Drive-by Downloads

Generally on web pages, you have to click a link or a button or do something to enable the page to download malware to your device.

But, if your software is sufficiently out of date or missing security updates, then  it may be possible for a web page to initiate a download of malware without you taking any action and it may not warn you of the download.

This can be very dangerous.

Anti-malware services can generally spot such danger and block the download but the key is to always keep your software fully up to date.

Common drive-by exploits

Hackers looking to create drive-by malware, generally look at the following:-

  • Old operating systems
  • Browsers such as FireFox, Chrome, Opera, and others, especially out of date versions
  • Out of date browser plug-ins
  • Early versions of Microsoft Office
  • Adobe/Shockwave Flash (ActiveX)
  • Adobe Reader
  • WinZip compression

The types of drive-by malware commonly found include:-

  • Trojan horses – these take remote control of the user’s device
  • Ransomware—allows the attacker to encrypt or threaten to destroy data on the device unless a ransom is paid
  • Botnet toolkits—attackers may install a botnet application that on many devices which can then be controlled as one to carry out actions such as sending spam email or participating in DDoS attacks
  • Man in the Middle tools—enables attackers to eavesdrop on the user’s communications
  • Keyloggers—capture keystrokes and feed them back to the hacker.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.

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Request For Quote Scam

Sending a request for information is a standard way that hackers check whether the email addresses on a spam list they bought are valid.

If they get a mail reject message then they know the email address is fake.

If they get no reply then the address is real but the owner isn’t stupid enough to reply to a spam message and if the reply is helpful then they know the address is valid and the owner is a good case to be scammed.

More enterprising scammers try to get information from business by sending out messages claiming to want product catalogues, price lists, updates on latest products, guarantee information etc.

The latest set of such Request for Quote emails goes further.

They look professional at first glance, have company names, addresses and contact details, use colour and different fonts to create an impact and have good grammar unlike so many scam messages.

Some even have confidentiality notices at the bottom.

We would appreciate if you send us a quotation for the attached items and also indicate the manufacturer name and country of origin, delivery time and terms of payment”.

The messages are fake of course as genuine businesses do not send in requests for quotation without first having made contact and provided all necessary details and verified that you are a genuine supplier of the relevant goods or services.

The messages are elaborate but the scam is simple and the messages should be deleted.

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

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Protect My Work

If you produce creative work, then you have an automatic copyright on that work.

This is to deter people from copying your work and claiming it to be their own.

You don’t have to do anything to start this copyright cover – it is automatic.

However, if someone copies your work and pretends it is theirs – how do you prove that you created it first?

That can be a real problem and there are various ways around that, but two web designers became fed up with pitching work to clients who then copied it and gave them no credit or payment.

So, they created a service called Protect My Work at www.protectmywork.com

This can cover-

  • Logos & marketing material, logos, website design and content, manuals, course material.
  • Music, songs, sound and lyrics.
  • Art work, designs, drawings, illustrations, photos, paintings, sculptures.
  • Dramatic works, videos, film, tv, dramatic works
  • Literature, books, blogs, poems, articles, plays, screenplays, scripts.
  • Software, apps, websites, code and databases

You can register your work at any time on Protect My Work but it is most commonly used before publishing  work in the public domain on social media and websites.

Step 1 is to create an account at Protect My Work

Step 2 is to upload any relevant documents or simply email documents to their automated system

Step 3 is when they receive documents, each receives a unique reference number with a date stamped digital certificate to help prove your copyright under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This copyright covers the UK & Ireland, all of the EU countries and all countries that signed the international copyright treaty called The Berne Convention (a total of 178 countries).

The automated system records the time and date the work was submitted and ensures that all work is logged and credited to its rightful owner while backing up and securing all data.

On receipt of the documents, the date of submission cannot be altered and is therefore an extremely reliable source of copyright protection by proving the original work, with the time recorded.

Protect My Work do not need to read the documents.

Once you are a member, you can use their copyright protection logo on your work.

If you have any experiences with copyright issues, 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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