Story image

Be careful what you wish for this Valentine's Day

07 Feb 14

The pink hearts and cuddly bears so ubiquitous to Valentine’s Day may be hiding invasive permissions that violate users’ privacy, enlarge phone bills and even lead to identity theft, according to research by antivirus software firm, Bitdefender.

Seasonal apps such as Valentine’s Day 2014 Wallpaper have been found to push permissions enabling access to and distribution of users’ locations across the internet as well as the ability to read browsing history.

The Valentine’s Day Frames application even requests permission to read users’ contact lists. These permissions are most likely sought by the ad-placing network, SDK.

While it might help someone send a message to a loved one, the Love Letters for Chat, Status app available on Google Play has permissions that can also add or modify calendar events, send emails without the owner’s knowledge, read calendar events and confidential information, directly call numbers and even change audio settings.

Loredana Botezatu, Communication Specialist at Bitdefender says scams for PCs have also jumped in number.

“The Bitdefender anti-spam lab noticed a 10 per cent increase in PC scams overnight, with the malicious campaign hype set to continue and intensify for the next week,” said Ms Botezatu.

“Fake diamond rings, flower arrangement deals, chocolate boxes and other online Valentine’s Day specials just might grab your online identity instead of your heart this year, turning your PC into a zombie in a botnet or steal credit card details.”

Below are some traps scammers either throw at users or hide on the Internet around Valentine’s Day:

- eHarmony invitations for those who want to find their significant other in a singles community

- “Burn fat fast” miracle tricks to get women in shape in no time – nutritionists recommend a wonder plant that does the job in a matter of days

- Dazzling discounts for flowers, plush bears, chocolate animals, picture frames, wine and gift boxes

- Valentine’s Day wallpaper on users’ Android devices

- Luxury replicas– wrist watches and jewelry that no celebration of love could be complete without

“Users should not rush into buying gifts over the Internet without a thorough preliminary check. Some data should never be shared even with people you know, let alone with those you don’t know. It’s unlikely a stranger is working over the internet in your best interests,” said Ms Botezatu.

New app conducts background checks on potential tenants
Landlords and house owners need to obtain a tenant’s full name, date of birth, email address, and mobile number in order to conduct the search. And most importantly, they have to get the tenant’s permission first.
GirlBoss wins 2018 YES Emerging Alumni of the Year Award
The people have spoken – GirlBoss CEO and founder Alexia Hilbertidou has been crowned this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Emerging Alumni of the Year.
IDC: Standalone VR headset shipments grow 428.6% in 3Q18
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined market.
Meet Rentbot, the chatbot that can help with tenancy law
If you find yourself in a tricky situation  - or if you just want to understand your rights as a landlord or tenant, you can now turn to a chatbot for help.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) finally releases on PS4
PUBG on PS4 feels like it’s still in Early Access as the graphics look horribly outdated and the game runs poorly too. 
How AI can fundamentally change the business landscape
“This is an extremely interesting if not pivotal time to discuss how AI is being deployed and leveraged, both in business and at home.”
CERT NZ highlights rise of unauthorised access incidents
“In one case, the attacker gained access and tracked the business’s emails for at least six months. They gathered extensive knowledge of the business’s billing cycles."
Report finds GCSB in compliance with NZ rights
The Inspector-General has given the GCSB its compliance tick of approval for the fourth year in a row.