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February 26th, 2010

bewareMicrosoft recently released a number of security bulletins and patches addressing vulnerabilities in Windows and Office that are of high risk to users. It’s widely believed that many will be exploited by hackers within the next 30 days. One of them could potentially allow hackers or malware authors to easily compromise systems by tricking users to download malicious AVI-formatted files. Others require nothing more than just visiting a website. Another specifically targets Powerpoint Viewer 2003, and opening a malicious .ppt file could affect your system.

This latest round of patches and vulnerability updates is really nothing new – although the sheer number made public in one day is notable. This highlights the need for a comprehensive security policy, because vulnerabilities do exist in even the most mundane or old versions of software. Customers under our Managed Services plan can rest easy since we monitor and update their computers as soon as these patches and advisories are released. Find out more about what we do to make your systems safe and secure. Contact us today.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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February 25th, 2010
Kneber Botnet

A malicious piece of software making the rounds of news websites this week is believed to be behind the compromise of over 75,000 systems in over 2,500 international organizations – many of which are government agencies and large Fortune 500 companies.

Called the Knebner botnet after the name in the email used to register the initial domain used in the campaign to propagate the malware, the software infects computers and captures user login access to online financial services such as Paypal and online banks, social networking websites such as Facebook, and email. Infected computers can be centrally controlled from a master computer, which presumably harvests the data captured for nefarious means.

The Knebner botnet itself is not new. It’s based on the ZeuS botnet, and has gained prominence lately because it’s slipped under the radar of so many organizations. However, there are ways to prevent compromises from botnets – one of which is to have a proactive security system and policy in place. Our Managed Security customers have this assurance in place since we continuously protect their system from botnets and other malware. If you’re not sure that you’re protected, talk to us today.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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February 18th, 2010

hackerIn a report by security firm Websense, an alarming rise in the growth of malicious websites was identified in 2009 as compared to 2008 – almost 225 percent. The study also found an increased focus among hackers and spammers on targeting social media sites such as blogs and wikis. Social media or so-called Web 2.0 sites allow user-generated content, which can be a source of vulnerability. Researchers identified that up to 95 percent of user-generated comments to blogs, chat rooms, and message boards are spam or malicious – linking to data stealing sites or to downloads of malicious software. Email also continues to be a target for malicious activity with tens of thousands of Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! email accounts hacked and passwords stolen and posted online in 2009, which resulted in a marked increase in the number of spam emails.

For our clients on our Managed Service plans, we work hard to ensure your systems are protected from harmful or malicious activity coming from the Internet. If you’re not under our Managed Service plans perhaps now is a good time to talk – let’s make sure your systems are safe in 2010.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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February 16th, 2010

firefoxMozilla, the organization behind the popular Firefox browser disclosed that two add-ons available for download on its website were vectors for Trojans that could compromise users’ computers. Add-ons allow users to extend and enhance the capabilities of Firefox beyond the default install. Normally they are scanned for malware before being uploaded onto Mozilla’s website, but apparently two of them managed to slip through Mozilla’s automated scans. The infected add-ons are Version 4.0 of Sothink Web Video Downloader and all versions of Master Filer.

Mozilla has since updated their scanning process, but as part of our ongoing security watch we are vigilant in continuously protecting our customers under our Managed Services program from malware – you can rest easy.

When managing your systems on your own, it’s highly advisable to be vigilant with security and always use antivirus software – even when downloading and using software from legitimate sources. If you have downloaded these Firefox add-ons, uninstalling them does not remove the trojans that they carry, and you’ll need to use antivirus software to remove any malware on their system. Need more information or help? Call us and we will be glad to assist you.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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February 3rd, 2010

passwordSecurity firm Imperva recently released a warning to users of popular social networking website RockYou indicating that their accounts and passwords may have been compromised. According to the firm, a hacker may have accessed an alarming 32 million accounts. But what is more interesting in the wake of this news is an analysis made of the accounts and passwords stolen. From the data provided to researchers, it seems that a great number of users still use insecure passwords, such as those with six or less characters (30% of users); those confined to alpha-numeric characters (60%); or passwords including names, slang words, dictionary words, or trivial passwords such as consecutive digits, adjacent keyboard keys (50%). The most popular password? 123456. Are you using an insecure password? Let us guide you through best practices for information security. Contact us today.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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January 31st, 2010

