security

Germany Issues Security Warning

The government of Germany has issued a warning to their citizens asking them to use alternatives to Internet Explorer because of a security issue that has been discovered over the weekend.

Germany’s Internet Explorer users have been urged to use alternative browsers like Firefox or Chrome until a patch is issued by Microsoft.

Microsoft is currently working on a patch and asks users to install the latest version of their Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit as a temporary measure until this patch is released.

I personally use Firefox to browse and Spybot’s Search & Destroy immunity function, which instructs all of the browsers to block problematic sites. But I’ve turned Spybot’s resident “SDHelper” and “Teatimer” off to avoid conflicts with my security software.

Yahoo Users – Change Your Passwords

It appears that an older part of Yahoo’s systems had been left exposed resulting in a security breach that could have compromised over 400,000 accounts.

To change your password, login and click on your user name on the top left of your screen. You will be given an option to change your password in the following screen, after having been prompted to login again.

Click here for information of how to create a strong password for Yahoo.

Important Warning : DNSChanger Virus

In November 2011, The FBI charged seven individuals from Estonia who concocted a scheme to redirect internet traffic through their web sites to collect affiliation fees.

Through email attachments and web sites, these individuals infected an unknown amount of computers with a virus that changed the DNS settings of computers, rerouting them to a series of web sites that have since been disabled by the FBI during Operation Ghost Click.

Unfortunately the FBI will cease to operate their clean DSN servers on July 9th and computers that remain infected with the DNSchanger virus will no longer be able to access the internet.

To check whether your computer is infected, you can visit the Canadian DNS OK web site by July 8th. And if you are infected removal instructions are available from the DNS Changer Working Group.

Security Warning

The Canadian Anti Fraud Centre has been reporting an unusually high number of Scareware cases in Canada.

Apparently numerous PC users have been victimized by con artists claiming to be RCMP and/or CSIS officers, who demanded payment to clean the victims’ computers of child pornography and/or terrorism related material.

Like most scareware incidents, these begin with an unsolicited pop up message containing a warning of an infection that requires immediate attention, which appears on a victim’s computer screen whilst the victim is browsing the internet.

In this case, the victim is told they must send $100 or $250 via Ukash to unlock and clean their computer of the aforementioned illicit material. But there is of course no illicit material to remove on the victim’s computer.

When the victim clicks on the pop-up message, his or her computer is infected with malware, disabling access to the computer. But this infection can be avoided.

If you encounter this or a similar pop-up message :

  1. Do not click on the pop-up window.
  2. Close the browser via Task Manager or shut down your computer.

Enabling a pop-up blocker and regularly updating anti-virus software will prevent future occurrences.

Pop-up blockers have been implemented in all of the following browsers :

Chrome / Firefox / Internet Explorer 7 or 8 / Opera /Safari

Attention Mac Users : Update ASAP

A Russian web security firm has discovered a Mac Trojan that is disguised as a Adobe Flash update.

When installed this virus enables hackers to access passwords and other information typed into browsers and Skype.

Apple has issued an update in response to the Flashback Trojan on Tuesday. Removal instructions are also available from F-Secure.

Lawful Access = Higher Internet Fees

There’s no way around it. Lawful access will be costly to consumers in Canada.

The internet providers do not have the necessary technology and manpower to give law enforcement in Canada real time access to internet communications, especially the smaller internet providers. And these extra expenditures will be passed on to Canadians.

We are talking about technology used to distinguish criminal activity from normal internet traffic and according to Statistic Canada‘s Canadian Internet Use Survey, 79% of Canadian households accessed the internet in 2010.

The task is not only overwhelming but could possibly be open to abuse and security breaches.

After all, we are talking about individual internet providers here, some of which use different technologies to secure their networks. And I’m sure there are plenty of identity thieves that would love to access the weaker of these networks, some of which are probably tied to the criminal organizations our law enforcement is trying to expose with this legislation.

The 2011 Canadians and Privacy Survey conducted by Harris/Decima for The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada found that 8 out of 10 Canadians opposed this legislation because of numerous concerns about privacy and security. And in 2009, Statistics Canada found that 48% of Canadian consumers were concerned about credit card purchases online.

Is this really the time to make consumers nervous about security and privacy online ?