Apple released a security update today designed to address the recent scourge of scareware targeting Mac users. The update comes as security experts spotted new versions of the rogue application family MacDefender making the rounds via poisoned links on Facebook.
Security Update 2011-003, available for Mac OS X v. 10.6.7 and Mac OS X Server v. 10.6.7, includes a component that checks for the MacDefender malware and its known variants. In its most recent advisory, Apple states: “If MacDefender scareware is found, the system will quit this malware, delete any persistent files, and correct any modifications made to configuration or login files. After MacDefender is identified and removed, the message below will be displayed the next time an administrator account logs in.”
A bill moving through the U.S. Senate that would grant the government greater power to shutter Web sites that host copyright-infringing content is under fire from security researchers, who say the legislation raises “serious technical and security concerns.” Meanwhile, hacktivists protested by attacking the Web site of the industry group that most vocally supports the proposal.
Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Protect IP Act (PDF), a bill offered by its chair, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would let the Justice Department obtain court orders requiring U.S. Internet service providers to filter customer access to domains found by courts to point to sites that are hosting infringing content. The bill envisions that ISPs would do this by filtering DNS requests for targeted domains. DNS, short for the “domain name system,” transforms computer-friendly “IP addresses (such as 22.214.171.124) into words that are easier for humans to remember (typing krebsonsecurity into a browser brings you to 126.96.36.199, and vice versa).
Some of the recent scams that used bogus security alerts in a bid to frighten Mac users into purchasing worthless security software appear to have been the brainchild of ChronoPay, Russia’s largest online payment processor and something of a pioneer in the rogue anti-virus business.
Since the beginning of May, security firms have been warning Apple users to be aware of new scareware threats like MacDefender and Mac Security. The attacks began on May 2, spreading through poisoned Google Image Search results. Initially, these attacks required users to provide their passwords to install the rogue programs, but recent variants do not, according to Mac security vendor Intego.
A few days after the first attacks surfaced, experienced Mac users on an Apple support forums began reporting that new strains of the Mac malware were directing users to pay for the software via a domain called mac-defence.com. Others spotted fake Mac security software coming from macbookprotection.com. When I first took a look at the registration records for those domains, I was unsurprised to find the distinct fingerprint of ChronoPay, a Russian payment processor that I have written about time and again as the source of bogus security software.
Facebook has introduced a new mobile authentication feature designed to help users better protect their accounts from being hijacked by password-stealing miscreants. The opt-in feature — which requires users to share their mobile phone number — is welcome security measure, but may be a tough sell to users already wary of providing too much information to the social networking giant.
Facebook users can enable “Login Approvals” by logging in and navigating to Account, then Account Settings, and then Account Security. When I enabled this feature and provided my cell phone, it quickly sent a six character, alphanumeric code via text message, that I needed to enter on Facebook.com.
Yes, I realize that’s an ambitious title for a blog post about staying secure online, but there are a handful of basic security principles that — if followed religiously — can blunt the majority of malicious threats out there today.
Michaels Stores said this month that it had replaced more than 7,200 credit card terminals from store registers nationwide, after discovering that thieves had somehow modified or replaced the machines to include point of sale (POS) technology capable of siphoning customer payment card data and PINs. The specific device used by the criminal intruders has not been made public. But many devices and services are sold on the criminal underground to facilitate the surprisingly common fraud.
One of the biggest challenges in information security — and with security reporting in general — is separating what’s new and worth worrying about from seemingly new threats and developments that really are just old threats repackaged or stubborn facts that get rediscovered by a broader audience. This post represents my attempt to apply that sorting process to several security news headlines that readers have been forwarding my way in the past week, and to add a bit more information from my own reporting.
Adobe has released another batch of security updates for its ubiquitous Flash Player software. This “critical” patch fixes at least 11 vulnerabilities, including one that reports suggest is being exploited in targeted email attacks. In the advisory that accompanies this… Read More »
The Web sites for computer game giant Eidos Interactive and one of its biggest titles — Deus Ex– were defaced and plundered on Wednesday in what appears to have been an attack from a splinter cell of the hacktivist group Anonymous. The hack comes just days after entertainment giant Sony told Congress that Anonymous members may have been responsible for break-ins that compromised personal information on more than 100 million customers of its PlayStation Network and other services.