Monday, June 29, 2009

Beware of Michael Jackson Malware

There has been a couple of malware attacks that have tried to use the news coverage of the death of Michael Jackson as the lure to get people infected.

The malware is a file called This file was distributed through a site called,, and Do not visit these sites.

When executed, drops files called reptile.exe and winudp.exe. These are IRC bots with backdoor capability. The file also shows a fake error message "Picture can not be displayed.".

The virus is detected as Trojan.Win32.Buzus.bjyo by major antiviruses.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Security for Me: Social Network Passwords for Job Applications?

A recent news article from CNN shows that the city of Bozeman, Montana, USA, has been pressured into removing an item in its background-check waiver form requesting all applicants for to disclose their account names and passwords for social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace and Youtube.

Now, who in the right mind would do that really give up their log-in details? I bet they provide fake ones or just ignored the request...

My advice if you ever encounter this: this is privacy invasion. Do not disclose them in any way to anyone. Just reply if being asked "my personal life has nothing to do with my professional one and my private credentials are my own and they do not make subject of your concern".

It is common for employers to read applicants blogs before an interview (this happened to me also), but they usually inform you about that. This statement was addressed to me recently and it was quite pertinent: "I have read your blog located at and saw this remark of yours ... Can you detail this for me?". That one is normal and expected especially since I have included the blog address in my CV. If you wonder why did I ever do that is because my posts are related to security, Windows and programming and it shows some community activity which counts to some extend for a job application.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Security for Me: Applications

It's time to go back to blogging, this time with a interesting topic for non-advanced users. You may ask why I link applications with security. The answer to this is simple: any application can be exploited by hackers to gain control over your computer and/or steal you confidential information. Did I said "any"? Yes, any, read on.

How do they do it?

Any application has (the technically called) buffers and stacks as part of they normal operation. If the developers of that application forget to add a test or two, the attacker can use that information and overflow them causing the content to "spill out" over the original application code. When this happens, the original code is overwritten by the malicious code and... voila!

Now... don't get paranoid and consider every application as a threat. Usually they are secured and regularly updated. Hackers tend to attack popular applications such as WinAmp, iTunes etc. because it makes sense to attack an application that is used by several million users than to attack an application that is only used by one thousand users.

However, be suspicious about your online programs (chats, browsers, file sharing etc.) and security ones (antiviruses, anti-spyware etc.) and make sure they are up-to-date always. If you wonder why I say to be suspicious about your security programs then keep in mind this: if they are not up-to-date they may not see a new threat and, worse, they can be exploited big time.

What can you do to stay protected?

Update your applications to their latest versions. Some of them provide mechanisms to automatically check for updates so leave that option active. If there is no such option in your program just remember now and then to visit the vendor site and check manually for a new version.

Alternatively, use a tool such as F-Secure Health Check ( that provides an automated verification method. I am not affiliated in any way with them, this is not a commercial. F-Secure is a company that provides security products such as anti-viruses and it is well respected and deserves credit for their free tools.

Should I be worried?

Not really, but keep in mind those ideas and think twice before disabling automatic updates to any application and operating system... Make a habit of updating applications to the latest versions and read for yourself some security news blogs to be up-to-date with current major threats.