Tag Archives: drive-by downloads

Avoid Drive-by Downloads – Update Firefox to Version 3.5.4 Now

firefox If you don’t have Firefox’s automatic update feature turned on, then you need to update your version immediately to Version 3.5.4.

Reports indicate that previous versions are subject to 11 critical security issues, including the risk of drive-by downloads. Drive-by downloads can include the installation of spyware, a virus, or other nasties, which can take place by simply visiting a web site, opening an e-mail, or by dealing with a popup.

According to Mozilla the following security issues have been dealt with in the release of Version 3.5.4.

MFSA 2009-64 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:
MFSA 2009-63 Upgrade media libraries to fix memory safety bugs
MFSA 2009-62 Download filename spoofing with RTL override
MFSA 2009-61 Cross-origin data theft through document.getSelection()
MFSA 2009-59 Heap buffer overflow in string to number conversion
MFSA 2009-57 Chrome privilege escalation in XPCVariant::VariantDataToJS()
MFSA 2009-56 Heap buffer overflow in GIF color map parser
MFSA 2009-55 Crash in proxy auto-configuration regexp parsing
MFSA 2009-54 Crash with recursive web-worker calls
MFSA 2009-53 Local downloaded file tampering
MFSA 2009-52 Form history vulnerable to stealing

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Filed under Application Vulnerabilities, Browsers, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox, Freeware, Malware Advisories, Software, Tech Net News, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

Here’s a Complement – Not!

As a matter of principal I make it a habit to reply to all comments left on my Blogs. After all, if someone has taken the time to read an article I wrote and then took the time to comment on that article, they deserve an acknowledgement of the comment.

There was a kind of delicious irony involved then, when a scammer/phisher recently commented on my article “Rogue Security Software on the Rise – What You Need to Know Now!” The article described in detail the concept of rogue software and how to guard against it.

In this particular case the cyber crook simply wrote “good job”, as his comment. Now he might actually have meant this to be a complement, perhaps something along the lines of 🙂 “Hey, you know what we’re really all about, don’t you?”. More likely I suspect he assumed that if I replied to his comment, I would do so without verifying the integrity of both his email mail address and his referring web site.

Because cyber crooks use every method that they can to defraud us, I am as careful in responding to comments as I am to any other form of web activity. So it’s my standard practice to verify email addresses and referring websites of those readers who choose to leave a comment, unless of course they are regular commentators.

On checking the website referred to in this reader’s comment I found the following site information through McAfee Site Advisor.

This example points out, once again, that all of us need to be armed with the appropriate tools to keep us safe on the Internet. None of us is safe from potential manipulative attempts to defraud us. In this particular case, McAfee Site Advisor was up to the task of keeping me safe and protecting me from this phishing site.

It’s also possible that this site is even more dangerous than it appears. Very likely it is seeded with drive-by downloads, as well as being a phishing site as pointed out by McAfee Site Advisor.

If you don’t have McAfee Site Advisor and you would like to read a review and download it then read my article, “Don’t Have McAfee Site Advisor? Then How Do You Know Where You Are on the Net?

If you would like to read the previous articles discussed in this article, please see the following links.

The Paradox Created by Firewalls/Security Applications – Drive-by Downloads

If you missed “Rogue Security Software on the Rise – What You Need to Know Now!” you can read it here.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Email, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Rogue Software, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

The Paradox Created by Firewalls/Security Applications – Drive-by Downloads

Your Firewall and Security Applications provide the ultimate in protection while you’re surfing the web, right? Well in a sense they do.

Paradoxically, it’s because current anti-malware solutions are much more effective than they have ever been in detecting worms and viruses, that we’re now faced with another insidious form of attack.

Drive-by downloads are not new; they’ve been lurking around for years it seems, but they’ve become much more common and more crafty recently.

More than three million unique URLs on over 180,000 websites are automatically installing malware via drive-by downloads, according to recent statements by the Google Anti-Malware Team. Google has not been alone in noticing this trend by criminal hackers using these techniques. IBM noted recently, that criminals are directly attacking web browsers in order to steal identities, gain access to online accounts and conduct other illicit activities.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, drive-by download, they are essentially programs that automatically download and install on your computer without your knowledge. This action can occur while visiting an infected web site, as previously noted, opening an infected HTML email, or by clicking on a deceptive popup window. Often more than one program is downloaded, for example, file sharing with tracking spyware is very common. Again, it’s important to remember that this can take place without warning or your approval.

What can you do to ensure you are protected, or to reduce the chances you will become a victim?

As I have pointed out in the past on this Blog, the following are actions you can take to protect your computer system:

  • When surfing the web: Stop. Think. Click
  • Don’t open unknown email attachments
  • Don’t run programs of unknown origin
  • Disable hidden filename extensions
  • Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
  • Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
  • Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible
  • Disable scripting features in email programs
  • Make regular backups of critical data
  • Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
  • Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer.
  • Install a personal firewall on the computer.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet
  • Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments
  • Install McAfee Site Advisor, WOT, or a similar browser add-on


Be proactive when it comes to your computer’s security; make sure you have adequate software based protection to reduce the chances that your machine will become infected.

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Filed under Email, Firefox Add-ons, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools