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DNSChanger Malware

DNSChanger MalwareCould your computer or networking equipment be one of more than 10,000 that are still affected by the “DNSChanger” malware from last year?

Over 10,000 users in Australia and New Zealand could potentially be infected and be left with no access to the Internet after 9th July 2012.

Initially these dodgy DNS servers were going to be shut-off on 8th March, but that deadline has since been extended to 9th July 2012.

After this date, if your computer or network equipment is infected you may not be able to access the Internet.

How to check if your computer is affected by DNSChanger malware

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) recently launched a very simple website that enables you to check if the computer you’re using is relying on the DNSChanger DNS servers.

You can visit the site at: http://dns-ok.gov.au

So what happens when your computer is configured to use a malicious or untrusted DNS server?

Well for example, you might type “www.google.com.au” into your web browser and instead of connecting to Google, your computer could connect to somewhere completely different – or to a computer pretending to be Google!

As you now may appreciate, it is a very effective means of attack and the ramifications of this type of attack can be very serious.

Internet banking sites and other previously trusted websites could be faked, right down to the address in the browser address bar.

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Are Hackers Using Your Webcam to Watch You?

webcam-hacking

 

 

Here is an interesting article about how a hacker can take control of your PC or Laptop web-cam. 

 

 

By Kim Boatman

Steven Fox, an IT security expert, was chatting with friends on his webcam one night when he started receiving some strange emails. Imagine his surprise when he opened one and found images of himself chatting.

His webcam had been hacked by a “script kiddie,” a person who uses malware written by someone else to show off their skills at accessing other computer systems, says Fox. He quickly detached the webcam, but he had to reinstall his operating system after he found malware installed on his computer. “It was painful, but it was a learning experience,” says Fox, who writes a column for the journal of the Information Systems Security Association.

The Risks of Web-cams
Webcams may let you stay in touch with friends and family, but they also pose risks of people hacking into them and spying on you. A Pennsylvania lawsuit accused a school district of using webcams on school-issued laptops to spy on students and their families. And in 2009 in China, a sophisticated network of hackers known as GhostNet cracked 1,295 webcams in 103 countries.

Since most laptops now come with a built-in webcam, it’s critical to understand the risks, says Richard Stiennon, a malware expert with IT-Harvest, a research firm that specializes in Internet security. “We all have to become aware that our every action could be watched,” says Stiennon.

How Hackers Attack Web-cams
Most hackers utilize so-called Trojan horse attacks, says Stiennon. You click on an attachment or download a piece of music or video infected with malware, and a hacker is able to remotely control your PC’s functions.

Fortunately, you can take steps to secure your webcam. Experts offer these do’s and dont’s:

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  • Don’t click on suspicious attachments. You’ve heard it before, but too often we click without thinking. Email attachments remain a prime source for malware. Be wary of those supposedly funny emails forwarded by friends and family. You should also avoid suspicious sites offering free downloads of music, TV shows or videos.
  • Do use a firewall. “Firewalls provide a measure of protection against unwanted traffic,” explains Fox. Your computer comes with a firewall, but you need to make sure it’s turned on. If you use a Windows operating system, click on the Windows symbol in the lower-left corner of your screen, search for Windows Firewall, and you’ll be able to check the firewall settings. If you use a Mac OS, open System Preferences, click on the Sharing icon, select the Firewall tab and click Start.
  • Do use strong antivirus software. Install a security suite that offers malware and spyware protection, then make sure you keep the protection up-to-date.
  • Don’t keep PCs with web-cams in bedrooms. Limit webcam use to high-traffic areas, and remind family members not to do anything in front of a webcam they wouldn’t want the world to see.
  • Do secure your wireless connection. Make sure your wireless connection is protected with a unique password (not the default one that came with the router).
  • Don’t talk to strangers. Avoid IM conversations with people you don’t know, and advise your kids to do the same.
  • Do be cautious about accepting tech help. Would-be hackers have been known to ingratiate themselves with acquaintances by offering computer help. But that gives them the chance to rig web-cams so they can spy on the computer user.
  • Do look for the indicator light. On external web-cams, you’ll usually see a red light indicating the camera is on. Laptops with internal webcams usually have an LED indicator too. If you use an external webcam, simply detach it from the USB port when it’s not in use.

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In the end, your best bet is to use a decidedly low-tech solution, say the experts. “The ultimate security control is to cover the lens,’’ says Fox. If your webcam doesn’t come with a lens cover, use an adhesive bandage or even a yellow sticky note to cover it up. (Just make sure nothing sticky is touching the lens itself, so you don’t damage it.) “It sounds silly, but it gives you positive feedback that no one is spying on you,” says Stiennon.

Kim Boatman is a Silicon Valley, Calif., journalist who writes about security and technology. She spent more than 15 years writing about a variety of topics for the San Jose Mercury News.

Article Source: yoursecurityresource.com

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Internet Crime and Taxes are two of life’s certainties

cybercrime-freakingnewscom[1]

 

 

 

AVG (AU/NZ) reminds consumers and small businesses to be alert to the latest online scams and phishing attacks targeting this tax return season.

 

 

 

MELBOURNE, 13 June 2012 — Ahead of this year’s tax return season, AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, distributor of AVG Technologies’ award-winning AVG Internet and mobile security software in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, alerts consumers and small businesses to the latest attempts by cyber criminals to gain access to lucrative identity and financial information. With upwards of 2.5 million individuals using the Australian Tax Office’s e-Tax electronic tax return service, cyber criminals have a huge, potentially receptive audience for their activities. Security Advisor at AVG (AU/NZ), Michael McKinnon, said: “Internet crime and taxes are now two of life’s certainties. Cyber criminals are starting to release this year’s crop of end of financial year scams to trick taxpayers into revealing highly valuable personal and financial information. As younger members of the community join the workforce and others shift from paper-based to online tax return processes, there is always a new audience for inventive tax season scams.” There’s a certain inevitability about June 30: it will bring new ways to scam the unwary and new phishing frauds asking for your credit card details including: [unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • Offers of government grants needing to make payments prior to the end of the financial year.
  • Prompts for baby bonus applications.
  • Assistance to find lost superannuation funds.
  • Notification that your company tax rate has changed.

[/unordered_list] The Government’s SCAMWatch website is currently alerting Australians to be aware of Carbon Price scams seeking your personal banking details to pay carbon tax compensation into your bank account or offering to sell you fake carbon credits. Many of us now communicate directly with tax advisors via email so other tricks include sending phishing emails that ask you to open what appear to be legitimate attachments to fill out personal details. The simple act of clicking on that attachment could redirect you to a malicious website, or deliver to your computer an infection that could launch an attack on your accounts and extract financial details. McKinnon said: “When you consider all the information included in your return – your tax file number, details of investments, retirement accounts, employment, the property you own – in the hands of cyber criminals, your identity and more could be at risk. And if you see an offer that looks too good to be true – avoid it. Any offer of an online refund will absolutely be a scam because that’s not how the ATO or any other Australian government agency operates.” Some top tips to help you safely file your tax return this year:[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • Use the end of financial year to review your personal or business online security systems to ensure your protection is fully and automatically up to date – on all computers, phones, other mobile technologies, plus USB and other memory devices from which you will gather, store and send your financial information.
  • Do your homework by reviewing the ATO and SCAMWatch online security pages.
  • In communicating with your tax advisor, consider creating a password protected Zip file of your financial data.
  • Always open your e-Tax filing directly from the ATO’s site (www.ato.gov.au); never click through to the site from an email invitation. The filing of tax returns directly via the ATO’s e-Tax service is secure.
  • Always use a trusted WiFi or Ethernet connection from your home or office to file your tax return – never use a public WiFi without a firewall in place and Internet security installed.
  • Be cautious of anything that you haven’t directly requested and only respond to those communications you’ve initiated.
  • Delete all related emails from your server once you’ve filed your return.
  • While the ATO uses emails and SMS for service alerts, it will never request the confirmation, update or disclosure of confidential personal details. If you receive suspect communication from ‘the ATO’ or any other ‘government department’, do not click on any links in an email or answer phone questions. Report it immediately to the ATO.

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Tax Time Cyber Crime Assistance[unordered_list style=”tick”]

  • Examples of current Tax Refund scams: http://www.ato.gov.au/onlinesecurity
  • e-Tax Essentials from the ATO site: http://www.ato.gov.au/etax
  • The Australian Government’s cybersecurity website, Stay Smart Online, provides information for Australian Internet users on the simple steps they can take to protect their personal and financial information online.
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s SCAMWatch provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.

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Original Article http://www.avg.com.au/news/tax-scams/

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Apple removes “more secure than Windows” claims

Screen-Shot-2012-08-24-at-3.13.59-PM[1]by Kevin McLaughlin

Apple recently changed the wording in the “Why You’ll Love A Mac” section of its website, removing longstanding claims about Macs being more secure than Windows PCs.

For years, Apple’s marketing has centered on the notion that Mac users are immune to the malware that routinely causes headaches for PC users.

Here is how Apple used to phrase this: “A Mac isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers. That’s thanks to built-in defenses in Mac OS X that keep you safe, without any work on your part.”

But sometime in the past few days, Apple changed this message to read: “Built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac.”

Apple also changed its description of OS X from “It doesn’t get PC viruses” to “It’s built to be safe”.

The original Apple web page, dated June 9 on Google cache, can be seen here.

The removal of Windows comparisons could signal a change in Apple’s security marketing strategy. Apple’s devilishly effective “Get a Mac” marketing campaign focused on the superior security of Macs over Windows PCs, and while researchers have warned that Macs are not inherently more secure, many Mac users still operate under that assumption.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the website changes. But security experts suspect that the increasing attention the company is getting from malware authors did play a role in its decision to remove references to Windows.

“Apple does not want to lose its image as a secure platform,” Andrew Plato, president of Anitian Enterprise Security, said in an interview. “A lot of people still see their Mac as fundamentally more secure than Windows. Flashback proved that Macs are just as vulnerable.”

Macs get more attention from attackers

As more iOS devices make their way into businesses through the bring-your-own-device phenomenon, Mac adoption in businesses is also rising, creating a more inviting target for attackers, according to Andrew Brust, CEO of Microsoft analyst firm Blue Badge Insights.

“Macs can’t keep that low profile anymore, and the bullies are starting to target it, with increasing frequency,” Brust said.

Apple has kept security under the same cloak of secrecy as the rest of its operations, but there are signs that may be changing. Next month, Apple is slated to take part in the Black Hat security conference for the first time. Dallas De Atley, manager of the platform security team, will give a talk there on key security technologies in iOS.

On Monday at the opening of its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple offered insight into the security improvements in OS X Mountain Lion, which is slated for release in July. The big new feature is Gatekeeper, a security mechanism that allows OS X developers to digitally sign their apps, thereby preventing users from accidentally installing malicious software.

Article Source: This article originally appeared at crn.com

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Tips For Avoiding Social Networking Disasters

If you are a business owner thinking about engaging in social networking as a tool for your business, take the time to read the following article from the North American Press Syndicate. 

Tips For Avoiding Social Networking Disasters

North American Press Syndicate

“Small businesses need effective, low-cost marketing strategies, and tools like Facebook and Twitter deliver megahits for microbudgets. Yet while many business owners are being advised to engage customers via social media, not all are informed of the risks.

Social network sites are fertile waters for Internet pirates who troll for unsuspecting victims, hoping to steal data by planting malware in the form of computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware.

If you are a small-business owner, work for one or hope to become one, these tips can help keep your business data secure:”

 

Avoid Social Networking Disasters

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How Can You Find Out If Someone Is Hacking Your Computer?

Computer-Hacker

 

Here is an interesting article about what signs to look for to determine whether you may be infected with viruses/malware that allow a hacker to take control of your PC. 

 

 

 

How Can You Find Out If Someone Is Hacking Your Computer?

by Gaurav Srivastava

Many of you become innocent victims of hackers who break in your computers and steal all they can from the credit card details, bank information, emails, passwords, to professional documents among other critical things. You cannot really avoid hackers, their viruses and malware software when you are online but yes you can certainly avoid being a victim. This free virus removal support guide discusses how you can find out if someone is hacking your computer.

Step 1

When you reboot your computer, it reboots twice instead of once. It happens because the hacker has to boot his server in order to keep accessing your Windows or Mac computer. Thus, your computer quickly reboots after you reboot it and the startup screen appears twice. Another symptom of being hacked or virus-infected is when your computer reboots or shuts down on its own time and again. It means it doesn’t seek for your mouse or keyboard prompts to be shut down or restarted. When you attempt to access a program on your computer, you are not able to do it. You cannot access Task Manager, the Start menu or anything on your computer.

Step 2

When you open your web browser, some other website loads up but not your regular home page. When you search for something in your search engine, you are being redirected to websites that you have never browsed or even heard of. These can be adult or malicious websites prompting you to download adult materials or fake virus removal tools. If your web browser has a new toolbar, add-in, or plug-in that you did not install, it indicates that your browser and computer has been hacked. You do not see your usually plug-ins, add-ins, or toolbars when the browser is hacked. Besides, if your internet speed is really slow, it indicates your computer has a virus.

Step 3

If your CD- or DVD-ROM drive opens up without your action. Your computer has missing icons like Network Places, antivirus, or Outlook etc. However, you see new programs like virus removal tool (that you didn’t even download), music file etc. showing up on your desktop. If you see that your computer clock shows a different date & time, time zone settings, and daylight savings etc. (unless you have changed them), it has a stubborn, dangerous malware.

Step 4

If you have a firewall program like ZoneAlarm installed on your computer, it can tell you if someone has tried hacking it. Open ZoneAlarm or the firewall program you have and check if it has logged any malicious program entry that was attempting a server setup on your computer. If your firewall or antivirus program takes forever to scan your computer, it indicates that it has been compromised. If your antivirus icon is missing from your computer and it does not even open once you have found it, it has a virus that has disabled it to prevent itself from being removed.

Step 5

If you run a virus scan from your antivirus software, it shows multiple infected files and programs that you never even downloaded to your computer. All of a sudden you have multiple files with weird names like mslove.exe, abcd1234.exe, or giaehi45.jpg etc. in your computer. all of a sudden your computer starts taking forever to open a small program like Run or Command Prompt etc. The CPU usage shows 100% (maximum) for a small process like explorer.exe.

Step 6

When your friends tell you about the new links or posts you have shared (that you have never actually shared) on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile. When your friends or relatives receive bogus emails containing adult or objectionable materials, link etc. from your email address. When your credit card or online banking does not accept your password despite that you have it correctly and have not changed it in the recent past.

The Author of this article is associated with V tech-squad Inc, V tech-squad Inc. is a cloud based technical support provider to consumers and small businesses. if you have any problem while performing the above steps and need technical assistance for online virus removal, You can reach V tech-squad online technical support at their Toll Free No +1-877-452-9201.

About V tech-squad Inc.

V tech-squad Inc. is a cloud based online technical support provider to consumers and small businesses. V tech-squad provides support to users for issues with their PCs, Mac’s, Tablets, Phones such as iPhone and Blackberry and devices such as MP3 players, Printers, Scanners, Fax, Wireless networking gear, Netflix, Roku boxes and TVs. With an obsessive focus on quality and building technical expertise, V tech-squad continues to maintain an issue resolution rate of more than 90%. V tech-squad’s credibility has been tested by more than 10,000 customers. Currently V tech-squad provides support services to consumers and small businesses in United States. For more information on V tech-squad, Inc. visit vtechsquad.com.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com