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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Crimeware Addendum TWO - Your System WILL Be Compromised

Although I've had it installed for a couple days now, I haven't started getting familiar with LinkScanner. This was recommended by Robert Vamosi in recent security alerts. I have two other postings on this matter, here and here. The latter link shows what happens when a recording is made of Internet Explorer visiting a banking site. These attacks can happen to anyone.

Since I wanted to see what a red alert would look like, so I did a few keyword searches that are most likely to hit some compromised pages. The image above shows the alert or clear icon (a green checkmark) on a sample search. Above is using Google search but you get similar results on a few other search engines such as Yahoo below. Linkscanner doesn't run with Altavista so be sure you use a search tool that LinkScanner works with.

If you mouseover the red x marks, below is sample of a warning you get when the site is positive for threats.

Keep in mind that you do not have to go to a risky site to be exposed to malware intended to be used in identity theft. :(

Please realize that Sponsored Links on search engines can be dangerous too! These guys pay to make their sites highly visible, so that they can infect more people. Steal more identities. People who just click to visit their sites will load the page, just like in the video of the banking site above! Then the malware starts to write to the person's hard drive.

If I did not have LinkScanner installed, I would not have seen the red X before I visited the site. (this was an experiment, grin)

I'm safe! Since I am using NOScript on Firefox, when I clicked on the page, NoScript informed me that scripts wanted to run on that site and did I want to give permission? Of course not! However, if I had not seen the Linkscanner warning, I might have assumed that maybe some little harmless tool wanted to run.

Practice safe Hex! :)

LinkScanner Links

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/11/2007 04:22:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments  

Monday, September 10, 2007

Internet Security - The rise of crimeware

It has now come to the point that you cannot safely surf even your bank's site or popular commercial sites, or any other site without having all of your security software, your browser, and in fact everything active on your computer -- all up to date.

No, I'm not talking about phishing, where a site pretends to be what it is not. Phishing relies on people not realizing they have clicked on something that is spoofing a legitimate site.

Yikes! No... it's different now!

Now, it looks as though it may be a good idea to also have a link analyzer to ensure the safety of any site you visit, including YOUR BANK or anyplace you do online shopping or even Petfinder or your trusted friend's site! Why? The servers that host the sites could be compromised, if only for an hour, it could be the hour you are logged on. :(

I have antivirus, spyware scanners, and firewalls. These generally test for things that are "obvious" to the technology of these types of software. I use Firefox for my principal browser, have an adblocker on and also use NoScript. I only use IE for troubleshooting and testing web code. Also, all the email I do is done from plain text, and I read email headers all the time. Healthy paranoia, I think! None of this slows me down, as it's all rather habitual.

However, new malicious technology is growing all the time. There's tons of money in it for criminal types and they are so motivated. Taking Robert's advice in the article below, I installed Link Scanner, as a test for now.

If you want to understand more about the nature of this crimeware threat, go and read Robert Vamosi at CNET, writing about The rise of crimeware and give consideration to his recommendations (behaviors and software to install) for safety on the internet:
"For a few hours late last week, visitors to the Bank of India Web site had their browsers covertly redirected to a site hosting malicious exploits. Increasingly, criminals, often without any technical experience, are defacing popular Web sites with code that allows them to direct your browser to download content without you even knowing. (click to go to the rest of the article. . .) "
The nature of security issues on the internet changes constantly. Keep it safe and fun. Stay informed, subscribe to internet security newsletters. CNET, with Robert Vamosi is a favorite. has a newsletter too, I have an RSS feed for it on the left hand column in one of the two grayish boxes.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/10/2007 03:00:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments