsoft to allow connecting to the corporate network from remote computers.

Despite the increasing importance of RDP (as well as other remote access services), organizations often neglect its settings and protection. Employees use easy-to-guess passwords and with no additional layers of authentication or protection, there is little that can stop cybercriminals from compromising an organization’s systems.

That is probably also the reason why RDP has become such a popular attack vector in the past few years, especially among ransomware gangs. These cybercriminals typically brute-force their way into a poorly secured network, elevate their rights to admin level, disable or uninstall security solutions and then run ransomware to encrypt crucial company data.

The growing number of unique clients who have reported an RDP attack attempt is visible in data gathered by ESET telemetry (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Trend of RDP attack attempts against unique clients (per day), detected by ESET technologies

Brute-force attack protection

To address the growing risks posed by increasing RDP use, ESET researchers have devised a new detection layer that is hidden under the hood of ESET Network Attack Protection and is designed to block incoming brute-force attacks from external IP addresses, covering RDP as well as SMB protocols.

Called ESET Brute-Force Attack Protection, this new layer detects groups of failed login attempts from external environments, which hint at an incoming brute-force attack, and then blocks further attempts. Subsequently, the biggest offenders among these IP addresses are added to a blacklist, which protects millions of devices from future attacks.

The new technology has proven to be effective against both random and targeted attacks. For it to work properly, the RDP option Network Level Authentication (NLA) on server must be enabled.

According to ESET telemetry, most of the blocked IPs in January–May 2020 were seen in the United States, China, Russia, Germany and France (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Countries with the largest number of all blocked IP addresses (between Jan 1 and May 31, 2020).

Countries that had the largest proportion of targeted IPs were Russia, Germany, Japan, Brazil and Hungary (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Countries with the most brute-force attacks reported by ESET telemetry (between Jan 1 and May 31, 2020).

How to configure remote access correctly

Yet, even with protective measures such as ESET Brute-Force Attack Protection, organizations need to keep their remote access properly configured:

  • Disable internet-facing RDP. If that is not possible, minimize the number of users allowed to connect directly to the organization’s servers over the internet.
  • Require strong and complex passwords for all accounts that can be logged into via RDP.
  • Use an additional layer of authentication (MFA/2FA).
  • Install a virtual private network (VPN) gateway to broker all RDP connections from outside your local network.
  • At the perimeter firewall, disallow external connections to local machines on port 3389 (TCP/UDP) or any other RDP port.
  • Protect your endpoint security software from tampering or uninstallation by password-protecting its settings.
  • Isolate any insecure or outdated computers that need to be accessed from the internet using RDP and replace them as soon as possible.
  • For a detailed description of how to set up your RDP connection correctly, please refer to this article by ESET Distinguished Researcher Aryeh Goretsky.
  • Most of these best practices apply to FTP, SMB, SSH, SQL, TeamViewer, VNC and other services as well.

Ransomware, coin miners and backdoors

Encryption of data and subsequent extortion is in no way the only scenario that could follow an RDP compromise. Frequently the attackers try to install coin-mining malware or create a backdoor, which can be used in case their unauthorized RDP access has been identified and closed.

Other common scenarios following an RDP compromise can include:

  • clearing of log files, thus removing the evidence of previous malicious activity,
  • downloading and running the attacker’s choice of tools and malware on the compromised system,
  • disabling of scheduled backups and shadow copies or completely erasing them, or
  • exfiltrating data from the server.

Black hats have been trying to exploit RDP for years, as documented by our blogpost from 2013. Steadily growing numbers of RDP attacks over the past few years have become the subject of numerous governmental advisories including the FBI, the UK’s NCSC and Australia’s ACSC.

This only demonstrates how crucial the security of remote access has become, potentially making or breaking a company’s future. And even if the damage to an organization’s reputation can be managed, there are financial losses, stalled operations and expensive recovery efforts that need to be accounted for. This doesn’t consider the additional costs of potential penalties that can be issued by authorities under data-protective legislation such as GDPR (EU), CCPA (California) or NDB (Australia).

Whether or not there’s a pandemic, businesses should manage the risks posed by wide usage of RDP or other similar services by reinforcing their passwords and by adding other protective layers, including multi-factor authentication and a security solution that defends against attacks based on RDP and similar protocols.



Ondrej Kubovič


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Users Might be Under Risk of DNS Vulnerability – Disposable mail news


What is DNS?


It is an essential element in the network (online infrastructure) that allows users to watch or access content on the internet by building a link between an IP address and the respective website with the help of a database. Hackers can use it as an opportunity to disturb the service, which causes altering in the domain registrars. Also known as DNS hijacking, altering domain registrars can cause DDoS attacks, DNS Tunneling, cache position, etc.

