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February 28th, 2011

As more and more people use Macs, not only are more security flaws being discovered on the Mac OS and programs, but also more viruses are being designed to specifically target those vulnerabilities.

Macs are famous for a lot of things some true, some false. For instance, many people believe that Macs are virus- and malware-proof but unfortunately that’s not true. Just because many of the malware and viruses out there are targeted toward the Windows OS, Macs are not impervious to attack as well.

And the operative word is “targeted”. Security firms and experts are learning that since people tend to be more complacent security-wise when using a Mac, they make for pretty ripe pickings for unscrupulous online scammers, fraudsters, and thieves. Not only are more security flaws being discovered on the Mac OS and programs, but also more viruses are being created that specifically target those vulnerabilities.

Of course, the scale of the threat can be debated but while it is true that more viruses and malware are designed for Windows, it’s also true that some of these viruses can be applicable to Macs as well, in addition to those specifically designed to attack the Mac OS platforms.

If you aren’t convinced, then this video might just turn you into a believer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTeSYmQS820&feature=player_embedded. Here, a Mac anti-virus program catches a would-be Trojan. And that’s just one of the many hundreds of thousands of Mac viruses and malware out there.

Is it sound business practice to take risks with your system security? Whether you use Windows or Mac, you need malware protection because too often all it takes is a single incident to bring your whole system on its knees. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options with you and offer a tailor-made security solution that is guaranteed to keep you safe, regardless of which OS you’re using.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
January 17th, 2011

usb iconMalware attacks on USB devices like memory sticks, including any mass-storage capacity device (digital cameras, mobile phones, MP3 players), are becoming commonplace nowadays. If you’re sure that you’re simply transferring files and not a virus onto your computer, think again. Read on to identify the reasons your business might be at risk of malware attacks caused by infected USB devices.

A USB device is indeed a useful, economical way to transfer data. In fact, according to Gartner IT research and advisory company, there were roughly 222 million USB devices shipped in 2009. However, a recent study shows that though USB devices are a convenient means of transferring information, they can also serve as channels to transmit potential threats. In fact, 25% of malware these days is built to spread via USB devices.

Most small businesses particularly are utilizing USB drives for the convenience they bring. But as consumers become more technically savvy about malicious attacks via email and other modes, cyber offenders are now shifting to USB devices to spread malware. Moreover, they want an easier and faster way of hacking into secured computers, making malware distribution via USB devices a viable option.

Being a small to medium-sized business, your company might also be at risk for the following reasons:

  • Outdated operating systems. Newer versions of operating systems like Windows Vista and Windows 7 definitely provide more security against malware-infected USB devices. If you’re still running on Windows XP, contact us immediately and we will update your operating system to avoid unwillingly sharing your confidential business information to servers across the globe. We will ensure that you have the latest version of Windows, Macintosh, or whatever OS your company uses.
  • Insufficient security knowledge. Not all employees are familiar with malware attacks via USB devices. Some may even plug a misplaced flash drive into their work PC, hoping to find its rightful owner—without knowing that it contains a script that can search sales record and or contact list. As your IT service provider, we will help you implement security guidelines against unsafe USB use to prevent potential malware attacks that can ultimately harm your business operations.
  • No other options to share information. Most small businesses solely rely on USB devices to share data with their employees. While it is convenient, using them on a daily basis can be unreliable and risky. Talk to us about cloud-based solutions and other better and more secure methods to share and store files.

We believe that USB-spread malware is even more perilous than email and other means of transmitting malware.  That’s why companies, no matter how big or small, should take this alarming issue seriously. Contact us soon and let us help you protect your business from any would-be malware attacks.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
January 11th, 2011

warning signMalicious websites that spread malware are growing in number, according to a new study by security research firm Dasient.

Dasient, a company specializing in combating malware on websites, has released a new report claiming that over 1.2 million websites were found to be infected by malware in the third quarter of 2009, more than double the number during same period last year.

These infected websites are especially dangerous since, unlike other forms of malware vectors, they don’t require the user to click on a link or open an attachment. They infect users through “drive-by-downloads” or by just visiting the infected website. Hackers take advantage of the dynamic and interactive features of today’s modern websites and social networking sites to deliver their payload.

