Posts Categorized: Stupid malware tricks


Trojan Uses Commercial Firewall to Block AV Updates

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Purveyors of rogue security products continue to bulk up their arsenal of stupid tricks, all of which are designed to induce either fear or frustration in victims. Increasingly, certain distributions of rogue antivirus include a payload that blocks the infected computer from receiving antivirus updates. That part isn’t new; Many Trojan installers drop a Hosts file onto the infected machine which effectively prevents the computer from reaching any Web site listed in the file. But malicious Hosts files are easy to identify and remove, because they’re always in the same location (C:Windowssystem32driversetc), and the minute you delete a malicious Hosts […]

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IRS Tax “Warning” Fraud Crosses the Pond, Targets the UK

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For several months, we’ve been seeing spam and phishing Web sites which purport to be IRS notifications of delinquent non-payment of income taxes. Who can blame the fraudsters — almost no three letter agency of the US government inspires more dread and fear than good old Internal Revenue. In the UK, the counterpart to the IRS is called Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (or HMRC), even though it is the British government, and not the Queen’s Coldstream Guards, who dutifully stick a fork in the populace to pay up. The income tax filing deadline in the UK (for people who […]

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Postmortem Michael Jackson Track Dredges Rogues

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As we’ve discussed so many times in the past, search terms that include the names of celebrities make good targets for malware authors, and search terms that include the name of dead celebrities make great targets for malware authors. Now there’s a new corollary to this postulate: Search terms that include the names of dead celebrities who release new material make fantastic targets for the bottom-feeders of the malware-distribution world. So, as you’re out there searching for the brand new Michael Jackson track, please be aware that the bad guys are using this opportunity to foist malware onto your machine. […]

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Shields Up During National Cyber Security Awareness Month

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By Mike Kronenberg Be suspicious. About email swindles, bogus security products and online scams. I’m not kidding around. You need to pay attention and be diligent, because cyberthreats are lurking everywhere. What got me thinking about this was President Obama’s proclamation of October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. He said that all users — not just those in government — have to practice safe computing. The President is taking this seriously. At the start of the month he authorized the Department of Homeland Security to hire 1,000 cyber security specialists over the next three years. The goal for these professionals […]

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No Search is Sacred: Fakealerts Flood the Net

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Search engines appear to be no longer in control of the search results they display at any given moment. That’s bad news not only for the search giants, but for anyone who relies on their results. How can that be? After all, it’s the search engines’ own servers that are supposed to deliver relevant results based on their super-secret sauce algorithms. But black hat, or rogue, search engine optimization (SEO for short) has ruined the trustworthiness of virtually any search. Just a few years ago, companies began to spring up making outrageous promises about how they can get a client’s […]

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Trojan Decodes Captchas Using Stolen Commercial Tools

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A new Trojan quietly circulating in the wild uses components from a commercial optical character recognition (OCR) application to decode captchas, those jumbled-text images meant to help a website discern human activity from automated bots. The OCR-using captcha breaking tool is just one component of the Trojan. Its main purpose appears to be to fill out contest entries, online polls, and other forms relating to marketing campaigns originating in the US, and it uses the OCR-cracking software in order to read the captchas and submit the form entries, on pages where the website presents a captcha to the user. And […]

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Roman Polanski Arrest Spawns Headline-Hooking Rogues

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By Andrew Brandt and Brenden Vaughan As we’ve seen for the past several months, a celebrity ended up the top news story, which started a cascade of malware distributors racing to get their driveby pages to the top of search results. Today’s victim/subject is Roman Polanski, the renowned film director arrested on decades old charges of statutory rape. This kind of gossipy, tabloid headline is like candy for rogue antivirus distributors. We began our search the minute we found out the news, and yes, within about half an hour of the story breaking, the pages began appearing in the search […]

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One Click, and the Exploit Kit’s Got You

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After all the brouhaha surrounding the NYTimes.com website hosting ads which spawned rogue antivirus Fakealerts last weekend, I spent a considerable amount of time looking at so-called exploit kits this week. These are packages, made up of custom made Web pages (typically coded in the PHP scripting language), which perform a linchpin activity for malware distributors. Namely, they deliver the infection to the victim, using the most effective methods, based on parameters which help identify particular vulnerabilities in the victim’s browser, operating system, or applications. There’s no indication that an exploit kit was used by the attackers in the NYTimes.com […]

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“Shipping Confirmation” Malware on the Rise

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As autumn approaches, the world typically sees an increase in the number of online shopping trips, as people take advantage of bargains from late-year sales, and prepare for various holidays. And, right on cue, we’re also seeing an increase in the number of Trojans distributed in the guise of “shipping confirmation” email messages. And these Trojans are packing a triple threat of backdoors designed to steal logins and take command of infected PCs. The Trojan arrives attached to a vaguely-worded email message thanking the recipient for their order of a high-ticket item. Previous versions of this same kind of message […]

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‘Koobfox’ variant digs for Firefox cookies

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A new variant of the Koobface worm started striking out this week, with a twist: Where the older Koobface would steal and use the cookies saved by Internet Explorer which store social network logins in order to spread its infectious messages in the victim’s name, this new variant is pulling down a tool designed to steal credentials saved by Firefox (in the form of cookies and stored passwords). Users of the Firefox browser were, until now, able to thwart the pernicious spy’s ability to hijack a victim’s social network accounts, because the two browsers store their cookies in different locations, […]

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