About the DNS Risk 

  • In a recent incident, a cryptocurrency exchange Japanese company named Coincheck was a victim of DNS Hijacking. The attack costed the company exposure of around 200 clients’ private information and e-mails. The hackers first altered the basic DNS entry by using the company’s account and Oname.com- the company’s domain registrar provider. After this, the hackers used a spear-phishing technique to steal information and e-mails from the 200 clients. 
  • In another DNS hijacking incident last month, a group of experts from Israel found an “NXNS Vulnerability.” The vulnerability in the DNS servers can cause massive scale DDoS attacks if exploited by hackers. To lessen the impact of the attack, Microsoft recently issued a security advisory about the vulnerability. 

It is not all; the DNS vulnerability issue is just one thing. According to cyber experts, there is another DNS threat out in the wild, and the pressing issue is that very few people know about it.

Concerns regarding DNS 


In present times, the most pressing problem, according to cybersecurity experts, is the exploitation of unattended domains. In other words, domains that are no longer in use but still exist on the internet. It happens under the circumstances of dissolved firms, mergers, and partnerships, as the companies leave out their old domains because of the rebranding. If a domain is left out to expire, the following things can happen:

  • If the hackers re-register the expired domains and make a new e-mail server, they can have access to confidential organizational information.
  • Left out domains of stores can be re-built, and the hackers can use it to receive orders and steal the money.


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Users May Risk Losing their Passwords on Dark Web For Sale – Disposable mail news


In April, Zoom became one of the many victims of the companies that lost their user data to the hackers. Zoom, which is one of the top online video conference platforms, lost more than half a million of account logins on the dark web. The leaked passwords could be bought either for free or for a minimal amount of money.

Understandably, the users are blaming the Zoom company for losing its accounts, and they have every right to do so. It is, however, a part of much bigger trouble that includes hackers, some criminal niches on the Internet, and the fault of our own to set very weak user passwords.

How passwords end up on the dark web? 



Every year, more than hundreds of millions of user accounts end up getting exposed to the dark web, either through malware or phishing attacks. According to a report by Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non for profit organization in California, around 11.6 Billion user accounts have been hacked since the year 2005.

The hacked accounts are then either uploaded on hacker websites or posted on the dark web for sale.

These websites and dark web can be accessed only through a specific browser called Tor. “Then there’s Tor, the darkest corner of the Internet. It’s a collection of secret websites (ending in .onion) that require special software to access them. People use Tor so that their Web activity can’t be traced — it runs on a relay system that bounces signals among different Tor-enabled computers around the world,” says Jose Pagliery from CNN Business.]
The hackers use these purchased passwords and try logging in with them to several other websites until they are successful, a technique known as credential stuffing.

The hackers used credential stuffing to steal more than 500,000 Zoom user accounts and uploaded them later on the dark web. In response to this, Zoom spokesperson has confirmed that they suspect the hackers used credential stuffing to breach the accounts. “You can help prevent some of these attacks by banning the use of bad passwords, blocking legacy authentication, and training employees on phishing,” says Microsoft’s security website on “how to prevent your company from web attacks.”


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Kuo: mmWave 5G iPhones Have ‘Potential Delay Risk,’ Production on 6.7-Inch iPhone Delayed to October

Some of Apple’s upcoming 5G iPhones could see a delay, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note shared with investors. mmWave models, which will feature the fastest 5G functionality, have a “potential delay risk” and may launch outside of the normal timeline.


Production on the mmWave iPhone may be pushed back because of changes to the antenna package that were made in early April, and delays in qualification process services.

The mmWave ‌iPhone‌ will be pushed back because the design of the antenna in package (AiP) changes in early April. Additionally, the test lab is closed and can’t offer qualification process services. If the pandemic can’t be controlled well until July, then we think that the shipment allocation of mmWave iPhones will decrease to 5-10% from 15-20%.

Kuo says the rumored 6.1-inch and 5.4-inch iPhones will go into mass production in September, but mass production on the larger 6.7-inch ‌iPhone‌ will be delayed until October because of it has the “most complicated” design.

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COVID 19 Contact Tracing: Is your Privacy at Risk? – Disposable mail news


Apple and Google’s latest team up together to build a technology that will help trace the spread of coronavirus is a much-appreciated move, that will surely help the society to fight coronavirus. Still, one must also be aware of the privacy concerns, as the users will be sharing their data with these companies.

