News Posts matching "PC Security"

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New DRM for Blu-Ray Fails; Backfires

In another move against pirates worldwide, Sony unveiled and attempted to adopt "BD+", a type of virtual-machine encryption that allows a Blu-ray disk to determine if the player is hacked. Unfortunately, the earliest adoptions of BD+ show abysmal results. Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer and The Day After Tomorrow are the first two movies to feature BD+ encryption, and neither of them will play on Samsung's BDP-1200 and LG's BH100. While both companies promise to release firmware upgrades within the coming weeks, there is a bigger problem: disks with BD+ loaded on them take up to two minutes longer to load than their encryption-free brethren. And even when the disk does play, there's a good chance that it will either crash or stutter during playback.Source: Reg Hardware

UK Computers Have Least Active Malware

Anti-virus firm Panda Software recently conducted a survey among people who visited their site asking for a free virus scan, to determine who had the most malware and where. The United Kingdom came through with top colors, with only 8.1% having malware on their computers. France had the proud honor of owning 28.2% of the world's malware, followed by Mexico at 23.1%, Brazil, the United States of America at 17.8%, and Argentina at 17.4%.

Please keep in mind that these numbers are taken from a survey of people asking Panda to scan their computer for malware, meaning that there is a very good chance that malware is already installed. A more realistic number of how many PC's are really infected with Malware was taken by Microsoft, which found that approximately 1 in 300 computers with Windows installed have Malware.Source: PCWorld

Symantec Sends False Warning of 'Full-Scale Internet Meltdown'

Any of Symantec's corporate customers got quite the scare on Friday night, when Symantec's automatic security servers sent warning of a level 4 alert. Symantec uses a 1-4 scale for threats, 1 for minor inconvenience, 4 for what Neowin calls a "full-scale internet meltdown". Symantec has rarely issued even a level 3, and has never issued a level 4 alert. However, the careful reader would have seen this line of text at the bottom of the E-mail, buried in a sea of hyperlinks.
Summary: threatcon test threatkhanh otrs
Soon afterwords, Symantec released an official statement, saying that the level 4 alert was merely a test.Source: Neowin

Microsoft Sued Over WGA Privacy Issues

Most people would think that Microsoft has had enough trouble with WGA in the past. It seems to not even phase pirating, and recently locked legitimate users out of Windows temporarily. However, a student at Beijing University in China wants to add "spies on legitimate users" to that list. He installed WGA on his XP SP2 computer, and according to some, he did this without knowing what exactly what WGA did. The student's lawsuit focuses on the idea that Microsoft's anti-piracy measure is a violation of privacy. Microsoft stands firm in their claim that WGA is non-invasive, and only checks on core parts of the operating system.Source: Neowin

Microsoft Auto-Updates Components of Windows Without User Permission

The average Windows XP or Vista user has Windows Update turned on, so that they will ideally be more secure. However, quite a few businesses elect not to have automatic updates, as the version that they are running is stable, and moving to a new version might cause instability in a mission critical environment. Lately, however, Microsoft has been thinking that they know better than their users. Regardless of whether or not a user has automatic updates turned off, Windows XP and Vista automatically update roughly nine files in Windows Update. While it is not a big deal for people that don't mind having the most up-to-date version of Windows, this is a very large breach of security, privacy, and possible stability for anyone who elected to turn Windows Update off.Source: Windows Secrets

Pfizer's Computers Infected by Viruses, Used to Spam-Advertise Their Products

Drug company Pfizer, known for making such famous drugs as Viagra, owns several computers that people claim have been "zombified". Security firms everywhere are warning Pfizer that an unknown amount of their computers are slinging spam to internet users far and wide. The spam itself is nothing spectacular; it's just the usual assortment of penile extensions, fake watches, and Nigerian scandals. Rick Wesson, CEO of Support Intelligence, claims that this has been going on for at least six months. His company, an anti-virus and security firm, collected 600 spam emails to prove it. Support Intelligence estimates that 138 Pfizer IP addresses have been blacklisted by various spam-fighting groups. Despite several warnings from anti-virus companies, Pfizer seems to have done nothing to stop the flow of spam.Source: The Inquirer

Germany Wants to Sneak Spyware on Terror Suspects' Computers

In the fight against terror, Germany is trying to gain the upper hand by spying on potential terrorists. They can already tap phone lines and use most forms of electronic surveillance. However, the German government wants to go even further by watching all internet activity on a suspect's computer. While a direct installation was recently prohibited by German courts, a "sneak attack" has not yet been forbidden. German officials are proposing a bill that would allow police agencies to send E-mails loaded with trojan horses, in an attempt to bug a suspect's computer. If a terror suspect was foolish enough to download attachments from the "Finance Ministry" or "Youth Services Office", a government official could read the contents of his hard drive or spy on his internet activities at any time. However, this idea is under much scrutiny. The likeliness that such a practice would become legal is very unlikely. And even if it did become legal, most terror suspects are smart enough not to install simple virus protection, and are probably running Mac OS X/Linux anyways to avoid such a problem.Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft Blames Recent WGA Problem on Human Error

A few days ago, we reported that Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage validation and anti-piracy program glitched, and flagged legitimate users as pirates. Microsoft fixed the problem as quickly as possible, and now has a full explanation of exactly what happened. When employees tried upgrading the servers, they all started declining validation requests, hence, locking legitimate users out of Windows. Fortunately, once Microsoft caught the problem, they were able to roll the servers back to the previous version of the server software within 30 minutes. To prevent such a disaster from happening again, Microsoft will be adding checkpoints to the validation servers, and will ensure customers are auto-validated if the servers are ever down.Source: The Inquirer

WGA Bug Flags Legitimate Users as Pirates; Locks Them Out of Vista

One of the major changes between the Windows Genuine Advantage software found in Windows XP and the version found in Windows Vista is the Vista's version's ability to "phone home". Unfortunately, this caused a disaster when a bunch of copies which did "phone home" recently phoned a faulty server. And so, what did hundreds, perhaps thousands, of legitimate Vista copies do? Flag themselves as pirated, and dip into "reduced functionality mode". Most of the victims were none too pleased at this. A common feeling of most of the users:
This is inexcusable, I am not a software pirate, I paid good money for both my copies of Vista, and due to poorly implemented anti-piracy measures, I am prevented from using my own PC!
Source: Neoseeker

Teenager Cracks Australia's $70 Million (USD) Porn Filter in 30 Minutes

In an attempt to keep Australian minors from being jaded by the massive volume of X-rated material on the internet, Australia recently invested $70 million USD into a download-able porn filter. Unfortunately, it seems that this investment might have been a poor one. When deployed in a real-world scenario (like, say, a high school), teenagers were able to bypass the filter with relative ease, and were streaming steamy pornographic material in roughly 30 minutes.Source: Neoseeker

2K Games Responds to BioShock SecuROM/PC Activation Controversy

We have been reading and listening to your frustrations over SecuROM, PC activation problems, and technical support issues since BioShock launched on Tuesday, and we've devised a plan to help.

Starting immediately, we will be upping the activation count to a 5 by 5 plan. We will be raising the maximum amount of computers a user can have BioShock installed on simultaneously from 2 to 5, and allowing a user to reinstall BioShock on each of those computers from 3 times to 5 times. Also, we have in the works a revoke tool which you will be able to run on your machine if you want to free up that key and move it to to another computer (this works very much like Steam or iTunes system). We are also working with SecuROM and 2K customer service, so that when you do need to call in support problems, you get answers to your questions faster, without much waiting or being bounced around. SecuROM has been given much more autonomy to help fix your problems quickly and effectively. I am personally sorry for anyone who got bounced around in the past couple days (I even think I contributed to this problem) and we're going to make sure that does not happen in the future. As for other technical issues, we are bringing on a team of tech support that will be on the 2K forums 24/7 to help people resolve their technical issues. Our QA guys are in the offices and on the forums, too, reproducing issues and looking for workarounds and compiling information that they can put towards making you a patch and updating the knowledge base.

Croatian Hackers Run iPhone on T-Mobile Network

As everyone knows, the $600 Apple iPhone is designed to run exclusively on AT&T's cellular network, as well as the occasional Wi-Fi hotspot. Hackers decided that they didn't want to be forced into buying a 2 year contract from AT&T, and worked day and night to get the iPhone to run on alternative networks. Finally, we are seeing some progress. Croatians, using a particular SIM card (SuperSIM - V1, U types), a SIM read/writer, a Silvercard, and a particular software suite, succeeded in making the iPhone run on T-Mobile's European network. The hacking software works on both Mac OS X and Windows computers. The only thing lost with the hack is YouTube functionality However, considering the limited library available on the iPhone's version of YouTube, The Inquirer does not consider it that great a loss.

Source: The Inquirer

Pirates Successfully Remove DRM From Streaming Netflix Movies

Movie rental company Netflix recently released a movie streaming service, which allows people who are too impatient to wait for a DVD to come in the mailbox to watch a movie right from their laptop/desktop. Unfortunately, these streamed movies are loaded with copy protection, which limits the movie, frustrates the customer, and is otherwise a pest. Hackers who are tired of seeing companies like Netflix abuse the customer with DRM-filled movies are working hard day and night to crack these DRMs. Recently, hackers have successfully removed the DRM from a Netflix streamed movie, which allows it to be watched exactly as it's supposed to be. The DRM removal process is not guaranteed, is not fool-proof, and in the USA, it's not legal.Source: The Inquirer

Second Life and World of Warcraft Infested With Terrorists

MMORPG's have a distinct advantage to them, in the way you can (supposedly) escape reality and live as a completely different creature in a different world. However, this ulterior world attracts more than just people trying to escape life's harsh realities. Games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft have reported several instances of cyber-terrorism. In some instances, Australian police have found evidence that terrorists are using these virtual worlds to recruit terrorists and train them. Experts on the matter say that "terrorists are rehearsing their operations in Second Life because they can't practice in the real world". Experts also notice that terrorists "can gain training in games such as World of Warcraft in a simulated environment, using weapons that are identical to real-world armaments."Source: The Australian

Nintendo Wii Vulnerable to Adobe Flash Flaw

Symantec found that the Nintendo Wii is vulnerable to a flaw in Adobe Flash Player. Whenever the Nintendo Wii tries to access a .FLV file, it is possible that the console will lock and be rendered useless until a reboot. While Adobe did release a patch for the rest of the world, it is unclear whether or not the patch actually works on the Nintendo Wii version of Opera. Since Symantec does not know whether or not Adobe's patch works on the Nintendo Wii, they have taken preventative steps to make sure that Nintendo Wii customers can access flash content unabridged. Symantec is currently warning websites that host content accessible to the Wii that they may need to edit their flash content.Source: Reg Hardware

Sony Sues the company that Made their infamous rootkit

Sony BMG is suing Amergence Group, the guys that made the infamous rootkit that went on all of their CD's. Sony is claiming that Amergence was negligent, and delivered software that didn't work. If Sony wins the lawsuit, they will get $12 million USD. Presumably, Sony is trying to get some of the money it lost in the original rootkit lawsuit ($7.5 million USD) back.Source: The Inquirer

The computer Virus is 25 years old

It was 25 years ago the first computer virus was born, surprisingly it was for a Mac. In 1982 a tech savvy ninth grader named Richard Skrenta got an Apple II for Christmas and decided to play a joke on his friends and the first computer virus was born. He put it on a game as it attached itself to the Apple DOS 3.3 operating system and spread by floppy disk.The game was set to play, but release the virus on the 50th time of starting the game. Instead of playing the game the screen would go blank and read a poem about the virus named Elk Cloner.

It will get on all your disks
It will infiltrate your chips
Yes it's Cloner!

It will stick to you like glue
It will modify RAM too
Send in the Cloner!

The virus did not do much damage as it copied itself to other disks.

Symantec Claims 80% of all gamers are Infected by malware

Or, at least 80% of all gamers that attended DreamHack Summer 2007. Symantec went around the LAN party, and found that 80% of all gamers there were either infected by malware, or previously had been infected by malware. Symantec claims that the reason the infection rate among hardcore gamers is so high is quite simple. When gamers start practicing/gaming, they turn off their anti-virus programs in order to maximize performance. While this makes sense during the game, as the risk for getting infected while playing a game is very low, most gamers neglect to re-activate the protection of a good anti-virus program.

