Archive | Computer Viruses

Real Security Threats Facing Organizations Everywhere


In our day and age organizations of all sizes from large to small all face real security threats that are not to be taken lightly. Some of the more common everyday network threats network administrators’ deal with on a day to day basis are social engineering threats that are used to trick non technical computer users into downloading malware and other threats such as computer viruses. These threats are not new and are not going to go away. An alarming number of small and medium sized businesses not only in Orlando Florida but everywhere have fallen victim having their neglected computer network being compromised – hacked which leads to many dangerous activities such as data theft, computer network penetration and compromise which ultimately leads to having servers, desktop computers and other devices infected and potentially destroyed. One of the biggest problems I see is lax computer access by not having a computer / network policy in place which easily enables unauthorized users to access data that should be kept under lock and key and not available for all employees to have access to.

This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses in Orlando Florida that may not have the budget to hire a qualified network administrator on a full time basis which leads many small organizations to fall short of having a professional designed, build and properly maintained computer network.

Some other common computer, network, data theft and other cyber attacks are caused by:

Excessive Internal Data Access Privileges:
Employees with complete access to servers and data pose a tremendous internal threat if they turn against the company. So does anyone (including executives) who maintains inappropriate access rights to information after changing positions within a company.

Third Party Computer – Network Access:
Employees of third parties may have access to unencrypted data. Data stored in the cloud can be very dangerous especially for small and medium sized businesses.  If you are storing your data on a cloud do you know where your data is physically located and do you know who has access to your data? I promise you, you are not the only person to have access to your data if it is stored on a cloud. While the physical servers you rent or lease may be owned and operated by one cloud hosting company I can assure you the servers are likely to be housed in multiple data centers or facilities the United States and even overseas and are physically and virtually accessed by many other people which puts your data at risk of being seen, shared and or stolen from you. If you are going to use a cloud I highly recommend you get to know the company that will be hosting your cloud. Ideally if you can afford it would be in your best interest to own your own cloud and have it maintained by a local network administrator that you can meet in person and get to know.

Political Hactivism:
Political motivated hacking is on the rise, as illustrated by organizations such as Anonymous and Lulz-Sec. However, they assert that much of their success comes from finding easy targets, not because of any particular technical expertise. While you may or may not have control over whether you are hacked or not, you can make it far more difficult for an attacker to succeed.

Social Engineering:

Using lies, deception, manipulation and more to gain sufficient knowledge to dupe an unwary company (and any unintentionally yielding employee) is an age old technique. But it’s no longer limited to just the phone; it can be done over a social media network. Posting the details on FaceBook of every aspect of your upcoming “unplugged vacation” may just be the weak link of information that a scammer needs to take advantage of you and or your organization.

Internal Negligence:
Negligence is typically an offense committed by management when “they should have known better.”
Most successful data security breaches have some element of managerial negligence associated with them.

Lack of Transparency in Cloud Service Offering:
Never, never, never leave it up to blind trust that cloud service providers are implementing appropriate security measures and looking out for their customers.  Check cloud service providers thoroughly and as mentioned before, get to know whoever you are considering to be your cloud service provider.
As mentioned before, ideally if you can afford it would be in your best interest to own your own cloud and have it maintained by a local network administrator that you can meet in person and get to know.

Rogue Certificates:
Many whilelisting and application control systems depend on valid digital systems, which basically tell the systems, which basically tell the operating system, “You can trust me, because I am valid.” Using rogue or fake digital certificates that are in circulation, attackers and computer – network hackers can engage in almost undetectable attacks.

Mobile Devices in the Workplace:
A balancing act of convenience versus security, the growing use of personal mobile devices puts organizations at risk and leaves the company vulnerable to attacks. This is an especially sensitive area for companies that have yet to create and enforce a strong “Bring Your Own Devise” policy. Most have not.

Misuse (Malicious or Non malicious):
Misuse of entrusted organizational resources or privileges is exclusive to parties that are trusted by an organization, such as insiders and business partners. This also happens when policies are not clearly defined and enforced. Abuse flourishes when boundaries are not well established.

Physical Attacks:
Tampering, surveillance and a theft can be caused by a disgruntled former employee. Terminated employees who still have their security badges can easily gain access if the badge system was not updated upon termination.

Posted in Blogs, CLOUD Computing, Computer Viruses, Facebook, Malware, Security0 Comments

APPLE iTunes Phishing Email Alert

The subject of this particular apple phishing email reads “Account Info Change,” the phishing email appears to look like it comes from APPLE, but the email address shows it came from do not reply@itunes.comvia smtp.com,”. This means this email did not really come from apple and instead came from a fraudulent third party email service provider. (Real APPLE emails will show “id.apple.com” as the address. If you are unsure if the email you receive is real or bogus then it’s a good idea to call your network administrator of a qualified computer consultant to look at the email for you.

The fake emails look identical to real emails from APPLE which makes it dangerous for unsuspecting victims of fraud.

The bogus email informs email recipients that their Apple ID was “updated” and includes a link users can click on “to review and update their APPLE account security settings”. The fake link tricks users into believing the link goes to the real apple website but in fact the link takes users to a fake webpage that is cloned to look like the real apple web page.

The bogus APPLE page asks for users to log in with their APPLE ID and password, which of course ais sent to cyber criminals which then take your user name and password and access your real APPLE account and steal your credit card information along with your home or business address, your phone numbers and this quickly turns you into a victim of identity theft.

This kind of cyber crime is blooming up all over the internet and is very popular in Orlando Florida.

