The Heartbleed Aftermath

by: Doug Zbikowski

heartbleed[1]It’s been over a month since the Heartbleed bug brought Internet security to the forefront of the news, and according to Errata Security’s Robert Graham, more than 300,000 servers across the globe are still vulnerable. This is a big drop from the 600,000 initially detected when the vulnerability first became public, but it’s still a large number.

After its discovery earlier this year, Heartbleed is still a serious threat because it can potentially release usernames, credit card information, passwords, and other personal data to attackers. It was determined a flaw in OpenSSL, a common tool used to encrypt and secure communication between a user to a server, is the source of this security breach.

Graham’s numbers are concerning, and they might just be the tip of the iceberg.

His testing was done by scanning port 443 (a port is a “channel” used in Internet communication that is reserved for a specific function. Port 443 is typically used for SSL traffic). There may be thousands…even millions…more servers out there using undetected alternate ports that are still unpatched. Read more of this post

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New vulnerability endangers Internet Explorer users

By: Doug Zbikowski

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UPDATE (May 1, 2014, 1:30pm ET): Microsoft has released an emergency patch for the Internet Explorer vulnerability. In a surprise move, they also released an update for Windows XP! Head over to Windows Update to get it.

A new bug has been discovered that could put Internet Explorer users at serious risk. Until the problem is fixed security experts are calling on users to switch to an alternative browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. In a rare move, the US Government is advising to users to switch to another browser until Internet Explorer is fixed.

On April 26th, 2014, Microsoft announced that all versions of Internet Explorer are at risk for “drive-by” attacks from malicious websites. This new vulnerability, dubbed CVE-2014-1776, has the potential to give hackers direct access to your computer, allowing infected web sites to install malicious applications, create new Windows accounts, and change or delete data stored on the computer. Disturbingly, these attacks have actually been observed in the wild by Internet security firm FireEye, who started observing this type of attack as early as February. Microsoft says attacks seem to be coming from websites that feature advertisement feeds or user-provided content where an attacker could insert malicious code. At this time it is unknown whether Microsoft will release an emergency patch or wait until patch Tuesday on May 13th to fix the vulnerability. Read more of this post

Microsoft kills Windows XP – so now what?

by: Doug Zbikowski

April 9th, 2014 – a day that will live in computer infamy.

Windows XP was unleashed on the market on August 21st, 2001, and it’s an example of an operating system that may have been made a bit too well. Normally, versions of Windows become so outdated and frustrating that people mob stores when a new version is released. This never really happened with XP. People just kept using it, Microsoft kept updating it, and it seemed to work well enough for everyone. If it works, why change? Read more of this post

Passwords: Your First Line of Defense in Internet Safety

Loginby: Doug Zbikowski

It’s amazing how many Internet services an average person uses. For example I’ll pick on my parents as they’re the least tech-
savvy people I can think of at the moment: they fall in the “light user” category, yet in an average week they may log into :

  • email
  • Facebook
  • a couple of banks
  • investment accounts
  • health insurance website
  • several retail store accounts
  • Amazon
  • credit card services
  • utility services
  • Netflix

…and probably more. That’s 10+ services for a novice user on a weekly basis. Each one of these services requires a way to identify yourself, and that’s usually in the form of a username and password. Read more of this post

Cryptolocker- What You Need To Know

Within the last month, Internet security companies have discovered a new type of “ransomware” named Cryptolocker.

Ransomware has been around for a while. You may have seen those fake popup windows that show up on some websites saying “Your Computer is Infected! Click here to clean it!” Once you click, you’re prompted to run some shady software, and then that software keeps throwing up “Pay me or these screens will keep popping up” warnings.

Rogue antivirus software is the most common type of ransomware, but Cryptolocker puts a new twist on holding your computer hostage…and it’s both genius and a scary at the damage it can do. Unlike rogue antivirus software (which pretty much just keeps generating pop-up windows), Cryptolocker searches out all of your documents, photos, music files…anything you hold dear on your computer, and then proceeds to encrypt them with military-grade encryption. After it does this, a countdown screen appears and you have until the timer runs out to pay $300 (US) to obtain the key. As mentioned this is military grade encryption, meaning it has one key to unlock your files, and if that key is lost not even the NSA can get your files back. Read more of this post

Be careful out there: Conduit Search spyware is annoying the Internet

UPDATE: In early 2014 a more aggressive version of Conduit Search started showing up. If the below instructions are not effective, we would suggest using Malwarebytes to remove the infection. You can download a free version of Malwarebytes here. (During installation, you may want to uncheck the “Enable free trial of Malwarebytes Anti-malware Premium” box if you don’t want a 30 day trial of the premium software to install.) Once installed, simply click “Scan Now” and Conduit Search (as well as any other infections) should be cleared up pretty quickly. Business professionals may want to consider TOAST.net’s Managed Antivirus product instead, which will block and clean infections as well as send you a regular security report to help you manage your network.

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Original Article:

We’re seeing a lot of reports of something called Conduit Search showing up on customer computers over the last few weeks, causing problems ranging from an inability to get to certain websites to getting completely locked out of your Internet connection. Conduit Search is essentially a
browser hijacker: a program or an add-on that attaches to your web browser and changes settings in ways you did not authorize.  In this case, browsers that are infected with Conduit will have their home page changed to search.conduit.com, and any searches performed will go through Conduit’s search engine rather than Google, Bing, Yahoo, or whatever search engine you are used to using. This search information is collected by Conduit for marketing and ads, then search results are displayed that make the business money with each click. Read more of this post

Security Firms Recommend Disabling Java Due To New Exploit

Security researchers are recommending users disable Java on their computers after an exploit has been discovered that could possibly allow a malicious website to take control of your computer.

Java, a set of software tools that allows advanced features to run on websites, currently has a vulnerability that can allow an attacker to run unauthorized applications on a vulnerable computer. Being a zero-day vulnerability, antivirus firms and Oracle (the manufacturers of Java), have not had time to implement a fix, leaving both PC’s and Macs unprotected until a patch becomes available. Security firm Alien Vault as reported websites using this exploit are already showing up in the wild. Read more of this post

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