With the holiday season in full swing, it’s easy to forget about the importance of privacy and security in this world of endless digital devices. More and more of our electronics are constantly connected to the Internet through cloud services, providing more and more entry points into our homes for those with nefarious intentions. McAfee reached out to me with some tips on staying secure when using different devices, and they’re good enough to be shared, as they just might help you avoid a privacy-related disaster. Additionally, McAfee is running a sweepstakes where the grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to Iceland. More details on that at the end of this article.
Yesterday, McAfee pushed out a DAT file for its Enterprise virus-scanning software that tracked down a core Windows XP system file and quarantined it as malware. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of computer systems were damaged as a result. Windows XP cannot run without the quarantined file, SVCHOST.EXE, and as a result, automatically shut itself down. Other weird settings and symptoms were evident, such as taskbars disappearing, blue-screens-of-death, and other crash-related symptoms.
On one hand, relief simply did not come fast enough. On the other…what more could McAfee have done to repair the damage? McAfee rolled back the virus definition as quickly as it found out, and released an addendum file that could be manually applied to infected PCs. The servers hosting the offered file were strained by the demand, resulting in disconnect errors and failures to update the McAfee software.
“We believe that this incident has impacted less than one half of one percent of our enterprise accounts globally, and a fraction of that within the consumer base,” said Barry McPherson, on McAfee’s blog Wednesday. He goes on to identify the error in the update, stating that it was an attempt to detect a potentially damaging virus, and the update “clearly did more harm than good.”
“Having talked to literally hundreds of my colleagues around the world and emailed thousands to try and find the best way to correct these issues, let me say this has not been my favorite day. Not for me, or for McAfee. Not by a long shot.”
Read More | McAfee SI Blog
According to McAffee CTO George Kurtz the cyber-attacks that occurred in January targed a small number of employees who controlled source code management systems. These source code management systems handle the myriad changes that developers make as they write software, the breach of which can have a cascade effect across multiple levels of Google and as many as 30 other business targeted in the January attacks. Aside from being awesome and using ‘cyber-attack’ in a sentence, I also have some valuable source-code for sale at rock-bottom prices; check out my store at ‘CyberNinjaAssassinCassanova138’ on eBay.
Read More | ComputerUser
Using sources such as Google Zeitgeist and Yahoo 2008 Year in Review, McAfee analyzed search terms to come up with list of the 10 riskiest. Shane Keats and team analyzed over 2,600 items and say that hackers look for “crowds” at sites like MySpace or users who are about to take an online action such as downloading an MP3.
1. Word Unscrambler
4. Free Music Downloads
5. Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones and Lezak Wins 4x 100m Relay
6. Free Music
7. Game Cheats
8. Printable Fill in Puzzles
9. Free Ringtones
We know that security experts are fairly nervous of late and this video of Skyscraper Space Invaders seemed to really freak out McAffee. “Perhaps the first demo was just for fun, but the others will have less juvenile goals,” said McAfee Avert Labs researcher Francois Paget.
Yves Peitzner, director of Brainstormclub, the German company that produced the video, said that this was a promotional idea for a video game conference. They produced it even when the planners backed out. Two buildings in Munich were used and the game was added in post production.
Read More | Wired
McAfee commissioned spam expert Richi Jennings to study its environmental impact. The results were that the energy used in transmitting and deleting is equal to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes. Furthermore, the GHG emissions were equivalent to 3.1 million automobiles. Last year, McColo was taken offline and the spam volume dropped 70%, with the energy savings equal to taking 2.2 million cars off the road that day. Sign up at McAfee if you would like to download the entire report, although we suggest you don’t print it to save a tree.
Read More | McAfee
Another virus has reared its
ugly head, this time in the guise of puppies for Valentine’s Day. Known as the Valentine Devkit, click on it and you will see the pooches and but also download lloveexe.exe, start.exe.or something similar. Be very careful if you decide to create an e-card for the holiday as there are those above as well as fake Hallmark cards that will infect your computer with malware.
Read More | McAfee Avert Labs