Tag Archives: rootkit

Way To Go WOT! – Now Protecting 30 Million Users

imageThe Internet is one kickass place – survey after survey continue to show that cybercriminals are picking off unaware/undereducated users, as if they were shooting fish in a barrel.

It’s hardly surprising then, that an enormous industry (no, not big, not large – but, enormous) has developed, based on the principal that technology can act as a counterfoil  to the most nefarious cyber criminal schemes. Criminal schemes which are, after all, technology driven.

I’ll leave it to you to decide if this has been an effective solution.

No matter the side you come down on regarding this complex issue, dancing around naked (so to speak ) on the Internet – that is, without adequate Browser protection, is akin to fumbling and stumbling through the toughest neighborhood in your area – after dark.

Internet security starts with the Web Browser (it does not end there – but, one step at a time), and WOT (Web of Trust, which passed the 30 million user mark yesterday – January 9, 2011), substantially reduces the risk exposure that comes with wandering through the increasingly risky neighborhood that the Internet has become.

Based on the way that I surf the Web, there’s no contest as to which of the 17 add-ons I have installed on Firefox, is most important to my piece of mind. The hands down winner – the single most important add-on for my style of surfing is WOT (Web of Trust).

Sure, that’s a pretty bold statement – but, since I frequently hear from readers who, after installing WOT on their computer systems, feel reassured that they are safer than ever before, and who express a renewed sense of confidence, and  a new level of enthusiasm, while surfing the Internet, I’ll go with it.

If you’re not yet a WOT user, read the following in-depth review – you may reconsider.

What is WOT?

WOT, one of the most downloaded Firefox Add-ons at the Mozilla add-on site, (also compatible with Internet Explorer and Chrome), is a free Internet Browser resource which  investigates web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams – helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

For example, here’s a Google search in which WOT indicates which sites are safe. Notice the unsafe (red) sites, in the Google ads!

image

Take a look at what happens if, in fact, you do end up on an unsafe web site. WOT’s dropdown warning curtain blocks access to the site until you determine otherwise.

WOT - new

WOT operates in a unique fashion in order to offer active protection to the Internet user community. It stands out from the crowd of similar applications, by soliciting the opinions of users/members whose views on web site safety are incorporated into the overall site safety rating. According to WOT, the user community now has reputation data on over 35 million sites worldwide.

The shared information on a site’s reputation includes trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety. As well, in order to achieve maximum security coverage, WOT uses thousands of trusted sources including phishing site listings, to keep users protected against rapidly spreading threats.

image

WOT integrates seamlessly with search engine results from popular search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN and other popular sites, and provides impressive protection against Internet predators.

WOT recently added the top three web-based email services – Google Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, to its free security protection. You can now feel more confident and secure, since WOT checks links embedded in your email, and warns you of dangerous web sites so that you can avoid spyware, spam, phishing, identity theft and other Internet scams; before you click on dangerous embedded links.

How WOT works:

The Browser add-on icon, displays a color rating for each site you visit, indicating whether a site is safe to use, should be used with caution, or avoided entirely.

Using traffic light colors, (green, yellow, and red), WOT leaves you in no doubt as to the safety rating of a web site. An impressive feature of WOT is the dropdown transparent warning curtain, shown earlier, triggered on visiting a dangerous site.

Recognizing that up to ten percent of Internet users are at a disadvantage however, due to colorblindness, and cannot rely on an Internet safety system based on color coding, the Web of Trust development team recently released an adaptive version of WOT. This version incorporates equivalent alternative information, through assistive or adaptive technology, for colorblind users.

This colorblind accessible application provides the same critical benefits to those individuals who have to contend with visual impairments, as it has to those of us who have come to rely on WOT as a major defense against the pervasive hazards we encounter on the Internet.

Quick facts – WOT checks the following on each web site visited:

Trustworthiness

Vendor reliability

Privacy

Child Safety

More quick facts:

Ratings for over 30 million websites

The WOT browser add-on is light and updates automatically

WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Gmail, etc.

Settings can be customized to better protect your family

WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

Works with Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome

Interface supports English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and Finnish.

