It seems that even the most innocuous machines in the workplace can serve as a security threat to companies. According to this report from CBS News, many office copiers save the images they copy on a dedicated hard disk installed inside them. This means that everything from mundane memos to your most sensitive information such as financial statements and contracts are stored – and could potentially extracted. So the next time you dispose of a copy machine, if you’re not sure what’s stored on it and how to get it off – give us a call to help out. To see the news report, watch this video.
Users 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!
Spanish authorities report that they have arrested the masterminds behind a string of online criminal activities using the botnet dubbed Mariposa. Mariposa is the original name of a commercially distributed Do-it-Yourself malware kit, sold online for 800/1000 EUR for “wannabe” hackers. Along with the arrest, authorities seized sensitive data belonging to about 800,000 users in 190 countries, gathered from an estimated 12M+ infected host computers on the Internet. What’s particularly interesting is that the cybercriminals arrested were not themselves the author of the malware, nor were they any more techincally adept than many ordinary users. They simply had access to malware widely available on the Internet, and were able to conduct a crime of such a wide scale and reach. This illustrates that it’s become easier for many cybercriminals to conduct their nefarious deeds online, and highlights the need for more vigilance on the part of law-abiding netizens in keeping their network secure from hackers and malware. Is your network safe? Contact us to find out. Related articles: How FBI, police busted massive botnet (go.theregister.com) Botnet takedowns ‘don’t hurt crooks enough’ (go.theregister.com) Vodafone distributes Mariposa Bot, Conficker and Lineage in HTC Magic (techie-buzz.com)
Microsoft recently released a number of security bulletins and patches addressing vulnerabilities in Windows and Office that are of high risk to users. It’s widely believed that many will be exploited by hackers within the next 30 days. One of them could potentially allow hackers or malware authors to easily compromise systems by tricking users to download malicious AVI-formatted files. Others require nothing more than just visiting a website. Another specifically targets Powerpoint Viewer 2003, and opening a malicious .ppt file could affect your system. This latest round of patches and vulnerability updates is really nothing new – although the sheer number made public in one day is notable. This highlights the need for a comprehensive security policy, because vulnerabilities do exist in even the most mundane or old versions of software. Customers under our Managed Services plan can rest easy since we monitor and update their computers as soon as these patches and advisories are released. Find out more about what we do to make your systems safe and secure. Contact us today. Related links: Patch Tuesday: Microsoft plugs critical Windows worm holes (zdnet) Researchers warn of likely attacks against Windows, PowerPoint (computerworld) Microsoft delivers huge Windows security update (computerworld)
A malicious piece of software making the rounds of news websites this week is believed to be behind the compromise of over 75,000 systems in over 2,500 international organizations – many of which are government agencies and large Fortune 500 companies. Called the Knebner botnet after the name in the email used to register the initial domain used in the campaign to propagate the malware , the software infects computers and captures user login access to online financial services such as Paypal and online banks, social networking websites such as Facebook, and email. Infected computers can be centrally controlled from a master computer, which presumably harvests the data captured for nefarious means. The Knebner botnet itself is not new. It’s based on the ZeuS botnet, and has gained prominence lately because it’s slipped under the radar of so many organizations. However, there are ways to prevent compromises from botnets – one of which is to have a proactive security system and policy in place. Our Managed Security customers have this assurance in place since we continuously protect their system from botnets and other malware. If you’re not sure that you’re protected, talk to us today. Related articles: Kneber botnet described as ‘massive’ and ‘worldwide’ (inquisitr.com) Kneber attack resurrects notorious Zeus Trojan, say experts (guardian.co.uk) Malicious Software Infects Corporate Computers (nytimes.com)
Mozilla , the organization behind the popular Firefox browser disclosed that two add-ons available for download on its website were vectors for Trojans that could compromise users’ computers. Add-ons allow users to extend and enhance the capabilities of Firefox beyond the default install. Normally they are scanned for malware before being uploaded onto Mozilla’s website, but apparently two of them managed to slip through Mozilla’s automated scans. The infected add-ons are Version 4.0 of Sothink Web Video Downloader and all versions of Master Filer. Mozilla has since updated their scanning process, but as part of our ongoing security watch we are vigilant in continuously protecting our customers under our Managed Services program from malware – you can rest easy. When managing your systems on your own, it’s highly advisable to be vigilant with security and always use antivirus software – even when downloading and using software from legitimate sources. If you have downloaded these Firefox add-ons, uninstalling them does not remove the trojans that they carry, and you’ll need to use antivirus software to remove any malware on their system. Need more information or help? Call us and we will be glad to assist you. Related links: Mozilla Firefox hit by malware add-ons (zdnet) Trojan Horse Mozilla Firefox Addons (the firefox extension guru’s blog) Mozilla admits Firefox add-ons contained Trojan code (sophos)
Security firm Imperva recently released a warning to users of popular social networking website RockYou indicating that their accounts and passwords may have been compromised. According to the firm, a hacker may have accessed an alarming 32 million accounts. But what is more interesting in the wake of this news is an analysis made of the accounts and passwords stolen . From the data provided to researchers, it seems that a great number of users still use insecure passwords, such as those with six or less characters (30% of users); those confined to alpha-numeric characters (60%); or passwords including names, slang words, dictionary words, or trivial passwords such as consecutive digits, adjacent keyboard keys (50%). The most popular password? 123456. Are you using an insecure password? Let us guide you through best practices for information security. Contact us today. Related links: And the most popular password is… (zdnet) RockYou hack reveals easy-to-crack passwords (register) RockYou hack exposes names, passwords of 30M accounts (computerworld)
Chinese Hackers Exploit IE Vulnerability in a Concerted Attack – Make Sure your Browser is Protected
Early January, Google released a report detailing attacks on its infrastructure which it claimed to have originated from China. In the wake of its announcement, another report came out detailing what is purported to be an “organized espionage operation” originating from China. Known as “Operation Aurora”, the attack attempted to siphon information from 33 companies in the US, including Google. The attackers are believed to have exploited a vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE). The vulnerability affect IE 6 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, and IE 6, IE 7, and IE 8 on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. In the wake of the attacks Microsoft released a patch to address the vulnerability. If you are unsure if this patch has been applied to your systems, contact us for help. Related links: More Security Flaws Found in Internet Explorer (Mashable)
RealNetworks , developers of RealPlayer, a popular real-time streaming media player, recently released an advisory about vulnerabilities that when exploited could trigger remote code execution attacks. The firm reports at least 11 critical vulnerabilities that expose Windows, Mac, and Linux users to malicious hacker attacks. RealPlayer is a favorite target for malware and fraudware writers, and users are advised to download the latest software update. If you don’t use RealPlayer, you’re best advised to uninstall it immediately. Need help in making sure your applications are safe to use? Contact us today. Related links: Bogus IQ test with destructive payload in the wild (zdnet) Tor project suffers hack attack (zdnet) RealPlayer Exploit Infecting Windows Machines (eweek)