How-to: Identify the Troj/Urausy Ransom-ware infection

Identify the Troj/Urausy Ransom-ware familyAcknowledging the risk of turning this into ‘Security Theatre Monthly’, the latest malware How-to concerns a particularly duplicitous item of malware; what we now call ‘ransom-ware’. This is a malicious trojan which purports to be from a law enforcement agency; variations include the FBI, Interpol and in this case, the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency.

All variants lock your Windows machine under the bogus claim that you have been traced pirating material on the Internet and all demand on-line payment of a ‘fine’ to ‘unlock’ your machine. DO NOT PAY ANYTHING. It is a SCAM.

No law enforcement agencies do this. There are no criminal charges, no court proceedings, so why would you pay a fine? Continue reading

How-to: Remove Text Enhance Adware

Text Enhance c**pware in browserText Enhance is one of those pesky, flash-based, adware, garbage packages, categorized by computer security experts as a browser hijacker, and by the rest of us as illegal, immoral c**pware. It attaches itself to internet browsers as an extension with cookies, without user consent.

Text Enhance is not a legitimate in-text advertising service; the website does not offer a download for the extension, nor is it listed in any browser’s extension database. It behaves like a virus. Text Enhance does not infect websites themselves, just your browser’s view of them.

Victims of Text Enhance find that webpages become filled with links for pop-up, spam advertisements; “in-text advertisements.” The owners of Text Enhance provide advertising services to cyber-criminals and unethical third parties, in addition to compromising and selling on personal information. It has been around since at least 2011, it is still infecting browsers in 2014, with Internet Explorer proving particularly vulnerable. I know, I had to exterminate the little swine from a machine earlier this year. Continue reading

How-to: Get privacy in Firefox

Firefox Private Browsing windowPrivate Browsing – Browse the web without saving information about the sites you visit

As you browse the web, Firefox remembers lots of information for you: sites you’ve visited, files you’ve downloaded, and more. There may be times, however, when you don’t want other users on your computer to see this information, such as when shopping for a birthday present.

Private Browsing allows you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited. Private Browsing Firefox won’t remember any history for this window. Continue reading

How-to: Get Privacy in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer InPrivate browsingAll the major web-browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari – now offer built-in privacy features, yet it’s estimated that that only 1-2% of users take advantage of them. Most users say they are concerned about privacy on-line; identity-theft, anonymity, and data protection. But some of these anti-tracking features are hard to figure out, and who has time to stumble through all those settings tabs? Browser’s privacy usually means things: some kind of “private mode” to prevent logging and tracking, and blocking targeted advertising… Continue reading

How-to: Secure Your Web-Browser

Firefox Add-on preferences

Think about it: the browser is the gateway to access today’s online world.

If you frequent social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you’re going to use a browser. Into cloud computing? Dropbox, Amazon Webservices? Blogging through WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger?

The web-browser is also the primary means of attack by crackers and criminals. There are still millions of machines subverted by botnets and other software to attack companies and individuals, primarily by exploiting bad code written into web browsers. Continue reading

How-to: Use Google’s Diagnostic Page

Google Diagnostic PageAre you aware that the world’s most used search engine, Google, runs a number of diagnostic routines on all its search results before they are presented to you? And that you can get some slightly odd, not to say worrying diagnoses from it?

This is all part of Google’s Safe Browsing initiative, part public service, part Google defence against US lawsuits. What Google is trying to do is head off malware and viruses that may be presented in its search results and give the user a heads up before they go there. Forewarned is fore-armed as they say, but ultimately it is your choice whether to go there.

I tried looking up the site for Full Circle Magazine, to which I contribute, only to get this slightly alarming result: Continue reading