Spyware Informer

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Spyware Remover

Spyware is a malicious piece of code that snoops around your computer in search of personal information such as login passwords and credit card numbers. The stolen information is sent to online advertisers or unauthorized persons without your knowledge.

Free spyware removal service is offered by almost all Web sites dealing with security issues. The spyware removal tool can be downloaded onto your computer from those Web sites. The installation process is usually simple, requiring just a few clicks. Once installed, the free spyware removal tool detects the spyware, removes any it finds, and monitors the network to prevent the future entry of other spyware. The tool also helps in preventing unauthorized Internet setting changes and transfer of personal data to outside sources. The elimination of spyware results in faster performance and less pop-ups.

It is estimated that nearly 90% of the computers connected to the Internet are infected with spyware. Very few computer users are not even aware of the spyware present in their machines. This is why it is important to be aware of Spyware and to use the tools available to prevent further damage.

Spyware removal programs rescue your computer system by tracking down the spyware and completely removing it. Most of these special software programs are capable of blocking future spyware from entering your computer. Many good spyware remover programs are available online. Numerous software security companies offer spyware removal programs for free.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Anti Spyware - McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006

McAfee Internet Security Suite pulls together the SpamKiller, VirusScan, Privacy Service, and Personal Firewall Plus products. Its Security Center integrates and tracks the status of these modules and of most retail antivirus products (but not corporate versions). In Microsoft Windows XP, it verifies Windows Update status, making it a full replacement for the Windows XP SP2 Security Center. Though all the components performed adequately, it was the VirusScan module that really excelled on our Labs tests.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

McAfee, Inc launches Stop Spyware initiative

McAfee, Inc (NYSE: MFE), a provider of intrusion prevention and risk management solutions, announced on Tuesday (15 November) the beginning of McAfee Stop Spyware Week, an initiative that is designed to raise awareness of the threats posed by spyware and other potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

In a study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance, 53% of respondents said they had spyware on their computers, but when checked, 80% of computers were infected with spyware. Separate research by the Ponemon Institute showed that 42% of computer users infected with spyware had no idea how it landed on their computer.

In addition to increasing awareness of spyware and PUPs, the aim of the initiative is to educate people about the threats of PUPs and provide tips for avoiding potential infections. Computer users can visit http://www.mcafee.com/stopspyware to download a free trial to one of McAfee's anti-spyware software programs, the company claims.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Fix a slow starting PC using these tips

Many things happen when you start your computer. Windows starts along with any programs that you have running in the background. Unfortunately, this is also the time when malicious programs like to grab hold of your system.

A recent survey indicated that nine out of 10 computers have been hit by a virus or malicious adware program. That’s why you should be using anti-spyware and anti-virus software on your computer. If you are not, check out my Web site today for some suggestions and downloads.

The security programs that I recommend offer great protection, but they're not always foolproof. Malicious programs can avoid detection and make a home on your hard drive. So it pays to keep an eye on the inner workings of Windows. And great news--you don't have to be an engineer to do it.

Know your processes

Programs running on your computer are called processes. They can include spyware and viruses that start automatically with Windows and run in the background. Fortunately, processes are easy to find.

To get a look at the processes on your computer, start Windows' Task Manager. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and select Task Manager. Then select the Processes tab. You'll see a list of programs that are running.

Malicious programs will typically be listed along with everything else. Spotting them sounds like a simple task. But the process names are notoriously obscure. Windows Task Manager doesn't give enough information to differentiate good processes from bad.

Figuring out what the processes do

There are a handful of programs available online that can give much more detailed information. A few examples are Process Explorer (free), Process Manager ($13) and Security Task Manager ($29). They can give you process descriptions, locations, and sources (such as software company names).

If you see company names you've never heard of or blank entries, research the suspicious processes online. Reference lists such as Process Library help. You can also search process names using Google.

Inspecting processes is also a great way to find unnecessary startup programs. Instant messengers and music players are often set to start with Windows, whether you need them or not. They can eat up your computer's memory and slow things down. I wrote a previous tip explaining a simple way to stop them. You can read it on my Web site.