The announcement came last Friday that the two companies are currently working together to build an application that will help in fining the COVID-19 trace. This process is called ‘contact tracing,’ and it will be carried with the help of Bluetooth technology that will benefit informing people as soon as they come in contact with an infected person.

Both the technology giants have assured that user privacy and security will be their utmost concern. According to cybersecurity experts, these companies who will be using user data such as- contacts, location; wouldn’t be used for any other purposes. Even the companies won’t have access to this information, and that is why these companies are prioritizing user privacy.

What about government surveillance? 
South Korea, while using technology to find the traces of infected people, is using CCTV footage, user location, credit card records, and even the conversation between individuals.

This type of technological surveillance raises concerns about the privacy of individuals. According to cybersecurity experts, the South Korean government is releasing alerts that tell an individual’s age, his neighborhood, his workplace, and also his location. None of such details are necessary as over sharing of these personal details can create a panic among the public.

Some researchers have even gone to an extent, saying that this surveillance is expected to last even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

According to experts, the government should tell the public about the reasons for data collection, so the public doesn’t panic and even gets a better understanding of the situation. In the present time, it is evident that these surveillances used for health purposes, but another concern is that this data can be used for other purposes such as law enforcement. The important fact is to know about the limits of this surveillance and to keep an eye if it becomes a tool for mass surveillance.


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Plugin flaw leaves up to 200,000 WordPress sites at risk of attack – 10 minute mail

A fix is available, so you may want to make sure that you run the plugin’s latest version

A popular WordPress theme plugin that’s installed on some 200,000 websites has been found to contain a serious vulnerability that, if abused, could allow remote attackers to wipe the sites and gain admin access to them.

Discovered by website security outfit WebARX, the security flaw affects the ThemeGrill Demo Importer plugin, which comes installed with site themes designed by web development company ThemeGrill. WordPress website admins can use the plugin to import demo content, widgets and settings and easily customize their site’s theme.

For three years, however, the plugin suffered from a security hole that left the sites open to remote attacks. In versions 1.3.4 up to 1.6.1, “there is a vulnerability that allows any unauthenticated user to wipe the entire database to its default state after which they are automatically logged in as an administrator,” reads the report.

“In order to be automatically logged in as an administrator, there must be a user called ‘admin’ in the database. Regardless of this condition, the database will still be wiped to its default state,” said the researchers. The exploit only works if the plugin is activated.

Either way, the firm stressed that the exploit doesn’t require any suspicious-looking payload – similarly to the exploit abusing a critical vulnerability in the InfiniteWP Client and WP Time Capsule plugins that was disclosed five weeks ago.

WebARX said that it discovered and reported the latest security hole to the tool’s developer on February 6. The fix was eventually supplied with the plugin’s version 1.6.2 on February 15. As a result, users are advised to ensure that they run either this version or version 1.6.3, which was rolled out earlier today.

WordPress in attackers’ crosshairs

WordPress security should be high on the agenda of any website owner using the web publishing software. According to W3Techs, WordPress powers more than 35 percent of all websites, and its popularity is partly thanks to thousands of available official plugins that extend the sites’ functionalities.

On the other hand, the platform’s success can also turn all those sites into juicy targets for cybercriminals, and out-of-date plugins and themes often increase the attack surface of WordPress installations. Besides updating the core software, then, the importance of keeping also plugins up-to-date and ditching abandoned and no-longer-needed plugins cannot be overstated.

To be sure, many hacks also originate from compromised login credentials, so make sure your password or passphrase is strong and unique and that, wherever available, you use two-factor authentication for extra security.



Tomáš Foltýn


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Russian banks to face risk due to a cancellation of support for Windows 7 – Disposable mail news

Termination of technical support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems (OS) can become a serious problem for Russian banks. According to the architect of the Microsoft technology center in Russia, Ivan Budylin, now, banks are required to quickly switch to Windows 10, since working without technical support is contrary to information security requirements. He added that the lack of updates can lead to significant risks of data loss.

At the same time, according to the survey, credit institutions are not yet ready to completely abandon the old OS.

Some banks reported that they had signed an agreement with Microsoft for paid additional support for Windows 7 (EAS). However, the expert noted that paid support is not an alternative to updating the operating system, but a temporary measure.

A similar situation was already with the Windows XP operating system, which was not supported in 2017 but continued to be used. During WannaCry ransomware virus epidemic, some XP users faced a situation where the malware appeared on the computer, was blocked and deleted by the antivirus.
However, then the virus repeatedly tried to get into the computer again and was blocked again. This caused a huge load on the network, processor, and disk. The devices started working so slowly that it was almost impossible to do anything on them.

