Archive for author: makoadmin

How AI will change your credit card behind the scenes

Many companies are starting to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) within their services. Whenever there are large amounts of data involved, AI offers a way to turn that pile of data into actionable insights.

And there’s a big chance that our data are somewhere in that pile, whether they can be traced back to us or not. In this blog we’ll look at the different ways in which credit card companies are planning to use AI.

Two of the major credit card companies, MasterCard and Visa, made announcements this month on how they will use AI in the near future.

Mastercard announced the introduction of generative AI for earlier detection of credit card fraud.

Johan Gerber, executive vice president of security and cyber innovation at Mastercard, said:

“Generative AI is going to allow to figure out where did you perhaps get your credentials compromised, how do we identify how it possibly happened, and how do we very quickly remedy that situation not only for you, but the other customers who don’t know they are compromised yet.”

Generative AI models learn the patterns and structure of their input training data and then generate new data with similar characteristics.

There’s an enormous amount of stolen credit and debit card details available on various marketplaces, some of which aren’t even on the dark web. These details come from many different data breaches, and they can go unnoticed for extended periods of time. Analyzing the data and spotting patterns in the abuse can help the credit card company identify and inform affected customers before the criminals actually use the card.

VISA, on the other hand, said it will use AI to tailor a better shopping experience. This, it says, will allow it to share more information about customers’ preferences based on their shopping history with retailers.

VISA will require consumer consent for sharing the required information. According to VISA CEO Ryan McInerney, consumers will have the option, through their bank app, to revoke access to their information.

And last but not least, American Express Global Business Travel revealed in February that it started an AI initiative to improve efficiency. As one of the early results it reported it has reduced customer call times by about a minute.

All in all, credit card companies are gathering data to predict our behavior. They are not the only ones, for sure, but they do have access to some information that most people are not prone to share freely, our finances.

Sure, less time spent being held up by that slightly less annoying chatbot, or a warning about a compromised credit card before the abuse happens, that sounds great. But an online store guessing what I am likely to purchase isn’t something I’m so keen on—about the same level of spooky as targeted ads.

Does increased efficiency outweigh the cost of handing over our data? What we’d like to see are improved security AND ease of use. Let us know how you feel in the comments below.

We don’t just talk about credit cards—we help monitor them

Cybersecurity risks should never spread beyond a headline. Keep an eye on your finances with identity and credit monitoring.

Criminal record database of millions of Americans dumped online

A cybercriminal going by the names of EquationCorp and USDoD has released an enormous database containing the criminal records of millions of Americans. The database is said to contain 70 million rows of data.

Post on breach forum to download the criminal database
Post by USDoD on a breach forum

The leaked database is said to include full names, dates of birth, known aliases, addresses, arrest and conviction dates, sentences, and much more. Dates reportedly range from 2020 to 2024.

The exact source of the database is as yet unknown.

USDoD is a high-profile player in this field, closely associated with “Pompompurin”, the operator of the first iteration of data leak site BreachForums. USDoD is said to have plans to set up a successor to the second iteration of BreachForums which was recently seized by law enforcement. Releasing this database may be USDoD’s way to round up some interested users.

USDoD is also believed to be involved in a breach at TransUnion, the data of which was (partly) dumped in September, 2023.

Needless to say, having the criminal information leaked could have a tremendous impact, not only for the listed individuals but also for the justice system. We’ll keep you updated.

Protecting yourself from a data breach

There are some actions you can take if you are, or suspect you may have been, the victim of a data breach.