System requirements: Windows (all), Mac OS X, Linux

Download at: MyWot

Surf more securely by installing this browser add-on which will provide you with an in-depth site analysis based on real world results. Keep in mind however, that you are your own best protection. Stop · Think · Click.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, Browser Plug-ins, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools

Microsoft Security Essentials –“Here I Come To Save The Day”

imageOh, the embarrassment of it all! I haven’t had to deal with a malware issue (other than self infecting in AV product testing), for more than 2 years – until this past week. No big deal, except perhaps, for the way I got infected – that old, old, old, malware attack vector – an infected search engine result.

The manipulation of search engine results, exploiting legitimate pages, and the seeding of malicious websites among the top results returned by search engines in order to infect users with malware, continues to be a major threat to system security. And, why not? It bloody well works!

Over the years, I’ve written more than a few articles on search engine malware – the last – Search Engine Malware – The Same Old, Same Old – this past August.

From that article:

Here’s how the cyber crooks do it:

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.

When a potential victim visits one of these infected sites the likelihood of the downloading of malicious code onto the computer by exploiting existing vulnerabilities is high.

So there I was, happily bouncing along the Internet highway Googling a phrase I had read on another blog. Choosing the first Google return proved to be a very bad idea indeed, since I immediately stepped into an infected iFrame.

But thankfully, all was not lost – Microsoft Security Essentials (which incorporates antivirus, antispyware and rootkit protection), halted the malware – Trojan:JS/BlacoleRef.K – in its tracks!

image

So what’s the lesson here?

A couple really – AV settings are very important. In this case, as per the following screen shot – nothing moves into, or out of this machine, without being scanned. Microsoft Security Essentials makes it so simple – no esoteric choices.

image

The second lesson – a MOST important lesson – absolutely, positively, without fail, come hell or high water, ensure that AV definitions are updated at least daily. Preferably, more often.

You might be surprised to learn, that on the day I stumbled, while MSE recognized the intruder, the vast majority of AVs did not – as per the following VirusTotal report (partially reproduced here).

image

Since it was preposterous to assume that MSE had in fact eradicated the Trojan (paranoia has its upside don’t you know?    Smile), I then ran a full scan with Kaspersky Rescue Disk – a free Linux-based antimalware application (a live CD), which scans from the outside looking in. Malware generally can’t hide if it’s not running.

The result? The Kaspersky Rescue Disk scan was clean. MSE had in fact, sent Trojan:JS/BlacoleRef.K to malware hell. Yes!!

I suppose there’s one more lesson that can be dug out of this experience, and that is – those tech journalists who absolutely insist that “pay for” antimalware applications are superior to all free AVs (often, without ever having tested the damn product in real world conditions), should take a step back and reconsider their speculative approach to antimalware application ratings.

Worth repeating: Despite the fact that I’m provided with a free license for all the security applications I test (and then some), I have chosen to run with the following FREE  applications.

Microsoft Security Essentials (free) – an all-in-one antimalware application.

Immunet Protect – a free Cloud based companion antimalware application.

ThreatFire (free) – this application is built around a Host Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS), and behavior based blocking combination.

WinPatrol (free) – another HIPS application with considerable additional functionality. WinPatrol is the elder statesman of this application class and, it just keeps on getting better. A must have application.

PC Tools Firewall Plus (free) – PC Tools Firewall Plus is advanced Firewall technology designed for typical users, not just experts.  The “plus” refers to a HIPS component. Generally, if the ThreatFire HIPS component is triggered on my machine, PC Tools Firewall Plus is triggered as well.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Cyber Crime, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Immunet Protect, Microsoft, Software, trojans, Windows Tips and Tools

250 Zemana AntiLogger License Giveaway At MalwareTips.com

Regular readers may remember, that I thoroughly tested Zemana AntiLogger a year or so ago. Subsequently, through the generosity of Zemana we were able to offer two thousands plus, free licenses to readers.

During the testing period I ran a series of Anti-Keylogger Tests, including tests for web cam penetration. All test methods were defeated by Zemana AntiLogger.

A quick recap of Zemana AntiLogger’s capabilities.

