A new version of the Personal Software Inspector (PSI) tool from vulnerability management firm Secunia automates the updating of third-party programs that don’t already have auto-updaters built-in. The new version is a welcome development for Internet users who are still searching their keyboards for the “any” key, but experienced PSI users will probably want to stick with the current version.
Millions of computers infected with the stealthy and tenacious DNSChanger Trojan may be spared a planned disconnection from the Internet next month if a court approves a new request by the U.S. government. Meanwhile, six men accused of infecting and managing the huge collection of hacked PCs are expected to be extradited from their native Estonia to face charges in the United States.
Scott Henry scoured the Web for a good deal on buying TurboTax. His search ended at Blvdsoftware.com, which advertised a great price and an instant download. But when it came time to install the software, Henry began to have misgivings about the purchase, and reached out KrebsOnSecurity for a gut-check on whether trusting the software with his tax information was a wise move.
Five days after Henry purchased the product, blvdsoftware.com vanished from the Internet.
The cybercrime underground is expanding each day, yet the longer I research this subject the more convinced I am that much of it is run by a fairly small and loose-knit group of hackers. That suspicion was reinforced this week when I discovered that the author of the infamous ZeuS Trojan was a core member of Spamdot, until recently the most exclusive online forum for spammers and the shady businessmen who maintain the biggest spam botnets.
Thanks to a deep-seated enmity between the owners of two of the largest spam affiliate programs, the database for Spamdot was leaked to a handful of investigators and researchers, including KrebsOnSecurity. The forum includes all members’ public posts and private messages — even those that members thought had been deleted. I’ve been poring over those private messages in an effort to map alliances and to learn more about the individuals behind the top spam botnets.
Adobe has issued a critical security update for its ubiquitous Flash Player software. The patch plugs at least seven security holes, including one reported by Google that is already being used to trick users into clicking on malicious links delivered via email.
In an advisory released Wednesday afternoon, Adobe warned that one of the flaws — a cross-site scripting vulnerability (CVE-2012-0767) reported by Google — was being used in the wild in active, targeted attacks designed to trick users into clicking on a malicious link delivered in an email message. The company said the flaw could be used to take actions on a user’s behalf on any website or webmail provider, if the user visits a malicious website. A spokesperson for the company said this particular attack only works against Internet Explorer on Windows.
Oracle has shipped a critical update that fixes at least 14 security vulnerabilities in its Java JRE software. The company is urging users to deploy the fixes as quickly as possible.
Computers running Microsoft’s antivirus and security software may be flagging google.com — the world’s most-visited Web site — as malicious, apparently due to a faulty Valentine’s Day security update shipped by Microsoft.
Not long after Microsoft released software updates to fix at least 21 security holes in its Windows operating system and other software, the company’s Technet support forums lit up with complaints about Internet Explorer sounding the malware alarm when users visited google.com.
The alerts appear to be the result of a “false positive” detection shipped to users of Microsoft’s antivirus and security products, most notably its Forefront technology and free “Security Essentials” antivirus software.
If you use Microsoft Windows, it’s time again to get patched: Microsoft today issued nine updates to fix at least 21 security holes in its products. Separately, Adobe released a critical update that addresses nine vulnerabilities in its Shockwave Player software.
Six of the patches earned Microsoft’s most dire “critical” rating, meaning that miscreants and malware can leverage the flaws to hijack vulnerable systems remotely without any help from the user. At least four of the vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed prior to the release of these patches.
Late last month I wrote about Citadel, an “open source” version of the ZeuS Trojan whose defining feature is a social networking component where users can report and fix programming bugs, suggest and vote on new features in upcoming versions, and generally guide development of the botnet malware. Since then, I’ve been given a peek inside that social networking space, and it suggests that Citadel’s collaborative approach is fueling rapid growth of this new malware strain.
A customer who bought a license to the Citadel Trojan extended an invitation to drop in on that community of hackers. Those who have purchased the software can interact with the developers and other buyers via comments submitted to the Citadel Store, a front-end interface that is made available after users are validated through a two-step authentication process.
Anyone who’s run a Web site is probably familiar with the term “malvertising,” which occurs when crooks hide exploits and malware inside of legitimate-looking ads that are submitted to major online advertising networks. But there’s a relatively new form of malware-based advertising that’s gaining ground — I’m calling it “crimevertising” for lack of a better term — that involves running otherwise harmless ads for illicit services inside of commercial crimeware kits.
At its most basic, crimevertising has been around for many years, in the form of banner ads on underground forums that hawk everything from hacking services to banking Trojans and crooked cashout services. More recently, malware authors have started offering the ability to place paid ads in the administrative panesl that customers use to control their botnets. Such placements allow miscreants an unprecedented opportunity to keep their brand name in front of the eyeballs of their target audience, and for hours on end.