Category: Malicious Software

Zeus Malware

Zeus Virus or Zeus Trojan malware (also called Zbot) is a form of malicious software that targets computers running Microsoft Windows, although some versions have been created for other devices and operating systems. It is most commonly used for trying to steal financial data.

It was first detected in 2007 and has infected millions of computers across the world.

The creator of Zeus malware published source code in 2011, which made it possible for many other criminals to create their own versions.

How Zeus Works

Step1. It creates a botnet – this is a network of infected computers that are secretly controlled by a Zeus command server.

Step 2.  The controlled computers then send information to the command server which can collate that for the criminals or can carry out various types of attacks on those computers.

Step 3. Zeus can also steal banking credentials from the machines it infects, by means of keylogging and other methods.

Zeus infects computers typically be means of

  1. Spam emails
  2. Social media campaigns
  3. Drive-by website downloads

How to Protect Against Zeus Malware

The means of protection are basically the same as against malware generally, including:

  • Up to date anti-virus and anti-malware
  • Regular backups of all important information and data
  • Use of strong passwords
  • All software updated as specified by the supplier
  • Consider the use of two factor authentication where appropriate

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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File Type Malware

Scammers send all sorts of messages with attachments and those attachments can contain malware.

Everyone should know that’s it’s potentially dangerous to run a programme supplied by an unknown person or company without being able to verify it is safe, but the scammers attach all sorts of file types in their messages in the hope of coning you into opening them.

Numerous file types can be used by scammers to infect your devices, including-

  1. Compressed files. Most commonly compressed into TAR or gzip format but any other compression can be equally dangerous as the scammer attempts to get around malware scanners.
  2. Microsoft Office documents containing macros
  3. Executable programmes in any computer language e.g. javascript
  4. PDF files
  5. Disk images in ISO or IMG formats
  6. Web pages – asp, html, php etc.
  7. Scripting languages e.g. shell

 

There are many more less commonly used file types that scammers also try to send out.

Make sure you have up to date anti-malware on your devices and if warned that a file may be unsafe to open – do not take risks.

If you have any experiences with phishing scams do let me know, by email.

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PDFs Are Not as Safe As You Think

We are all used to having to be careful opening certain emails, zipped files,  WORD, EXCEL and other types of files in case they contain some kind of malware – virus, ransomware, Trojan etc.

But most people feel safe opening PDF documents.

However, scammers are using PDFs more and more as attachments in email or malicious downloads on websites.

PDFs can contain javascript programming which can have malicious intent and they can contain links which of course could go to any website.

Microsoft Malware Protection Center released a list of PDF filenames that are commonly used in malicious emails and websites. Scammers keep making new names of course.

  • pdf_new.pdf
  • auhtjseubpazbo5.pdf
  • avjudtcobzimxnj2.pdf
  • pricelist.pdf
  • couple_saying_lucky.pdf
  • 5661f.pdf 7927
  • 9fbe0.pdf 7065
  • pdf_old.pdf

Q. How can you protect yourself against malicious content?

Most of the PDF exploits use Javascript so if you disable that then a large part of the problem is blocked.

However, common sense goes a long way in protecting you.

  1. Do not open an email or download anything that is sent to you by someone you don’t know
  2. Make sure your email settings are on high protection and your anti-virus and anti-malware programmes are working
  3. If there’s a file on email you really want to open but aren’t sure then save it and then scan it (usually you right mouse click and select scan – depending on which anti-malware solutions you use)

Of course, you should run regular scans of your computer to ensure no malware has been installed.

How to Turn Off Javascript in PDFs

If you use a programme other than ADOBE for opening PDFs then you’ll need to check how to disable Javascript. If you use ADOBE then see below:-

  1. Start Acrobat or ADOBE
  2. Select EDIT then PREFERENCES
  3. Select the Javascript category
  4. Uncheck the Enable Acrobat Javascript option
  5. Save and exit

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Mobile Device Malware “Judy”

The Korean company Kikiwini published 41 Android APPS under the name ENISTUDIO Corp.

These could have infected up to 36.5 million Android devices by hidden malware that produced fake advert clicks.

Security firm Check Point identified these apps and realised these infected devices could be used to generate large amounts of fraudulent clicks on advertisements, generating revenues for the creators of the malware.

The malware was dubbed “Judy” by Check Point after the title character in Kiniwini’s apps. Chef Judy: Picnic Lunch Maker, for example, encourages players to “create delicious food with Judy

Google removed the apps from Google Play once it had informed of the problem.

How does Judy infect your device?

Hackers create a harmless app that can get around Google’s security screening and it is added to the app store.

Once it has been downloaded by users, it silently registers with the makers servers for update.  That update is not just latest software, content and adverts etc. It contains the code and list of web addresses. The APP then opens a browser window and starts to make clicks on the listed websites on the selected adverts. These clicks are registered by networks such as Google Ads and in time will produce payments to the makers.

This kind of cheating has been used in the past but this is one of the worst such examples and it circumvents Google APP security which they will not be pleased about.

Kiniwini also develop APPS for Apple devices but so far there are no reports of problems with those APPS.

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Online Paid Surveys Can Be Questionable

There are huge numbers of people who would love to work from home, working when they choose.

And there are endless adverts on the Internet for these jobs, but sadly 59 out of every 60 such adverts are scams.

However, there are some real work at home jobs and filling in online surveys is one of them. Lots of sites offer these surveys and you get paid for filling them in.

Many of them have a poor reputation – tedious questions, not paying up, survey freezing near the end so you don’t get paid etc.

One such site that used to have a good reputation is the Australian group My Opinions at https://www.myopinions.com.au/ This is a well organised setup with lots of surveys and people have been paid and done well out of filling in the surveys.

Recently the website was taken over by a new company and some people feel the quality has dropped.

https://www.surveypolice.com/ is nothing to do with the Police – it’s just a website about surveys and people have added their views of myopinions.com.au and there is a lot of bad feeling about the company now.

It seems that some people have a good experience and are paid appropriately but others find that surveys free3ze at the end so they don’t count and some have been evicted from the survey site without reason and their payments not made.

Be careful if you start online surveys for money – make sure to pick a reputable company that always pays.

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