  • Check the vendor’s advice. Every breach is different, so check with the vendor to find out what’s happened, and follow any specific advice they offer.
  • Change your password. You can make a stolen password useless to thieves by changing it. Choose a strong password that you don’t use for anything else. Better yet, let a password manager choose one for you.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). If you can, use a FIDO2-compliant hardware key, laptop or phone as your second factor. Some forms of two-factor authentication (2FA) can be phished just as easily as a password. 2FA that relies on a FIDO2 device can’t be phished.
  • Watch out for fake vendors. The thieves may contact you posing as the vendor. Check the vendor website to see if they are contacting victims, and verify any contacts using a different communication channel.
  • Take your time. Phishing attacks often impersonate people or brands you know, and use themes that require urgent attention, such as missed deliveries, account suspensions, and security alerts.
  • Set up identity monitoring. Identity monitoring alerts you if your personal information is found being traded illegally online, and helps you recover after.

Check your digital footprint

If you want to find out how much of your own data has been exposed online, you can try our free Digital Footprint scan. Fill in the email address you’re curious about (it’s best to submit the one you most frequently use) and we’ll give you a free report, along with tips on what to do next.

We don’t just report on threats – we help safeguard your entire digital identity

Cybersecurity risks should never spread beyond a headline. Protect your—and your family’s—personal information by using identity protection.

Microsoft AI “Recall” feature records everything, secures far less

Developing an AI-powered threat to security, privacy, and identity is certainly a choice, but it’s one that Microsoft was willing to make this week at its “Build” developer conference.

On Monday, the computing giant unveiled a new line of PCs that integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to promise faster speeds, enhanced productivity, and a powerful data collection and search tool that screenshots a device’s activity—including password entry—every few seconds.

This is “Recall,” a much-advertised feature within what Microsoft is calling its “Copilot+ PCs,” a reference to the AI assistant and companion which the company released in late 2023. With Recall on the new Copilot+ PCs, users no longer need to manage and remember their own browsing and chat activity. Instead, by regularly taking and storing screenshots of a user’s activity, the Copilot+ PCs can comb through that visual data to deliver answers to natural language questions, such as “Find the site with the white sneakers,” and “blue pantsuit with a sequin lace from abuelita.”

As any regularly updated repository of device activity poses an enormous security threat—imagine hackers getting access to a Recall database and looking for, say, Social Security Numbers, bank account info, and addresses—Microsoft has said that all Recall screenshots are encrypted and stored locally on a device.

But, in terms of security, that’s about all users will get, as Recall will not detect and obscure passwords, shy away from recording pornographic material, or turn a blind eye to sensitive information.

According to Microsoft:

“Note that Recall does not perform content moderation. It will not hide information such as passwords or financial account numbers. That data may be in snapshots that are stored on your device, especially when sites do not follow standard internet protocols like cloaking password entry.”

The consequences of such a system could be enormous.

With Recall, a CEO’s personal laptop could become an even more enticing target for hackers equipped with infostealers, a journalist’s protected sources could be within closer grasp of an oppressive government that isn’t afraid to target dissidents with malware, and entire identities could be abused and impersonated by a separate device user.

In fact, Recall seems to only work best in a one-device-per-person world. Though Microsoft explained that its Copilot+ PCs will only record Recall snapshots to specific device accounts, plenty of people share devices and accounts. For the domestic abuse survivor who is forced to share an account with their abuser, for the victim of theft who—like many people—used a weak device passcode that can easily be cracked, and for the teenager who questions their identity on the family computer, Recall could be more of a burden than a benefit.

For Malwarebytes General Manager of Consumer Business Unit Mark Beare, Recall raises yet another issue:

“I worry that we are heading to a social media 2.0 like world.”

When users first raced to upload massive quantities of sensitive, personal data onto social media platforms more than 10 years ago, they couldn’t predict how that data would be scrutinized in the future, or how it would be scoured and weaponized by cybercriminals, Beare said.

“With AI there will be a strong pull to put your full self into a model (so it knows you),” Beare said. “I don’t think it’s easy to understand all the negative aspects of what can happen from doing that and how bad actors can benefit.”

We don’t just report on threats – we help safeguard your entire digital identity

Cybersecurity risks should never spread beyond a headline. Protect your—and your family’s—personal information by using identity protection.

