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The Immunet Blog is maintained by the Immunet team as a forum for discussing news and issues related to AntiVirus, security and cloud technology.


Entries in AntiVirus (14)


MacDefender OSX Malware

Last week Joel Esler from the Sourcefire VRT published a blog post concerning the MacDefender OSX Malware over on the VRT blog. Similar to common PC scams, this "scamware" scares users into thinking that their machines have been infected and then captures credit card data. Joel provides great background on how this scamware works, what it does, and how users can protect against it.

Please check out the post on MacDefender and its variants for more information.


More tips for safe online shopping from Comcast

Jay Opperman, Senior Director of Security and Privacy at Comcast offers some tips for safe online shopping  that I have summarized below.  The link to Jay's post is:


Tip 1: Use anti-virus and anti-phishing software and tools -- Install active and up-to-date reputable anti-virus software on all computers to detect and remove viruses and keyloggers that can steal your identity when using credit cards or banking online. Make sure to also install anti-phishing software to ensure you don't get tricked by these kinds of online scams. Some Internet Service Providers, like Comcast, provide free anti-virus software...

Tip 2: "S" means "secure" -- When shopping on the Web, be sure you see "HTTPS://" (the "S" stands for "secure") at the beginning of the URL for any site where you plan to enter financial information. Look for a lock or a similar icon in the browser indicating that you are connected to a secure site.

Tip 3: Secure your wireless network -- It's important to secure access to home or personal networks with a password to make sure that others cannot access any personal information by hopping on to your wireless network. Remember, strong passwords have eight or more characters that combine numbers, symbols and letters.

Tip 4: Be careful on what you click -- If you receive an unsolicited commercial e-mail, do not open any attached file whose name ends in ".exe." Clicking on such files could activate a virus that could infect your computer. In addition, don't click on links in e-mails for online retailers instead type the URL directly into your browser.

Tip 5: Above all, be skeptical -- If an online offer seems too good to be true, it could be a scam which is why you should shop from the online retailers that your trust.


Shopping Safely Online - Cyber Security Tip ST07-001

This tip was just published on the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team web site just in time for the holiday shopping season.  This year is shaping up to be a record year for ecommerce so the advice is even more important than ever.  

Many of the tips, including "Use and maintain anti-virus software..."  are things we know, but a it's a good idea to refresh our memory.

"Online shopping has become a popular way to purchase items without the hassles of traffic and crowds. However, the internet has unique risks, so it is important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online."

Read the full article with all the tips here:



New Threats Call for Layered Security Approach 

Cyber attacks are reaching pandemic levels, according to a recent report by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. As the threat mushrooms, protecting against it has become ever more complex. According to the report: 

"Security is always a cat-and-mouse game between hackers and security vendors," says Kartik Hosanagar, a professor of operations and information management at Wharton. "What has changed is that both companies and hackers have grown sophisticated. So the good news is that most security software will protect us from the most basic threats, which was not the case in the past. But the bad news is that malware and viruses have become more sophisticated, so even advanced users can fall prey to them."

Worms associated with interactive media and malware affecting social networking sites are         particularly dangerous, he notes, because "for example, you are less likely to be suspicious of a message from a friend on Facebook asking you to click on a video link. And yet, this kind of attack is on the rise" even as Facebook, Twitter, and other such sites are increasingly being used by businesses.

This is why Immunet Protect advocates taking a layered approach to antivirus security. Today’s threat landscape is far more sophisticated than the security industry has ever seen and using just one antivirus product isn’t enough. Running two antivirus programs at once was previously frowned upon, but as the threat landscape – and antivirus solutions evolved – the layered strategy has become the advised approach.

Immunet Protect is 100% compatible with most major antivirus products. View our complete list of compatible products. No matter how protected you are, there is no absolute guarantee that your PC will be free from viruses. But you can ensure that you have real-time protection against malware (like Immunet Protect) and share Immunet Protect for free with your network.


Don't Get Infected by Twilight Malware - Make Sure You're Protected

It’s no surprise that hackers have piggybacked on the pop culture hoopla surrounding yesterday’s release of the new Twilight installment, “Eclipse.” Fans are eagerly scouring the web for information on the movie, but more than half of the links they’re getting are tainted with malware, according to news reports.

Consider what this means for malware infiltration. If hackers can contaminate more than 50% of links on a particularly hot topic, our vulnerability to viruses is higher than we think. We take for granted that our Internet searches are safe -- after all this is information we’re seeking. It’s not as though we’re clicking on fishy links sent to us via spam. Well, that’s the old way of thinking. In the new world of malware, gaming search engines is a clever way to get savvy web surfers to stumble upon malware. And even if you’re not searching the web for Twilight content, there’s probably someone in your life who is. Are you protected?