Secure your Internet banking and financial transactions

Protect information in emails and Instant Messages

Protect keystrokes from spyware

Protect all screen images

Webcam Logger protection

System Defense

No need to download latest virus signatures

No need to know or detect the malware’s signature

No need to wait for updates from a virus lab

No need to scan files

Proactively looks for suspicious activity

Catches not just the usual suspects, but also sophisticated “zero day” malware

Prevents theft of data via secure connections (HTTPS / SSL)

Does not slow down your PC

Easy to download, install and use

Future-proof

This application, which is arguably the best Antikeylogger application on the market, is not freeware, but you may download a 15 day trial version at: Zemana

Better yet, take a run over to MalwareTips.com, read the article carefully, and follow the instructions to obtain a new 12 month license.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

14 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, Free Full Versions, Giveaways, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Protection, Software Giveaways, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

WOT (Web of Trust) – Is It The Most Important Browser Security Add-on You Need To Install?

image It would be difficult for regular readers of this site not to be aware, that I write consistently on the importance of Internet Browser protection.

In fact, we’ve covered 20 or more Browser add-ons here in the past few weeks – from add-ons that add functionality, to those that promise to provide additional security.

All this coverage of Browser add-ons rattled my Brain somewhat, and got me thinking about the single most important add-on I have installed – the add-on I couldn’t do without.

Based on the way that I surf the Web, there was no contest. Of the 17 add-ons I have installed on Firefox, the hands down winner – the single most important add-on for my style of surfing is WOT (Web of Trust). I don’t think I’m alone in this assessment.

I frequently hear from readers who, after installing WOT on their computer systems, feel reassured that they are safer than ever before, and who express a renewed sense of confidence, and  a new level of enthusiasm, while surfing the Internet.

In fact, just under 6,000 Tech Thoughts readers have installed WOT in the last two years – according to today’s download stats.

image

And why not. Security starts with the Web Browser, and WOT substantially reduces the risk exposure, that comes with wandering through the increasingly risky neighborhood that the Internet has become.

What is WOT?

WOT, one of the most downloaded Firefox Add-ons at the Mozilla add-on site, (also compatible with Internet Explorer and Chrome), is a free Internet Browser resource which  investigates web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams – helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

For example, here’s a Google search in which WOT indicates which sites are safe. Notice the unsafe (red) sites, in the Google ads!

image

Take a look at what happens if, in fact, you do end up on an unsafe web site. WOT’s dropdown warning curtain blocks access to the site until you determine otherwise.

WOT - new

WOT operates in a unique fashion in order to offer active protection to the Internet user community. It stands out from the crowd of similar applications, by soliciting the opinions of users/members whose views on web site safety are incorporated into the overall site safety rating. According to WOT, the user community now has reputation data on over 30 million sites worldwide.

The shared information on a site’s reputation includes trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety. As well, in order to achieve maximum security coverage, WOT uses thousands of trusted sources including phishing site listings, to keep users protected against rapidly spreading threats.

image

WOT integrates seamlessly with search engine results from popular search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN and other popular sites, and provides impressive protection against Internet predators.

WOT recently added the top three web-based email services – Google Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, to its free security protection. You can now feel more confident and secure, since WOT checks links embedded in your email, and warns you of dangerous web sites so that you can avoid spyware, spam, phishing, identity theft and other Internet scams; before you click on dangerous embedded links.

How WOT works:

The Browser add-on icon, displays a color rating for each site you visit, indicating whether a site is safe to use, should be used with caution, or avoided entirely.

Using traffic light colors, (green, yellow, and red), WOT leaves you in no doubt as to the safety rating of a web site. An impressive feature of WOT is the dropdown transparent warning curtain, shown earlier, triggered on visiting a dangerous site.

Recognizing that up to ten percent of Internet users are at a disadvantage however, due to colorblindness, and cannot rely on an Internet safety system based on color coding, the Web of Trust development team recently released an adaptive version of WOT. This version incorporates equivalent alternative information, through assistive or adaptive technology, for colorblind users.

This colorblind accessible application provides the same critical benefits to those individuals who have to contend with visual impairments, as it has to those of us who have come to rely on WOT as a major defense against the pervasive hazards we encounter on the Internet.

Quick facts – WOT checks the following on each web site visited:

Trustworthiness

Vendor reliability

Privacy

Child Safety

More quick facts:

Ratings for over 30 million websites

The WOT browser add-on is light and updates automatically

WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Gmail, etc.

