Archive for December, 2010

Buy your kid a netbook so they can have a safe computing experience

Posted on December 27th, 2010 in Security | No Comments »

The internet is a wonderful place that is full of mystery and excitement. Never in human history has it been so easy to discover new information. We are able to get data at the speed of light from all across the world. But there is a dark side to the internet as well. And if you have children then you must try to protect them from this dark side as much as possible. They will discover the bad things in life soon enough, make sure that you try to hold it off just a little bit longer. While some people do this by hovering over their kids when they use the computer in the family room, I would argue that there is another way. Purchase a netbook for your kids and put the proper security measures in it. This will allow your kids to have a feeling of independence while at the same time you are still making sure that they are safe.

Securing your netbook

When your kids use the same computer that you use, it might be annoying for you to have to turn off the security protections that you had in place when your kid was on the computer. And then if you turn it off, you have to remember to turn it back on when it is your kids turn to use the computer again. Getting your child their own netbook will help alleviate this problem. By getting them their own netbook, you can now let them surf the internet whenever they want while you have all of the security programs that you need to make sure that they are surfing the web sites that they are supposed to surf. There are all types of web nanny programs that will allow you to accomplish this. You can also set your router to block certain web sites from your kid’s computer by using the IP address of the computer. Most modern day router software has this capability.

And it is not only web nanny software that you will be able to install to protect your kids while they surf the internet. You can also place different security tools that will protect them from malware as well. From antivirus solutions to pop up blockers, there is a whole host of ways that you can protect your kid’s computer. Keeping them secured from the malware out there is just as important as keeping the web nanny software on the computer.

If you want your kid to show independence, while at the same time getting your computer back, then think about getting them a netbook. A device like this is low cost and can make both of your lives a little bit easier. All it takes is a little bit of set up and your kids netbook will be safe to surf the internet with no worries.

Protecting your computer from malware on a fake holiday web sites

Posted on December 23rd, 2010 in Malware | No Comments »

This holiday, there are going to be many sales and many offers from around the web that you can take advantage of. You will just have to make sure that you are careful about which sites you choose to visit. Over the years, more and more people are starting to realize that they do not have to go through the hell that is Black Friday to be able to get a good deal during the Holidays. They are now realizing that you can just go on the internet and there will be new deals happening all month long. The internet does pose one risk that you will not get from fighting the traffic during black Friday. And that risk is the risk of infection that might incur from one of the many fake web sites that are out there.

What are fake holiday web sites?

If you pay attention to the news during the course of the year then you will no doubt have heard about some of the crimes that happen online. During the holidays, the online scams get even worse. The bad guys know that there are going to be millions of people that will be online looking for good deals. They will try to take advantage of this fact by posting up web sites that pretend that they are offering a good deal on an item that usually cost a lot more. In reality, this item is not really for sale on the site and they are just looking to get information from you. They will have you post up pieces of personal information such as your credit card number and your driver’s license number. After that, they will take you through the shopping cart experience and after you are finished, they will tell you that your item is on the way. You will wait for a few weeks and when your item does not arrive, you will try to get in contact with them. It is at this point that you will know that you have been scammed. There will be no way to get in contact with them and all of the contact information on the web site will be fake.

Scenarios like this happen all of the time and it is easy to get caught up in it. This is why you need to follow a few tips before you start to shop this holiday season. The first tip is to make sure that the web site you are visiting is real. If the web sites that you decide to buy an item from is not a big web site such as Amazon or Best Buy, Google the web site and see what their online reputation is. If they have a negative or no web presence on Google then it is a site that you will want to avoid. Also, if you have any questions try to contact the owner of the site. If you are not able to contact them, then avoid the site as well.

You must be careful this holiday season when you shop online. Going to the wrong site now can give you a lot of trouble in the future.

Christmas is the time when the most computers are the least protected

Posted on December 21st, 2010 in Security | No Comments »

During the holidays, there are a lot of gifts that are given out to both the kids and the spouses in a home. The older members of the family may receive trinkets such as jewelry or special homemade items. The kids may receive gifts such as toys that they can play with. For almost a decade now, the most popular gifts have all been electronic based. Whether it was a TV or a video game system, electronic gifts are taking over as the number one item that people want to have. And even more specifically, the hottest gifts for the past couple of years have been computer or computer based items. This list includes desktops, laptops, IPads, netbooks and other such items. While this is overall a good thing, there is a negative effect that can take place as well. You will have all of these new devices being opened for the first time and they will want to go on the internet. But items such as this going on the internet unprotected can lead to disastrous results.

