Monday, January 25, 2010

Windows XP desktop screen is a Napa, CA image

Just a quick update with a cool little article on how the Original Windows XP desktop background image originated in Napa, CA (Where I currently Live).

I have been a little busy with not being busy at work trying to get some of my own projects and issues taken care of. The hardest thing about this blog for me is that it is hard to talk about work, when you can not talk about work. What I mean by that, is that I cannot write about anything that discloses sensitive information about a customer or something that McAfee does not approve. That is why anything that I have ever posted here, does not go into tremendous detail. I just like to keep up on writing and I actually enjoy it.

I think I am going to utilize this time to work on the root of the domain. I wanted to provide some details for the general public on where to find "useful" information if you have been victim of a compromise or hacked. I thought it would be a nice project and that is the overall reason why I even have this domain in the first place. We will see if I ever go through with it though.

Anyway, check out this article in the local newspaper that shows the origin of the Windows XP default background image. I swear I can almost determine where this picture was taken based on his description, but the fact that it is all vineyard now makes it difficult.

Anyway, see for yourself. (LINK)

Image provided by

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Hackers Holiday

I have been away from the office for a bit due to a cold that wont go away. Check out this youtube video put on by McAfee. Received this in an email this week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

McAfee's "Twelve Scams Of Christmas"

McAfee has released their own version of the popular Christmas saying in "The Twelve Scams Of Christmas", revealing the 12 most dangerous scams users should be aware of during this Christmas season.

Scam I: Charity Phishing Scams – Be Careful Who You Give To
During the holiday season, hackers take advantage of citizens’ generosity by sending e-mails that appear to be from legitimate charitable organizations. In reality, they are fake Web sites designed to steal donations, credit card information and the identities of donors.

Scam II: Fake Invoices from Delivery Services to Steal Your Money
During the holidays, cybercriminals often send fake invoices and delivery notifications appearing to be from Federal Express, UPS or the U.S. Customs Service. They e-mail consumers asking for credit card details to credit back the account, or require users to open an online invoice or customs form to receive the package. Once completed, the person’s information is stolen or malware is automatically installed on their computer.

Scam III: Social Networking – A Cybercriminal “Wants to be Your Friend”
Cybercriminals take advantage of this social time of the year by sending authentic-looking “New Friend Request” e-mails from social networking sites. Internet users should beware that clicking on links in these e-mails can automatically install malware on computers and steal personal information.

Scam IV: The Dangers of Holiday E-Cards
Cyber thieves cash in on consumers who send holiday e-cards in an effort to be environmentally conscious. Last holiday season, McAfee Labs discovered a worm masked as Hallmark e-cards and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola holiday promotions. Holiday-themed PowerPoint e-mail attachments are also popular among cybercriminals. Be careful what you click on.

Scam V: “Luxury” Holiday Jewelry Comes at a High Price
McAfee Labs recently uncovered a new holiday campaign that leads shoppers to malware-ridden sites offering “discounted” luxury gifts from Cartier, Gucci, and Tag Heuer. Cybercriminals even use fraudulent logos of the Better Business Bureau to trick shoppers into buying products they never receive.

Scam VI: Practice Safe Holiday Shopping – Online Identity Theft on the Rise
Forrester Research Inc. predicts online holiday sales will increase this year, as more bargain hunters turn to the Web for deals. While users shop and surf on open hotspots, hackers can spy on their activity in an attempt to steal their personal information. McAfee tells users never to shop online from a public computer or on an open Wi-Fi network.

Scam VII: Christmas Carol Lyrics Can Be Dangerous – Risky Holiday Searches
During the holidays, hackers create fraudulent holiday-related Web sites for people searching for a holiday ringtone or wallpaper, Christmas carol lyrics or a festive screensaver. Downloading holiday-themed files may infect one’s computer with spyware, adware or other malware. McAfee found one Christmas carol download site that led searchers to adware, spyware and other potentially unwanted programs.

