Internet Viruses: A Preventable Threat

Android Security Suite

Computer viruses are nasty agents that can compromise personal information, cost a lot of money, and ruin machines.


Cough, cough. It isn’t flu season yet, but winter is just around the corner. Viruses such as the flu become more common during winter months because people spend more time indoors which makes the transfer of nasty bugs easier. Unfortunately, when it comes to computers, viruses are always in season and the internet is a hotbed of infection.
The scary truth is that a computer can obtain a virus, malware, or spyware without their owner even realizing it. Sometimes, the simple act of visiting a website is enough to contract a virus while in other cases internet users unwittingly download viruses by clicking false links that install the bad code. Computer viruses are nasty agents that can compromise personal information, cost a lot of money, and ruin machines. In order to protect your PC, internet users need to understand the most common threats, how to detect them, and, most importantly, how to avoid them.

How Can I Get a Virus From a Website?

The computer science behind a virus is actually quite simple. A virus is a piece of code or a program that can copy itself and runs without approval from the computer owner. There are dozens of different ways that you can get a virus from a website, some of the usual suspects are e-mail scams, torrent sharing, and video downloads.
When you visit a website, your web browser automatically reads, interprets, and displays the content for you. Unfortunately, there are deficiencies in all programs, including web browsers called “exploits.” These exploits are targeted by hackers as easy ways to spread their evil creations. That is how a computer can become infected without a person doing anything. Just by doing its job, a web browser can expose a computer to a virus.
Beyond automatic infection, viruses can be hidden within other files or disguised as other programs entirely. Torrent sites, which are popular for sharing pirated video and audio files, are a very high risk environment because they are not moderated. Anyone can upload files for download, including hackers.
Similar tactics are used to disguise viruses in other files. Pop-up ads, fake security breach warnings, and software updates are all common hiding places for malware. Watching pornography is another famous threat to computer integrity but is safe compared to the torrent sites. Many porn websites, like it or not, are businesses with an interest in maintaining a safe website, and therefore screen their files for viruses.

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Never download something that you do not trust, never download something that you have not read, and try to avoid threatening websites.

What Kinds of Viruses Are Common?

There are as many different types of viruses as there are routes to infection, but the three most common are called Trojans, botnets, and fake anti-virus software known as “scareware.”

Trojans – These are programs that take their name from the Trojan horse and are anything that is disguised to be something else. Download a Trojan and it will download its accompanying virus to your computer.

Botnets – A botnet is a network of infected PC’s that hackers use for a variety of evil tasks. Most recognizably, botnets are responsible for the majority of spam e-mails which are used by fraudsters to phish for personal information.

Scareware – A pop-up appears on your computer screen: WARNING! Your computer is infected. Download this program now to “protect” yourself. If you click on the pop-up your computer most certainly will become infected.

What Can I Do To Protect Myself?

The number one way that computer users can protect themselves is with common sense and awareness. Never download something that you do not trust, never download something that you have not read, and try to avoid threatening websites.
Besides policing your online behavior, antivirus software can remove existing viruses and help to detect online threats in the future. Another step that internet users can take is keeping software up to date. Most software updates are released to increase security and reduce vulnerability by closing exploits.

The bad news is that viruses are everywhere on the web. The good news is that they can, in large part, be prevented. Take care to protect yourself by updating software and browsing responsibly, it’s Vitamin-C for your computer.

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Deceitful: hackers who exploit webcams to spy on you!

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Photo by anieto2k. Flickr


Hackers sneak into your webcam more often than you think as a method to watch internet surfers without being noticed. To do this, you just need Internet access and a program that is silently installed on your computer.

Imagine being spied on by a hacker that has installed this software on your computer. Whenever you are connected to the Internet, the hacker can log in, see everything that happens on your screen and observe you through the camera. Of course, this intrusion occurs without you being aware of it.

Hackers can install Trojans or other viruses on your computer using your help unknowingly. Simple things like going to what appears to be a normal web page with nothing more than a harmless picture, can activate Trojans that will give access to files, passwords and every folder on your computer.

There are other programs that were originally created to repair and perform maintenance remotely by online support teams that can also be a problem. In the wrong hands, these programs have become espionage instruments that can be downloaded in special forums. This means that people don’t need to have great “hacker” skills, all they have to do is pay for these programs giving them the potential to use them against you.

Criminal organizations earn a lot of money by selling spyware programs. These organizations are very professional, well established and very successful. That’s why if you suspect you are being watched or that a hacker is manipulating your computer, follow these recommendations:

1. Immediately disconnect your computer from the Internet.
2. Clean your computer with an antivirus program.
3. Before opening any link, hover over to see if takes you to the desired page.
4. Do not open any files that you receive by strangers via email.
5. Place a sticky note, tape or Band-Aid on your camera to block all unwanted and prying eyes.

Always remain vigilant while on the Internet!

Spam: The Digital Plague

Spam, the digital plague
183 million spam messages are sent worldwide on a daily basis. Spamming can be a lucrative business that saturates email accounts and can transmit malware and viruses to your computer or mobile device.

It is estimated that worldwide, the damage caused by spam reaches in excess of $12 billion dollars. Anti spam activists such as the Spamhause Project or Google, fight against this plague.

Spammers usually operate with nonexistent companies to buy IP addresses and use outside servers. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 spam messages advertise suspicious online businesses. For example, the so-called Nigerian scam is designed to make you think that you can get millions of dollars but only if you send a sum of money in advanced.

Other spam messages contain files that infect your computer or mobile device that allow hackers to control and access them remotely. Anti spam organizations maintain spam lists, which are used to block suspicious senders and report them to the police.

This digital plague is not something exclusive to Russia and Nigeria, as it is generally thought. In fact, industrialized countries such as Germany and Japan are in the top 10 lists, with the US in the first place.

 10 Worst Spam Countries

Image: The Spamhaus Project


In many countries, spam is difficult to control due to legislation and also because it is difficult to verify that a person did not give consent to receive such messages. Once the spammers are identified, anti spam activists report their information to the police in order to assist in putting a stop to it.

Despite the efforts of organizations such as Spamhaus or the police, the battle against spam is far from over. Spammers are constantly evolving and changing their methods until eventually this junk email will be more methodical, unrecognizable, and better integrated into the daily life.

The amount of spam is not expected to reduce, however anti-spam organizations have a clear objective: to prevent spam from reaching our inbox.

Spam is digital trash and as such it should be sent to the recycle bin unopened. Do not click on any links from spam emails and always protect your mobile devices against malware and other threats with antivirus solutions such as MyAntiTheft.

Tips to Prevent Online Christmas Scams

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“All that glitters is not gold” and when it comes to online scams, Christmas shoppers must watch out for “too good to be true” bargains that could end up hurting their wallets.

According to research conducted in 2013 on behalf of FFA UK by ICM in the UK, online scams cost shoppers $15 million dollars. These people were victims of “vishing” a fraud method that attempts to get personal or financial information via telephone when fraudsters act as technical support agents or sales people.

With cyber Monday and the Christmas shopping season, cybercriminals are offering all kinds of products at very low prices. The website Get Safe Online published a list of the top five most risky items in which you can find Smartphones at the top, followed by game consoles, Ugg boots, Barbour jackets and iPads.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam or fake item.

Learn how to protect yourself when shopping online:

• If you get a call asking you to confirm a purchase, don’t reveal your bank account or shopping details since this is the way most fraudsters work. Just hang up and call your bank from a different phone to make sure everything is ok.
• Check your bank account regularly and make sure that your bank has your contact numbers so they can alert you if anything unusual or suspicious happens.
• Always make sure web URLs start with “https”, pay close attention to the “S” at the end. If the site doesn’t have the S nor the gold padlock icon, avoid shopping from that website.
• For banking or shopping, only use official online websites and mobile apps.
• Type the address of your bank or online shop directly into your browser. Never use a link from your email to go to your bank website nor should you open attached files that ask for personal information.
• If you own or are in the market for a new smartphone or tablet, protect it by downloading MyAntiTheft with MyAntiVirus and make sure it’s safeguarded with a PIN.
• In regards to online auctions and high value items, make sure you see the product before sending money. Use secure payment methods like PayPal instead of paying individual sellers.
• Once all your shopping or banking sessions are done and you followed this online safety guide, log out of the website or app. Also keep every purchase confirmation email.

