Malware Tips

Firewalls and Proxies

In building construction, a firewall is a structure designed to contain building fires. For example, an attic crawlspace that covers the entire length of the building would allow a fire to roar from one end of the building to the other. Breaking up the crawlspace with non-flammable walls helps to slow the spread of a fire.

Network firewalls have a similar function. A firewall is a network security system, either a program or an actual device, that breaks up a network to contain viruses and hackers.

Imagine two large fish tanks side by side, separated by a wall. We want to allow the blue fish to mingle, but we need to keep the carnivorous fish on the left away from the baby fish on the right. If we opened a computer-controlled door in the wall, programmed to only allow blue fish to pass but no one else, that would be a fishtank firewall.

Network firewalls “segment” the network. Local traffic, the information that moves between the computers in that segment, doesn’t go through the firewall to the larger network outside. And information that doesn’t need to reach anyone inside the firewall is blocked out, just like the carnivorous fish in our example.

A Proxy is another network security tool. Proxies are replacements for Internet servers. When a computer requests a website from the internet, a main hub provides the IP address. A firewall can interfere with this, and declare that no one inside the firewall can surf the Internet. The Proxy is then the “official” way past the firewall.

A proxy server has a list of “authorized” websites. When the user’s computer requests the address from the Internet, the proxy checks it against the list, and if the website is approved, it authorizes the firewall to let the traffic through. If the website is not approved, then the firewall sends a message saying “you are not authorized to visit this website.”

Backdoor Programs

It’s the ultimate nightmare for a computer user, the idea that someone outside the computer can take over. The official “technical” term is Remote Administration, but hackers are more likely to use the word Backdoor.

With Windows XP, remote administration comes pre-installed. Windows XP has an option called Remote Assistance, where an XP technician can “remote in” and take over your computer. The remote tech has as much control over your system as if he was sitting there at the keyboard.

The hackers predate Microsoft by several years.

NetBus, for example, was designed in 1998 by Carl-Fredric Neikter, and many of the backdoor programs since then have followed a similar design.

The program comes in two parts, the Client, and the Server. The server is the part that has to be installed on the machine to be hacked, and the Client is the controlling system. Once the Server program has been installed, the Client has almost total control, from dangerous things like recording keystrokes or launching programs to annoying things like opening the CD tray. Netbus 2.0 Pro was even marketed commercially as a remote administration program.

Some other backdoor programs are Back Orifice (which was named as a pun on Microsoft’s Back Office program), SubSeven, and Poison Ivy.

Any backdoor program allows an outsider full, unrestricted access to the hacked computer. The hacker can copy information off of the computer, activate webcams, even remotely shut down or crash the computer. Netbus and SubSeven are very popular among “script kiddies.”

In one major case in 1999, a law professor was fired and charged because system administrators found child pornography on his system. He was acquitted, almost five years later, when the court was shown that Netbus was used to copy the images onto the computer.

Most backdoor programs are easily stopped by antivirus and firewall programs.

Malware Overview

Do you know what goes on under the hood of your car? Do you know the solution for a warning light on the dash? Do you know what’s wrong with the car if it starts making strange noises or loses power?

Those same questions can be asked about your computer.

Computers can have many of the same problems as cars. Engine problems can cause cars to lose power, just like a large program can take up too much of the computer for anything else to run. Where an engine could “throw a rod” or “break a timing chain,” computers can mysteriously reboot or die with the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death.”

We expect that our car will bog down sometimes. You can’t expect a car to perform as well when pulling a two-ton trailer up a five degree hill. Likewise, when a computer gets bogged down with a big project, you would expect it to respond a little slower.

What you don’t expect is for either the car or the computer to bog down or die when we’re not pushing so hard.

One of the things that “Malware” can do is exactly that. It forces the computer to work harder, taking power away from our programs. It would be like sneaking a dozen cinderblocks into the back of the family car right before the trip.

“Malware” is software that works without the user’s knowledge and consent. Sometimes called “badware,” it covers a wide range of programs, including computer viruses, spyware, adware, and more. Adware can bog down the computer, because it contacts websites to download fresh ads. Spyware collects data on you and the websites you visit and returns all of that data to the host website. And viruses just want to find a way to spread to other computers.

But most importantly, malware runs “under the hoood” and behind your back, so that you don’t even know that it’s there.

Malware FAQs

What Is Spyware? An Overview of Spy and Malware

 

Spyware is malicious software that can intercept and take control of your computer without your knowledge or consent. The presence of spyware in the computer of a person is a major threat to the privacy and productivity of a person. Spyware can get very easily installed to your computer without your knowledge. There are some software which can help you in fighting off the menace of spyware. Reading spyware reviews can help you in buying the best spyware remover available in the market. For, there are different types of spyware removers available in the market.

Spyware reviews contain all the features of the spyware remover.

The reviews tell the customers about all the different features of the particular spyware remover. You can come to know about the effectiveness of the spyware remover. You can find the reviews from magazines, newspapers and different online sites. Reviews are reliable as they are written by people who have already used the product. Thus you can also come to know about the negative aspects of the software as well. The spyware reviews can help you in choosing to buy the remover which best suits your requirements.

Spyware is not the same as worms and virus found in the computers. Spyware is designed to exploit the infected computers for commercial gains by the makers. The typical tactic adopted by spyware is through the use of pop up advertisements, theft of personal information and also monitoring the web browsing activity of the user.

The spyware which gets installed in your computer without your knowledge monitors your internet habit and this information is sent out to a third party who can use this for advertisement purpose.

Different types of spyware exist so it becomes very difficult to remove them from the infected computers. The most common form of spyware is adware. Adware works through sending one pop up ad after another pop up ad for different products and services while you are working online on your computer. The adware maker is thus able to collect your personal information and then starts bombarding you with spam and junk emails. This can at times become very frustrating to the user. In fact at times spam and junk emails outnumber the normal emails which you receive daily in your mail inbox.

There are some online companies that give its customers free trail of the spyware removers. You can read spyware reviews and find out about sites which provide its customers with such facilities. You can visit such sites and download the software and see for your self if it is effective for you or not. Such offers will help you in buying the spyware remover that will suit your requirements.

Always ensure that you go through different spyware reviews before you actually purchase the one. If you do not purchase the proper spy remover you could end up causing damage to your computer. Spyware reviews are the best sources to help you out in buying the best spyware remover.

Malware or Spyware

Malware is a new term used to describe malicious “mal” software “ware” that has no other purpose other than to destroy or disrupt a computer. Spyware and adware are considered to be malware.

There is only one reason for spyware to be put on your computer, and that’s to make money, and no, not money for you. When you download those funny and comical files that your friends e mailed to you, free video or music files, free wallpaper, etc. spyware usually comes attached.

The spyware industry is a billion dollar industry. There are people getting very rich selling the information they track about you and hundreds of thousands just like you.

Adware is a software program that also is attached with free downloads of many kinds. What adware does is cause pop ups on your computer, even when you’re done with the initial site you visited. That means that anytime you’re on your computer, surfing, checking e mail, or even working, annoying pop ups will appear.

There are ways for your to protect your computer. The first is for you to perform an on demand scan of your computer on a regular basis with anti spyware software.

It is suggested that you re-boot your computer after the initial scan and then re-scan to make sure that there are no “ticklers” left behind on your computer. These ticklers are designed to reinstall spyware. Don’t forget to run your regular anti virus software on a regular basis.

Next, stay away from free downloads. Don’t open up unsolicited e mail from anyone. Delete it from your server without opening it.

It seems wrong that people can do this to you, and it is.

It would be nice if it was against the law too. Well, someday it might be. There is a case in court in the State of New York right now. The State is suing a Los Angeles based company called Intermix Media for placing unwanted spyware on computers. If the State of New York is successful it could be the end of spyware.

Malware!

The five types of malware are:

Virus: A virus is a computer program that has been coded to replicate itself and infect a computer without the user’s knowledge. A virus spreads from computer to computer by infecting network files as well as CDs, USB drives, and other forms of removable media.
The best free anti-virus is AVG anti-virus which can be found at http://free.grisoft.com/ .

Trojan horse: Trojan horse or just Trojan is a program which looks legitimate but performs illegitimate actions such as granting full access to the intruder, installing a keylogger, disabling security software and as an invisible downloader and spywares. Spybot Search and Destroy is a free program that can find and delete Trojan horses and spywares. It can be found at http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

Adware: Adware (advertising supported software) is a software bundle which automatically downloads and displays advertisements to a computer in which it is installed. Adwares can be classified as privacy invading software. It is seen as a way to recover development costs by software developers. The best program to combat adwares is Ad-Aware 2007 and it can be downloaded at http://www.lavasoftusa.com/products/ad_aware_free.php

Rootkit: A rootkit is a program which has been coded to take complete (or root) control of the system without the user’s knowledge. Rootkits take full control of the operating system and therefore cannot usually be removed by anti-virus software. Rootkits usually modify the boot sector of the operating system or disguise as drivers and load during boot up. As a result, it is usually hard to delete them.

CompuClever Anti Virus

Malware Info

Malware May Be Hard At Work On Your Computer

If you’ve been using a personal computer for some time the word “Malware” gets on your nerves. Malware is the nice term for malicious software, anyone that has had their PC corrupted by it will use a different choice of words. Malicious software includes viruses, adware, spyware, and Trojans.

If you don’t take precautions they will take over your computer.

Viruses are probably the most common type of malware. Viruses can do all kinds of maddening things to your computer. They can erase all the files on your hard drive, cause your computer to close windows without reason, they can eventually cause your system to not even turn on.

Adware is another type of Malware that is not quite as openly malicious as a virus but can be just as annoying. Adware is a type of software that people inadvertently download onto their computer.

They may download a screensaver or a video game and before you no it your whole desktop has changed. Adware is used to monitor a persons surfing habits so that the person can market specific messages to them. If you’re getting a lot of pop ups and banner advertising, it’s probably Adware at work.

