Archive for the ‘Windows 7’ Category



Be prepared for any rootkit that might get into your Windows 7 system

Posted on March 12th, 2011 in Windows 7 | 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 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 it 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.

Is windows 7 a game changer when it comes to security?

Posted on November 23rd, 2010 in Security, Windows 7 | No Comments »

When you talk about security these days, you really have to add Windows 7 to the discussion. I know that it seems really weird to do so but Windows 7 is one of the most secure consumer grade operating systems on the market right now and you would be doing a disservice to you and your customer base if you did not discuss it. The security when it comes to the Windows operating system is really top notch compared to how it was in the past and the rest of the security community is starting to realize it. But if you are talking about purely the security aspects of Windows 7, is it truly able to be called a game changer? Is the security of the system any different than the other consumer grade operating systems that are on the market right now? In this article, we will take a look at that question and we will analyze to see if it is truly a game changer. If it is not, then does at least stay with the competition on that front.

The new security offerings that come with Windows 7

When we take a look at the system, we are looking at things that the Windows operating system did not have in the past. This is why so many security professionals like this version. They feel as if the system has caught up to the rest of the pack. There were so many things that were missing in the earlier iterations of Windows. When it came to security people were starting to wonder if Microsoft lacked the necessary tools on purpose. The one thing that changed their mind is when Windows started to offer a real firewall on the system. The firewall’s that the Windows operating system had in the past was barely functional. It would only monitor a certain section of the traffic that came in your system and not all of it. This changed with the last version of the Windows firewall. Now there is no need to download and install a third party’s firewall unless you just like it better.

Another thing that has changed recently for Windows is that Microsoft is now offering a fully functional antivirus suite on their web site. All you have to do is to go to their web site and download the product and the next thing that you know is that you are now protected. The people who make the antivirus suite also work with the operating system kernel creators so that they can make sure that their product is able to offer you full protection.

The last thing we will point out is that the premium version of Windows 7 now offers a new and improved version of Bitlocker. Bitlocker is a technology that allows you to lock down the hardware on your laptop. If the person who accesses the laptop does not have a proper password and username combination, they will not be able to use the machine. This is a huge leap forward when it comes to the security of your machine. Bitlocker is truly a game changing feature when it comes to the Windows operating system.

Is Windows 7 a game changer when it comes to the security of the operating system? In some ways yes it is and in some ways it is not. What we can say is that it is able to stand head to toe with everyone else on the market right now.

Are system level attacks still a concern with windows 7?

Posted on November 17th, 2010 in Security, Windows 7 | No Comments »

It has been out to the public for almost a year and the reviews are in. Windows 7 is one of the most popular operating systems that Microsoft has ever released. And not only is it popular, it is the most secured operating system that they released as well. In the past, when you used Windows products there was always a hesitation when you went online that you were going to become infected by something out there. While it is still possible, you are nowhere near as vulnerable as you used to be. But there are still some concerns when it comes to Windows 7 security. It is actually a problem with all operating systems and not just Windows 7. You have to wonder to yourself if low level system attacks are still a problem that you have to worry about. While there are all sorts of attacks out there, low level system attacks are some of the most dangerous.
 

What is a low level system attack?

There are several layers to a computer system. During your use of the computer throughout the day, you probably only see two layers that you worry about. You see the software side, which includes the operating system and all of the programs that are running on it. You also see the hardware side, which if you ever open up your computer is the motherboard, hard drive, and all of the other things that are under the cover. But these are not the only layers of the computer. They are just what you would call the base layer. They both have several layers inside of them as well. The layer that we are going to focus on now is the system level of the operating system. This is a layer that is able to control the inner parts of your operating system. This why attacks on this layer can be so damaging. When you take control of a person’s operating system, you can do a lot of damage. Better yet, if the black hat hacker is smart, they can get a lot of information as well. System level attacks are a real problem.

Does Windows 7 solve this problem?

Windows 7 does not eradicate the problem but they make it a lot harder for attacks like this to happen. Microsoft has implemented several security features that will allow you to defeat such intrusions in your system. Form the antivirus programs that they allow you to download and install for free, to the permission based installer on the system; these are all things that have helped the fight. Now, whenever a file that can be damaging, is changed by a program, Windows 7 will ask you permission first before the change is allowed. This is a great way to stop most of the system level attacks that happen. They usually go after low level operating system files and if you are notified beforehand then you can stop it. 
 
Windows does help a lot when it comes to this problem. If you want to make sure that you are safe, keep the permissions turned on in Windows 7 and install an updated antivirus program.

In case a bad virus hits your Windows 7 system, make sure that you have system restore turned on

Posted on September 20th, 2010 in Security, Windows 7 | No Comments »

There are certain threats that will take out your computer. Your computer may be able to turn on and do some of the things that it was able to do before the threat hit but for the most part it is dead. You are not able to hit certain buttons, pops ups are flying everywhere, you cannot log onto the internet, and basically everything that can go wrong is going wrong. If this ever happens to you, you need to make sure that you have a way to fix it right away. There are a couple of things that you can do. You can keep a back up of the computer so that you can reinstall it to a point where everything was working fine. Or you can do that with something less than a back up. There is a feature in all Windows computers that is called System Restore. We will take the time later on in the article to explain what System Restore is and how you can use it to come back from a serious computer problem.

What is System Restore?

System Restore is sort of like the back up that we talked about earlier in the article but instead of it being on a new device like an external hard drive, it is a snap shot stored in the computer. It mainly saves the settings of how everything was at a previous date on the computer. A pure back up would save all of the data and the settings of the system from that time. With a system restore point, saving the settings is more than enough. With any luck you will be able to go back to a time before everything turned crazy.

Even though you have a system restore point ready to be used, it is still a good idea to try to get out the infection before you try a system restore. The infection that is in the system will not be erased by just you having a system restore point active. As we said before, it changes the setting of the system and not the data. All that will happen is that the malware will infect the machine again. That is not always the case and sometimes a system restore point is all you need. But in the case of a bad piece of malware you will need to do more to make sure you do not have to deal with the same infection again.

When malware attacks you system, you need a good way to be able to fight it. The tools that you have such as antivirus software and antispyware software will be able to help but sometimes you need to do a little more. Sometimes the infection gets so deep that you have very few options. In cases like this you need to set up the system restore on your computer and go back to the past when the system was still working.

Your Windows 7 system is not secure with these pieces of software on it

Posted on September 15th, 2010 in Security, Windows 7 | No Comments »

If you take a look at Windows 7 and play around with some of the settings then you will probably notice that Microsoft has spent a lot of time making sure that the different parts are secure. They want to help you make sure that your firewall is up, the antivirus is installed and everything else that you need to be secure is ready to go. They have even improved their browser. Internet Explorer is now on its eight version and people agree that it is the safest browser that Microsoft has ever put out. But there is also some software that is not so secure on Windows. Some of the software is provided by Microsoft and others are third party software that people like to install. So let’s take a look at some of the software that can do damage to your system even though it is supposed to be OK to use.

Instant Messaging software

Microsoft provides built in IM service but a lot of people download it from a third parties as well. Instant messenger software can introduce big holes into your system especially if you have someone using the computer that is not considered computer savvy. Hackers will target the software because they can easily send a person links through it. These links will lead to all kind of things. From phising attacks to sites with exploits ready to jump on your computer. This is why you need to stress to people who use your computer that if they are going to use IM then they should not click on links. If they do, they can find themselves and your computer having a nasty surprise.

PDf’s from unknown people

Another piece of software that is known to introduce bugs into the system is called PDf. This is software from Adobe that comes with your computer. The purpose of the software is to imitate on a computer what a magazine of that same file would look like. The web is supposed to look like one thing and a magazine is supposed to look like another. PDF’s are supposed to bridge the gap. But it is not just for magazines, any kind of document can be enhanced by using a PDF file. But the PDF software has many bugs that are out there that people use to exploit systems the software is installed on. If you are not careful then it could be your computer that is getting exploited. Even though you are used to scanning .exe files you might not scan PDF files. You should start to do that now.

There is plenty of software out there that can be used for evil purposes. Most of the software out there is written with millions of lines of code and sometimes in those lines of code, mistakes are made. And when those mistakes are made, hackers take advantage. Make sure that they do not get you by scanning all your files with antivirus.

Can the streaming media server in Windows 7 deliver malware?

Posted on September 13th, 2010 in Windows 7 | No Comments »

The one great thing about the Windows 7 operating system that you do not hear about often is how it handles your media files. Sure there are a lot of great things that have been added to Windows 7 such as extra security features and a better UI but media handling has been one of the biggest improvements to the system. Some of these features include the ability to stream media to all points of your house and even the ability to stream to remote places. The one sad thing about these features is that a lot of people do not know about all of them. There are a lot of great things that you can do with some of the new media features that are available. As good as these new features are, you have to ask yourself a question, do they leave your computer vulnerable to attack? In this article we will take a look at this question and see whether it is true or not. But before we do that, let’s take some time and describe to you in detail some of the new media features that are available to you.

How do these new features work?

There are many media features that we can talk about in the Windows 7 operating system. First of all, you now have the ability to stream your music to another computer, no matter where it is at. Microsoft has set up a feature that will allow you to do this easily with the click of a few buttons. Also you now have the power of the full Windows media server at your finger tip. In the past if you wanted this power, you had to buy the Windows Media Server based computer. Now it comes with the operating system. It allows you to record and manipulate TV shows just like you would with the TiVo. But instead of having to pay for an outside service, it is connected directly to your computer. All you have to do is to set up a few wires and you are ready to go. These are a few of the several media tools that people have found useful in the new Windows 7 operating system. Let’s now talk about how it can affect your safety as far as the computer goes. The fact that it opens up a server on your computer can be a concerned at anytime.

Is your security affected?

For the most part, your security will be fine with services such as these on your Windows 7 computer. Microsoft has put in a level of security in the services so you do not leave yourself completely open. But you do have to worry about what files you click on when using the media features. People get media from all different types of sources, some of it illegal and some of it legal. If you are running these services on your computer and you click on the wrong file then you can find yourself in real trouble. When you use these programs, make sure that you follow the same protocols that you would when using other programs on the computer. Make sure that you scan all files.

Just because you are playing a media file does not mean it is automatically safe. Check the file and you should be fine.

When you first buy a Windows 7 computer, you need to check these settings to make sure that it is secured

Posted on August 5th, 2010 in Antivirus, Firewall, Internet, Security, Windows 7 | No Comments »

If you are buying a new computer then there are many things that you will want to do with it once it is set up. These things that you would want to do are all different depending on your skill level with computers. If you are a person who is new to computers and has never owned one before, then you are probably going to try and get used to the machine as it is now before you do anything. If you are a person that has experience with owning a computer, then you are going to install some programs that you use on a regular basis and uninstall some programs that came with the operating system. But no matter, if you are a new person when it comes to computers or someone who has experience, there are certain things that you need to check for on your new Windows 7 operating system to make sure that it is going to be safe when you use it. In this article we will discuss these settings that you need to check.

The first thing that you need to look at

When you first turn on the computer, the thing you need to look at first is the default programs that are installed on it. Some of these programs are demos and they either offer limited functionality or they will expire in a week or a month. This is especially true for the security products that may come with the computer. Some people when they see that the program is already installed on the computer do not realize that it only works for a limited time and so they are not really protected long term. Make sure that you have an antivirus that is going to work for a long time installed on the system. If that means uninstalling the demo that is on there already and installing a truly free version such as AVG, then that is what you should do.

Make sure that your computer is protected from remote threats

Once you are certain that the software that came installed on your computer works or you have replaced it with a version that does work, your next step is to make sure that your computer is protected from remote threats. You do this by making sure that the firewall that came already installed into the system is running. Some people prefer to download new firewall software from other places but Windows 7 already has one installed in it. When you turn on the system, you need to make sure that the installed firewall is on if you haven’t replaced it already. You can go into the Network Control Panel and it will tell you if it is on or not. Most of the time, it will be on already but there are some cases where it is not.

These are the main two steps that you need to take when you purchase a brand new computer with Windows 7 on it. Windows 7 is a very secure operating system but you need to make sure that you help keep it secure by enabling all of the tools that it needs to stay that way.

Protect Windows 7 from Flash exploits

Posted on June 14th, 2010 in Security, Windows 7 | No Comments »

If you are a Windows 7 user then you are protected from a lot of the threats that exist on the internet. But like all technology that involves a large code base, there are still threats and holes in the software that will be found and used against the average user. The main thing that you really have to worry about on the latest systems is holes coming from software that you installed on the computer. Even though the operating system itself may be more secured does not mean that the programs that run on it are secured as well. One of the seemingly biggest threats when it comes to this is the Adobe created software, Flash.

When you are running flash on your system, sometimes you can be exposed to threats that may pop up. Adobe is usually pretty good in closing off the threats as soon as they appear but that means that people have to download the upgrade to Flash so that their system will not be affected. So this is the first thing that you can do to protect your system from exploits that come from having Flash installed. Make sure that you check to see if there are any new threats that you have to worry about. You can usually find this information out by going to a tech news web site such as CNET. If there are any new threats, then make sure that you visit the Adobe web site and download the fix from there.

Another way that you can avoid Flash compromising you system is to use software that will block Flash from running unless you tell it to. If you are running either the Firefox browser or Chrome, you can add extensions that will block Flash from running on a web site unless you give it permission to do so. This means that if you trust the site that you are on, you can allow it to run the Flash that they may have installed on the site. If you are on a site that you have never visited before, then keep Flash block running until you are comfortable with the site. This may take several visits so do not rush it.

The last thing that you can do as a Windows user to avoid having Flash create a problem on your system is to update Windows itself. Usually when there is a hole found in the Adobe software, Microsoft will either offer the newly patched Flash software themselves or they will fix the hole that the vulnerability is taking advantage of. So to keep yourself protected from the threats, all you have to do is what you should be doing in the first place and that is keeping up with the latest updates from Microsoft. Keeping up with these updates will not only secure your from Flash threats, it will also protect you from many numerous other threats out there as well.

So if you are going to run Flash on your system, then you must be prepared for the threats that are there. With these three methods, you will be prepared for whatever comes your way.