Tag Archives: ClearCloud

Defensive Downloading – The Basics

malware 5BitDefender is currently warning,  on its Malware City site, of a fake Stuxnet removal tool which, once downloaded and installed, will wipe out the contents of the victim’s Hard Drive.

As we’ve pointed out here many times in the past – if it’s in the news, you can be sure cyber criminals are exploiting it to their advantage. So we shouldn’t be too surprised, that cyber criminals have been very successful in hijacking searches related to the Stuxnet worm.

Unfortunately, following hijacked links is the common behavior of a large percentage of unaware, undereducated, and less security conscious computer users. Is it any wonder the cyber criminals are winning the game?

At the risk of sounding insensitive it’s fair to say, that users who get victimized by the type of scheme described above, end up that way because they behave like victims.

It’s beyond dispute that download sites are not all equal and as a result, downloading can be extremely risky, especially for unaware users. It’s frustrating to realize that so many users lack this basic knowledge.

Download basics are just that – basic:

Download ONLY from well established sites, or sites that are known to you.

Preferably, download from the developer’s official site.

Regardless of origin, scan all downloads with 2 or more, security applications.

Install a Browser security add-on such as WOT, which  investigates web sites for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, phishing, and online scams.

Since “trusted” websites, are not always to be trusted, consider installing an additional layer of security by substituting your ISP provided DNS service, with a more secure alternative such as ClearCloud.

Despite the best precautions, it is still possible to become infected – so, make regular backups of critical data. If you become infected this may be your only solution.

Finally, don’t store critical data on the system partition.

Regular readers will know, that virtually all downloads recommended here, are hosted on CNET’s (download.com), site. There is good reason for this – CNET scrupulously audits hosted downloads, to ensure they are not contaminated by malware.

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Filed under BitDefender, Browser add-ons, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Advisories, Recommended Web Sites, Safe Surfing, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

Steer Clear of Malware Web Sites With ClearCloud DNS

imageSecurity conscious Internet users are aware, that so called “trusted” websites, are not always to be trusted. We’ve covered this issue here on Tech Thoughts a number of times, most recently in, “How Safe Are Trusted Web Sites? Not Very!

The following is a brief explanation, from that article, on how cyber crooks manage to infect web sites:

“Cyber-crooks can exploit vulnerabilities on the server hosting the web page to insert an iFrame, (an HTML element which makes it possible to embed another HTML document inside the main document). The iFrame can then activate the download of malicious code by exploiting additional vulnerabilities on the visiting machine”.

Unfortunately, installed anti-malware solutions may not always provide adequate protection against this type of attack. Luckily, there is a solution which can add an additional layer of security by substituting your ISP provided DNS service, with a more secure alternative. An alternative that can prevent you from visiting sites that harbor malware exploits.

Free alternatives include OpenDNS, Google DNS, Norton DNS – and now, an additional free service can be added to this list with the release of ClearCloud Beta from Sunbelt Software, the developer’s of the highly regarded VIPRE antivirus application.

According to ClearCloud, the application “checks every website address your computer is trying to access, whether you’re browsing the internet, clicking a link in an email, or a program “under the hood” trying to communicate with servers for information or updates”.

In a quick 24 hour test, I found ClearCloud worked as advertised. With ClearCloud up and running, you will be prevented from visiting sites identified as harboring exploits. In which case, you will get detailed information on why ClearCloud believes the site is unsafe.

Taking advantage of this service couldn’t be easier. Simply download the setup application, execute, and as the simply interface shown below indicates, you’re now protected by ClearCloud.

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Following installation, visit the ClearCloud block page to verify the service is up and running.

System requirements: Windows, Mac.

Download at: ClearCloud

Alternatively, you can manually set your DNS server address to 74.118.212.1.

Note: You can configure ClearCloud on your router. Click here for a setup walkthrough.

A big ”Thank You” to regular reader TeX for bringing this service to my attention.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Mac, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP