08.16.10

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Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Security news from the British press and IDG (gathered in recent weeks), affecting all versions of Windows

THE MSBBC (mentioned in the previous post) continues calling a criminal “hacker”, which deceives British readers.

Another report, specifically this one from The Inquirer (there are more such reports outside the UK), says that “[a] scary number of security suites fail on Windows Vista” and this potentially contradicts that story Microsoft had printed in IDG the other day.

Doomed from the start probably because they were tested on Windows Vista Business Edition SP2, the tests found a marked inability of some software to cope with heavy attacks. As opposed to Windows Vista’s inability to cope, full stop. Virus Bulletin’s crack squad also noted that false positive rates were very high, with legitimate files from Corel, Roxio and Adobe having been falsely identified as being infected.

Yesterday I went over to good friend of mine who has been stuck with Vista for a few years and hates it (I showed him KDE and GNOME, then set it up for his brother in law). Vista is in many ways a mess and the fonts are ugly on some screens (BSODs are an occasional problem too); Vista 7 is more of the same but somewhat improved. According to this new eWEEK readers survey, there are more GNU/Linux users there than Vista 7 users. No surprise.

Windows XP scored nearly 44 percent in a poll of which desktops eWEEK readers use to run their business. Microsoft’s Windows 7 came in behind Linux, while Vista languished with a handful of votes in the “other” category.

In other security news from this month, let’s look at The Register (UK):

Hoax Facebook virus makes more trouble than a real virus

Blackhole your malware

Anti-virus defences even shakier than feared

A study by web intelligence firm Cyveillance found that, on average, vendors detect less than 19 per cent of malware attacks on the first day malware appears in the wild. Even after 30 days, detection rates improved to just 61.7 per cent, on average.

Waledac zombie attacks rise from the grave

However, over recent weeks, the botnet is making a comeback of sorts. Spammed messages containing malicious attachment harbouring Waladec agents and disguised as tax invoices or job offers and the like have begun appearing, Trend Micro warns.

The same run of spam messages is also being used to spread fake anti-virus and other scams unrelated to Waledac, and there’s no sign that a new command and control structure, much less a fresh round of spamming, has begun.

Scotland Yard cuffs six in megaquid phish ring probe

Botnet that pwned 100,000 UK PCs taken out

Click fraud botnet unpicked

Cybercrooks use of botnets to make money by sending spam or launching denial of service attacks has become a well-understood business model.

But the controllers of networks of compromised PCs have other ways of turning an illicit profit, including using rogue traffic brokers to defraud reputable brands. Trend Micro’s write-up of a click fraud scam sheds light onto this less well-known but highly lucrative cyberscam.

“Malware Reaches An All-Time High,” claims this report.

McAfee found 6 million malicious files in the second quarter, compared to 4 million in the first quarter.

This was also covered by IDG, which published “Malware Call to Arms: Threat at All-Time High and Rising”

Going as far back as last month in IDG, we also have:

Atlanta Has Dubious Honor of Highest Malware Infection Rate

Natural Disasters and Global Warming Fuel the Malware Flames

After worm, Siemens says don’t change passwords

Trusteer Finds 100,000 UK Computers Infected With Zeus

We wrote about Zeus in [1, 2, 3] and about Stuxnet/Siemens in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. “Stuxnet Industrial Worm Was Written Over a Year Ago,” claims IDG.

A sophisticated worm designed to steal industrial secrets has been around for much longer than previously thought, according to security experts investigating the malicious software.

Called Stuxnet, the worm was unknown until mid-July, when it was identified by investigators with VirusBlockAda, a security vendor based in Minsk, Belarus. The worm is notable not only for its technical sophistication, but also for the fact that it targets the industrial control system computers designed to run factories and power plants.

From CNET: “Stuxnet could hijack power plants, refineries”

“For example, at an energy production plant, the attacker would be able to download the plans for how the physical machinery in the plant is operated and analyze them to see how they want to change how the plant operates, and then they could inject their own code into the machinery to change how it works,” he said.

The Stuxnet worm propagates by exploiting a hole in all versions of Windows in the code that processes shortcut files ending in “.lnk.” It infects machines via USB drives but can also be embedded in a Web site, remote network share, or Microsoft Word document, Microsoft said.

Microsoft issued an emergency patch for the Windows Shortcut hole last week, but just installing the patch is not enough to protect systems running the Siemens program because the malware is capable of hiding code in the system that could allow a remote attacker to interfere with plant operations without anyone at the company knowing, according to O’Murchu.

That’s truly a national security issue. Watch this news from Japan: [via]

Computer criminal blows probation

Tokyo police said Wednesday they have arrested a 27-year-old man in Osaka on suspicion of using a computer virus to destroy stored data.

Unless or until Windows is removed, systems that affect many people’s lives will continue to be at risk.

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