Other dangerous forms of infected websites are those hosting fake antivirus scams, which fool users into downloading malware posing as legitimate antivirus software, as well as malvertisements, which pose as legitimate advertisements but instead are malware vectors.

With the growing threat of malware, how confident are you that your systems are safe? Contact us today and find out how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
December 27th, 2010

ghost appears in monitorIncidents of fake security software fooling users into spending money on malware are on the rise.

Security firm McAfee has published a report early in the year showing that up to a million people worldwide fall victim to so-called “scareware” each year. Scareware, or rogueware, is software that poses as legitimate security software but in reality are dupes to steal credit card information from users, or even worse are Trojan Horses to spread malware. Scareware is distributed primarily through the Internet via malicious websites that pop out windows that fool users into thinking their system may be infected. Users who click on the popup windows are redirected to a website which encourages them to buy fake security software online.

Scareware are especially dangerous as it hits users in many ways: by duping them out of their money, injecting viruses or other forms of malware into their system, or even holding them ransomfor instance, by taking over users’ systems then demanding more payment to free the data stored in the infected computer.

It’s a good thing that there are many ways to protect your system against scareware. One is using security software from legitimate and well established software vendorsthrough their legitimate sales channels. Another is by being prudent with offers and downloads when online. For a small business there are other ways such as blocking or filtering these malicious websites to ensure the security of the entire business. If you want to find out more about these solutions to protect small business networkslet us know. We offer managed security services for small business that can protect against online threats.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
September 6th, 2010

usb driveTwo new viruses have been discovered to infiltrate systems through removable drives.

USB flash drives have become indispensable to almost everyone who uses a computer. It’s a quick and easy way to immediately transfer and share information and other data, especially files that are too large to send through email. Unfortunately, some malware take advantage of this convenience by attaching themselves to files on the drive to infect any other system it comes into contact with.

Two such malware have recently been discovered. Chymine is a Trojan application with keylogging capabilities, designed to copy passwords and other sensitive data, and Dulkis-A is a Visual Basic worm designed to copy and allow malware to infiltrate the system. Both exploit a vulnerability in Windows Shell.

Microsoft has yet to directly address the issue and provide a patch that fixes the problem. In the meantime, they have issued directions for a workaround that prevents both malware from manipulating the Windows Shell susceptibility. The workaround is effective for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server R2, but it comes with a cost – you lose all your icon graphics.

Success in removing the virus has been marginal at best, with current fixes including a warning that removing these malware might result in unwanted changes to your system because of the way the virus embeds itself.

The best way to avoid being infected, be careful not to run any suspicious programs and files, especially when taken from USB drives and any other removable storage, even from a Blackberry or an iPhone. It’s also best to avoid automatically enabling USB devices to autorun once they’re plugged into your computer.

If you have any concerns or want to make sure your systems are protected, give us a call and we’ll work with you to ensure the security of your systems and data.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
July 27th, 2010

The recent fever over the FIFA World Cup made unsuspecting victims an easy target for malware makers, spammes, and scammers using the sport as a means to spread nefarious software or lure users into money-making scams.

It seems the entire world was in the grip of the 2010 FIFA World Cup fever as several countries vied for football supremacy in South Africa. Unfortunately, malware makers, spammers, and scammers capitalized on the fever as well, using references to the event as a means to spread nefarious software or lure unsuspecting users into money-making scams.

Some of the threats included 419-style scams, lures selling fake tickets, even fake products and business opportunities related to the World Cup. One particular ploy involved a couple of websites selling a bogus filter to cancel out the sound of noisy “Vuvuzela” trumpets in TV broadcasts. Scammers had even used legitimate websites to sell them—such as eBay and other auction sites.

Several spammers used sophisticated techniques to confuse SPAM filters by using tools to automatically scrape the text from hundreds of websites (including news sites) and using them to spray random bits of this text into their messages. Another new development that was seen were targeted attacks on top executives of international manufacturing companies and government agencies.

With the 2010 World Cup behind us, what does this mean to us now? Everyone should always be on guard against websites, links, or messages that seem too good to be true (because most likely they are), but understanding that scammers and spammers especially thrive during popular events helps everyone to be on extra high alert.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
April 9th, 2010

chargerDo you use the the Energizer DUO USB battery charger? If so, you’ll be interested to know that the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) has warned that software included in this charger contains a software “backdoor” or Trojan that allows hackers to remotely access vulnerable systems.

In its advisory, the US-CERT warned that the installer for the Energizer DUO software places files in your system that allow an attacker to potentially remotely control your system, including the ability to list directories, send and receive files, and execute programs. The backdoor operates with your logged-on privileges and starts every time you start your computer. Furthermore, the Trojan operates whether the charging device it works with is connected or not.

Energizer has acknowledged the issue in a statement released at its website. The company said it has discontinued sale of this product and has removed the site to download the software. In addition, Energizer is directing consumers to uninstall or otherwise remove the software from your computers.

This incident illustrates the fact that these days threats to your computer and/or network can come from anywhere–including something as seemingly innocuous as your USB battery charger. As always, we advise our clients to be constantly vigilant against such threats. If you don’t have the time or resources to do this yourself (and most don’t!), perhaps it’s time to consider our Managed Security services. Give us a call – we’ll be glad to help.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
March 26th, 2010

ransomewareUsers beware of ransomware: malicious software that extorts money from users in exchange for freeing the user’s computer or data. One particularly nasty version was recently discovered by researchers at CA which came bundled with a software download called uFast Download Manager. The malware blocks Internet access for users until they pay the publisher a fee via SMS. Users who download the software are immediately infected, seeing a message posted in Russian demanding a ransom under the guise of activating the uFast Download Manager application. To keep your computer environment safe, always be wary of downloading suspicious free software on the Internet. If you need help or are unsure, please contact us first so we can help!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic News
September 22nd, 2009

watchout_dirty_websiteIn a previous post, we pointed out how just browsing the web these days can possibly infect your PC with malware. To show how dangerous surfing can become, Symantec recently released their list of the “Dirtiest Websites of Summer” – the top 100 infected sites on the Internet based on number of threats detected by their software as of August 2009. The list identifies websites that could compromise security with risks including phishing, malicious downloads, browser exploits, and links to unsafe external sites.

Some interesting findings from the study:

  • The average number of threats per site on the Dirtiest Websites list is roughly 18,000, compared to 23 threats per site for most sites
  • 40 of the Top 100 Dirtiest Sites have more than 20,000 threats per site
  • 48% of the Top 100 Dirtiest Web sites feature adult content
  • 3/4 of the Top 100 Dirtiest Web sites have distributed malware for more than 6 months
  • Viruses are the most common threat represented on the Dirtiest Websites list, followed by security risks and browser exploits

You can read more about this research at Symantec’s website. If you suspect your PCs are at risk, or if you want to ensure your website doesn’t get hijacked by cybercriminals, contact us. We can help.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles, News
September 18th, 2009

Small Firms BeingOrganized criminals believed to be based in Eastern Europe are robbing small to midsized US businesses of millions of dollars via an elaborate scheme aided by malicious software. Recent reports reveal that over the past few months, several businesses have fallen victim to unauthorized fund transfers whereby hundreds of thousands of dollars from the businesses’ bank accounts have been transferred to accounts in Europe, and in some cases, to the accounts of willing or unwitting accomplices in the United States.

According to the reports the victims, usually the company CFO or owner, were sent malicious software as attachments to email, which when opened remained resident on the victims’ machines and stole the victims’ passwords to their online banking websites. The cybercriminals used this information to initiate transfers from their accounts of up to US $10,000 at a time to evade notice and detection from their bank’s anti-fraud or money laundering detection systems and protocols.

Your business might be at risk. Make sure you are protected from this type of fraud by securing your PC and network from malicious software. Do not open suspicious-looking attachments and make sure you have the necessary protection in place, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and other methods of protection. Need help? Contact us today.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles, News