Oliver Friedrichs on Keeping Families Safe 

Yesterday, Immunet CEO Oliver Friedrichs was invited to be a guest on Cyberhood Watch Radio to talk about the importance of keeping families safe online. Hosts Dave & Bill tapped into Oliver’s expertise to inform audience about keeping teens safe this summer as they spend more time online connecting with their friends. They also asked for Oliver’s take on the urgency of malware lurking on social networks and how Immunet Protect’s unique social network can help you – and your children -- make good decisions online. Take the time to listen and learn about the looming threats online and why traditional antivirus products aren’t working. Click on the show titled “What Consumers Need to Know About Antivirus Software & How to Stay Protected.”
Listen to internet radio with Dave and Bill on Blog Talk Radio

Doing Our Part to Ensure Facebook Safety 

Yesterday, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised new privacy controls in the Washington Post, amid some criticism of the site’s recent changes. Kudos to Zuckerberg for stepping up and reinforcing Facebook’s commitment to users. In the Washington Post, Zuckerberg  points out, "there needs to be a simpler way to control your information.” And "in the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use." Great! But what he didn’t address was the troubling influx of malware on the site in recent weeks.

Let’s recap. There was the free giftcard scam, the Facebook worm, the beach babe virus, the “sexiest video ever,” among others. The malware that users share on Facebook spreads like wildfire because Facebook's viral sharing hooks really work, even if the content being shared is damaging to end users. 

We know that Facebook’s security team is hard at work trying to combat the malware issues that arise when criminal hackers are financially motivated to prey upon Facebook’s 400 million active users. However, while Facebook is doing what it can to keep us safe through their own security controls and through user education (like the Facebook Security page), ultimately the responsibility to protect -  both ourselves and our networks - falls on us. Facebook has no control over what software you do or don't have installed on your PC to protect yourself, but you can see why Facebook would be a safer community if every user on Facebook had real-time, effective antivirus protection that they could easily share for free. 

With antivirus products like Immunet Protect that are specifically tailored protect users of social networks like Facebook, it’s never been easier to be safer online, or easier to protect your community. It takes seconds to download protection that will last you a lifetime. What are you waiting for?


Immunet Protects Against New Attack Method That Outsmarts Desktop AVs 

Last week, researchers at Matousec.com revealed a new attack technique that traditional desktop AntiVirus products can’t defend against . But Matousec has confirmed that Immunet Protect is the only AntiVirus product that can protect against the vector

According to ComputerWorld’s Gregg Keizer, this is how it works:

attackers could exploit the kernel driver hooks that most security software use to reroute Windows system calls through their software to check for potential malicious code before it's able to execute.

What this boils down to is, a hacker can trick a computer into accepting a benign code but then swap out this code for a malicious one just before execution. ComputerWorld asked Al Huger, VP of engineering at Immunet, for his thoughts on the gravity of this new method.  Huger responded:

 "This is definitely very serious," said Alfred Huger, vice president of engineering at Immunet, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based antivirus company. "Probably any security product running on Windows XP can be exploited this way." Huger added that Immunet's desktop client is not vulnerable to the argument-switch attacks because the company's software uses a different method to hook into the Windows kernel.

Vulnerabilities like this highlight the necessity for added protection. It’s simply not enough to depend on traditional AntiVirus products to protect against all threats. Taking the recommended layered approach is the only surefire way to protect against the plethora of known threats – as well as the ominous unknown dangers. If you know someone who could benefit from Immunet, pass along this post or send them information on downloading Immunet.


Do Consumers think about AntiVirus?

Why is it that 50% of all Internet users either don’t have AntiVirus protection or have protection that’s expired or out of date? Between 30-40,000 (thousand!) new viruses are created each DAY, and yet a large percentage of the consumer population remains vulnerable to these threats. So what’s going on here? Perhaps people are too trusting that website security professionals such as Twitter’s Trust and Safety team, or those involved in the Facebook Security Wall will just take care of malware for them.

Consumer Reports has a good phishing test for consumers (and Donna even wrote a post about the dangers to social media, a topic near and dear to all of us at Immunet). eHow has a few good steps to follow. MSNBC offers some good advice from the AP. CNET even tried to help people avoid malware from trusted site the Drudge Report.

We think more people don’t have AntiVirus due to combination of price, effectiveness (or lack thereof), resource and system drain and software conflicts that afflict traditional AntiVirus software. To be fair, without the collective benefit of a cloud-based community that can help to detect, update and defend each other against thousands of new threats daily, it takes copious resources in terms of human and technology costs (which are passed along to the consumer) for a traditional AntiVirus provider to do all the work themselves.

With Immunet Protect’s Collective Immunity, we’ve solved this problem and torn down the barriers standing in the way of increasing consumer AntiVirus penetration from 50% to closer to 100%.  The closer we are as an industry to 100% antivirus penetration, the safer the Internet becomes for everyone online.


What to do When Advice Falls Short? 

We put a focus on educating people on how to avoid getting a virus, from the basics to black SEO to social media aggregators to Facebook-specific worms to how to’s.

It seems attackers have the means to overcome today’s ‘AntiVirus common sense’ we’ve all grown to embrace, namely, only click on links from trusted sources. Now these sources can no longer be trusted.

Case in point is the new spear phishing threat targeted at social networking. Core Security Labs demonstrated this at the RSA Conference last week and lots of people have followed up on the problem. What to do?

While common sense is still very important, getting a real-time AntiVirus that recognizes a threat instantly is just as vital. Viruses take time to spread and the longer one goes undetected, the more dangerous it gets. Immunet Protect’s Collective Immunity solves this problem by detecting a virus from the community and instantly protecting all users against that virus.