Tag: malware

Bin Laden News Will Fuel Malware Resurgence

Today’s news that Bin Laden has been killed in a military raid will likely result in an uptick of malware spam in May. Previously, false stories announcing Bin Laden’s death were very effective virus/Trojan delivery vehicles infecting those eager to see details of such an event.

Now that it is true and at the lead of the news cycle, such stories and bogus links will likely see a resurgence. And as a result, it will be that much more difficult to discern the proper from the illegitimate. Everyone should take care when receiving such emails, and to only click through if the source is verified and trusted.


Why Everyone Needs To Know About Twitter

With a billion tweets per week, there’s no question that Twitter has become a popular social medium. But while not every person is a Twitter user, it is important that everyone at least know what Twitter is.

I’m starting to see malware-bearing spam that preys on the popularity of Twitter, though anyone even remotely familiar with Twitter would never be fooled because it displays a complete ignorance about how the twittersphere operates. The latest is a message from Twitter Support indicating that there are a number of “unreaded messages” awaiting review.

There are other dead giveaways to this initial spam vector, but social engineering techniques will undoubtedly improve over time. The fundamental issue is that even a non-user should be taught that Twitter is not a messaging system in the traditional email sense, so as to not get fooled by the spam into clicking to see these “unreaded” messages.

Make sure your non-Twitter friends and family “faworites” know the basics.

Facebook Insecurity

As Betty White – who hosted Saturday Night Live last night as a result of a grassroots Facebook campaign – said in her opening monologue, “now that I know what Facebook is, it sure seems like a huge waste of time”. Since I am a participant myself, I won’t hypocritically debate the merits. However, I will continue to call attention to the potential privacy risks that careless Facebook participation can incur. And one of the biggies lies with application security.

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Clever “Adobe Risk Management” Fake Alert

Earlier this year, I posted an example of a ridiculously contrived attempt to propagate malware. For as amateurish as that one was, this one is the exact opposite: a very clever and convincing ruse. The message purports to be courtesy of an Adobe “Risk Management” official, referencing a known Acrobat exploit, and urging the application of a patch.  What made it quasi-legit was not the fact that it came from Adobe, but that it came as a simulated mail thread from company VP to company VP, ultimately addressing an end-user by name and directing her to take action. I am not a malware expert and did not deconstruct the PDF or EXE to know if or what was infected, but it all seemed suspicious enough to me…

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Internet Speed

In 2004, the average time for an unprotected computer to get infected with malware was 20 minutes. In 2006, that dropped to 12. These days, it can be measured in seconds. But that metric is typically focused on Windows PCs exploited by virii and bot-nets. What about other platforms like Linux? Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is truly a scary world out there for everyone.

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Anatomy of a Malware Mail Message

The difference between virus and spyware is a real grey area. Many anti-malware tools excel at stamping out one, but can let the other slip through. Because of this, I try to caution my users to not assume our lines of defenses are infallible. ABC: always be cautious.

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