Perhaps it should be called the world wild web to more accurately reflect a landscape fraught with danger, at least if you're taking an alarmist point of view. Sometimes it's hard not to. To wit, security outfit ESET said its research team, in collaboration with CERT-Bund, the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing and other leading agencies, uncovered a massive cybercriminal campaign in which a backdoor Trojan was able to hijack more than 25,000 UNIX servers around the world.
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If you're a longtime reader of Maximum PC, you know that we run an antivirus roundup each year, along with intermittent standalone reviews in between. One company that, for the most part, has consistently performed well is ESET, which again had a strong showing in our most recent roundup. ESET also just announced that its NOD32 Antivirus 7 and Smart Security 7 products are now available in beta trim.
ESET upgrades its flagship consumer security products.
ESET, the well-regarded security firm headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia, dropped us a note to let us know it launched its Smart Security 6 Internet suite and NOD32 Antivirus 6 security software. Both products received enhancements in threat detection, more thorough cleaning of infected systems, and an improved user experience, ESET said.
Give a man a virus and he'll wreak havoc on a single machine. But teach a man to phish and, well, he'll become a pain in the ass for potentially thousands of computer users. Unfortunately, phishing is a 'skill' every two-bit hacker acquires right off the bat, but not all of them move on to bigger and more insidious things. Some phishers concentrate on honing their craft in hopes of not only ensnaring the gullible and less computer savvy, but even sophisticated ones. Security firm ESET warns of a new phishing method that has popped up in the last few weeks.
Like Norton, ESET Smart Security walked away with a Kick Ass award in last year’s roundup, so we were eager to see how the two security suites would compare when pitted against each other in our second annual AV battle royal.
Through the first few rounds of testing, it was near impossible to declare a winner. Both apps remained light on their feet by barely sipping system resources before the two began trading blows. ESET won a round by adding six fewer seconds than Norton did to our system boot time (+14 seconds versus +20 seconds, respectively), but Norton’s a more polished fighter. What do we mean?
ESET lacks a few features found in Norton, including identity protection and parental controls. And while ESET managed to scan our test bed in a little less than eight minutes, which is half the time it took Norton during its first run, ESET doesn’t skip over trusted files to reduce subsequent sweeps, so it’s not nearly as fast in the long run.
It is common knowledge that smartphones are fast emerging as a dainty prey for malware proliferators. But a recent press release by IT security firm ESET, which spelled out some of the potential threats in 2009, might have iPhone and Android users worried in particular.
ESET warned in the press release that it expects both the iPhone and Android to become more vulnerable to malware. The company also expects both the smartphone platforms to fall prey to mobile browser exploits that might target their WebKit-based browsers.
The security firm has prognosticated an increase in fake antivirus extortion in 2009. “Some of the major antivirus companies have seen their websites spoofed over the last couple of months,” according to David Harley, Director of Malware Intelligence at ESET. The real threat lies in the fact that internet charlatans are leaving no stone turned in their bid to appear as credible as possible.
Gamers have enough trouble trying to come up with a game plan to beat pesky end bosses and single-handedly defeat armies of mutant soldiers. Saving often gives gamers an endless advantage and cheat codes can help in a pinch, but neither of these tactics will do any good against an increasing amount of real-life threats the online gaming scene.
More than just an annoyance, time spend in virtual worlds like Second Life can translate into real currency and it's attracted the attention of organized criminal gangs. According to security software vendor ESET (best known for its NOD32 Antivirus products), "high volumes of malware intended to steal passwords for online gaming and virtual worlds" have been detected since 2007, resulting in a "dramatic upsurge."
The alarming news comes courtesy of ESET's mid-yearly Global Threat Report, which focuses on broad trends in malware over the past six months. In addition to an upsurge in attacks against gamers, ESET notes that malicious software that tries to use the Windows Autorun facility to self-install from removable media continues to flourish.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the company reports email bound malware is in "dramatic decline," at least when it comes to dirty attachments. Malicious URLs passed through email messages have taken the place of attachments.
Further reading to keep yourself (and your virtual self) protected: