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Fri, 19 Jan 2018
Malware infected gaming apps in Google store targeted kids with porn...

GOOGLE has been forced to pull malware-infected gaming apps from its online store after cyber security researchers revealed what they were showing young kids.

GOOGLE has removed apps targeted at children from its online store after it was revealed they were infected with malware that encouraged users to click on pornographic content and advertisements.

The malware was reported by cyber security company Check Point, prompting the search giant to act over security concerns for users and the fact that young children were being targeted with inappropriate images.

The malicious software displayed pornographic ads and tried to trick users into buying premium services, according to Check Point.

Dubbed “AdultSwine” by researchers, the malware hides inside gaming apps that Google Play data says have been downloaded three to seven million times.

“The most shocking element of this malware is its ability to cause pornographic ads (from the attacker’s library) to pop up without warning on the screen over the legitimate game app being displayed,” Checkpoint said.

“The malicious code can use its infrastructure to broaden its goals to other purposes, such as credential theft.”

A Google spokesperson said: “We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them.

“We appreciate Check Point’s work to help keep users safe.”

Games and apps intended for children have become a new target for cyber criminals in recent times, the security company warned.

The games infected by the AdultSwine malware included Paw Puppy Run, Subway Surf, Shin Hero Boy Adventure Game, Drawing Lessons and Lego Ninjago.

Check Point said it expected AdultSwine and similar malware to be repeated and imitated by hackers, warning users to be extra vigilant when installing apps, especially those intended for use by children.

— With Reuters



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Fri, 19 Jan 2018
Kenyans try new world of HIV self-testing kits

Truck drivers and prostitutes have taken to HIV self-testing like a duck to water, reveals recent studies.

In the latest of two studies, a majority of truck drivers and turn-boys in Nakuru chose ‘selfies’ or self-testing (self-testing is when you perform an HIV test on yourself, in private, and get an immediate result) instead of being tested by a health worker.

In the second study, prostitutes in Kisumu were used in what has been described as “successful distribution of self-test to their clients and partners”. Studies justifying the introduction of self-test kits in Kenya show truck drivers, sex workers, pharmacists and couples are eager to take up the practice.

The latest, reported in 2017 by US and South African universities and a Dutch NGO, North Star Alliance, claimed to have confirmed HIV self-testing as feasible among local truck drivers.

In a case of growing science activism in Kenya, the team had paid 149 truck drivers attending North Star Alliance roadside wellness clinics in Nakuru County to participate in the study. Truck drivers or their ‘turn-boys’ were given a choice between the usual HIV testing administered by a health worker or to self-test.

Overall, the results published in the journal Aids Behaviour, show, 56.38 percent of participants chose the self-test, 23.49 percent the provider-administered test and 20.13 percent refused testing.

More than half of truckers who chose to self-test did so without needing any guidance, while 47 per cent asked questions and 13 per cent needed intervention from the health worker. “Our findings suggest that self-administered oral HIV testing was acceptable among Kenyan truck drivers,” says the study.

The vast majority of the ‘selfies’ the study says, were able to administer the test and interpret the results correctly themselves on the first try. “More than half of those who self-tested did so correctly without soliciting any guidance.”

The study, involving researchers from the University of New York, US, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, shows most of the truckers were married. However, almost half (48.30 percent) of participants had regular partners on their trucking route in addition to their wives, 52.86 percent had paid for sex in the past six months and only 15.26 percent reported always using a condom.

Sometime last year, the Ministry of Health approved two HIV self-test kits which will be available for between Sh700 and Sh800 in selected pharmacies. The two are Oraquick, manufactured by Orasure Technologies Inc of the US and Insti by biolytical Laboratories of Canada.

Kenyans aged above 15 are now able to purchase, perform the HIV test and interpret the results on their own and at their convenience. But the launch was greeted with some disapproval especially by Kenyans on social media while self-test proponents are putting up a strong defence.

In the other study among female prostitutes in Kisumu by the University of Carolina, US, the NGOs Family Health 360 and Impact Research and Development Organisation showed the women are willing to convince their clients and partners to self-test for HIV.

In the results published in March in the journal Plos One, the researchers [...]

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Thu, 18 Jan 2018
Defective airbags: Bakkies, cars to be recalled in SA

The South African auto industry is affected by ongoing defective Takata airbag recalls.

One of the automakers affected is Toyota with models such as its previous generation Hilux bakkie.

The safety recall is to replace defective and potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators. Toyota SA issued a recall and special service campaign in July 2017.

In 2015, Toyota SA said it would replace airbag inflators in its Corolla, RunX and Yaris models (built from 2002 to 2007) and in its Rav4, Hilux and Fortuners (from July 2003 to December 2005).

Recall notice to local Hilux owners 

In a letter to customers, sent to us via a reader, Toyota said: “Our records show that your vehicle is fitted with a Takata airbag, which could be defective over time and pose a danger to driver and other occupants. As a result of these findings, Toyota has decided to recall all vehicles fitted with this range of airbags to ensure the safety of its customers.”

According to the Associated Press, Takata’s inflators can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel into the vehicle. At least 20 people have died worldwide and more than 280 have been hurt. To date, no injuries or fatalities have been reported locally.

The ongoing Takata recall has affected thousands of vehicles globally and has included automakers such as Nissan, Honda and General Motors. Toyota SA states that the latest Takata recall issued in January 2018, “is not only limited to Toyota”.

Wheels24 is in possession of the text message Toyota has sent to customers:

“Toyota is dedicated to Customer Safety. As a result, Toyota has initiated a Recall Campaign for TAKATA Airbag Inspection or Replacement. We identified your Hilux Double Cab 2005-2016 is affected.”

The “2016” referenced in the sms refers to previous generation Hilux models.

Find out whether your Toyota is affected by entering your VIN on a search tool via 

An email sent to affected customers reads: “The automotive industry is facing an unprecedented challenge in the recall and replacement of millions of Takata airbag inflators across the world. We would like to assure you that Toyota South Africa Motors is committed to addressing the needs and concerns of our customers with vehicles affected by this issue.

“Please note that this recall is not only limited to Toyota as Takata is a global supplier to the motor industry at large.”

Toyota SA responds

Wheels24 reached out to Toyota SA for comment: “This serves to confirm that there is indeed an ongoing recall for the replacement of Takata airbags. Please note that this recall is not only limited to Toyota as Takata is a global supplier to the motor industry at large. We would like to assure you that Toyota South Africa Motors is committed to addressing the needs and concerns of our customers with vehicles affected by this issue.

“As you have rightly pointed out, Toyota is in the process contacting customers whose vehicles are affected. The protection of the drivers and passengers in our vehicles is our utmost concern, and we urge all owners of affected vehicles to seek repair immediately.”

On its local webpage Toyota SA  states: [...]

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