Panda Security had its head in the cloud long before it became vogue to do so, and today marks the launch of Panda Cloud Antivirus 2.0, a free cloud-based consumer antivirus service. There are several reasons to upgrade if you're rocking a previous build, including the fact that this new release is fully compatible with Microsoft's Windows 8 Release Preview. It also supposedly scans much faster than before.
Panda Security, makers of security products named after itself, just released its quarterly report on the state of security around the world, which is news in and of itself considering that, as Panda puts it, "The title of Guns N' Roses 'Welcome to the Jungle' perfectly sums up the events that have taken place" over the past few months. But that wasn't the least of Panda's colorful rhetoric, as the security firm had some strong words for Anonymous and LulzSec, the two hacking organizations responsible for many of the recent high-profile attacks.
With the year not even half over yet, Panda Security is getting a jump on 2012 by releasing the next major version of its antivirus software, including Panda Internet Security 2012 for Netbooks, Panda Antivirus Pro 2012, Panda Internet Security 2012, and Panda Global Protection 2012. That's enough Pandas to fill a zoo, and one thing they all have in common is they've been especially designed to Internet users who make the most out of Web 2.0 and the digital world, Panda Security says.
Panda holds a ton of promise, and if it weren’t for a few niggling issues, we’d anoint it our favorite security suite. But there are some things that just can’t be ignored, like the same persistent pop-ups we complained about in the 2010 release. It started from the get-go with Panda reminding us that we still needed to activate the program (even though we hadn’t previously been prompted). Shortly after, another pop-up appeared imploring us to register, something that is usually optional. In this case, our choices were to go ahead and register or be reminded at a future date (one day, one week, or one month), with no option to disregard it forever. Bad Panda!
Let's cut right to the chase -- according to security firm Panda Security, the infamous Nigerian scam ranks as the decade's most popular online ploy to swindle victims.
"This was the first type of scam to appear on the Internet and continues to be widely used by cybercriminals today," Panda Security says.
Coming in second are lottery-based scams, in which potential victims receive an email claiming that they won the lottery. The ones that fall for it end up sending out something like $1,000 to supposedly cover bank related fees and other expenses in order to transfer the winnings, only the victim never sees a dime.
"As with all the classic scams that predate the Internet, many of the numerous users that fall for these tricks and lose their money are reticent to report the crime," says Luis Corrons, technical director of Panda Labs. "If recovering the stolen money was difficult in the old days, it is even harder now because criminals' tracks are often lost across the Web. The best defense is to learn how to identify these scams an avoid taking the bait."
Panda Security really wants you to try the beta release of their upcoming Panda Global Protection 2011 security suite, and to help nudge home users towards lending a helping a hand, Panda will be awarding $200 Amazon.com gift cards to "the ten beta testers suggesting the most helpful improvements." If you aren't one of the ten, you'll still receive a 50 percent discount on the 2011 final release when it ships.
Designed for "those who are most likely to encounter security threats and engages in risky behavior," Panda Global Protection 2011 comes with claims of faster performance with intelligent updates when compared to previous versions, a virtual browser so you can surf to seedier sides of the Web without a virtual death wish, home security management, remote PC access from any location, a file encryption system, a virtual keyboard to keep data entered safe from keyloggers and banking Trojans, and more.
Panda also said it made significant improvements to the spam and phishing filters, parental controls, and detection of sophisticated malware like rootkits.
An unsuspecting Vodafone customer got quite a nasty surprise when she got her new HTC Magic (MyTouch 3G in the states). Upon plugging it into her Windows PC, Panda Antivirus sounded the alarm. It turns out that the new phone contained several malware programs including an installer for the Mariposa botnet.
This wasn’t just any poor soul, lost in the wilds of technology though. Nope, the victim of this sneak attack works for Panda Security. As you can imagine, her coworkers were terribly interested in the phone. Closer examination showed an autorun.inf and autorun.exe that would load the malware on any PC the phone was plugged into. Panda confirmed that the botnet was active, and when installed the software “phoned home” for instructions. They also found a Confiker variant and a password stealer.
Vodafone recently discontinued the Magic, so after current stocks are sold out no one will need fear the phone baddies. Well, until the next time this happens. So how did a Spanish hacker group get their malware on this phone? And more importantly, are more phones affected? It seems unlikely there was just one infected phone, and that it happened to be sold to a Panda employee.
Panda Security has released its quarterly report for the third quarter and in it the security vendor notes a sharp rise in the amount of adware. According to Panda, adware accounted for 22.03 percent of adware in Q2, but that number has jumped to 37.49 percent in Q3, which is more than a third of all infections. Panda attributes the trend to the amount of fake antivirus programs in the wild.
The report also puts social networking in the spotlight, the popularity of which has made them particularly prone to cyber attacks. Of the social networking sites, Panda notes that MySpace has been both the first victim and most frequently targeted by hackers.
"Attacks on social networks are not new phenomenon; the first recorded incident occurred in 2005," the report says. "However, attacks have increased ad diversified just as the number of users has grown. These attacks aren't focused exclusively on distributing malware, but also involve phishing, identity theft, or propagation of spam."