The dangers of a new device

For the most part, when you are talking about a new computer or a desktop going out on the internet, there will be less danger the first 30 days. This is because most computers these days come with a piece of software called an antivirus that will protect them with a trial run. Antivirus companies pay computer makers to place their software in the Windows OS OEM installation. This allows them to have first movers advantage to these new customers because they are the first piece of antivirus software that they come across. The problem with this form of advertising is that the software is only a trial version. In 30 days, the time period will be up and most people will not pay to have it renewed. This means that unless they go get a free copy of some third party antivirus software then they will leave their computer very vulnerable.

Keeping your new computer safe

If you want to make sure that you stay safe then you need to pay attention to when that trial run on the antivirus software expires. After it does expire you have several options that you can choose from. You can either go to another third party vendor and get their software for free. There are plenty of antivirus vendors that give away free antivirus of high quality. If you do not want to do that, you can go to Microsoft directly and they have free antivirus software that you can download from their web site. Either way will make you a lot safer.

You must make sure that your computer is protected at all times when you surf the internet. The bad guys do not take the holidays off and as a matter of fact, they will tend to be more active during this time of year.

Rootkits – one of the more serious threats on the internet

Posted on December 3rd, 2010 in Security, Uncategorized | No Comments »

When you are dealing with most malware, you pretty much know how they are going to act on your system. Even the worse of them seem to follow a pretty steady pattern that will help you to get rid of them. But there is one piece of malware that even security researchers hate to hear the name of. When you know that you have one of these on the system, it is going to be a long day of trying to get it out. The piece of malware that we are talking about is known as a Rootkit and it is one of the most damaging pieces of malware out on the internet right now. We will go over the basics of what a rootkit is and look at what kind of damage it can do to your system.  We will also look at the tools that you need to do to get it off of your system.

What is a rootkit?

A rootkit is program that is able to get into the kernel level of our system which means that it is able to hide from scanning programs that is on your computer. For those programs to be able to sniff it out they need to be at kernel level as well. For the people who might not know, the kernel level of the computer is the part where a lot of the sensitive things that your computer can do, happens. It is basically the part of the operating system that communicates with the hardware of the machine. You do not want user level access programs to communicate with the hardware directly so the kernel is the break off point. While we know a lot more about rootkits now than we did before, they can still be a pain to get rid of off of your system.

The damage that it can do

A rootkit, once it is in your system, can give the attacker unlimited power over your computer. They are able to assume the rights as a power user and they will have the same administrative rights that you have, maybe even more. This is because they are able to access the kernel. This is the main objective for any rootkit attacker that is trying to get into someone’s system. When an attacker is able to get this deep, most of the time, they will turn your computer into a simple node. This means that anything illegal that they want to try and hide, they will do on your computer. This means that if someone is going to get into trouble, it will be you.

How can I get rootkit off my system?

In the past it was very hard to get an infection like this off of your system. Formatting the system was the only way that you can get it off. Now there is plenty of software out on the market that will help you get the rootkit off of your system. Download one of these programs and hopefully you will be back to normal.

A rootkit is one of the more serious threats on the internet. If you get one on your system, take care of it right away.

Do you have to worry about a security back door in the software products that you download?

Posted on December 1st, 2010 in Security | No Comments »

a security back door is a very dangerous thing in the world of software. Most people probably do not even know what that means but if you make your living creating software or protecting computer systems then you know very well what a back door is. It is a hole in the software that is put there intentionally by the person who created it. Sometimes the hole is put there for legitimate reasons and at other times the holes is put there maliciously. Let’s have a discussion on how dangerous of a hole a back door in the software is and how you can tell if the software that you installed on your computer system has one.

A back door explained in a little more detail

While we gave you a little bit more detail on what a back door is earlier on in the article, I feel as we should explain it a little bit more for the people who have never had exposure to the term before. A back door is less of a hole and more like a piece of code that only the creator of the software knows that it is there. This code allows you to have access to the software after it has been deployed somewhere else. You are able to get different pieces of information about the status of the software. Some of that information is related to the users system that the software is now installed on. Sometimes, if the software is built by a team of people, only one person on the team might know that the code is there. While most large software teams have code reviews to check and see if something like this is happening, the process is not one hundred percent fool proof. As we said before, some companies place the back door on their software on purpose. This is either because they use it as a security measure to help the client or they are required to by the government. Sometimes the government feels that if a piece of software has too much power then they need a way to get in. You would be surprised at some of the software that has a government sponsored back door in it.

The security implications of a back door in software

It is probably obvious to you why a back door in you software could be a problem. At anytime, the creator of the software that you installed has access to your system. You can never know if the person has good intentions or bad. And it doesn’t matter; nobody should have access to your computer unless they have your permission. Another way that a back door can hurt you is the fact that if it is found by a black hat hacker then they now have access to a very serious security hole in your system. Even if the back door was placed in there by the company for good intentions, the fact that the hackers have found it can mean trouble to you.

If you want to know if your software has a back door in it, try to look it up in Google. Most people do not have the expertise to examine their software themselves. If you hear about problems with a back door then it might be best to uninstall it.