Spyware is similar to adware but in addition to monitoring your surfing it can also record your keystrokes. The real scare to spyware is that it is looking for you to put in personal data such as financial information, like a social security number, credit card numbers, banking accounts. Like adware, spyware usually finds its way onto your hard drive through some sort of freeware download.

Trojans are some of the most dangerous types of malware.

Many Trojans. are downloaded to your computer by hackers and steal your personal and financial data and then report it back to a hacker database. Most trojans are sometimes downloaded by clicking links in email that look normal but are really hyperlinks to hacker databases where the Trojan is then downloaded to your computer.

The good news is that you can protect your information and your computer by using anti virus or anti malware software.

If you have a specific problem with one kind of malware, you might want to buy a specific product, but for all round protection, virus software usually works the best.

Virus software works by scanning your computer files, searching for viruses and malware files. Scanning your computer files can take a few minutes to a few hours depending on how big your hard drive is. Once a virus or malware file is found, the virus software puts the file in an isolation area. At the end of the scan, the virus software reports the list of any malware files found and asks what you want to do with the files. You can then erase all the files or keep them isolated until you know what they are.

Virus Overview

Computer Viruses are one of the biggest “bogeyman” of the Internet, and with attacks by Melissa, ILoveYou, Nimda, and Michelangelo, there are damage estimates and virus warnings all over the Internet. But what are they really?

A virus is a program that spreads to other computers. Like all forms of malware, it both runs without the user’s knowledge or permission and it can interfere with other programs that are trying to run on the same computer. Some viruses also carry a payload, like ticking time bombs. On a given date, or after a certain time after the computer is infected, the virus will “trigger.” This trigger can damage files, erase drives, or attack other systems over the Internet.

Viruses have two major goals. First, they need to be run and installed on the infected computer, and two, they need to spread to other computers. And they need to meet these two goals without alerting the owner of the computer.

There are a wide variety of ways for a virus to infect a system. Many early viruses used the “boot sector” of a floppy disk as their infection point. If the user powered on the computer with an infected floppy disk in the drive, the computer would try to boot from the floppy.

The virus would infect the system, but make it look like the computer had tried to boot from a blank floppy disk. The virus met both goals at the same time, because every time a new disk was inserted into the drive, the virus would put another copy of itself into the boot sector. Today, floppy disks are far less common, and boot sector viruses have all but disappeared.

One of the most common infection routes today is by email attachment. Many viruses today will even search the address book and send out emails without the owner’s knowledge.

Adware Overview

Adware is advertising delivered directly to your computer. Generally, a program puts ads on the screen at some regular interval. In some cases, this program can be installed without the user’s knowledge, but not always. Many programs clearly state on install that “this program is supported by advertising, and if you turn off the advertising, you also shut down the program.”

Adware tends to be a “grey area” in the malware family. Yes, it can run without the user’s knowledge, and yes, it can bog down the system (especially when the adware program goes online to retrieve new ads to display). At the same time, adware is generally more open about what it does, giving the user the choice to install the program the adware is attached to.

Adware is most often tied into Internet Explorer somehow. The ads that appear are browser windows.

When it’s installed above-board, adware is generally accepted by the internet community as a valid marketing system, even though it can include elements of spyware (ie, it tracks information, and uses that information to deliver targeted ads to the user). If one user of a system installs adware on a system, and another user is then tracked, then the program crosses the line from adware to spyware–because the second user is being tracked without their consent.

Some other forms of adware have used sneaky programming tricks to hide or cover website advertising. For example, an adware program can read an incoming website, and learn the location of a banner ad on that page. Then, the program can use that information to put an ad of it’s own in the exact same spot, hiding the legitimate ad. This deceptive use of adware is often called “stealware” because it steals the advertising space from the original website.

Spyware Overview

Imagine a program that watches your computer.

It sits in memory, watching everything the computer does–the websites it displays, the passwords used to get into them, the advertisements that get clicked on. This program silently and secretly gathers all of this information, without the user’s knowledge. Then, at some point, it connects to a server somewhere on the Internet, and hands over this collection–again, without letting the owner of the computer know what it’s done.

Scary thought?

Experts believe that at least six out of ten perhaps as many as nine out of ten computers on the Internet have this kind of malware installed. Like a virus, many spyware programs run without the user’s consent or knowledge.

There is an entire industry devoted to gathering demographics information through the use of spyware, and there is another industry that’s grown to combat spyware.

Spyware is meant to capture “demographics.” This is meant to help advertisers better target their ads. For example, if a piece of spyware reports that the user recently visited websites for car dealerships, then the spyware server would then send ads for cars to the computer.

Many people, however, regard this as an invasion of privacy. Spyware companies claim to only gather “generic” information, like web site addresses and zip codes, but it’s still very easy to gather critical information. Anything entered into a web form can end up in the spyware collection–such things as phone numbers, email addresses, credit card numbers, and even social security numbers can all find their way into a spyware database.

In the end, it comes down to personal preference. Some popular programs have spyware attached, and will quit working if the spyware is uninstalled–so the user has to decide whether that program is worth it.

Provided, of course, the user even knows that the spyware is running on his system.