It is also important for APPLE users to understand that APPLE laptops, computers, iPhones and Ipads, which are thought to be safer and more secure then Microsoft computing platforms are not immune from online cyber crime and cyber attacks. A long list of new malware and computer viruses have recently emerged targeting and crippling APPLE computers – Macs. Rather than hoping your Apple product will be safe it is best for users to install commercial quality anti-virus software and better yet to use a high quality firewall designed to filter malware and computer viruses.

Of course, there is no substitute for knowledge and common sense. No antivirus software, firewall or other product can completely protect you from cyber crime like this. If you ever receive an unsolicited email like this, pick up the phone and call your network administrator and computer consultant and have him or her look at the email and whatever you do not click on any links in the email as this can open up a serious threat to your computer and your network. A good Managed Services Provider will proactively monitor your computer and network safety and will filter content so you do not have to worry about doing so but it is not always possible to detect and block these kinds of emails because of the never ending trends of technology and trickery.

Posted in APPLE, Computer Viruses, Computers, Email, Ipad, IPhone, Malware, News, Security0 Comments

FACEBOOK VIRUS EMAIL WARNING

I have noticed people are receiving emails that attempt to trick facebook users into believing their facebook accountant is subject to an internet attack by hackers. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS.
This is an attempt to get people to download and install a computer virus to their computers.
Instead we recommend you delete such emails and DO NOT OPEN ANY ATTACHMENTS from sources you do not trust EVER.

Here is an actual email we have seen which is NOT FROM the REAL FACEBOOK.
NOTE: We made the fake email in RED text so you can clearly identify it.

Dear user!

Your account on the site Facebook.com was subjected to attack by third parties
at 21:13 March 25, 2011.
We stopped trying password guessing, using bruteforce.
And strongly recommend that you use complex passwords consisting of random
characters. In no case do not pass on suspicious links, where you are required
to enter a password. Always use antivirus software to avoid becoming a victim
of fraud by entering the password in the fake software.
We strongly recommend that you upgrade your system’s security policy.
We have generated for you patch, which allows the maximum secure your stay
at the Facebook.com.
Be sure to use it, so we can immediately return your page in case of theft
of a password.

Each copy of the patch has its own unique identifier.
And this patch is applicable only to your account.
Once installed, it automatically deleted.
Thus it is not possible to attempt to steal personal settings on your patch.


Sincerely,
Customer Support Facebook.com

Posted in Computer Viruses, Facebook, News, Security0 Comments

AV7 Computer Virus

AV7 or Anti virus 7 is a misleading computer program that is designed to make you believe your computer is infected with Trojans, spy ware, adware, malware and other malicious software.
This program is a virus although there are a few people that will argue and say its not a computer virus and say it’s just a rogue.

Call it whatever you want to call it.
It causes serious damage to computers and there are more then hundreds of variations of this program all over the internet.

In short this is a nasty computer virus and is very difficult for get rid of once you are infected.
There are all kinds of removal instructions out on the internet and we learned it can be much more time consuming to figure out exactly which variation of this virus you have and there are hundreds or more different variations of this virus all over the internet and one set of removal instructions may or may not work. Additionally we learned that Symantec anti virus software does not recognize this malicious program as a computer virus and in fact the virus usually cripples the Symantec anti virus program. There are other companies out there that advertise they have the cure for this virus and from researching we found some of these companies are affiliated with websites that in fact host these computer viruses.

How do users get infected with this computer virus?
Very easily, when this virus is embedded in a website which by the way is no accident. The website visitor sees a pop up message on their internet browser window that displays a message that may say one of many things such as Warning! New virus detected or many other messages designed to make you believe your computer has a virus. Usually the computer user will click the download or yes to scan button on the website believing this is going to fix their problem when in fact the only problem is the website is attempting to trick the user into downloading the malicious program.

Here are two images of this computer virus displaying messages on a computer screen.
Notice how these images could mislead many people.

Image of one of the many random messages this virus can display

Antivirus7 image

What happens next is the program installs itself on the victim’s computer and displays all kinds of pop up messages. A few examples are shown below and there are hundreds if not more different variations of this computer virus so not every infection or message will be the same every time.
We have seen many variations of this computer virus and they all stem from the AV7 Virus which has also been modified many times by internet criminals or internet gangs.

If you believe you are infected with this  computer virus and do not know what to do.
Shut the computer off and call an Orlando computer consultant.

Completely removing this computer virus is not an easy task and in fact can lead into an all day project depending on the variation of the virus and the severity of the damage it may have caused.
There are some tools available that can remove this virus but again there is always that WHAT IF factor.
WHAT IF the tool does not completely remove the virus?
WHAT IF the tool says the virus is gone but it’s not?
There is always this chance and we feel its best to not take that chance with a client or a customer that demands the absolute best computer service in Orlando Florida.

The only true and safe way to know if the virus is gone is to backup your data and reinstall your operating system, software, drivers and start from scratch. Sure there may be websites out there that claim they have the special program to elevate these computer viruses but this is a security risk especially on a production computer network. What if the program you download does not completely get rid of the computer virus? What if the process of manually attempting to hunt down every single infected file, registry entree, dll files take all day or longer to do? What if you perform all this tedious work and the virus comes back?

We have learned the best way to stop this virus is to prevent it from infecting computer in the first place. We already know Symantec and other major anti virus software vendors have not been successful at preventing or stopping this virus from infecting computers.  There are two different ways we prevent this virus from affecting computers. One is we use a commercial content filter from barracuda networks on our network in addition to locking down computer user profiles so no programs can be installed on computer unless done so by our network administrator. This prevents the virus from entering the network through the internet and prevents users from accidentally installing this virus or any unwanted software on the managed computers.

Ok so what if you don’t have a competent computer consultant?
Ask around and spend some time on google and question whomever you are considering to help you.

Posted in Computer Repair, Computer Viruses, Computers, Malware0 Comments


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