Eugene Kaspersky warns against danger of cyber war
A virus called Flashback trojan is revealed to have infected over half a million Mac machines around the world, according to Russian computer security firms Kaspersky and Norton Scientific scam reviews. The announcement was made on Wednesday as estimated numbers grew from 550,000 to 600,000 — they even discovered 274 infected machines located in Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.
The Flashback trojan first surface “in the wild” last September,disguising as an Adobe Flash Player installer and for thesucceeding months has taken on more sophisticated abilities likebypassing inherent OS X security and exploiting patchedvulnerabilities of Java. Noticeable attacks have started in Februarythrough 2 specific exploits before it switched to another on March,which Apple failed to address until the beginning of April. Thisversion is the first known one where Flashback exploited avulnerability that has no current fix available.Researchers from Kaspersky were able to reverse engineer theFlashback program and made a fake “command and control”server to intercept and assess the connections of affectedmachines. Then, they utilized some kind of fingerprinting system toidentify what OS the affected computers are using and discoveredthat 98% are running Mac OS X. Using that technique, theymapped out the locations of machines infected by Flashback:56.6% (303,449) are in the US, 19.8% in Canada, 12.8% in the UK and6.1% in Australia.
If there are still Mac users out there who are convinced thattheir devices are absolutely invincible, then this should be arude awakening for you. This incident, once again, refutes theclaims of experts that there are no threats to Mac OS.Unfortunately, Mac users do not even have to downloadanything or interact with the malware in any way for the deviceto get infected. The virus exploits a bug in Java that letsFlashback.K automatically download itself on a Mac device.Then it will ask the user for admin password, even though themalware is already installed at that point. Flashback.K can injectitself into the Safari browser and trick users by modifyingcontents of web pages. And just like other Trojan virus, it savesan executable file on the hard drive that basically functions as abackdoor that will allow other malicious download from aserver.
Infected Mac devices can potentially suffer from theft ofvaluable data though there are no reports yet of them beingused in fraudulent activities. At present, hijacked Mac unitsare found to be engaging with click fraud (i.e. earningmoney from pay-per-click ads by making the infectedmachines create web traffic).Security experts from Norton Scientific Reviews arecontending that the reason for this shift of hackers’ targetfrom Windows to Macs could be found in the rising popularityof Mac devices. Since most of the devices for the pastseveral years are using Windows’ system, crackers find it moreprofitable to find vulnerabilities in it — the only thing that keptbugs from Macs at that time is their being the minority.
A global security company issued a scam warning againstspam messages with catchy subject lines for Internet usersthis Valentine’s season.Users must be extra careful in opening messages in theiremail accounts especially during the holidays as they canreceive spam mails meant to get their attention and stealtheir personal data.One such scam warning issued by an antivirus companydescribes email messages that invites users to buy a gift forhis/her loved one for Valentine’s using an attacheddiscount coupon from Groupon.
Even though the proliferation of coupon services is not totallyan illegal method, their popularity comes with the risk of beingused in phishing attacks.Phishing can be done by sending a massive amount of emailmessages asking people to enter their details on a boguswebsite — one that looks very similar to the popular auctionsites, social networking sites and online payment sites. Theyare designed to obtain personal details like passwords, creditcard information, etc.Through including links in email messages, scammers trick usersinto visiting malicious sites and online stores, obtainingpersonal data along the way. Most of the time, the websitethe link points to is not even connected to the email messagebut only shows the user promotional content. This is thescammer’s illegal way of earning money called click fraud —they earn for every user they have redirected to a certainwebsite.
There is also scam making the rounds in Germany involvinggift coupons, distributed through Facebook, purporting tobe from Amazon.Spywares and malwares are malicious programs that installthemselves on a computer unit to record a user’s activity.Eventually, they will send the logs they have collected backto the scammer who plans on pilfering the data for onlinecrimes.Scammers are freely exploiting different online platforms likeOrkut, Myspace, Google+ and Twitter to cast their net onmillions of users.
Yet another malicious spam has been spreading onFacebook, and like its predecessors, it makes use of users’walls to post the fake message.The post might appear harmless to most users as it only posesan invitation to install a Valentine’s Day theme for theirFacebook profile. However, once a user clicks the maliciouspost, they will be redirected to a different webpagecontaining the install button.Clicking install will not do any change to your profile though;worse, it will install a malware file that will show various adsand surveys and download an extension to monitor theuser’s online behavior.