chineseEarly January, Google released a report detailing attacks on its infrastructure which it claimed to have originated from China. In the wake of its announcement, another report came out detailing what is purported to be an “organized espionage operation” originating from China. Known as “Operation Aurora”, the attack attempted to siphon information from 33 companies in the US, including Google. The attackers are believed to have exploited a vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE). The vulnerability affect IE 6 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, and IE 6, IE 7, and IE 8 on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. In the wake of the attacks Microsoft released a patch to address the vulnerability. If you are unsure if this patch has been applied to your systems, contact us for help.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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January 28th, 2010

realplayerRealNetworks, developers of RealPlayer, a popular real-time streaming media player, recently released an advisory about vulnerabilities that when exploited could trigger remote code execution attacks. The firm reports at least 11 critical vulnerabilities that expose Windows, Mac, and Linux users to malicious hacker attacks. RealPlayer is a favorite target for malware and fraudware writers, and users are advised to download the latest software update. If you don’t use RealPlayer, you’re best advised to uninstall it immediately. Need help in making sure your applications are safe to use? Contact us today.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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January 23rd, 2010

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR QuickBooks Customers: Intuit is receiving reports of individuals receiving fraudulent emails from QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online. The two separate emails ask customers to either download a plug in to assess their security or download a Digital Certificate. Customers should delete either of these emails. As we discover these fraudulent sites (cyber criminals often use the same email repeatedly, although they change web sites), we take them down.

More at the Intuit website

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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November 25th, 2009

securityNew research from the Ponemom Institute and Lumension, shows that a majority of firms are struggling to secure data as users quickly adopt new and emerging technologies such as mobile, cloud computing, and collaborative Web 2.0 technologies. The study, which surveyed IT security and IT operations practitioners, shows that many (44 percent) feel that their IT network is less secure than a year ago or that their IT security policies are insufficient in addressing the growing threats arising from the use of new technologies. Budgets are also a limiting factor, with many feeling that IT security budgets still aren’t what they need to be to fully support business objectives and security priorities. Other findings from the report:

  • 56% said mobile devices are not secure, representing a risk to data security
  • 49% said data security is not a strategic initiative for their company
  • 48% said their companies have allocated insufficient resources to achieve effective data security and regulatory compliance
  • 47% cited a lack of strong CEO support for information security efforts as a reason for ineffective data security programs
  • 41% said there was a lack of proactive security risk management in their organization

Just as large companies worldwide struggle to keep up with security, many small businesses do so even more. If you need help understanding the security implications that new technologies bring to your organization, contact us so we can help.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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November 18th, 2009

cyber-crimeIf you are using an automated clearing house (ACH) system to manage your funds, then you had better be extra careful.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned ACH users – particularly small businesses – to be on the lookout for ACH system fraud, which has already scammed as much as $100 million from unsuspecting victims.

The FBI is working with the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA) to determine a solution for the problem and to catch the criminals behind these multi-million dollar scams.

All it takes is a seemingly harmless email to an organization’s bookkeeper or accountant to give hackers access to all their accounts. In a technique called “phishing”, these criminals send electronic correspondence laced with attachments disguised as documents or genuine applications (like an update for Windows, for example), or links to supposedly legitimate websites. Once a recipient clicks on these links or installs the software, the hacker installs a keylogging program in their system, giving them access to passwords and other sensitive account information.

The siphoning off of funds happens fairly quickly. Some hackers set up ACH transfers to unaware third party groups that typically do payroll processing tasks for international companies, which in turn transfer the money overseas. Others create fake names on a payroll system which automatically siphons off money into preset accounts enrolled in a similar system.

According to the FBI, the usual victims are small businesses because of their tendency to work with smaller, less secure banks. It’s the FBI’s conclusion, indicated in a report by their Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), that smaller banks lack the proper security measures, which gives hackers the capacity to abuse the ACH system.

“In several cases banks did not have proper firewalls installed, nor anti-virus software on their servers or their desktop computers. The lack of defense-in-depth at the smaller institution/service provider level has created a threat to the ACH system,” the IC3 report reads.

More details about this story can be found here.

(http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9140308/FBI_warns_of_100M_cyber_threat_to_small_business?taxonomyId=17&pageNumber=1)

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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