Spyware Sucks
“There is no magic fairy dust protecting Macs" – Dai Zovi, author of “The Mac Hacker’s Handbook"

Remember how I said that NO site can be guaranteed safe?

December 1st 2006 in Uncategorized

I’ll grab every chance I can to prove the point that internet users as a whole need to realise that just because they don’t view p0rn, or download freeware, or go to dodgy sites, there is no guarantee that they will be safe from the bad guys.

Check out this entry at VirusList:

In particular, I noted these comments:

“The user went to this site after he’d seen it advertized on television.”

“After investigating this a bit further, it turned out that at least 470 other servers had been subject to the same hacker attack … All these servers had one thing in common – they were all hosted by Valuehost, the biggest hosting provider in Russia.”

Was the site hacked *after* it was advertised on television, or before?  How many other users went to that site and were infected because they did not have antivirus, or their antivirus was out of date?  Did the television station run another advertisement to warn people that the site had been hacked?  Will the Web site itself warn all visitors that it had been hacked and that they should check their systems for malware?  Will the Russian hosts clean up their act?

I have highlighted several other hacking incidents on my Blog, including one where the only person who was able to access the site, and get rid of the compromised pages, was away for the weekend and out of contact – consequently the site kept on infecting visitors until we contacted the hosting ISP and had the site shut down:

Other sites that I have featured on this Blog when they have been hit by hackers include spreadfirefox.com, Circuit City, Debian.org, Capital City Bank, Wakulla Bank, Premier Bank and the ever problematic myspace.

What about software updates – are they always safe?
Not always – HP drivers were infected with virus – http://www.itnews.com.au/newsstory.aspx?CIaNID=33248

What about brand new hardware – is that always safe?
Nope – Apple iPod trojan – http://msmvps.com/blogs/spywaresucks/archive/2006/10/18/184326.aspx
McDonalds MP3 player trojan – http://www.itnews.com.au/newsstory.aspx?CIaNID=40860

Ok, but Google is safe – they use antivirus and stuff
Umm, nope – blog posts by the Google Video Team contained a virus – http://groups-beta.google.com/group/Google-Video-blog/browse_frm/thread/ef2e972f3546970b/d1caab0d4e89fd00?hl=en#d1caab0d4e89fd00

HP, Apple, McDonalds and Google – all BIG names who placed their customers at risk.  Let this be a warning to all of us that we must be wary no matter where we go or what we do or or what we use when dealing with computers, the Internet and even MP3 players.

One comment to...
“Remember how I said that NO site can be guaranteed safe?”


The whole being wary at all times thing sounds nice and safe, but cmon, if we were that careful about everything that might possibly harm us, we’d never get anything done. It’s easier for me to run virus scans and format my HDD once a year or so than to be hypervigilant around anything with a chip. Of course, its not as safe, but if you back up your files every once in awhile, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal (talking about home use, not business).

Microsoft have released a VPC virtual machine image containing a pre-activated Windows XP SP2, IE6 and the IE7 Readiness Toolkit to help facilitate testing and development.
It is important to note that the image is time bombed and will no longer function after April 1, 2007.
We can install now IE7 on our main machine for […]

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Microsoft have released Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional and Hebrew versions of IE7.  You can download them via the IE7 worldwide site:

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