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:
Malware is the vile scourge of the internet. It invades your privacy, tracking where you’ve been on the internet to sell to marketing companies interested in your browsing habits. It invades your computer, sending pop-ups for products you don’t want, or it tricks users into buying some bogus program to fix nonexistent problems with their PCs. It steals resources from your computer, taking up CPU time, RAM and drive space. Being a malware programmer must rank up there with pimp-meister for jobs that you don’t tell friends and family that you do.
It used to be that you would pickup malware from ending up on a bogus site someplace, but it turns out that it is coming from almost everywhere now, according to a Websense report. About 75 percent of it comes from legitimate sites that have been compromised. That is an almost 50 percent rise over Q3 & Q4 of 2007. Of the top 100 websites on the internet 60 percent either hosted malicious content or contained a redirect to lure victims to malicious sites.
Always have your protection when surfing the internet boys and girls and not just FireFox like in the poster image below. An up to date Internet Security Suite is a must have.
You can visit the complete Websense report here for all the latest info on the filth lurking on the internet.
What do you do to protect your computer from Malware? Wrapping it in latex doesn't count.
MySpace and Facebook users now have bigger worries than whether Wordscraper will stay online: two new worms, known as the Koobface family, are attacking Windows users of these popular social networking (or "Notworking" sites, as our friends at The Inquirer call them). These new worms pose a threat to the peace of mind of people like Zac Koobface (a real Facebook user, by the way).
Kapersky Labs was the first to detect these worms: Net-Worm.Win32.Koobface.a (targets MySpace) and Net-Worm.Win32.Koobface.b (targets Facebook). McAfee refers to both worms as W32/Koobface.worm, while Symantec uses the terms W32.Koobface.A and W32.Koobface.B.
Both worms send comments or messages to other users of the service. The messages or comments contain alleged links to humorous YouTube files (such as "Paris Hilton Tosses Dwarf On The Street"). When the user clicks on the link, the link redirects to a website that displays an error message claiming the user needs an updated codec to enable the Adobe Flash player to play the video. The alleged Flash player update (codecsetup.exe) contain the worm.
When the Koobface.A worm runs, it configures itself to run automatically when the system starts, checks for MySpace cookies, and if it finds them, modifies the user's profile by adding links to malicious sites that contain the worm. To learn more about Koobface.A and Koobface.B, check the McAfee and Symantec links earlier in this article.
If you use Kapersky, McAfee, or Symantec antivirus, the latest virus definitions will detect and stop these worms. If you use other antivirus or anti-malware programs, check for updates daily - and don't click on funny video links from other MySpace or Facebook users. The results just aren't very funny.
Been bugged by these or other social-networking worms? Tell us your story after the jump!
Not surprisingly, malware infections are at an all-time high, but what's shocking is just how fast the infection rate has risen. According to antivirus vendor Sophos, the company says it detects one webpage containing malicious content every 5 seconds, a rate that represents a whopping 300 percent jump from 2007.
That breaks down to over 16,000 malicious sites each day, most of which are victims of SQL-injection attacks. One of the more common tricks entails using SQL-injection to place a dirty 1x1 pixel element on an infected page. And because many of the sites are legitimate, security vendors are having a tough time keeping up with blocking the sites.
There also exists a fair number of illegitimate sites, and Sophos claims Google-owned Blogger accounts for nearly 2 percent of all malware hosts, making it an unflattering number one offender.
Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Google said "Google takes the security of our users very seriously, and we work hard to protect them from malware. Using Blogger, or any Google product, to serve or host malware is a violation of our product policies. We actively work to detect and remove sites that serve malware from our network."
Whether you work in a large enterprise, small business, or are the network guru to your own home's PCs, the pressure to connect a new system right now can be overwhelming. To find out how you can head off trouble by hardening a new (or reloaded) system before it gets its first whiff of the Internet, join us after the jump.
You've seen the commercial and already know what brown can do for you, but you'll be red with rage if you fall for a new scam based on an old trick. On its website, UPS has posted a bulletin alerting customers that a fraudulent email claiming to be from UPS is making the rounds. The email implores recipients to open an attachment reportedly containing a waybill for the shipment to be picked up, but the only thing being picked up by doing so is a nasty virus.
Maximum PC readers know full well to leave attachments alone, but if you're a frequent UPS customer, these types of scams can catch you off guard, particularly since UPS does, on occasion, send out official notifications that may include attachments. If in doubt, UPS is asking its customers to contact customerservice at ups dot com.
Investor's Business Dailysays "Hackers always are on the lookout for the most vulnerable spot on your personal computers. These days, that weakest link might be your flash thumb drive." They're easy to exploit by malware and easy to lose. How do you cope with the security risks and potential data loss of the humble thumbdrive? Are you encrypting your thumbdrives?
For a closer look at thumbdrive security, and a chance to give us your tips, see us after the jump.
"At one point during the webinar, 'W00ts!' were heard emanating from the conference room as Harry, a renowned Team Fortress 2 fanboy, demonstrated how to properly tea-bag an opponent."
Most English teachers would have a field day with the above sentence, but with the exception of 'tea-bag,' the rest of the terms are now officially recognized. Perhaps Merriam-Webster is undergoing a mid-life crisis, or maybe as geeks we've leveled up our ability to affect the English language. Either way, a bevy of new terms are being added to the latest version of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, and many of them could be pulled straight out of any computer forum. Among the new terms are:
Not all the new words are technology terms, but many of them do reflect societal trends. "As soon as we see the word used without explanation or translation or gloss, we consider it a naturalized citizen of the English language," explained Peter Sokolowoski, an editor-at-large for Merriam Webster.
Find how how you can further influence Merriam-Webster after the jump.
StopBadware.org, using data from Google’s Safe Browsing initiative, analyzed over 200,000 websites that were engaged in badware behavior. The top two offenders on the list are China and the US. Their analysis found that a majority of the sites (52%) were based on a small number of Chinese networks. The U.S. accounted for 21% of infected sites however these were spread across a wide range of networks. It is interesting that in China 68% of the country’s infected sites are hosted on just three AS blocks versus the US, which has just 25% of it’s infected sites in it’s top three blocks. This just highlights the differences in the hosting spread.
Their research doesn’t specify a reason for this, however they “postulated that part of the reason for this could be the lack of economic incentives for Chinese hosting providers and site owners to inform their users of infected sites and/or to take action to clean or remove these sites.”
Fortunately, I go no where on the internet without my protection and a good dose of common sense.
Script kiddies, move over. Now there's a toolkit that can turn any executable file into a worm, and it's so easy "even a caveman could do it." Find out what makes this new malware creation kit so scary, where it might have originated - and why.
The Register.co.uk website ('Biting the hand that feeds IT') isn't just an industry gadfly: concealed beneath its British-accented snark is a lot of useful news – including this report about a new malware-creation tool that's point-and-click easy.