Therefore, experts recommended updating Windows 7 as soon as possible, even though antiviruses can protect an already unsupported system.

Yuri Brisov, a member of the Commission on legal support of the digital economy, said that by denying the ability to regularly and timely update systems, banks put their customers at risk, which is unacceptable.

According to Boris Yedidin, a lawyer and co-founder of Moscow Digital School, for using outdated programs and operating systems, banks can bring to administrative responsibility under the article “Violation of information protection rules”.

Recall that Microsoft has refused to support the Windows 7 operating system since January 14. The computer will work with the old OS, but the company does not provide technical support for any software updates, as well as security updates and fixes.


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Cyber Security Incidents- the biggest risk to Businesses! – Disposable mail news

According to a survey of 2,718 executives from across 100 countries, cyber security incidents ranked as the biggest risk to businesses globally. 

The survey was participated by CEOs, risk managers, brokers and insurance experts and 39% of them said cyber risks were the biggest fear for a business. 


“Seven years ago, cyber ranked 15th on the business risk list, compiled by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), with just 6% of respondents picking it.”

Among cyber security issues, ransomwares got the most attention and seem to worry executives the most. They are increasing rapidly over the years and even after the encryption has been removed, businesses face extra cost (apart from the ransom cost)  in the form of expensive litigation from consumers or investors who have been affected by data breach.

Mergers and acquisitions can also lead to security threats, as acquiring a company with poor cyber security measures can be liable for your company as well. 

“Incidents are becoming more damaging, increasingly targeting large companies with sophisticated attacks and hefty extortion demands. Five years ago, a typical ransomware demand would have been in the tens of thousands of dollars. Now they can be in the millions,” says Marek Stanislawski, deputy global head of cyber at AGCS.

Business Interruptions drops to second behind cyber security concerns. Interruptions can be caused due to fire, explosion or natural catastrophes to digital supply chain failures or political violence. Changes in legislation and regulation comes third , with tariffs, sanctions, Brexit and protectionism. 


” Around 1,300 new trade barriers were implemented in 2019 alone, the report said.”

Climate change ranked 7th biggest risk to business.

 “If a digital platform is unavailable due to a technical glitch or cyber event, the losses for multiple companies reliant on it could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars or higher if they cannot provide services or products,” the report said.

Cyber attacks was among the top three risks in countries like Austria, Belgium, France, India, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. 


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Millions of modems at risk of remote hijacking – 10 minute mail

Multiple cable modem models from various manufacturers found vulnerable to takeover attacks

Hundreds of millions of cable modems from various manufacturers may be susceptible to a critical vulnerability that can enable attackers to intercept people’s private messages or redirect their internet traffic, new research has found.

Tracked as CVE-2019-19494 and nicknamed Cable Haunt, the vulnerability is estimated to have affected nearly all cable modems in Europe until recently, with many still remaining at risk. How so? The researchers from Denmark-based security consultancy Lyrebird – who discovered the security hole and detailed their findings in a paper available for download from this dedicated website – put it this way:

“There are an estimated 200 million cable modems in Europe alone. With almost no cable modem tested being secure without a firmware update, the number of modems initially vulnerable in Europe is estimated to be close to this number,” said the company. Some internet service providers (ISPs) were recently notified of the issue and shipped out firmware to address the problem. Either way, it is strongly suspected that there are more vulnerable modems throughout the world.

The ghost in the modem

The flaw resides in reference software that runs the spectrum analyzer tool on chips made by semiconductor company Broadcom. The spectrum analyzer component, which is tasked with pinpointing and debugging problems in modem cable connection, is used by various cable modem manufacturers in their devices’ firmware – hence the apparently vast number of vulnerable modems.

While the spectrum analyzer is exposed to the local network, attackers could still abuse Cable Haunt for remote access from anywhere in the world. The modems were found to be vulnerable to remote code execution through a WebSocket connection, which is initiated after the victim is lured to a booby-trapped website that serves malicious JavaScript code. The ensuing buffer overflow attack provides the threat actors with access to the modem, while browser security mechanisms are successfully bypassed with a DNS rebinding attack.

“The exploit is possible due to lack of protection proper authorization of the websocket client, default credentials and a programming error in the spectrum analyzer. These vulnerabilities can give an attacker full remote control over the entire unit, and all the traffic that flows through it, while being invisible for both the user and ISP and able to ignore remote system updates,” said the researchers.

The possible malicious actions include tampering with DNS settings, replacing modem firmware, corralling devices into a botnet, or conducting remote Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks to intercept private information.

The research team created a proof-of-concept (POC) exploit and tested it successfully against multiple firmware versions on several cable modems from Sagemcom, Netgear, Arris, Compal and Technicolor. A full list of modems and firmware versions that were confirmed to be vulnerable is available on the aforementioned website. Also available is the POC code, which allows users to check whether their particular cable modem may also be susceptible to the threat.

What (else) to do?

The researchers also said that they had notified as many of the largest ISPs and manufacturers as possible, with varying success: “Some of the contacted ISPs have informed us that they have or are rolling out firmware updates; however, we are still missing updates from several, and some have wished not to be listed on this website”. People who have received their cable modem from their ISP will probably need to wait for their provider to ship the update, unless this has happened already.

In the meantime, BankInfoSecurity quoted Broadcom as saying that the company “made the relevant fix to the reference code and this fix was made available to customers in May 2019″.

On a positive note, the researchers said that they’re not aware of actual in-the-wild attacks abusing Cable Haunt. Indeed, the attacks are not trivial to carry out.



Tomáš Foltýn


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WPA2 security flaw puts millions of devices at risk – Here’s how to stay safe – 10 minute mail

A security flaw in the WPA2 protocol was found and published by Belgian researchers on the morning of October 16th 2017. The protocol – normally used for securing modern Wi-Fi networks – has been broken to expose wireless internet traffic to potential eavesdropping and attacks. This vulnerability puts million of devices connected to Wi-Fi at risk for attacks.

We have interviewed our security experts in order to help you stay safe!

What has happened

In short, a combination of vulnerabilities in the WPA2 specification and its implementation was published. This combination allows an attacker to listen in on the data transmitted through Wi-Fi connections and potentially even inject data packets into them. This affects everything from Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, BSD and most likely some other platforms. Some sources claim that iOS and Windows are not affected, but according to the report written by the researcher behind these vulnerabilities, this is not true. It is possible to attack the access point directly which indirectly affects any device connected to it.

The vulnerability opens up for three attacks. The first attacks broadcast messages. While this is bad in itself, it’s not as devastating as the other two that have the potential to attack any message. The second attack targets an issue in the client. This affects Linux and Android according to the research paper, but could affect other systems as well. The third attack targets the access points. This means that any client connected could be attacked indirectly. Both of the latter attacks mean that an attacker can listen in on the traffic and could potentially even inject malicious content.

How do I know if I am affected?

If you are using Wi-Fi and have not received a security patch for this vulnerability, then you are most likely vulnerable. Unfortunately, the attack can be performed by just simulating background noise so there is not any reliable way to know if you are affected.

What to do?

  • Look for updates for your OS. Most vendors should already be releasing security patches for these vulnerabilities (when reading the patch notes, keep an eye out for “KRACK attack” or “WPA2 nonce reuse”).
  • If possible, use a cabled connection instead of Wi-Fi for your computer until a patch is out.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi on your phone until you’ve patched your device.
  • If possible, turn off the 802.11r feature in your router or device. Contact your access point vendor for information on how to disable this for your particular access point. In Linux you can remove this support in wpa_supplicant by removing FT-PSK and FT-EAP from your accepted protocols in wpa_supplicant.conf. (Note that Linux, Android and possibly other systems can be attacked through other means than the 802.11r feature.)
  • Use application-level security like HTTPS, SSL, VPN etc.
  • Be extra vigilant for anything that implies a broken trust chain, for example broken certificate warnings on websites or a missing lock in the address bar of your browser.

If you have any tips on how to mitigate the flaw in other operating systems, we’d love to add them to this article. Please let us know at hello[at]detectify.com!

WPA2 security flaw

How do you patch your software?

  • Your first priority should be to patch your clients (your phone and computer).
  • Check with your router/access point vendor for patches to your router/APs firmware. Make sure to download them over a secure connection if you’re still on Wi-Fi.

Worth knowing for companies out there

  • The attack requires the attacker to be in proximity to the Wi-Fi they are attacking. This means some locations will be reasonably safe.
  • Mobile devices will be most vulnerable since they move from Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi automatically. Make sure these are patched or have their Wi-Fi turned off until that is possible.Hacker WiFI

How can this vulnerability be used by a hacker?

This vulnerability can let an attacker listen in on your network traffic and in some cases send fake network traffic. This opens up a very wide attack surface. An attacker could steal sensitive information or inject malicious data to infect the device it is attacking.

For more information about the WPA2 security flaw including a detailed demo, visit: https://www.krackattacks.com/

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