Showing posts with label security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label security. Show all posts

Monday, March 10, 2014

Security Issue for iPhone, iPad and Mac iOS users

Apple recently reported a security issue in the Apple iOS which can be exploited to conduct spoofing attacks. A spoofing attack is a situation in which one person or program successfully masquerades as another by falsifying data and could therefore capture or modify data in what seems to be a secure session.

Patches for the mobile platform, iPhone, iTouch and iPad (7.0.6 – for newer versions) (6.1.6 – for older versions) have been released. Please ensure your devices are updated immediately. Go to Apple support here.

A patch for the Mac OS is not yet available. Until then, Mac users should exercise caution when surfing the web using Safari, Apple’s native browser. You may use other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and IE that do not contain the same vulnerability.

I also recommend you do not use any of your devices on public WiFi networks until you can update your device. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thousands may lose Internet access when FBI shuts down servers - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

The following excerpts are from The Hill:
  • Hundreds of thousands of people could lose Internet service on Monday when the FBI shuts down servers from an online fraud ring that allegedly planted a virus among computer users.
  • The FBI says about 252,000 computers worldwide could be affected and that about 45,000 of those computers are in the United States.
  • Users can check whether their computer is infected with the malicious software — often called malware — by visiting, a site run in cooperation with the FBI, or by visiting an anti-virus site such as McAfee
Note: This will happen on Monday, July 09, and is not limited to only the United States!

Click the link below to read more:
Thousands may lose Internet access when FBI shuts down servers - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

Please hit the tip jar!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Free Online Malware Scan From ESET

Many times, no matter which antivirus or antimalware solution we use, threats still manage to somehow get onto our computers.

Many antivirus software makers offer free online virus/malware scanners that work to varying degrees of efficiency. Many will find the threats, but not all will also remove them.

I have found one by ESET that does a very thorough job of finding and removing virus and malware threats from your computer.

You can find their online scanner here. If you use Internet Explorer to run the online scan, you will need to install an Activex control that will allow it to run.

After the Activex control is installed, it will ask if you want to install the program. Click "yes". Then, there will be a box that appears that will give you options to enable. Be sure that the ones shown checked in the screenshot below are checked before you proceed.

You also have the options of having the scan include "Scan archives" and/or "Scan for potentially unsafe applications".

Then click "Start" to begin the scan. For your first time using the scanner, please read the note at the botton of the box. A screenshot of it is included here below:

Now, go watch a movie, your favorite tv show or read a book while the database loads, and the scan runs, as it will take some time for it to complete.

Please keep in mind, that this online scanner is a good supplement to, and not a replacement for a full time antivirus/antimalware program that protects and runs in realtime. It is just good for your online peace of mind as regards your web safety.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Your Browsing Safety

Now we all have heard from friends and acquaintances, about people going to websites, and getting spyware, trojans and viruses. Or maybe your friend went to a site and made a purchase, and then never got the items they paid for, or could never get any support for an item (particularly software) that they purchased in good faith.

If only there was a way to know about these sites and their related problems before you go to them. Well, there is!

There is a free add-on for Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer (6.0 and higher), Safari, and Google Chrome that is called Web of Trust, or WOT. WOT will warn you about dangerous and questionable sites. WOT bases a sites reputation on four components: trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and lastly,  child safety.

The WOT website states: "WOT's unique tools are powered by our global community of millions of trustworthy users who have rated millions of websites based on their experiences. Our mission is to boost trust on the web by giving you an opportunity to share your own experiences of websites and the services they offer with others. By joining the WOT community you protect yourself and help others at the same time."

WOT works to protect you, whether you are doing a search engine inquiry, clicking a link sent to your web based email such as hotmail, yahoo mail, gmail and your ISP's webmail, or clicking a link from an advertiser on a social site.

Yes, even if you click on a link in Outlook, Outlook Express, or Thunderbird, WOT watches out for you. If you click on a link in Facebook for instance, and unknown to you, the site has a bad reputation, WOT saves you by throwing a warning up on your screen before you get to the site! You can even set it to block sites with a poor reputation.

WOT also says "While our primary source of knowledge are ratings and reviews from the WOT community, we also take advantage of nearly a hundred carefully chosen trusted sources, such as listings of phishing sites. This provides WOT with a fast, automated and reliable means of protecting our users from new, rapidly spreading online threats.

Sources have different weights based on their type and methodology, which means that one source can have a much larger effect on the reputation than another."

All in all, there is no 100% way of never going to a bad site, but with WOT available, you can avoid millions of sites that are bad for you, and for your computer. Millions of sites such as online shops that cheat customers, download sites that deliver malware, sites that send spam, and those with inappropriate content for kids, can be avoided by you by simply using WOT.

Monday, June 14, 2010

About Our Download Links

On the left hand sidebar of this blog, you will notice that I have posted links for "Free Spyware and Malware Removal Programs" and just below that are links for "Free Anti-virus Programs That Work!"

When you click these links, you will be taken to the downloads for them on The makers of these programs all send users to download their programs here, and it is a good, reliable and safe place to download any programs you are interested in.

