A rather serious exploit has recently been discovered.
It’s called ClickJacking. The problem is in Adobe’s Flash player, which just about everyone in the world has installed (sometimes without even knowing it).
The vulnerability makes it possible for someone to control your computer’s webcam or microphone, lettting other people spy on you. It’s a serious problem.
Who’s at risk?
Anyone who has Flash version 184.108.40.206 or earlier is at risk. This includes Windows, Mac, and Linux users, and FireFox, IE, Safari, Chrome, and Opera users (does this list include you?)
What can you do to protect yourself?
Adobe is publishing a fix very soon and the best thing to do is to upgrade to the latest version of Flash. Flash should prompt you to download an update – say yes to this. Otherwise download the latest version from Adobe’s web site.
If for some reason you can’t update Flash on your PC there’s another way to protect yourself (this is a last resort tactic, updating Flash is much safer). The workaround is to set the Always Deny option, as detailed here on Adobe’s site.
Someone has gone to the trouble of setting up a sample of how the exploit works and recorded a video to demonstrate. Play the YouTube video in this article.
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: http://download.zonealarm.com/bin/free/sum/index.html – click 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.
Trend Micro make some good anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. One of their tools is called iClean. Unfortunately someone has created a fake copy of one of their websites that will install malicious code on your computer (in this case they’ve copied the Taiwan version of their site).
So which is the real one and which are the fake ones?
Real Trend Micro Site:
- Anything that ends with .trendmicro.com, e.g.
Fake (malicious) sites:
These tips will help you avoid this problem, and similar threats:
- Companies don’t usually send free applications directly by email. You would normally go to their web site to download it.
- Have a good anti-virus / anti-spyware installed, one that is updated daily so it can protect you from new threats.
- Pay close attention to a web page’s address.
Skype has issued a warning that people have been receiving emails that appear to be from Skype. When a user clicks on a link in the email, they’re taken to a login page that looks like Skype’s website (but in fact it’s operated by someone else). When you enter your username and password, they’re sent to someone who will then use them for some malicious purpose.
How can you tell a real Skype login page from a fake one?
According to Skype the only page that they will ask you for login details is:
https://secure.skype.com/…(anything else is ok here)…
If you’re about to enter your Skype details into a website that doesn’t exactly match the above then it’s probably fake. What if it’s just a few letters different? What if the dot’s in the wrong place?
The part after the // and before the first / needs to be an exact match. I’ve made this bold just to make it as clear as possible. The part at the end is ok.
Below is a copy of one of these Skype phishing emails. I’ve copied the contents here to help Google index this page. When you receive suspicious emails it’s a good idea to copy and paste a few lines into Google. You’ll soon be able to tell if it’s a known fake email or real.
We have to notice that your account is suspended because Skype major Terms are being changed.
To re-activate your account you need to agree with the new Terms here:
Follow this link to re-activate: ACTIVATE
after that, your account will be automatically re-activated.
The word ACTIVATE has a link that goes to the fake Skype login page. In most email clients, if you hold the mouse pointer over the link you can see the real destination. If it’s not like the one shown at the top of this article then it’s fake. See this screenshot of the fake one:
TrueCrypt is an encryption program we wrote about earlier. It lets you do things like "whole disk encryption" (good for people who carry around laptops full of confidential files), and other encryption functions.
Version 6.0 came out a few days ago. It’s open source, meaning everyone is free to review the source code. It’s available for Windows (Vista, XP, 2000), Mac OS X, and Linux.
If you use Window XP or Windows Vista, Microsoft has a tool that could be useful to some people. It’s meant more for shared computers, or for any PC that’s at greater risk of infection.
What it does is fairly simple. Every time you reboot the PC, Steady State will restore it to how it was before. So no matter how many viruses, spyware and adware you end up accidentally installing. it becomes fresh and anew.
You need to install it and set it up correctly, and for most people it might be a good idea to get some advice from someone who’s IT savvy, just to make sure you take full advantage of this great tool.
Best of all is that it’s free, as long as you have a genuine Windows XP or Vista license.
While you should still be responsible with how you use a computer, what you download and which web sites you visit, this tool is great tool for certain people.
More info and a download link here.
A new report has concluded that 637 million people are using out of date web browsers. This is bad.
Old web browsers have security flaws and vulnerabilities. You’re meant to update your web browser to the latest version because the developers have worked hard to patch it and fix up security holes. And in almost every case an upgrade is completely free. Why would anyone choose to use an old browser?
There are no legal obligations to upgrade a web browser but with this many people ignoring the very simple task of upgrading maybe it’s time for something to change. Now’s a good time to check for updates (the option is often in the Tools menu of the browser you’re using right now).
The report is here.
Microsoft has just released June’s lot of Windows patches for XP and Vista. Among the latest patches is one to fix a vulnerability in the Bluetooth stack.
If your computer uses Windows XP or Vista and it has Bluetooth then you need this patch. If your computer doesn’t automatically download and install patches you’ll need to go to Internet Explorer, go to the Tools menu and select Windows Update. Until then you should turn off Bluetooth, otherwise someone could take control of your computer.
Bluetooth has always had security problems from the start. There have been a few fixes along the way but overall it’s an insecure technology.
Technical details about this patch here.
This week everyone’s been talking about a new flaw in Flash that can be exploited to run malicious code on your computer. After a few days of media frenzy Adobe has released a fix for it.
If you use Windows then download the update (this includes users of FireFox, Opera and Internet Explorer). Link here.
The fixed version is 220.127.116.11. If you’re keen you can read more about the vulnerability here.