How to remove a user from a shared Android device

Some of our loyal readers may remember my little mishap when I was able to track my wife by accident after inadvertently adding myself to her phone as a user.

For exactly that reason we want to warn against sharing devices and at least show you how to remove other people’s accounts from your device.

The steps may be slightly different depending on your Android version, device type, and vendor, but most users should be able to follow these steps.

For the primary user:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap System > Multiple users.
Multiple users screen Android

If you can’t find this setting, try searching your Settings app for users.

  • Tap the name of the user you want to remove.
  • Tap Delete user > Delete. If successful, the user will be removed from the list.
  • If you want to stay the only user, you can turn the Multiple users feature off.

If you’re not the primary user (you can’t delete the primary user):

  • Under Multiple Users tap More (three stacked dots).
  • Tap Delete [username] from this device. Important: You can’t undo this.
  • The device will switch to the owner’s profile.

Note: Android devices allow two types of additional users:

  • Secondary user: This is any user added to the device other than the system user. Secondary users can be removed (either by themselves or by an admin user) and cannot impact other users on a device. These users can run in the background and continue to have network connectivity.
  • Guest user: Temporary secondary user. Guest users have an explicit option to quickly delete the guest user when its usefulness is over. There can be only one guest user at a time.

Another privacy issue can be caused by having additional accounts on the device. Accounts are contained within a user but are not linked to a particular user. The tracking issue I discussed was caused by adding one of my Google accounts to my wife’s phone.

To remove unwanted accounts:

  • Under Settings, tap on Accounts and Backups
  • Then tap on Manage Accounts
  • Select the account you want to remove and you will see the option to do that.

If you’re having trouble finding any of these settings on your specific Android device, reach out through the comments and when we can, we’ll add as many specific instructions as possible to the post.

How to remove a user from a shared Mac

There will be times when you need to remove a user from a device. In this article we’ll show you how to remove a user from a Mac.

For a better understanding it’s good to understand the difference between an actual user of the device and a “sharing only user.” On a Mac, you can use Sharing Only User settings to create a user that has access to your files and folders over the network. You can also use these settings to limit their access to your shared information and system.

Both have very similar ways of removal:

  • Apple menu > System Settings
  • Click Users & Groups in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)
  • Click the Info button next to the user or group you want to delete, then click Delete User or Delete Group. Note: If a user is logged in to this Mac now, you can’t select them.
Users & Groups menu on a Mac

This will delete sharing users immediately. For other users you’ll have to decide what you want to do with their Home folder first. You can delete it, keep it, or save it in a disk image.

  • To save it in a disk image, select Save the home folder in a disk image, then click Delete User. This archives all the user’s documents and information so the user can be restored later if needed. The disk image is saved in /Users/Deleted Users/.
  • To leave the user’s home folder as is, select Don’t change the home folder, then click Delete User. The user’s documents and information are saved and the user can be restored later if needed. The Home folder remains in /Users/.
  • To remove the user’s home folder from the computer: Select Delete the home folder, then click Delete User. The user’s folder will be deleted.

If you don’t delete a user’s home folder, you can restore the user and the contents of the home folder. (A sharing-only user doesn’t have a home folder.)

Did you know there’s a Malwarebytes for Mac? Give it a try!

How to remove a user from a shared Windows device

There will be times when you need to remove a user from a device. In this article we’ll show you how to remove a user from Windows 10 or 11.

On Windows you can create a local user account (an offline account) for anyone who will frequently use your PC. But the best option in most cases, is for everyone who uses your PC to have a Microsoft account. With a Microsoft account, you can access your apps, files, and Microsoft services across your devices.

Should you want to remove an additional user account from Windows 10 or 11, you can:

  • Select Start Settings Accounts Family & other users. 
  • Under Other users, select the flyout for the account you want to remove.
  • Next to Account and data, select Remove. Note: this will not delete their Microsoft account, it will just remove their sign-in info from your Windows device.
Windows Family & other users menu

Please note that Windows devices can have more than one administrator account. A user with an administrator account can access everything on the system, and any malware they encounter can use the administrator permissions to potentially infect or damage any files on the system. Only grant that level of access when absolutely necessary and to people you trust.

