Another good example of how the Blackhats are steps ahead of the Whitehats, looks like we might start to see another huge increase in fake av and other similar malware. The TDL-4 botnet is quite advanced using boot sector to launch its self before the OS to keep its self hidden from av and malware detections and also allows it to re download malware on to the computer over and over again.
Now you might be asking how you can stay protected against such attacks, well first of all change your browsing habits. I’ve found that when I say “change your browsing habits” many people have no idea what I’m talking about. This is an unfortunate truth in our world, and by writing this post that I can help to educate some of you. The internet is full of viruses, trojans, malware, and spyware. Whether you are using a Mac or PC, updating your operating system is very important. Updates are released on a regular basis to help protect your computer and to keep it running smoothly.
Update your Web Browser
Your web browser is your gateway to the internet and is often times the entry point for computer viruses. It is therefore important that you frequently check for updates to your browser.
Internet Explorer – Updates are includes as part of your Windows updates
Mozilla Firefox –
Go to http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/upgrade.html
Download the latest version and run the installer. This will not delete any bookmarks or personal settings
Safari – Safari updates are included with Mac OS X updates.
General Browsing Habits
- Always check the address bar at the top of the screen to ensure you’re at the official website, and not a carbon copy of the website you think you’re at, hosted at a different address.
- Never click on pop-ups
- Always look for the little yellow padlock and the letters “https” rather than “http” when signing into an online account or making online purchases. This means that information you provide, such as your name, address, and credit card information, is being encrypted on it’s way to the web server that hosts the website you’re buying from. This is important because this information crosses many public devices before reaching its destination, and a man in the middle can access this data if it’s not encrypted.
- Avoid shady sites which promise offers too good to be true such as: free electronics, free software that you normally have to pay for, pirated software, nude celebrities, and the list goes on.
- Install Anti-Virus software. I prefer Avira, alongside malwarebytes anti-malware pro but there are other providers out there as well. It’s up to you to get the lowdown on each and make an informed decision as to which product to use.
- Always keep in mind that your Anti-Virus software is not a get out of jail free card to do whatever you like on the Internet and not get a virus. If you do not practice the safe browsing habits listed here, along with some good ole’ fashion common sense, in conjunction with your AV software, then you may do something which circumvents your AV software’s protection (such as downloading and installing a virus yourself).
- Don’t open e-mails from people you don’t know.
- Don’t open e-mail attachments from people you don’t know.
- Avoid using your e-mail address for random registrations. It is highly advisable to create a throwaway e-mail for programs/sites that require registration. View these Google search results for some Disposable Email services (Note: some sites disallow use of these accounts)
- Beware of e-mail attachments from people you do know. If the e-mail said nothing about an attachment or you weren’t expecting one, get in touch with the person through some medium other than e-mail and find out what’s in the attachment, and make sure they sent it.
- Never respond to Spam e-mails. If you don’t want to part with thousands of dollars of your own money, then trash those generic e-mails from random foreign guys, who needs an American citizen to set him up a bank account for whatever contrived reason, and will split the millions he makes by doing this with you, but somewhere along the line needs you to wire him a large cash sum. You’re not investing in your future; you’re giving your money to a con artist.
Social Networking Habits
- Be careful who you add as a friend to your social networking account. Day in and day out you probably post personal information such as names of people you know, where you work, where you’re currently at, what you’re doing, phone numbers, addresses, where you go to school, where you work, etc. This information can be used against you in many different ways.
- Keep a close eye on what applications you add. There are many applications on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc which enhance our social networking experience. What we often don’t consider is what kind of privileges we’re bestowing to the people who wrote the software. Just as programs you install on your computer can do malicious things, apps you add to your profile can do malicious things as well, or in the very least unexpected things.
- Watch out for strange messages from your friends which are full of bad spelling and grammar, and contain links to external pages There are worms and other malware, a prime example being the Koobface worm, which spread fake messages asking you to check out a video in a link, or some other action. The link actually leads to an attack site where a script will try to install malware on your computer.