I am not going to utilize download links to some site such as (and this is a made up name) Big Bertha's Big Downloads. That could be putting you at risk, as Big Bertha's could have malware embedded in that site. So, my pledge to you is to only use for the recommended downloads and programs I suggest.

If you prefer to use a different download site such as tucows , MajorGeeks, or zdnet, that's fine as well. Just be sure to only trust reputable sites for all your download needs.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let's Talk

There are many good anti-virus and anti-spyware solutions on the market. Thousands of dollars a day are spent by individuals, businesses, and organizations to combat viruses, spyware, trojans, worms, identity theft, hackers and the other hundreds and thousands of threats against the average computer.

What can you do to protect your machine, your information, and be safe on the web at the same time?

Easy. Be smart. The first step of security on the web begins with you. 

You are the first line of defense in protecting your computer.

It always amazes me how some people will open each and every email they receive. Whether they know the sender or not, they open it. They see a cute picture, an attachment, or a link to a site they can't resist clicking on. Then their computer starts behaving strangely. It runs slow. They open Internet Explorer and suddenly they are taken to a porn site, or a site other than their home page. Popups begin appearing on their desk top the minute the computer starts up. What happened?

Well, let me ask you this. If a complete and total stranger came to the front door of your home, would you immediately open the door and invite them in? I'd hope not! Yet, when you opened that email from the unknown sender you did that very thing. You opened the “door” to your computer and invited them in. Just as you would never open your home's door to a total stranger, you should never open any email unless it is from someone or some company you absolutely know and trust!

Another way you can get some nasty spyware or malware is through pop-up ads. You are happily browsing along, you go to a website about Jack Russell Terriers, and suddenly there is a pop-up on your screen, even though you never clicked on anything to generate a pop-up. The pop-up tells you that you just won a free prize, that you have a virus, or that 5, 10, even 30 or more types of spyware were just found on your computer. So, you do one of two things. First scenario: you click on the “ad" to find out you must send a fee to get your "free" prize, or the virus/spyware pop-up wants you to do a "free" scan or purchase their "total" solution to spyware, viruses and other forms of malicious malware. Second scenario: you clicked the “x” in the corner of the pop-up to close it.

Guess what? When you clicked that pop-up, you opened the door again! You didn't send money for your “free" prize, yet when you clicked that ad, you got a "free" piece of spyware, a virus, worm, or trojan. When you clicked that “x” you still got the malware because you clicked on that pop-up. The best way to close that pop-up is to go to your Windows toolbar, and right click on that pop-up and select close. If you can't do that, then close your browser altogether and restart it.

Another and very prevalent way of your PC being vulnerable is, by not utilizing automatic updates. Automatic updates are “patches” for security holes or flaws in different programs or components on your computer. Microsoft updates these programs and by using automatic updates, or by going to the Windows Update website you can allow the program updates to be downloaded and installed on your machine. You particularly want to add any updates that are listed as “critical”, as these are programs that have been identified as having a serious security flaw. The excuse that it takes too much time to download and install updates, or that it slows your computer down to use automatic updates so you don't do them is, to put it bluntly...stupid.

The next thing to do, especially since we are talking updates, is to keep your anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, and other security programs updated. Do the updates for these programs on a weekly basis at a minimum. Only doing them once a month or whenever you happen to think of it is asking for trouble. The creators of viruses, trojans, worms, and other forms of spyware and malware are working on, producing, and releasing new forms and variants of these nasty programs every day. That is one reason I have my security programs set to check for updates and install them, once a day.

Lastly, if you are happily surfing the web, or you click on an item to download, and your anti-virus goes off, that is it gives you a warning, and asks you what you want to do, do not close it and ignore the warning! There is a reason you have the anti-malware program on your computer, and if you ignore it when it is doing its job, you are not holding up your end of the deal by not following the warning!

I recall a woman calling in for technical support for an ISP I used to work for. Her computer would attempt, and fail to connect for hours at a time. After going through several troubleshooting steps, I found out that she had been using a "peer-to-peer file sharing program" and had attempted to download an update for Windows XP (even though she was using Windows 98), and that she did have anti-virus installed which had warned her that the download contained a virus. She told me that she closed the anti-virus and downloaded the "update" anyway! I told her she would be best served by taking her computer to a technician who could remove the virus and probably reinstall Windows. She told me, “but I don't want to lose my files and photos". She failed to realize that in essence she had already lost her files by ignoring her anti-virus.

To recap, here are the basic steps for making your web experience a safe and happy one:
  1. Only open emails and attachments from people or companies you know and trust!
  2. Be leery of any pop-up that appears on a page if you did not click a link that generated that pop-up.
  3. Use automatic updates on your PC or go to the Windows Update page on a weekly basis to download and install all critical updates.
  4. Keep your anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware, and all security programs updated on a weekly basis at the minimum.
  5. Never ignore any warnings from your anti-virus or other security programs
Yes, the first line of defense begins with you, and if you aren't smart in how you use the web, then all the security programs in the world will not do you any good.