Data gathered by Microsoft’s antimalware products has identified a list of common infected PDF files and they are listed on the Microsoft MSDN blog. Here they are:
Thanks to techchunks.com for lightening my otherwise stressful day. What would you do if you saw this?
Height of security! This error message was generated when Windows 2000 users logged into an MIT Kerberos realm and got a shock of their lives on attempting to change their password. They were given a seemingly impossible task of setting a password with 18,770 characters that was different from the last 30,689 passwords. Thankfully, this uncommon error was fixed with the release of SP3 for Windows 2000.
I guess the goofiness runs in cycles or waves. Variations of this hard-drive-burning-most-destructive-virus-that-ever-existed hoax have been floating around in email since email went public. Makes me want to tear my hair out. This one was recently seen floating around on Facebook:
!!!!!!!!!! RED ALERT for YOUR COMPUTER
Please circulate this notice to your friends, family and contacts!
In the coming days, warning: do not open any message containing an attachment called Archive (Windows live) regardless of who sends you. This is a virus that burns the entire hard disk. This virus comes from a known person you have in your mailing list, which is why you should send this message to all your contacts. If you receive a message called "UPDATING WINDOWS LIVE", even if is sent by a friend, do not open it and stop immediately. This is the worst virus announced by CNN. It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus that ever existed. The virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee, and there is no chance of repair for this type of virus. Simply destroys Sector Zero of the hard disk. Just copy and paste..
C’mon, people! A simple check of snopes.com would reveal any such virus hoax.
A study by Ofcom, the UK communications watchdog…, “Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2013″, [comprising] a poll of 1805 adults aged 16 and over discovered that 55% of them used the same password for most – if not all! – websites.
Unbelievable! Will they ever learn? It’s precisely this kind of thing that gives us Network Administrators nightmares, especially when these same people are given access to resources on our networks. Don’t they realize that if one site gets compromised, the hackers have access to all of them?
This is compounded by the types of passwords people tend use, i.e., easy-to-remember passwords such as birthdays, pet names, etc. The study found that 26% of the people polled do this.
If you are one of these people, or if you know someone who is, please see to it that the passwords get fixed as soon as possible.
Are you one of those people who leave their computers logged into everything all the time? If not, then good for you, but I bet you know someone who does. It’s a bad idea. Even if you run with a limited user account, you’re at risk. An XKCD cartoon does a fine job of illustrating.
Log out of those sites and shut down your PC or laptop.
In one of his famous “propeller head” episodes, Steve Gibson of Security Now! podcast fame describes an algorithm that thwarts even the most powerful super computers’ attempts at cracking passwords. Episode 388 [MP3] in January, 2013 describes an ingenious method of requiring huge amounts of memory for each hash function iteration, effectively crippling even the best tools that cyber-criminals can deploy.
Despicable, but it’s always inevitable in the wake of any human tragedy. Cyberslugs (I won’t elevate them to cybercriminal status, though they are certainly criminals) are using the Boston Marathon bombing to spread malware. Spam emails claim to contain a link to video of the bombing. The links vary but take you to a website that attempts to infect your computer with a Trojan horse. The videos are, in fact, real YouTube videos that disguise the malicious activity.
In the wake of what is reported to be the largest DDoS attack ever–actually a DNS amplification attack–I received a message on behalf of one of my clients that indicated his server has been shut down because of an outbound DoS attack originating from it. How it got infected, and with what, I don’t know, but something is surely amiss. I wonder if his server could be part of that massive attack. Here’s a redacted excerpt from the notice I received:
Your <redacted> Server was found to be part of a network of compromised machines
leading a Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack (DDoS Attack) against other servers.
IMPORTANT: In order to prevent further criminal activity from your <redacted> Server,
we have suspended access pending an investigation and resolution.
The logs they sent me show UDP packets indicating that this could be part of a DNS amplification attack. Take a look:
Please see the firewall logs below for details:
1365103763.526228 IP xxx.xxx.111.16.44223 > xxx.xxx.149.195.80: UDP, length 1
1365103763.526232 IP xxx.xxx.111.16.44223 > xxx.xxx.149.195.80: UDP, length 1
1365103763.526234 IP xxx.xxx.111.16.44223 > xxx.xxx.149.195.80: UDP, length 1
1365103763.526236 IP xxx.xxx.111.16.44223 > xxx.xxx.149.195.80: UDP, length 1
That’s all I know for now. I have to contact the provider, open a window of time to gain access, and secure the server. I’ll keep you posted.
I know I probably don’t have to mention this, but beware of scammers targeting the Easter holiday. Same tricks, different holiday. (I know this is a bit late in coming since it’s already late on Easter Sunday, but it’s just as valid for next year.) Some examples:
Emails with the subject “Happy Easter.” Make sure they are actually from someone you know and don’t click any links or open any attachments until you have verified that the send is who they say they are.
Fake ads for animals such as bunny rabbits and ducklings. Buy them live from a local dealer. Don’t have them shipped.
Solicitations by “charities” using the Easter holiday as the motivator. One such scam I have seen tugs your heartstrings by showing hungry children and tying it to Easter’s resurrection theme. Don’t fall for it.
Cheap “clearance” sales of Easter candy. Some of it has been known to be five years old and rancid. It could make you or your children sick.
Cheap Easter toys and baubles that come from countries that still use lead-based paints.
And, for those of you who celebrate the holiday, Happy Easter!
Ken "The Geek" Harthun takes the mystery out of computer security. You’ll find valuable advice, tips, and news on how to keep your PCs, network, and data safe from attack by crackers and cybercriminals.