Be careful. If you are not sure what a process does, thoroughly investigate it before deleting it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Top Ten viruses most frequently detected by Panda ActiveScan in March

Despite a significant number of infections in general in March, there have been no major changes to the ranking of virus activity. As with previous months, the FTP script associated with the Sdbot family was the most frequently detected malicious code last month, and overall, nine out of ten of the viruses in the ranking remained unchanged since February.

The second most frequently detected threat throughout the month was the Netsky.P worm, which uses email and file sharing programs in order to spread, and which exploits a vulnerability in Outlook preview pane in systems that have not been updated. Despite having been in circulation for two years, it is still one of the most ubiquitous threats.

Another frequently detected threat was Exploit/Metafile, an exploit of a vulnerability in the processing of WMF files in Windows. Since it first appeared, this vulnerability has been widely exploited on all types of web pages hosting malware, thanks to the large number of computers that are not updated.

The ranking also includes threats such as Tearec.A (CME-24), known as Kamasutra, responsible for considerable alarm due to its activation on the third of each month, even though the repercussions were less serious than first feared, or Sober.AH (CME-681), which caused alert levels to be raised to orange in November. Further down the ranking came Alcan.A, the culprit in 0.54 percent of cases, the generic detection for the Qhost family, the generic detection for the Gaobot bots, and Parite.B.

Malware % frequency


The only new appearance in this month’s Top Ten is the Trojan Lowzones.QF, a type of malware that can capture screenshots or steal personal data from compromised computers.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

How to protect against inappropriate Internet content

Internet is now the greatest source of information that has ever existed. Online content is virtually limitless and there is practically no topic for which exhaustive information doesn't exist on the Web. Millions of pages are now at the fingertips of anyone who wants them, making the Internet an invaluable tool for users across the globe.

Another advantage of the Internet is that it is a forum for free speech, as information can be published without censorship of any kind. This however can have a downside, as there are people who exploit such freedom to publish content supporting terrorism or pedophilia, extreme violence or offensive sexual material, and even pages inducing others to commit suicide. Is it therefore so wise for everyone to have completely free access to all types of content?

Given the relatively short period of time that the Internet has been in existence, there is as yet no sufficiently reliable research to answer this question, although stories do appear about kidnappings and even murders that were plotted on the Internet and such like. There is therefore, reason to suggest that there should be some control over what each user can access. All the more so considering the number of young children worldwide that often connect to the Internet.

The problem of inappropriate web content also affects the workplace. According to research by Cobion, between 30% and 40% of Internet use in the workplace is not work-related and 60% of employees with access to the Internet use the resource for personal reasons. Another telling statistic is that some 70% of visits to pornographic websites are during office hours.

Such figures evidently highlight issues concerning both loss of productivity and unnecessary use of network bandwidth, not to mention the possible legal consequences arising from say, downloading illegal files from P2P networks.

Even though some countries have tried to regulate the content to which users have access, the global nature of the Internet makes this a virtually impossible task. Specific, local tools are needed to offer proper control of unproductive or unsuitable Web content.

Controlling access to inappropriate Internet content

With home computers, the greatest danger naturally lies where young children could have completely uncontrolled access to the Internet. In this case, manual content filtering can be the solution using the features included in the browser itself or, better still, some kind of application offering parental control functions.

In the case of companies, particularly medium to large companies, manual control is virtually impossible. In this case, there are proxy servers that can restrict access for certain users, although they cannot actually filter content. It is therefore advisable, given the large number of users of the network, to have a machine dedicated exclusively to this task.

In addition, bearing in mind that there are web pages designed to foil some existing content filters, it is a good idea to ensure that the tool you are using can filter both textual and graphic content.

Monday, April 10, 2006

iMesh adds instant messaging to P2P service

One of the oldest peer-to-peer (P2P) services, iMesh, is offering instant messaging and an enhanced search function in its upcoming client. iMesh 6.5 will allow users to send messages and share songs with other users. In addition, friends can simultaneously listen to the same songs with the "Listen Together" feature.

Originally launched back in 1999, iMesh has had a checkered past. In the first several years, iMesh, along with other P2P services faced lawsuits from the RIAA. In addition, there were many complaints that files harbored spyware and viruses. The company has since cleaned up the files available and now allows users to legally download these files without fear of the RIAA serving them with a lawsuit. Version 6 of the service was the first RIAA approved P2P service. iMesh's website states that the service is "100% Clean" and free of virus, spyware and adware.

Kaspersky Lab Partners With Netintelligence To Provide Virus And Firewall Protection

Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s leading developers of secure content management solutions, has signed a partnership with Netintelligence, an internet security company. The agreement will enable Netintelligence to offer its business and home customers Kaspersky Lab’s anti-virus and firewall protection to combat the growing threat of web and email-borne viruses. Under the terms of partnership, Netintelligence will incorporate Kaspersky Lab’s products into its Netintelligence Internet Security and Netintelligence Parental Control solutions.

Netintelligence specialises in providing a comprehensive internet security service, protecting home users against viruses and spyware, web filtering and blocking, instant messenger and P2P control. The company also protects SMEs across several sectors, including education and local authorities. Its wide range of customers include Manchester City Council, Bett Homes, The Royal Mint, and CRISIS, among others.

Phil Worms, Product and Marketing Director at Netintelligence, explains the decision to partner with Kaspersky Lab: “Virus and firewall protection is extremely important for our customers and it was vital that our internet security solution protected them from current and new threats. Our main criterion was that the product set had to provide the most robust protection available against threats, and after looking at several products, we felt that the Kaspersky Lab offerings were the best available in the market.”

“We also wanted to partner with a company whose security solutions could easily integrate into our service and whose updates could be pushed out to customers through our own web-based security platform. Kaspersky Lab’s products are easily incorporated within our own product which means there aren’t any additional layers of administration for either ourselves or more importantly our customers.”

Vanessa Mitchell, OEM Manager, Kaspersky Lab UK, comments: “Our mutual knowledge of the home and SME markets makes the partnership a natural fit. We look forward to protecting Netintelligence’s customers from the latest malware threats and hacker attacks via our hourly anti-virus and anti-spyware updates.”

Cell Phone Spy Actually Trojan

A $50 program that installs secretly on cell phones to monitor calls and text messages of wayward spouses was dubbed a Trojan horse spy by a security company Wednesday.
FlexiSpy, said its distributor, Thailand-based Vervata, is "a remote activity logger for mobile phones…[that] will sliently [sic] retrive [sic] and report all phone activity to an email address that you specify."

It markets the $50 program as a way to snoop on spouses' and kids' phone conversations and text messaging. FlexiSpy captures data, then transmits it to Vervata's servers, from where users can retrieve call logs and full text of all SMS messages.

Finnish security firm F-Secure calls it a Trojan.

"This application installs itself without any kind of indication as to what it is. And when it is installed on the phone it completely hides itself from the user," wrote F-Secure researcher Jarno Niemela on the company's blog.

Niemela warned that those traits made it a perfect hacker tool. "The application could easily be used by malware installing it as part of its payload, or a hacker could simply send it to a victim over Bluetooth and trust that there are enough curious people to install it," he said.

Vervata was not immediately available for comment, but it defended FlexiSpy on its own Web site. "FlexiSpy is not a Virus or Trojan. FlexiSpy requires to be consciously installed and configured by someone, unlike a Virus or Trojan which spreads automatically without any action."

Nonetheless, FlexiSpy, which works on Nokia cell phones running the Symbian S60 operating system, has been tagged as a Trojan by F-Secure; a signature to detect the software has been added to the company's database. The signature does not delete FlexiSpy, but does warn the cell phone's owner that his or her conversations are being monitored.

According to its Web site, Vervata is working on a more advanced version of the surveillance software. FlexiSpy Pro will offer up information on e-mail sent via cell phone, and will include a real-time eavesdrop feature that lets users "listen in on what [the cell phone's user is] doing from anywhere in the world!"