Malvertising Campaign Hits PCs and Macs

A malware campaign that began in May 2014 is delivering customized concoctions of spyware, adware, and browser hijacking malware to PCs and Mac users. The “malvertising” network (a merging of the words “malware” and “advertising”), which has been dubbed Kyle and Stan, has 700 domains.

Getting a malicious ad into an advertising network distribution, even for a short time, can infect many computers, especially if it is on a popular site like Amazon or YouTube. The combination of malware downloaded to each machine is different, which means the checksum varies, thwarting detection.

Malvertising attacks are not new, and have been around for a few years. Generally, criminals use ads on popular sites or networks, such as Spotify or Facebook to spread malware. They place an ad with the network, then change the code in the ad to exploit flaws in the browser which allows them to inject malware on the user’s computer.

To protect yourself against these attacks, it is recommended to run malware detection software (Sophos is distributed for free for MIT users) and to make sure your browser is up to date with the latest security patches. Another option is to filter sites based on their potential threat level. Browser plug-ins such as AdBlock, and Webutation can block ads and warn users if they have accessed a site that is known to host malware. These plug-ins are free and can be run on different types of browsers.

Read the full story in the news.

Adobe Releases Flash Player Update, Delays Reader and Acrobat Fixes

Last week, Adobe released an update for Flash to address a dozen critical flaws. Chrome and IE 11 users will find their versions of Flash automatically updated.  You can see which version you have installed here, or download Adobe Flash Player here.

Fixes for flaws in Reader and Acrobat that had been scheduled to be released last week are delayed until this week so Adobe can conduct further testing.

Read the full story in the news.

Funny: Forgot Password

Have you ever forgotten a password? Comedian Don Friesen goes on a hilarious rant that is completely relatable.

Watch the 5 minute video on YouTube.

Microsoft Security Updates for September 2014

Microsoft is planning to release four updates this Tuesday, September 9, to address various flaws. On the same date Microsoft is also planning to release a new security feature for Internet Explorer (IE), called out-of-date ActiveX control blocking and a new version of the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Affected software being updated includes Windows, IE (rated critical) and Lync Server.

Read the full story in the news.

Firefox Enhances SSL Security

Mozilla recently released Firefox 32 to improve browser security. The newest incarnation of the browser now includes public key pinning in an effort to protect users from man-in-the-middle attacks. “Key pinning allows site operators to specify which certificate authorities (CAs) may issue valid certificates for them, rather than accepting any of the many CAs that are trusted.” Read the full story in the news.

Note that this version of Firefox is not currently supported by IS&T. Learn more about certificates at MITSupported browsers at MIT.

Home Depot Hit By Malware Similar to Target Breach

Security researcher, Brian Krebs, published information on his security blog yesterday about the cyber attack on Home Depot. Reportedly, the compromised credit cards were exposed through the same malware that exposed 40 million accounts of Target customers in December 2013. He points to a new variant of the malware strain “BlackPOS,” aimed at retail accounts, which has the ability to steal credit and debit card information from the physical memory of point-of-sale devices.

If this information is true, then it could mean the same people were responsible in both breaches. Credit card numbers allegedly stolen from Home Depot have appeared on an underground cybercrime shop known as Rescator, which has also been seen selling cards stolen in the Target breach. According to Krebs, the people involved harbor anti-American sentiments.

Read the story in the news.

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