Scam VIII: Out of Work – Job-Related E-mail Scams
The U.S. unemployment rate recently spiked to 10.2 per cent, the highest level since 1983. Scammers are preying on desperate job-seekers in the poor economy, with the promise of high-paying jobs and work-from-home moneymaking opportunities. Once interested persons submit their information and pay their “set-up” fee, hackers steal their money instead of following through on the promised employment opportunity.

Scam IX: Outbidding for Crime – Auction Site Fraud
Scammers often lurk on auction sites during the holiday season. Buyers should beware of auction deals that appear too good to be true, because often times these purchases never reach their new owner.

Scam X: Password Stealing Scams
Password theft is rampant during the holidays, as thieves use low-cost tools to uncover a person’s password and send out malware to record keystrokes, called keylogging. Once criminals have access to one or more passwords, they gain vast access to consumers’ bank and credit card details and clean out accounts within minutes. They also commonly send out spam from a user’s account to their contacts.

Scam XI: E-Mail Banking Scams
Cybercriminals trick consumers into divulging their bank details by sending official-looking e-mails from financial institutions. They ask users to confirm their account information, including a user name and password, with a warning that their account will become invalid if they do not comply. Then they often sell this information through an underground online black market.

McAfee Labs believes cybercriminals are more actively scamming consumers with this tactic during the holidays since people are monitoring their purchases closely.

Scam XII: Your Files for Ransom – Ransomware Scams
Hackers gain control of people’s computers through several of these holiday scams. They then act as virtual kidnappers to hijack computer files and encrypt them, making them unreadable and inaccessible. The scammer holds the user’s files ransom by demanding payment in exchange for getting them back.

McAfee also advises Internet users to follow these five tips to protect their computers and personal information:

1. Never Click on Links in E-Mails: Go directly to a company or charity’s Web site by typing in the address or using a search engine. Never click on a link in an e-mail.

2. Use Updated Security Software: Protect your computer from malware, spyware, viruses and other threats with updated security suites. McAfee® Total Protection software provides fully-featured protection from current and emerging threats. It also comes built in with McAfee SiteAdvisor® technology, a safe search toolbar to warn consumers of a Web site’s safety rating as well as phishing protection. It uses intuitive red, yellow and green checkmarks to rate potentially dangerous Web sites when searched on Google, Yahoo! or Bing.

3. Shop and Bank on Secure Networks: Only check bank accounts or shop online on secure networks at home or work, wired or wireless. Wi-Fi networks should always be password-protected so hackers cannot gain access to them and spy on online activity.

Also, remember to only shop on Web sites that begin with https://, instead of http://, and seek out Web sites with security trustmarks, like McAfee SECURE™.

4. Use Different Passwords: Never use the same passwords for several online accounts. Diversify passwords and use a complex combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

5. Use Common Sense: If you are ever in doubt that an offer or product is not legitimate, do not click on it. Cybercriminals are behind many of the seemingly “good” deals on the Web, so exercise caution when searching and buying.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Link: Microsoft Security Intelligence Report v7 (Jan-Jul 09)

Microsoft has recently updated their Security Intelligence Report that tries to identify the latest and greatest of malicious trends.
A quote from their malware blog.
"In this edition we provide an in-depth review of malicious and potentially unwanted software, software exploits, security breaches, software vulnerabilities (both Microsoft and third party) around the world as well as providing detailed views of a number of countries. We review malware distribution sites by country, discuss phishing and spam trends and geographic distribution, details on vulnerability disclosure practices, differences in threat distribution between consumers and enterprise and we also provide guidance for IT professionals and business decision makers based on this information."
Check the report out here (LINK).

Link: How to avoid Malware on Facebook and Twitter.

You can always count on the fact that with the increased popularity that Facebook and Twitter are receiving, malware on these sites will soon follow and grow.
Read Write Web has posted an article of how to prevent or avoid popular malware tactics.
Check it out here (LINK)