Posts Tagged ‘Security’

Articles

How naive are you?

In Malware,Malware for beginners,Security on January 11, 2012 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , , , ,

Posted by Leyre Velasco

I have always thought that my mother was anything but naive. She has lived enriching experiences, has had a very intense working life with a high degree of responsibility and is practical, astute and witty. Let us say that she is not easy to rip off. At least, that’s what I thought.

Last Christmas, over one of many family get-togethers, she candidly announced:

“I have won an IPhone online”.

Somewhat stunned I asked:  “Win? IPhone? Online?”

Calmly, she replied:  “Yes, I won it over the Internet. I got a message on screen saying I had been selected over thousands of visitors and that the IPhone will be delivered to my address”.

At this point, my 12 year old daughter could not help the giggles.

I (rhetorically) asked: “Did you believe that?”

“Sure, – she replied -, why shouldn’t I?”

Getting seriously frightened, I asked:  “Which data did you provide?”

“Oh,  – my mother said – nothing much, just my email address and my postal address.”

So far, she has been getting emails requesting her participation on further contests but no mention of the IPhone, of course.

My mother was not at all conscious of the implications of her naivity. Because fraud through pop-ups is probably one of the oldest frauds there is on the Internet. Behind the so-called prizes there might be professional fraudsters, well able to spoof your identity or, without any scruples, make use of your personal data, all for economic benefit.

My mother is a regular Internet user. Her naivity is fruit of her lack of knowledge regarding the dangers of the Internet. That is why I believe it is so important to spread good Internet practises in order to raise awareness among different types of users. We teach our daughter security guidelines and therefore, she is cautious. My mother – up until now – has always browsed alone, no Jiminy Cricket around 🙂

How can you protect yourself?

  • It is very important to have an antivirus program that includes a spam filter installed and up-to-date. Any of Panda Security’s solutions will protect you against these kind of threats.
  • Check the source of information received. Ignore any pop-up that asks for your personal or financial information.
  • Scan you computer for free.
  • Inform yourself. We recommend pages on security, for instance, this blog or the Security Info page.

Luckily, my mother never provided her credit card details. Otherwise, she could have been in serious trouble. She has now installed the antivirus, scanned the computer and hopefully, from now onwards, she will be more cautious when browsing the net.

How about you? Have you ever been ripped off online? Tell us your experiences!

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Articles

Protect the online privacy of teenagers

In Security,Teenagers,Uncategorized on November 30, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , , ,

Posted by Ana Etxebarria

When my oldest daughter turned 13, she got a brand new smartphone, signed up for Facebook and Pandora and went on an apps downloading spree. At the same time, my brand new teen lost many protections over her privacy online.
The online games she plays know her location at any given moment through her phone’s GPS technology.

She’s given my VISA card number to buy apps, iTunes has our family’s email address and everyone’s full names and Facebook knows her birth date and the school she goes to…

At an age at when I still don’t let her go to the shopping center by herself or open the door to strangers, she has a growing dossier about her habits, likes and dislikes, etc.  accumulating on the Web. And even though laws have been passed that protect the youngest of Internet users from giving away much information about themselves, once children become teens, the same privacy rules no longer apply.

Leaving aside the laws that regulate these aspects, experts on adolescent development say youths between 13 and 18 deserve special attention, and teenagers are among the most voracious and precocious users of new Internet services, constantly making grown-up decisions with grown-up consequences. However, as experts say ‘Their ability to make decisions is still forming and clearly different from that of adults.”

With few restraints, teens are creating digital records that also build their reputation offline. All the status updates, tweets and check-ins to specific locations can be reviewed by prospective employers, insurance companies and universities.

Despite Internet companies say personal data can be collected only with permission and parents can set security controls on phones and computers, the Web offers so many opportunities to share information online that teens just don’t stop to think about the consequences.

Anyway, don’t think this is something of the future. It’s the present and it’s here to stay. Becoming a controlling, paranoid mother won’t help either, as they will still have endless possibilities to access the Internet. Therefore, once again I think that the only way to get rid of these fears is to educate teenagers about the dangers posed by the online world as we have been doing forever in the offline world.

How to do this? By helping them make thoughtful decisions, giving them the confidence to turn to you if they make a mistake, and having first-hand knowledge of those sites, games and apps they love so much.

What do you think?

Articles

Parents help underage children lie to get on Facebook

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , ,

Published by Ana Etxebarria, November 2011

I have recently read an article claiming that millions of preteens have signed up for Facebook, as indicated by a recent survey carried out in the US which showed that parents actually helped them lie to do it. I have 4 kids under age 12 and all of them have Facebook accounts, so I feel very much related to this issue.

Facebook sets the minimum age for using its service at 13 to comply with US federal laws that protect children’s online privacy.

However, a new survey from Microsoft and such top universities as Berkeley and Harvard has found that half of all parents with 12-year-olds and 1 in 5 parents of 10-year-olds knew their kids were using Facebook.

Asked how the children signed up for the service, thus violating the site’s terms of service, nearly 7 in 10 parents admitted they helped their kids set up the accounts.
The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, drew from a random sampling of 1,007 parents with children ages 10 to 14.

The survey comes amid a debate over children’s online privacy protection in a new era of mobile apps and other technologies. Consumer reports recently reported that 7 million underage users were on Facebook.

Do age limits for Internet services really stop children from using age-restricted sites? Should companies be allowed flexibility to experiment with new services and technologies without new regulations?

Most parents, me included, want our kids online as early as possible. We don’t want to be told how to be a parent. We want our children to be part of the digital world and be able to communicate with relatives and friends using current technology tools.

But, what do privacy advocates say? Well, they say that parents are not fully aware of what data is being collected about their children. If parents knew that sites such as Facebook collect information to deliver customized ads, they would be more cautious. This is total nonsense in my opinion. Or is that TV stations don’t bombard our kids with advertising in children’s networks?

Now, the question is: Is it really good for Facebook to have those underage users illegally? Well it must be, otherwise they would do something about it.

What do you think?

Articles

It is never too late to become digital!

In Security,Uncategorized on November 11, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: ,

Published by Leyre Velasco, November 2011

If you know somebody who is NOT one of the estimated total number of 2.095 billion – 30.2% – of world population of Interner users this article might be worth sharing.

The reasons why there are still many non-digital people are varied but more so it is a combination of socio-economic reasons. Some people think that they are too old or it is too late for acquiring computer skills, some people simply do not have the means to afford a computer.

What are you missing?

In short, the Internet enables new ways of social interaction and features widespread usability and access. What’s more, information about any topic to different degrees of complexity can be found online.

What if buying a computer is not an option?

You don’t need to make daily use of the Internet in order to take advantage of the aforementioned benefits. For sporadic use you don’t even need to purchase a computer as you can go to Internet cafes, which are available pretty much everywhere. These places provide internet access usually at a time-base rate but in any case, this way of accessing the net is more affordable than personal ownership of equipment. Or, you can always buy a smart phone with an Internet connection, but we will discuss that in a future post 😉

What if they are computer illiterate?

Don’t panic! Nobody was born knowing everything about anything. There are plenty of online guides for Internet beginners, but, of course, in order to read them, you first need to go online. Therefore, let us explain in plain English the very basic in order for you to be able to start using the Internet or, as it is said, “to surf the net” 🙂 .

Step 1: Access your Internet Browser

Double-click on the browser icon which is usually located at the Desktop of your computer. The most used browsers are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

If the icons are not available from the Desktop, and if your Operating System is Windows, go to Start, Programs, Nameofyourbrowser

For example, say you have Internet Explorer, go to Start, Programs, Internet Explorer.

Whatever page is set as default will automatically be displayed.

Right, now you are on!

Step 2: Get started with a search engine

We suggest you started getting familiar with a search engine as soon as possible, as it will be your gateway to the online universe.

But, what is a search engine? A search engine is designed to search for information on the www (world wide web). You can search for web pages containing data, images, videos, news, etc. The three most popular search engines are:

  • Google (91%)
  • Yahoo (4%)
  • Bing (3%)

Say you want to use Google.  Simply type in the web address http://www.google.com/ in the Address field at the top of the page.

From that moment on, whenever you want to search for information, just type in the keywords of your search in the search field and press Enter on your keyboard.

I hope the image below clarifies it:


Step 3: Selecting results

After typing in the keywords of your search, it is likely that you will get numerous results. How to know which page is more reliable than others? Well, as a general rule, organizations and government pages are normally more reliable than independent or personal websites. But even these can be biased or one-sided.

So, often use your common sense and don’t forget to protect your computer with a good antivirus program. Check out Panda’s!

Tips

The search engine will give you access to “everything”, however, here go a few examples of very useful pages:

  • Netlingo: Glossary on basic computer terms. http://www.netlingo.com/
  • Wikipedia: Collaborative encyclopaedia on pretty much any subject. Users have globally and gradually built knowledge. It is quite reliable but check the sources of the articles just in case.
  • Skype: Site which allows for free telephone calls to people you know anywhere in the world. If your computer has a webcam, you can see the people you talk to in real time.
  • Facebook: This is the most used social network in the world, with over 500 million users, the average age being 38!
  • Flickr: Site to share pictures with your friends and acquaintances.
  • Youtube: check out videos of your favourite artists, TV interviews, even from when TV was in black and white.. free!
  • Grooveshark: Listen to your favourite music completely free!

Articles

Safe back-to-school online shopping with Panda antivirus

In Security,Uncategorized on August 31, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , ,

Posted by Blanca Carton, September 2011

As the holiday season is coming to a close, it’s back to school time again. It’s time to buy books, pick up supplies, buy new clothes, etc. It’s so crazy and so expensive!

And despite we all know that we have the option to buy all these items online at the same price or at a lower price than at a physical store, many of us are still reluctant to do so for fear of being duped on the Internet. Even thought it is true that online shopping is sometimes subject to fraud, it is just enough to follow some basic tips to protect yourself when doing your shopping online.

What to bear in mind when shopping online?

  1. Only visit trusted sites. Look for pages with a professional appearance, pages from a well-known brand, sites displaying a customer service telephone number… It is very important to know who you are buying from.
  2. Be wary of prize-drawings and ridiculously good offers. Read the conditions of each promotion carefully to avoid nasty surprises.
  3. Pay for your purchases securely. You don’t necessarily need to always pay by credit card. There are different means of payment and, whenever possible, we recommend that you use cash on delivery to avoid surprises. If this is not possible and you choose to pay by credit card, remember that you will have to provide more information, and therefore you must be sure that the transaction will be completely safe.
  4. Make sure you are on a HTTPS page:
    Web addresses normally start with ‘HTTP’, for example:
    http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/downloads
    However, the pages you make online payments on must be more secure and they should start with ‘HTTPS’, for example:
    https://shop.pandasecurity.com
  5. Keep an antivirus installed and update it frequently. This is your barrier against spam and phishing. Enter your passwords safely using a virtual keyboard.Note: if you are not sure about something during the installation or update processes, don’t leave it for later. Look for the appropriate solution in the support forums available to you for any queries you might have.
  6. It is advisable to have a bank account with a credit card associated with it for making online purchases. This account will contain just the money you need for this purpose, making monitoring easier.
  7. Keep product warranties in a safe place. Besides handling the electronic aspect of online purchases, e-businesses must offer straightforward warranties on products bought. The Web page must contain the following information:
    • Means of payment
    • Delivery terms
    • Product warranties
    • Returns
  8. If you find out that the product you receive is faulty, is different from the one you purchased or the delivery terms are not fulfilled, file a complaint through the company’s Customer Service Dept.
  9. Finally, if you don’t receive any answers and you suspect there could be some kind of fraud, report it as soon as possible.

Follow these simple tips and you won’t have any surprises when it comes to doing your shopping on the Internet.

Articles

Fake antivirus programs are now also targeting Mac users

In Malware,Security on May 6, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: ,

Published by Yolanda Ruíz, May 2011

Mac systems have always had a reputation for being virus-free, among Mac users at least… And despite all our efforts to raise awareness of threats and advise them to install some good security software, I think it will still take some years for the message to sink in, just as in 2000, when we started warning Windows users to protect themselves. Apple’s market share is growing very rapidly and it presents cyber-criminals with a large number of potential victims.

But… let us insist: dear Mac users, please, protect yourselves. There are a lot of Mac threats out there, and rogue security software is just the latest example.

