Tag Archives: online threats

Super Bowl Sunday – A Super Opportunity For Cybercriminals

Unfortunately, exposure to cybercrime is one of the hidden costs associated with the use of the Internet. It’s not fair – but that’s the way it is.

imageExperienced computer users are aware that if an event is newsworthy, cybercriminals will exploit it to their own advantage. A reminder, from time to time however, is in all our interest.

Cybercriminals have jumped (as expected), on Super Sunday, and are already exploiting this annual event. It’s hardly surprising then, that security experts are predicting record-breaking numbers of Super Sunday related online threats, and cyber attacks.

Cybercriminals are experts at exploiting our curiosity surrounding current events through social engineering , and according to PC Tools, Stephanie Edwards, “Whenever there is a major event, like Super Sunday, we see this kind of increased activity.”

Given the frequency of cybercriminal activity on social networking sites, (designed, in part, to drop malicious code on computers), users need to be aware that the use of social media sites demands an extra degree of caution.

From the Web:

Ad Age predicts that advertisers will use social media at record levels to fan the flames of their ads. Increased numbers of fake ads targeting young males will appear in popular forums and sites. These ads featuring attractive women or cheerleaders encourage people to click on the links which may take them to suspicious or malicious websites.

A “drive-by attack” can occur when a link is inserted onto popular video sharing websites that promise users access to Super Sunday commercials. If a user clicks on the link, they may be redirected to ads not related to Super Sunday or in more extreme cases, users’ personal information may be taken unknowingly through malicious system exploits.

In addition to attacking users, hackers are increasingly targeting legitimate fan and sports websites through redirected links or ads. A football fan scanning the latest sports updates may unknowingly have malware downloading through interactive animations on the page.

Internet users are not entirely at the mercy of cybercriminals, and can take relatively effective steps to protect themselves  from being victimized. You may want to review the following actions you can take to protect your Internet connected computer system:

  • When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click
  • Install an Internet Browser security add-on such as WOT , which provides detailed test results on a site’s safety; protecting you from security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, and online scams.
  • 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 your computer.
  • Install a personal firewall on your 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.
  • Consider running your system in a “virtual environment. You can search this site with the keywords “virtual environment” which will produce a listing of articles covering both free, and commercial, virtual applications and add-ons.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, social networking, 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

Safer Internet Surfing Free With LinkScanner Lite

xploit Prevention Labs’ LinkScanner Lite is a safe searching, safe browsing solution, which provides early warning and detection for a variety of online threats.  Like McAfee’s Site Advisor, LinkScanner provides real time analysis of network traffic and Internet content to prevent exploits and malicious content automatically.  It identifies suspicious Web sites through real time scanning of search results and hyperlinks.

You can scan a given URL on demand, and you can use LinkScanner side-by-side with SiteAdvisor for those who feel they need the extra protection.  “Safe Surfing” is my mantra so personally, I use both.

Additionally, LinkScanner Lite will automatically inspect search results on major search engines and provide real-time advice to prevent you from accidentally visiting a dangerous site.

Here are some key features of “LinkScanner Lite”:

  • Search Shield – Inspect search results on major search engines to inform you, before you visit, which web sites are safe or dangerous and why.  An icon placed next to the listing allows you to steer clear of malicious web pages and suspicious sites.
  • Quick Scan – Allows you to pre-scan any hyperlink for site insecurities, on-demand, by simply right-clicking on the link.  QuickScan is great for browsing the web or for verifying links forwarded by friends, in blogs, or other forums. The right-click scanning option is available in Internet Explorer 6.0 and higher only.
  • Compatible with major anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall products

Download LinkScanner Lite:  http://www.explabs.com/products/lslite.asp

Download McAfee SiteAdvisor:  http://www.siteadvisor.com/download/

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Filed under Internet Safety Tools, Software