We don’t just report on threats—we remove them

Cybersecurity risks should never spread beyond a headline. Keep threats off your devices by downloading Malwarebytes today.

Your vacation, reservations, and online dates, now chosen by AI: Lock and Code S05E11

This week on the Lock and Code podcast…

The irrigation of the internet is coming.

For decades, we’ve accessed the internet much like how we, so long ago, accessed water—by traveling to it. We connected (quite literally), we logged on, and we zipped to addresses and sites to read, learn, shop, and scroll. 

Over the years, the internet was accessible from increasingly more devices, like smartphones, smartwatches, and even smart fridges. But still, it had to be accessed, like a well dug into the ground to pull up the water below.

Moving forward, that could all change.

This year, several companies debuted their vision of a future that incorporates Artificial Intelligence to deliver the internet directly to you, with less searching, less typing, and less decision fatigue. 

For the startup Humane, that vision includes the use of the company’s AI-powered, voice-operated wearable pin that clips to your clothes. By simply speaking to the AI pin, users can text a friend, discover the nutritional facts about food that sits directly in front of them, and even compare the prices of an item found in stores with the price online.

For a separate startup, Rabbit, that vision similarly relies on a small, attractive smart-concierge gadget, the R1. With the bright-orange slab designed in coordination by the company Teenage Engineering, users can hail an Uber to take them to the airport, play an album on Spotify, and put in a delivery order for dinner.

Away from physical devices, The Browser Company of New York is also experimenting with AI in its own web browser, Arc. In February, the company debuted its endeavor to create a “browser that browses for you” with a snazzy video that showed off Arc’s AI capabilities to create unique, individualized web pages in response to questions about recipes, dinner reservations, and more.

But all these small-scale projects, announced in the first month or so of 2024, had to make room a few months later for big-money interest from the first ever internet conglomerate of the world—Google. At the company’s annual Google I/O conference on May 14, VP and Head of Google Search Liz Reid pitched the audience on an AI-powered version of search in which “Google will do the Googling for you.”

Now, Reid said, even complex, multi-part questions can be answered directly within Google, with no need to click a website, evaluate its accuracy, or flip through its many pages to find the relevant information within.

This, it appears, could be the next phase of the internet… and our host David Ruiz has a lot to say about it.

Today, on the Lock and Code podcast, we bring back Director of Content Anna Brading and Cybersecurity Evangelist Mark Stockley to discuss AI-powered concierges, the value of human choice when so many small decisions could be taken away by AI, and, as explained by Stockley, whether the appeal of AI is not in finding the “best” vacation, recipe, or dinner reservation, but rather the best of anything for its user.

“It’s not there to tell you what the best chocolate chip cookie in the world is for everyone. It’s there to help you figure out what the best chocolate chip cookie is for you, on a Monday evening, when the weather’s hot, and you’re hungry.”

Tune in today to listen to the full conversation.

Show notes and credits:

Intro Music: “Spellbound” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
Outro Music: “Good God” by Wowa (

Listen up—Malwarebytes doesn’t just talk cybersecurity, we provide it.

Protect yourself from online attacks that threaten your identity, your files, your system, and your financial well-being with our exclusive offer for Malwarebytes Premium for Lock and Code listeners.

What is real-time protection and why do you need it? 

The constant barrage of cyber threats can be overwhelming for all of us. And, as those threats evolve and attackers find new ways to compromise us, we need a way to keep on top of everything nasty that’s thrown our way. 

Malwarebytes’ free version tackles and reactively resolves threats already on your system, but the real-time protection you get with Malwarebytes Premium Security goes one step further and actively monitors your computer’s files, processes, and system memory in real time to block threats before they have a chance to do any damage. You don’t need to worry about what happens after your initial scan, because real-time protection is actively waiting to combat new threats and keep you safe. 

