This week in Malware

– recommended audiences: Home-user to Tech

I would like to have a weekly recap of Malware news on my blog. I think this would be useful to raise awareness a among home-users and maybe help inform a few fellow techs out there. This is my first edition. Feel free to give me your thoughts on this idea.

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Why read my blog?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction of this blog. Who do I want to cater to? What will I right about? And most importantly, how do I set it apart? Here are my current thoughts.

I want this blog to be helpful. The reason I started a computer repair business is because I saw a need for affordable, personal, convenient help among home PC users. I want this blog to be an extension of that helpful spirit. My blog will, therefore, focus on basic techniques and 3rd party programs to make the PC user experience more enjoyable.

Perhaps the biggest threat to the home user is the legions of Malware that abound on the “interwebs.” Because of the propensity of these threats, I will devote a lot of articles to viruses, spyware, trojans, rogues, etc. Prevention being worth gobs of cure – and easier too – I will endeavor to focus on preventative measures and education.

I, myself, am interested in some more technical aspects of computing. And, I believe it is important to share helpful information with other techs. Therefore I will write more technical articles from time to time. Because of the varying degree of technicality to my articles, I feel I should add a difficulty level to further articles.

But how will I set my blog apart? Well, a primary focus on home-users is one key item. Other than that, I am open to ideas. Please leave your comments letting me know what you would like to see.

Sandboxie

Why do you care? If you are running Windows XP you are vulnerable to a staggering amount of exploits including rootkits, and buffer overflow attacks. Many malicious programs will use these exploits to get into your systems without your (or your anti-virus’s) knowledge. One of the best ways to prevent Malware is to use a sandboxing program to isolate your system. Sandboxie is one such program. Check out these excellent posts about Sandboxie:

What is Sandboxie, and remembering to use it: http://remove-malware.com/antimalware/antimalware-tools/how-i-setup-sandboxie-for-my-family-and-clients/


Recommended settings: http://remove-malware.com/antimalware/anti-malware-howto/configuring-sandboxie-to-delete-sandbox-contents-automatically/

Remember: be safe out there.

Scare-ware and Rogue Anti-virus

A good read: http://billmullins.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/scareware-is-destroyware-not-just-malware/

Guess what I’m doing this weekend? That’s right, I’m already booked-up to remove malicious fake anti-virus programs from peoples computers. A problem that I’ve seen more and more in the last 18 months or so. Programs like these are often designed to trick you into paying for the removal of viruses and malware that aren’t even on your computer. Furthermore, they might disable your real anti-virus. Even if your current anti-virus recognizes one of these rogues you may still be at risk. They are craftily deployed to trick most users by with pop-up warnings like, “click here to remove infections.” The well meaning computer user wants to keep his computer virus free, and these rogues take advantage of this fear. While anti-virus, firewalls, and sandboxes help, education is key in helping people avoid these problems. Know what your AV’s user interface looks like. If in doubt, ctrl-alt-delete to kill a pop-up instead of clicking the X. And of course steer clear of the shadier sides of the web.
If you want more information on scare-ware and rogues, there are tons of websites out there that address these threats (but some of them are themselves malicious). One of my favorites is http://remove-malware.com/.

-Be careful out there-

Sandboxie: now for 64-bit systems

Sandboxie, an excellent sand boxing utility, is now available in 64-bit flavor. A sand box is a program that separates another running program from the rest of your system. I recommend Sandboxie to many of my clients (especially those running XP) as and added level of protection against Malware. For more details about Sandboxie check out this video review (in 3 parts).