Settings can be customized to better protect your family

WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

Works with Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome

Interface supports English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and Finnish.

System requirements: Windows (all), Mac OS X, Linux

Download at: MyWot

Surf more securely by installing this browser add-on which will provide you with an in-depth site analysis based on real world results. Keep in mind however, that you are your own best protection. Stop · Think · Click.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

33 Comments

Filed under Adaptive Technologies, Browser add-ons, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety Tools, Linux, Mac OS X, Online Safety, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

Round Two: Download Next Generation Microsoft Security Essentials In Beta

image Microsoft Security Essentials, which incorporates antivirus, antispyware and rootkit protection, all under one roof, was released by Microsoft last year as a free  replacement application for Windows Live OneCare. MSE was initially released in June 2009 in Beta, which was replaced by the final release in September 2009.

Microsoft has just released a Beta for the second generation Security Essentials, which includes a number of substantial additional features (see the following), and thankfully, a faster engine.

Note: This is a limited beta available in English (U.S.), Israel, and Brazilian Portuguese (the beta will also be available in China in Simplified Chinese later this year), and is available to genuine Windows users on a first come, first serve basis, until the allotted spots for the beta have been reached.

What’s New in the Microsoft Security Essentials beta?

This Beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials includes these new features and enhancements to better help protect your computer from threats.

Windows Firewall integration: Microsoft Security Essentials setup allows you to turn on Windows Firewall.

Enhanced protection from web-based threats: Microsoft Security Essentials has enhanced integration with Internet Explorer which helps prevent malicious scripts from running and provides improved protection against web based attacks.

New and improved protection engine: The updated engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities and better performance.

Installation was not straight forward. Since I was running the final release as my primary AV, the installer attempted to perform an upgrade. Bad idea! It simply did not work, and caused some cleanup issues I had to deal with.

After cleaning up the mess, I uninstalled the prior version using my trusty Revo Uninstaller, and then did a successful clean install rather than an upgrade.

I heard it through the grapevine that I’m not alone in having run into this upgrade issue. So, if you have MSE installed, uninstall first, and then perform a clean install of the new Beta.

image

This new Microsoft Security Essentials Beta just like the final release is easy to set up and run, (on a clean install), particularly for new users. And, the interface is positively simple offering Quick Scan, Full Scan, or Custom Scan.

A simple command interface:

image

A simple scan result screen – in this case a “clean” result:

image

A simple settings/options screen. If you have been running the generation one final version, you find a number of impressive changes here.

image

Overall impressions:

Microsoft Security Essentials, including this Beta release, is a no cost viable alternative to overhyped, and often overpriced, more familiar security applications.

A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface makes Microsoft Security Essentials straightforward to setup, customize, and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective – particularly with the additional features in the Beta release.

Provides full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Very few “free” security applications, provide full real time protection which makes such an application valuable, only as an on-demand secondary scanner.

The second generation Beta, is definitely worth a close look.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Vista x64, Win 7, Win 7 x64.

Download at: The Microsoft Connect Page (registration required).

Windows XP users: Please note that the network inspection system feature will not be enabled on Windows XP. The network inspection system requires the Windows Filtering Platform (WFP) in order to run, and WFP is available only in Windows Vista and Windows 7. However, if you are running Windows XP, you can still use all other beta features.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Beta Software, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Zemana AntiLogger Provides Protection Against Web Cam Hacks

image The wired world has it’s fair share of weird and semi-weird people, but none more weird, it seems to me, than those who spy on others through web cam hacks.

Just in the last two days, we’ve included the following stories in the Tech Thoughts Daily Net News column.

Hacker arrested for spying on schoolgirls via their own webcams.

PC consultant pleads not guilty to malware ‘sextortion’ plot.

If you Google “web cam hacks”, you’ll be astonished by the number of returned links – including links to “how-to videos”. I’m a firm believer in the free exchange of information, but even my high level of tolerance is pushed to the extreme when I see this.

Thankfully, this is an issue that I don’t have to contend with – not that I can imagine someone being interested in hacking my web cam. I rarely run around naked – I save that for special occasions.  🙂

Since I use a Webcam extensively for communicating though, I need reassurance that my cam cannot be hacked – that I will not become a victim of the truly weird creepy crawlies, who fly beneath the Internet radar.

