security

Over 2,000 #Firefox Extensions Vulnerable To Dangerous 'Remote Admin' Malware

Over 2,000 #Firefox Extensions Vulnerable To Dangerous 'Remote Admin' Malware

Which Web browser do you use? A lot of you are using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or even the new Microsoft Edge. There's also a good chance you're using Mozilla Firefox. Tens of millions of people use it to search the Web. Even if it's not your everyday, go-to browser, you might occasionally use it for its best features.

How often are Hackers Caught?

Over the past few years, there have been several high-profile cyber crimes against large companies, including Target and Home Depot, that have resulted in little, if no, consequences for the criminals.

So, how often do hackers get caught?

Mark Lanterman, C.T.O. of Computer Forensic Services, says he estimates it’s less than one percent.

“You’re looking for a needle in a haystack of needles, if it even exists,” Lanterman said. “The really good hackers understand the evidence they’re generating and they work so they don’t generate that evidence.”

According to the PwC U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey, the FBI told 3,000 businesses last year they’d been hacked.

“Most businesses have either been breached or they don’t know they’ve been breached,” Lanterman said.

He says the “good” hackers rarely leave behind any evidence that would identify them. And even if they do, Lanterman says it usually doesn’t identify an individual or a group.

Often, law enforcement will have to rely on interviews in addition to computer evidence, which can be a huge challenge overseas.

According to cybercrime expert and Security analyst Brian Krebs, many of the hackers are part of organized crime groups that operate in Russia, Ukraine and Romania.

“It’s going to be very difficult for an officer to get in a squad car to go to Moscow and pick him up, so not many of them are brought to justice,” Lanterman said.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department announced it arrested 90 people in the Blackshades malware case. The investigation took two years, cooperation from 19 countries and hundreds of searches across Europe, U.S. and Canada.

Lanterman says these criminals understand this is high-reward when it comes to money and low-risk in terms of capture, so those are odds they’re willing to play.

Google takes aim at Ad Injectors and their dangers

Do you sometimes see a bar on your computer screen with links to products that may or may not be related to what you are looking up online? If so, your computer may be infected with an ad injector. Computer repair experts are buzzing about Google’s recent study with the University of California Berkeley, which highlights initial findings about the latest Internet menace.

Advice from Springfield Computer Repair Specialists: What You Need to Know about Ad Injectors

Fast Facts about Ad Injectors

  • They can infect all operating systems, like Windows and Mac
  • Google found them in Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer
  • Over one-third of Google Chrome extensions had ad injectors with malware
  • Google disabled 192 deceptive Chrome extensions, which affected 14 million users
  • Google is using new techniques to scan Chrome extensions and extension updates to prevent the installation ad injectors

What are Ad Injectors?

Ad injectors are Internet extensions that popup when visit a webpage. Instead of seeing the ad that a website would normally display, if it displays them at all, you see ads that the creators of the ad injector wanted you to see. Some of the ad injectors are simply benign and annoying, while others contain malware.

According to Google, about 5 percent of individuals who visit a Google website have at least one ad injector installed in their computer.

How Did they Get on My Computer?

When you encounter an ad injector, it’s a sign that you have unwanted software in your computer. Sometimes, ad injectors are bundled with legitimate software, similar to Lenovo Superfish incident. Therefore, when you download something from the Internet or install a program, you may inadvertently install the ad injector program onto your computer. Experts at computer repair services state that other forms of ad injectors are malicious, deceptive and difficult to remove.

What You Can Do about Ad Injectors

  • When you see a popup stating that a program detected suspicious activity or that a site contains harmful programs, do not click on anything within the popup. Instead, click on the “back” button at the top of the browser screen or close the Web page. Immediately run a virus and malware scan.
  • Install a reputable popup blocker that works with your Web browser.
  • If you see an ad injector on the screen when you’re online, look for the name of the company that created it (but don’t click on anything within the ads). For example, you see this in the corner, “Ads powered by Mezaa.” Go to your computer’s Control Panel and click on the application that allows you to uninstall or change the programs on your computer. Look for the name of the ad company and uninstall the program.

If your antivirus software doesn’t detect the ad injector program, but you continue to see it, get in touch the Springfield computer repair experts at Rethink Associates as soon as possible. The sooner that you eradicate it, the better your chances are to not falling victim to the intruder. Contact Rethink Associates to learn more.


Sony Pictures Hack Highlights Importance of Cybersecurity

We live in an incredibly fast paced, digital world. These days, stories of companies being hacked are, unfortunately, commonplace. We have been hearing stories of major hacks against large corporations, retail chains and even banks, and most recently, Sony. News of the Sony hack might seem as just another breech. However, as the smoke clears, we find ever more evidence that the hack perpetrated on Sony Pictures on 11/24 was anything but usual. These types of attacks highlight the vital importance of maintaining top-notch cybersecurity and Rethink Associates is here with the details.

What Happened?

At approximately 11am, on Monday, November 24th, emails began circulating around to Sony Pictures employees, instructing them not to use their computers, corporate email accounts, or cell phone wifi access. As this news traveled it became evident hackers had seized an estimated 11,000 gigabytes of data, potentially including financial information, personal passwords, passport and visa info of cast and crew in addition to information about Sony’s IT systems. As Sony searched to identify the hackers, a flood of information had already hit the web, including the movies Mr. TurnerStill AliceFury, & Annie,  which have not yet been released in theatres. As the investigation into the leaked files continued, the details only became worse, turning up salary negotiations, medical information, & employee criminal background checks, in addition to the script for an unreleased pilot written by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.

Sadly, this is  just the tip of the iceberg. At this point, the Sony Pictures hack is easily the worst corporate hack in all of recorded history.

How Can I Protect My Business?

Well, you can begin by not ticking off North Korea. Sony has speculated publicly that the hack might in fact be retaliation for the upcoming release of The Interview, a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogan who  play characters who attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Of course, the odds that your business has threatened or offended the DPRK is obviously quite low, however, that doesn’t mean these kinds of attacks can't happen to you. If your cybersecurity isn’t currently being professionally monitored and updated, your business may have serious vulnerabilities you might not even know about.

Protect Your Business With Cybersecurity From Working Nets

At Rethink Associates, we know that handling the cybersecurity for your business while actually keeping that business running can seem impossible, especially in the daunting face of cyber-attacks against much larger businesses. Outsourcing your IT can give you peace of mind and allow you to take care of the things that are important for your company. Rethink Associates is a Republic based IT Service and Security company that services small businesses throughout SW Missouri. We’re always on top of emerging cybersecurity trends and threats so you don’t have to be.

To talk to someone about managed IT for your business, give us a call at (417) 334-6609. We’d be happy to assist you with your professional business networking needs.

Tools of the Internet Criminal: Hacking and Phishing Explained

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Living in the information age brings with it certain challenges and pitfalls that are exclusive to its usage and operation. These situations range from the mundane, such as avoiding tripping over any of the myriad of cords and cables present with stationary devices, to the more serious, like the complete theft of your identity. These situations, and many more, make it necessary to follow certain guidelines in order to use it as safely as possible.

As mentioned, identity, information and raw data theft is a problem that has risen with the use of the internet by an order of magnitude. In the past, while identity and other types of intellectual theft were possible, it took a great deal more work to accomplish successfully. Now, virtually all of our lives, and everything that goes with them, is present on the internet, making them much easier to steal and use.

Data and identity thieves are separated into two main types: hackers and phishers. While these two overlap to a large degree, with criminals using both types of attacks on a regular basis, the individual actions that are performed are separated into these two main categories. In order to provide you with the most amount of protection against these attacks, let’s look at both in enough detail to provide you with simple and effective ways to guard against them.

Hacking

If there is one term that is considered synonymous with internet crime and criminals, it would have to be hacking. This is due not only to the amount of exposure it has received from news and law enforcement sources, but also because of the many movies and television shows that center around them.

Hackers are divided into different groups based on what they primarily do with their skills. For example, a black hat hacker is one that uses said skills mainly for destruction or personal gain. White hat hackers mostly use their skills and resources to test the effectiveness of the security of both corporate and private individuals, usually for a fee.

There are a wide range of tools at a hacker’s fingertips, each of which has specific areas that they are most effective at. Some of the most common are:

Password Cracker: As its name indicates, this piece of software is used to guess the password in question, usually by using lists of the most common passwords in use today.

Trojan Horses: Usually attached to an email, trojan horses are adept at finding specific security flaws and setting up back doors for the hacker to use to gain access to the target computer system or network.

Key Logger: As with trojan horses, a key logger is usually attached to a bogus email, which will install itself once the attachment has been downloaded. A key logger will then record each keystroke and usually email it back to the hacker for use in breaking into the system.

