Tag: virus

Monday Ugly in tech security

Like “Coyote Ugly,” but actually ugly:

First…hackers busted into the website of the US Consolate General in Russia. As if the US didn’t have enough problems off shore…

“This latest attack highlights the fact that no organization is immune from infection, and that no matter what the size of the company, it must defend its webpages fully to avoid being stung.”

No doubt there – attacks on institutions are commonplace – it’s just that they have good PR teams to keep it hush hush.

Next…a German onion router administrator gets arrested. Clearly not the guy’s problem, but getting arrested highlights the risks of running a Tor server in this day and age (as well as the cluelessness of some politicians regarding technology). What’s Tor? Inquiring minds check here first.

Last but not least… a bunch of laptops were pre-loaded with Vista, as well as a 13-year old boot sector virus. Plenty has already been said on Vista and it’s security. But I can’t help but chuckle.

A yearbook you don’t want your friends signing

Panda Software has released their software virus yearbook for 2006. Not all the entrants were popular (some caused few if any problems), and some made the homecoming court through politicking, if not sheer audacity.

Your friends need not sign this one – you may want to toss it up to bad memories anyway.

ConsumerReports beats up anti-virus, then gets beat up

ConsumerReports just completed a study which tested anti-virus softwares for their effectiveness. But instead of just using the known threats and existing signatures, they created thousands of virus variants of their own to see if protective measures did any good. Of course, you have to be a subscriber to their magazine to get the results, so I’d love to hear from someone as to who won the battle, but nevertheless I thought it was a great idea.

Not everyone did.

The watchdog group is now being slammed for their approach, and I say this should serve as a warning to everyone who trusts their boxed anti-virus kit. Graham Cluley of Sophos noted:

“When I read about what ConsumerReports has done I want to bash my head against a brick wall. With over 185,000 viruses in existence was it really necessary for this magazine to create 5,000 more? It’s irresponsible behavior, and will be frowned upon by the antivirus industry. Leave antivirus testing to the independent testing bodies with expertise in the field”

Alarms aren’t designed to set themselves and subsequently go off only on designated burglar days, but anti-virus is certainly designed to trigger against known threats. That is what ConsumerReports was trying to get at – could anti-virus protect against previously unknown viruses. They even used existing signatures, varying them just slightly (like malcreants do). And I found no mention of ConsumerReports releasing them into the open, as the quote infers.

Maybe Graham wants to bash his head against the wall because his product doesn’t really protect like it should, and now he and his entire industry have been called out?


No argument from Slashdotters.

Sophos says virus counts dropping

Yes. Sophos says the virus counts in emails is waning. While this data point is not necessarily indicative of a trend, let’s call it good news and move on.

First double-handed virus reported

A proof of concept has been released for a virus that can affect both Windows and Linux machines.

As those systems are attached at the hip, with the majority of desktops running Windows and a slew of servers running Linux, this is not good news.

Extortion via encryption

A trojan horse is running around, encrypting folks’ data, and demanding cash for its safe unravelling. Sophos has already found the password, but I wouldn’t have been worried anyway. Why?

Because I back my stuff up. And you should too. Whether it is a sneaky virus trying to empty your pockets, or a hard drive head slamming down on a platter, it makes no difference. Your data is now toast.

The more viruses change, the more they stay the same

Sophos has, right on queue, reported the latest and greatest in viruses and hoaxes for February past.

Nyxem-D was first detected on 18 January and is still gathering momentum, accounting for 9.3% of this month’s reported malware. The email worm uses a variety of pornographic disguises in an attempt to spread and disable security software.

However, this headline-grabbing worm has failed to topple old-timer Netsky-P, which has climbed back to the number one spot after three months in the shadow of Sober-Z, programmed to stop spreading on 6 January 2006. Netsky-P was first detected in March 2004, and has relentlessly blighted unprotected users ever since.

Nyxem, Sober, Netsky. The everyday user doesn’t really care which worm is winning the internal battle, but rather that they are losing the external one.

Anti-virus for the [poor] masses

I was wondering when someone would provide a generic solution for the spyware. You are forced to install several anti-spyware packages because the firms that make them classify their targets based on which way the wind blows. I thought if someone put together a free package which was distributed anonymously over the net, the spyware companies would have nobody to get mad at. My wishes have not be granted, at least not with respect to spyware.

Malware hits a home run

When I lived in Chicago, I went to roughly 10,000 Cubs games, and exactly two White Sox games (mostly because the Cubs game started midday, and it was a quick El ride from my downtown office). But, big congratulations to the Chicago White Sox anyway, and big congratulations to all the scumbags out there creating and distributing new viruses. They broke another record in October.

I knew online gaming wasn’t good for you

As if we don’t already have enough threats to our internet security, with all the phishing, pharming, keylogging, viruses creating zombies, etc., now comes a threat to virtual world security. Sophos reports that a virus is lurking around that steals multi-player online game data.

The game is Priston’s Tale, and the virus steals usernames and passwords. The thieves can then log in as the user, and steal all their online bounty (currency, weapons, secret whatever, you name it), and sell it online to other gamers.

Crazy, but where there is a will (and cash to be made) there is a way.