Archive for the ‘Malware’ Category



How Windows 7 was able to build up its standing in the security community

Posted on March 11th, 2011 in Malware | No Comments »

For years when people would think about Windows based computers they would think about the lack of security. It became a running joke that if you were going to get a Windows computer then you must be ready for the influx of malware that would accompany that decision. And these jokes were made for good reason. For years Microsoft did not take the security of their operating system seriously. They would not make the appropriate adjustments that were known by other operating systems that would at least slow down the bad guys.

And that is what made people mad about the service. If you know the way that you are doing something is inherently insecure, why would you keep on doing it? You set your service up for potshots by your competitors when you do something like that. Microsoft claimed that they did it for two reasons, ease of use for the consumers and keeping with backwards compatibility. The argument was the more you made something secure, the more complexity you would introduce to the system. And also the more changes you made for security sake, the less chances you would have of past programs running on the same operating system. But now that more and more complicated pieces of malware are coming out of the woodwork, these arguments start to hold less water.

Turning the perception around

A lot of the security changes that we see in Windows 7 was actually first implemented in the Windows Vista version of the computer. While that is a good thing, the bad part is that Windows Vista implemented the features very badly. The public for the most part turned against it and a good amount of that same public switched back to Windows XP. That switch back made them very insecure again.

So with Windows 7, Microsoft took those same security features, added a few more, and relaunched them again with a better interface. Both the critics and the regular user were overjoyed by what they saw. It was a modern operating system that had the ability to be able to both have good security and a clean interface. Now when the security questions would pop up, it was less intrusive and more pleasing to the eyes and sensibilities.

Now people could see that Microsoft had taken security seriously on the operating system. And not only was security a first class concern on the operating system, it was also something that they wanted to make a pleasant experience. Most of the top security professionals now agree that Windows 7 is at least just as secure as Mac OS X and not that far away from being as secured as the Linux operating system. That is a huge jump in security quality in a little less than a decade.

When you look at Windows 7, you are looking at Microsoft finally taking security seriously. It took them a while to get the message but they finally did.

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.

Facebook has become one of the top web sites that distributes malware

Posted on August 3rd, 2010 in Internet, Malware, Security | No Comments »

When it comes to the distribution of malware, Facebook is slowly becoming one of the top places on the internet where it happens. The rise of malware on Facebook is only partially the fault of the service itself. When a web site all of the sudden becomes popular, it starts to attract different kinds of attention. Some of that attention happens to be from both good guys and bad guys. Bad guys usually gravitate to where most of the people are. They need a good amount of people to be able to entice with their offers or they will not make enough for it to be worth anything. Most people know to stay away from links that do not look right. But there are many more that will click on the wrong links and make the bad guy efforts worth the time and energy. Now that you know how dangerous Facebook can be at times, we will go through some of the steps that you can take to avoid being caught in a trap yourself.

The type of malware on Facebook

Most of the attacks that happen on Facebook have to do with either click jacking or phising attacks. Click Jacking is when the attacker sends you to another web site and the ads are hidden on the site. You might think that you are clicking a submit button or a link to take you to another part of the web page but in actuality you are clicking an invisible ad. A phising attack is when you are sent to another web site and it seems like the site that is legitimate. It might look like another page on Facebook or your bank web site. Actually, if you look at the URL, the site is not affiliated with either one of them. It is a fake web site that someone has set up to fool you. An easy way to tell is to take a look at the URL in the address bar. That will tell you if you are on the right page or not.

Prevent the malware from hurting you

If you want to make sure that you are not affected by the malware that is on Facebook then there are several things that you can do. The first thing to do is to make sure that the person who you think sent a link was actually the one that sent it. There have been times when a person’s account has been hacked and someone has taken it over. If the person account seems to be saying things that it would not normally say then you should be careful about the links that you click from there. If you are careful in which links that you click, that will lead you to be able to avoid 90% of the malware that is on the site. Also, be careful of the apps that you install from Facebook as well. The apps are also known to have infections in them and can be dangerous. Check the reputation of an app before you install it. Make sure that it is OK. 

If you are careful on Facebook then the service will hold no problems for you. If not, then the service can be very dangerous.