Phishing

While the goal of hackers and phishers are similar, usually to gain access to an outside computer or network with the intent of theft or destruction, the approach they use is different. Phishers primarily disguise themselves as reputable businesses or individuals, with the hopes that you will enter in your private information to access a bogus website.

A prime example of a phishing attack would be the construction and sending of an email designed to look exactly like one you would receive from somewhere you have an online account. Usually these emails will notify you of a fake attempt to breach your account, and provide a link to a website they have constructed to look exactly like the real website. Here you will be asked to enter in your account details to ensure its safety, information that will then be taken to the real website to use for exploitation.

How to Protect Yourself

There are a few different ways that you can decrease the possibility of being attacked, as well as actions you can take if you are. Some of the most common of these are:

Firewall: A firewall is a piece of software written specifically to guard your computer against any unauthorized incursion. If you connect to the internet in any capacity, having a firewall installed is vital.

Antivirus Software: As its name indicates this type of software is designed to protect you from installing a virus, as well as remove it if one sneaks in. Always keep your antivirus software up to date in order to have the most protection against the most recent attacks. We recommend Bitdefender, it is an exceptional tool.

Email Links and Attachments: It cannot be stressed enough that if you do not know the source of a received email personally, never click on any enclosed links or download any attachments affixed to it. However, given that hackers or phishers can easily mimic someone in your address book, it may be wise to check with the sender to ensure it truly came from someone you know.

Using the internet is something that can greatly enhance your life in a myriad of different ways. However, in order to keep your activities safe and secure, always be on the lookout for those who would steal your data and information for use in a wide range of illegal activities.

How to respond to a malware infections?

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Preventing Malware Infections can save you a lot of money..

Waiting Can Cause Problems While You’re On Deadline

Most computer users have seen a sudden warning pop up on his or her computer screen. “Your computer is infected,” the warning says. “You need to take action immediately.”

Countless novices have made the mistake of heeding the warning. They click onto a link that tells them their computer has thousands of infections. Panicked, they then click a link that instructs them to buy a “security” software program that will get rid of the infections and prevent future infections.

The computer may have an infection, but oftentimes the “security” software program is a farce that isn’t identifying infection problems and won’t help computer users get rid of or prevent infections.

In fact, the program itself is oftentimes what computer aficionados call a Trojan horse — a malware program that can infect the computer with malicious viruses and destroy the computer system so badly that computer users will lose their data and/or be unable to work on their computer. Buying the malware program can also result in your credit card account number being used to steal from you.

How do you respond to this situation? The first thing to know is that you should not NEVER follow the popup program’s instructions. Then, you should run your computer’s internal anti-virus program. Windows Defender is such a program. You can often find it by clicking the flag on the lower right corner of your screen and hitting “Troubleshooting.”

Downloading an anti-malware program can also help. Many anti-malware programs such as Anvi Smart Defender are free.

If the malware program is installed, you should do a “System Restore” that restores your computer to the state it was in before you had a problem. You can find System Restore by clicking onto the flag and then clicking “Recovery.” You should also make sure that new software programs are removed from your computer by hitting the icon on the bottom left of your screen and then hitting Control Panel. Your Control Panel should include a “Programs” section that lets you uninstall a program.

“Malware and Computer Security,“ a University of California-San Diego Academic Computing Department report, confirms that a popup that tells computer users that their computer has a “ridiculous” number of viruses is a sign that your computer might be infected. It says other signs include:

* Popups that run automatic scans.
* Returned e-mails with virus warnings.
* A computer that is running much slower than usual. Your computer could be running software programs in the background that you didn’t know were installed.
* A computer screen that suddenly turns black.

“Computer Security Tips for Preventing Malware Infections,” a Wentworth Institute of Technology report, confirms the importance of anti-malware programs and making sure that you don’t click onto a popup program that could be a Trojan horse. It also says that you should:

* Make sure your anti-malware programs are up-to-date. You should bookmark the program’s website when you download it and check monthly if it has been updated.

* Do NOT click onto a link that you received from an e-mail from an unexpected source. It’s also common for a friend’s e-mail system to be hacked so be careful if you receive an impersonal e-mail from a friend with a link.

* Use a free software program called BrowserCheck to make sure your Internet browsers are up-to-date.

* Change your Internet browser settings so you have to approve a plug-in rather than have it launched automatically.

A Wellesley (Mass.) College report also has valuable tips on how to protect your computer from malware infections.