Mac OS and Malware Issues

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Two new Mac OS malware variants have been discovered as soon as the FlashBack Trojan issue is staring to decline. Discovered by Kaspersky, they are versions of SabPub – an information-stealing Trojan.

Mac OS is starting to get it’s own share of malware attacks now that it has grabbed a big marketshare. But still, Apple continues the won’t-get-infected-by-virus  proposition about the OS. And this is one of the features that PC consumers are anticipating everytime they buy these machines/devices. And that they’re safe from malwares without anything to be done.

Yes it won't get infected by Windows-based viruses.

It’s misleading. Macs won’t really get infected by malwares/viruses that are Windows-based. But they may get infected by those that are made for Macs. Even if those malwares attack third-party softwares (Java, Flash, etc.), it’s just inevitable to install them because they are part of everyday browsing and other computer tasks. Once they’re infected, Mac users would also be exposed to what their Windows counterparts are experiencing, e.g. stolen credentials and the like.

Apple should start educating its consumers about computer security on Macs. There’s nothing wrong on telling your users to install an anti-virus or that they should be extra careful when browsing the web. They should stop this misleading information about a virus-free Mac OS.

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Free Apps for Computer Security

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Currently comprising more than 90% of the market share of operating systems usage,  the Windows operating system has always been a target of virus makers and other malwares (malicious software). Even the security-heightened Windows 7 is not cleared from these security issues. Recently, Microsoft pointed out that the “Black Screen of Death” may be caused by malware. According to their blog, the malware families such as Daonol may be causing this behavior to some Windows users. There was a fix given out by PrevX. But according to them, not all black screen problems may be fixed by their method. If malware is the culprit of this problem, then the adage “Prevention is better than cure” still applies.

There are many security softwares available in the tech market. But I’m going to present three free apps (free versions I’m currently using) that you may use to protect your Windows system at home.

1. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

Now on its 9.0 version, AVG Free is a very effective anti-virus especially for home users. According to TopTenReviews,

AVG Anti-Virus

AVG Anti-Virus

AVG managed 95% detection efficiency. It has less false positives, easy to install and use, and there’s the free virus definition updates. This separates AVG from other anti-virus apps. Others might be as effective as AVG but they don’t offer free updates. Others might give you the freebies but not as effective as AVG.

One problem I have with AVG is the LinkScanner. Yes, this feature protects you from code exploits as you do web searches. The thing is, it slows down your computer during the process. If you think your browser can handle the link checking, you may do a custom install of AVG then deselect the feature from the installation menu.

More reviews of AVG from TopTenReviews and CNET.

2. Malwarebytes Antimalware

Malwarebytes Antimalware

Malwarebytes Antimalware

This app is one of my two-punch combination against malwares/spywares. After running an anti-virus scan, the next thing to do is to run an antispyware scan. What my anti-virus didn’t detect will be swept by Malwarebytes. Spywares are not detected by anti-virus apps and most of the time, spywares bring the virus with them. That is why it’s just essential to run an antispyware scan after a virus scan. Malwarebytes is easy to use, fast, not a resource-hog, and offers free regular updates.

One drawback is that it doesn’t offer real-time protection as this feature is offered only on the paid version. Just do a regular scan basis – twice a week or every other day. That wouldn’t hurt.

More reviews from CNET and PCWorld.

3. Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free

Having one antispyware will not help you solve your problems with spywares. Most of the time two or more scans are

Lavasoft Ad-Aware

Lavasoft Ad-Aware

needed to make sure your system is clean. I paired Ad-Aware to Malwarebytes to protect my system from spywares. Lavasoft Ad-Aware is one of the best antispyware and has been in the business for a long time. It’s so reliable, easy to install and use, and now protects your system from rootkits. This app also offers free updates of its spyware definition files.

Like Malwarebytes, Ad-Aware doesn’t offer full real-time protection. This feature is offered in the Pro version.

More reviews from CNET and PCWorld.

You might want to share your own freebies for computer security. Please do so by commenting.

Sources:

MSNBC
Microsoft Technet
Prevx
CNET
PCWorld
TopTenReviews

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Enigma’s Conficker Removal Tool

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The Conficker worm, also known as Kido and Downadup, is set to attack on a hard-coded date – April 1. The worm started to creep onto Windows-based computers in November 2008. And now, on its third variant, it has grown more sophisticated and powerful. Yet, nobody is quite sure what will really happen on April 1.  Nobody knows if it’s a real threat or it’s just one of those April Fools tricks that could disrupt work or even the Internet. What’s known so far is that infected computers will try to connect to 50,000 domains and receive updates of the worm or other malwares and be under the control of a master computer. And from that point, anything is possible. Security experts think that the worm will be used to create a botnet that will be controlled by the worm’s creators so that they can steal information from infected computers, launch attacks on particular websites, or even direct infected machines to send out spam emails.

Symptoms of being infected:

1. Conficker blocks access to a number of security web sites – Try browsing Symantec’s website (http://www.symantec.com). An infected machine would bring up a “Cannot display webpage” error.

2. Conficker turns off the ability to change settings to view hidden files and folders – Open “My Computer”. From the menu, select Tools>Folder Options. Select the View tab. Select the “Show hidden files and folders” option. Click Apply then Ok. Repeat the process to check if the change took place. If it didn’t, your computer is infected.

How you get infected:

1. Conficker attacks a Windows vulnerability called MS08-067. If you haven’t updated or patched your PC, Conficker may have installed itself quietly on your system.

2. The worm copies itself on shared network folders and thumb drives.

If you think your Windows machine is infected, you can download the removal tool created by Enigma. After downloading, run the application and select Proceed to begin the worm removal. Your computer will be rebooted during the process and Conficker will be automatically removed. You may also download the removal tool from my online drive.

Sources

Snopes
Yahoo! Tech
Microsoft Technet
PC1News
Symantec
Enigma

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