Snapchat is splashed by third party app leak


Snapchat is not in deep water like everyone thought, data leak was due to non-approved third party apps.
Snapchat provides a temporary means of transferring images and videos to your friends, family or acquaintances that have the app in their mobile device. Snapchat has an internal private API (application programming interface) that it does not make available to developers and 3rd party applications. This however does not prevent developers from reverse engineering Snapchat’s internal API and providing unauthorized service that violates Snapchat’s terms of service.

The data breach in recent news was not due to security flaws at Snapchat but to 3rd party app Snapsaved.com that utilizes the private Snapchat API without approval. With Snapsaved.com people could save and browse their Snapchat images. The security breach was due to Snapsaved having an internal misconfiguration on their servers.

You need to be careful as a user when giving apps login credentials or permission to access your Snapchat data. You could potentially grant permission for a malicious app to steal your snapchat data and information. For these reasons it is important to know more about the developer and app you are using.

Not all the third party apps are malicious, they can offer services and helpful functionalities to different products. However, it’s important to recognize the third party apps that represent a security risk by looking at the kind of data they are accessing, and their security and privacy policies.

A brief history of hacking

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster” -Sun Tzu-

In a digital world enemies are changing and updating. Hence, it’s good to know a short history of who they are to be aware of their threat.

1969, Phone Freaking: By blowing a toy whistle into a phone receiver, John Draper illegally accessed the phone network and made free calls. “Phreaking” portmanteau of the words phone and freak affected many people such as Steve Jobs.

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1985, KGB-Hack: During the cold war, German hackers infiltrated the Pentagon and other US military computers in order to sell confidential US information to the Russian secret service.

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1992, Michelangelo Madness: This virus caused hysteria after media reported that it would delete data from millions of infected computers on March 6th, the birthday of the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Computer users connected to the Internet bought large quantities of anti-virus software but in spite of all the madness, the virus caused little damage affecting only a few thousands computers.

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1999, Email Virus: By sending billions of emails the Melissa virus overloaded the Internet with data. To prevent the worm, email providers like Microsoft shut down losing approximately 80 million dollars.

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2007, Hack attack in Estonia: Estonian Internet was swamped and sabotaged in a series of cyber attacks against government organizations, banks and the general public. This cyber-warfare distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), creating cyber-armies or botnets to send coordinated crash-inducing attacks to targeted Web servers.

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2010, Cyber-warfare: The Stuxnet virus severely weakened the Iranian nuclear program by destroying more than a thousand uranium centrifuges. The US Government is suspect of creating and spreading the virus.

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2013, Big Coup: Globally networking criminals manipulated data of credit cards and withdrew 45 millions dollars at ATMs around the world. The criminals, responsible for this cyber-robbery are still free.

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Hacking is about finding security weakness in networks. Worms and viruses are widely spread nowadays and it’s better to protect your mobile devices with the best, Android Security Suite.

Don’t let malware score a goal against you in the world cup

malware. worldcup. BLOG

Cyber crime can score a goal against you during this world cup as mobile malware is becoming more spread, stealing information, exhausting the life of your devices or money with apps that you install in your mobile devices.

Hackers are targeting IOS but hitting harder on Android devices, as 99% of cybercrime in the first quarter of 2014 targeted Android. Due to the open architecture of Android, it has allowed the increase of threats such as mobile banking Trojans.

Another kind of popular malware being found is Ransomware, a type of malware that locks your device and holds the victim ransom until payment has been made, making it very difficult to uninstall.

Also, malware spreads easily and quickly through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Impressive pictures or videos are the most common ways to lure victims to download them.

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Nowadays, with the world cup at the highest peak many football fans around the globe follow the latest news and applications in search of a variety of pictures, videos and games.

But for people not aware of these threats, a large portion of these apps are malware and they are set to read your private messages, identify your location or steal your bank account information.

To prevent this, it is not only important to have an antivirus like MyAntivirus but also to read the application permissions before install which require access to your contact list or to pinpoint your location. Some malware can send SMS messages that cost you money or install other malware apps without your knowledge.

The world cup, as any other big event in the past, is becoming a great hook for hackers to attract victims.

Caution is always advised, so get a good antivirus such as MyAntivirus to prevent the installation of malware but also, think twice before agreeing to intrusive app permissions and pushing the install button.