The folks who write malware and virus are not just smart at writing them, they are also very smart at camouflaging their stuff in such a way that unsuspecting users may easily get fooled to believe that they are actual doing something legitimate.
Many malware and virus thrive on SEO poisoning for popular search terms. They make use of the fast indexing capabilities of Google to get indexed for popular search terms, especially "sex scandals" and "sex videos".
Also Read: Tips To Keep You Safe On The Internet | Protect Yourself from Internet Threats
A recent analysis from the folks at Sophos Labs, uncovered several URLs which made it to Google through blackhat SEO, however, the more interesting finding was that, malware and virus writers have now started to generate spoof screens which look similar to Windows 7.
When users visit sites which host such malware, they will come across an interface which is similar to Windows 7, with a popup which looks exactly like the security center popup for Windows 7. Furthermore, the malware site also displays fake antivirus scan results which show the user that there are several viruses installed on the PC.
It is easy to get fooled because of the stark similarities between this Fake antivirus, however, users should know that they are using a web browser, and such scans are not carried out by Microsoft in the web browser.
Though the looks may be deceiving, you should not click on any security related or free antivirus scans on a web browser. Additionally, many modern browsers are smart enough to block such malware sites, so make sure to keep your browser upgraded to the latest version.
You might also want to check on some tips we had written earlier to keep yourself safe on the internet.
Here at Techie-Buzz, we keep our eyes open for free and easy to use online services. One of the most important things you need to manage is your computer’s security. If you surf the internet, it’s always possible that you’ve either gotten infected, or may suspect you’ve been infected by Malware, Trojans or Viruses.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of security tools that you can install on your PC. There are also several online tools that you can use, and most of the online tools are free. Trend Micro, one of the most trusted providers of security software, also offers a free online anti-virus scanner, named HouseCall.
Don’t consider online scanners as any replacement for installing good anti-virus and anti-malware tools. The online scanners are there in case you need a second opinion.
It’s easy to use and you can see the steps involved below in a screen-show I’ve inserted.
If you can’t see the screen-show here, follow this link to view it.
Here are links to a few other online tools that you may like to take a look at:
Free Online Security Scan From Secunia
Scan Files Online In 24 Antivirus Engines From One Place
Review of ESET Online Scanner
Security Advice From McAfee That You May Not Want
Compress and Zip Files Online Without Any Software
Best Free Online Image Editors
Techie Buzz Verdict:
HouseCall is a good free anti-virus scanning service from a well respected source. I recommend it as a good source for a second opinion when you are afraid that your current security software is failing you.
Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)
When Immunet Protect came out some time last summer, I did a little research on it and then tried it. Immunet is a Cloudbased antivirus program, much like Panda Cloud Antivirus. Here’s how Immunet works, according to the home site:
Imagine for a moment that you could leverage the computers of your friends, family and a worldwide global community to harness their collective security. Every time someone in this collective community encounters a threat everyone else in the community gains protection from that same threat in real time.
I was pleased with the way that it worked and I kept it on my system for several weeks. I soon moved on to try Microsoft’s antivirus. Currently, I am running Antivir, after reading a Techie Buzz article which was titled, Avira Antivirus Is the Lightest Antivirus Software.
Recently, I received notice from TechTracker, that there’s a new version of Immunet available. Here’s the news that made me look at Immunet again.
Version 1.0.25 supports ‘side by side’ installs with over 20 new Anti-Virus products including current versions of AVG, Avira, Mcafee, Kaspersky, Avast and Trend products. It also now supports Windows 7, XP and Vista 32/64-bit installs.
Immunet has been friendly with other antivirus apps from the day it was born. The newest version simply adds more friendsto it’s list. What does this mean for the average user? It means that you can run Immunet all by itself, or you can have additional AV protection if you need it. In my case, I have installed Immunet Protect side by side with my current Avira Antivir.
So far, Immunet and Avira are acting like old buddies, but I’ll keep an eye on them. The extra load on my system seems to be about 24mb of memory and I can handle that. I’m seriously tempted to keep Immunet and dump Avira after reading that Immunet recently ranked higher than Microsoft Security Essentials And Avira In MRG Rogue AV Test.
Since we didn’t show you Immunet in our last article about it, I’ll give you a few screen shots and some more details.
Recently, I wrote about Secunia’s Online Software Inspector. It scanned my netbook and found several programs that it believed were out of date. As you probably know, out of date programs can give hackers an easy way to gain access to a PC. One of the programs I needed to update was Adobe Acrobat Reader.
I went to the Adobe site to get the latest updated version and while there, I saw an offer for a free copy of McAfee’s Security Scan Plus. I had never heard of it before, and my curiosity would not let me pass it up.
The McAfee product installed right after Adobe finished. A few days later, I finally got around to trying it out. Here’s the first thing you will see upon launching it. It’s a simple welcome screen, nothing more.
Next, you’ll see that you must update this product in order to use it.
The update didn’t take long and they provided an interesting animation while I waited.
Next it started scanning my PC. I was anxious to see the results at this point.
Panda Cloud Antivirus is now officially compatible to be run on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and have now received a compatibility certificate from Microsoft.
The software/hardware compatibility list, is a list of software that have been rigorously tested to work on the new Windows 7 platform. The list has been created and maintained by Microsoft.
Visit the Windows 7 Compatibility Center to view all the software and hardware that are compatible and have been tested to run on Windows 7. This list consists of both free and paid products. To view a list of compatible security software, visit this link.
Conficker (also known as Downup or Downadup or Kido) was first spotted in November 2008. During the course of a year, it has gone on to become one of the most notorious Windows worms in the history.
Conficker isn’t the worst malware ever, neither is it the most dangerous. What makes Conficker remarkable is the length is goes to in order to avoid detection and disinfection. Conficker employs all standard measures like creating multiple copies and injecting itself into critical processes (e.g. explorer.exe and svchost.exe). On top of that, it disables Windows Update, blocks websites of security vendors and even disables anti-malware utilities.
Even more ingenious is the technique it uses to check for payloads (additional pieces of code which are downloaded without the user’s permission). Conficker is programmed to generate an apparently random list of URLs and download payloads from them. While the initial three variants connected to only about 250 domains, the newer modifications are capable of generating as many as 50,000 domain names. This makes preventing delivery of payloads in advance almost impossible.
Conficker is also a story of what happened, what could have happened and what may happen. The malware creators have succeeded in building a huge botnet which may be used for tasks like spamming, DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks, pay per click fraud, key logging, identity theft and traffic logging. However, Conficker hasn’t yet created the mayhem that many believe it has the potential to.
Conficker spreads using a vulnerability in Windows RPC Server Service, which was patched by Microsoft a long time back. In spite of this, Conficker continues to spread. BitDefender suggests that the worm would continue to be a nuisance even in 2010 and may even become a bigger threat.
[ Download the whitepaper on Conficker or listen to the podcast ]
If your website or blog is based on WordPress, then here are some of the best plugins that help you with maintenance.
Broken Link Checker: Checks your blog for broken links. It monitors links in your posts, pages, blogroll and custom fields. It detects missing images and broken links and notifies you on the Dashboard. You can also search and filter links by URL and anchor text.
Maintenance Mode: This plugin will come handy when your web site or blog is under construction or maintenance. It adds a splash page to your blog to let visitors know that the blog is temporarily down for maintenance. Administrators once logged-in, can have full access to the blog including the front-end.
WP-DBManager: Enables you to backup, optimize, restore and repair your WordPress database. It supports scheduled backups. You can even drop/empty tables and run selected queries.
Site Maintenance: This plugin puts your site under maintenance mode by sending a ‘503 Service Unavailable’ status to visitors.
WP Security Scan: Scans for security vulnerabilities in your WordPress installation and suggests corrective measures. It checks database security, passwords, file permissions, WordPress admin security and more.
AntiVirus: It’s an effective plugin to protect your blog against spam injections and other exploits. With this plugin you can perform a daily automatic check to make sure your blog is secure. You can do a manual testing and obtain immediate result of the infected files.
Trash Manager: With the new functionality – Trash introduced in WordPress 2.9 by default you cannot directly delete posts, pages and comments. They have to be moved to Trash first, and then deleted. To make it easier for you, Trash Manager adds ‘Delete Permanently’ link to post, page and comments list. This enables you to delete them directly without having to move them to Trash first.
Will it slow down my system?, is a question antivirus vendors are often asked by worried customers. Indeed, antivirus utilities are infamous for having an adverse impact on system performance. A new report released by Av-comparatives a leading antivirus software testing firm, provides us the answer to this oft-asked question.
Av-comparatives used 16 popular antivirus utilities and measured the impact they had on various activities like file copying and downloading. Fully defragmented hard disks were utilized on each occasion and external factors like network and temperature were neutralized as far as possible.
None of the antivirus utilities had a significant impact on encoding/transcoding and archiving/unarchiving speeds. However, eScan, FSecure, G DATA, Microsoft and Trustport slowed down file copying significantly (more than doubled the time required to copy a file). Thankfully, due to fingerprinting technologies, all of them but eScan performed impressively on subsequent runs.
When it came to slowing down application installations/uninstallations Bitdefender, G DATA and Trustport were the biggest culprits. Trustport also increased application launch times by more than 100%. These three were joined by AVG in the file downloading hall of shame. AVG, Bitdefender, G DATA and Trustport more than doubled file download durations.
Throughout the tests Avira performed admirably and this was reflected even in the WorldBench scores. eScan, Trustport, Bitdefender and G DATA once again found themselves at bottom of the pile.
Thanks to an outstanding all round performance Avira was the overall winner. Kingsoft, F-Secure, Sophos and Kaspersky were the other products which made it to the top five.
Antivirus Name – Score (Higher is better)
- AVIRA AntiVir Premium 9.0 – 199
- Kingsoft Antivirus 9 Plus – 196
- F-Secure Anti-Virus 2010 – 195
- Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010 – 193
- Sophos Anti-Virus 9.0.1 – 193
- Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 – 190
- avast! Free 5.0 – 188
- Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2010 – 188
- ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4.0 – 183
- McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 – 174
- Norman Antivirus & AntiSpyware 7.30 – 169
- AVG Anti-Virus 9.0 – 164
- BitDefender Antivirus 2010 – 154
- G DATA AntiVirus 2010 – 152
- eScan AntiVirus 10.0 – 137
- Trustport Antivirus 2010 – 125
The full report can be downloaded from Av-comparatives.org.
Previously reviewed Panda Cloud Antivirus, has finally gone stable after more than 7 months of beta testing. The first beta of Panda Cloud AV was made available in April 2009. Panda Cloud Antivirus uses the cloud to protect your PC against vulnerabilities and scams. Panda’s collective intelligence servers have analyzed over 87 million viruses.
Panda Cloud AV is compatible with all Windows versions including Windows 7 and is free to use. The AV also supports 64bit edition of Windows.
Download Panda Cloud AV 1.0
Antivirus software are usually used to protect your computer from threats, however, after using an Antivirus for a while you might decide to remove it completely, either due to not being satisfied with it, or because the trial period for it ended. Whatever the reasons, sometimes Antivirus software are stubborn and don’t have straightforward removal tools. I did encounter one such issue while removing ESET from the computer.
Here are some Antivirus removal tools which will allow you to completely uninstall popular Antivirus software from your computer. A big thanks to The Windows Club forum for the putting up these tools.