Symantec claims that with their Norton 360 software, there is no need to worry about this, as their anti-virus solution is designed to encumber performance as little as possible while still providing optimal protection.Source: Nordic Hardware

Ad-Aware 2007 Free Launched

Anyone who currently uses Ad-Aware SE Personal (the free version of Ad-Aware) should be pleased to hear Ad-Aware 2007 Free has now been launched by Lavasoft. Ad-Aware is one of the most popular spyware scanners available, and definitely worth a try if you don’t already use it. This is the list of new features:
  • Redesigned Engine – Benefit from superior program flexibility and more accurate scanning methods with all-new program architecture.
  • Improved Code Sequence Identification (CSI) Technology – Boost your privacy protection with precise detection of embedded malware, including known and emerging threats.
  • Incremental Definition File Updates – Save precious time and resources with smaller update files resulting in faster download times.
  • TrackSweep - Control privacy by erasing tracks left behind while surfing the Web on Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera, with one easy click.
  • Multiple Browser Support – Choose Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera with expanded browser support.
  • New Straightforward User Interface – Effortlessly maneuver the complexities of malware detection and removal with our new user-friendly interface.
You can download Ad-Aware 2007 Free from here.Source: Lavasoft

Update: please note, Ad-Aware 2007 does not yet work with Vista - although it looks like Lavasoft is working on Vista support and it should be available soon.

Google Buys Antivirus, Anti-Spam Company

Google is adding an antivirus and anti-spam solution to its arsenal with the acquisition of GreenBorder Technologies Inc. Google did not comment on the story, but GreenBorder, a Mountain View, Calif. -based security company, posted a statement on its Web site, telling users that it has been bought by Google:
GreenBorder Technologies, Inc. has been acquired by Google, Inc. We will continue to support our existing customers through the end of their current subscriptions.
GreenBorder, which was founded in 2001, offers consumer and enterprise-level security products, protecting against viruses, spyware, and Trojans.Source: InformationWeek

Skype Worm Jumps to ICQ and MSN

A new variant of the Stration worm, which has been plaguing Windows users for the past year, has made the jump from Skype to the ICQ and MSN Messenger networks. For a computer to be infected, a user must first click on a link and then agree to download an executable file. The malicious link is listed below the instant message: "Check this out. Give me your opinion." Once installed, the worm will gradually start to send out messages to the victim's contacts. Although the worm is considered to be a low-risk infection, be careful what you click on these days.Source: PC World

Microsoft Security Updates for May 2007

Microsoft on Tuesday released patches for 19 security flaws as part of its monthly patch cycle. The fixes cover security holes in Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. Two of the updates are for Microsoft’s newest operating system Vista. Microsoft recommends all users to upgrade through either Automatic Updates within Windows or the Windows Update website. You can read Microsoft’s security bulletin detailing all the patches here.Source: Microsoft

10 most commonly used online passwords has managed to obtain a list of the most commonly used passwords from the upcoming May 8th issue of PC Magazine.

The passwords are below:

1. password
2. 123456
3. qwerty
4. abc123
5. letmein
6. monkey
7. myspace1
8. password1
9. blink182
10. (your first name)

If you are using any of these passwords, it is strongly advised that you change them ASAP.Source: New Launches

Apple Patches 25 Mac OS Security Holes

Apple today released its fourth security update of the year for the Mac OS X 10.4.9 operating system, with 25 new patches making it to the front this time around. None of the patches are critical, though a few of them do fix flaws that were brought to light during the Month of Apple Bugs. The Security Update 2007-004 can be downloaded from the company's security update page.Source: Apple

Windows XP to be Phased Out by Year's End

Computer makers have been told they'll no longer be able to get Windows XP OEM by the end of this year, despite consumer resistance to Vista and its compatibility problems. By early 2008, Microsoft's contracts with computer makers will require companies to only sell Vista-loaded machines. "The OEM version of XP Professional goes next January," said Frank Luburic, senior ThinkPad product manager for Lenovo. "At that point, they'll have no choice". Despite Microsoft's constant promotion of Vista, manufacturers are still seeing plenty of demand from customers for systems preloaded with XP, especially in the SOHO market. Click here to read the full story.Source: APC Magazine
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