I use only one machine that’s equipped with a web cam, and that cam is protected from intrusion by Zemana AntiLogger, which offers outstanding active Webcam protection.

Regular readers may remember, that I thoroughly tested Zemana AntiLogger earlier this year. Subsequently, through the generosity of Zemana we were able to offer thousands of free licenses to readers.

During the testing period I ran a series of Anti-Keylogger Tests, including tests for web cam penetration. All test methods were defeated by Zemana AntiLogger.

The screen capture below shows the Anti-Web Cam module inside Zemana AntiLogger.

image

A quick recap of Zemana AntiLogger’s capabilities.

Secure your Internet banking and financial transactions

Protect information in emails and Instant Messages

Protect keystrokes from spyware

Protect all screen images

Webcam Logger protection

System Defense

No need to download latest virus signatures

No need to know or detect the malware’s signature

No need to wait for updates from a virus lab

No need to scan files

Proactively looks for suspicious activity

Catches not just the usual suspects, but also sophisticated “zero day” malware

Prevents theft of data via secure connections (HTTPS / SSL)

Does not slow down your PC

Easy to download, install and use

Future-proof

To read the full review of this powerful application, “Zemana AntiLogger – An Ounce of Prevention”, go here.

If keylogger protection is a concern, particularly if you, or someone in your family runs a web cam, you should consider adding this application to your security toolbox.

This application is not freeware, but you may download a 15 day trial version at: Zemana

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

15 Comments

Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Software, Software Trial Versions, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download Free Microsoft Security Essentials – You’ll be Glad You Did!

Today is the last day of a holiday weekend (Victoria Day – a celebration of our British heritage), here in Canada. So that yours truly can relax to the max, this article is a reposting of a previously published article.

image Microsoft Security Essentials, which incorporates antivirus, antispyware and rootkit protection, all under one roof, was released by Microsoft as a free  replacement application for the late, and unlamented, Windows Live OneCare.

I’ve been running Security Essentials for eight months, or so; first, as a beta tester, and now the final product, on my Win 7 machines. Backed up, of course, by Zemana AntiLogger, GeSWall, Immunet Protect,  and by my usual, on demand security applications, including Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware.

Testing this application under real world conditions, has reinforced my initial positive review of Microsoft Security Essentials.

So, I’ll just cut to the chase here:

Microsoft Security Essentials is a no cost viable alternative to overhyped, and often overpriced, more familiar security applications.

A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface makes Microsoft Security Essentials straightforward to setup, customize, and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective.

Provides full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Very few “free” security applications, provide full real time protection which makes such an application valuable, only as an on-demand secondary scanner.

A simple command interface:

MS Security Essentials

A simple settings/options screen:

MS Security Essentials 2

A simple scan result screen – in this case a “clean” result:

MS Security Essentials 3

Or, a potential threat warning screen – following an injection, in this case, of a malware file:

image

Fast facts:

Easy to set up and run, particularly for new users.

The interface is positively simple offering Quick Scan, Full Scan, or Custom Scan.

Scans all drives including removable drives, and creates a system restore point

Full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

The Dynamic Signature Service (DSS), a technology that helps ensure users are protected by the most current virus definitions available, without having to wait for the next scheduled download, is a major positive step for the average user.

Using DSS, Security Essentials validates suspicious files in near real time – a huge advantage for average users.

Actions from unknown sources such as unexpected network connections, attempts to modify privileged parts of the system or the downloading of known malware, all trigger requests for updates from DSS – another major advantage for the average user.

Runs unobtrusively in the background with an easy to understand warning system. Green – you’re good to go. Yellow – caution. Red – action required.

Very lightweight in terms of system resource usage – as opposed to some security applications that are well known resource hogs.

Malware identification and removal, in my experience, has been much better than average in real time extended testing, and not just in a 30 minute wonder test!

Quick scans are very fast, but full scans are slightly slower than average. However, if I’m infected, fast or slow is not a personal consideration – detection and removal of malware is.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Vista x 64, Win  7, Win 7 x64

Download at: Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective. I highly recommend that you take a close look at this program.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP