A new variant of Houdini Malware is making the rounds. Through a combination of phishing tactics and link clicks, it tries to install and scrape bank account details via keylogging. As always, use caution when checking emails “from your bank.”

The Houdini worm itself isn’t new, and technically it’s a RAT, not a worm. But recently the Cofense Phishing Defense Center identified a new variant targeted at stealing online banking credentials. The attackers converted the original code from a Visual Basic setup to Javascript and started a phishing campaign earlier this month.

Targets receive an email purporting to be from their bank with instructions to click a link to finish a financial transaction. Clicking the link leads to a download of malware which includes a keylogger, a mail credential viewer, and a browser credential viewer. Even these parts of the software are unoriginal and taken from elsewhere. The goal here is maximum damage for minimum effort.

Once the malware is on your system, it tries to steal your bank login info and pass that back to the attackers. They’ll, in turn, use your credentials to make fraudulent purchases.

The age-old advice of being careful what you do in email applies here. If your bank ever does email you with a message or issue, don’t click on the links in the email. Instead, open a browser and navigate directly to your bank’s website. Or call your bank.

No bank (or realistically any institution) will email you and ask for information it should already know. But unfortunately, they do email you with information about recent transactions and include links to websites. It’s best to avoid clicking on those links and browse to your bank’s site manually. [ZDNet]

RELATED: What is RAT Malware, and Why Is It So Dangerous?

In Other News:

  • Target’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Weekend: Much to the frustration of Target shoppers everywhere, Target’s POS system went down nationwide on Saturday. It took most of the day to get it running again, only to have credit card systems go down on Sunday. Target says the problems weren’t malware or hacking, just unrelated IT system errors. [TechCrunch]
  • Genius.com accused Google of stealing its lyrics: You might think it’d be impossible to steal lyrics results, but Genius.com says Google is doing exactly that. The company employed a neat trick to prove the site scraping: It alternated apostrophe types between straight and curly to spell out “Red Handed” in Morse code, which showed up on Google. You could call that: Genius. [The Verge]
  • Windows Update Causes Black Screens: Some users are reporting that taking the latest Windows patches leaves them with a black screen. Microsoft is investigating, and solving the problem is as easy as using Ctrl+Alt+Del, which does bring up the security screen, and then restarting. Maybe Windows wants you to take a rest break? [TechRadar]
  • Google Assistant answers, “Dude, where’s my car?”: Google Now used to have a Parking card to help you find your car when you came out of the mall or grocery store. That card went away with the switch to Google Assistant, and you had to mark your spot manually instead. Thankfully, Google brought the card back so you can find it between those two SUVs in no man’s land. [9to5Google]
  • Walmart’s new grocery delivery subscription is $98 a year: The grocery wars are heating up, and all the major players offering pickup or delivery service at this point. Walmart is expanding its options with a new $98 yearly subscription. Pay that up front, and you skip all fees for grocery delivery for the rest of the year. You’ll just have to order at least $30 of groceries, which for families is an easy task. [Digital Trends]
  • Alexa’s Kid Skills can now offer purchases: Amazon announced a new option for Alexa Skill developers: “In skill purchases.” A few skills already took advantage of the new capability, like Capstone’s You Choose Superman Adventures, and more are probably on the way. The good news is, before a purchase completes, Amazon will text the primary account holder for confirmation. That should prevent surprise charges. Hopefully. [VentureBeat]
  • Niantic sued a Pokémon Go cheating group: Gotta sue them all? A group calling themselves Global++ had been hacking Pokémon Go, Ingress, and the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite beta to enable cheats that made the games easier. They then released those hacked versions for others to download. Naturally, Niantic wasn’t happy about this and sued. Global++ appears to be offline now, so mission accomplished. [Engadget]
  • Samsung says you should run virus scans on your TV: Samsung now includes antivirus on its smart TVs for some reason and is suggesting you use it to ensure your TV runs smoothly. In addition to being unnecessary advice, it’s hard not to interpret the whole thing as “our TVs are insecure.” Makes you want to buy another Samsung model, right? [PCMag]

Diamonds are a girl’s scientist’s best friend. Scientists theorize that Dark Matter makes up much of the Universe’s mass, and so you’d think it would be trivial to find. The problem is, Dark Matter doesn’t emit light or energy. For that reason, and others, scientists haven’t been able to observe Dark Matter directly.

At best, we have theories that it exists because … well, something like it must exist. We can observe the rotation of galaxies, and they don’t seem to act as we would expect. The stars at a galaxy’s edge rotate much faster than expected, and the only reason we can think of for that is a bunch invisible matter causing the rotation.

Now scientists want to build a new detector using super-cold crystals to find dark matter. They plan to reduce the temperature of the crystals to near absolute zero (–273.15°C or –459.67°F). The hope is to detect sound waves when dark matter hits an atomic nucleus or electron in the diamond. The carbon atom structure of diamonds makes them the perfect choice for the experiment.

All we ask is that everyone involved avoid making any ice/diamond related puns. Batman and Robin ruined those forever, thank you very much. [ScienceNews]

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Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code.
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