Imagine your computer is like a castle, and you want to protect your people from potential invaders. Having real-time protection is like having guards stationed all around your castle, constantly watching for signs of trouble and stopping them in their path before they can cause harm. 

Here’s how guarding that castle looks like in cybersecurity terms: 

1. Proactive and continuous monitoring

      We monitor your files, processes, and system memory, your incoming and outgoing data, and the behavior of applications on your system. All in real time. 

      2. Dynamic detection

        Unlike traditional approaches that rely heavily on detecting malware that is already known to exist, Malwarebytes employs dynamic detection techniques, such as heuristic analysis, behavior monitoring, and machine learning to detect and block threats based on their behavior and characteristics, even if the threats have never been seen before.  

        3. Multi-layered defense

          Malwarebytes real-time protection offers a multi-layered approach to security, combining various technologies to provide comprehensive protection against a variety of threats. This includes protection against viruses, ransomware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), spyware, trojans, exploits, and other forms of malware.  

          4. Rapid response 

            When Malwarebytes detects suspicious activity or potential threats, it responds quickly. Malwarebytes quarantines or removes malicious files, protects you from harmful websites, and blocks unauthorized access to your system.  

            5. Minimal impact 

              Malwarebytes runs quietly in the background and protects you without hogging your device’s resources.  

              6. Regular updates to malware detection database 

                To ensure our program is equipped to detect and block the latest threats, we continuously update our database and algorithms.  

                In short, real-time protection serves as a proactive defense layer against constantly evolving cyber threats. Having this layer improves your cybersecurity and gives you peace of mind in this increasingly digital world.  

                Don’t just take our word for it: Malwarebytes Premium Security was awarded “Product of the Year” in a recent AVLab test

                Keep yourself protected and upgrade to Malwarebytes Premium Security.  

                Financial institutions ordered to notify customers after a breach, have an incident response plan

                The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced rules around breaches for certain financial institutions—registered broker-dealers, investment companies, investment advisers, and transfer agents— that require them to have written incident response policies and procedures that can be used in the event of a breach.

                The requirement is an adoption of amendments to Regulation S-P, which was enacted in 2000 to safeguard the financial information of consumers, requiring financial institutions to tell customers about how they use their personal information.

                But things have changed drastically since 2000. Even in the four years between 2018 and 2022, complaints about identity theft more than doubled, per the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

                SEC Chair Gary Gensler said:

                “Over the last 24 years, the nature, scale, and impact of data breaches has transformed substantially. These amendments to Regulation S-P will make critical updates to a rule first adopted in 2000 and help protect the privacy of customers’ financial data. “

                Under these amendments, covered firms will be required to notify customers of breaches that might put their personal data at risk. This will give these customers the chance to prepare themselves for the negative consequences of a breach.

                Covered organizations have to provide notice to victims as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after becoming aware of an incident involving the leak of customer information. Organizations must include details about the incident, the data leaked and what victims can do to protect themselves. As Gensler puts it:

                “The basic idea for covered firms is if you’ve got a breach, then you’ve got to notify.”

                The amendments will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Larger entities will have 18 months after the date of publication in the Federal Register to comply with the amendments, and smaller entities will have 24 months after the date of publication in the Federal Register to comply.

                Has your data been exposed?

                If you want to find out how much of your data has been exposed online, you can try our free Digital Footprint scan. Fill in the email address you’re curious about (it’s best to submit the one you most frequently use) and we’ll send you a free report.

                We don’t just report on threats – we help safeguard your entire digital identity

                Cybersecurity risks should never spread beyond a headline. Protect your—and your family’s—personal information by using identity protection.

                A week in security (May 13 – May 19)

                Last week on Malwarebytes Labs:

                Last week on ThreatDown:

                Stay safe!

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