Three signs that your computer may have some form of malware in it

Posted on July 26th, 2010 in Malware, Spyware | No Comments »

Some people will be able to escape having their system infected with a piece of malware of some kind. But for the majority of the people who have a computer, some type of malware on it is a way of life at some point in your computing experience. No one is protected forever. There are so many layers of software on the computer that it is almost impossible to protect each one completely. If you protect the operating system layer, then you are going to miss holes in the application layer. If you protect the holes that are in the application layer, then you are going to miss the holes that are in the web layer. This is why you must keep software on your computer that will help fight these threats. Antivirus as well as anti spyware products will try their best to keep the threats from coming through. But most of the protection that these tools offer is reactionary. That means that the threat is created and then passed around first. After it is passed and has infected several thousands of people then the antivirus vendor finds a way to stop it. This is why you must keep your antivirus software updated at all times. But what happens if your system is one of the unlucky few that get hit by a new piece of malware before anyone knows that it is a threat? How can you tell that it is on there? We hope to answer that in this article. 

Your normal operations seem off somehow

The first step in being able to tell if your computer may have been hit by a virus is by the way that the system runs. If you are person that uses their computer a lot then you most likely can tell when something is off. Even though a computer is a very fast machine, you get used to the speed quickly and you can normally tell if something is not quite right. This is usually a sign that something is running in the background. If you know that you have not turned on any programs that could cause a slowdown, especially if you do not see anything running, then you might have a problem. Turn off the computer so that you can reboot and see if the results are the same. If you still a feel a certain slow down on the system, then the best advice is to run an updated antivirus scan quickly.  

The internet activity is a lot more than normal

If you do not feel a slow down on your computer, there are still other ways that you can tell if your computer has something running that shouldn’t be. Another way to tell is if your internet light on the router is going crazy. Before you become paranoid, you should know that there is always activity between your computer, the router, and the ISP where you get your internet even when you are not using a browser. And you might have other applications open besides the browser that use the internet. This includes applications such as your Instant Messenger client. So turn all of these off and if you still see a high amount of activity then do a scan with your antivirus.  
 

Last sign

If any of your online accounts have been compromised, such as email, then there is a good chance that someone got that information off of your computer. Do a scan to check and make sure everything is OK. 
 
Keep aware of the operations on your computer to make sure that everything is running smoothly. 

Malware types that can harm Windows

Posted on May 3rd, 2010 in Malware, Security | No Comments »

Unfortunately, when it comes to software security, there are many fronts on the battlefield. There are a lot of ways that black hat hackers are able to expose your computer to software that will harm it. They have to be tricky in their attacks because if they used the same way every time, then security researchers and the companies that make the operating system would be able to catch on. So to avoid that from happening, there have been many different methods of attack created. We will list the different types of malware that are out in the wild and tell you how you can watch out for them. If you use common sense and the right software then you can avoid any trouble.

Malware types

We will start off with the most basic type of malware infection and that is the virus. A virus is a piece of software (malware) that will run through your computer and start to infect it in different areas. It travels from computer to computer by regenerating itself onto other systems. It keeps doing this until the antivirus companies are able to match its signature. Unfortunately by the time that happens, it has already infected thousands of computers.

The second type of malware we will talk about is the Trojan. A Trojan is a piece of software that hides another piece of software underneath it. The software that it is hiding is the one that will do damage to your system. The job of the Trojan malware is just to deliver the package and make sure that the antivirus software is not able to detect it. Trojans will fool you by looking like innocent pieces of software that you may know already. But fooling you is only half the job of a Trojan. The other half is to fool any software protection that you may have as well.

A third type of malware that will infect your computer is a worm. A worm malware is self replicating and it needs no intervention from a human user. It will create copies of itself and spread itself all over your network. One of the main ways that it is able to travel is through the use of networks, both the internet and local. This is a big reason why you need a firewall on your home network. A worm is one of the many threats that you can get from online when you leave your network unprotected.

For all of these malware threats, there is an easy way to defend yourself from 90% of the attacks. Make sure that you have an effective antivirus running and that you are careful where you go when you surf the web. Make sure that you do not go to web sites that look shady and try to avoid sites that you do not know already. Some sites are just breeding grounds for these kinds of infections.

These are the main types of malware that you can receive on your computer. Each of these pieces of malware can be at different strengths depending on the variant of that particular strain. You must make sure that you do all that you can to protect yourself from these types of threats.