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Posts Tagged ‘anti-virus’


Mac- and Linux-Based Malware Targets Biomedical Industry

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

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The malware infection, discovered in late January, that’s been hiding out on Mac and Linux devices for more than two years doesn’t mean the security floodgates are open, but it is a reminder that these devices aren’t invincible. Apple is calling this new malware “Fruitfly,” and it’s being used to target biomedical research. While not targeted for Linux devices, the malware code will run on them.

This attack may hit a little too close to home for those industries MPA Networks specializes in protecting, including healthcare and biotech. That makes this a good time to reexamine security best practices for devices that aren’t commonly targeted for attacks.

Attacks Are Rare, But Not Impossible

Broadly speaking, any device that isn’t running Windows has benefited from a concept called “security through obscurity,” which means hackers don’t bother going after these devices because of a smaller market share.

Mac OS X and Linux provide more secure options than Windows for various reasons, but neither is an invincible platform.

Every so often, hackers strike the Mac community with malware—and when the attacks are successful, it’s typically because users don’t see them coming. The lesson here, of course, is to never let your guard down.

You may not need an active anti-virus program on a Mac, but occasional anti-malware scans can be beneficialAccording to Ars Technica, “Fruitfly” uses dated code for creating JPG images last updated in 1998 and can be identified by malware scanners. Anti-malware programs like Malwarebytes and Norton are available for Mac devices. MPA Networks’ desktop support and management can also improve user experiences on non-Windows devices.

Keep Your Macs and Linux Machines Updated

The old IT adage that says “keeping your programs updated is the best defense against security exploits” is still true when it comes to Mac OS X. While Mac OS X upgrades have been free or low-cost for years, not everyone jumps on to the latest version right away. For example, less than half of Macs were running the latest version of the OS in December of 2014. This means all the desktop and laptop devices running older versions of Mac OS X are exposed to security holes Apple patched with updates.

Typically, Apple only supports the three most recent versions of their operating system, which usually come in annual releases. Your workplace computers should, at the very least, be running a version still supported by Apple. The good news is that Apple quickly issued a security fix to address Fruitfly. The bad news? This isn’t the first Mac OS vulnerability malware has managed to exploit, and it won’t be the last.

The IT consulting experts at MPA Networks are ready to help your company find the right tools to increase productivity and improve security on all your office devices. Contact us today to get started.

The Best Way to Check Your PCs for Malware—Fast and FREE

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

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A couple months back, we touched on the story of our normally tech-savvy friend who got tricked into allowing his desktop PC to be infected with obvious malware. At first, he had the sickening feeling that comes with a virus-infected computer—but thanks to some quick thinking and online research, he downloaded several popular free anti-malware apps to isolate and remove the malware programs before they could inflict real damage (identity theft, or worse). He figured that by running multiple anti-malware apps, his computer would be effectively “cross-checked” and his hard drive would once again be clean and secure—fingers crossed.

Running the Gauntlet of Anti-Virus Scan Engines

Running more than one anti-malware app was indeed a wise idea. But what if you could scour your system for malware using as many as 57 different name-brand anti-virus scan engines—in less than a minute, and all for free?

It’s a terrific one-stop Windows utility few users know about, but we’re happy to share it with you today with step-by-step instructions:

  • From the Options menu in Process Explorer (in the upper menu bar), choose VirusTotal.com > Check VirusTotal.com. VirusTotal by itself is a free site that will scan suspicious files and URLs. But linked through Process Explorer, it will analyze your entire operating system using at least 50 proprietary malware detection engines, including those from leading anti-virus brands like AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, McAfee, and Symantec. A cybercrook may be able to write malicious code that eludes a few anti-malware apps—but over 50? That’s quite a comprehensive gauntlet, if not virtually impossible.
  • A Virus Total column will appear to the far right of the dashboard, with a ratio listed for every open application and process. A zero ratio (0/55) means all scanning engines concur the program is safe. A tiny ratio (2/55 or 3/55) is most likely a “false positive” (probably no real threat), while a heavy ratio (10/55 or higher) indicates multiple engines target it as likely malware.

“Less Is More”… But Not When It Comes to Cyber Safety

Learn more about uncovering malware via Process Explorer from InfoWorld security columnist Roger Grimes in the embedded video here. As a free utility direct from Microsoft, we highly recommend it as a simple yet comprehensive supplement to your current anti-virus software. Whenever you discover possible malware lurking on one or more of your company’s PCs, contact us immediately to help quarantine and safely remove it.

Cryptolocker & Ransomware – What You Need to Know

Friday, November 15th, 2013

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CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker is a new, and particularly malicious, breed of ransomware discovered only a couple months ago. CryptoLocker is a Trojan horse malware that encrypts and restricts access to the infected computer while demanding payment for the recovery and decryption of files, typically within a 72-hour deadline. CryptoLocker primarily infects computers (running Microsoft Windows) via malicious attachments found in phishing emails, which when opened, immediately infect the host computer.

But CryptoLocker is especially fierce because these phishing emails are designed to look and feel like an email from a trusted organization. They may be disguised as a harmless email from your bank urging you to check your account information by opening the attachment. They may even ask you to input a secure password to open the attachment, perhaps seeming more legitimate to the average person, but still as destructive.

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