First Windows 7 Antivirus

If you’re giving the beta version of Windows 7 a go you now have the option of installing an anti-virus package. Kaspersky has released a version of their anti-virus system that will work on Windows 7 beta.

If you’re using Windows 7 beta for anything more than testing and evaluation you should really consider installing it. Kaspersky’s website is:

Multi Function Anti Malware Toolkit

Anti-Malware Toolkit is a package produced by Lunarsoft. It helps you download 37 different tools you can use to protect your PC from all kinds of malware. A few of the tools it can install are quite useful, such as:

Spyware Blaster, CCleaner, RogueRemover, SUPERAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes, Spybot, Hijack This

multi_function_knife I’d recommend this to more experienced PC users. General users are better off investing in commercial products, such as Trend Internet Security (there are a few good packages out there, Trend is just one). I say this because commercial products do most of the thinking for you and for a lot of people security is better this way.

The Anti-Malware toolkit can be downloaded from Lunarsoft’s site:

Note that it’s for Windows computers only.

ZoneAlarm ForceField Free – 1 Day Only – Expired

ZoneAlarm has been making security products for a number of years and they have a good reputation. I don’t have the resources to review or evaluate security products so I tend not to make specific recommendations (but I do recommend that you should invest in a good antivirus package).

For one day only ZoneAlarm has made their ForceField product free to use for one year. It blocks phishing sites (this is a good thing), blocks keyloggers, and has a host of other interesting security features.

If you don’t already have a security package that does everything (and why not?) then try this one out. As I said, ZoneAlarm has a good reputation for this kind of thing and “free” is a good price. Note that they ask for your name and email address.

Link: on the red button.

More info about ForceField here.

Update: This offer has expired. Good computer security is very important (read some of the pages on this site to find out why) and it’s definitely worth paying for good software that keeps you safe. You should be using a package that constantly scans your PC for malware (viruses, trojans, etc), scans all web pages and updates itself daily. It’s a very good investment.

Safari Threat

Microsoft would like you to know that using Safari on a Windows PC is dangerous. And of course they’d say that, they have a competing product they’d like you to use (Internet Explorer). So what’s happening?

A few days ago Microsoft published a security advisory of a potential vulnerability in Apple Safari. Technically they’re correct, there is a vulnerability and we’ll look at it in a moment. The flaw hasn’t been exploited yet, at the moment it’s more theoretical. It’s just a little suspicious that they put this much effort into pointing out flaws in a competitor’s product and that they’ve used their security advisory system for what can be seen as a marketing manoeuvre.

So what’s the flaw?

It’s being called Carpet Bombing. Here’s how it works.

safari elephants A web page is created that has hundreds of hidden download links (in the form of "iframes"). The files are silently downloaded onto the user’s desktop. This can be done without the user’s knowledge.

The vulnerability is that a user’s desktop could be covered with hundreds of icons for malicious programs, making it easy to accidentally click on one and run the malicious program.

Apple says it’s a security issue, not a vulnerability. Microsoft says users should avoid using Safari until researchers have looked further into.

So is this a sneaky marketing ploy from Microsoft? It could be, they’ve done things like this before. Or are they sincere and is Safari really as dangerous as they say?

We’ll know more in a few days, by which time Apple would most probably have a fix. I don’t consider this a high risk vulnerability, just something extra to be cautious about. A good antivirus program help here.

Microsoft’s advisory is here (it’s light on details at the moment):

Further info here, here and here.

Ad-Aware 2008

Ad-Aware 2008 is now available. It’s a popular anti-spyware product for Windows that scans your computer for spyware and adware. It comes in three versions:

  • Free
  • US$26.95, includes features such as real time detection
  • US$39.95, includes more advanced features such as network drive scanning

There’s a comparison chart here showing what’s different between the versions. If you’re new to this product and aren’t sure which version you need start with the free version.

Read more about Ad-Aware 2008 here including a download link.

Similar products available for Windows are:

Also note that the larger anti-virus packages such as Trend Internet Security also contain anti-spyware modules.

Yahoo! Malicious Page Alerts

Yahoo! now lets you know if a web site contains malicious content. It works very similar to how Google does it. From a technical perspective Yahoo’s implementation seems better – it scans files that automatically download.

McAfee have provided the malware detection technology, called SearchScan, so it has a company with a good reputation behind it. Below is an example of how it looks when it finds something dangerous:

yahoo searchscan

Yahoo! operates search engines in several countries, and it will be enabled by default for the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, UK, USA.

XP Antivirus

ads XP Antivirus is a fake antivirus program. It looks like an anti virus program and when run it tells you it found a number of threats. It then prompts you to spend money in order to remove the alleged threats. The threats it tells you about aren’t real, it’s a scam to get money from you.

The road to XP Antivirus is:

  1. A malicious ad appears on legitimate web sites. The operators of the web sites hosting this ad aren’t aware of what it is.
  2. A message appears offering a product called XP Antivirus. The message reads:
    • Attention! If your computer is infected, you could suffer data loss, erratic PC behaviour. PC freezes and creahes.

      Detect and remove viruses before they damage your computer!
      XP antivirus will perform a quick and 100% FREE scan of your computer for Viruses, Spyware and Adware.

      Do you want to install XP antivirus to scan your computer for malware now? (Recommended)

      (Note: I bolded the typo that appears in the original ad)

  3. If you say ok then a fake anti virus program is installed.
  4. The program then informs you about a large number of (untrue) malware on your computer
  5. You’re then asked to pay to remove them

A few days ago I mentioned a similar scam for Macs called iMunizator. These things will never let up so take care who you trust. Don’t just run or install unknown programs on your computer.

ActiveX Flaw in Symantec Products

Symantec is well known for making security products (they also use the Norton brand for home products). A serious flaw has been found in some of their products including Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, Norton SystemWorks and Norton 360.

The flaw is in an ActiveX control that gets installed on the PC (the control is called SymAData.dll). This control is normally used for their AutoFix tool, however it was discovered that it can be exploited by adding some malicious code to a website. The exploit allows someone to take over the computer (generally a bad thing).

Two ways to fix this problem are:

Earlier we wrote about problems with ActiveX and suggested you disable it.