Tag Archives: malware

Even Big-Name Sites Are Unsafe

What do the NY Times, the BBC, Newsweek, The Hill,  MSN, AOL, the Weather Network, the NFL, and Realtor.com all have in common? Their popular websites recently served up ads that stealthily try to infect visitors computers with ransomware and other nastiness. The advertisements may have exposed multiple thousands of visitors over the day or so they ran before being noticed. The ads were provided from two domains through big services including Google, AppNexus, AOL and Rubicon, who were tricked somehow into placing them. The campaign started experimenting with smaller targets and toolkits last week. Then it upgraded to the biggest sites and began using the Angler suite of exploits. If holding your data hostage wasn’t bad enough, it also downloads several trojan viruses also. The only good news in all this is that the compromised site first looks for a long list of security products and tools on the visitor’s computer that it wishes to avoid. Only if none are found will it then send out the infected advertisement with the rest of the webpage. As browser add-ons like Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and Java are targeted by the Angler toolkit, it’s a good idea not to use them unless absolutely needed. And also, to keep your antivirus programs up to date. And above all, back up everything. This applies to Mac owners, too. Just last week the very first Macintosh-targeting ransomware was discovered. Concealed in version 2.90 of … Continue reading

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Watch Out for WordPress Vulnerabilities

At SWCP, we love our WordPress. This site is run on WordPress, we support the platform and strive to make it as easy and safe to use as possible, and we even host meetings at Ideas and Coffee to discuss how to use it most effectively. After all, WordPress is now used by up to a quarter of all sites on the Web, and there are thousands of themes and plug-ins to make it look and behave pretty much any way you want. But all that success brings with it a downside, which is that now the bad guys have begun to target it. The latest attack is both frightening and dangerous. Somehow – the means is still unknown – hackers have been able to inject code that sends visitors to a fake ad site. These sites are loaded with evil ransomware that can take over the user’s machine. More information can be found here. Before freaking out, note that: The redirect only attacks first-time visitors. Regular visitors and the site administrators will therefore be unaware of this and unaffected by it. Apparently, only users with out-of-date versions of Adobe Flash Player (yet again), Adobe Reader, Microsoft Silverlight and Internet Explorer are vulnerable. For some reason, the flaw is not detectable by most anti-virus programs yet. So users need to be alert. If you visit a site and are redirected to another, do not click on anything. Instead close your … Continue reading

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Beware Pop-up Survey Scams

Pop-up ads are generally merely annoying, but some can actually pose a threat. Of course, it’s the worst that try the hardest to make themselves look legitimate and helpful. You might find yourself faced with one that purports to be a survey of Internet services. And it looks quite official, even down to the legalese text on the bottom, and offers valuable gifts for a few minutes of your time. And above all, it looks totally innocuous, with easy, objective, multiple-choice questions. What could be the harm in that? Plenty, though you might not realize it for awhile. Filling in the form can leave your computer infected, maybe just with more annoying adware, or something more serious. But any adware is a breach in your privacy defenses, and other nasties you may run into while browsing can make the gap worse. Now, this “survey” may be for a site you visit, or even your ISP,  which is why we’re issuing this warning. We’re seeing more reports of our members being asked to rate Southwest Cyberport. Some customers, wishing to give SWCP a good word or help us improve, have gone ahead and filled out the form, to their regret. The only party that got a favor from it were the scammers. The best response is the same for all pop-ups: ignore it, close the window without clicking anything. If you think you might have been infected see here for steps … Continue reading

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