This is Bryant, your computer guy from Quick Fix on Pantops representing the research efforts of the Quick Fix team. I wanted to let you know how you can protect yourselves… for free. This is the problem… over the past couple of months, we have noticed an increasingly viscous class of infection. It is able to get past any and all virus protective systems. It doesn’t matter whether you run Norton, McAfee, AVG, Trendmicro, anything. No antivirus software can stop this type of bug.
What it is:
It is a class of program called a rootkit. Rootkits have been around for quite some time, but this particular type of rootkit has been able to evade detection, deletion, and proactive blocking. It is really nasty, and is used to deploy nasty malware such as System Security, Antivirus 2010, trojans, keyloggers, etc. Read about it for yourself:
- Article: Microsoft battles rootkits
- Article: New applications targeted
- Article: Rootkit attacks final four ticket sales
These articles may seem a bit intimidating, but don’t worry. They are just meant keep you informed. We will keep on top of this stuff so you don’t have to. 🙂
Where it comes from:
The vast majority of the time, these infections are spread by visiting websites. Not necessarily ‘dark alley’ websites, either. A couple of months ago, my wife was looking at Verizon and Alltel’s websites when her laptop got hacked! It is shocking, I know. I watched it happen. Presumably, one of those sites got compromised, if even for a short time (30 seconds or so). The attackers deployed their software to anyone who was connected at that time. It took days to clean it up. And, now, there even exist “legitimate” internet distribution networks for malware (whereby virus creators pay websites for every machine infected with their virus as a consequence of connecting to the website). It’s not covert-only anymore. It is happening overtly, out in the open.
How to protect yourself:
To keep yourself from being hacked, you should start to use the following FREE tools:
- Sandboxie (Sandboxing tool)
- Open DNS (Secure DNS service)
- Microsoft Security Essentials (Antivirus Software)
*Or you can use Comodo Antivirus (which includes antivirus, a sandbox, and a secure DNS service).
We have provided download links to all of these directly from our website. None of these are traditional antivirus software programs. We still use antivirus software, and would recommend you use it too… but it simply will not help you versus this new class of bugs.
The most important tool:
The most important tool to use is Sandboxie. Sandboxie approaches malware protection from a whole new angle. It doesn’t attempt to block anything. What sandboxie does is run your browser from within a contained space on your system and its hard drive. Anything transmitted to your machine from the web while browsing is unable to escape this container. When you close your browser, the container is obliterated.
We tested Sandboxie by deliberately surfing the web TRYING to get hacked… and we succeeded!!!
I got a nasty case of the dreaded ‘System Security’ infection. Little popups appeared everywhere. I got a new icon blinking in my system tray saying I was infected. My browser was redirected to strange sites wanting my credit card. I calmly (well… kinda calmly) closed my browser like I normally do and… PRESTO! Not a trace of the infection. This infection would have made a computer unusable that was not using Sandboxie. It would have also taken many days to fix. Because of this wonderful tool, I rectified the problem in 2 seconds… by closing Internet Explorer. It totally made my day!! 🙂
If you get hacked or are hacked… just call us
We will not harass you for not using our recommended tools. After all, this is our job! We will, however, efficiently take care of your PC and give you a free candy bar in the process. 🙂 Just give us a call if you have any questions.
The Quick Fix Team