Posts Categorized: mal-effects


Play it Safe on Safer Internet Day

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February 9 marks Safer Internet Day, and around the world, people are trying to help their fellow netizens navigate an obstacle course of threats to their security and privacy. InSafe, the organization funded by the EU that sponsors the annual youth-targeted event, has themed the day around the concept “Think B4 U post.” As grammatically sloppy as that sounds, it’s actually good advice. Readers of this blog shouldn’t be surprised that myriad dangers threaten the safety of all Internet users: Keylogging software disguised as “updates” are everywhere; Fake security alerts pop up when you least expect them; Phishing Web pages […]

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Massive Spam Campaign Impersonates Social Networks

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Spammers are the source of a flood of messages that appear to originate from various social networks, including Facebook and Myspace, as well as popular sites like iTunes. The spam messages usually just contain a link, and possibly a few words. Their subject matter falls into three general categories common to most contemporary spam: Pill vendors, Russian bride “vendors,” and drive-by download sites hosting Zbot password-stealer installers. It’s not unusual for spammers to forge the return addresses, but the sheer volume of spam that has been forged so it appears to originate from MySpace, Facebook, or iTunes is notable.

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Cover Your Assets on Data Privacy Day

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Today is Data Privacy Day, which is supposed to remind us all that keeping our digital secrets a secret is important and necessary. To commemorate the event, I’d like to run down some of the most serious privacy threats any of us could face on a daily basis: How a malware infection puts your privacy at risk. For years, it’s been clear that the creators and distributors of malicious software are after one thing above all others — money. Whether they steal it (by installing a keylogger, or just phishing) or defraud you out of it (by coercing users to […]

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Fakealerts Invade Google Image Search Results for ’24′ Star

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Searchers beware: Those photos of celebrities or funny cat pictures that turn up in your Google image search results might not be photos at all, but fake antivirus alerts. Evidence appears to indicate that a similar scam to one we blogged about last November may be working its way up the Google food chain into other forms of search results. While searching for photos of Annie Wersching, an actress who recently joined the cast of the TV show 24, we stumbled into one of these javascript-enabled fakealert browser traps. Oddly enough, when you click one of these bogus linked pictures […]

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Zbot Fakes ABA Banking Site, Seeks a Stimulus Package

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As the reign of nuisance by Trojan-Backdoor-Zbot continues, the latest scam invites victims to review a “transaction report” on a page supposedly on the Web site of the American Bankers Association, or ABA. (I wouldn’t want to call it a reign of terror; that might give the Zbot authors an inflated sense of their own importance. Zbot is like a wasp buzzing around the picnic table, and deserves a good, sharp smack, preferably with a shoe.) The “report” is, of course, an installer for this Trojan. The scam is virtually identical to ones we’ve seen where the scammer sets up […]

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Rogue AV Payload Blocks Popular Websites

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A payload file installed along with some variants of the rogue Internet Security 2010 “antivirus” program modifies victims’ networking settings within Windows, inserting itself into the network stack and preventing victims from visiting some of the Web’s most popular Web sites. More than 40 sites have been targeted, including: Microsoft’s live.com and Bing search engine; social networking giants Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, and YouTube; news organizations including Fox News, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the UK’s Guardian and BBC news sites; and blogs hosted by blogger.com, livejournal.com, and wordpress.com. The payload modifies the Layered Service Provider (LSP) […]

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Zbot Desperately Seeking AIM Users

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The Zbot keylogger campaign-of-the-month targets users of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) with a message that claims to be an update notification for users of the instant messaging client application. Users unfortunate enough to click through the link in the email message to download what they think is something called “aimupdate_7.1.6.475.exe” will be in for a rude awakening. The malicious page delivers its payload whether or not a victim clicks the link to get executable file: It opens an iframe to a site that attempts to use vulnerable versions of Adobe Reader to push the Zbot keylogger down to the victim’s […]

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Phishers Break WoW’s Magic Spell Over Gamers

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By Curtis Fechner and Andrew Brandt While we’ve touched on the subject of World of Warcraft phishers (and the Trojans they attempt to spread) a handful of times in the past several months, it’s worth mentioning the ongoing problems phishing posts cause both players and Blizzard, the game’s operator. To recap, the official message board for World of Warcraft is under constant attack by phishers, who use stolen credentials to post message board articles containing malicious links under the names of the innocent players whose passwords have been stolen. The links, which can be tied to virtually any kind of […]

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Spammers Pushing Rogues Infiltrate Google Groups

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Spammers hawking “fun videos” have been worming their way into Google Groups, the global message board Google built on the skeleton of the old Usenet network. Only, the pages the spammers point victims to, which don’t actually contain videos, come with a nasty surprise: Rogue antivirus apps. The attacks began late last year, but have been increasing in frequency through the holidays, and haven’t abated in the new year. The users sending out the spam messages all use free Gmail accounts (one even named his spam account Santa Claus), and have been requesting access to both open-membership and closed-membership Groups, […]

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