Make your Windows XP-using friends/family members read this important PSA
Microsoft has officially pulled the plug on support for Windows XP. That’s it. Finite. Done. No more. Don’t expect to see any future patches, services packs, fixes, hotfixes, critical updates, anything — if you’re one of the one-fourth of desktop users or so who are still running the antiquated operating system (yes, there’s that many of you), you’re about to enter the Wild Wild West of computing.
When the flip did it become so damn difficult to download a program from the Internet? If you've recently tried to grab a screensaver or software utility from the web, you know exactly what we're talking about. Somewhere along the way, the simple act of downloading a program has become anything but easy, even for Internet veterans who aren't easily duped. Many download sites are now designed to test the wits of savvy users and prey on the impatient with link landmines that will blow up your browser with toolbars and other unwanted add-ons. Even worse, you could end up with a malware infection. Should you give up?
Best free antivirus programs and virus propection tips
So you got caught with your pants down on the Internet (figuratively, folks) and contracted a virus. That sucks. Or maybe you were wearing protection but still fell victim to some nasty bit of code that managed to slip by your antivirus software undetected. That sucks even more. Either way, it's nothing to feel ashamed about. The web is a dangerous place and even the most tech savvy users sometimes slip up. You can even get a virus through no fault of your own simply by visiting a reputable website that, unbeknownst to you, has been compromised by a hacker with malicious intent. The web is a war zone, and even if you're not a target, you can still end up a casualty.
During my many years of covering technology I’ve seen all sorts of horror stories when it comes to the fallout of malware, but this one left me scratching my head. Malware authors usually set out with the goal of stealing private information, enslaving your machine, or perhaps forcing you to click popups, but printing hundreds of pages of junk? “Trojan.Millicenso” as it is known among security researchers has hit thousands of office printers around the world, and has destroyed countless reams of paper.
Back in May of this year, Kaspersky Lab announced the discovery of a "highly sophisticated malicious program" called Flame that's capable of stealing valuable information from targeted systems, including audio conversations. Kaspersky Lab later referred to Flame as "the most complex cyber-weapon to date," and following in-depth research, has discovered that the criminal minds behind it are in cahoots with the developers of Stuxnet and Duqu.
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.
After analyzing data from more than 600 million systems around the globe, Microsoft has determined that zero-day vulnerabilities aren't nearly as worrisome as malware based on traditional techniques, such as social engineering and unpatched security holes. It's not that zero-day threats aren't inherently dangerous, it's just that hardly anyone's exploiting them, at least comparatively.
Security firm Webroot is taking great interest in a new BIOS rootkit discovered by a Chinese company called Qihoo 360. It's called "Mebromi" and it's a particularly nasty piece of code that targets Award BIOSes, but that's not all. It also contains an MBR rootkit, a kernel mode rootkit, a PE file infector, and a Trojan downloader all rolled into one.
BeautifulPeople.com is an online dating site where only hotties go to hook-up, or at least that's how it's supposed to be. The self-proclaimed "exclusively beautiful community" is made up of shallow Hals and Haleys who have been voted in by other members while less attractive singles are shown the virtual door. That is, until a virus opened the floodgates letting in 30,000 "less than aesthetically pleasing" people to mingle with the elite.