Fake antivirus programs, also known as rogueware, are malicious applications which, once installed on the target computer, start showing warning messages trying to convince victims that their computer is infected. But not only this, the software also offers the perfect solution to this problem. If the user clicks on any of the links displayed, they will be taken to a very well crafted, phony online store where they can buy an antivirus program for €40-€60.

However, if they take the bait, the following is most likely to happen:

  1. They will enter their credit card details and pay for a product they will never get.
  2. Their credit card number will be compromised and probably sold on the black market. and then… Well, expect to see some strange movements in your bank account.
  3. Finally, after all the hassle, the warning messages won’t even go away.

According to PandaLabs, this type of scam is putting more than $400 million a year in the hands of cyber-criminals. Yes, you read that correctly…

Up to now, this scam had always targeted Windows users, but now it is also affecting Mac users. The strategy is more or less the same: attackers use BlackHat SEO techniques to lure Mac users into visiting Web pages advertising an online antivirus for Mac called Mac Defender. If the user accesses the page, the antivirus simulates a computer scan and reports multiple infections. Then, it downloads a zipped Javascript file which will open automatically depending on the browser settings:

We must admit that the application is very well designed and it is really easy to fall into the trap. Once the malicious code installs on the computer, it opens pornographic Web pages to trick users into believing they are infected, and shows fake virus alerts like this:

Finally, it takes the user to an online store in an effort to fool them into paying to remove the fake viruses “detected” by the software, with the aforementioned consequences.

So, let us insist one more time: Mac threats are real. This is a new scenario in which Mac users are particularly vulnerable because they have a false sense of security and think that only Windows computers get infected.

Our recommendation is to install a good security program. If you are a Mac user and have been affected by any of these threats, we would like to invite you to try our Panda Antivirus for Mac free (available from http://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/downloads/ ).


You know, as the old saying goes… “Better safe than sorry”. 😉

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Yolanda Ruiz Hervas introduces herself  “I have worked in Panda Security Group as  Communication Manager since joining the company in 2001. Also, I confess I am passionate about technology, my work, motorbikes and cars and good company (and not in order). ‘Carpe Diem!’ is my motto. You can contact me on http://twitter.com/yolandaruiz or  yolanda.ruiz@pandasecurity.com

Articles

Bin Laden´s death used by cyber-criminals

In Malware,Security,Uncategorized on May 4, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , ,

Published by Blanca Carton, May 2011

Osama Bin Laden’s death is an opportunity for cyber-criminals to very rapidly spread viruses through email messages including false images of him. They use latest news as the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan as bait for their target. Cyber-criminals created the very same day web sites, emails, advertisement pop-ups, etc. whereby they tried to get funds to help the victims of the disaster.

Up to now, there are no official photos or videos of the body of Bin Laden, so, if you get messages inviting you to view them, don´t trust them and be careful! In some cases, when you open these messages, you will be asked to give your personal or bank details or you will be warned that your PC is infected and encourage you to download a fake antivirus. This fake antivirus will then contain a trojan or worm which will install on your computer, allowing information theft.

This increase in trojan attacks taking advantage of latest news is well reflected on the first semester 2011 PandaLabs* Virus Report.


His spokesman Luis Corrons indicates that: “These first three months have witnessed some particularly intense virus activity and there have been a number of serious incidents during this period, such as: the largest single attack against Android cell phones or intensive use of Facebook to distribute malware.

There has been a new surge in the number of IT threats in circulation: in the first three months of the year, there was a daily average of 73,000 new samples of malware.

Once again, over this quarter Trojans have accounted for most new threats, some 70 percent of all new malware created. Yet there is logic to this, as these types of threats are favored by organized criminals for stealing bank details with which to perpetrate fraud or steal directly from victims’ accounts.

Finally, remember that the best defense against all types of cyber-attacks is to maintain good practises regarding your personal data when surfing the Internet, access trusted sources and to have an up-to-date antivirus.

Why not try one of our free antivirus programs. They offer the best protection against viruses and software designed to steal your information.  If you are not sure about something during the installation or update processes, don’t leave it for later. Look for the appropriate solution in the support forums available to you for any queries you might have.

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*PandaLabs: Panda Security´s detection and disinfection laboratory.